Sunday, November 5, 2017

Success or Failure?

What constitutes success and what constitutes failure? 

If someone does their best effort and produces a superior product but it does not do well in the marketplace despite giving it the best marketing and advertising possible, is that person a failure?

How about a writer who writes an incredible story, edits it until it is as close to perfect as they can get it, but no publisher will take a chance at their work. So they indie publish, do all they can to sell it, give it an excellent cover, but it also does not fare well. Is that writer a failure?

How about a woman who battles to get out of bed each morning and is suffering depression, but each morning gets up and begins the day. She cannot bring herself to leave her house but she is up and keeps herself busy with what she can do. She works hard even though no one knows. As much as she can she keeps her life bright and she doesn't give up even when she most wants to, but she is not able to work or even socialize. Is she a failure?

I believe each of these people are  successful. Success is not based on the ultimate outcome but on the daily fight to do more than you thought you could.

How about the mother that has the child that throws the tantrum in the middle of the store and she quietly calms her child and holds him, pouring her love on him just for him to begin screaming a moment later. Finally she picks him up and leaves the place.  In her car she hugs him, cuddles him, and swallows her tears. This is the toddlerhood and young childhood she deals with for her child but despite the exhaustion she keeps going and gives all she can even as everyone challenges her and tells her she isn't a good mother because her child throws tantrums.
Has she truly failed as a mother?

The last scenario was me 27 years ago. My daughter was born screaming and threw tantrums especially in public and people would roll their eyes or tell me what I needed to do, which little did they know, I had tried and it had not worked. This continued into older childhood and turned into rages where I had to hold her against her will to protect her and my younger children. The last one she had was around 16. We found out when she was 5 they are a form of a seizure. She and I worked hard to stop her seizure disorder, and as an adult she is one of the most gentle parents I know and yet I often call her 'our family bull dog' because any sticky situation this family has she is the person not afraid to tackle it. Was I a failure as a parent? No. Honestly I think I succeeded at getting my daughter to adulthood as whole as possible. Was I accused of failing? Yes. At the time I would have agreed... What was wrong with my parenting that my child couldn't be 'normal'? Her teen years really made me wonder too. Then she grew into a woman that I am very proud to be the mother of. But she is different. As she has been since she was born. She lives by a beat that is all her own.  When I ask her about what I could have done different she tells me, "Mom I don't think I would have made it if I had a different mother."

Success starts inside. It begins with believing you can. Then taking the risk to do something. Finally it is not giving up even though the odds are against you. It is that stubborn will that does not give up or give in.  To outsiders it does not look like much sometimes. What do you think of the person that chooses to smile even though the effort takes all the energy they have?  What about yourself? What something have you done that still gives you a smile though the results may have been less than you were hoping? These are successes and you can count yourself successful. Success is not about the outcome as much as the tenacity to keep going and keep getting up even when we have been knocked down. People who are successful never give in, never let fear stop them, overcome obsticles even when it is not recognized, and in the end their good work is seen. Though, honestly it may not be noticed in their lifetime. 

People who are failures let fear lead them. They give up when it gets hard. They do not stand by those that love them. They are looking for a fast fix to get their time in the limelight. These are the people I would consider at risk for failure. But anyone can change. I won't count anyone out. Even someone who has always lived in fear may one day look up and realize they want to do things different.

So keep working at it. Do your best and know you are succeeding even though the world does not see. There is One much higher that does and that One's opinion counts a hell of a lot more than this world. You are not a failure no matter how bad it seems.

This is Cat out with a little bit of encouragement for you and also myself.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November! Hooray!

October was crazy!  Some of it fun, some of it not so much. 

Two of my daughter's got married last month...  That was wonderful but very time consuming especially because one wedding was 4 hours away and the other 2 hours.  The other thing that took up time was my teenage son's legal issues.  I told someone on September 30th, when they were hoping my life would get calmer...  "Nope there are two weddings and a court date in my October."  Their eyes went wide.  And so it was, but now we have November.

