Category Archives: Uncategorized

April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day – Light It Up Blue

Wear Blue today, to support those living with Autism. Now 1 in 68 kids. Mine included.

Light It Up BlueAutismLIUB

CadenCollageMy name is Caden.
I am 6 and I have Autism.
I love to play trains, build tracks, and go swimming.
My favorite super hero is Mr. Incredible. I like to draw the robot with 3 arms.
I like to play video games like Mario Kart and Mario Galaxy. I am a whiz on the iPad.
Thunder and other loud noises scare me. Large crowds used to scare me, too, but I went to the circus this year and loved it.
My best subjects are math and science, and I just learned to write my name this year.
I have a stuffed animal Bowser that goes everywhere with me. And every Christmas, my family takes me to ride the Polar Express.
Sometimes there’s too much going on in a room, and I can’t concentrate. Many times I can’t hear what someone is saying, even if they’re right in front of me. Eye contact is hard for me, too, but I’m working on it every day.
Sometimes I stutter, because the words go through my brain faster than my mouth. I have a very good memory, and can repeat entire Thomas the Train episodes or movie lines having only seen it once.
When friends don’t let me play with them, I get very sad. It hurts my feelings. Sometimes I can’t control my emotions and the only way to let it out is to hit myself. I get embarrassed. It helps when my friends ignore when I do that, and continue to play with me anyway.
I love my litter brother, and I’m very good at making him laugh.
I am silly, I am smart, and I am loving.
My name is Caden, and I have Autism.
Light It Up Blue ‪#‎LIUB‬ ‪#‎AutismAwareness‬

Upcoming Book Signings, Galore!

So many awesome book signings coming up, in case you didn’t know.

The biggest one is at the RT Book Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, rtdallasTX on Saturday, May 16th, 2015. I’ll be signing both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana in the largest reader convention showcase ever! I’d love to see you! Click here for details!

If you can’t wait that long, I have 2 others at local libraries. The first is:

Haltom City Library’s ‘A Night of Romance’ on Friday, Feb 13th 6:30-Chocolate_Candies_Cupcakes8:30pm

A whole bunch of local romance authors will be selling and signing books, while mingling with readers, and even possibly reading a few excerpts. I’ll be signing Audrey’s Promise. Click here for details!

 

Keller Library Author Showcase on Saturday, March 21st 12noon – 2:30pm

More details coming soon, but a whole bunch of local authors from various genres will be selling & signing books, myself included! Specifically both Audrey’s Promise Prince of Solana. The Keller library is off Johnson Rd in Keller, TX. Would love to see you if you’re in the area!

Channeling My Inner Olaf

First, a thousand apologies for my silence over the last month. Crazy busy, throw in a holiday or two, the flu ravaging through my household, and prepping for a move, I haven’t even had spare time to respond to texts or waste on Facebook much either. Let alone invest in my writing.

Sadly, I did not meet my goal of finishing Jewel of Solana by the end of 2014. I’m 10,000 words short. :(

Yep, I’m in the creative doghouse. But strangely enough, that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

I’m here to talk about Winter. She’s cold. Bitter. Relentless. Whipping. At least, from a southerner’s perspective. I know we Texans haven’t received anywhere close to the brunt of the recent cold snaps smothering the country, but it’s way colder than what we’re used to. And for a person who was born in the tropics, it’s doubly brutal.

It doesn’t help that we’re in the middle of prepping our house to put it on the market in just a few short weeks. We have to fix the ‘curb appeal,’ and sub-freezing temperatures makes the outdoor task quite unappealing. Yes, I’m whining about the cold. Full disclosure, I’m a baby when it comes to winter. I love snow, the pretty wonderlands described in carols, the hot chocolate and warm fires. The images you see in Christmas cards and the December/January months of calendars you hang on the wall. All for it. But when it comes with nasty wind chills and ice/sleet/freezing rain, I’d rather curl up in a ball and cry.

When will it be spring? I’m channeling my inner Olaf from Frozen. Imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer.OlafSummerBottom line, I’m doing all this because it’s a huge dream for my family. One we’ve been waiting to fulfill for several years. And no matter what time of year it is or the weather, it’s worth it.

Another of my favorite Olaf quotes:

OlafMelting

 

Death to Spike :)

Good news: the Lithotripsy procedure today was a success. The better news,

Happy Pills

Happy Pills

Hydrocodone is still my best friend.

Spike Demon Stone has been obliterated (we think).

The procedure wasn’t even 45 minutes, and they blasted little Spike Demon Stone to smithereens. I woke up very sore on the left side, obviously. Since they basically used my kidney as a punching bag for this nifty sound wave contraption. I’m grateful I decided to have this procedure, because according to the surgeon, Spike hadn’t moved very far at all. In an entire month, he was still in same spot.

