Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Enjoy the Moment

I woke up this morning with serious intentions of writing.  Last night, Darling Daughter crept into our bed.  Despite complaints, I love to feel her warm baby-arms reach around me and hug me.  I love to feel her breath on me, when she's not hacking up a lung.  Last night, she slept soundly and so did I.  But when I tried to "creep" out of the bed at 5:30 she awoke crying. 

I read last night, perfectly timely this blog.  Wow. I cried, and I related, and I realized how much our world is stuck to our phones, our electronics, and how much we push each other away because we're too distracted with our own little lives.  So this morning, I decided instead of reacting with anger I'd react with love.  I wrapped my arms around her, and I squeezed her.  I told her I loved her.  She asked to watch a movie, and I let her.  She gave me my space, because I gave her a little bit of love and comforting and that was all she needed.  If I had blown up on her or yelled, "Go back to bed," as I've done so many mornings she would have started crying and probably tantruming and both of us would have been unhappy!

It's hard to be mad at this sweet face anyway:

This is the second blog I've read in a matter of weeks about letting go.  We all live distracted, busy lives, and sometimes we forget the people who are most important: our family and friends.  Make time today to tell someone how much you care about them.  Make time to put down your phone, look your child in the eye, and say, "I love you." Spend one on one time with the people who matter most without the technological distraction.  They will appreciate it, and they'll remember you were there for them. 
In the end, human connection is what it's all really about.  No one is going to remember you had the latest electronic.  Our phones will die and when that happens will you be able to look back at your memories and see how much time you spent with your children?  Or will you look back and think about how much you missed, because you over-scheduled yourself, or you were just too addicted to that little piece of technology in your hand.  A phone doesn't need love and nurturing to grow, but kids, family and friendships do. 
Enjoy the Moment. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Update: Finding a Way Back to Goal

It’s been awhile since I blogged.  I type that after every blog break, so now that we have that out of the way….

Yes, I’m still bald, although I have grown some baby hairs on my head.  My Dad has some crazy medical term for them, which he throws around like everyone will remember and know what he’s talking about.  I can’t remember that term, so I just call them “baby hairs.” 

I quit Taekwondo.  I needed a break.  I’ve started taking Zumba, and it’s funny, because I thought I’d really miss Taekwondo but I don’t.  I do miss seeing my Taekwondo friends, but I don't really miss the actual art of TKD.  I guess it served its purpose for me at a certain time in my life and now it’s time to move on to something new and exciting!  In retrospect, Taekwondo did get me out of the house a lot and it kept me exercising.  Without it, I have to be a lot more self motivated. 
Sometimes I can motivate myself almost to the moon and other times I’m just so lazy.  I really like to be lazy, until I start feeling guilty about how lazy I am, and I start wondering if I’ll die of one of those medical terms my dad and sister are always throwing around because I just can’t get off my ass and I just have to watch one more episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” starring an old high school acquaintance of mine: Glenn Howerton. You know, medical terms like cardiac Infraction, thrombosis or sepsis.  Although, I don’t think you can get sepsis just from being lazy and overweight, unless you’re too lazy to go to the doctor or something. 

So now that I have all this time you’d think I’d be productive or something.  One day I did clean the whole house.  The downstairs has actually stayed mostly clean, due to my husband’s daily efforts.  I’ve noticed I clean when I get disgusted with myself or the way things look, but I’m not good at the everyday cleaning.  I’m good at the OCD, OMG, “this better be absolutely clean, and now I have to spend eight hours doing it, because if I’m going to do it then it better be perfect” type cleaning.  Then afterwards, it makes me unhappy and the rest of the family, because I freak when people don’t put things back where they belong, and I start to remind myself of my mother (she’s an absolutely wonderful human being, btw, but she’s an obsessive cleaner, and I don’t want to be one!!!). 

I should be editing or writing, or something along those lines but instead I’ve been to Zumba a handful of times, started, painfully slowly I might add, trying to run again, and watched too much Netflix.  I haven’t even read a book.  Maybe it’s the winter funk, or maybe everyone just needs a break now and then, but I’d like to find my way back to a goal…AND SOON. 

I did send a little essay off to The Ladies’ Home Journal on “The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made.”  The Ladies’ Home Journal seems so reminiscent of the 1950s, doesn’t it?  You can just imagine all the ladies sitting around exchanging recipes with their beehive hair-dos and their Tupperware parties.  Good times.  I didn’t follow the rules on my first entry, and even though it said “only one entry per person,” I resubmitted the entry again with the correct double spacing and identification information.  What can I say?  I’m a rule breaker, or maybe I’m just not so good at following directions.

I still hope to e-publish my novel on Amazon.  My brother has been super busy with his own life, so he hasn’t been able to finish the cover art.  Once it’s done, I’ll e-publish.  In the meantime, I need to get back to writing some more.  I finished the second novel, but I haven’t edited any of it.  It’s been hard for me to think about going back and reading it, as it was not a happy book.  I have two other novels in the work, but I feel blah about them, and I’m not sure why. 

