The Gift of Words

I am not a crafty person, by any means. I couldn’t get on the Pinterest train because I knew I would never be able to recreate all those awesome projects, so it just frustrated me.

What I do have is my words. I’m pretty good (I think) at expressing myself with the written word. It’s easier to get it all out when I see the words in front of my face and I have time to consider the reaction they may or may not get.

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary. Matt and I have been married for four years. I really wanted to do something wonderful this year, travel to some quiant bed and breakfast or maybe some stereotypical stay-cation spot like Niagara Falls. But we both kind of really sucked at saving up for that trip, so it isn’t going to happen. I feel bad, but will just make sure that doesn’t happen again..

Anyways, times are tight so my gift to Matt for our anniversary was my words. I wrote him a (handwritten) letter. I won’t go into detail what I put in it, but it was all from my heart.

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I still remember our wedding day. I think…I hope that I will always remember it, even with age. I remember how nervous I was, how it felt like I was walking on a cloud. Everything was hazy.

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I remember the chaos of getting ready, and the laughter and tears my sisters and I shared while we got our hair done and dresses on. I remember driving to the hall where we were to be married, sitting in the front seat of the van my in-laws rented to take guests from the reception to the hotel, just reflecting on how I knew everything was about to change…for the better, of course.

They say that little girls dream of their wedding day for decades, and it’s true…or at least, it was for me. I used to envision myself getting married to some handsome, incredible man in the backyard of the house I grew up in, just like in Father of the Bride. I used to picture how I would look (like a princess, obviously).

I remember thinking about all that heavy stuff about weaving your life with someone elses on the ride over, in that rental van, having strangers honk at me and wave their congratulations. It was surreal.

Although some things had changed about my dream wedding, such as the location, it was far better than anything I ever could have envisioned, even if I wasn’t the most graceful bride, even if I nearly tripped 700 times before I got to the alter, even if my dad had to physically hold me back so I wouldn’t run…and even if I practically jumped at Matt once the infamous “you may kiss the bride” line was said.

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I still wouldn’t change a moment of all that. I wouldn’t make myself more graceful or posed. The raw, authentic, awkwardness of me was perfect…at least, he thought so. He still does.

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The wedding was just the beginning of our story together, the very first page of a new novel. The part 2 to how we met, how we fell in love, how we became three.

We’ve both come so far in the past 4 years, individually and together. I supported him and cheered him on while he rocked college. Now, he’s supporting me and cheering me on while I grow as a business owner and finally chase my dreams of writing (and publishing) novels. He’s been so incredibly understanding of everything along this journey. He’s pushed me to follow my dreams, and always…and I mean always given me whatever my heart desires.

In four years, I’ve also learned that marriage is not easy…it’s not for the weak of heart. It really takes a lot of work. It’s easy to lose sight of each other, and I’ll admit…we have. We’ve fallen on opposite sides of the battle field of life, fighting against each other instead of beside and for each other. We’ve realized our mistakes of course, and always find a way back to one anothers side…but it hasn’t always been easy. We’ve hurt each other in the process of learning how to weather the storms together, but we’ve also forgiven each other. We know that we are both intense and tempramental, and we are finally learning…after four years…how not to press one anothers buttons.

I truly believe that love is a garden, and I’ve applied this knowledge to our marriage and it’s been better for it. We don’t ever ignore our weeds, we try to figure out a way to get them out together.

I know that it won’t always be easy. I know that it’s sometimes downright hard. But I also know that he and I are fighters, we are both stubborn and won’t let go of each other. We are loyal and we are strong enough to get through whatever life throws at us…so long as we are in it together.

I’m not naive enough to believe our relationship could withstand anything, he knows that too. That knowledge is what makes us work so hard to stay true to one another and ourselves, though. Knowing that means we won’t risk what we have. We know we are just as suspetible to the same downfalls as other love stories that came to an end. It could happen to anyone, and it’s all in the steps you take and the decisions you make. It’s all about watering your garden and pulling out the weeds, fueling the spark and always communicating…even when it’s difficult or when it hurts.

I do believe that we have many more years together, a lifetime. If the last four years have shown me anything, it’s that our determination and the ease in which we can keep our spark alive will serve us well. This man still gives me butterflies when he kisses me, he still makes me feel like I did when we first got together.

Living with a Disability: Why I Just Keep Moving

I’ve had this bone disorder my whole life. I’ve always known pain, and my pain tolerance is pretty high. It has to be, when you have a chronic pain disorder.

