Just a Quickie

A quickie post/update.  What were you thinking?  ;)

I just wanted to drop in and say a few words.  Some of you may know what’s been going on.  Some may not, so just a quickie update as to why I haven’t been blogging lately.

Hallie had knee surgery Dec 26 so we have been very very busy.  She has been busy sleeping, eating, watching movies and trying to hobble around on her crutches.  I have been feeding her medicine every 4 hours and changing the ice for her knee, helping her in every way that I can.  She started physical therapy yesterday and we have to do those exercises at home twice a day, also.

Plus, I’ve had tons of work pouring in, so getting up in the wee hours of the morning and staying up late to get as much done as I can.  The dogs have needed to go out about every 15 minutes it seems.  I do not hardly have time to clean my house, no time for working on either book, no reading even though I took out 4 books on inter-library loan for research purposes.  I think I got to page 3 of one book.

I don’t know why I even thought I’d have time to read anything, much less write, much less clean.

Hallie is being a great patient, though, very thankful for all the help she’s receiving and keeping her sense of humor and staying her upbeat, happy self, considering she’s experiencing this pain, a level of pain I can’t possibly understand as I have never had any kind of surgery.

Anywho, just wanted y’all to know I think of y’all often but haven’t gotten a chance to get blogging.  Before Christmas was pretty insane, as well.  When things calm down a bit, I’ll get back to it, but that will probably not be for a few more weeks.  Trying to work from home full time plus be full-time mom is keeping me pretty busy, and it’s all good.  Just trying to stretch my schedule.  When I learn how to do that, I’ll let y’all know.

I hope you guys had an amazing Christmas and celebrated the birthday of Jesus (since without Him, there’d be no such thing as Christmas).  I hope you all were able to spend it with people you hold close to your heart.  For this new year of 2014, my wish and prayer is for all of us to be blessed with good health, loved ones to share our days with, good hearty belly laughter, silliness, happiness, prosperity and faith.

Love ya!  *smooch*

-Carol

I won! I won!

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I won Nano!  NaNoWriMo!  You know, National Novel Writing Month?  I did it!  The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days and I reached 51,101 words.  I’m still not finished with my novel and have not had time to work on it much the last few days but once I’m caught up with my workload, I will carve out time to finish the book, revise, reorganize, polish and then attempt to publish.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

So, who else participated in Nano?  How far did you get?  You know, starting is the biggest obstacle.  Forcing yourself to sit down and write every day is the next largest.  As long as you do those two things, you are a winner!  Work on it till ya get finished with it.  As Nike says, “Just Do It!”  Whether you choose to publish, or not, everyone has a story in them and you should write it down.

So, this one is short and sweet.  I’ve gotta get to work.  I have a full day ahead of me before I need to pick Hallie up from school.  Y’all have a great day!!  Love you guys!  *smooch*

-Carol

Are You Thankful or Are You Angry?

Colors and Light

Wow, I was so stinkin’ angry at God.  I yelled at him.  I cried.  I cursed.  I ignored him, because I felt he was ignoring me.  I told him, “You turned your back on me, so I’m doing the same to you.”  Then, I cried some more.

I prayed.  I asked for help.  I asked for more faith.  I asked for God to take away my fear, my doubt, my stress and worry.  All I could see was my loss, what I didn’t have.  I was more focused on what I needed and I was so desperate in that need that I could not see all that I did have, everything I should have been thanking God for.  But when you are in the midst of depression, despair, anger, bitterness, worry and fear, you can’t see the good stuff.  All you can see is darkness.  You can’t find much, if any light.  I’m so thankful for that sparklette of light I had that was holding me from going any deeper.

I kept praying constantly, after I gave in to ignoring God.  I kept praying for more faith than fear.  I knew I needed more faith than anything.  It took days.  It took weeks.  Sure, I’d go through anger again, crying, depression, doubt, but I kept praying and asking for more faith over fear.  A month went by.  More.  Then, something cool happened.

This peace come over me.  This peace made me feel like everything was going to be ok.  I felt like I handed over my anger and fear and doubt to God, finally.  I told him to take it from me, and to replace it with faith.  I knew more than anything I needed faith and patience.  Patience is a lesson I’ve never quite grabbed onto.  In fact, I downright suck at it.  This day came upon me and I woke up glad.  I started to think, “I have so much to be thankful for.  I am healthy.  My family is healthy.   I have the most awesome daughter in the entire world.  I have the most wonderful mother.  I have a home.  I have a car that runs.  Hallie goes to a great school.”  I kept on thinking of so many things I could be thankful for.

Then, I started to think what my loved ones must be going through.  I’ve been so focused on me and my selfish thoughts, poor me, my poor life …  What about them?

