Monthly Archives: August 2011

Procrastination, thy name is The Weather Channel

Busy
Crazy
Busy
This is my life.
Last week, I had all these great plans. Morning pages, workouts, school, after school yearbook and newspaper work, writing….
I have friends who handle the above schedule with no problem.
I SHOULD be able to do it. Instead, I worked out twice, did morning pages half the time, got no new words down, and watched a heck of a lot of The Weather Channel.
Procrastination, you have a new name: Hurricane Irene.
I know very few people in the path of the hurricane. No one of my family lives on the east coast. BUT right about Wednesday last week, the day DD got sick and I stayed up with her and held her and told her I loved her as I tried to keep her neck cool with damp paper towels, I tuned in to TWC, and the rest is history.
Today, I finally got back to normal. Well, normal minus the workout.
I used to protect my writing time, treat it sacred. No one bothered me after 9 p.m. because they knew I was dedicated to the written word. It was like the writing fairy godmother came along and POOF, I was a writer.
In the last few years, I’ve lost that.
These days I’m an empty-nester. No need to wait until 9 p.m. to write.
So, here goes. I’m writing. Every day. The words might be magic, or they might stink, but from now on, I’m writing in the evenings. My writing fairy godmother has spoken. Poof! I’m a writer.
The Weather Channel will be there when I’m done.

Hope

College ministry kicked off today with a lesson in faith and how important it is to keep your eyes on Christ. How if your faith is a result of what’s happening, it can’t stand strong. It reminded me of the lessons we’ve done in small group. This is part one of that lesson. If you’re looking for something or someone to help you through the tough times, this is a story for you:

Dear Ford Vehicles,

When I graduated from college and started teaching, I bought my first new car. A green Ford Thunderbird. I looked at the purchase as a sign of growing up. Flash forward 18 years, and I’ve bought more than a few new Fords.

Ford F-150, Ford F-250, Explorer and the Focus.
Most of the vehicles from the same dealership in my hometown.
I’m a Ford girl.
At least I have been.

The Focus, an ’06 I chose over the Mazda and Toyota after test driving all three, had alternator problems 14 months ago, with barely over 50,000 miles on the car.

This week, 13,000 more miles, and the alternator fizzled again.

We didn’t spend the $1000 to have the dealership fix the problem the first time. And we didn’t sped the $1000 to have the problem fixed this time either. 63,000 miles, 3 alternators. That’s some lousy math.

My daughter drives a ‘94 Toyota Camry with well over 100k miles on it. The only engine problems she’s had came about because of the crazy heat this summer and the anti-freeze container. The cost to fix her car was time and about $50.

I’m test driving new cars again. I’ve tried the Fusion. I like it alright. But I don’t know. I shouldn’t have to be looking at cars because I’m worried about whether or not I’ll be facing alternator issues again in 14 months. I’m not making any rush decisions. But this time, when I look at the Mazda and Toyota, I’ll be a lot more interested in what those salesmen have to say.

Midweek Mom to the Rescue

In the midst of a whirlwind week, I got to be Mom again.

The call came just as I was about to head to bed at 7:45 on Wednesday. Three days and I was wiped out.

“Mom, I’m sick.”

She didn’t ask me to go riding to the rescue, but there was something in her voice. So, off I went to check this “sick kid” out.

Not sure if it was food poisoning or just a bug, but she was sick, sick, sick. When I got to her place one look and I knew she couldn’t stay there alone, so she came home with me.

When I left the house, I could barely keep my eyes open. But once she was home with me, things changed. For the first time in a long time, my baby girl needed me. So I held her and rocked her and told her it would be okay. And it was.

Today she’s back to normal. I’m glad she’s not sick anymore, but it was kind of nice being that Mom again.

Anticipation

New years.

Fresh, shiny clean new beginnings.

I love the day before the big day.

Tomorrow I’ll start a new year with new expectations, new students, a new classroom.

I hope to be a better teacher. To remember to turn to God daily instead of trying to rely on myself alone. To do what I can do and not stress myself out over those things I can’t.

To write.

To leave the job behind when I lock the door at the end of the day.

To HAVE FUN.

To encourage story in the classroom in a time when story is suddenly frowned upon.

To teach my kids to be better leaders.

To be a better leader.

To wear cute clothes. 🙂

To laugh.

To not be so serious.

To help my students be more organized upfront and hopefully that will translate to better deadlines!

To enlist parent help early on.

To keep my toenails painted, sometimes in funky colors.

To read great books and share them with my kids.

To sleep enough.

To exercise enough.

