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Let It Go

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I just watched a video of a family I used to work for, who, despite what most people think, are very corrupt. I won’t say who they are, or what the video was about, in public, of course. They cheat their employees, as well as the Medicaid system (through which the employees are paid), in so many ways, but the people affected by it either don’t realize it (or if they do, they don’t mind) because of their surface kindness and giving nature, or are too desperate for work to call them out on it; I was part of the latter, and had to deal with this for two years.
I don’t approve of the couple or the way they handle things (and especially not how the wife saw me as someone to take out all her anger on),and I definitely do not miss working 12+ hours every Saturday and Sunday, and 5+ hours at least one other day per week, in the very unhealthy, unsanitary environment. It was literally driving me crazy. In the months before I quit, my mental health was quite possibly the worst it’s ever been.

But what I do miss is the children. I won’t say much about them, because I don’t want anyone to guess who I’m talking about, but those children worked their way into my heart and stayed there, no matter how stressed and crazy and anxious their care made me.

I love and miss them, so much that I just bawled my eyes out watching the video of them. It brought back memories of all the negative aspects: the yelling and cursing when I didn’t do something right, the hounding me for money they had loaned me seemingly with an open and generous spirit, and everything else that was bad about the job. I could never go back to work for that family, but those children… Especially the smallest two (or the two who were smallest, before they adopted another child), who were like my baby sisters. And the boy who I was actually supposed to be taking care of, while in reality I had to care for everyone, sometimes with adequate help, sometimes not – the boy I was hired to take care of, who loved to write stories, play guitar, sing, and was just very cuddly and loving and helpful and funny and… I could go on.

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I guess the reason I’m posting this is to say that I was angry at the entire family for a long time. At the thought of my time there, or any of the people, I would clench my fists and burn with inner rage.

But tonight, after watching that video, and remembering again all the good things – one girl drawing me endless pictures, singing and dancing along to Frozen over and over, and always wanting to give me a hug; another listening in rapt attention as I read her My Neighbor Totoro, and then falling asleep with her head on my stomach; another trying his best to play guitar and sing for me, and begging me to join him; another jumping up and down like a little kid when he got excited about something, even though he was a 200 pound teenager – the good things have made me realize that I’m not angry at the children. I still love them as much as ever – maybe even more, now that I’m not working myself to the bone taking care of them. I don’t wish that I’d never had the job. I realized that, while they added an insane amount of stress to my life, they also gave me a lot of love.

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What I’m angry at is the couple, the parents, who maintain that they’re nice, loving people, then the wife will go completely off on you for something very tiny, or the husband will act like everything’s fine and then complain about you to someone else later on. And one of their main employees, who treated me like a snotty child – I was the youngest employee, yes, at 20, 21, and 22, but I also have five younger siblings, two of whom are mentally handicapped. I wasn’t stupid, and I knew what I was doing, but she acted like I was just a child getting in the way. Anytime I asked her a polite question, or dared to point out something she was doing wrong, she would go off on me for not minding my own business, not letting her do her job. But of course, the couple we worked for absolutely LOVED her, and she had the seniority element, so I felt I couldn’t talk to them about the issues I had with her.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re angry, that’s fine. Don’t repress it; that can be unhealthy. Let yourself feel it. But – don’t hang on to it and let it fester. When it’s ready to be let go, let it go. Don’t force it or it may come back on even stronger. But if it starts to ebb away, encourage it. Do some introspection, and find out who you’re really angry at and why. Pick out the good things from your experience – things you learned, laughs you had, experiences you would not have otherwise been able to take part in.

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That’s what I’ve been doing, and it actually feels very freeing. My heart is opening back up to the children, and I’m remembering the love I had for them that was blocked out by the anger and rage and frustration at their parents and the whole situation.

I apologize if I’m rambling; I just felt like I needed to say this somewhere.

Here I am, in a drawing from one of the kids, with my trademark crazy pink fountain of hair spilling from a hole in my forehead.20160114_032500

 

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Keeper revamp!

I knew that, with my luck, no matter how many times I read through Keeper before publishing it, there would be something I missed while editing. And true to form, there was! So I decided to go through and re-edit the story, add a teaser for book 2 at the end (hint hint), and redo the cover!

So here’s the new cover. The second edition should be published soon. I hope you’ll all give it a read! 🙂

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Stop The Hate!

Rant warning:

I am sick and tired of people acting like the LGBT+ community is disgusting, or less than human, or hated by God.

What right do you have to say who God hates?

Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

It also says that being judgmental, insulting, gossiping, hurting people, and hatred are sins. You can’t tell me that you don’t do at least one of those – because if you’re one of the people acting like gays are slime, you are hurting people and being judgmental, at the very least.

You’re not better than them because you sin differently.