I’m sure Mama misses Daddy more than anyone and anything.  They were soul mates.  They had such a great love for each other.  Her heart must ache more during the holidays.  Daddy’s been watching over us from Heaven for 11 years now.  And Hallie?  I know how scared she must be with her knee surgery coming up after Christmas.  She’s so fearful, anxious and nervous.  I’ve been so selfish!  And my best friend, Jennefer, with her oldest off at college, and so many other friends who have needs and trials and I’ve been over here thinking “poor me.”  A friend told me once, “It ain’t all about you.”  One of the best things I ever heard.

I just wanted to take this time, here at Thanksgiving, to ask you – Are you thankful or are you angry?  There really isn’t enough room in your heart for both.  You just make up your mind to be one or the other, depending on where you choose to place focus.  You can sit around and have a pity party like I did, or you can write down every little thing and person and place that you are thankful for and then — well … you can be thankful.  I can nearly bet that you have more things to be thankful for in your life than things to be angry about.  And thankfulness is such a much better feeling to hold in your heart than anger and depression.

I want to take this time to say thank you, God and thank you, Jesus, for all you have given to us — more good things than we will ever deserve.  Please forgive us for our selfishness, for our anger, bitterness, depression and doubt.  All we have to do is let it go and give it to you, pray constantly, try to have faith, and wait on you, because it’s all in your time, not ours.  Thank you for all your many blessings.  Though we may not always see it, our cups runneth over.  I love you soooo much!

Nano Day 14

I’m here.  I’m still alive.  Deep in the thick dark muck of it, but I’m here.  Words, words and more words.  They are crowding in around me.  For a little while, the voices were mute.  They’d gone away for a while.  Now, it’s as if they are making up for lost time.  I cannot seem to type fast enough.  Yeah, maybe it’s a good thing.  It’s also a crazed thing.  See me trying to sit up at my desk typing my little, actually long, fingers to the bone, tap-tap-tapping away as fast as my brain is throwing this stuff out, or rather attempting, not fully executing the task, but I’m trying hard to keep up.  It’s like the Bionic Woman on crack, while still hung over from taking Benadryl the night before, so you see a crazed Bionic Woman on crack, one eye locked wide open and the other dazed and confused and sleeeeepy and not at all here in this world.

Hallie has escaped to her room hiding away from my funny eyes and drowning out my crazed typing with music playing on her iPod.  Yes, playing the same song over and over and over again.  It’s the only song she’s listening to right now.  It’s the only song either of us are listening to right now.  I try to play other music to drown out Lorde’s voice, but it’s not working.  You know, you do the same thing.  You find that one song and you completely fall head over tea kettle in love with it and cannot stop playing it and singing to it, no matter how tone death or off pitch you are.  You just cannot help yourself.  No worries.  I’m not judgy.  I do the same thing with London Grammar.  These two songs, I play over and over and over.  LOVE.  So, see Bionic Woman on crack, with weird looking shaky eyes and earmuffs to drown out the repetition.  Coffee?!  Yes, at 4:40 p.m.!  What of it?!      o_O

Ok, not really but it sounds good, doesn’t it?  Nothing sounds good right now, so I’m just sippin’ on a little H2O now and again.  Took another Benadryl about an hour ago, so I don’t know what I’ll be like in a short while.

I’m doing well with my word count for Nano.  I had been slothing it for a couple of days, but today, I’ve typed enough to make up for those two days and then some.  23,562 is where I am now.  So far, so good.  At this point, I’ll meet my goal by Nov 30.  Ugh!  If I could just wake up!  Man!  Hate to be out of it like this.

Anywho.  Let’s see.  Oh, badges.  Well, technically, the following do not serve as badges.  They are not badges you earn for your Nano page, but I’m claiming them as badges for my Nano blogging, because I earned them.  I’ll just call them decals.  If you earned them, post them to yours, too.  Not a big deal, but hey, anything that makes you feel like you are accomplishing your goals along the way, is a good thing.

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Check in on the 100,000 K-12 students participating in Young Writers Program, be jealous of their pep talkers, and root them on with the #NaNoWriMoYWP hashtag.  (I did all that.)

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Be sure to explore all the corners of the NaNoVerse. We’re on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. And on our blog, 30 Covers, 30 Days is in full swing.  (I checked them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.)

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2013 pep talkers should be keeping those words flowing. Look for them in your NaNoMail inbox, plus visit the archive for past letters from authors like Neil Gaiman and John Green.  (I did all that.)

