Kindergarten, Here He Comes!

These people make up my sweet family!

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My oldest kiddo started kindergarten today. He’s sweet and funny, careful and brave, a learner and a thinker… He’s going to be great! So cheers to my boy as he ventures this unknown! ūü•õ‚ú®ūü•õ

Mama LOVES you!

Giving It Away: Poetry and Art

I recently bought some watercolor pencils and have been having a grand time playing with them.

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My mom gave me a bit of money for Mother’s Day, which funded the purchase. So, I gave my first piece to my patron and, can I just say, I’m pleased as punch at how it came out.¬†ūüėć

I wrote the poem a week or so before as an observation after seeing a ladybug flying away, but it really embodies my mom, too. She’s been through a ton, and I’m watching her hover now, her pointed toes inches above the earth.

Definitely expect to see more watercolors in the future. I’m kinda in love with them.

Sig

Update on Life-April Edition

I have so much to tell you since the last time I’ve written. I think I’ll put it in sections, so I don’t forget anything.

A. The Poetry

With the poetry book done, I got a notice my alma mater was having a poetry reading that weekend. Standing in front of people I may or may not know and reading something that comes from such a private, personal place sounded terrifying. So I did it. And it was terrying.  I choked the last line because I was trying not to cry.

But something good did come from it. A past professor, one I really looked up to, was there and after the event, she sat with me and went through every word of the chapbook and made sound suggestions that really made the quality of the whole project leaps and bounds better.

Though I’d settled on the title, it bugged me a bit. She helped me change it. I’ve already reworked the suggestions, and even submitted it to the first competition. There are two more that I’ll send to soon.

I’m going to write more on this, but I see merit now in choosing a smaller project to see through, beginning to end, before launching into a novel. I have tangible evidence on what “done” is like, and it is addictive. I believe the memory of it will carry me to completion on the next novel project.

B. Camp Nanowrimo

I have a goal of 25,000 words to get me to the end of a first draft of SongNovel. There is a new layout method that I’m in love with and am itching to put to action. (Dan Harmon’s story circle. Check it out!) I was doing really well, even exceeding word counts during the weekdays, so my weekends would be more family focused. Approximately 7,500 words in, my husband found a house that he loved. I love it, too, and through a series of emotional events, we’re…

C. Buying and Selling a House

After Hurricane Katrina (2005), the apartment the newly wedded Smiths (that’s us) lived in became too expensive. Not only my apartment complex, but also a host of others who sustained damage from the hurricane raised monthly cost $100 or more. We also had a pet, which meant most affordable complexes would not rent to us, even before Katrina. So we bought a little baby house, in hopes that we would be able to move to a toddler house about two years or so after.

For the past, 11 years, we have shared 1 bathroom about the size of an office desk. And we have grown from a 2 person family to a 4 person family as well. There are no secrets where there should be secrets. My friends, it’s time for a second bathroom. Please, Lord Jesus, let it be time for a second bathroom.

So we put a contract on the house that we love, contingent upon the selling of our current home.

Relatedly, on January 21, 2017, a tornado hit our small town, and I am still in conversations with contractors to complete/start work on our house. AND NOW WE HAVE TO SELL IT.  Per our contract, we had to list the house asap.

I cleaned the house to take pictures of the inside of it before the sheetrock gentleman came to fix spots in two¬†ceilings and a section of carport. Then I cleaned more when people wanted to see the house before the work was done. I will also have to deep clean the house again when the workers finish. (I don’t know when that will be because they are on contractor time, which I found out recently is different than Mea time.) There is a daily tidying situation that has to happen before work everyday because you never know when you will have to tell your realtor, “Sure, these potential buyers can see the house without the 24 hours of notice we asked for.” (Daily tidying wouldn’t be difficult if my two toddlers weren’t sleeping on a pallet in the living room because their ceiling is getting worked on, and–I have two toddlers.)