That being said, it’s still incredibly exhausting. Before becoming a parent, I spent a lot of my bad pain days in bed, barely able to move. That changed after having kids…it was no longer an option for me (despite the fact that I so wish it could be some days).

I’ve learned something here. The best thing I can do is keep moving.

I’m not the only way who feels this way. My next door neighbour suffers from chronic pain as well. She agrees with me. We’ve had many discussions about it, and we’ve reached the same conclusion…even on those days where we choose to take it easy (and it’s perfectly acceptable to take it easy), we’re still in pain. It’s somehow almost worse when we don’t do anything.

We have the same tactic….and it’s try to keep moving. This is a motto I live by each day, because if I stop moving I will still be in pain and then the things I have to do that I avoided doing will just be all that harder to do, because they will have piled up.

I’m not saying everyone with a chronic pain disorder should keep moving and never take it easy, I’m just more or less sharing how I cope with things. I keep moving because I need to. Even if I move slowly, even if I cut corners and take the easy way out.

It’s all a crazy act of “balancing spoons”. My pain is typically at its worst first thing in the morning and late at night. I allow myself a morning coffee before I literally force myself up to start cleaning and making breakfast. I don’t do heavy cleaning, just tidying of the kitchen and what not.

Still, I’ll admit I still have plenty of days when all I want to do is crawl into the warmth of bed and allow my aching bones a complete 24 hour rest…but alas, that just isn’t an option for me.

When someone says to me; “I don’t know how you do it!”, all I can really say is…I just do. You just have to.

It’s worth it, too. Even IF I was used as a basin for vomit this morning by my 5 year old. It’s still worth it.

And this doesn’t just apply to parenting smalls when you have a chronic pain disorder, it applies to everything that you enjoy doing that takes a physical toll on your body. I love to go on walks, I love camping and swimming, I love spending the day riding four-wheelers on bumpy trails, and I love to garden. Doing all of those things makes my pain worse, but it also makes me feel better because I’m still doing the things that I love to do. Maybe not all the time, but often enough to feed my soul.

I am trying to throw away my excuse of but I can’t do that. I sort of grew up thinking I couldn’t do things like water ski or snowboard. I know those things would hurt more than anything to do, but I also still want to [one day] try it, if only to show my kids that anything they want to do or try is within their reach. It may hurt their bodies, and they may not be able to do it all the time….but they still can. I want them to try it all, all the things I was too scared of trying. You only live once, so why not live, even if it hurts? Take some spoons from somewhere else and use them up on something that you love doing?

It’s funny how having kids has changed my perspective. I’ve gone from living in fear to pushing the boundaries. I’ve gone from the bubblewrapped girl to the dive in and pay up later, and the memories I’m creating are worth it. I want that for them too.

A Page from Harlow Jones’ Journal, Vol 3

What better way to start out the week, than with a new entry from Harlow Jones’ journal! Click here to read the first and second entries

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A couple weeks ago, I let Jake talk me into going to a party. I haven’t been to one since Lauren died. I figured I was safe, it’s a small town…what was the worst that could happen?

Turns out small towns are full of bad people too.

I don’t want to go into detail…because I can’t, but a girl in my English class was hurt, and it appears that she can’t do anything about it because the guy who hurt her has an influential father that can sweep it all away. Everyone is afraid of him, and his father.

I tried to stop it, I tried to help her, but I was too late. Now I’ve captured this guy’s attention.

The night after, he and his friends chased me down after work. It was terrifying, they were catching up to me when I saw a person walking up to their house. I ran at them, literally right into them, begging for help. I ran straight into Iain’s arms. His presence scared away my pursuers.  I had a breakdown while he held me, and told him what happened at the party.

Being there, getting comfort from him…it was weird. I can’t explain it…but the air was thick, charged with…I don’t know. Longing? Attraction? Probably all me. Or at least…I thought that at first. It was weird in that it didn’t feel completely wrong, like one would think it would…it was weird in that I felt alive again, even after everything that’s happened, even after all that brought me to him.

He offered to drive me home, and when I stood up…we were standing too close to each other. I swear I saw longing in his eyes, the same feelings I had mirrored in mine.  We nearly kissed, but he stepped back, breaking eye contact, and asked me where I lived.

He drove me home, refusing to look at me again. There was something between us, and the week after…I couldn’t ignore it. It was like a small flame, one that you know you shouldn’t touch…but that you can’t help but want to.

Then, I touched the flame. I got tired of just looking at it, and I dove in. I took a chance and followed my gut instinct, and it lead me straight into his arms.

