Posted in Life

When life throws you lemons, you make a cocktail.

Or better yet for us writers, we can say plot twist and move on or at least try to in the moment. In 9 days my summer will be over and I will be heading back to the classroom for the 2019-2020 school year. Crazy, seems like just yesterday I was closing the door to my old classroom and heading out to enjoy my time off. Fast forward 8 weeks later and here I am. It will be nice to get back in the classroom teaching the kiddos how photosynthesis occurs.

I really was able to relax this summer and enjoy it unlike before. The kiddo and I got to go swimming, hit up the local library, enjoy snow cones, and do whatever we wanted. I did write some, started some news ideas, and played around with a new series that is completely different genre, but mostly worked on editing JS and my other mystery series. No schedules, no routines, no worries.

Then two weeks ago, I got some crappy news while I was visiting my dad whose health was struggling due to his Parkinson’s. The old me would have made that thing into a dress and sported around my woe as me tales. This sorta ties into the news that I got last year around this time which currently I am not ready to discuss yet, just know it was a BIG PLOT TWIST that is the big inspiration for Books 3 and 4 of Jean Stone. I have grown and learned a lot since then including with my breakdown last year. I am not ashamed to admit that and if anything I hope it helps others to see that it is OK to ask for help. I have come to terms with my mental health and work everyday on it. All these flashbacks came flooding into me which use to spawn the negative voices to rear their ugly head along with you are a failure series.

But this new me saw it as an opportunity. That night the crappy news came, I immediately went to town on a game plan. Messaged a few people for advice, set out a list of things to do, and ideas to run by my legal team AKA my family. The next couple of days brought a shift in the news to some good and bad which was more manageable, but I had to make some tough decisions on the future of my writing which I am happy to say is working out better than I could hoped for honestly.

For starters, I am NOT going ANYWHERE. There will be some changes, but it is all for the best for everyone involved. I am hopeful I can start making some announces in the next few weeks, but only time will tell. Just know that what I thought wasn’t possible last year, is slowly starting to fall into place. A dream I had mentioned a few times could soon be a reality for me.

Stay tuned…….

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Posted in Life

Minimalism

Like many teachers on summer break, I find myself searching for new shows to watch on Netflix. I love my share of documentaries. I am familiar with the term minimalist, but thought it was literally giving all your stuff away and living in a barren house. Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distract us from it. OK, sounds like a good idea in theory, but I have a 8 year old who collects anything that she can find, that isn’t possible. With the kid asleep, I decided to check out Minimalism and see what it was truly all about.

To my surprise, it was very deep and something that struck a nerve with me. While I do not keep up with the latest fashions or have the newest most updated cell phone, I do have a house overrun with clutter and stuff. We do spend a lot of money a year on material goods that don’t get used as often. Was I always looking for the next best thing? Was I always trying to keep up with the Jones’. After going through my house, sadly it seemed more like a yes than a no. Seemed like every surface we own is covered with nick knacks, whatever our daughter drops, and trash. I feel like I am constantly cleaning without a break. We get rid of stuff and then more stuff shows up. The clutter overwhelms me and makes my anxiety increase with each passing minute. Now we all pitch in as a family and clean but there is always more to do. Every closet is stuffed full and our garage that no one can even walk through without bumping into things. We are not hoarders, but damn we have a lot of things and do not use half of it.

My husband and I are working diligently towards out goal of early retirement. We want to buy land and build a tiny cabin living as much off the grid as possible. Now while that may not seem fun for most, we enjoy the solitude and work it takes to keep up a working homestead. With less material goods, we have more time for gardening, writing, spending time together. Well maybe we could start now on lessening our carbon footprint instead of waiting 10 years. I admit I spend too much money on clothes and going out to eat and buying our daughter things, so maybe now its time I put a cap on that and work quicker towards our goal.

I feel asleep that night after the documentary with a lot on my mind, but wasn’t sure where I could start or even if this would work out for us. The next morning I got up with a plan and mission. I told the hubby, look we have too much stuff and its overwhelming and what do you think about minimalism at least our version of it. To my surprise, he jumped in feet first and agreed this would be good for our family. We spent the next 3 hours going through our bedroom, bathroom, and closets. Took out 3 bags of trash, furniture, 2 bags of clothes plus two large boxes of donate.