And then there are…

D. Kittens Residing on my Front Porch

My sweet kitty is the best mom and wants her babies to see the world, but not from the cozy confines of our outside laundry room, as I had hoped. Instead she’s set up shop on our front porch, so anyone who would like to look at the house must first pass five tiny, blue-eyed, toe-biting guards and their mother. (They are adorable and we’re keeping two of the five because we love them so.) (I just wish I could love them so from the house we want to buy instead of the house we want to sell.)

E. Conclusion

I know this is just a season of life that will be fine in some months. It’s just messing with my creative life so I’m a little resentful. I can adjust with this unexpected change because at the end of the day, it will benefit my family. The house is a fixer upper, too, so I hope to be posting some before-and-afters of rooms and projects. I’ll tag them something clever in case you don’t care to see.

So…this is my life currently. Anyone else going through a big change?

Sig

February ’15 Update

The four weeks of February threatened to kick my butt. I seriously felt rubber to ass, but somehow, I managed to be productive. For the entire month, someone in my household was ill. Mostly, more than one of us at the same time. AND just when I thought¬†we were¬†so very close to well, my parents visit and my step-mother has the flu. She didn’t know until we took her to the ER at 3am, and it’s not her fault, but dammit, she has the flu. Which means that there MIGHT¬†the flu in the Smiths future. I’m praying March will be the Month o’ Health and we will all be at full strength as we choke on Lysol and chaff from using all the soap in Mississippi.

I had a monthly goal to revise at least one hour a day, Monday through Friday. I laughingly thought that this would be enough time to revise the entire book. It was not. I am 4 chapters shy of finishing Part I. But also…….I’m 4 chapters shy of finishing Part I!

Here are the numbers:

16 work days (I wanted 20)

21 hours and 15 minutes of work time (I set my goal for 20) (Yay!)

Revised 19 chapters (out of 23 for Part I) (I already told you about my unrealistic thought process above)

I also cleaned out my closet, a bigger task than one might expect. I’m pleased but really want to finish revisions in March. I’m keeping my goal grand, just in case…

Good luck to you in your life endeavors, writing or decluttering or whatever!

<3,

Mea

October Update

I completely forgot that I didn’t do an October Update until about… 10 seconds ago. Let’s call it the effects of About to have a Baby Syndrome and move on, shall we? Ha HA!

Plotting was the them of the month and I got to the very last lovely scene on the book. I’m very excited to start revisions after completing the draft. I love the last scene! It’s sweet and sad and hopeful… There’s resolution and wonder. This place where I am has taken me so long, but it’s so damn satisfying.

Though the Words-to-Date are the same at 43,004, I did plot 2.040 words in 4.5 hours of work time within 3 days. The stats are blowing anyone away, but progress is progress.

I will be having a baby sometime within the next three weeks, so I’ll either get tons of work done or none at all. I’m not sure what to expect with a toddler and a newborn, so goal making for the new year may be put off until I physically can get back on my feet.

I hope you out there are getting closer to your goals. I hope you are getting there faster than me! If you’re doing NANOWRIMO, good luck!!! This is me cheering you on! YAY, YOU!!!!!