And frankly, we live in a majorly effed up world. If someone finds a relationship that makes them happy, and gives them a reason to live, then leave them alone. I’m sure God will forgive them, just like He’ll forgive you for judging them and hurting their feelings.

Honestly, I’m not so sure it’s a sin. The verse in the Bible about it says that the people were LEAVING their natural relationships for ones with the same gender, and that that was a sin. It didn’t say anything about what the natural relationship should be, or whether a natural same-sex relationship is right or wrong.

I’m not sure what I believe about whether or not it’s a sin, but you know what? I’m not going to go around judging people for it. That’s not my place, it’s God’s. It is my place to be a good example and shine His light to everyone, not just straight people, not just people with the same opinions as me.

Also, there’s another thing that I didn’t think about until a friend mentioned it to me.

“Coming out” is HARD. It hurts. It can alienate the one coming out from their family, their friends, their church family. Why would they do it if they didn’t feel it was right for them? It takes a LOT more courage than we think, fellow straight people.

A friend of mine came out as pansexual to her parents, and they punished her, had her dramatically prayed over, and they still bring it up insultingly now and then. But she hasn’t renounced it because she feels it is right for her, and she has the courage to stick up for herself.

Again, why would anyone go through all the pain and rejection you LGBT+ haters pile on them, if they didn’t feel it was right?

I’m not talking about a fling with the same sex just to try it out. I’m talking full-on coming out, as in “Mom, Dad, I’m gay.” We underestimate how much trauma they go through, how many insults they receive, how much it hurts them.

Because you have so much stigma toward them that you feel you have to make them like you. Because you’re afraid of anyone different. Because you want to impose your religion on everyone else – which is exactly why so many people HATE Christians, or anyone else religious, and their practices and their Gods.

Come on, everyone. God told us to love and include everyone. Not to love everyone except anyone who loves in a different way. Their sexual orientation is their choice amd their issue to deal with. Your issue is whether you’re going to love them regardless of what gender they are attracted to.

Thanks for reading.

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The Giveaway Is Over…

Too bad, so sad, call your dad. But you can still like and share my links and stuff, and of course preview and/or buy my book. 😉

Congratulate Calista Holmes, Ophelia Flowers, and Sherry Lauser, respectively, for winning the three prize packs!

And thank you all for helping out by entering and sharing!

I’d especially like to thank the awesomes who helped out with my blog tour, as well as Ophelia and Faith, who made the entire tour and giveaway a lot less stressful and mysterious and clumsy by answering my every dumb question.

Also, thanks to Katie Lynn Daniels and Faith Blum for generously donating prizes!

Check out my book, Keeper, by clicking HERE!!!

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The Legendary Giveaway!

HERE WE GO!

This giveaway will run for 1 week. I want you ALL to MAKE SURE that EVERY SINGLE ONE of your friends enters as much as they possibly can, to the best of your ability!

Rafflecopter giveaway, this way! CLICK ME!

And here are the prizes!

FIRST PRIZE:

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The notebook that inspired Livvy’s journal in Keeper!

I hand-wrote the two poems from the book in the nice,leather notebook, and there are plenty of pages for you to unleash your own creativity.

Plus a signed copy of Keeper! That’s not pictured because I’m waiting for it to come in the mail. 🙂

SECOND PRIZE:

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Livvy’s crystal heart necklace! The pendant is a stunning cubic zirconia that will make all your friends jelly. 😉

And two autographed Supervillain Of The Day posters, generously donated by Katie Lynn Daniels!

THIRD PRIZE:

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Livvy’s tea tin! It has a slot in the lid to drop coins through, and a sealed package of 20 English Breakfast tea bags straight from London. And it is some GOOD tea!

And a copy of A Mighty Fortress, generously donated by Faith Blum. Tea and a good book – what could be better?

I want to see you all entering and telling your friends! 😀

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My First Blog Tour! Yay Me!

Hello everyone! This is the official first stop of my blog tour to promote my debut novel, Keeper. I’m glad to have you! This is so exciting for me. I’ve never done a blog tour or giveaway, let alone published a book, before. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

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Today, I’ll be discussing the premise for Keeper, as well as giving y’all some information about myself.

So, let’s get started!

This is how I thought of the name for the main character, Dreamer:

I work at a grocery store right now, and I had a customer with this really cute little girl, about five years old. She was dark-skinned, and wore her black hair in braids with colorful barrettes. She was quite precocious and asked a lot of questions. I asked what her name was, and she said “Dreamer.” Suddenly, I knew I had to name a character Dreamer.

So I started working on a character profile. Dreamer was a dark-skinned teenage girl with her hair in braids. She was a daydreamer, a wisher, someone who didn’t see the joy in everyday life because she was always imagining a better world and yet couldn’t seem to change anything.

But I couldn’t think of a plot, so obviously I had a problem – until I remembered that I’d come up with a basic idea for a story that I hadn’t been able to expound upon. I can’t tell you what the idea was, because that would ruin the story, but I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out when you read the book!

