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Butterflies and Hurricanes

I’m Going to Scotland!

I’ve longed for years to go to Hawaii, take my kids to a full Disney Adventure, and visit the east coast. The list of countries I want to visit grows every year but I don’t even have a passport. I want to see the world, but I end up seeing the insides of doctors offices for my kids instead.

No more. I am going to Scotland. I just have to say it again. I am going to Scotland! My husband and I will be staying in a castle which just happens to be near where some of his ancestors are from. My writing coach, Angie Fenimore at Calliope, is hosting a writing retreat in Scotland this fall. At first I assumed there was no way I could go, but something kept pulling me. I needed to be there. I’m not sure all of the reasons why, but I get to pitch my fantasy book to Tor- that’s enough to make it worth the trip! There will be incredible people to meet, great coaching, time to write, and a chance to see the Scottish Highlands.

I am giddy with excitement. I turned to my husband the other day and said, “Is this how people get to go places? They just decide?” and he said, “Pretty much.” Yes, he’s a man of few words.

As astonishing as it still is, I am going to Scotland. I can’t wait to share what I discover there with all of you!

Kids are Mean

Today I got my feelings hurt by my kids. Again. It’s a normal part of parenting but no one ever talks about it. Once I told a table full of people that my kids tell me they hate me all the time and I got shocked looks with an older lady saying “None of my kids ever said that to me. They wouldn’t have dared.”

Let’s face it, kids are judgmental, selfish, and often downright mean. They can hurt your feelings even when they don’t mean to. How? “Gee Mom, I’ve only been playing this song for a week and already I play it better than you and you’ve been playing it for years.”

While cleaning I came across a note never intended for my eyes. My child was letting out all the anger she felt for a mother who took away her technology until she got the family room clean. A mother who didn’t exactly say it nicely this time.  Swear words that my pre-teen is careful not to say in front of me where plastered angrily across the sheet calling me names and telling me just where she thought I should go.

It’s good she was at school. It gave me a chance to feel hurt and let my more mature side take over by the time she came home. I showed her what I had found. I told her it hurt my feelings but that I still loved her. I told her it was okay for her to write those things as a way to let go of her anger but that she needed to make sure to always, always destroy what she had written so that others didn’t get hurt like I had been hurt.

The thing is, I’ve done the same thing- written horrible things to someone I was angry at. I just made sure to burn it, rip it up, or crumple it in the trash. Even before my therapist taught me to do it as a healthy way of releasing anger, I had done it.

Today I was grateful I could take a moment that hurt and instead teach my daughter. I taught her about a mother’s love. Yes, it hurt, but I loved her anyway. Isn’t that what we all wish for? To be loved even when we hurt someone else in our anger or pain?

I stink!

It has been been two years since I’ve had to use my wheelchair. Most days I’m taking my walking for granted again but every few weeks I still feel gratitude for something I can do now that I couldn’t do before.
I went shoe shopping and was grateful I could see the shoes. In the wheelchair I would have to reach up, push the tip of the shoe down and it would cause the shoe to tip up so I could see it. It was tedious.
Another day I ran into the store to grab one thing. It took less than five minutes. Even when I was healthy enough to drive, errands were never quick in my wheelchair. By the time I hobbled to the back of my van, pulled out the pieces of my wheelchair (I wasn’t strong enough to lift the whole thing at once), attached the wheels to the base, got in, shut the van, wheeled myself up the slight rise to the store, found what I wanted, found someone to reach it up high, got checked out, and then reversed the process of getting back in the van it took almost a half an hour and I was exhausted. I could never go into more than one store at a time because I needed to rest.
It’s the little things that demoralized me in the wheelchair. Aisles of clothes that weren’t wide enough to get past, steep ramps to the kid’s school, ice and snow in a parking lot, stairs at every home- even if it was only one or two- became barriers to normal daily tasks.
My most recent realization was that this summer not only did I sweat a lot, I stank. I couldn’t remember my sweat stinking for the past twenty years or more. As a teenager in dance classes I’m pretty sure I got stinky like a normal kid.
To me smelling that stinky sweat meant that I was finally normal. Everyone talks about body odor after exercising. It was one more way that I was finally normal.
Today I’m bursting with gratitude that I stink.

Broken No More

Eighteen-year-old Sandra can’t figure out what is wrong inside her head. A week after meeting fun-loving Jonathan, she accepts his marriage proposal and agrees to run away to sunny San Diego with him. Even before the wedding, Sandra finds herself isolated in an abusive relationship that plunges her into a world of porn and sex abuse. Finding the courage to escape Sandra discovers she’s lost the ability to cope on her own. With the help of a man who expects nothing from her, Sandra embarks on a journey to find faith, love, and a cure for her PTSD.

Oregon Coast

Oregon is beautiful. The ocean breeze washes over me and all my worries recede with the tide. This place is restorative. I remember in old books how doctors used to tell women to go to the coast or to a milder climate for their health. I understand now. I’d rather come here than take pills.
I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to explore the coast anymore. I just want to stay here and relax. The car is exhausting, but we are here to explore the coast after all. Perhaps there is more beauty to see but all I want is rest.
I want to come here once a year and soak in the healing breeze that rolls in off the water. Everything is more relaxing here. I miss my kids but I only miss the good parts. I don’t want to go back to the screaming and clutter.
I think I’m getting old. Old people can just sit with their spouse in silence. I remember someone telling me that they ran out of new things to say. I thought it was sad and didn’t want to ever run out of things to say. I’ve changed my mind. Sitting next to Chad, I just enjoy being with him. We know each other so well half the time I know what he’s going to say before he opens his mouth.
The strength is returning to my body. I can feel it.

