no home training

people are rude. people are rude AF (as f***)! I apologize to my readers who are of a more conservative nature, but some things really get under my skin. rudeness and lack of “home training” is at the top of the list.

you know what home training is right? it’s basic! it’s almost innate… well it WAS innate. but now with the world closing the gap electronically there seems to be a severe lack of etiquette.

let me give you my first example: i am in a service office, the office of my cable company. there are 40+ people in here and it’s already after closing time. only three employees are still working. when i walked in i was 27th on the list. i’m currently #10. it’s the after-work hour and there are lots of tired and hungry children in here. there is a young lady (she’s really not a lady). she’s wearing slippers, pajama pants and certifiable bed head. she walked in on her phone and left without ever getting off the phone. the problem is that while on the phone she proceeded to get louder and louder (and louder) while explaining her very personal story and flagrantly cussing. she was no more than 2 feet away from someone’s child and she exercised zero filter, zero cooth, and zero maturity.

i cuss. mm hmm, it’s true. i know plenty of people that do. but I do my best to lower my voice and control myself in public. especially within whispering distance of someone’s child. like i said, i cuss. my kids have heard it and hear it. my toddlers have told me to stop. my nine year old (he’s ten now) has asked me to stop. but my occasional slips are nothing like the run-on sentence of expletives that girl was spewing.

my next observance was of the greeter. this was my second time at this office and my second time seeing him. while polite, he seemed to be low-key racially profiling the customers. for the Hispanic people that came in behind me, he greeted them in Spanish. with me he was rather generic. with the young Hispanic couple that was there before me he continued to call the guy “homie”; and for the two black guys that came in three minutes before closing he only referred to them as “dawg”. hmmmm. is this the 2017 approach to customer service? poor choice if you ask me. poor on his part, but much poorer on the part of his supervisor, and manager.

my next observance was literally set out before me. i didn’t ask or prompt anyone for it:

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what has to be said about this? anything? anything at all…?

someone was eating (i’m going to guess that this is stolen fried chicken from the deli), while shopping, and was just flabbergasted by the distance to the nearest trash can so they just laid their partially eaten fried chicken drumstick on top of this box… and they also chose not to purchase the two overturned greeting cards (probably because of the chicken grease stains would be my guess). i mean, seriously.

what is this the result of? why are people so flagrantly disrespectful to everything?

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if anything is clear, it’s that Walmart should really tighten up their security.

how many people are walking around eating chicken, and donuts, and opening packages of …. peanut M&Ms? teddy grahams? or whatever that piece of yellow packaging belonged to. trust me when i tell you that i understand there are some families that aren’t able to afford much. perhaps this is the result of a food-poor residence and one too many cries of “mama, i’m hungry”. my observance is simply of the trash left around. it’s a sad world that we live in when there isn’t enough food to go around, but at the same time a stale donut can be discarded on the nearest shelf. you don’t have to be a pig. you just don’t.

it’s not just the fabulous shelves of Walmart that are covered with litter. this is a photo just outside my front door.


it looks like this all of the time. someone in the complex has a “store” in their apartment. they furnish the kids with all sorts of “hot chips” and “poppers”. in other words; unadulterated and unlimited amounts of sodium, MSG, food coloring, food dye, hydrogenated this and that, a plethora of preservatives and artificial flavors, and sweeteners and the ever present HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. the end result (besides the overweight, hyperactive, pre-diabetic juvenile population) is all of this trash where trash shouldn’t be. i’ve complained. it didn’t help. NOT ONE SINGLE BIT.

i got an evil stare in a parking lot yesterday because the other driver was backing up and i guess they got offended that i didn’t just readily stop for them … as they were in the wrong. i’ll stop, i’ll wait — because you’ve clearly got more important business than i do. i got a strange vibe from the lady in front of me in the grocery store because i moved the divider that she’d placed between her groceries and mine. really? you’re mad because i moved the divider closer to your food? ok. weird, but ok.

i could go on, but i think you get the picture. there’s entirely too much selfishness in this world. everyone just droning on about their own lives and not showing an ounce of care, concern, or love for their neighbor, their neighborhood, or their environment. it makes me sad. it’s always made me sad, but it weighs heavy on me as a mother. i can only hope that my children will pay attention to my words, my actions, and my prayers that the world changes for the better — and that it starts with us.