To eat healthy.

To remember dance parties make everything better. And so does chocolate.

To not take things personally.

To get out of the classroom because my fellow RHS teachers are awesome.

To stop by the office and say hello every day because my admins and secretaries are awesome, too!

To celebrate my successes and my students’ successes!

To foster creativity!

To remember I have a life outside the classroom.

That’s it for now. It’s a pretty big list.

 

Back to School

Our back to school assembly made me cry three times. That’s a first. Teachers, what we do is so important! I can’t wait to get this year started. BUT first, I’ve got to finish getting my new room set up.

I haven’t been by as much because I’m writing and working and working out.

I don’t know why I put off working out so often. I LOVE the Y, I love the elliptical, Pilates and Zumba. For some reason I let the prospect of the five minute drive stop me from DOING.

I finally broke that trend. Over a week straight, and I feel great!

Moving Day

I’m moving rooms. I almost said no. New is tough. It’s hard to let go of a place you’ve been in for over a decade! It’s especially tough since DD spent four years in the old newsroom. But the new space is bigger and better and I can’t believe I almost said no because of nostalgia. I won’t be at Rider forever. Even if I spend the next 13 years as the newspaper and yearbook adviser, someone else will follow. I can’t let my memories and the names written on the wall keep me from moving forward.

Things I’ll miss about the old room:

It’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

The courtyard window.

Easy access to the studio.

The names on the wall including DD’s, including my former editors who got engaged this year after dating for years. The started dating when they were sophomores in newspaper together. Their brother and sister are on staff now. When they got engaged, the sister painted a heart between the names. (So sweet!) The random places people signed the walls all over the room. The fact that there’s no room on the walls because they’re covered in design ideas, old posters and quotes kids say throughout the year, the fact that you have to be able to pay attention in complete chaos because the newsroom is tiny and there are usually four classes going on at once, the way I can be at my desk and look out across the room and tell if kids are working at every computer except one, the memories of staffs for years stopping work for random deadline dance parties, the ability to turn off the light and disappear from the school because without lights most people don’t know where we are, the Newsroom Lane hallway with first amendment posters, the phone IN the room so kids answer and make us laugh if I can’t get to it fast enough, the cabinet that used to hold curriculum but now serves as a binder holder for binders that never get used (An AP Stats study guide from five years ago was found there this year! Seriously, never gets used!)

The move is a good thing. The only bad thing is photo camp starts tomorrow. It runs from 9-noon. They turn the air off in our building at noon. It’s going to be 111 the rest of the week. I’m thinking the move might have to wait until all day air next week. Even though that means someone’s going to be moving in while I’m moving out.

Don’t forget Don’t forget Prodigal is on sale now. Click the link to buy or preview. Coupon Code: ZH29T good this week! Use it and the book’s only $0.99! Sisters with secrets.
Eighteen years ago, Cass Deason Myers ran away from home and heartbreak. Now she’s running away again, this time to the home she left behind. A preacher’s wife, Cass finds herself questioning her faith and her marriage. Her sister’s phone call asking for help with their mother provides the perfect opportunity to escape.
Anna Deason-Fite-Turner doesn’t want or need help for herself or her three daughters. But her mother is another story all together. Calling Cass is a last resort. But when Anna finds the bottle of pills in Momma’s dresser drawer, she knows she has to call her sister. Unfortunately, Anna knows when Cass comes home the whispers will start, and once again, everyone in town will compare perfect Cass to her failure of a sister, even though she’s the one who stayed behind.
Prodigal: a story about family, faith and the redemptive power of love.

 

When the going gets tough…

I’ve fretted for over twenty-four hours on revisions and it hit me today that all the worrying is RIDICULOUS because I’m using it as an excuse NOT to work. I know it’s going to be hard work, and I’m avoiding it…like I avoid exercise and shaving my legs every day and vacuuming. Only I love this story, so I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. I need to get the egg timer out and use it. And I need to turn OFF the wifi. The “You know you grew up in Burkburnett” facebook pages is taking up tons of time because I can’t stop reading it. 🙂 I’m going to use this nostalgia in a book one day.

What I’m working on: DGW, YA light paranormal. Main characters: Addy and Sharlene. Who knew all that time watching Mad Men would end up being HELPFUL to the books. This pic is VERY important to DGW.

So are the next two.

Time to stop procrastinating. Chapter 2, I’m done avoiding you.