I’m happy with my life, but I want to accomplish more, and I just have to find a sustainable way to do that.  I need to figure out how to go about publishing my work, gaining publicity, and getting to a point where I can write for the rest of my life and make a living off of it, plus be happy doing it!  I know these things take time, and I guess I’m just impatient.  I only JUST started writing again, and a lot of writing is about practice and making your writing better by simply doing it every single day.  My characters need more depth, more feeling, and my settings need more description without being wordy.  These are all things I stay up and ponder about, because I think about every single aspect of my life.  I worry about things, and I question myself, and I question my decisions.  I would love to be a risk taker and just throw myself out there and be confident that I’ll succeed.  That’s what it takes.  It’s just getting there.  


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Writing's Role in My Life

I was a writing machine for two weeks.  I finished my second novel.  I need to re-work the ending a bit, but otherwise I think it's pretty good.  Time to send it out and have friends and family edit it for me.  The subject matter is tough, and as such it is not a commercial book.  Literary fiction is not commercial.  Chick lit, like my first novel, or women's fiction, or whatever you want to call it: that's what sells.

I was thinking about women's fiction yesterday, and I thought about how we're all just inherently hopeless romantics. We're all looking for a knight on a white horse: something that doesn't exist in real life.  We all put unrealistic expectations on the people in our lives, mostly out of our own expectations for ourselves and how we expect our life to look. 

I'm currently addicted to the Pink song featuring Nate Reuss (from Fun) called Just Give Me a Reason.  I was thinking about this song, as I listened to it over and over again, and Pink's voice is so heartbreaking.  Relationships are hard.  They make great fodder for television, music and books, because they are such a big part of our life, and because everyone can relate to a failing relationship, a wonderful relationship, and the oh so unrealistic romantic notion of the TV/movie relationship. 

My first novel touches on relationships, mostly with bits and pieces from my own real-life experiences.  I used the idea of unrequited love, because I struggled with this for years in my own life.  As an author, I use my novels to work through struggles I'm having or for concepts I can't grasp.  I use my characters as pawns to work through the problems, or the thoughts that continually go around and around in my head.  Sometimes I finish a work, like Semi-Detached, and I feel completely done with it--time to move on.  Sometimes I finish a work, like my second novel, The Devil Within, and it keeps haunting me.  I think of the unfinished business in the book--I want to go back and tie up all the pieces, make it complete and be able to walk away, but it just doesn't work out that way--very much like a failed relationship without closure. 

I had to step away from the Devil Within, because the subject matter was painful.  The idea of a nine year old being subjected to horrific abuse with a father who spouts it off as the will of God horrified me.  Even in the end, the boy grows up "unsaved."  I've struggled with religion my whole life.  I've struggled with relationships.  I'm one of those people who questions everything, and I seemingly find no answers, except through my writing, and sometimes the answer is unjust, like real life, where things are seldom fair.  I just have to keep on searching, like all the other people in this world who are thrown here together to make an impression and then move on.  That's just life.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I'll Never Do a Pull-Up

My whole body aches this morning.  My arms feel like they were set on fire.  My shoulder blades don't want to move without eliciting a searing pain down my back.  I think Mr. Johnson and Mr. Jones at Taekwondo were intent on wearing out our arms this week. I hate push-ups, because after two and a half years of taking Taekwondo, I can still pretty much only do them from my knees.  Another thing I learned this week: I can't for the life of me do a pull-up.  I tried this week, and I failed miserably.  I even had a chair to stand on to get me started.  I put my hands on the pull-up bar, and I dropped, trying to pull myself up, then just felt my body sinking until I hit the ground.  

This little defeat reminded me, oh so much, of the days of the Presidential Fitness Award.  It reminded me of dressing out at gym in my navy Shorts and white MA tee-shirt (GO NAVY!!!), and standing in the weight room looking at that pull-up bar with distress.  While the boys could do any number of pull-ups (seemingly), I couldn't even pull myself up, and in those days I weighed like 90 pounds or less!  Some things never change (my inability to do a pull-up.  I will never see 90 lbs again)! 

I probably for the life of me will never be able to do a pull-up, but I look at my arms from all the exercise I've been doing and they're getting in shape.  They look about a gazillion times better now than they did back in 2011 before I started taking Taekwondo. 

I was thinking last night, while procrastinating, about how as human beings we always want more and we always want better.  We're never satisfied with what we have.  I don't know if this is true of all humans--probably not--but certainly Americans have this mentality.  I was thinking about how I look at my body, and I see little pouches of fat, and I see all the imperfections written on me, some of them go along with a story, an injury or a birth of a child.  I was focusing on the imperfections, instead of seeing what I've achieved.  I'm a second level brown belt.  I've been exercising consistently for two years.  Yeah, I might not have a perfect body, but I have a healthy body and that should be what's important.  I might look at the models and the actresses in the magazines or on television, and wish I could be like them.  I want more than I can have.  These actresses/models have personal trainers for about eight hours a day.  They either don't eat or they eat a diet prepared by a chef in their glorious mansions.  They certainly are not sitting on their A$$ for eight hours at work, and they certainly aren't sitting at a computer in all their free time trying to write a book.  The ones who do write probably dictate that as they run to some lowly assistant who then has to type it out for them and gets absolutely no credit.  Yeah--you know what I'm talking about.