I did not earn the Join our all-day Writing Marathon and Donation Day  badge to power up your novel and support our nonprofit. We’ll be livestreaming from NaNo HQ, plus tweeting updates, challenges, and giveaways. No word count left behind.

map_procrastinationCheck the Procrastination Station on your dashboard for daily links to forums, social media, videos, and participant blog posts. Or, consult our expert NaNo Coaches!  (I checked forums, social media, videos and blog posts.)

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Hey, you know that brilliant thing you’ve been writing? Be sure it’s backed up! Put it in the mysterious cloud, email it to yourself, or save it on a memory device (we like this one).  (Mine is saved on a flash drive.  I never leave home without it!)

Ha!  So, that’s it, folks!  Hallie is playing that song again, the pint sized mutt is barking (hush up, Lilly Marge!!!) and I think the kiddo is ready for spaghetti, so I’m off to play in the real world for a little while.  Not sure if I told y’all, but I’m working on two books.  One is a fictional fantasy world (well, partly.  Part is real world.  Part is fantasy world) and the other book is nonfiction/self-help.

Wow, Hallie has come out and is now playing Etta James’ At Last.

I guess I can take off the earmuffs now.  ;)

Lata days!

-Carol

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Usually, I tend to write in silence as I have to pay close attention to the voices in my head in order to write down what they’re saying.  Besides, there’s usually mood music playing throughout the duration of the scenes, low enough to still hear the voices, watch the action, yet still hear the faint whispers of the score playing in the background.  Most of the time, my stories, songs and poetry play in my head like a movie.

It’s only day 4 and I have an unusual amount of depression/stress/anxiety beating out of my heart, coursing through my veins and pounding in my head, which is making it increasingly difficult to hear the voices and the background music as this pounding in my head is drowning out the sounds.  I write anyway.  I just keep rereading the last 2-3 paragraphs and perhaps skip ahead 2-3 paragraphs.  I know something must be inserted here but I cannot settle down enough to concentrate.

Today, during the moments I should be writing, I pause for reflection, to seek out inspiration and allow colorful imagery to envelope my mind and senses while listening to these magical tunes for a moment. Perhaps these melodies will help me to engage better with the voices, settle my mind, be still and listen.  And then, I will attempt to write again.

I’m listening to this tune I heard on the last episode of Reign.  It’s by London Grammar and the song is Wasting My Young Years.  I love it so much, I have to listen again, and then play another song by them that’s lovely – Strong.  I feel both of these songs play in to particular scenes in my story with perfection and brings me great relief, as I know this will help me when I start writing again in a few minutes, while I go work on those scenes with the tunes playing faintly in the background, struggling to be heard as if they are quietly playing inside my head, which also helps me.  For now, I’ll listen to the beauty and allow it to inspire me.  I play Clocks by Coldplay.  Ah, another great one.

These are songs that could sooo be playing in the movie in my head, so perhaps they will play in the movie as I write the story, all the while being sucked in by the characters, the mood, the action, the flow as the music takes me down the stream, carefully avoiding each bump and hopefully not crashing into any more rocks along the way.

I am writing a fantasy/adventure/sci-fi novel (which is my favorite to read and watch as well as write) and I must fight the resistance and seek to destroy all that opposes me, namely the stress of writer’s block.  I get so angry that I allow all that depression to take over how my mind operates!!!

Sometimes, pressing the pause button on the writing to listen and be inspired by beautiful music is just the ticket.  Find music that inspires you, that plays into your story – the movie playing in your own head.  I played one of my all time favorites – an oldie but a goodie, Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd, although I clicked on 0:37, because the beginning is a bit annoying.

Next is the original soundtrack to Harry Potter.  Yes, I’m a Harry Potter nerd.  My daughter and I both are.  Can’t help it.  Another good one for a specific scene in my story is by one of my all time favorites – Switchfoot as they play I Dare You To Move.  Then, I can’t help myself but to listen to their This Is Your Life.

I recommend, if you cannot concentrate and you need to add some vibrancy to your imagination, seek out some music that can help you along your way.  Pay attention to the songs played in your favorite shows.  Remember what bands they announce at the end of the show.  Think of your favorite bands, sounds, movies and look up that music online.  Youtube is awesome!  Bookmark the songs on your internet browser so you can access them anytime and let them play in the background while you write or else just take a break and listen to them.  Then, by all means, get back to your writing.  As that is the whole point.

I’m at 6,970 words, so all is not lost.  The goal is 50,000 by Nov 30, so I am hopeful I can meet that finish line proudly.  I have a higher goal set for myself, though, so we’ll see if I meet that one, as well.  Rock on, Writers!  We got this!