I showed up at his house after work, demanding an explanation.

He confessed that he wanted me, that it was wrong. I told him I didn’t care about the age difference, about any of those details because I felt alive.

It was literally one of those cliche, “time stood still” moments. I walked towards him and he gently grabbed my jacket, pulling me close to him yet holding me at a distance. He was a good head taller than me, so that I had to look up at him. He slowly lowered his face to mine. He didn’t kiss me. He just put his forehead against mine and took a deep breath. I felt his breath cascade across my nose and lips. It smelt minty and fresh, and it warmed me from the inside out. I felt myself thawing out, not realizing how frozen I’d been before.

When we finally kissed, it was as if nothing or no one could stop it, and the small flame ignited into an inferno…

 

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Stay tuned next week, I’ll be posting another entry from Harlow’s journal. Maybe it’ll be a juicy one ;)

 

Waiting on Revenge

My children think it’s appropriate to wake up at the crack ass of dawn every single morning, except those mornings in which we HAVE to be up early. On those mornings, they sleep in. Now that it’s summer, I was counting on enjoying a couple months of lesiurely mornings. However, no matter how late my children stay up, they insist on getting up at 6am.

When they open their eyes, they don’t play quietly in their room for a little bit or even come into mine and cuddle me awake. Nope, their eyes open and their feet hit the floor and it’s game on. I don’t even have time for a morning pee before the youngest scurries down the stairs and starts shoving all kinds of food into his face hole. He is fast and inhales the food he shouldn’t be touching until at least nine A.M. after lunch.

I can’t help but wistfully think of the revenge I long to unleash upon them. Revenge that, unfortunately, must wait several years. But I can be patient.

When my children are teenagers, I will unleash the years of early parenting torment upon them.

Weekend sleep ins will never happen. Not ever. Nope. I’ll be a little kinder and insist that they wake up at 7am instead of 6am, but there will be no sleeping away the weekends in my household. If they’re anything like their father, so much as one sleep in will create a terrible habit that their future wives (or husbands) will one day curse.

So, at 7am every weekend morning, I’ll wake them up. I have already gleefully made a list of the wake-ups I could do…

Example 1: hide bacon under their blankets and unleash the dogs.

Example 2: introduce them to the wonderful game of Dr. Pee-Pee. You know the game, the one where you get a bowl of warm water and stick their hand in it.

Example 3: give them special alarm clocks that have the shrillest toddler scream-cry ever, a recording from when Archer was a toddler. There will be no sleep button and a special code to deactivate that only I know.

Or maybe….Example 4: a bucket of cold water dumped on their heads.

Surely I won’t even get that far, because they’re smart and they will realize the easiest way to avoid such treatment is to get up before I have to wake them up.

I will walk around making messes while they clean so they have to clean it up again. They’ll do it if they really want to borrow the family car for that hot date. Maybe I’ll leave little pieces of lego scattered around the hallways at night so they step on them when they have to go to the bathroom. That could also work for if and when they attempt to sneak out…hmm.

The best part is that all of my revenge could just be a really amazing form a birth control. What’s wrong kids? I’m just training you for what life with kids is really all about!

Speaking of birth control, I can’t wait for that talk. Honesty is the best policy and I will be showing them detailed pictures of sexually transmitted dieases in order to teach them the importance of always wrapping it.

My children will probably have weekend jobs in an attempt to escape me. I can see me being very annoying if they don’t want to do anything with their lives…I mean I already annoy them with demands for cuddles until I get them outside and playing.

I also have a tendency of taking away things and hiding them. It’s not that hard to change the Wifi password or hide an x-Box cord.

Parenting older kids will be so much fun.

Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself to get through these days.

A Little Bit Closer…

There’s a lot more to the self-publishing journey than I originally thought. I figured the hard part would be writing the book, but that was easy.

I started writing Collide in November of 2013, for NaNoWriMo. I hit 50k words by the end of November, but didn’t finish writing the book until January 2014. Then I did a month of self-editing. In May, I had a friend and editor edit the book officially, and I started to format it for e-publishing. That took a lot of time, mainly because I had no idea what I was getting myself into and wrongfully assumed it would be easy.

In June, I asked a good friend of mine to do the illustration for the cover, and she got that to me last Thursday. I love it and cannot wait to do a cover reveal. All that’s left to do now is the cover page fonts, and then I can reveal it!

This means that…I am almost there! I am almost at the finish line of the publishing aspect (which, I suppose, could be considered the start of the published aspect, the marketing and branding quest).