I'm one of those people who was born into a "wanting" more mentality, and I'm not sure why.  Maybe my imagination takes me to places I shouldn't go, or maybe I have an unrealistic expectation of how to succeed.  But I'm trying to be happy with what I have.  I'm trying to look at my life, my body, my writing, and tell myself I have what I NEED.  Because I do.  Right now, I have everything I need.  I'm healthy and fit.  I have wonderful children.  I have a drive that will hopefully one day let me become a successful author.   This is all I need.  Who would want more?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Drive and Determination

Yesterday was a wash.  I was so busy.  Hubby and I were running around everywhere with the three kids.  Number Two had his first soccer game, which was rained out, but then the other team showed up late, and they agreed to play.  Here he is as goalie:

There are a couple of kids on his team who really know how to play, which is surprising because they are five and six years old.  He has this little girl on his team who shows the same sort of determination that Number One shows in gymnastics.  Oh to be that young and have drive--amazing!

And speaking of drive, I've had this incredible drive to write lately.  If I could, I'd lock myself in a room and write and write and write.  It's funny how it hits you. I've never had writer's block, but I go through periods where I don't write.  Right now I'm the opposite: I can't imagine not writing.  I almost feel like I'm in another world when I write.  Music playing loudly, and I can just type and type, watching my characters take shape and seeing where they take me.  Because after all, where the story goes is their decision and not mine: or so it seems. 

Today, I'm going to write 5,000 words or so.  That's my goal.  I also want to go for a run tonight, if my stomach starts feeling better (too much rich food at Bonefish with a friend last night).  I need to be able to have the same determination I feel when I'm writing in all aspects of my life, but let's face it humans just don't operate that way. 

I look at my kids, and I see they do best at the one thing they LOVE the most.  Isn't this the way of the world?  Life is too short not to do the things you love. 

Determination and goal setting always takes you where you want to go. 
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Be Kind

Today was a long day to add to my last few long weeks.  I've been delving into my writing, escaping reality in so many ways, and creating reality in others.  I've been goal oriented and driven, but I've also been dealing with some tough facts about people I care about.  One of my friends received some bad news, and it has just thrown me for a loop.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, and sometimes I have trouble sifting through my emotions as they crop up. 

Today I had to work late. I decided to go to Costco afterwards, get gas, and buy the flat of water that I have to provide to Number One's gym for the Girl's Meet this weekend.  When you have three kids, it's always something.  Turning out of the shopping center, instead of accelerating my car started decelerating.  Now this has happened to me before.  I apparently have the magic touch for making car problems appear.  This particular car is my old Camry.  I've had it since 2000.  Yes, that makes the car 13 years old.  It has ALMOST 200,000 miles on it.  I love my Camry, but it may be time for it to retire soon.  My Camry has been through so much with me, and it almost feels like it is a part of my family.  I digress.  So anyway, luckily I realized the Camry was about to stop, and I was able to pull over onto the right side of the road. 

I called Hubby.  He answered, and we talked as the kids screamed in the background.  He said he'd get them in the car and come help me.  I sat there, hazards on, windows rolled down on the side of the road.  I don't know how many people passed me in the 20 minutes I sat there, but it was a lot, as I was stopped on the side of a busy road.  Not ONE person stopped to help me.  Not one!  I mean if someone had stopped, I would have told them to go on because my husband was coming, but it's the thought that counts, right.  Practice random kindness, and it will come back to you.  You never EVER know what the person next door is going through, and one act of kindness could change their life in ways you never imagined.

Maybe it's because I'm in a funk, and "bad things" keep happening to good people around me.  Maybe it's because I EXPECT too much from the fellow human beings in my life, but if I saw a woman stranded on the side of the road, then I think I would stop to help.  Remember when I did 26 things in remembrance of the victims of the Newtown shooting?  If everyone just gave a little bit of themselves to help other people every day, then the world would be a better place. 

I know that if just one person stopped today, it would probably have lifted my mood. 

Maybe something good will happen tomorrow that will give me a renewed faith in humanity. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Since school started, I've commented how there is so little time in the day.  People ask me all the time where I find time to write.  How do you find time to work, to exercise, to be a Mom and to write?  Let me ask you this: how do you find time to breath?  Writing for me is almost like breathing.  I feel best when I'm writing.  Take it as a form of therapy, or a way to work through some problem I'm having, or just a way to escape from the harsh reality of the world sometimes.  When I'm writing I feel the most well adjusted.  I feel whole.

I read Stephen King's, "On Writing," and he was discussing people who only had one book published or only EVER wrote one book, and he made some flippant comment like, "What were they doing with all their time?  Knitting socks?"  When you're a writer you're driven to write.  You're motivated to do it, because it's what you like doing best.  You write because you HAVE to write. When I watch Number One on the P-bars or the rings and I see how he sometimes reluctantly leaves the floor if he hasn't perfected the skill, I understand, because that's how I feel about writing.  Determined to make it perfect.  Determined not to give up.  Determined to succeed. 