;)

Carol

Another Day, Another Nano Second

NaNoWriMo!!!  Updating as to my progress, dear peeps, on my Nano novel for day 1 would be 1,717.  And for day 2 is 1,789.  My goal was actually 2,000 for each day, but I suppose if I want to reach 50,000 by the end of day 30, I’m good with 1,667 per day.  So, it’s all good.  I’m slick.

And as for more fun leeetle badges I’ve earned: – I feel like I’m in Kindergarten and I’ve gotten some gold stars  ;)

forums_earned-e3863af9f4596de78c97ff64d21cc334Earned by posting in the forums

Earned by adding a writing buddy                     buddy_earned-da0801a58ce490354527765c1227e27d

Earned by updating my word count                          word_count_earned-41b6c14606d42e35148a66e52f0a017d

Yea!  So far, so good.  I will do my utmost to plant my butt in the chair every morning, apply fingertips to keyboard, allow my mind to take flight and soar with the wind on the wings of imagination and type till I can no longer feel my fingers, and reach for at least 1,667 words per day but try to go for the gold of 2,000.  If I don’t make it, I’ll settle by at least reaching that finish line, no matter what place I come in.  The main objective here is to work on it daily and actually reach 50,000 by November 30.  But ya know, if I can do the hardest part, I can certainly do the rest.  Ya know?  Planting that bootie in the chair?

At least I’m not gazing at a blank white screen.  I have something to work with, even if my eyes are glazed over wondering what comes next.  I have my coffee freshly brewed, I can smell that fantastic rich earthy goodness, and I can always pour in a bit of liquid courage if I feel the need to add a little more color to my imagination.  ;)  I haven’t tried that yet.  Hmmm.  That might be a tad interesting.  Usually, it’s just coffee or hot tea, but I’m thinkin’ a little sumpm sumpm might just be the ticket.  Whatcha thank?

So, here’s to us, to you, to me, to all the Nanos out there that are typing their little hearts out – we can do it!  We will do it!  We got this!  Let me know how you’re doing.  Leave a comment, add me as a writing buddy, message me on Nano (carol blake) and we can cheer each other on!  Go Gerry!  Go Lynn!  Go Anya!  Go wordtender!  Go Kritter!  Y’all are ALL that AND a bag o’ chips!  With a side o’ slaw!

;)

Visit to Podunk

Well, besides the post from a little while ago with the new job, working from home, more time with my family, etc., we took a small road trip.  Maybe I should call it a day trip.  It all started with a story I was writing and the name of the town I came up with was Swampbottom, Mississippi.  I actually did a search to see if there was any such name in existence and found Swamp Bottom Restaurant in Poplarville.  Actually, it was listed in Poplarville, Mississippi, as well as Bogalusa, Louisiana, so I just typed in the address to my maps on my phone and it directed me where to go.  I did call first to be sure of what their hours of operation were.  Packed Mama and Hallie in the car and took off.

We had imagined, with a name like Swamp Bottom, it had to have a swamp close by, maybe Spanish moss hanging down from the trees, a restaurant front full of welcome, romance and intrigue.  Right?  What do you envision when you hear the name Swamp Bottom?  I read some reviews on the restaurant and they claimed to not only have a wonderful menu filled with seafood, burgers, poboys, and not only that, but breakfast was served, and they talked of how part of the restaurant was a store which had many food items in stock to purchase, and they had daily entertainment with a Cajun band or else Cajun music was played to fill the restaurant with that zydeco ambiance loved by so many.  Me, not so much, but many, nonetheless.  I was only looking forward to the scene, the vision of the restaurant and maybe swamp, and see if the food was worth the trip.  Well…

We drive for a little over 2 hours to get there and the map leads us to this place called Crossroads.  Now, let me remind you, I did call them.  A woman answered and with a raspy, smoker’s voice, she said, “Hello?”

I said, “Om, is this the Swamp Bottom Restaurant?”  Because usually when you call a place of business, they answer with the business name, right?  Wrong.

“Oh yes,” they said.  “This is Swamp Bottom.”

To which I said, “Oh good.  Can you tell me your days and hours of operation, please?”  So, I truly believed this would be a great visit to an interesting place.  I mean, I had come up with this great town name and found it to be a restaurant.  It was meant for me to go there, right?

We get to the correct address and see the sign that says Crossroads.  No Swamp Bottom.  No spanish moss.  No swamp.  Maybe a half acre lot.  Just a boring grassy and gravel lot just off the road with some sort of snow cone shack built to the left of it.  No frills.  No thrills.  Just a lack luster wood frame small shack of a restaurant and did not feel welcoming at all.  I call again.

