Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Know What You Got- Til It's on Vacation

My kids are driving me crazy.

Both are teens, and both are bored out of their skulls. Looking for new friends in the neighborhood consists of sticking their heads out the door, looking both ways and saying, "Nope! No one to play with, Mom! Can I watch a movie?"

Not to mention it's too hot/humid/rainy/sunny/windy outside. Sigh.

The summer days have been filled with bickering, bored teenagers- a parent's dream...NOT.

Then a reprieve. A family friend offered to take my daughter down the shore with her for a week. Who was I to deny my female offspring this treat? Not to mention when my daughter asked if she could go, her "Bambi-eyes" were bigger than dinner plates. Of course I said yes. From Saturday to Saturday she was going to be on vacation at the beach. I desperately wanted to hide in her luggage- I haven't been on vacation since our honeymoon seventeen years ago (and no dear, camping doesn't count).

After my not-so-little girl left, I realized something- I really depended on this kid as my household helper. She did a lot of chores (willingly, unlike the other teen I have who would happily sleep until it was bedtime again), and she helped me do a lot of other things, like tend the community and backyard gardens, take care of the cats, and chatter happily through the day, giving hug attacks whenever she walked by me.

Lord, I miss that girl. And it's only been three days!

My son, however, has also realized just how much his pain-in-the-butt sister helped him- now that he has "double duty". (He calls it that, but we're really sharing her chores...shh...don't tell him that though- he won't believe you). 
Because of his Aspergers, when he gets an idea in his head, it's hard to shake it. That can be good or bad, depending on the situation. In this case it's good, because he decided to step up to the plate and help more.

We worked out that if I give him a list and leave him alone, he does a much better job than me telling him what to do all the time. I'm happy to say that while my husband and i were out food shopping after church yesterday, he was left alone with his list- and we came home to a cleaner house.

Nothing makes a mom more proud and happy than seeing her kids do a good job- and knowing they have the ability to care for themselves when you're gone for a while. It's also comforting to know they have the skills to not live like a pig when they eventually leave the nest- and trust me, they will leave- either by design or by a parental foot to the rear.

Maybe by then my husband and I can afford another vacation!

In the meantime I'll wait for my baby to return and tell me about her adventures down the shore. I'll also let her know just how much I appreciate her help and her sunny disposition. I miss you, Sweetie!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Brain Age

I've done this. You've probably done this too. You want something. You think it's perfect for you, whatever it is. Then one of two things happen; one, you get disappointed if you don't get it, or two, you go into panic mode when you realize that if you do get it, it might be the biggest mistake ever, and you start praying not to get it.

That my friends, is what I call the "Brain Age" -when the brain goes from being a toddler (I want that, and that, and that) to adult ("I don't really need that, but would have liked it", or "what the heck was I thinking?!?")

That happened to me just this past month. Twice.

The first time was about my book. Not only did I have one agent interested, I had two- and both in the same agency. I was ecstatic. Imagine me, some newbie wannabe author snagging two agents in the same company? Oh baby, I was headed for the bookstores. I sent my proposals in the hopes of getting the interest of at least one of the agents.

Agent number one wasn't interested and asked if I could write about being a housewife. I was disappointed, but at least she thought I had potential, since she wanted to see me write about the grand and glorious lifestyle of the domestic artisan. I made a notation to gather information to write a housewifey book, and waited for agent number two to contact me.

A week later I received and email. It was a very nice email, telling me that my book was in too small a niche for him to sell. It was a book for women. He's a guy. And I had no idea women were becoming extinct. Ah well. At least he didn't think my book was moose drool. He liked my work, but he didn't feel he was the one to sell it. Fair enough.

So- They liked my writing, but it didn't fit their needs. I'm down, but not out. The potential is still there, which is good. Disappointing, but good.

Now for the second event. I was offered a chance to apply for a job. Full-time but temporary (a two month stint), it seemed perfect for me at the time. The phone interview went well, and I was slotted for a second interview face to face. I was going to nail this job- I just knew it.

The interview went well, up until he said a few "red flag" phrases like "Might be working Sundays", "Door to door four hours a day", and "Possibly every day if the numbers aren't met". It also didn't help that my hands would be deep within two events during the two months I was supposed to be working for them. One is a big community event I run (no second-in-command yet), and the second is a writer's conference I was destined to go to (lots of humorists). There was no way I was going to miss that sucker for anything.

It doesn't help that above the knee I'm not the fittest person on the planet- four hours of walking around strange neighborhoods? I might need a new body when the job was over. I also wasn't wired like he wanted me to be. I had to have a smart phone and a web camera for Skyping- whatever that is.