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memories to last a lifetime

my son went to summer camp. he returned today after five whole days and nights away. this was his third time attending (last summer, and this past winter) with our church. he had such a wonderful time. he's sitting on the couch reminiscing and researching some of the songs he heard and shared with his camp family. he shed a tear (a huge alligator tear) for the friends that he made, the times they shared, and for the overwhelming good time.

i explained that his feelings were normal and a sign that camp did everything it was supposed to do. these are memories that he won't ever lose or forget. camp is a memory that lives in perpetuity. it lingers on and on always bringing a smile.

we are fortunate enough to live just a half hour away from the mountains and the grand hospitality of Forest Home. the staff and facilities are top notch and geared to make a ten year old boy wish for camp — just minutes after having arrived home.

the three pictures above are courtesy of the Forest Home site. they do not allow electronic devices or phone calls (unless an emergency of course), which allows the kids to completely disconnect and take in the beauty of the world around them. the camp is faith focused and shifts the children's understanding of Our Savior Jesus Christ into a deeper yearning and learning. my son is already discussing his future as a counselor.

what more could a mama ask for? his prescription medication was loaded electronically into their site and administered daily by a nurse. their app: Forest Home Adventure Guide allowed me to receive updates; including when medications were administered, the plan for the day, the focus of the lesson shared, and my son's "camp store balance" (as cash is not accepted).

a faith based focused dedication on the Majesty of the Lord!! three allergy-free meals a day. mandatory hydration is required at all meals (drink two glasses of water). a safe yurt-like structure to share with his camp mates. a camp store in which to spend (his whole $15) frivolously. clean and accessible restrooms and showers. and all of the chaperoned and safe fun a ten year old can handle for six days. i am forever in debt to our church Immanuel Baptist, our children's ministry director, numerous dedicated chaperones, and the capable and trustworthy staff of Forest Home.


that picture and the gravity-defying toss are courtesy of our children's ministry director: Jaime and our church orchestra leader/director: Mr. Mike. thank you!

NoParent

CoParenting: sometimes referred to as cooperative, parallel parenting, or even platonic parenting. Simply stated: it’s when you and the other parent work together and devise a plan and support each other for the good of the child(ren). You maintain open lines of communication, make agreements, and involve the other parent in decision-making, educational goals, and disciplinary action — even though you’re no longer in a personal loving relationship. Your goal is to parent your child(ren) together; to the best of your abilities even though you aren’t “together”. Nothing between you and the other parent compares or can get in the way of the shared love, guidance, and hopefulness that you both have for the child(ren) you share.

It is extremely disheartening to discover that anyone wouldn’t want the joy and pain inherent to raising a child. Alas, not everyone was meant to be a parent. You can love a child, entertain a child, spoil, enjoy, and care for a child and STILL not be parenting material. How can you parent your child with a person that has no interest in the child, no interest in being a parent to the child, or participating in the love, growth, guidance and success of the child? How can you agree to anything when you can’t stand to look at, be near, or communicate with the other person? How does one CoParent with a non-parent?

Do it yourself, you say? Yes. A noble concept, indeed. But often times; easier said than done. The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is far from cliché. It really does take a village. The support system required to raise children is vast. And if you’re trying to man the stations alone; the vastness multiplies and gathers levels of difficulty, confusion, and exhaustion along the way. Quadruple that factor every time another child is brought into the mix. Single parenting is not for the weak, faint of heart, or challenge-challenged. You not only have to be strong, you have to be knock-down drag-out resilient. You have to take the punch after the punch and just keep swimming. When you parent alone, there’s no down time. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself or wallow in any type of self-pity or grief. Your kids need you, ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