Was it easy no, there were many things that I was holding on to, but I kept asking myself these two things. Is this important and does it add value to my life? If I couldn’t answer both with a yes, then away it went. After it was all done, I felt a giant lift off my shoulders. My side table was visible, my bathroom was clean and simple, and my closet was completely accessible without tripping over something in the floor.

My next step is setting a budget up so we can pay off our debt and save for buying that land we always dream of hopefully next year. The hard part isn’t starting, but continuing to maintain our lifestyle knowing the rewards that it will bring. Of course today is Prime Day on Amazon, but I am not shopping. We don’t need anything! While people are happily spending money on things, I will be working on another room to get rid of things that we don’t need or use. My goal is to have the house done by the time I go back to school in 3 weeks. I think it is doable.

Our version of minimalism isn’t like anybody else and that is ok. There is no one right way to practice minimalism, you can make it your own and that is what I like about it. Less consumerism, less waste, less carbon footprint, less junk, less cleaning, less worry, but we gain more family time, more experiences, more freedom, more opportunities for growth, more laughs, more love.

If you are interested in more information check out:

https://www.theminimalists.com/

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ – This is a good one if you have kiddos

https://bemorewithless.com/ – She has project 333 – this one is good too.

Posted in Life

Mid-Summer

The summer is flying by too quickly for me. On one hand I have loved getting to spend a lot of time with Lily. We have gone to the library, played games and gone to the pool escaping the Texas heat. Even took a mini vacation to San Antonio for a few days which was awesome. On the other hand, I am ready to get back to teaching. Remind me of that when I have just finished spring break and my kids are crazy! I have many cool ideas this year that I can’t wait to implement. Changing my room up just a little for some fun and adventure.

I also have been back to my writing. Now I refuse to set any schedule for myself and when I feel the desire, I go to paper. I had to redo my unnamed series to send back to my publisher for consideration. At first, I wasn’t going to do it, but then I decided to give it another look over. To my amazement, the story is writing itself all over again, bigger and better than I could have hoped for. There is no pressure, no competition, it is just me and pencil developing a story that would be great for all ages since Jean Stone is very adult oriented. I already have some beta readers ready to read.

Today I uploaded pictures from the book party to my social media. It was nice to look back and relive that night all over again. Friends and family were there to support me and watch as I got some surprising news that I will reveal late this year, early next year.

A year ago I started this crazy unconventional journey. I have discovered a lot about myself along the way. I have grown, changed for the better, and learned a lot about the writing world which can be brutal and unforgiving. But here is the thing, I am me. I write because I enjoy the outlet to escape to an unknown world for a while. I write to show my daughter that anything is possible regardless of age or gender. I write because I enjoy it.

Now head on over to my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jeanstoneseries to check out the photos.

Posted in Life

Guess whose back?

Guess my indefinite hiatus ended up being a short mini vacation. Nah in all fairness, I truly believed that I needed this break to be able to reevaluate myself and my life. I needed this time to put my priorities in order and get my life out of the chaos and into some sense of functionality.

As I noted before, Master’s school didn’t work out for me. No matter how much I tried, nothing seem to fit. Everything just seemed off. I was trying to be excited, but you know that voice in the back of my mind was screaming at me…”HEY WAKE UP” So I walked away actually relieved in the end. To my surprise, our school gave out raises that were more than if I would have gotten earning my degree. Life has a tendency to throw things like that out at you and then you look back and see how the planets were aligning for this to happen, you just needed to drift, wait, and obey.

When school ended, I figured I would just lounge at the pool, read books, and take naps. Let me tell you I have been doing just that for the last few weeks. It has been GLORIOUS! After my last 5K, I herniated a disk in my neck to which lead me to yoga. Now let me tell you, this has been my god send in my life. Daily I go to the mat, meditate, and find myself. It is my time to work on me. Here I have learned to love what I see, spread positive energy, and find a balance in my life. When I started Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube, I had no idea just how much this would change my life, but it has and for the better. I look forward to finding my daily inner goddess and continuing to work on all parts of me, body, mind, and soul.

So since I walked away for a while, I didn’t think much about writing, but it kept popping up around me. People saying how much they loved the book, when does the next one come out, are you writing again, etc. Even the last day of school my principal asked if I was writing this summer. I kinda pushed it away because I was not ready to deal with that just yet. Honestly, I had lost the ability, the creativity was gone.

