Thursday, August 29, 2013


This morning, I was watching the Piano.  I started it last night, but I have a fairly strict bedtime, and I needed to get some sleep.  I finished watching, the music still hauntingly playing in my ears. 

In the Piano, the main character, Ada, has a gift for playing the piano.  The music seems to stream directly from her soul.  She plays as if all her emotions will spill out onto the keys and then flow back into her.  She uses the piano to communicate, since she is mute.  Playing is not a choicer for her: it's a drive, a necessity, a way of life.

I believe each and every one of us has a gift of some sort. My gift is writing.  Having a gift and using a gift are two different things.  I've been writing my whole life, since I was 7 years old, and yet I wasted so many years not doing it, afraid of what others would think, starting and stopping and never finishing anything.  Some people deliberately choose not to use their gift.  I don't have that choice.  When I have an idea, I have to type it out.  I have a pressing drive to do it, just like Ada, even though I fought that drive for many years. 

My eldest son is a gymnast.  He is talented.  His coach says he has a gift, but he still has to work at it and it's still a challenge.  Writing is a challenge for me, every day too.  Putting the words on paper, making the dialogue seem real, and hopefully, one day, being able to publish something that the rest of the world wants to read!  The talent I have has to be nurtured, improved upon, and most importantly not wasted. 

What talent is hidden inside of you?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thoughts on Writing

The writing bug has hit me full force again.  It's taking over my life.  Writing, for me, ebbs and flows: just like a marriage. You can have a great idea, then delve into it, and begin to wonder why you thought it was such a great idea after all.  Then, you can go months and months without having an idea at all, and you wake up one morning chock full of ideas. 

For me, waking up with lots of ideas means I end up working on several ideas simultaneously.  Right now, I'm writing somewhat of an heartbreaking story, simultaneously with the two stories I started right after I finished my novel draft.  I was thinking last night, after having a busy day and not writing at all, that I'd left my main character in such a bad place.  I almost felt sorry for a fictional character.  I'm hoping that me feeling that way means my character will feel real, three dimensional, and alive to other people.  They will read about him and feel sorry for him, for where he is and for what he's been through.  He is a nine year old boy and life is not so easy for him at this point.  But as in all novels, there will be a climax and then there will be a point where things get better for him.  Unfortunately leaving him drifting in and out of consciousness for a whole day, made me feel somewhat guilty, but that guilt gives me the drive to write again today.  That guilt allows me to put 2,000 or 3,000 words on the screen each day, to try to give the character a little peace, to move him away from the bad times, and into the light.

This is how a parent feels for a child, something wonderful she and another person created, from themselves.  Even though my kids would love to give credit to GOD for their arrival, the truth is they were once a seed inside of me and grew for nine months, for me to push them out into this great, beautiful but scary world and help mold them into productive human beings.  Writing is much the same way.  It's a labor of love.  It's a need for me.  I need to go back today, and move William out of the bad place. I need for him to see that there's hope on the other side, and he needs for me to finish the story so he can exist as more than just a blurb on a page; so he can exist in other peoples' minds, and they can hear his story.  They can possibly relate to his situation, and see parts of themselves in the story: good and bad.  Writing ties people together with a somewhat common consciousness, a desire to be known and heard and understood.  A good writer can do that, illicit ideas and thoughts that stick in your mind for a lifetime and make you never forget.  That's what I'm striving to be. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sleep Begets Sleep

Some people don't need much sleep--I'm not one of them.  I love my sleep. I like to curl up in bed and wrap a blanket around me like a mummy. I love feeling the wave of tiredness take over, and I love to dream.  Sleep is a time for you to refresh your mind, sort through the events of the day, and let your body and your brain reset for the next day.  Think about it as putting yourself on the charger, just like your iPhone. 

Vampire Chicken Princess Darling Daughter doesn't need much sleep.  She almost never goes to sleep until 9:30 PM.  She will wake up in the middle of the night and come down to my bed to cuddle with me, or rather to throw her arms and legs on my head, kick me and sleep as close as possible to me as she can on our king size bed.  I don't know why, but her little body just doesn't seem to need the 12 hours of sleep most kids her age need. 

I had all intentions of going for a run this morning, but Vampire Chicken Princess was in bed with me, and when I woke up to "It's Time," playing as loudly as it could on my iPhone, and stealthily put my foot onto the floor, she sat up like a Jack-n-the-Box and said, "Mommy, where are you going?"

I knew there was no hope then.  She was up.  When she wakes up there is no going back.  She will not quietly close her eyes and go back to sleep.  She will follow me out of bed, into the living room, and then my day as a Mommy begins. 

Sweet kid.  I just wish sometimes she liked sleep as much as I do. 

Sleep begets sleep, but not in Darling Daughter's case.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Time to Organize!