I have learned some hard parenting lessons (like everything I just mentioned) the very hardest way: trial and error (more error, than trial). I have struggled with all of the feelings and emotions that come with first time motherhood, single motherhood, and failed motherhood. I have felt blessed, elated, happy, sad, exhausted, doubtful, confused, amazed, anxious… you get the picture. Parenting brings out a person’s instincts, intuition and emotions that are complex, deep, and strong. Most of us need that village to help us cope with what goes on inside of us; much less the laundry, dishes, and cleanup. We need to hear that we are doing a good job and that we haven’t screwed up our kids for all time.We need someone there, even when we are trying to do it all alone. It is paramount that you understand that single parenting means that you are: mother, father, good cop, bad cop, disciplinarian, nurse, doctor, playmate, therapist, chef, maid, and barber. You are it. You are all that there is and you cannot take that job lightly.

We also need those village horror stories. We don’t necessarily need to hear someone’s pain and get relief from it. More so, we need to hear and know that someone can survive an absentee parent and still be loving. Or that someone else survived an abusive parent and can have and maintain a safe and loving relationship. We need to witness someone crawling out of the shadow of their parent’s depression, obsession, or mental illness to still turn into successful people. We just need to know that even though we’ve made mistakes, our kids still have every loving chance on the planet to be the people who God intended for them to be. We always need to be reminded that they are here for their purpose and not to fulfill the dreams and expectations we once had for ourselves. We must remember that we are ushers; guides — and our job is to “teach them well and let them lead the way” (thanks, Whitney).

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Every person walking down the street has an opinion on how to raise kids. They give you unwarranted advice and tips that they’ve never practiced but heard so many times they just pretend it’s the gospel truth. However, every child is different, just as every parent is different. Sometimes the personality of the child is so prominent that you can see it before they are born. Their stubbornness and tenacity leach out of their mother’s womb the way hot grease dripping from a piece of fried chicken seeps into a napkin. No one can parent your child better than you. God gave you that child, and He would not expect anything from you that you didn’t have the talent and resources to provide. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

We all make mistakes. We make mistakes in every way every day. But if you accept the position and title of parent (I say “accept” because there are a large number of persons in the world who think that birthing a child is a CHOICE and not a God-given duty and BLESSING), you damn sure better learn from your mistakes and up your game! Get better. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILDREN. Do not. As with anything, there are always situations and exceptions to the rule, but those instances have to be examined very carefully when your children are involved. Children seek their parents for support and guidance in virtually all things. Don’t be the parent that turns your back or the one that requires that your child raise and support you. Know your role. Admit your wrongs, polish your method, and do the best you can — today and always.

Parenting is a sacrifice. There’s no way around it. You will sacrifice your body, your memory, your breasts (you know, if you’re a woman), your sleep… oh the sleep; I miss it so much. You sacrifice your friendships, work relationships, and every party you ever thought you’d throw or attend. AND IT’S WORTH EVERY BIT OF IT. Every shoulder covered in vomit, shirt that’s been sneezed on, pinky finger that’s plucked a tiny booger… it’s worth it. Every night that’s spent sleepless, pacing, worried, and scared because you’re not sure you’re doing it right… it’s worth it. Children are worth the battle. Children are worth the dreams, nightmares, scars, and adventures. They are miniature funnier cuter replicas of you and they will never cease to amaze you.

Some people know in their hearts that they don’t want children and they make a concerted effort to maintain a childless status. There are others, who don’t consider being a parent until someone says “my period is late” and they still manage to be fervent, and competent in the parenting arena. And then there are the others… the ones who just don’t. Nothing sways them from their perch atop the “I don’t wanna” soapbox. They use any and every excuse, if they stick around long enough to be questioned. They are children, in adult bodies who’ve created a child but somehow managed to deliver themselves from the parenting role. And nothing and no one can make them change their mind. Not even their child. They’re missing out, but it doesn’t matter to them. It only matters to the child who has to learn to deal. Most of those kids are better off without the person so selfish as to not give up any piece of themselves for their son or daughter. The child learns early on that not everyone can be trusted or believed in.. and that even a parent can let you down.