Stubborn little sucker.

After I was released, we came home, I had some food, and indulged in my new best friend.

More importantly, the meds kicked in about 10 minutes ago and I feel fabulous. Hopefully I’ll pass the remnants of Spike over the next 24 hours and all will be back to normal.

Just thought all of you wanted an update on my saga. Happy Dance time!

Kidney Stone Saga: Death to Spike

I promised an update regarding my saga with this kidney stone. Yes, only 1 kidney stone, and it’s still considered a saga.

I’ve decided to name it Spike. Because on the CT scan, there’s one giant spike sticking out of it that’s causing the majority of the pain.

Spike

Spike Demon Stone

Spike Demon Stone.

No relation to Sharon Stone.

The urologist gave me 3 options, none of which I liked.

The first option was to let it continue on its course and pass naturally. Which could take 4-6 weeks. (I nearly threw up at that statement).

The second option was Lithotripsy. (I stare at him with a dumbfounded expression). The shockwave technology procedure uses a laser through water to obliterate Spike into much smaller pieces, making it easier to pass. The procedure requires anesthesia, hence hubby would have to stay home from work to drive me home and take care of the kids.

The third option was to use a scope to “go in and get it.” This procedure also uses anesthesia, but more importantly requires a stent for another 5-7 days to prevent the tube from swelling shut. The medication to help control this would dry up my breastmilk supply for good.

That automatically excluded option 3. I refuse to choose that option if there’s anything else on the table.

Then the urologist was quick to point out that if option #2 wasn’t successful, he’d advance to #3 anyway. (He was so direct and quick in this statement, and said it without any kind of empathy or blip of understanding of my concerns, I wanted to sock him in the jaw).

I ignored his statement and went back to the first option. There would be no way I could make it through another 4 weeks without strong pain medication. But the meds I was currently taking made me so loopy, I couldn’t drive. (I was on my way to ask for a different kind of med that was just as strong, but wouldn’t make me drowsy.)

The doctor immediately cut me off and discussed the Lithotripsy procedure. (Again, wanted to sock him in the jaw.) He made it sound like it was no big deal. It would be very successful given Spike’s size and location. Then immediately stands up and brings his nurse in (without letting me finish my questions). The nurse walks in and is very nice. She discusses post op care, restrictions, all that fun jazz. But then drops another bomb.

The doctor only does these procedures on Mondays and Tuesdays. The worst possible days for my family’s schedule.

Long story shorter: after numerous phone calls begging for different options, I’m scheduled for lithotripsy in 2 weeks on a Thursday (they are squeezing me in between his other kinds of surgeries). I also asked the nurse for a different pain med so I could drive during this timeframe.

money_down_toilet 2Here’s to hoping I pass Spike before the shockwave stuff in 2 weeks. I’d rather avoid more medical bills on top of all the other stuff I’ve gone through this year. Giving birth to a baby, 3 ER visits, gall bladder removal, and the corresponding meds: I really could use a break.

I’m sick of bills. I’m sick of being stuck on hold with our incompetent insurance provider, thereby making us go over on our minutes for our cell plan. I’m sick of missing writers meetings and putting my family out. I’m sick of using the little strainer they gave me to “catch” Spike. I’m sick of having to throw out all of this breast milk because of the meds.

Spike: You are evil. Your time on this Earth is severely limited.

Now it’s time for more coffee. Perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Kidney Stones and Hydrocodone

It’s been over a week and this selfish kidney stone has decided to make a pillspermanent residence in my system. Supposedly, there’s only 1, and supposedly, it’s small enough to pass on its own. But by the number of pain pills I’ve taken since last Wednesday, I’m doubting that information.

Obviously, I can’t drive while I’m on this medication. I can’t even write. Good Lord, what kind of crazy things would come out of a Hydrocodone-induced mind? Kinda scary to think about.

The only way I’ve made it through this past week, aside from Hydrocodone and Zofran, is through the help of my family. Chauffeuring my son around for school and his bajillion appointments every week, cooking dinner, and babysitting my youngest— it’s a lot to ask for. Especially from someone who doesn’t like to ask for help.

I’m so lucky. To have the help there when I need it. There are plenty of folks that have to go through this kind of stuff completely alone. So I give a huge hug and major thank you to my family: you know who you are.

But this damn stone has taken up enough of my life, and enough of my family’s demonstonelife. So we’ll see what this urologist has to say today, and I hope it can evict this tiny demon stuck somewhere between my kidney and bladder.

And hopefully sometime before the end of the month, I can get back to writing.

I’ll post an update when I can. Any of you gone through this ridiculousness before?

9 Years Ago…

Nine years ago, I made the easiest decision (and most important) of my life.Wedding003

I said “I do” to Bryan.