Again, with the raspy smoker’s voice, she answers, “Hello?!”  Obviously, not in the happiest of moods.  Perhaps she’s been pulling too many shifts?  I doubt it.  I’m sure she was not so busy waiting on tables, she didn’t have time to go out for her usual smoke.  There was no one there.  I mean, no customers.  No cars.

I ask, “Is this Swamp Bottom Restaurant?  I’m parked outside and I have the correct address, but the sign says Crossroads.”

“Yeah, the same people work here though.  It was just bought out from the previous owner and we changed the name is all.  Everything else is the same.”

“So y’all serve breakfast?”  I ask this, because it’s not quite 11:00 and I was curious as there were no cars.

“No, we don’t serve breakfast.  Why?  You want breakfast?!”

“Om, not really.  I simply saw online where y’all served breakfast.”

“No, we no longer serve breakfast!  We open at 11:00!”

So, we drive around the podunk town and see nothing but fields and pastures and old houses.  Maybe a home owned tire company.  An old expired gas station turned into a minute mart that didn’t look frequented.  We drove down one road for about 5 minutes just to see what we could see, which wasn’t much of anything, and then back and it was 11:00.  Oh my.  A truck drove up to the entrance just before we did.  Does this mean they have good food?

We walk in and there’s a sign that says “Please wait to be seated” and no one comes to seat us, so we stand there for a few minutes.  Someone ventures out of the kitchen to tell us to, “just sit anywhere ya want.”

Is that zydeco music I hear?  Real cajun music?  No.  There is no band.  There is no piped in music, either, so we sit in silence, which is fine, I guess.  Mama, Hallie and I look at each other as if we are all sorely disappointed.  I had actually thought of asking them if they wanted to look for something else, that this restaurant is obviously not what we were expecting nor looking for.  But, I figured I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and tried to be hopeful for mouthwatering food.  I mean, no romantic, welcoming, picturesque view of the restaurant didn’t mean the food wouldn’t be awesome.  I could skip all the ambiance as long as the food was memorable.  Boy.  Was it memorable!

We get the menu and there’s not much to it.  Some of the things we were expecting from reading the online reviews weren’t even on the menu.  The prices were kind of high considering we were in Podunk.  Oh, I mean Poplarville.  And who knew we’d go through all these places to get there.  We drove through Little Rock.  I thought Arkansas was further north.  And we drove through Sandy Hook.  Seems like there was another place normally found in New York, but I guess I don’t care enough to remember, or either I’m trying to block out the entire experience.

We finally decided on chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.  Hallie got fried shrimp and french fries.  Let me just say the only thing that was worth the use of our taste buds was the root beer we ordered.  You can’t mess up bottled root beer, right?  This restaurant experience had us crying in our beer.  Ok, maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but honestly, I figure the only reason they are still in business is because they are the ONLY restaurant within a 20+ mile radius and those people who live in this podunk town have never been exposed to the more worldly flavors exhibited at most other small town restaurants, including the likes of McDonald’s, which I don’t frequent myself, but would have been overjoyed had we eaten there instead of wasting our hard earned money at this place.

Oh, and sorry I didn’t have a photo to share.  It wasn’t worth taking my camera out of my purse.  By the way, not only were the online reviews of this place completely exaggerated, but they only had maybe 4 different kinds of desserts that did not look appetizing, and the so-called store did not consist of anything they said they had online.  All we saw was a small glass case next to the register filled with a few, a small few, candy bars, and a small refrigerator behind us in front of the register that held the plated single servings of those few so-called desserts.  Perhaps this is a rather harsh post and review of Crossroads, but I’m just telling you that you should NOT believe all the hype you may hear about a place online.  With that said, feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt and go take a gander at this place.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.  If you happen to drive past Crossroads, be sure to cross that road, keep looking for the next road, and the next, and the next, until maybe you will come across some other podunk restaurant.  I hope they will be better.

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Are ya singin’?  I knew I’d been offline for a little while, but didn’t realize it was over a month.  Sorry.  Again.  I have been so busy trying to adjust my new schedule, and just hangin’ out with my kiddo, since she’s out for summer.  I have undergone many changes in my life and it’s exciting, nerve-wrecking, as well as relaxing most days.  So what have I been doing?  Well, I turned in my 2 weeks notice to the monster boss.  Yes!!!  I had been with that place for a little over a year, no insurance, no retirement plan, and was promised a raise after 4 or 6 months.  Never got one.  The girl who had been there 2 years had never received a raise.  Now, she has resigned, as well.  She and I both deserved better.  We deserve to be appreciated.  I can learn to go without medical insurance, as I’m a pretty healthy person, thank the Lord.  Hallie is covered under her dad’s insurance.  Plus, I can always go to the VA if I have to, but usually when I do get sick, I just wait it out and get better naturally, with a few days time.  Retirement plan?  I will have to reestablish one eventually, but no time soon.