How do you succeed; alone, in a job that was meant for two?? I can only tell you how I try to manage: I do what I can myself, and I try to utilize my village. I keep on keepin’ on. You should too. You just press on and do everything you can and everything you need to raise that child as successfully as possible. (While simultaneously harboring no ill will, hatred or bad wishes against that other non-existent parent). You do your best to be both parents, the good and bad cops, and you do it with a smile. The child needs every effort, every ability, and every bit of your loving care to fill in those gaps. I am nowhere near perfect. At times, I doubt that I am even “good”. I do my best and hope that each day I get better. I pray that everyday my kids grow and learn and find happiness in their home and in my heart. I have plenty of pity parties and occasionally find myself filled with doubt and fear, but I don’t let it stop me from continuing to do my job as Mother.

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Margo (L), Miles (M), and Kenneth (R).

I am proud to be someone’s mother. Three someones to be exact. I revel in their hugs and kisses; and find the ultimate joy in their devouring anything homemade. I enjoy knowing that they look for me when they are excited, hungry, or scared; because they know that I can provide support, food, or comfort. i get a warm fuzzy feeling when they demand “reading and prayers” before bedtime. Knowing that my kisses provide more relief than a band-aid makes me smile. And feeling my kids climb into my bed because they want to cuddle makes my heart sing. I have made mistakes, and don’t claim to be anything other than a parent doing her best; but I’m here and I try. I AM HERE, AND I TRY.

Allergic to Allergies

My son has every allergy you can imagine. It’s a lot of work. He went into anaphylactic shock three times before the age of three. He has sneezed more and produced more mucus than the rest of my entire family put together. And while that fact is funny, it is no laughing matter. As exhausting as it is for me, I can only imagine how incredibly deflating and tiresome it is for him. He’s proven to be quite a trooper and is famous to my friends and fans as SuperBoy. Boisterous you think? No. let me explain.

Kenneth was born at approximately forty weeks to the day. He came out with a push and a half. He was more than eight pounds, almost two feet long, and had a faint mustache. At three months old, he would scream after every bath. I thought he didn’t like to be nudey in the breeze. No, he had eczema, and the lavender bath soap and lotion that I was using was torturing him. I didn’t know until one night when I only had cocoa butter at my disposal. After smoothing it over his little man body, not only was he not screaming, he was relaxed and comfortable. His skin needed that moisture and oil and he was pleased. At his next check up the doctor said: eczema. Eczema? Ok, I can handle that. No dyes or perfumes and plenty of cocoa butter. CHECK!

He trucked on through those next few months without incident. His skin was soft and smooth and his hair was super-curly-awesome! He was handsome and happy. I nursed Kenneth for seven months and when I switched to formula, a different set of problems started; sneezing, coughing, runny nose, congestion. So. Much. Congestion. After about a month of formula, Kenneth was transported by ambulance to the hospital. It was Christmas Eve. Pneumonia; the doctor said.

I watched as my infant child was held down by four adult women and then given an IV. I stood by as he was wrapped in towels and had his nose suctioned to remove the excess of mucus. I was witness to him receiving breathing treatment after breathing treatment after breathing treatment. And he still struggled to breathe. We spent his first Christmas in the hospital, sharing a twin sized hospital bed and slept at a 30-degree incline. I was broke, had no prepaid minutes on my phone, no charger for my phone and no change of clothes. At the time, I received a few visitors and I received a pair of fuzzy pajamas and socks. i also received a beautiful painted glass tile that doubled as a comforting nightlight. It was a really rough time and those few items helped me to feel at ease trying to help him feel at ease.

When we were finally released from the hospital, I went home and cried. Kenneth was almost back to himself, but I was exhausted. I called friends to see if someone could come and watch him while i tried to nap, but i wasn’t that lucky. i cried more. It took almost two weeks for his arm to heal from the adult-sized IV needle that was jammed into it. The bitch nurse that did so laughed at me for crying while i watched her shove a needle the size of a McDonald’s straw into his arm. She smirked and said “are you going to be alright?” and then smiled at the other nurse that was helping to hold my child down. I wanted to punch them both in the face. I will never forget her rude, inconsiderate, wrinkly mug. I hope i see her another day so i can tell her just how ridiculous and subpar she was during such a sensitive and traumatic moment in our lives.