Now I know the timeline for self-publishing. Now I know what’s expected and I can arrange it a little better than I did the last time. I assumed it would all be easy…I assumed that writing and editing the book would be the hard part, the part that took up the most time. How naive was I! Formatting and doing up the cover has been just as time consuming, because I want it all to be as perfect as I can get it.

I’ve learned a lot, and next time around…things will go smoother. For one, I’ve learned to write in e-book format. No “smart quotations”, no indented paragraphs. It’ll save me a world of trouble when I go to get it ready for e-publishing.

I am so excited to finally publish Collide, but I’ve learned a very important lesson throughout all of this trial and errordon’t rush it. It will happen when it happensJuly is almost over, so I may want to focus on August. One thing is for certain…Collide will be published by September.

I will be doing a cover reveal within the next week or so, when everything is done on that end. I’ll also be sharing little samples from the chapters, and tomorrow…a special treat: another page from Harlow Jones’ journal! Click to read Vol 1 and Vol 2 of Harlow’s Journal.

I would just like to thank all of you for being so supportive and patient during this (really confusing) time!

 

The Getting There

I’ve been kind of stuck in this awkward, weird, depressing, and almost painful limbo. All the things I want to do, I can’t…at least not right now. Which makes me feel kind of bummed out and a whole lot restless.

Do you ever feel like you aren’t really living? That you’re just completing mindless tasks, coasting through each and every day and feeling like a complete failure for it?

I don’t feel this way all the time, just….most of the time.

I want to start doing things, I want to start living. And I know, the easy solution is to start doing them…but unfortunately, there’s more to it than that. Everything costs money. All the great adventures, all the journeying to get where you want to go, you’ve gotta pay for it in order to do it.

Hot summer days were meant for camping and lake trips, beaches and drive ins, zoos and road trips. We’ve done some stuff…but I keep feeling like, it’s not enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m not enough.

And I know, to an extent, it’s all in my head. I have these unreasonably high expectations. But even though I know that, it’s still hard to get over. It’s exhausting to battle it out with myself.

So, that’s where my head is at now. Where’s your head at?

P.S I’m sorry for all the negative toned posts. I’m not consistently negative but I think I’m more likely to write about my negative stuff because I allow myself to wallow. On my happy, positive days, I’m too busy enjoying the fact that I’m happy.

People are SERIOUS about their Tim Hortons

Nolan had another PT/OT appointment this morning and both his therapists are impressed with how far he’s come and how much his mobility and fine motor skills have improved.

I had to have Matt’s mom drive us, because Matt had the truck. The centre was full of kids, so instead of waiting an hour in the crowded waiting room for Nolan to finish his appointment, Kim and I decided to take Archer to Tim Hortons. We pulled into the drive way and followed the painted arrows into the drive thru.

We kept hearing a honking and yelling. We looked around, wondering if we were in trouble but saw nobody. We assumed the workers on the roof were shouting or someone was honking in another drive way.

Then someone pulled in behind us while we were ordering. He was a big guy in some kind of SUV or something, and he was honking and yelling at us and making all kinds of threatening gestures. I assumed it was because we were taking “too much time” to order (the cashier had made a mistake and we asked her to correct it).

When we pulled up to the window, Kim asked the cashier what the deal was of the customer behind us.

“Did you turn left into the drive thru?” She asked.

“We followed the arrows…so yes…” Kim answered.

“Well that’s why, you cut him off. You’re supposed to go around and turn right in the other parking lot.”

Kim and I both felt bad. We’d never been to that Tim Hortons before and were simply following the arrows. We had no clue that other parking lot was even a part of the Tim Hortons. At the same time, the man’s enraged yelling and freaking out was making my anxiety sky rocket, and my toddler was wondering what all that noise was. I couldn’t believe just how enraged he got over it. We told the cashiers we were very sorry for having cut off people and paid for the guy’s order.

So, to the man at Tim Hortons that we accidentally cut off and completely enraged: we are sorry. But….maybe next time, react with less anger and rage. People make mistakes, especially people unfamiliar with that town/Tims. Allow them a moment to rectify the situation, but if you react like that...well, you won’t often get an apology because that behavior is downright terrifying. We weren’t knowingly meaning to cut you off and ruin your entire day.

And to that particular Tim Hortons: fix your damn arrows and cutting people off won’t happen.

It bewilders me still, hours later, just how angry and reactive society is. Gone are the days when we are compassionate or at least polite. I am a none confrontational person, and having someone get completely enraged and freak out over a simple mistake makes me turn into an anxious mess.