So how do I find the time?  I make the time.  I wake up super early: 5:00-5:30, depending on whether I've hit the snooze button.  I check Facebook, and I usually lose a few games of Candy Crush, the world's biggest time suck, then I pour my second cup of coffee and I edit or write.  I research ideas, or I simply put my fingers to the keyboard and type to my heart's content.  I'm usually a little miserable when the alarm on my phone goes off reminding me I have a real job and that's it time to get ready for the day.

At night, I do the same thing again.  I use all the minutes of the day to do the thing I'm most driven to do: write.  It's my passion, and I can feel the determination pouring from me, and it's a lot better use of my time than playing Candy Crush, or surfing Facebook, or watching cheesy movies and shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  (Although I do admit that I do those things--everyone needs a break from work every once in awhile, even if it's work you love). 

In order to succeed you have to work hard.  You have time if you look for it, even if it's twenty minutes a day to do the thing you love the best or the thing you must need to do for yourself: Just do it.  Stop making excuses, go for it and live your dreams.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12th Anniversary of 9-11-01: We'll Always Remember

Today is 9-11.  It has been 12 years.  Seems so long ago, but I remember it like yesterday.  I was living in Washington D.C. at the time, and was at work checking out the new on Washington Post's web page, when I saw the picture of the first plane going into the Twin Towers. 

I remember telling a co-worker, and she turned on the news on the analog TV in her office.  We all watched in horror as the second plane went into the building.  We watched in horror as people jumped to their death, instead of succumbing to smoke inhalation.  And we watched as the towers began to collapse, aware of all the lives inside that were ending.

I went back to my desk, shaken by what I had seen.  We were deciding what to do.  I worked for a small credit union, but we were in a government building, and it was clear at this point it was a terrorist attack. 

My Mom called, "Lauren, they've hit the Pentagon!  You need to get out of there.  We are under attack."

"Mom, I'm at work."

"Go home.  Lock your doors.  Don't go anywhere.  Move back to Alabama." (I took her advice on this, albeit years later--the moving part that is).

About this time the CEO decided we would close, and he sent us all home.  Hubby, who wasn't hubby then, had my car so I went home with my friend Kristin and waited for him to pick me up. 

Driving into D.C., the streets were deserted.  Strange to see a place so normally bustling,  completely empty.  We turned towards our house and a tank came rambling towards us.  There were soldiers on the street, like we now lived in a war zone.

In the days that passed, the U.S. came together.  Everyone put up flags.  We vowed never to forget.  We vowed to be ONE nation together and put aside our differences for the sake of common good.  We'll never forget the horrific attack on our nation and the lives lost.  I'll never forget this gaping hole I saw in the Pentagon every time I passed it on the interstate:

The fight against terrorism is never done.  Terrorists at home and terrorists in other countries, but we can do something to combat this evil.  We can use all diplomacy measures we have available, instead of rushing off to war like we're the world's policemen.  We can let the UN lead efforts to help in places like Syria, and take our lead from their suggestions, instead of the other way around.  I was happy to read, an hour ago that Obama wants to try his hand at diplomacy in Syria again.  After all, what's the point in getting involved in another country's Civil War?  And won't this bring more terrorists knocking on our front door? 
Just some thoughts on this 12th Anniversary of 9-11.  

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Who Needs Hair Anyway?

Alopecia areata is a funny little condition.  Being a bald woman elicits stares, questions, and concern for my health.  Overall there is nothing wrong with me health-wise.  My immune system, due to some trigger or some stress, just decided to attack my hair follicles, and now I'm bald.

These are the recent comments my family has received due to my baldness:

Hubby is at the grocery store with all the kids.  The cashier, full of concern says, "And how is your wife feeling? Is she doing OK?"

Hubby just says, "Yeah, she's great!  Thanks for asking." 

I was out of town recently, and my parents took the kids fishing.  There were two little kids there to play with the boys.

Number Two looks at the eight year old boy and says, "My Mommy is bald, did you know that?  My Mommy is bald!"

The 8 year old looks at Number Two with a scoff and says, "I'm not listening to a word you say."

Mostly my kids love the "awe" factor of having a mother without hair. 

Number One had a friend over, and I walked in wearing my baseball cap after a workout.  Number One says to me, "Mommy, take off your hat and show Max you're bald!" 

Nice way to put me on the spot, kid.

I don't mind being bald.  In so many ways it's easier than having hair.  My hair is only washed once a week, and then hung to dry.  It takes no time to get ready in the morning, because all I have to do is put the hair on and not waste any time on styling.  And on hot days, it's easy to make myself cooler by simply taking off my hair. 

The one thing I do miss is eyebrows.  I've been toying with the idea of having them tattooed on my face.  Not sure if I want to commit to that, and I haven't even started looking into prices yet.  But eyebrows round out your face.  They give a visual clue showing people where your face ends and your skull begins.  Without it, I sort of look alien! 

I hope perception of alopecia is changing. I hope people are becoming more aware of this condition, as it currently affects about 2% of the world's population.  In recent years, more research has been done and more attempts to spread the word about alopecia.  Because of its nature as a benign condition, funding is short and therefore a cure is still in the works.

Recently I've been reading Libra by Don DeLillo.  He describes David Ferrie, who was alleged to have been involved in the assassination of JFK.  Ferrie suffered from alopecia areata, as an adult. 