So November...  The golden month.  It is the tad bit of peace before the Christmas season.  This is the few weeks to get my house decent and ready to decorate...  It never happens quite the way I want it to, but it gets closer.  This is my and my husband's birthday month, and I like our birthdays.  So of all months... my favorite. It is not freezing nor boiling.  Just a little bit of peaceful, slower, and at the end one of my favorite holidays...

Thanksgiving.  Not just because of the food, but because it is born of a thankful heart.  It is a time to gather with family and friends and be grateful for what you have and those in your life.  It is so fitting that it comes right before Christmas.  It is not a give me, give me, give me time, but a day set aside to reflect and smile at the blessings that have been given.  I love that about Thanksgiving.  I also love spending the days before making my family's favorite dishes to please and awe them. 

For whatever reason creating good foods for them gives me immense pleasure.  So everything I place on that long table is homemade, and suited to all the allergy problems my kiddos and I have.  I love seeing my 6 year old be able to eat stuffing and pie even though she has Celiacs and is allergic to
dairy.  At Thanksgiving she comes to the food table and she has as many options as I can give her.  She doesn't have to feel her battle with food and that makes me happy. 

This year I have a new challenge.  My best friend has changed her dietary needs by doctor's orders.  She cannot have starch or sugar.  So I am going to find a way to make stuffing that she can have.  I am looking forward to the challenge.    I might even work on some kind of pie... Just because I know I can and because it will give her a smile.

There is something else about November...  It is the month that writers try to write 50k words.  Though my goal is not that high, I would like to finish writing Her Hidden Thorn then my editor will have two to edit, and hopefully with finishing both, we can go on to publishing both-- who knows, at this rate, both at the same time.  I am looking forward to finishing Anna and Patrick's story and going on to writing Grace and Alex's story. 

Grace and Alex are like night and day when compared to Anna or Patrick...  Both are feisty and impulsive, and have regrets that are larger than life.  Grace has a huge secret that she hides from everyone just to make sure Alex doesn't find out, but what happens when it gets out?  By the time that happens there might be another secret just as big.  Then there is Lizzie...  She is Grace's little daughter.  Alex is determined that Lizzie needs a father, and that father should be him much to Grace's chagrin.  It is a fun story and I am itching to finish writing it!  But first I have to finish Her Hidden Thorn...  So to November!  And to being a writer! 

I really love November!  Hope you have a wonderful month.
  This is Cat out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Maxine's Key-- why is it important

In The Key to Her Heart there is an old key hung on a chain that originally belonged to Anna's grandmother, Maxine.  There literally is a full written back story for Maxine that a few years ago I seriously considered publishing but then in the last book of The Heart of a Family SeriesThe Lattimier Curse it pretty much is the foundation that story is built on. So I have digressed...

The key is a symbol of safety... Or rather of being able to bring safety.  In Maxine's story she is abused by her step father as a young girl.  Finally at 12 with no one to protect her anymore, she steals all the inside door keys and hides them.  The only one she keeps is the one to her bedroom door. Which she uses to lock her room when she leaves and when she is inside it.  The key hangs around her neck so by no foul can anyone find it or trap her away from help. 

Would this work in real life to stop a vile abuser?  I shrug.  I don't know for sure but it seems plausible.  In my own story of abuse it was even less that stopped the abuser. My dad suspecting something was wrong simply asked me if I wanted to go to the man's house. I was seven and this was a family member. No one believed my dad's concerns. It just did not seem possible. So he asked me that one simple question. I told him I did not want to go there and from that point on I was never alone with my abuser. Maxine made it so she wasn't alone with her abuser by hiding her key on her person.