Pneumonia, huh? It came on so suddenly. He hadn’t been sick or outside. It was December but it wasn’t cold (I mean, this is Southern California). But ok. Pneumonia, I guess. No dairy for a few days, no exposure to the cold, keep him hydrated and take all of his medicine. Got it. Pneumonia? We can handle it! CHECK!

Kenneth returned to the hospital emergency room just two months later. This time they said bronchitis. Bronchitis? Isn’t that one symptom shy of pneumonia? Good grief. But ok. We didn’t stay. I refused to be checked in or admitted. We got our diagnosis, our prescription and went home.

This became a cycle that went on for about two years. Kenneth was either at the doctor, or at urgent care. There were also a few emergency room visits. He was transported by ambulance again, when he was about four. We’d actually gone to the doctor, but his blood oxygen was so low that she called 911. Devastating.

Every episode was a bout of coughing, sneezing, snotting, choking, and pure misery. Sometimes his eyes would just scream “help me!” It was just murderous to watch. I always felt like I’d done something wrong; done something to him. I wondered if I’d inadvertently made him sick. But how, how do you give someone bronchitis or pneumonia? What set of skills do you need to have to impart such a condition? I felt guilty, and like an outsider. I had to stand back, step out-of-the-way, and watch other people care for my son.

I didn’t know what I was in store for. I had no knowledge of food allergies or their impact and effect on my infant/toddler child. I spent days, nights, and weeks watching my son struggle to breathe. He would not eat because he couldn’t breathe and there was just so much mucus that every swallow would lead to choking. He was miserable and I was too, twelve times as much. No one wants to see their child suffer through any kind of illness. It makes us parents feel helpless and ineffectual. We are the care providers and we are outdone and undone by a “bug”, a flu, a pneumonia. It sucks.

As time went on, Kenneth’s flare-ups would become (what I thought was) somewhat predictable. But then there were also times that they came on suddenly and unexpected. It was a life-or-death guessing game. Russian roulette… with an unknown weapon that had a hair-sensitive trigger. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, something would pull that trigger and I’d be back to square one. At some point the pediatrician said that Kenneth had asthma. Just “asthma”. Did I mention that he was diagnosed with eczema at just three months old? Yeah, so there was that, and now the asthma. Inhalers! Nebulizer! no cold, no wind, no dust, no pets!! asthma? CHECK!

The worst part of any and all of this was watching my son have to deal and adjust. He received shots, syrups, chewables, breathing treatments, inhalers, and steroids. STEROIDS! You know the culprit: prednisone! awful stuff. I mean, an absolute God-send in the way that it targeted his swollen bronchial tubes and allowed him to breathe. but HORRID in the way that it turned him into an emotionally unstable toddler HULK! He was bouncing off walls one minute, crying the next, and anywhere in between at all times. One morning, I had to get him ready for our morning commute. At that time, I just got him dressed and put him in the car. He never woke. But one fine morning, he did wake; and he cried and cried and cried. I knew it was the prednisone taking hold of his emotions. He was inconsolable and it ripped my heart out. So, considering all that he had been through and was going through, I had to decide if I should actually give him the prescribed medicine that he needed to make him better: TO HELP HIM BREATHE. Or I had to watch him struggle with every breath. Whatta crock!

I called the pediatrician and described what happened. Kenneth was prescribed an alternate course of medication that had zero to no effect and nearly had us back at he hospital the next week. Again, I realized the gravity of this drug induced torture upon my child. Kenneth became so disagreeable and defiant. And moments later he would be crying. To make matters worse, I had to leave him at childcare on some days knowing that his heart was broken and that he didn’t feel good. I really don’t know how I kept a job through those years.