DeLillo states, "Ferrie suffered from a rare and horrific condition that had no cure.  His body was one hundred percent bald.  It looked like something pulled from the earth, a tuberous stem or fungus esteemed by gourmets." 

This description of someone with alopecia made me wince.  I almost want to write DeLillo and ask him why he chose to describe it this way.  Is it to make Ferrie out as a bad guy, some mutant?  I'm not far enough into the book yet to answer that question, but as a sufferer of alopecia I feel his description is harsh.

I'm pretty sure I don't look like some "tuberous stem," pulled from the ground.  I've accepted my
baldness, but still suffer when others feel the need to lower the self-esteem of people just because they're different.  And, I realize it's just a paragraph in a book, and I'm sensitive to it because I've suffered from this condition since I was a child, but I feel like his usage of words makes it seem like alopecia is akin to leprosy or something. 

I'll have to think longer about the eyebrows.  Would adding eyebrows to my face add or detract from the fact that I have no hair.  Do I even need them, or do I just want them because I haven't entirely accepted and become okay with the fact that I look different from everyone else?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Driven to Succeed

Every Friday night, like clockwork, I say this to Hubby:  Tomorrow I'm sleeping late.  You can wake up with the kids.

Every Saturday night, like clockwork, my biological clock wakes me up at 5:00 AM.  Seriously!  Can't I sleep later?

I did sleep like a log last night though.  I slept upstairs in the guest bedroom, because Darling Daughter wouldn't stay in her bed.  I had the fan going full blast in the small space, and I wrapped the blanket around my entire body as I love to do.  I fell asleep, and I didn't wake up once...until 5:00 AM.

That's okay though.  I have big plans for today, and I think it's always easier to execute your plans when you get an early start.  I'm so much more productive in the morning than any other part of the day.  By the afternoon, I'm a lazy lump on the log, and I usually have to force myself to go anywhere.  I'd rather be parked in our La-Z Boy, reading a book, or writing.

I'm going to use this extra time today to continue formatting my book.  This is actually a great practice in allowing me to fully edit the draft again.  It would have been nice to have the foresight to put chapter headings in the manuscript while I was writing, and who knows why I didn't, but I have learned from my mistake. 

Yesterday I finally created an author Facebook page.  Check it out at, and make sure to click the like button!  I thought this would be a great place to promote my blog, as well as my book--when it actually exist. 

I'm driving full speed towards e-publishing now, because it just seems like it's the place to go if you want to get your name out there at all.  Dead tree books, as some people like to call them, are becoming more obsolete, so online seems the way to go. 

There are some pros and cons to e-publishing.

Pro: Your name gets out into the writing world, well at least a little bit.  On my Query letters to "real agents," I can now saw I'm e-published.  I did it myself, well who cares, there's a finished product the agent can read to get a taste of whether or not she/he would like to take me on as a client.  She can also glance at the number of reviews and downloads to see how successful I've been. 

Con:  You're competing with so many other authors and also with a lot of junk.  Anyone can get e-published.  It seriously is as simple as pushing a button.  The key is making your book stand out in some way.  I'm doing this by having my talented artist of a brother do my cover.  I know he'll do a great job, and I'm hoping he will get some publicity from it too. 

Pro: Reviews.  E-Books are reviewed.  Now, I know not everyone reading my book will review it on Amazon when they download it, but hopefully most of my "friends" will.  Reviews help increase sales (if they're good).  They also show an author what he/she may be doing wrong or need to work on. 

Con: Marketing and advertising is all done by ME.  I have a full time job, a mom of 3, and I have to exercise and continue to write.  All of this before a 9:30 bedtime seems almost impossible, but it is a must if I want to be successful. 

Pro: Published is better than non-published any day.

My goal in life has been to become a published author, and I can make this happen.  So much about life is taking your inertia and pushing it towards a momentum of success.  Many people sit back and they wait for things to come to them.  They can wait all their life and nothing will happen.  In order to be successful, you must have drive, determination, and persistence.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

This File Cannot Be Found

I worked hard yesterday.  I finally started preparing to turn my first piece of completed work into an eBook.  I read about how to format the book.  I even started formatting the book.  I spent a good hour putting in headings, prettying up some language, and continuing to do some minor editing.  Then what happened?  Word crashed, and mysteriously my entire document disappeared!  YES--disappeared!!!  Thank God I have it saved in more than one place and on more than one computer plus a thumb drive, but I felt like I could vomit. I felt like yelling, but screaming at inanimate objects really does little to make you feel better: 

Formatting sucks worse than editing, and I wish I had put chapter headings into the novel when I was writing, but I didn't. Now I get to do it all over again: YIPPEE!!! I just wrote and wrote.  I have learned from this mistake, and I've been putting chapter headings in my current work. 

I just pulled up my document again, and I'm going to start formatting...AGAIN!  I looked all over, My Documents, my SkyDrive, every single place I had saved and the work I had done was nowhere, like it had never been done. POOF, vanished.  How does that even happen?  How does a computer consume your work? 