Well, actually I made the decision to marry him long before then, but it was official on Sept 17th.

WeddingKissThis is yet another time for me to brag, folks. Fair warning.

It really was an easy decision. I knew Bryan was the only one for me. The best choice I could ever make. The best father I could ever ask for for our children.

Nine years later, it’s incredible everything we’ve gone through, and the love between us is infinitely stronger than on our wedding day. Didn’t think that was possible on that hot day in September all those years ago, but it’s true.

I can honestly say we’ve never had a major fight. Not one. Disagreements, sure. Tested each other’s patience, of course. But never a fight.

Respect is the foundation of our relationship, which is why I think we’ve never really fought. I value his opinion. He values mine. He tells me he’s proud of me, and I remind him every day how much I love him. He supports me even when I’m crazy, and tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m sick. He’s the one I go to when I don’t know what to do.

HappyPlace

My Happy Place… with Bryan

He’s my happy place.

Here’s to my love. My inspiration. My boo:

Where does the time go? You’ve made my life so rich with love, so warm, and more than I could have ever hoped for.

I love you, Bryan. Happy Anniversary.

Happy Birthday – Time to Brag

Spending my birthday heavily medicated from a stupid kidney stone is not the pillcupcakesbest way to celebrate. But at the same time, I can’t complain. No whining allowed.

Because I have the most incredible family.

Yes, folks, this is a bragging post. Fair warning.

My mother, who made us dinner because she knew I couldn’t cook. My father, who picked my son up from school 2 days in a row and took him to his appointments. My brother, who came over to watch my younger son since I was totally loopy. Even my 5-year-old, who didn’t understand what was going on, but still covered me with a blanket and shared his toys with me so it would make me feel better. (Made me want to cry, it was so cute!)

And especially my hubby. For any single ladies out there who are still looking for the right man, make sure you marry one just like mine (sorry, you can’t have this one!). The kind of man who stands beside you when the shit hits the fan, and is helping you scrape all of it off the ceiling and walls. More importantly, will take the scraper from you when you’re flat on your back in a hospital bed, and keep scraping for you. Who sits beside you when you feel you’re at your worst, holds your hand and tells you he loves you.

I would be ecstatic not to see a hospital room again this year. They should put a plaque with my name on one of those rooms by now. But I know if I am, he’ll be right there with me. Telling me I’m still beautiful. And smiling through whatever nonsense I say while on morphine. (Apparently I asked him 3 times  if he went to the dry cleaners).

I have the best family in the world. And that’s an awesome birthday. And every other day in between!

Taking Stock of 2013

champagneAnother round of New Year’s resolutions and goals. This normally includes taking stock of the previous year.

This past year, I had 1 primary goal: Go with the Flow. It was the first year I didn’t have a list of concrete, measurable and trackable goals.

Considering the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. It was a very challenging year (we knew it would be), with good days and bad days. But my personal goal was to go with the flow when the really trying moments came up.

And then a whole bunch of things happened:

*I sold my first novel, after years of rejection and shredded manuscripts.

*I became pregnant, after several years of no success.

*My 5-year-old would finally have a conversation with me about his day.

There were a million other little victories that happened this year too, mostly centered around my son. I learned more about the world of ASD, and met some truly talented and wonderful people. I learned even more about the madness of insurance, claims, appeals, and benefits depts. I learned how hard parents have to fight to get their children the services they really need, not just from insurance companies. From people who are ‘supposed’ to work in the best interests of the child.

More importantly, I learned how strong my son is. How strong my husband is. I already knew he was an incredible man (that’s why I married him!). But I have a much more thorough appreciation for his hard work, dedication and perseverance after going through something like this. Just proves to me more I really did pick the one man who broke the mold.

There’s one very big lesson I learned this year, on top of all the above. I learned how to ask for help. In certain situations, outright demand it and not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This feeds in really well to my writing. I finished another manuscript and am halfway through it’s sequel. I’m able to shrug off rejections easier, and at the same time identify the difference between criticisms that are nuggets of gold, versus lumps of coal.

2013 was a year full of lessons, and some incredibly wonderful surprises! Undoubtedly great successes. I think my plan of non-measurable goals worked out well. Thinking of going the same route for 2014. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

My grand plans for a farewell to 2013 includes spending a quiet evening with my family, and probably falling asleep before the ball drops (I have a valid excuse: preggo!)

Happy New Year, everyone!new-year-2014

 

Merry Christmas! Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s some Christmas fun from Straight No Chaser, one of my favorite Acapella groups. Click on the link above to go to the YouTube video.

XMasLighthouse

Once again, no matter what religion you practice or if none at all, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and great New Year’s. I appreciate the message of peace in any religion, whether it be Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza, Buddi, or atheism. Stay true to your religion: there’s nothing wrong with sharing it.

Since I’m Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.