August Update

August is over and the end of the year is getting CLOSER! How are you guys getting through your Goals? I’m truckin’ along! Some have been changed due to circumstance and pregnancy, but that’s life, y’all. We deal, right?
I’d like to tell you a little of what I’ve learned since I’ve started to finishing Part II of the First Daft. Before I even started writing, I drafted an entire back story, all the while creating the nuts and bolts of this story. I have an ENORMOUS amount of paper and files that will never see the light of day and that did not have any effect on what I am currently writing. (I reserve the right to change my mind about this as my first draft and first revision isn’t done, but right now I feel like I wasted a whole lot of time dreaming.) So I resolved to start writing and to worry about back story issues along the way. For Part I of the book the only thing I knew when I seriously started writing was at what point the section needed to end and the end of my book all together. These are two super good things to know, by the way. (Well, maybe I had an idea instead of a specific scene about where Part I needed to end, but as the end drew near, I had a specific scene.) But from here to there, I had nothing but a foggy image in my head, y’all. I made it up on the fly and, can I just say, there is a LOT of revising that is going to have to happen in Part I. A. Whole. Lot. I finally got to my ending scene. Reread the section once and got it to CP knowing that it was going to change shape completely, but she had it, and I had my milestone, and she loves me unconditionally, so I knew I would eventually be forgiven. But something had to change for Part II. I wouldn’t survive another almost-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants section. This book would never get done that way. I know me.
So for Part II, I spent time drafting an outline-ish type thing. It was something like a timeline and felt like a lot of “Oh! And then THIS!” with a sentence or two or clever dialogue that sprang up or something. Originally, I wrote it on a flow pad. I think better with a pen in my hand, and when it was done, I transposed it to a document. This worked so very well. I had a starting and a stopping point not only for the second section, but also for each writing day. I’d open up the outline and know what I had finished before and what needed to be written that session. If I’d written something that made the story more interesting, no worries! I’d just alter my outline a little in retrospect, do a quick read through to eliminate plot holes, and move the heck on. I also starting keeping track of how much I wrote, when, and for how long on a chart, which is how I’m able to write these Monthly Update posts.
So now Part II is done, and I’m outline Part III. I have 10 scenes with sentences and I know where I want to end. While I was thinking, I wrote on the first scene and have it completed now. I like that I still feel the progress of writing while I’m in a bit of a holding pattern (outlining), seeing how to get to the end. I still hope I can get through Part III by December 10th (baby’s due date), but we’ll see.
I look forward and dread Revision. There will need to be some major overhauling. My hope is that by the end of it, I’ll be proud that I finished the effort. Because this has been such a HUGE effort.
In short:
Break your story into three sections, know where each section starts and ends, and loosely outline each section before your write it. This formula has worked for me so far, and I hope it saves someone who is starting from scratch months and years of my frustration.

STATS:
Words-2,632
Days with writing in them-3
Hours: 3 hours and 55 minutes
(Not including outlining days, lots of article reading, and a webinar)
Words to Date: 42,631

I hope y’all are pressing on toward the goal! Gotta go pick up my sweet son, now! Later!

July Update

July marked a milestone accomplished! Part II is completed, folks. It’s on to Part III, and I am super excited. I think the first draft can be done by the time BabyTwo is ready to say, “Hello, World!” Oh, I’m getting excited!

The writing was better than last month, but not up to par as past months. I’m working on regaining my drive and the second trimester of pregnancy has been good to me, so far as not draining all of my life powers as it did previously. Outside stress is still there, but there isn’t much of it that I can control. It’s hard to see people I care about make decisions that maybe I wouldn’t make, but at the end of the day, I am an adult because I get to make my own choices and so are the other people. I still love them and will continue to, no matter what they choose. Also, if I had a superpower, I would control cancer.

Okay. No more waiting. The stats for July are:

Days with writing in them: 5
Amount of time writing: 6 hours and 35 minutes
Number of words written: 3,615
Total number of words written for the year: 39,999
(I really wanted to go in and add a particle or adjective in there just so I could say I broke 40,000 words, but I didn’t. I will remain honorable.)

Does this call for a Yay!Gif? I believe it does.

I hope y’all had a great month. Bring on August! Happy Writing!

April Update

Meeting goals is fun, y’all. Soooo much fun.

I didn’t think this month was as writing productive as last month, to tell you the truth. I got a little distracted. On April 9th, I found out I was having a baby–YAY!–but with the nausea and sleep issues (I want it ALL THE TIME) and mind games that hormones play, I felt so lacking in this area. Still, though, I trudged along when I could, fifteen minutes here, thirty minutes there, lunch breaks, down time, and

LO AND BEHOLD

when the minutes and words combined, I found that I had MET MY WRITING GOAL for the month.