So, my last day with that company was May 21st and oh, what a joyful day that was!!  When the leaving part of the day came, I mean.  No more 30-40 minute commutes there and 30-50 minute commutes home, depending on traffic, of course.  I was paying anywhere from $50 to $75 every 4 days for gas alone.  No more of that.  Hallie is out of school for the summer, so no 20 minute commutes to school and then 20 minutes back + the commute to work.  We can sleep late, which means no getting up at 4:00 or 4:30am.  Joy!  It all started with a little conversation I had with God…

I was struggling.  Really struggling to find another job.  I could not understand why I could not find something else.  I was miserable working for the monster boss, being intimidated by him, his making me and the other girl cry on several occasions.  Can you say Jerkwad?!  Well, he was one.  I’m sure he still is, but not my problem.  Anywho, I reached a point where eventually I went off on him when he talked down to me as if I was a stupid person.  You take it long enough and eventually you just blow up!  I said, “I’d appreciate it if you did NOT talk to me like that!”  I think it kind of scared him.  He was speechless for once.  When I just blurted it out, it kind of scared me, too.  I was afraid I’d get fired, but at that moment, I halfway didn’t care.  I was not going to take that anymore.  So, he became a tiny bit nicer.  Some days, it even seemed as if he took a bottle of nice pills.  SOME days.  Go figure.  I reached a point where I believed I learned how to deal with people like him.  And let me tell you, I’ve worked for some devils.  I used to work in law firms if that tells you anything.  Attorneys are a different breed of people.  They just are.  This monster boss, however, was the worst ever.  And he wasn’t even an attorney!

I also realized that I’d been sent to that office to befriend the other girl that worked there.  At first, she had her walls up higher than mine if you can figure that.  I thought I was the most untrusting person on the planet.  Nope.  She would not let me in.  Those walls were fortress strong.  She was going through some personal issues and I was so worried about her and tried to reach out, but she was not going to give an inch.  Months passed.  Eventually, her walls started to weaken.  Slowly.  We did become great friends, confiding in each other, hugging, crying together, and just being there for one another.  She’s a special person.  I knew she needed me.  I also realized I needed her.

So, finally, after getting turned down for jobs I’d applied to and some of them just ignored me altogether, I prayed a very specific prayer.  For me, praying is more or less a friendly or not so friendly conversation with God, depending on my mood and frustration at the time.  It might be disrespectful to complain to him and talk angrily to him, ignore him, etc., but one thing God does appreciate is your authenticity.  I’m not going to pretend to be all sweet to him when I’m pissed off at him.  At least I’m honest with him and he knows it.  I do later apologize for my rudeness and hateful attitude.  My conversation went something like this:

“God, I think I know why you sent me here.  I needed to learn how to deal with extremely difficult people, as if I haven’t already, and you sent me the most difficult of all.  I learned how to deal with him instead of constantly fight against him and hate his guts.  I learned to not hate him.  I think you also sent me here to become friends with (I’ll call her…) Sarah, because we would both benefit greatly from a friendship and we needed each other to grow.  You sent me here to grow, and I realize growth is good for living.  Growth is not always comfortable.  It’s pretty uncomfortable for the most part.  And I do feel I’ve grown in many ways here.  However.  No insurance.  No retirement plan.  No raise in the 1 year plus that I’ve been here.  No future here.  Long commute and gas is expensive.  I miss my kid.  I chose to be a parent because I wanted to raise her, not just pop her out and let her fend for herself or let someone else care for her while I’m at work all day and only spend 2 hours a night and weekends with her.  I want to raise my child.  I know it’s pretty slim to find a chance to work from home, but I’ll do anything, as long as it’s legal and it pays the bills, as long as I get to raise my kid.  I want time with her before it’s too late and she’s gone off to college.  I want more time to cook healthy meals.  Time to clean my house.  Time to finish my book.  Just tell me why I’m still here.  There’s nothing left here for me to learn.  There are no further ways in which to grow at this hellhole.  Please help.  I don’t know what to do at this point.  Please help.”

Once I said that and got it off my chest, I felt a little lighter, although still anxious and a bit angry with him, because I felt sort of like he wasn’t listening to all my earlier prayers.  I felt he was ignoring me.  But when I had that conversation, I felt he was actually listening.  I was hopeful he was listening.  I actually said the prayer out loud at the office, while everyone was gone to lunch.  It felt better saying it out loud rather than saying it inside my head.  I had to get it outside of myself if that makes sense.

