Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Stories our Lives Write

One of my former students posted this beautiful post about how our lives are stories written by God. Our name is the title and our memories and moments are the table of contents. All the people that cross our paths are the characters in our stories that shape and continue to mold the story as it unfolds. She wrote more that was just as beautiful, but that's the part I'm stealing from a wonderful former of student who continues to teach and inspire me everyday with her insight into the world as she discovers it.

Even though everyone doesn't have a blog or love to write like I do or have their whole life story stashed in journal notebooks upon notebooks buried in some fire proof safe now years later, we all tell a story. I watch those stories unfold every day whether it's because I see you on a day to day basis, talk to you throughout the week, or stay in touch through social media. We are all teaching other people with our stories. Don't ever think that your story doesn't matter because someone is always watching and learning from you. I watch many of you, I learn from many of you, so many different people inspire me every day with their stories. Here's a peak into my story that lead to what you know as Time with A & N and where I'd like to see the story go.

Three years ago...

I was sitting in my parents' living room and my sister was cutting my hair. She's a professional hair stylist and God love her but she's always pestering me about how I should take better care of my hair. Her being horrified of the status of my scalp and supposed dirty hair really wasn't anything new; however, this time I burst into tears. My dad, who always knows how to handle my angry outbursts, was sitting on the couch and I think for once actually didn't know what to tell me. Even Tammy was speechless. I'm sure they were thinking "who are you and what have you done with my sister/daughter?" This was not me and they knew it.

But this wouldn't be the first time. I don't remember how many times I'd get in the shower and cry. Another incident happened where again I found myself at work in tears. At work! I am not a crier on a whim type person. It was the constant crying that was sounding the alarm bells. I was stressed, nothing I did felt like enough, and the confidence I always carried so easily in my life was gone. I lost my happy and that made me even more mad at myself. I've always seen my life as so incredibly blessed. I have a great huge family, the greatest friends in the world, a house, a career I've always enjoyed, and we make it on what we make. There are people fighting for their lives, for their homes, for their children's lives and here I was crying about what? I hated it, hated myself. My mother and sister told me to go see a doctor, get put on anti depressants. I said no because "I don't need a damn pill to make me happy". 

Between April 2013 and Aug 2013 I did three things. I started writing again. The first time I wrote my way out of something was when I was ten years old and my uncle, the dad of my cousin who is like another sister to me, was dying from cancer and I had to find not only some way to deal with my own sadness but how to handle the devastation I saw my cousins, aunt, and dad go through losing someone they loved so much to such a horrid disease. I also went to the doctor and was actually diagnosed with a thyroid problem that after six months they finally got regulated with a prescription (a pill for life as much as I hate that). And I prayed for myself. I've prayed since I was a little girl, but the only way I've ever prayed for myself was to keep those I loved healthy and safe. This time I prayed for me and whatever was mentally broken in me.

All of it worked. I feel happier again. I still get stressed out. I still get worked up but back in my usual tempermental, not emotional way, now. I feel confident again in the roles I play. I still struggle sometimes with the whole motherhood balancing act. Don't we all? I've learned to accept it's a learning curve. I'm okay. I feel like me again.

I started going public so to speak with this blog in April 2013, which is also when I started writing Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas (even though it had a totally different title then). I started it with no real purpose in mind. Something drove me back to it and I just went with it. Originally it was suppose to be about the girls, and sometimes it is, but over time it became more about me and my struggles and triumphs, about motherhood and women today, and about building community and support. I have a few friends (like seriously maybe two but still enough to make me wonder if they're real friends) that have been rather unsupportive of my writing journey, but the rest have become an amazing support system of me in all my roles.  I didn't even know I needed them until now when I don't know how I'd make it without them.

When it comes to my writing and I look back at the last two years I'm happy with what I see. I've published over 20 articles on two different women/motherhood websites, have been selected as the week's top feature blog post out of 100-200 posts several times in the motherhood blogging community, I've had two non fiction pieces published in a very small  literary magazine, and recently had my Chicken Soup for the Soul publication and now released my own book.

I tell myself not to make goals with my writing; this is my outlet. Writing has always been something I kept hidden and deep inside myself. I guarded it and what it does for me closely. I know I'm not some big time writer (my grammar sucks and I think putting that kind of dedication into it would eliminate the safe haven it's been for me) but my passion and whatever ability I do have for it I see as something God gave me, and He sent me on this path for a reason. I knew long before I published Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas I wanted to use it towards something bigger than myself which is why I'm donating 20% of sales, which is probably almost 50% of what I make, to different children's charities. Writing is not about making money to me. Writing to me is about sharing, it's about inspiring, it's about telling my story and encouraging you to embrace yours.

With print book sales I will be donating $75 next Thursday when I get my first royalty check for Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas. I will make another donation the end of August when my ebook sales hopefully report. Over the last fifteen months readers have shared how I've made them laugh, made them cry, made them think,  made them feel like they're not alone, made them want to be better at something so even though I've tried to push my book on you (but hopefully you've already bought it, right? :)) I don't feel like I've ever asked for anything in return. Today I'm going to.  I'm going to ask every person that reads this post and has read so many before this to do something in return for me.

Kori Quinn was an amazing young woman whose story inspired and moved people. She fought her battle with cancer from the age of 13 until she passed this past February at the age of 18. This young woman while fighting for her life as a child started a foundation called the I ROK Foundation to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer. Her story is a true inspiration. Her story was short but one of the most powerful ones I know. I'm asking you, my reader, right now to click on the link below to make a $5 donation to Kori's I ROK Foundation for pediatric cancer. $5 that's it. The link below will take you to the site and then the DONATE NOW button is to your left. If even just 100 people (and I know over 100 have read this blog) would give just $5 that would be $500 raised. Even if you're a reader from back home and already made a donation in a different way, what's another $5 (think of it as a reader's fee)?  Here is the link, Click on it now and make your donation before you forget. Thanks, readers! God Bless!

My book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas, for mothers of any age (suggested by an older reader's feedback) focuses on women today accepting who they are. It examines how our 21st century digital world shapes our perceptions and expectations of our capabilities as mothers, wives, employers, and women. It will leave you with a humorous and inspirational look at the individual journey of motherhood that takes each of us from the girl we were to the woman we become. The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99.


1 comment:

  1. In our church, we have an "essentials" workshop which teaches us to identify our "story". It is that story which God has given us that reaches out and ministers to others. It goes beyond our personal salvation story and helps identify all the miracles and "only-can-be-God" moments.

    Bless you for supporting children's charities through the sale of your book. Wishing you much continued success.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a wonderful day.