Save the Cat!

Two of my favorite writing tools- Scrivener which is a an amazing software tool and Save the Cat! which is for screenwriters but the best novel writing book I’ve ever seen.

I spent the day transferring Savina’s Quest into Scrivener. I’ve had to take my projects back to the drawing board and actually craft a decent plot instead of just following my characters willy-nilly to see where they take me.

Boy did this one have gaping holes in it! Now I’ve got to brain storm and take Savina to the next level. It was nice to get back into it. I was even able to scan the plans for the stronghold and surrounding village right into Scrivener so I don’t have to try to keep track of it.

After months of my brain refusing to think hard about anything (even reading!!!) it is nice to be intellectually stimulated and get back to my passions.

If you are even thinking about writing- LEARN YOUR CRAFT! I’m begging you. There is a lot more than sitting down and dumping words like a blog. Believe me, I’ve inflicted my family with a lot of garbage before I started attending writers conferences. I better get back to figuring out how to save the cat….

Stormy Day

I suppose there are those that are happy all the time. But I haven’t met one yet. Even those that are always happy when they are with others still have their rough days at home. The more I get to know people the more I realize how similar we all are- good days and bad days.

Many people wish I only had good days and good news. They don’t want to hear the bad. I learn pretty quick who actually wants to know how I’m doing and who just wants bland platitudes.

I wish the painting I did above could truly capture the feeling I wanted to capture. I’m just not a good enough artist for that. The storminess all around, the light and darkness mixed together, the loneliness of the moment.

I’ve felt that way. I walked to the edge of the earth and out onto the stormy sea. Where do I go from here? Do I want to go out on rough waters? How dark will it get before the sun shines again? Will God expect me to jump into the frigid waters or will he send a boat? Does He just want me to simply wait?

Many old hurts boiled to the surface today. It is frustrating that as hard as I’ve worked to forgive and move on that some things are still difficult. I’ve healed much harder issues but sometimes its the little things that cut deep we don’t get around to dealing with.

Strangers might say something stupid, I’ve certainly heard my share, but I can chalk it up to the fact that they don’t know me. It is those that know me and hurt me that fester. Especially if I can’t talk about it and resolve it.

So many of the things today that came up were completely unexpected. It’s like standing there contemplating the lake and a fish jumping up and slapping me in the face. All I could think was, really? Where did that come from?

But if there is anything I learned from my issues with chronic depression is that the tunnel of darkness might be long, but there is always light eventually. I don’t have the long tunnels I used to have due to my medications and for that I am grateful. I know that if tomorrow doesn’t look better, the day after probably will. And God is with me through it all. There may be no one else who truly understands (though my husband gets pretty darn close!) but God always understands- even better than I can. I am so grateful to know that He is there.

My Knight

Chad made some yummy french toast for breakfast which I topped with some homemade jam and whipped cream. Delicious!!!

The poor guy has been seen sporting these heavy headphones more and more. They block enough of the sounds he can survive. I love our two youngest but they sure are noisy!!! It doesn’t help that Mom routinely yells to talk to people since she can’t move to have a normal conversation.

Chad just wants some peace and quiet. Not around here! Sometimes when he needs a nap he’ll throw those babies on and sleep with them. He’s found a way to adapt, but he doesn’t seem too happy, does he? Of course, it probably has something to do with the fact he’s sick and his head hurts.

This man has been amazing. He’s in a house full of people who need help and have problems. He rarely complains. He does everything he can to help me and loves me more than I could have ever imagined anyone ever would.

This picture might not look like a knight in shining armor or a prince in a fairy tale, but it is. It is all that and more. Don’t be fooled with the pictures of “perfection” the media will sell you. Look for someone who loves you and will put up with all the crap life has to offer just to be with you.

If you married the guy you thought was like this but it turns out he’s selfish and boring don’t forget that marriages have to marinate, people need time to grow, and the love I have didn’t just fall out of the sky. We had to work at it. So get to work and be patient!

Itty, Bitty Christmas

I was sick today so I pulled out a puzzle. What I want to know is, what’s up with this tiny picture??? You used to get puzzles in nice big boxes with the full picture on the front. Now they save shipping space by cramming the pieces into a tiny box with a partial picture and then they decide you might want a teeny little picture to get the basic idea of the puzzle.

On an unrelated note, for the past couple months I finally reverted from dreams where I walk around like normal to dreaming in my wheelchair. It’s a dream, can’t I suspend reality???

Be Inspiring

This is the logo on one of my favorite shirts. For years I’ve been seeing the push to “Be Inspired”. While that is good, it’s also a more selfish view. It looks outside for someone to inspire you.

I think God expects us to be the one inspiring others. It takes on an aspect of service. It’s no longer what I can get but what can I give to help others. We all have something to give. We can all inspire others.

One day when I was struggling to take care of my three little children and still pretending I didn’t have depression a woman from my ward showed up with a full meal from Honey Baked Ham company. There was no reason for it other than she just remembered what it was like to have so many little kids and wanted to surprise me with a meal. She didn’t know it had been a particularly hard day. But God knew. It helped me to learn to pay more attention to the spirit.

Sometimes I feel lonely because everyone in Relief Society is sitting together but I’m stuck on the sidelines where my wheelchair will fit. When someone joins me it makes a difference to my day.

It doesn’t have to be big. Just find some way you can serve someone else or love someone else so you can Be Inspiring.