The key becomes the symbol of Maxine's ability to protect her physical person and in a greater sense her heart and soul.  There is one young man as a teen and a young woman that she does trust. He knows the reason for her key and is there to help her and inspire love. But problems arise and she must make choices after her step father's death. 
One night she is fighting the past and present and finds herself in a position that makes her hated by everyone in her community.  She runs away, leaving her home,  leaving the only person that knows her secrets, the only person in the world she loves and trusts, and ultimately moves to another continent marries a man, has a child, and then returns to her hometown in her widowhood.  By this time even her child does not know the story of the key she wears.  Her mother's family is still angry with her for the events of her youth and who is that man that she trusts and loves? Is he there still?  Has he gone on with his life?  Do they get to know each other once more? Those questions actually have some answers within the story The Key to Her Heart

 The bulk of Maxine's story I tell in The Lattimier Curse which is the last book in the series and helps to tie up all the different stories but I am still writing it.  If you would like to understand about the key and the final answers in Maxine's life then you might want to read The Key to Her Heart and in the process learn more about Maxine's granddaughter, Anna, too. I will leave the link below. In the meantime Patrick's Rose is being edited and I am working on Her Hidden Thorn which continues the story of the Lattimier family and the Rueschel family. Hopefully I will have these two finished soon.

Here is the link for The Key to Her Heart :

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Things I want to do to change my life.

Lately I have been running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.  You know the feeling, you are running doing this and that but it feels more like you are going in circles than making any headway. Yep that's me lately.

This month two of my daughters are getting married (the younger just did and the middle daughter is about to.) My son is busy getting in trouble and we are expected to attend court with him.  We are beginning a gluten free baked goods business, and I am homeschooling my youngest daughter.  On top of that my health hasn't been the best of late.  That is only the big things.  The little stuff is too numerous to mention.

So my daughter and I spent some time making lists of things we could do to change our life because her life is going through radical unplanned changes and it is not fun.  It feels a little (totally understated) out of control.  What do I really have control of?  How can I change my life?  That is what my list was about...  Well one of my lists.  Another list was of blog topics.  And yes this one was on that list.  I like lists.  They help me sort my ideas into doable things that I can check off.  As my whole family will tell you, I love to check things off.  So lists work.  This is why I am sharing my list, because then maybe as I accomplish things on it I can share with you that I have done something and the results. (shrug) I don't know if this is going to work, but I have to do something so this is where I begin.

Soooo...  My list of things I can do to change my life:

Number 1 is always about God with me because he is everything to me.
1-- Go to morning Mass at least a couple times a week.  2 years ago I went to morning Mass almost every day, and it really helped the right focus in my life, but lately I haven't and this is the first
thing I need to change.

2-- Begin blogging regularly. This one is hard because I avoid drama as much as possible but a few of my posts really caused a stir.  That is not what I post for, and so the last several months I have been a little word shy.  Last night I decided  I do not live in fear.  I am just me and if someone does not like it they do not have to read what I post. So right now is my start on this goal.  My hope is to post once a week.  We will see if I can do it.

3-- Work on writing daily.  This goal is similar to blogging, but I am talking about working on the third book. I cannot control when the second book is edited.  It was suppose to be ready in August, which it definitely was not.  I can control what I do. So that is my goal--to do what I can do.

4-- Schedule the time I need.  None of the above gets done if I don't do this.  So maybe this should be number one, but it is here where my priorities are.  If I can make sure I have the time, then I will be able to do the things I have planned.