I'm trying to organize my life.  I think I have an organization disorder.  I can keep my desk cleaned off.  I am fairly organized there.  At home, it's another story.  I'm a pack rat, but not a hoarder.  I sell things and give things away, but I also keep too many scraps of paper.  I have too many books, and they cover the bookshelves along with a nice little layer of dust.  I really need a maid, but having to pick up for a maid is just not in my schedule.  Paying a maid is not in my budget.  Sometimes I wish Hubby and I had a third person in our family: a wife, to do all the things we don't want to do or don't have the time to do!

I finally did chore charts for the kids.  I titled it "Duties," so the boys of course love to joke about doody.  "I'm doing my doodies, Mom!"  Great.  Boys are potty mouthed their whole life.  It just never goes away!!!  (I'm one to talk, I know.)

I can't take credit for this idea.  On a recent trip to visit my sister, I saw a similar chart at her friends' house.  I made a mental note and then created a spreadsheet the next week.  Here is Son Number One's (I have them for all the kids):

Not only does this help organize their life (and mine), but it creates independence.  Eventually, they won't have to look at the chart to know their duty of putting their school uniform in their cubby, or brushing their teeth (I hope that one comes soon!).  Plus it encourages the kids to be kind to each other and to help.

Each kid has specific chores, but if they help the other or do other chores around the house, they still get a "check" for the specific chore I put on their chart.  We want to encourage helping out, and honestly it doesn't matter what they're helping with as long as they are.

My kids thrive on routine, since they have been in daycare virtually since the day they were born.  They love the chart, and they love getting check marks on their chart.

Weekly Rewards Include:

  • Allowance for kids, depending on number of check marks they've received.
  • Staying up 15 minutes late -- weekend only
  • Playing 15 minutes of an Electronic during the weekday -- only if homework is completed and it's not bedtime
  • Treasure Box Rewards (earned from 5 or more bonus points throughout the week): Dollar Tree items, Go someplace with Mommy or Daddy alone, Pick out a $1.00 toy at the store, special treat.
So far it's working for us! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Learn to Be Still

My post today is inspired by the Eagles' song, Learn to Be Still.  I was reading an insanely hilarious book, Nature Girl by Carl Hiassen.  I love Hiassen: he's a hoot. 

The book mentioned the song, and I had to look it up. I have this habit of looking up everything I don't know, mainly because when I was a kid and I'd ask my parents they'd always say, "LOOK IT UP, LAUREN!"  Back then, I'd have to go scan the big brown Encyclopedia Britannicas that adorned our shelf on Rolling Road.  Now, I only have to hop on the Internet and log it into Google to find out what it's all about.  I love the Internets!

I love the lyrics to this song though.  I know my Hubby is reading this and shaking his head.  He absolutely hates the Eagles.  How anyone can hate the Eagles is beyond me, and this song just rings so true in my life and probably in so many others.

Here are a few snippets from the song:

You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will-

Happiness is a state of mind, and it can only be achieved if you start trusting and believing in yourself.  For a long time, I was running from something or maybe trying to run to something.  I was trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that I had set for myself.  I looked at my life, and I was not happy.  I finally did something about it though, but it was so hard.  I felt like I was digging myself out of a pit made of slick granite walls with only a spoon.  Finding happiness is about setting goals, seeing how much you do achieve every day of your life, and finding contentment in the little things and the people who fill up your life.  Happiness is learning how to be content with what you have and who you are, and allowing yourself to realize no one is perfect and no one has everything.  In order to achieve happiness, you have to stop WANTING so much.  You have to set realistic expectations for your life and stop living in a fantasy world and own up to your life, as it is. 

In one part of the song, Don Henley croons:

Now the flowers in your garden
They don't smell so sweet
Maybe you've forgotten
The heaven lying at your feet

How many of us go through life not realizing what we have?  How many of us walk through the day and see something spectacular like a sunrise over the horizon, or a rainbow after the rain, or a little purple violet sticking out of pine straw in the ground, and just walk on ignoring it, absorbed with every day thoughts and fears, trying to make ourselves happy without seeing the point of it all, without taking in the beauty that surrounds us every day? 

How do I get out of here
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin'
It's waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will-
Learn to be still
Learn to be still

So many people run from one problem to another.  I know I'm guilty of it.  When things get tough, I think human nature makes us want to move on.  Abandon your problems, and the hole where they once lay will be filled by more. 

The way to be happy: face your demons, be honest to those you love, enjoy your children and laugh with them, set goals so you can feel you've achieved something every single day of your life, and stop to watch the moon rise over the horizon, filling up the sky as a glowing orb signaling the end of one day and the beginning of a new day filled with hopes for the future.

Learn To Be Still by siouxnavajo

*Song: Learn to Be Still by the Eagles, written by Don Henley and Stanley Lynch.  Lyrics found on:

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