Last week, my mom randomly asked me for copies of Jean Stone. I keep a few stashed away. And she sent a message…I do hope you continue writing.

At first I pushed the thought aside, but then I started wondering could I write again? My books stashed in my bottom dresser drawer began to be noticeable again. Then all the negative feelings came back in my head. And for the first time, I told those thoughts to go to hell. I am creative, I am a writer, I am an author. They only person I have to please is myself.

So I brought them back out and the words began to flow freely. Where this will lead me I do not know, but I look forward to the adventure and joy of continuing to write and publish my series.

Posted in Life

It is ok not to be ok.

Some days I have to remind myself that it is ok not to be ok. You see living with Adult ADD is a daily struggle. Many days my medicine and my routine keep me balanced, but since the start of the summer when I am suppose to be relaxing, I find my mind bothered by the stillness. See change doesn’t mesh well with me, I thrive off routine.

That is the way my brain is programmed, idle hands are the devils workshop. I am reminded to just be, but Lord knows I struggle with that everyday. I do my best to read, crochet, even do word puzzles, but sometimes that is not enough for my mind and it forces me to keep up and do something constructive.

So far, I have cleaned the house from top to bottom, laundry, and even purged the house of a bunch of junk that we don’t need anymore from our numerous moves, but yet still the brain goes ok what is next….

Lately, I have thought about going back to writing. Maybe just to play around and see if I still have the drive, the desire. I started 2 stories before I walked away. One was Jean Stone Book 3 (Lots of truth in this one) and another was a romantic love story based loosely off my husband and I’s relationship.

Here lately I have had some people talk about Jean Stone and “how they love the story”. “I just finished the book, is there another one.”

As I reminder Book 2 should be out this fall sometime. Fingers Crossed

For now, I gonna sit and stare at these two notebooks before me. Should I open them and continue what I started or no. Hmmm, guess you will need to wait and see……

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Posted in Life

Summertime

And with the ding of the last bell and a hug from my principal, Friday was the end of the school year. This morning I woke up freaked out that I had overslept! HA HA!

I woke up this morning to the words Just Be. Life has been so busy, but I have been troubled. Something wasn’t right, but yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. End of the year exams, STAAR, illness, injury..which was the issue or was it all the above. Two weeks ago, I started a Dedicate yoga challenge with Adriene. Look it up, you will not be disappointed. Something to do for me, to calm my mind as the demons of ADD had been showing their ugly head even with my medicine. Vertigo was a problem I was battling as well due to an inner ear infection, but I wanted to work out in the comfort of my own home in case I fell. Not sure what the disruption was, but I knew I needed to calm my mind and listen. And of course he shows up when I least expect him….

Then God spoke, JUST BE!

What? But I start school next week and I have all this stuff to do. JUST BE!

Ok Lord, I hear ya loud and clear. With that, I have cleared my plate again from all outside distractions, put school on hold, and followed his words.

Am I disappointed? Sure a little, but there is something out there better for me to be apart of. So, I have no idea where it is going to lead me, but for now I mediate, wait, and listen for him.

“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

Reflection

Today is the last month of the school year, 21 days left . My second year of teaching is about to come to a close. While I am happy to spend more time with my little one, I am going to miss these kids that I have grown to love and teach.

This year has been crazier than my 1st year of teaching, but most of it was due to personal reasons. This year has taught me strength, perseverance, and relying on my faith to see me through. While my teacher evaluation came back with high scores, I do not feel like I was able to be my best at all times. I know most teachers have to feel that way, but I plan on major reflection this summer as well as beginning my Master’s degree. My area of study is something that I struggle with…ESL/ELL. This was my first year to work with this demographic, while it can be a struggle, it comes with many rewards. Through trials and tribulations, I made it through this year and gained some knowledge along the way. After much thought, I have decided to sign on and stay at this school next year. I am ready to set my roots and expand my career. My students need a routine, a safe place they can return when things get to rough. I still haven’t forgiven myself for leaving my students last year.

April saw not only me gaining another year of age, but another year of marriage. I am truly blessed to spend another year with my best friend and husband. This time last year, I wasn’t sure we would ever see 15 years, but God gave us another chance to work together as one and for that I am truly grateful.

For now, I prep my students for the dreaded STAAR and work on finishing up the year.

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