5-- Helping Tory to read well & swim well.  My six year old has been struggling to learn to read.  Teaching reading has been harder than either she or I expected but she is back to reading sentences.  I say back to reading sentences because we started reading lessons when she was four years old, but she has Celiacs.  Soon after she read her first story another little girl gave her an Oreo and she had her first gluten reaction. It was not pretty and in the recovery after she lost the ability to sound out words, she couldn't even remember her shapes until three months later.  It took her another three months to begin reading practice and she was left with some sensory processing issues that were not there before.  We began again at 5 and got to the point she was reading stories but I noticed her turning her head slightly when she was trying to read.  That caused me to take her to her pediatric ophthalmologist and have her eyes checked. Sure enough she needed glasses. As she got accustomed to the glasses once more we had to take a break because this is when one of the processing issues began. We realized she wasn't tracking, and so that caused us to stop for another six months. Now she has matured more and seems to be able to track by using her finger to follow the words.  Lately she hasn't complained of the words weaving across the page as she did back in February and we are making slow but steady progress.  She has begun reading sentences again.  We only do reading three days a week or so, because more than that seems to overwhelm her, but she is really understanding what she is doing so much better this time.  In all of this I discovered Tory loves swimming, and more than anything she loves when I work with her on learning to swim. She says "Please Mom, teach more swimming!  I will practice hard at it."  And she does.  It is so important to her but she has no clue I don't know to much swimming technique.  I just know the basics enough that I can get her started.  So I want to begin swimming classes at the college here in town that offers them during the winter for children.

6.-- Daily want to do something for our gluten free baked good business even if it is small.  My daughter Hope and I are working hard trying to build up enough business to build up to a bakery, but right now we sell at a farmer's market.  It takes a lot of effort from both of us, but we are building up a customer base.  I would like to see if a few restaurants would begin to carry some of our baked goods, and ultimately some stores...

7-- Have time to laugh.  I have been so busy I get tense and I forget to look for the funny side of life.  On the way back from Aurora after my daughter's wedding, my mom, Meg, and I got laughing.  All of the sudden I realized how little I laugh.  Those merriment moments relieved all the pressure I was feeling and even my stomach ache went away.  I suddenly realized what scripture means when it says 'laughter does good like a medicine' and realized also I have to make time for laughter and enough relaxation that I will be able to laugh.

These are seven of my goals for the next few months, and maybe if I put the effort in I will feel more in control and watch life resolve itself in me... I don't know but I am planning to try.  How about you?  Are you struggling?  Maybe make a list of things for yourself then keep in touch.  I will tell you how my efforts are going and you can tell me what is working for you.

Anyway I guess that is it for right now.  This is Cat out.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review of Dallas Fire & Rescue: Red Hot Reunion

Last month I read a short fun novella by Beth Hale.  It was well worth the couple hours I spent reading it and put me in a good mood.  So I wanted to share my review on here and a link if you would be interested in reading it also.

Below is the review I left on Amazon and Goodreads, so you can see if it is something you would be interested in or not:

Beth Hale has done it again!  She has created an awesome romantic story with steam, passion, and a story line that I found quite fun.  Who hasn’t been willing to do almost anything to avoid a hurtful past?  --Especially when you are talking a class reunion when high school was emotionally painful…  Would you go to your 10th reunion? 

…Well maybe with a gorgeous fireman who was also a student at the same high school--  Maaaybbeee?  Okay that makes it a little more plausible…
That is just what Hope Mathison does with Flynn Eaves.  One hitch, she pays for him to be her date via the hot fireman auction. How is this going to work?  He agrees and asks a favor of her… To come to a wedding as his date. 

This is the start of a beautiful relationship.  If only it wasn’t based on agreement instead of attraction.  Then again, is it?  What will Flynn think when he finds out all Hope’s insecurities?  Will he be willing to stick around?

Dallas Fire & Rescue: Red Hot Reunion by Beth Hale was a short (as in novella) easy read that had me laughing, and in a couple places really feeling Hope’s pain from the bullies of her high school years.  It sizzled in another few places.  Flynn was an easy going fun character, and Hope’s best friend, Marion made the perfect side kick.  The story was well thought out. I loved the ending and the reunion.  It’s nice when there is a little bit of comeuppance too.

If you like romance, this is a great quick read.  I sure enjoyed it!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Phone. Trying out the ability to post from my phone

This is a test.  For the first time I am blogging from my phone.  This may work but just trying it out.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Resolution-- I Am Done!