During all of these bouts of asthma and eczema flare ups, my son would have allergic reactions to particular foods. At almost 3, he nearly died from exposure to peanuts. And that was the THIRD time that he’d been in anaphylactic shock. I have no idea what was the cause of the first two situations. He would vomit when he ate eggs, wheeze when he ate marshmallows, and all dairy products would descend upon his sinuses and create a constant and steady congestion that would surely lead to urgent care. I missed hours, days, and weeks of work. I spent many nights watching him, holding him, and administering medication at all hours of the night. I was tired for me and exhausted for him.

We have come a long way, but we didn’t do it alone. Kenneth is nine years old now. He is tall for his age, and slender for his size. He destroys a pair of shoes every two months and could eat his weight in pizza and ice cream. He spends his spare moments drawing, reading, chasing Pokemon, and doing those things that classify nine-year olds as exactly that. It took years for us to get to a point where he could just live his life comfortably. I blogged about her some time ago, but his health and well-being is due in part to our pulmonologist. She prescribed a strict regimen of maintenance medication that makes it possible for him to run, jump, and ride bikes without a hospital trip. He still has flare ups and complications now and again, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle.

I joke that “I’m and untrained, unlicensed, unrecognized respiratory therapist”. But it’s the God’s honest truth. Kenneth went to camp this past summer — for a whole week! The thought of sending him away gave me anxiety. I had to load his medical history and medication profile into the camp’s online registry. It seemed arduous at first, but I simply sent the prescribed medications in their proper containers with their pharmacy labels and all things went as flawless as if I’d been there myself. His school, our church, and camp are all very considerate and helpful. Our camp liaison returned with kudos from the nurse stating “he was awesome”. He didn’t have any flare ups while camping. 🙂

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Photo courtesy of Forest Home Christian Camp: The Village Summer Camp 2016

I belong to and monitor several support sites: Food Allergy Research and Education, Kids with Food Allergies, and suggest that everyone support and protect their allergy sufferers with awesome products like the ones available at AllerMates.

My twins had shown some food sensitivities in their early days, but luckily it appears they’ve dodged that bullet. They just turned three and we can have them tested to know for sure. While I certainly want to know if they have any allergies and avoid all near-death experiences, I dread the blood drawing and the possible bad news. I’ll credit their mostly organic diet for their improved health. Our household is predominantly organic, and we do our best to avoid those dangerous agribusiness foods like: high fructose corn syrup, food dye, food color, and most preservatives. I am certainly not perfect at any of that, but each effort and experience is worth it to know that my kids won’t glow in the dark next week.

As the title states, I am allergic to allergies. And I mean that. I myself have airborne allergies and what appears to be a sensitivity to shellfish. I also battle a mild case of seasonal eczema. But I consider myself armed and dangerous when it comes to food allergies, asthma, and eczema. I have a wealth of knowledge, a library of pamphlets, and assorted literature, and have spent a MINT on prescriptions, over the counter, and other support products to aid my ailing child(ren). I know my  children’s medical history word-for-word by heart. I have their medical profiles and current medications loaded into my telephone and have established heartfelt personal relationships with their doctors, nurses, and specialists. I hope you’ll do the same should you find yourself in this predicament. You’ll thank me later.

Recognizing Great Writing

 

Literature is amazing and the world is filled with it. The written word – whether handwritten, typed, printed or transported electronically – can consume a reader’s conscious thoughts, redirect their paths, and open their minds to fantasies that are beyond their own imagination. Word by word inventions, recounts, and the sharing of stories, both real and fantastically unreal, fills the halls and shelves of libraries and most of the Internet. There are so many categories and types that there is surely something for everyone. From literary classics to comic blogs, writers carry their readers to a place where only the two exist; the two, of course, being the writer and the reader. Literature is a historic form of expression, communication, and entertainment that, even today, is used for those same purposes, yet has evolved and elevated itself to a level that can hardly be tracked.

