If At Birth You Don’t Succeed

It is so easy for us to suffer from self-pity. We run into a stumbling block, and feel like it’s the end of all that matters.

I am one of those people. I can’t open a jar, I drop something, can’t find what I’m looking for… I ask, out loud, why does everything have to be so hard? Mainly, it’s just the stress talking. But really, life is fairly easy for me. Even though I suffer from chronic pain from back issues, I am able bodied.

Sometimes, I just need that gentle reminder.

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I dragged my husband to Barnes & Noble and perused the store. When I saw this book, I had to pick it up. Turns out it was written by a comedian who was born with Cerebral Palsy (which he humorously refers to as the sexiest of all palsies.)

This guy turns every challenge into a funny story. From his short time with his own show he won in an Oprah contest, to literally shitting himself… it’s funny.

And he has such a great optimism in the face of what would probably destroy most. This book is wildly inspirational, yet amazingly entertaining. I can’t recommend this enough.

You can find the book at Amazon, B&N, and probably many other outlets.

Making my last words count. Happy 2014!

I could recount the year, mentioning all of the things I’ve been through this year.  Those things probably matter more to me than you so, we’ll skip that.  I could make it funny and I could make it witty.  Instead, I’ll make it count.

Many people fear the number 13 and after this past year, I can see why.  But we’re headed into a new year and I think it is important to think about things that matter.  Go ahead and make your resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, swear less etc.  We all do it every year.

But this year, I challenge you to do one thing to make the world suck less.  I got involved with Project for Awesome.  I went ahead and added the link for you because you can learn more by going there but all in all, it’s a bunch of YouTubers making small infomercials for various charities.  Meanwhile, people can donate funds.  This year, almost $870k was raised.  Money will be disbursed among the charities.  It is just a bunch of people called “NerdFighters” doing what they can to reduce WorldSuck.  It is the brainchild of Author John Green and his brother Hank – who does so much it matters not to put his job title in this sentence.

I digress, some of these charities actually use the YouTube video as a commercial for themselves.  (Cool Right?)  It really is a great project.  I couldn’t settle on ONE issue to promote so I ended up just spreading the word and donating my time the best way I could.  Next year, I’ll have this done ahead of time…

Since I’m on this topic of passion, I’m friends with a few animal rescuers on Facebook.  The pictures they post just yank my heart out and stomp on it.  So I’m going to take this time to reach out.  Animals become your family.  They depend on you and when you hurt them, fail to meet their base needs and don’t love them back… it breaks them.  Dumping your dog off at the shelter because he or she isn’t convenient for you is almost as close as throwing your child out of the house.  It hurts just as bad.  You may not think so, but I swear your dog does.  They are pack animals and without the pack, they are destroyed.

I have a mastiff.  This means bruised thighs from his tail, cleaning slobber off of nearly ever surface, feeding him a raw meat diet which is HOLY NASTY BATMAN, washing his blood off the walls (he has happy tail – he gets so excited, he breaks the tip.)  He is about as inconvenient as it gets.  But, like having a child, we don’t do it out of convenience.  He was just MORE than we expected, even after researching them online before accepting him as a gift.  But I became his mom, his pack leader and he guards me with his life.  His entire mental and emotional well-being depends on a firm hand (which for him is a firm “No!” and he cowers like, you beat him,)  and my love.

I offer the following evidence:

Without makeup and with the 10 holiday pounds, he still thinks I'm awesome!

Without makeup and with the 10 holiday pounds, he still thinks I’m awesome!

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Be good to your fellow humans and be sure to take care of your furry family too.  Their lives are already relatively short, so let’s make them count!

Happy 2014!  Let’s make this year count and do at least ONE THING to make the world suck less.

I will buy you flowers…

I know this is not the typical blog post.  I know, logically, that I’m supposed to push my books and entertain you.  But you all have very real lives as do I.  You are as real as I, your problems, your family, your fears…they are all real.  Here I am, sitting alone before my laptop working on my latest novel.  I’ve written in about 10k word increments, because I’ve closed myself off in my little hidey hole and dove right in.

But my mind wandered a bit ago.  I’m thinking about You. It’s the time of year to be thankful, followed by possibly the most glorious time of year for some – yet the loneliest for others.  As our hours of sunlight start to diminish as we head into the winter season, depression kicks in.