My computer gives me this cute little message when I try to pull it up from the location where I saved it: This file cannot be found.  Are you sure you didn't delete it or move it?  And of course, it's a rhetorical question, because it's not like you can answer your computer.  And if you did answer your computer, it's like it would be looking back at you and shrug, and say, "Well what am I supposed to do about it?"  So instead, you just have to click the gigantic X on the screen and then stare at the blank white screen and wonder where in the universe all your work went, and wishing you could have done something more productive in that hour of your life than formatting a piece of work that was intended to be swallowed into the great abyss of computer hell. 


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:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Goal Update and STUFF

It's been a week since I posted my goals, and that means I need to check off how I did, and I'll also blog about some seemingly random other stuff.

  • Lose 1 Pound: I kicked this!  I lost 1 lb this week. I would have lost more if I didn't gorge myself on Mexican and chips, but losing weight is all about MODERATION and not DEPRIVATION, as I've tried to beat into your head many times.  I exercised EVERY.SINGLE.DAY this week (except yesterday-yesterday was my rest day).  I'm the type of person who NEEDS exercise.  It makes me happier and healthier, and I have to exercise to lose weight or else that fat just sticks to my bones or something. 

  • Write 500 words: Sadly--I did not make this goal. I edited a little bit, and I started reading up about self publishing.  I spoke to some friends on one of the baby boards I'm on, and I have some good ideas.  I need to stop procrastinating, but I seriously HATE editing.  In the words of Nike: JUST DO IT, Lauren!!!

  • Clean my Room: I feel like a little kid typing that, but the truth is I'm a horrible slob.  Mostly because there are more important things in my life I'd rather be doing (or not so much more important, but things I'd rather do).  I see this mentality in my kids already, so I really need to stop and just push myself to clean up.  I cleaned up HALF the room, so that counts for something.  I just haven't finished cleaning out the Ebay boxes, and now it's time to list again. 

  • Blog: As you can see, I've been blogging again.  That's a no brainer.  I love blogging the morning.  I feel like it gets the wheels turning in my brain and sets me in motion for a productive and successful day.
Other things I've done this week:

  • Taekwondo: Monday-Wednesday night.  I sparred and was punched in the head (quite by accident), but I had a nice little bruise where my eyebrows should be!

  • Ran: I'm slowly building up again.  Today I did a 11 minute 22 second mile.  Then I walked.  The shin doesn't hurt, but sometimes the muscles around it seem tight so I have to back up.  Building up again is hard, but I know I can do.

  • Worked with the Kids on Reading Skills: I've been a little bit worried about Number Two's reading skills.  I signed up for ABC Mouse, and we've been going through the curriculum, and I think his pre-reading skills are okay now.  It's been fun to sit and watch the kids go through the program and talk about it and ask them what sounds certain letters make.  We've really had some good one on one time doing this, and I love that!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Family Dinner

I woke up today thinking about the Family Dinner!  Strange thing to think about a 5:50 AM, when Darling Daughter is curled up tight in her pink blankie beside me like a little roly poly (you should hear her say that word--so sweet!). 
Hubby and I have always made the family dinner important in our home.  My parents did before us, and his too.  Every day, we sit around our kitchen table, and we reconnect, like these people (minus the horse!):

Later British painting by Cotman
           image copyright 2003

Family Dinners are so important.  For one thing: I think my boys would only eat snacks if we didn't actually sit around the table and feed them fruits and vegetables and some sort of protein.  We probably have about 5 family dinners a week, which is a feat, because we're always running in opposite directions.  During the year our schedules go sort of like this: Rise and Shine, Kids to School, Pick Kids up from School or after-school, pick kids up from various after-school programs, run home, eat family dinner that Hubby has so lovingly slaved over, and then run off to our various corners of our house (or for the parents to our various exercise choices!).  This leaves one IMPORTANT time for reconnection: the Family Dinner.
What are the benefits of the family dinner?  I'll tell you:
  • Reconnect with your children: Show them you care.  Ask them about their day.  If you show them there is a special time for them to discuss any problems they are having.  You'll be surprised how they will just open up to you if you LISTEN.

  • Influence their Food Choices: Family Dinner is a time to have your kids TRY different foods.  It's a time to show them how eating healthy is an important part of their life.  This is important today, where so many kids are obese. 

  • Fruits and Veggies: Kids Who Eat Family Dinners aren't eating Junk (unless you're serving junk).  They're more likely to get their daily dose of fruits and veggies.

  • Builds Confidence in Kids: This can turn into greater success at school and in their various relationships throughout life.  The Family Dinner is a time to talk about everything, so kids often LEARN at the table. 

  • Pride and Family Connection: Kids who eat family dinners on a regular basis innately know their parents are proud of them.  We start off our family dinners asking everyone around the table this simple question: What was the best thing that happened to you today?  We follow it up by this:  What was the worst thing that happened to you today?  This allows your child to receive praise and to vent.  These are two things everyone needs!
Our world is so fast-paced.  Everyone is always moving in opposite directions, so to me the most important part of family dinner is RECONNECTION. 