With that said, what makes a written work worthy of being read? What makes a classic a classic, or a bestseller a massive crossover success? There are so many qualities to a writer’s work that draw us in, keep us in, and call us prisoner. But what makes that writing stay with us? Could it be the title? Maybe the first page, the last page, or the character list? Is it the plot, the unexpected twist, or the way a particular work of fiction mimics our own lives? Could it be the vocabulary, the wit, or the absurdity?

Some writers write for themselves, others write for their readers. Whomever their audience, writers are capable of producing something grandiose, infectious, effective, and (hopefully) legendary.

Title and cover art work are the fragrant aromatics that catch a reader’s attention, like the wafting smell of just fired fajitas or fresh baked brownies. Void the concept that the reader has a preference for author, genre, or publishing company. While perusing a bookshelf, the title and artwork are the perfume trails that grab our attention, either attracting or offending us as the potential reader. A title can be intriguing, straightforward, or abstract. The reader doesn’t get to discern which until they read the work. Artwork can be explanatory, provocative, or irrelevant. The combination between the two can draw the attention of an unsuspecting reader and lure them into picking up the work, surveying it, and in less than ten seconds deciding whether it’s what they are looking for. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an acceptable and realistic idiom.

Just inside the cover, a writer transforms a reader’s mind with their words. They paint pictures of scenery, situations, and characters by creatively weaving their words throughout hundreds of pages, consuming hours upon hours of a person’s time. There are many items that contribute to the grandiosity and staying power of a piece of literature. Some of the most important categories that separate “great writing” from basic reading material include subject matter, relatability, literary voice, and a formidable vocabulary. As well, a great piece of writing will draw it’s reader in and captivate them quickly and efficiently. Some readers feel that if reading the first page entices them to peek at the last – with that last page inciting questions, wonderings, and wide-eyed bewilderment – then the book is a keeper. Other readers just want to be sucked in. Their desire is for the first few pages and chapters to be so enthralling, their only choice is to make a pot of coffee and read from cover to cover.

Whatever genre, subject, or author fascinates the reader, the relationship that ensues is paramount. Each participant relies on the other, and that is the basic foundation and premise of the author -reader relationship. They need each other. The author needs the reader (even if the reader is the writer) to be open and accepting of their message, and the reader is dependent upon the author to provide them with something that opens their mind and exposes them to something new. One does not exist without the other, and coincidentally, they do not want to exist without the other.

Great writing permeates and pickles the being of its reader, leaving behind the perfume of its characters and scenes. The reader wreaks of literary tone, voice, and phrase. They are often drunk with the heart-wrenching prose designed by their favorite author, only to suffer the most intense and draining book hangover when they’ve read the last paragraph. Neither the reader, nor the writer would have it any other way. And that is just part of what makes it great.
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i write for my pleasure, not yours

my friend called me and challenged me to explain exactly what it is that keeps me from writing. in writing. i’m sure she’s not the only person to notice that I write less and less. i’d love to hide behind the fact that I work full-time and I have three kids, two of which are twin toddlers, and that I’ve just stepped to the other side of a most harrowing personal battle, but why? none of those things really matter in the scheme of things. while discussing all of this with my friend, I discovered my true feelings. i’m scared of success, and always have been. if I do what i’m doing, then there’s no pressure, no expectations, and no disappointments. if I just keep truckin’ along at my whatever-pace-I-feel pace, then the only thing I have to top is myself. selfish, huh?

therein lies the key! I am selfish when it comes to my writing. I write for myself. I write to get the words and phrases out of my head. I write for therapy and closure. and at the core of it all is the fact that I write so that I can see my thoughts. does that make sense? I write, so I can better understand myself. don’t get me wrong, I adore my readers, my fans, and my avid encouragers, but I write for me. I revel in the fact that someone finds my thoughts interesting enough to read, enjoy, laugh at, and comment on. without that validation, i’m certain that I would feel a twinge of rejection, but for every post I’ve written and shared, there are two more just like it that remain private.

thus far my posts have remained non-fiction glimpses into my personal life. i’m not ashamed or embarrassed about any of it. I did share a few things that I chose to withdraw at a later date, but that’s not because I was scared, nervous, or disgraced. I withdrew them because they contained information about other people and they aren’t as open as I am. c’est la vie, no?