I have a handful of folks in my life that are suffering at the moment.  My own suffering ended a very short time ago and positivity started radiating through my life.  I won a long and grueling custody battle.  I landed the trifecta of book deals and a mass reduction in stress just graced my presence.  I still have stress, don’t be misled.  But it’s not as bad as it was earlier this year.  I spent the most of 2013 in turmoil, with stomach aches and nightmares as I worried about the future of my offspring.  I sat through meetings with Child Protective Services, therapists and lawyers.  It…was…hell.  I wanted to grab a bottle of vodka and take it to bed with me.  I wanted to pass out and sleep through the madness.  But I had a duty – one that comes with motherhood.  I would fight, to the death if need be, for my babies.

There is a lot of sadness surrounding me.  For some, it’s the heartache of having a child grow into an adult.  It’s left them with a gaping hole where parenthood once resumed.  For others, it’s the end of a marriage leaving devastation and confusion in its wake.  There are parents, sobbing because the children they would lay down and die for, have turned their back, spitting on the very bond so many would give anything to have.

But I do remember all of you.  I remember you sharing with me, cheering me on, when I thought all was lost.  I remember the warm embraces, the love and understanding you showed when my knees would buckle and I didn’t think I could get through one more day.  I will not forget the support you showed me and my family.

I am here for you.  I will smile for you; curse those who’ve hurt you and hold you up when your knees are weak.  I will send you the flowers he should have,rainbow01 so you don’t forget how it feels.  I will buy them so you know what is waiting for you, after the healing has commenced.  I will wrap my arms around you and squeeze.  You can even cry and snot on my shirt.  It’s okay, I’m a mom.  I’ve had tears and snot on  me before.

Most of all, I’m here to give you back some of the love you’ve given me.  Because without you, I could not have made it this year.  It’s my turn.  And in the spirit of this month’s holiday, I’m thankful for you all.

 

 

When kindness shocks

What I do

My books have a lot of violence.  They contain sexual assault, murder, physical altercations, gunshots and sometimes, serial killers.  Mostly because of the genre in which I write (crime fiction), there is violence… and a lot of it.  But honestly, it’s because I’m fascinated that the human mind can go so terribly awry.

What doesn’t shock me.

I find it odd when people hear about shootings or other acts of violence and say, “I can’t believe it.”  I do believe it.  It’s not difficult to wrap my mind around the random acts of violence that plague our earth anymore.  I shake my head.  My heart aches for my children, knowing that the world isn’t becoming a better place.  I worry about the potential violence that may reach their lives, and mourn the loss of their innocence because some of it has.  I don’t expect the violence, but I know and accept that it exists.  I’m not in shock.  I think this is healthy. It makes me aware.  It makes me prepared.

Kindness shocks

I’ve run across a lot of stories in the last month or so about random acts of kindness, paying it forward and human compassion.  This does shock me.  Why?  Because it’s been so long since I’ve borne witness to such events myself.  Below are just a few stories that touched my heart.  I do hope they touch yours.

Parents give away Starbucks coffee to commemorate their daughter #AJO.  It’s a touching story that spread across the web, twitter, race, religion, states… Just warms your heart.

ht_alyssa_oneill_coffee_jtm_130927_16x9_992  Click here to read full story.

An act of empathy on a train. (Click here to read the full story.)  Why does this touch us?  Is it so shocking because there is a hooded African American male sleeping on the yarmulke wearing Jew?  The man simply felt empathy and compassion because (brace yourself) he’d been that tired before.  He didn’t see a threat. He didn’t worry about his own comfort.  He’d been so tired he’d fallen asleep on a train and knew the young man must have needed the rest.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Courtesy of the Huffington Post.

And finally, the story of this San Diego officer’s random act of kindness moments before his death.  His murder isn’t the topic of the story, it’s what he did for one 13 year old boy.  He bought him McDonalds and chatted with him about his future.  He was shot to death moments later sitting in his squad car… only a short time after returning from serving two tours in Iraq.

It’s not okay with me that I’m not shocked by violence, but I am by empathy, compassion and kindness.  I fear that I’m not alone in this.  We should come to expect these things.