Don’t forget Prodigal is on sale now. Click the link to buy or preview. Coupon Code: ZH29T good this week! Use it and the book’s only $0.99! Sisters with secrets.
Eighteen years ago, Cass Deason Myers ran away from home and heartbreak. Now she’s running away again, this time to the home she left behind. A preacher’s wife, Cass finds herself questioning her faith and her marriage. Her sister’s phone call asking for help with their mother provides the perfect opportunity to escape.
Anna Deason-Fite-Turner doesn’t want or need help for herself or her three daughters. But her mother is another story all together. Calling Cass is a last resort. But when Anna finds the bottle of pills in Momma’s dresser drawer, she knows she has to call her sister. Unfortunately, Anna knows when Cass comes home the whispers will start, and once again, everyone in town will compare perfect Cass to her failure of a sister, even though she’s the one who stayed behind.
Prodigal: a story about family, faith and the redemptive power of love.

 

Happy Endings

I’m not a doctor or a miracle worker or a minister or a social worker.

I’m a writer and a teacher.

In my day job, teaching, I try hard to get my kids to their happy ending. Often, it doesn’t work out. Used to, I didn’t believe that. Today, I know it’s true, but I still fight with everything I’ve got to somehow touch lives and maybe help the happy ending come to fruition.

Writing is different. In writing I can always deliver the happy ending. The affirmation. I can still be honest and authentic, but happily ever after can be achieved with every main character.

I HATE when my favorite authors, authors who have delivered one happy ending after another, suddenly go rogue and turn main characters into villains or kill them off.

It doesn’t bother me when it’s someone I know writes that kind of book. If I pick up a Sparks or Piccoult, the happy endings aren’t guaranteed. It’s why I rarely pick up a Sparks or Piccoult. 🙂

My books will always have a happy ending for the main characters. That’s not to say there won’t be a bittersweet element ever. I hope I can hone my skills to the point that the reader wonders how a happy ending will ever be possible and keeps reading to find out, but that happy ending will happen!

Prodigal released this week. Click the link to buy or preview. Coupon Code: ZH29T good this week! Use it and the book’s only $0.99!

Sisters with secrets.
Eighteen years ago, Cass Deason Myers ran away from home and heartbreak. Now she’s running away again, this time to the home she left behind. A preacher’s wife, Cass finds herself questioning her faith and her marriage. Her sister’s phone call asking for help with their mother provides the perfect opportunity to escape.
Anna Deason-Fite-Turner doesn’t want or need help for herself or her three daughters. But her mother is another story all together. Calling Cass is a last resort. But when Anna finds the bottle of pills in Momma’s dresser drawer, she knows she has to call her sister. Unfortunately, Anna knows when Cass comes home the whispers will start, and once again, everyone in town will compare perfect Cass to her failure of a sister, even though she’s the one who stayed behind.
Prodigal: a story about family, faith and the redemptive power of love.                 

You know you grew up in…

This last week facebook has exploded with “You know you grew up in….” groups. It’s been a fun walk down memory lane.

I’ll never forget the little store down the street from my house. We’d walk down barefoot to spend our allowance (Usually a quarter.)

I loved the feel of hot asphalt on my feet.

Once I found what I thought was four quarters in the road outside my house. I brought my friends with me to the store to buy us all candy. Turned out I had four Susan B. Anthony dollars! The store owner tried to convince me to save them. No way! We bought TONS of junk and shared it.

Back then we took off out the door as soon as possible on summer mornings and wouldn’t come home until dark. We’d play in the park, run around in the cow pastures, walk all over the place, but we made sure that when the sun went down we were home. If we weren’t TROUBLE followed.

Dark didn’t stop the fun, though. Dark brought ghost stories, and light as a feather, and Bloody Mary, and TV…sometimes.

I remember childhood in small town USA and I smile.

But one of the girls added to the group didn’t smile.

Her first post was “I didn’t really know you people and you made my life hell, why would I want to be in this group?”

The responses were fast: That was 20 years ago, get over it, and I’m sorry, and if you feel that way get off the group, and you’re right, and facebook allows people to apologize and give you peace over those times.

The girl did take herself off our hometown group, but I couldn’t help but think about how intense her emotions were 20 years later. She made sure people knew this wasn’t something she spent time thinking about, she’d moved on, was a success in life now, but that reminder of school years put her right back in that place she’d been when she lived in our town.

We talk about bullying today as if it’s something new. It’s not. Kids can be mean. They can be brutal. And adults have often turned away and let it happen.

I’m going to enjoy looking back on the memories of days gone by as I look at the facebook group, but I’m going to take a lesson from it, too. Our schools can be a place of fun and family, but they can also be a place that hurts. I want to make my class one where hurt is rare.