another REAL reason that I have slowed in my writing is because as much as I have already shared, and want to continue to share, I feel that my children deserve a certain level of anonymity. I would like for them to grow up and make their own mistakes, publish their own stories, and not have the reputation, fame, or stigma as a blog post legend or celebrity. I want them to create their own pen name, secure their own web/blog site, and carve their own little place in the world wide web.

so, in retrospect, I have a few tangible and a few not-so-tangible reasons not to write. but they’re total malarkey in the grand scheme, even if they happen to be valid. i’ll just have to resort to writing nonfiction works about people not related to me or in my social circle. perhaps my grand hiatus is due to those very facts. perhaps I find it less entertaining and less pleasing to write because I want to write about my life and my kids, but at the same time I don’t…? quite the literary conundrum. I guess i’ll just have to get over it.

or give up on it.

(you know i’m not doing that).

me.

me.

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The Honor Of Motherhood

I was honored with a request to write a dedication for Mother’s Day. My dear friend, Armina, chose me to provide her with something special to share with her congregation as they celebrate mothers and honor grandmothers with a small token of appreciation (a small change purse). This is what I wrote for her:

Jeremiah 1:5
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

“Before we were born, before we were carried, before we were conceived, God made us into exactly who He wanted us to be. He chose every part of us and placed within us everything we need to be exactly who He wants us to be. He carefully picked our features, our intricacies, our personalities – and wove us together with His perfect hand. And then, as the gifts that we are, He presented us to our Mothers. Women, also born of His design, carefully chosen and picked to care for and nurture us in the way He wants and in the way that only She can. Born a child, grown into a woman, honored with Motherhood. From the day we conceive until the day we die, we are Mothers, forever CHANGED by the presence of our children.”

To my family, friends, fans and Facebookers, please, Enjoy your Special Day!

I shared my words with my Facebook world as well. At least four people shared my sentiment with their Facebook world, making the sharing downright exponential! How exciting, right? And in keeping with true BSB fashion, I’ve decided to turn those thoughts there into a post here.

Motherhood is a state, a condition, a way of life… and it cannot ever be undone. For the women that carry and birth their children, for the women that adopt or foster their children, for the women who have loved and lost their children — motherhood remains. It is a constant unwavering force that turns an individual into a family. For once a mother is born, a mother she will stay.

Motherhood is instinctual, primal. It comes from an inexplicably deep place in a woman’s soul. A mother cannot hear a baby cry, see a child injured, or even hear the call of “mommy?” without reacting. She thinks of the children before thinking of herself. She sacrifices her everything for their everything. The force of a mother is immeasurably intense and sincere.

Mothers need no rewards. They don’t need trophies, certificates or awards. Their joy comes in the smiles of their little ones. Smiles are currency in a mothers heart. Hugs, kisses and “I Love Yous” are the precious metals and jewels of the mother-child relationship! A spark is ignited every time a mother has eye contact with her IttyBit. It’s unlike any other eye contact on the planet and it resonates in her soul.

Whether she’s near or far, involved or estranged, she will always be your mother. She made you, made sacrifices for you and her joy comes from watching you grow and remembering when you were her baby. She cherishes you.

On this day, we celebrate our mothers. Those that gave birth to us, those that raised us, those that disciplined and praised us. We celebrate the women in our lives for whom without…we’d be nothing. Sometimes it’s one person, and other times it’s a whole family of women. Sometimes related, sometimes not.

However you choose to celebrate her, she will appreciate it. It can be a sincere heartfelt hug, macaroni art, construction paper flowers, vacuuming, perfume, jewelry, brunch, a spa day — whatever it is, she will love it. Do you know why? Because it came from you. Her joy is you. You make her happy. You are her endless source of Happiness and Inspiration.

Happy Mother’s Day! To my family, friends, fans and the like. Please smother your favorite lady with love, kindness and a little macaroni art.