Not even a week passed, and I received an answer to my prayer.  I was contacted by this online company with an invitation to interview for a job I did not even apply for, although I’m registered with the company.  I interviewed and was hired.  I started out working 10 hours a week while still keeping my day job and when he promised he’d give me 30 hours a week, I put in my 2 weeks notice at the office.  Now, I’m home.  I’m hanging out with Hallie, sleeping in later, not late, but later.  Hallie gets to sleep in a bit later than me.  More time with our pets.  More time to cook healthy meals, so Mama comes over more often to have supper and hang out with us.  Money to pay the bills.  Working through my computer.  No commutes.  Hardly even paying for gas.  More time to clean.  More time to write.  Life is good.

More to follow…

Skipped Out On My Own Invitation

mama

No need to post what week of 52 this is, since I dropped the ball on posting weekly.  Oh well.  I felt bad at first not following through, but I’ve let it go, since there are only so many hours in a day to get it all done.  Too much goin’ on lately, so focusing on the most important stuff first.

So, what’s been happenin’?  Well, as many of you know, I was participating in the Camp Nanowrimo, which is a virtual camp that participants join in April (and there’s another in July) to write a novel, short stories, poems, scripts, what have you.  My goal was to write a novel and reach 50,000 words.  You only have the 30 days alloted during April and you have to submit by 11:59pm April 30 to see if you are a winner.  I won!  As did a couple of my friends!!  Yea!

So, now that that’s done, or that part is done, I’ve put my novel on a back burner to focus on this new job I was presented with.  Wonderful new job!  Flexible hours, the same money as I make now per week, plus less gas I need to buy, plus less hours, plus no one to jerk me around daily, oh, I just can’t stop about the perks, but I’ll stop anyway.  It’s a great deal, but it’s also scary as H-E-double hockey sticks.  Ya know, any time ya take a risk, it’s pretty dang scary.  And good stress is still stress.  So, anyway, I gave my two weeks notice to my current day job while still working for this other job for about 10 or so hours per week.  My last day with the blegh job is May 22 and I’m soooo excited.  I get to pick my sweet baby up from school on her last day and every day for the next school year.  I get to spend quality time with her during the summer, and I cannot wait!!

So, that’s a bit about what’s been going on.

Above, you see an image of my beautiful mother. She’s such a sweetheart!  She’s one of my best friends in the world!  We hang out every chance we get, and this was the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  She and I decided we’d treat each other to an early Mother’s Day meal out at our favorite restaurant!  Saltgrass Steakhouse!  Oh baby!  Hallie pitched in some of her allowance for the meal for our Mother’s Day gift, as well.  We have to drive like 3 hours to get to this place, but it’s so worth it.  Every mouthwatering bite!  Plus, ya know, we are always up for a roadtrip, a daytrip, any kind of trip trip.  I love to drive and my girls love to ride.  It’s just so relaxing to drive and look at all the sights, and shop at our favorite stores, although we went into our favorite store and some old ladies were working in there, following us around, stalking us, forcing stuff on us and we walked out.  Never have we left that store without a purchase.  First time for everything.  We were very disappointed, and I plan to send a complaint to their website and see if it makes a difference.  You should not hound the shoppers!  Grrrr!  But, we shopped around at some other shops, took some shots of ourselves in a photo booth – Cute and Fun!  And also found a new Panera Bread that just opened up down there.  Oh, all this was in Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana – 3 hours away from where we live.  It was an awesome day!  We left at 7am and got home at 7pm.

Sunday was a stellar day!  The weather could not have been more beautiful.  Sun shining, breeze blowing, warm enough for shorts, but almost too chilly for shorts depending on how hard the wind was blowing.  I told God, “You really made this a perfect weather day.  I could be happy in temps like this every day!”  I can’t remember the last weekend before this one where we did not get rained out!  So, we thoroughly enjoyed our Blue Sky Holiday!  Mama slow cooked some roast, mashed up some taters, fixed a salad, and we were in hog heaven at her house just hangin’ out and chowin’ down.

I hope all you sweet mommies out there had a memorable and wonderful Mother’s Day, as well.

I’ll head on over to my 101 things and update that in a second.  Let me get to prayer requests.  What did I forget?  Anything?  Let me know.  Oh, and when my life gets back to some sort of normalcy next week, as I’m working on my new daily schedule now, setting everything up, I will also get back to finishing my novel, and then I can update you on how that’s going.

Y’all have a beautiful day!  Love ya!

