Sunday, July 31, 2016

From Darkness To Light - Book Review

"I do what any thirty-year-old woman would do when told she is a guru. 
I start to cry."
From Darkness To Light
by Lindsey Lewis

From Darkness To Light, a new memoir/spiritual guide/inspirational book by Lindsey Lewis, could have been just another story of a yoga girl and her cliche journey to self discovery.

But, instead, it's lines like "I do what any thirty-year-old woman would do when told she is a guru. I start to cry," that set this book apart.

Lewis once led a life many of us only dream of: a professional writing job at a popular magazine, invitations to gallery openings and fancy new restaurants. But beneath the glamour,  Lewis knew she wanted more.

And she was willing to give everything she had up to find what that more was.

Of course she had to deal with anxiety and panic attacks, bad relationships and self doubt along the way. But on her path she also found teachers when she needed them and opportunities when she was ready for them.

Oh, and her yoga mat always near by.

From Darkness To Light is well written in a way that provides both hope and inspiration. Lewis's story is a great reminder to us all that when we get out of our own way and get quiet, we can find our own answers.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Just A Magical Memorable Thursday Night

You are a Great mom and I think u became a better mom when u became mom And dad !

I've decided that compliment means more to me than any other I've received lately.

Tonight was just a Thursday night. Like most other Thursday nights we've had the past couple years.

But then, something changed.

It started with Kid 5 asking to pick up his friend and go PokemonGo hunting. I, as usual, groaned and told him how tired I was. But then Kid 4, and this is the really weird part, said "oh come on, I'll drive and we'll just go out for a bit."

(Note: Kid 4 has her permit and looks for any excuse to drive. But to help her younger brother hunt Pokemon? No, never.)

While Kid 5 and his friend ran through the park hunting Pokemon, Kid 4 and I sat by the car and listened to 80's and 90's music: Black Eyed Peas, Backstreet Boys, old Gwen Stefani hits. We sat by the car and sang loud. We laughed louder. We even busted out a few dance moves.

Three fun-filled hours later I got this comment on one of my Facebook posts from the evening:

You are a Great mom and I think u became a better mom when u became mom And dad !

Wow. I had to think about that for a minute. And, I think she's right.

I think I did become a bit of a better mom when I took on the role of mom and dad.

After the dust settled from the divorce, and the kids accepted the new reality that they had a father who no longer wanted to be a part of their life, the burden of being mom and dad fell to me.

But with the burden came freedom as well. 

So much of the pressure was off. I was no longer afraid to upset my ex-husband or to make him mad. I no longer was constantly on guard for his next outburst or had to be hyper vigilant to make sure he didn't act out towards the kids.

Both me and the kids were free to finally be ourselves. We now had the freedom to laugh without the fear of angering him. 

At one point tonight, Kid 4 asked if I realized it was already 11:30. 

"Oh, shoot no I didn't. Hey have you heard of MC Hammer," I asked as I started singing along to Can't Touch This. 

We never would have felt comfortable enough to be hanging out in a local park at 11:30pm singing and catching Pokemon. We would have been too afraid of what we would come home to.

But now, yes I am mom and dad, and sometimes, often times, that is a heavy load to carry.

But there are also times, maybe I need to let there be more of these times, that it's a great blessing to be the parent who gets to enjoy my kids as well. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

In Defense of Pokemon Go

No, I don't play Pokemon Go. But I'm really enjoying the game.

Yes, I can tell you where all the local PokeStops are and I can kind of explain what a squirtle is. I also am proud to report that Kid 5 "controls the gym" at Orgill Park.

If none of that sounds familiar to you, then I'm guessing you don't have children or haven't turned on the news these past few weeks.

Pokemon Go is all the rage with the kids these days. And by kids I'm including more than a few adults I know who are also playing the game.

I had a few errands to run this evening, and as has become the norm, those errands took about 20 minutes longer than they should have because I spent extra time driving around so Kid 5 can get to some extra PokeStops. As he was getting back in to my car  another car pulled in behind us with three young 20-something guys. They asked Kid 5 if he just took the gym.

"Yes!", he said. "Are you going to take it back now?"

These young guys told him no, they were going to let him keep the gym because they don't steal from kids.

Kid 5's smile was so big at that moment it made me smile too. And I was so impressed with the other guys that they let a younger kid "control a Pokemon gym" for just a little longer.

Yes, there is competition in Pokemon Go to level up, but there also seems to be a camaraderie among players. I've heard them tell each other where to go to find a rare Pokemon and share tips on the best PokeStops.

But the news doesn't show that stuff. More likely you've seen reports of kids walking into the street and getting hit by cars because they were too busy looking at their phones in search of Pokemon.  Or a few instances where players were robbed while playing Pokemon Go. There's even a video going around that shows a police car being sideswiped by another car. When the driver gets out to survey the damage, his first words to the cops are "that's what I get for playing this dumb ass game."

Sure, all those examples are bad. But kids have been running into the street chasing balls forever. Bad people are going to prey on the innocent no matter what. And distracted drivers are a menace whether it's Pokemon Go, texting or just simply not paying attention.

But, this game has done some really great things too.

Today I saw two different news stories about Pokemon Go. Children's hospitals across the nation are using the game to help children have a somewhat normal social life while confined to the hospital. And a nursing home is helping their elderly residents learn the game as a means of encouraging them to get up and walk around for exercise.

In my own home, I've experienced these near miracles:

  • Kid 1 brought his new girlfriend home to meet Kid 5 and they all went together to hunt Pokemon
  • Kid 3, who leaves for bootcamp in just a few days, has been spending extra time with Kid 5 willingly helping him find new Pokemon
  • Kid 3 has been letting Kid 6 use his phone to play Pokemon Go
  • This has all happened with NO FIGHTING amongst the siblings (the biggest miracle of all)
Even my normal errand running on the weekends has taken on a new meaning. I actually enjoy the extra time spent in the car listening to Kid 5 talk Pokemon. Just those few extra minutes and my willingness to take an alternate route home are all it takes for us to spend some time together and make him happy.

Kid 5 is too often the child who I am afraid is being left out. He's also the one that has had the hardest adjustment these past few years. 

So if a simple little game and a few extra minutes is all it takes for some happy, peaceful family time, then yes, I'm a fan of Pokemon Go.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hello? Is Anybody Still Reading? Am I Still Writing?

It's been just over a year since my first book was published. At first everything was so exciting!

Books were selling better than I had ever hoped for, I was being interviewed on television and having professional head shots made by a professional photographer ( no more selfies, this was the big time baby!)

Then, as was to be expected, the hype died down a bit. About once a month I was asked to do an interview or podcast. My monthly sales were erratic. Some months I'd sell a shockingly high number of books, other months I'd squeak by with one or two sales.

Now, to be sure I'm not being all negative, I have surpassed every sales goal I set for myself. I have reached audiences I never expected and had my essays published in big-time places like YAHOO! and Dr. Oz.

And, again to spotlight the positive, the money earned from book sales this past year is paying for a mini vacation for me and the kids this week. That's a very good positive!

It's been a good writing year!

But... it's been a slow past few months.

It started with taking on a temporary yet crappy overnight job which left me exhausted and in a perpetual bad mood. Finally I was offered more hours at my day job that I love and even though I gave up the crappy night job, my writing didn't pick up as much as I'd hoped.

A few interview possibilities I had hoped for fell through and a few pitches to other outlets were rejected.

So, basically, crickets.

I know this is normal. It is normal, right?

And I know the solution is to sit my butt down and get back to writing regularly. That is the solution, right?

And... I just looked and it's been a month since my last post.

OK, I need to shoo these crickets away and get busy again!