Monday, August 24, 2015

What I Learned During My Summer Vacation

School starts next week (band camp has already started), which means summer is at an end. I’ve spent a lot of my summer thinking—a LOT—about all different things, and here are some I’ve learned:

     1)   Vacations with just my husband are the best, especially once you reach the point where you’re no     longer thinking, “The kids would love this.”
     2)   Time away from my children makes me a better mom.
     3)   Most of the things I worry about—bears, terrorists, injuries—never, ever happen.
     4)   I’m still going to worry about them, but injecting humor makes it more bearable.
     5)   Learning to write anytime, anywhere, is an essential skill. Now if only I could apply the same skill to sleeping.
     6)   Although I’m not a morning person, if I can make it to the first hill on my walk, the brain chemicals kick in and the day is off to a much better start.
     7)   Taking a break from things that stress me out makes me a nicer person.
     8)   Staying holed up in my house focusing on writing makes me very productive, but remembering to see my friends helps me refill my well.
     9)   There is nothing better than watching your two children reunite after 7 weeks apart.
    10)  Taking the summer off from TV is not a bad thing.

What did you learn?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The First Chapter

I made our first set of college visiting appointments. This year, being her junior year, and having a mom like me, we are using every long weekend to visit colleges. So I took her list, looked at the schools in the geographic area we want to cover in October, did my best to make an itinerary that won’t kill us (can’t promise anything) and made appointments.

As I was doing all of this, I started thinking about the significance of what we are doing. She’d old enough to start considering colleges. She’s old enough to start considering her life after high school graduation. How did that happen?

There are many things I want for my daughter, but the number one thing is for her to be happy. And that means having the freedom and ability to choose her own path. I’ve never asked for perfection, and have ALWAYS clarified my expectations with her—you don’t need perfect grades, you need grades that reflect the best of your abilities. Sometimes she succeeds and other times she fails. That’s part of life. But as I’ve told her many, many times, I want her to have as many options open to her as possible, and in order to do that, she needs to try as hard as she can and always do her best. I think we’re succeeding, basically.

When things have gotten rough, either with her friends or her classes or just with life as a teenager, I have reminded her that her goal is the same—to do what she wants with her future. It’s a long-term goal and one that hopefully helps her rise above the daily stressors and focus on where she wants to be later in life. College is one of the things that will allow her to escape from the “here.”

In the next year and a half, her life is going to be one big ball of stress. And it’s going to be compounded by others—classmates who talk incessantly about grades and test scores, adults who talk incessantly about grades and test scores, people who ask what her plans are or whether she’s getting tutored for this test, that test or a completely different thing we hadn’t considered. As with every single stage of her life, there will be people who over-dramatize everything. And as with every stage of her life, I hope to step back and remind her and me that it’s a big step, but it’s the NEXT step. It’s the next step in a logical progression, based on her current abilities and dreams. We’re not going from Kindergarten to college. We’re not expecting something she has no hope of being able to achieve.

And on my part, I’m not going to play into everyone else’s hands. She’s old enough to begin this journey. It’s her journey, not mine. My hopes and dreams for her are nice, but they’re pretty irrelevant. So I won’t be talking about specifics. I won’t be telling people her test scores or her grades or even what specific colleges she’s looking at. Those announcements are up to her.

Because this is the opening chapter of her story. And it’s her story to tell.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rebel Ink Press is Turning Five!

It’s August, and my publisher, Rebel Ink Press, is turning five. All month long, we’re celebrating with events, prizes and sales.

To commemorate the celebration, they are offering my book, The Seduction of Esther, for 99 cents the entire month of August, Kindle only. That’s a huge reduction in price and a great opportunity to not only try the book, but get a taste for the Women of Valor series, for which this is the first book.

Later this week, on Wednesday, a bunch of us will be doing a Facebook author page hop, where each of us will be offering prizes and giving you a chance to get to know us and our books. I hope you’ll stop by.

And, toward the end of the month, I’ll be featured on their blog.

I hope you’ll join me and my fellow Rebels for the festivities. In the meantime, enjoy the last bits of summer and stay cool!