So I merged the two and set to work, aware that my story would be hard to write, controversial, and I would probably be berated for taking the stance I do on the issues in the book, but knowing it would be something the world needs to read.

Dreamer is a precocious teenage girl grieving over the untimely death of her older sister, Livvy, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of seventeen. Her sister was her whole world, and she doesn’t know how to continue on after Livvy is gone.

Her parents decide to move to another state, to get away from everything that reminds them so much of their deceased daughter, and Dreamer has to figure out a way to cope and put her life back together.

Then something shatters that world again, a life-changing event that is a catalyst for a huge choice Dreamer must make.

For a while I was stuck on a plot hole, but then I figured it out in a brilliant moment of clarity, and I knew I would finish this book and it would be my debut.

I wrote like mad during NaNoWriMo 2014 (more to come about that later in the blog tour), then took a break to regroup and plan the rest of the book, and ended up finishing it this spring. I remember the moment I tapped the last period – a gigantic wave of excitement and melancholy washed over me. I had finished it. Finished my first real, publish-worthy book. I had to say goodbye to the characters I’d grown to love so much, but I was starting on my way to my dream career of being an author. It was bittersweet, but definitely more sweet than bitter.

The editing process took a few months – it’s always my least favorite part – but finally, it was ready.

I logged into CreateSpace, and you can guess the rest.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this book! Thanks for reading this! Stay tuned for the giveaway at the end of the tour. And share this post, pretty please!

The next post, in which I tell a bit more about my main character, will be on J. Grace Pennington’s blog tomorrow – make sure you check it out!

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Ten Things TO Say To A Depressed Person

Recently, I shared a post about what not to say to depressed people. I thought it was genius, because people say the things in the post all the time, and it gets on my freaking nerves.

But then a friend commented and asked, “But what DO we say? There are never any posts telling us what to say, just posts telling us off for saying the only things we can think of. We just want to help, but all we ever get are beatdowns for saying the wrong stuff” (Lauren, I’m paraphrasing, in case you read this).

So I decided to step in and fill that gap.

Ten Things TO Say To A Depressed Person

1. “I know you’re really hurting, and I’d like to help any way I can.”

We don’t often trust easily, but if you really mean it, and SHOW that you mean it, something like this can make all the difference.

2. “How can I be a better friend/help you better?”

We may not always have answers to these questions, because we don’t always know what we need, but sometimes we can point out ways that you could be better. This is not trying to manipulate you into our perfect version of a friend – this is trying to help you understand what helps and what hurts. Be prepared for constructive criticism, and know that it’s all in kindness.

3. “What are your triggers, so I can try to avoid them?”

Obviously, it’d be ridiculous for us to expect all our friends to consistently avoid every one of our triggers, but knowing that you’re willing to try is a huge help, and a big step to building our trust in you. Some say that we just need to learn to deal with our triggers – but how can you heal when your wounds are constantly torn open? Yeah, we need to come to terms with our triggers – but on our own time, not yours.

4. “I love you.”

Simple as that. Those three words can make all the difference. Who cares if it’s awkward? It shows us we have worth to another human being. It helps us know that we matter, that maybe the world wouldn’t be better off without us.

5. ”                                                               ”

Say nothing. Just listen. Just care. Having something to say for everything we try to tell you is not going to help, especially if it’s a fix-it method. Sit quietly and just listen.

6. “Can I hug you?”

Some of us may be freaked out by a hug, if you’ve never given us a hug before, or if we simply aren’t used to physical contact. So ask first… but the answer will almost always be yes.

7. “Can I pray for you, right now?”

For the Christians reading this, prayer can be a huge help. Take your friend’s hand if acceptable, or just bow your head and close your eyes, and pray for the person, out loud. Even if they don’t have the same faith, most of the time, it will make them feel a lot better.

8. “Here’s my number. Text me anytime you want. I’m here for you.”

Or Facebook, or email, or what-have-you. It’s an amazing help to have someone we know we can go to, for venting purposes, or to be comforted, or simply reassured that we’re not hopeless.

9. “I don’t know what you’re going through.”

It’s okay to admit it. In fact, we’d prefer that you did, rather than pretending to understand something you don’t – because if you don’t have depression, it’s very difficult, or even impossible, to grasp the full scope of how it feels and how it affects us.

10. “I’m here for you.”

If you mean it, this can lift a huge weight off of our shoulders. But don’t expect instant trust or full disclosure, because we’ve heard that line many times before, and it turns out not all the people who say it actually MEAN it.

Thank you for reading! Was this post helpful to you? Do you have any other suggestions?

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What? A Book? Me?

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Yep, that’s right. I FINALLY finished a book! It’s not one of the ones I talked about much on my blog, but it’s one that’s very near and dear to my heart.