-Carol

Oh, last post, I invited y’all over Sunday and I didn’t even show up.  I am pitiful!  One day, I will have my rear in gear and be organized.  One day…

Prayer Requests:

1) For Mama to be healed and feel good again.  She’s been feeling sick for months and has a dr’s appt coming up.  Let the doc tell her it’s something easily fixable with diet and exercise, not eating certain foods, etc.
2) For this new opportunity I’ve been granted work out for the greater good.
3) Please pray for Jennefer about her new job, and let it be as awesome as she is, and let her transition from one job to this next one be much smoother than she anticipated.
4) Please pray for Sherree to quickly be able to follow her heart and dreams.
5) Please pray for Carlie to be safe and well.
6) Please pray for Carlie to come by sometime and let us know she’s ok.
7) Please pray for Patrick to find the woman of his dreams, fall in love and get married. Pray he finds her this year.

Camp NaNoWriMo is Closed

my cert

April was a treacherous month, wading through the waist deep virtual muck and mud in my hip waders, trying to find my way through the murky water, watching out for quick sand, having been warned beforehand.

Making it to camp was the easy part.  All I had to do was register and show up for the full 30 days.  Camp was so welcoming with my cabin mates’ happy faces to say hello and offer friendship (although 2 or 3 of them were rather quiet and shy – I totally get that, by the way), late nights with camp fire songs, ghost stories, s’mores, wine and cheese, the whole bit.  I even made some friends from other cabins.

Early mornings, starting usually at 230 and 3am, consisted of gallons of hot coffee, heavy cream and sugar, and handheld breakfasts such as granola bars and peanuts, since we ate on the hiking trail, and needed quick and easily accessible energy.

Many of those days, I made it through long hours of hiking uphill, through rocks, brush, the murky water I told you about (careful to avoid the quick sand of writer’s block).  And a few of those hiking days, I reached a point where I had to rock climb, and since I didn’t bring my climbing nor repelling gear, I scrambled, which is how I prefer to rock climb anyway, plus I had my handy dandy hiking boots and my trusty gloves, so I didn’t have too much of a problem.  The biggest threat was the height of a few of those rocks.  We are talking mountains, people!  I became exhausted at how far I had to go just to get back to camp and thank heavens I brought my flashlight, since some of those days, I didn’t get back till after dark, but then I left in the wee hours, so I had my flashlight at the beginning of the trek anyway.

30 days of hiking, climbing, wading, guzzling wine, sipping hot cocoa, living on cheese, peanuts, granola bars, s’mores, canned beans and the like, I was ready to be done and get home.  Some of that might sound good to you, but when you are hungry for a real meal, and sleep deprived, ya ain’t happy!  I counted on my friends to get me through.  I had friends and family back home cheering me on, new found friends at camp, and a friend of mine that joined me there at camp, who lives across the pond.  We encouraged and supported one another.  We shared.  We laughed.  We cried.  We drank heavily (coffee in the a.m., wine in the p.m.), and we retired when we could not keep our eyes open one minute longer, try as we might.   Our slumber was our most treasured restful activity, as we did not have much rest during these crazy days.

And together, we made it through to the end.  Some of our cabin mates decided to skip out early and go home.  I’m guessing the pressure got to be too much.  I feel sad for them, since even after all the sweat, blisters, hunger, bug bites, spotting bears and mountain lions, bruises, exhaustion and sleep deprivation, we made it successfully through to the end.  We saw each other through.  Maybe not as long-lasting as Survivor, I’m tellin’ ya, Camp NaNoWriMo ain’t no joke.  It ain’t for the wimpy, but if you ever need a lesson in follow-through, which I did, since I usually suck at it, Camp NaNoWriMo or the regular NaNoWriMo is definitely for you, if you are a writer at heart.

Goal:  50,000 words.  Finish Line:  50,229 words.  We did it!  And congrats to my beloved friends, Gerry (went with me to camp), and Lynn (one of my cabin mates), whom I joined at that finish line!  Ready to go again in July?  Om, yeah, I may have to think on that one.  Maybe November.  Maybe.

As far as everything else going on, A LOT!  Sorry to always be late about posting and totally slacking in the month of April with hardly posting at all.  At least I’m updating this, but I still need to update my 101 list, prayer requests, other goings on, and I’ll try to get to all that this weekend.  Only so many hours in a day, and a lot is going on, so hang tight.

I hope and trust all of you are well.  I’ve really been missin’ y’all.  How ’bout we make plans to have coffee or I can put on a kettle for tea and we can sit a spell and catch up, maybe this weekend?  Sunday perhaps?  Come on over.  We can sit in the porch swing or rockin’ chairs and talk all about it.  Whatcha say?

Love ya!  Catcha Sunday!  ;)

-Carol

Oh, and that is one my newest pseudonyms, ‘C. S. Blake’.  And om, in case I wasn’t clear, this was a virtual camp.  Camping through the computer.