YEAH!

April had 12 hours and 33 minutes of writing time over 14 days. I completed 9 scenes and 8,862 words found a home. The yearly total ramps up to 26,783.
And the kicker… there are 10 scenes left in Act II.

I am so ready to get this first draft down and to begin the next challenge–revision. Dum Dum Dahhhhhm!

I’m totally geeked.

Hope your April lacked all the threats of vomiting mine had and that it was filled with sunshine and rainbows!

Thankful

No surprise that in November, protocol requires me to write a thanksgiving post.  I love November because everyone acknowledges things they’re thankful for. Today that is me.

As much as I try to be Mrs. Positive Pants everyday, sometimes that is so stinkin’ hard.  It’s a little easier in November because lots of people try to be Mrs., Miss, or Mr. Positive Pants, and I feed off the positive energy like a leech.  So here I am, hoping to feed you some jolly juice, my fellow Leech, you.

There are the big things…family, my tiny home, my ability to pay for said home, friends, good weather…

I am so in love with my life, even as I struggle to make it better.  I think this is possible because I figured a few things out.  First of all, I know that I strive for worthwhile goals.  The past five years have been so enlightening for me.  In some aspects, I feel like I didn’t really start living MY life until then.  So now, I’m a 30-year-old goal seeker, and I’m just fine with that.  Sure I wish I would have been one of those people who figured things out in high school or something.  Who wouldn’t? But instead of dwelling on all the lost opportunities(which benefits nothing, I found out), I’m trying to make the time I have left so very meaningful.  Being a mom helped me realize how much I can squeeze into one day.  I told a friend of mine just recently that I didn’t know how lazy I was until I had Blue.  You don’t have to have a kid, however, to be aware of how you spend your time.

Secondly, I’m finally my own person.  I care about other people, true, but their words and opinions don’t rule me, and this…this is freeing in a way I never expected.  At Blue’s birthday party, I was able to tell someone close to me that I didn’t want multiple pictures of every, single gift as he “opened” it.  As someone who has been to multiple kid birthday parties, I didn’t want to torture my guests in that way.  There are so many other ways, like making them watch my kid splatter cake all over himself and others for twenty minutes while I hold the food hostage until he’s done. The point is, even though the person was obviously sad about not being a photographer for a day, It didn’t cripple me to tell them to sit down and enjoy the show. It’s my son’s party, gift time is awkward, and I didn’t want to prolong the awkward moment.  The end. I would have said nothing or worried my head off about what the person felt after I did say something 6 years ago.   

So, between a loving, supportive family, worthy goals, and being unabashedly Me, I am the happiest and the most thankful I’ve every been in my life.

I don’t want to lie to you.

Bad things happen.

To me, to people I love, to people I barely like.

But because of those Big Things I grasp like a winning lottery ticket, I am able to deal and still be smiling at the end of it.

When bad things happen to people I love, people I barely like, and even people I kinda don’t like, I try to be that supportive person I know they don’t have because, if they did, they wouldn’t be talking to me.

So there’s that.

There are little Happies, too!! Oh, good gracious, aren’t there!!

Today, my attitude completely changed because I popped a bag of salt and lime natural popcorn. It AMAZED me. Suddenly, I saw flowers everywhere. Birds sang on my shoulder. Bunnies frolicked in the breezeway.

And it dawned on me:

I could be this happy everyday if there was enough salt and lime popcorn in my desk drawer!

No. That’s not right.

I could be this happy everyday if I let the happy small stuff do their thing.

Let yourself laugh out loud at that funny quote, Mea. Don’t be a professional robot.

It’s okay that you like to scotch tape mailouts closed, Mea. You work in an OFFICE and don’t even have to pay for office supplies, so really, you’re a winner.

And if salt and lime popcorn can make birds sing, share.

Happy Thanksgiving.