The job I had so desperately prayed for was something I now prayed fervently against. What on earth was I thinking? Yes the money would have been good- fantastic even- but at what other costs? It wasn't worth it to me to neglect my family, run myself ragged and jeopardize my writing career for extra cash.

God must have known this because I didn't hear a word from the guy since. Apparently I didn't get the job. It would have been nice if he'd at least called or emailed on that fancy smart phone he was brandishing about during the interview. Ah well. Maybe I ought to go into customer service as a coach instead.

My toddler brain is still mad that it didn't get what it wanted. But the adult brain just gave it something shiny by telling it "Psst- we still have the conference, and a lot of awesome people to meet!" and the toddler mind took that in both hands and is in a corner somewhere, hoarding it's precious trinket.

By now I've learned to pray that God's will be done, because my will ain't worth a burnt hot dog if what I want isn't meant for me- even if I think it is. God has better plans for me anyway. He just doesn't tell me because He knows the toddler brain will whine and cry and yank on his sleeve asking "Now? now? How about now?"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dreaming Big

I admit- I'm a dreamer.

I love to think "What if?" and dream of being a great success. I could dream all day, but that won't get me anywhere; I have to actually go out and do something.

So I found something to do. I write. 

I write a lot. 

In fact, I wrote so much I have a book written.

Once the book was finished, I told my friends, family, neighbors, people I don't know, and their dogs- "I wrote a book! I'm going to sell so many copies, I'll be a millionaire and do all kinds of good stuff with the money!"

My friends, family, neighbors and people I don't know told me, "Great!" Some of them even said "I hope you do!" 

Of course the dogs just wag their tails, lick me and sniff to see if I have any treats.

A few of my friends and family said, "A millionaire author? That's too big a dream, don't you think?"

And I thought to myself, is it? I began to think that maybe my dreams had bitten off more than I could chew.

Then one friend said "That's a pretty big dream- what's your plan?"

Plan? I had to have a plan? But what he said made sense. If I was going to dream big, I had to have some kind of action plan to pull it off. So I started setting up goals. But I didn't start them from the beginning- I started from the end. I went from being a millionaire author back to where I am now. 
That helped me to think bigger, dream better. Get the book on talk shows and radio programs? Why not? Contact all the big book sites? Of course? No step was too big to consider- after all, I was going to sell a ton of books! 

As for the nay-sayers that said I dream too big? If they're not big-time millionaire authors, I should take their advice with a grain of salt- a shaker of salt, really. Maybe the one that guy lost in that really popular song. 

There is nothing wrong with dreaming big and having lofty goals- as long as you're willing to put the work behind it. Otherwise we're just another dreamer in a crowd of dreamers.

I saw a need, and I wrote a book to fill that need. This world needs clean humor, and yes, though my book does touch on subjects ladies go through, it's still clean, funny writing- something desperately lacking on the bookshelves and online stores. My goal is not just to become a millionaire author (though that would be awesome!) but to encourage people to laugh. I want them snerking in the bookstores, chortling online, and giggling with friends when they read my books together. 

So I suppose my biggest dream is to make the entire world laugh. If you're going to dream, why not dream as big as possible? Or would that be impossible?

Dream big. Have a plan. Let no one stop you. Your only regret will be that you didn't do it sooner!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Extraordinarily Ordinary

I have little cards taped onto the shelves in my writing space. Some are instructional (deadlines, common grammar mistakes to look out for), and some have encouraging messages. One in particular says "Become world famous- not ordinary!"

Does this mean I want to have center stage at the Met with thousands of people cheering my name? No! Honestly, if that happened right now, I would need a mop and some medics on stage with me. What that statement means to me is this- step beyond the boundaries of ordinary and turn your ordinary life into something spectacular- and see what happens.

I am not quite ready for fame, nor do I want to be what the world determines is "famous"- I want to be the kind of famous that influences people long term that also makes them laugh when they think of me- and thinking deeper as they laugh.

That's one of the reasons I wrote my book (which is now in the hands of an agent as we speak- YAY!). I want to make the world laugh and to remember the good stuff- even if what happened wasn't particularly funny at the time, because it happened to me. Of course if it had happened to someone else, I would have been hysterical, but that's beside the point.

I like being "Extraordinarily Ordinary". It's awesome to see the world in a way that others don't, and I love seeing their eyes light up when they see things from a different perspective. That's a connection I hope to make with anyone I come in contact with- and I hope they would be willing to reciprocate. I enjoy seeing through their eyes too!

And that in turn makes us all just a bit more awesome...doesn't it?