We follow this simple rule for our family dinner: NO ELECTRONICS at the table.  This means no DS, no phone, no TV on, no music on.  Just food and us.  This way no one is distracted, and everyone can focus on eating and being together. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Begin Again

I started running again on Saturday.  I'm taking it slow.  I threw myself full force back into Taekwondo last week, and even with jumping I didn't have pain in my stress fracture.  I know I need to take it easy and build up with the running.

Yesterday I ran 1.01 miles in 10 minutes 22 seconds.  I was trying to achieve between an 11 and 12 minute mile.  I have such problems with pacing, and I wear myself out because of it, and then I want to stop. 

Today, I ran 1.02 miles in 13 minutes 32 seconds.  This was too slow, but I was really having a problem with the humidity today.  I actually walked a mile afterwards, and I walked FASTER than I had run.  I walked 1.04 miles in 12 minutes 51 seconds!  Oh well--it's a process, and I built up before.  I'll do it again!

I feel like running is such mind over matter.  Half the time I'm running, my brain wanders and begins to tell me I can't keep going.  You have to train your brain and your body in order to get into shape, and in order to run.  You have to look at the street in front of you and think to yourself, "a mile is really not that far."  You have to tell yourself that you CAN DO THIS, and most of all you have to just KEEP going.  In the end, it's completely worth it. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Goals for the Week

Here goes!  Re-commitment one step at a time.  The first step is naming my goals.  When I was posting my weekly goals on the blog, and checking them off at the end of the week I had the most success.  Often we as humans tend to abandon our goals when we don't write them down.  Writing them down makes them more permanent, and posting them to a blog for the whole world to see makes them seem achievable. 

Here goes.  My FOUR goals for this week:

  • Lose 1 Pound: Starting off small here.  But I'm well on my way to doing it by tracking my food and by exercising. 

  • Write 500 Words a Day: I'm still editing.  I have found that I HATE editing.  I can edit and WRITE at the same time.  I need to throw myself back into writing, as I've gotten away from it the last few months.  When I don't write I feel unsettled, as if I'm being called back to the computer to type away and throw my thoughts onto the blank Word template. 

  • Clean My Room: My room has been a mess of Ebay clothes for about three months.  They are in boxes, but the boxes are cluttering the whole room.  I NEED to clean them out, so I can then put the Exercise bike in the bedroom and have something to do on rainy days like today!

  • Blog: Blogging helps my mind by preparing me to write.  I need to blog, at least three times a week.  It's such a great stress relief, and it helps my creative juices start to flow.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

In Moderation

It's July 4th, and a wet one at that.  We have been stuck in the house with the kids, and they are going stir crazy, as only little boys know how to do.  In fact, they are walking around the house wearing one of Darling Daughter's tutus, and I'm writing this in hopes that one day their future girlfriend will read this and laugh!  Yes--blackmail is a wonderful thing.

I haven't blogged in some time.  Hubby took me to New Orleans for our TEN year anniversary.  I still can't believe we made it 10 years.  It has been rough, but worth it, and I recommend a trip without kids for any married couple.  We had a wonderful time, and we really reconnected.  We ate a LOT, drank a LOT, danced A LOT, and sweated A LOT!  Excuse the qualities of the photo.  My camera is still broken, so every photo I've taken recently has come from my iPhone.  I miss my camera.

Here we are in front of the St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square in New Orleans.  The weather was beautiful, though HOT.  We enjoyed ourselves so much, and it was a much needed vacation without the kids. 
Okay: moving on.  This post is supposed to be about goals.  I have been neglectful in my goals.  I stepped off the path, and I took a long detour but I'm BACK.  It took me realizing I had gained back 20 pounds of the 50 I lost to realize I need to have goals in my every day life...again.
I came back from New Orleans rejuvenated and ready to make the necessary changes.  Watching your weight and exercising is a lifestyle change, as I have said many times before, and it takes constant adjusting to stay on track and not get waylaid by the taste of chocolate or alcohol!  (Those are my two biggest weaknesses!)
I came back and I went to three Taekwondo classes in a row.  I hopped back onto MyFitnessPal, and I started tracking my food.  I started full throttle back into my lifestyle change, and hopefully this time I will be able to stick with it for LIFE.  The thing about changing your lifestyle is it shouldn't be HARD.  You should still be able to eat what you want, but in limited quantities.  The problem comes in when you try to cut out foods you love COMPLETELY.  That will never work, because as soon as you start eating those things again you'll keep eating more and more of them, thus sabotaging your hard work.
I love MyFitnessPal, because you can literally eat anything as long as you try to stay at your calorie goal or below.  I can still have my chocolate occasionally and my alcohol occasionally, IN MODERATION.  Those two words I have trouble with.  I don't really like doing anything IN MODERATION.  I know this about myself, and it's a battle I fight daily.  I like to eat to excess, I like to laugh to excess, talk to excess, read to excess, drink to excess.  It is one of my many flaws, so I really have to work hard against letting it take over my life and lead me down the wrong path.  Self-worth and self-reliance, reigning in control of our natural tendencies towards self-destruction is one of the many lessons in life--at least I feel that way.
No one is perfect.  Nothing is handed to you.  The key to success in everything, including weight loss, is hard work.  Hark work, will power, motivation, and realizing you don't have to give up everything you love to eat and drink in order to live a healthy life will take you a long way.
Hopping back on the horse right now, and galloping towards my goals.  See you on the other side.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ramblings about Life

I've been slightly missing.  Okay--a little more than slightly.  I went off the lamb, because I had things to do over the last couple of weeks.  Our moths did not make it.  I am thinking this is because I didn't put them in a dark place or put soil in their jars.  They started stinking up the house, and we threw them out.  There is always next time. 