I wrote most of it during NaNoWriMo 2014, and finished it this spring – I’ve been working on editing ever since, and now I think it’s finally ready. I hope it is, anyway. I can’t shake this nagging fear that even though I read through it a dozen times, there’s something I missed, that I won’t find out about until someone reads the book and points it out to me.

Release date will be August 17th, which also happens to be my 22nd birthday! So whatever shindig I end up throwing will be a combination birthday and book-release party, which should be fun.

I’ll also be starting a blog tour on the day of release, so stay tuned for that – because it ends in a giveaway!

The giveaway will involve several items from the book, as well as stuff donated by some of my generous writerly friends. Don’t miss it!

Can’t wait to see your beautiful Web personas on the release date! 😀 I hope you’re as excited as I am!

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Floating Castle

Unfortunately the picture isn’t mine. Just the poem. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

I stand on the edge
Overlooking the river
Feeling like a queen

A miniscule piece
Of this cold and dreary world
Right now mine to keep

And the fog rolls in
Like a thick, chilly blanket
Smothering vision

Then with sight goes sound
Leached away by the damp mist
From this cloud nation

A floating castle
Hovers nearby, with towers
Poking from the clouds

Windows and turrets
Walls made not of stone or wood
But of misty shroud

And from far away
A melody floats by me
Untraceable song

Distant instruments
Play their enchanting music
I dance for so long

Numb feet and cold nose
Breath coming in quick gasps
Can’t feel my fingertips now

I start to shiver
But I don’t want to leave here
And I don’t know how

If I leave this place
I have to face the real world
But this feels like home

Icy northern winds
Start to blow the fog away
And chill my frail bones

I know I must let
My castle fade away now
The thought makes me shake

So I let it slip
Fleeing with the damp, white mist
The cold makes me ache

Close the heavy door
To the lonely balcony
Where my mind is free

I catch one more glimpse
Of a tall castle tower
Blown by wind, it flees.

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I am truly sorry for your loss.

This is for the man who broke my heart. Not in a romance, for I’ve never had one of those, but in a friendship. Such a close friendship, I thought it would never end. We joked about hanging out in the same nursing home when we get old. We called each other every time one of us was upset, and we’d stay on the phone all night if need be. We had so many inside jokes that practically everywhere I looked, something would remind me of him and make me smile, even on my worst days. And he told me that he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for me.

No, I’m not sorry you lost me, because you didn’t deserve me anyway. Maybe your old self did, the young man I used to know. The godly, wise brother who I went to with all my problems, who listened to me and made me feel loved and protected even when I felt completely alone. The person who I could always count on to cheer me up, advise me, comfort me, like the older brother I never had.

You know who you are. If you’re even bothering to read this, that is.

I was a young woman, struggling through life, but confident and assured in the fact that no matter what life brought, my best friend would be by my side. I proudly showed off the things you gave me, telling people “This came from my best friend. He’s like my big brother.”

Do you know where those things are now? Burned. Because I’m now a broken person, no longer able to trust in anyone or anything, desperate for some kind of closure to make me stop thinking about the amazing friend who I lost because he lost himself.

You found a girl, and I was so very happy. We made plans for me to be your “best man” at the wedding. I supported you through it all.

But coincidentally, I began to go through an even tougher time in my life than I had been before, and when I reached out to you, you pulled away. Held me at arm’s length. Talked, but did not communicate. I confronted you on this, and you told me I was being clingy and overly dramatic, then accused me of acting that way because I had a crush on you. Because that’s the only reason for someone to need her best friend to be there for her when he refuses to be, right?

I told myself it was just a phase, that if I kept trying, if I was patient, you’d come around and remember what we had, a close friendship that could’ve survived anything.

Or so I thought.

I don’t want to make you feel guilty. I don’t want to call you out. I don’t want you to reply. I just want you to know that someday, you’ll regret the loss of your true self, the kind, caring, generous, understanding young man who would have done anything for his friends in a heartbeat. I regret the loss of him every single day of this thing I call life. But I don’t want you back, because the you I knew is dead and gone, and even were you to resurrect him, I’d never be able to trust you again.

I hope your wife knows how you break your promises, and let down people who depend on you, at the drop of a hat. I hope your kids don’t have depression, because someday when they try to talk to you about it, the new you will shoot them down, tell them their feelings are selfish, and possibly lose them. And I hope you find your true self, someday, because if the you I knew isn’t the real you, then neither is this cold, stoic, unfeeling, unempathetic one. But when and if you do find him, don’t bother looking for me. I hope to have gotten over losing you a long, long time before that happens.

Have a nice life. I really hope you do, despite everything.

If you’re not the person I’m talking to, and you don’t know who he is, but you’re wondering – please, don’t ask. Chances are I won’t want to talk about it, now or ever.

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