I have been editing and writing like a crazy person.  I'm intent on re-revising my novel.  I'm adding detail, even though I know most people say don't add but take away when you edit.  Still, the previous length put the story more into a novella category than a novel category.  I need to add a few things, change a few things, do a complete re-edit, and then go crazy sending out to agents again.  I'm keeping a list of those I've sent to, so I won't re-send after I have received a rejection.  I'm also thinking about self-publishing, but I don't have a lot of TIME or MONEY to advertise my self-published book.  Sure, I could promote it on Facebook, but most of my friends would get sick of that I'm sure.  I could also become a Goodreads author and try to promote it through there.  We'll see.  I don't "have" to get published, but it sure would be nice. 

Today, I'm trying to get back on track with my diet and exercise.  I haven't run since I realized I had a stress fracture back in April.  I want to run on Sunday, starting slowly with one mile.  Today, I'll do Taekwondo, and I'll just try to stay more active and watch my food intake a little bit more.  I've been "treating" myself too much lately, and it's starting to show in how my clothes fit.  This means I really need to cut back, and adjust my eating behavior.  I know I can do it, but chocolate seems to be calling my name this week!

I snapped a photo this week of Number One with his little sister.  She stuck Hubby's cap backwards on her head, and when I took the photo I was amazed at the resemblance between she and her eldest brother.

I remembered taking a photo of Number One in a hole in the wall restaurant when we lived in Hagerstown.  It was one of our favorite food joints.  Number One was somewhere around 1 or 1.5 years old in the photo, but the resemblance between these two is uncanny.  It never ceases to amaze me how much they look alike.  Excuse the quality of the newer photo: it was taken on my phone since my camera decided to die!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Face to Face Communication in a World of Technology

Yesterday I was playing around on the Internet, like every other day in my life.  I read this great article by Jonathan Safran Foer, he's one of my favorite authors even if his middle name always makes me think of yellow rice (it's Safran not Saffron, but my brain just cannot tell the difference apparently!). 

In the article, How Not to Be Alone, Foer writes about sitting in the park playing on his phone.  He was people watching, but also mindlessly playing with his technology the way we all do.  He sees a young girl, and she is crying.  She is on the phone with her mother, and she keeps saying, "I know, Mama."  Foer wonders, "Do I do the hard thing and break away from my phone and try to comfort her?  This might make her uncomfortable and me uncomfortable, but it is the human thing to do.  Or do I just hide behind my technology and pretend there's not a young girl crying over there?"

Foer makes the point that technology was invented to make us communicate MORE.  Telephones were invented so people could call other people far away.  At some point, however, people began liking the simplicity of the telephone and would rather call then sit face to face, rather leave a message than actually talk to someone, rather text than actually phone.  The communication style became more and more simplistic: taking away tone of voice in the end.

Foer expounds with this acceptance of a "diminished substitute" as the primary communication in our life, over time we'll become diminished substitutes too, capable of feeling little empathy for others, incapable of offering sympathy, as in the case above.

I am one of the biggest culprits of technology overuse.  I can't stand it when someone doesn't know how to use computers.  When someone doesn't have a smartphone, I wonder if they're stuck in the rotary phone age.  I simply don't seem to understand that some people don't NEED WANT these things in their lives. 

I too rely on my phone.  I have it with me almost always.  I check it incessantly sometimes, for what?  The next text that says, "What's up?"  The next Facebook post of somebody's smiling kid (yes, I do love to look at Facebook posts of smiling kids!).  While my phone keeps me "close" to people who are not in my immediate family, it also diverts my attention away from my family.  With a computer screen always open or a phone to always look at, my kids get less and less of my attention, and they begin to think it's acceptable to communicate that way.  Hubby jokes when I misplace my phone, "Oh Lauren.  I'm sorry you lost the love of your life!"  It's funny, but not funny ha ha, more like funny in a sad way. 

Last night, Hubby and I took the kids out to Chappy's for dinner.  I purposely left my phone at home.  You know what?  I felt liberated.  I didn't care if I missed a call.  I didn't care if I missed the next Facebook post.  Whoever was going to text me would have to wait.  I was spending quality time with my kids, without the distractions, giving them all of me instead of only part of me.  It felt wonderful, and I'm sure they felt the glow of undivided attention, even if they still acted like little monkeys!

Technology does have a time and a place, but face to face communication is what makes us human: reading body language, listening for tone, and having someone's full undivided attention is a gift we can give to each other.  In regards to technology use: Limit it, use it for its purpose, but don't forget you're human and your job is to be empathetic of other people and raise your children to be the same way so they can become effective adult communicators, instead of mindless phone texters, TV-watchers, video game players who are incapable of feeling anything for their fellow human companions.

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