This logo comes from the theme of my first book The Key to Her Heart.  That theme came from my life.  It is a motto that I decided on as an older teen so that I could live with the things that I hid away from everyone in my life as a child.
Writing was the only way I had to express my hurts so that I could survive, and because I was afraid anyone would guess I was talking about myself I fictionalized everything I wrote.

Do not get me wrong.  I love writing fiction.  It gives me so much release from everyday life.  I cannot even begin to put it into words!  But I found something when I began blogging.  Sometimes blogging was even more of a release.  Except the guilt of actually expressing myself to people was crippling!

For the last year I have barely posted.This is mainly because of a set of posts that I published last spring, and the fall out from those. People definitely have their opinions!  But you know what?  This blog is an outlet for me and sometimes the only way I know how to talk out what is going on inside.  I am not looking for drama.  I am not even looking for an opinion most times. Talking to a counselor just doesn't do it, and an hour does not begin to cover the time needed to get it out.  Besides, having to explain defeats the purpose.  But knowing somebody is hearing me does help.  So talking to my girls...  That is emotionally expensive to them.  Talking to my mom, well that sometimes brings her tears and she needs to chose when she wants to talk about it.  I am all ears when she does.  But knowing I have a place that ears do hear...  It helps.  I do not know why it does, but it does.  Six times last year I really regretted posting because I caused a stir among people, and immediately I felt guilty.  You see that is something I learned as a child.

I was told by my family...  My mother's aunt and uncles...  Do not cause commotion.  Do not speak up because it is going to hurt somebody.  Do not be dramatic.  If you speak up for your needs, you just want attention.  It is not okay to talk about it.  Suck it up.  Get over it. Whatever you do don't talk about it!  Sweep it under the rug and pretend it is okay even if you are dying inside.

Well you know what?  I am done!  Three weeks ago I blew up at my son.  Don't get me wrong, he deserved it, but it was not all his fault.  The fault lye mostly with all the stuff I had learned to shove down and keep quiet about.  So I am done.

I am done being quiet.  I am done censoring myself, even and especially here.  I am done apologizing for what happened to me as a child or an adult.  I am done putting on a pretty little smile while I wilt inside.  I am done not being good enough.  I am done listening to the voices from the former generation going off in my head telling me once more how dramatic I am being.  -Or the all time favorite!  "Cathy, you always make such mountains out of mole hills!"    I am done.

There is nothing wrong with the emotions I have and talking about what happened to put them there.  Yes my experiences are different than most, but I did not chose that, and I am not afraid to live with it.  No I don't need more attention.  I just need a place to vent or rant or think or sometimes cry-- Especially when I think of my grandma...  I need a place to make my own safety, and speak freely.  I need a place to be me, worts and all.  I don't need people "worrying about my sanity".  News flash I am crazy-- Bat shit crazy.  But you know what? Look around...  The world is even crazier than I am.  It is not anyone's job to worry about it.  I can worry about myself, and I can figure out what to do for myself.

I will tell you one thing that helps me is writing on here, and I am done worrying about what anyone thinks.  Yes this is a blog and anyone can see it.  Who really cares?  If someone doesn't like it they don't ever have to read it again.  But you know what else?  This blog does help me.  It gives me a place that I do not know in the rest of my life and so here is my new resolution:  I am going to post, probably quite often.  But you might not like it.  If you do not, leave it.  It is okay.  If you do, great.  You are welcome to read my stuff... Sometimes it will be crap, and other times it might just turn a light bulb on.  I promise only one thing...  It will be me, just me.  -Not what ever anyone expects.  Just what is going on in inside, or a book review from a book I enjoyed, or a clip from my latest manuscript, or an idea I am toying with, or a memory I deal with.  I might be calm or I might be angry or depressed or confused.  But you will read me.  From now on. That is all I can promise, but in this world of making 'good' impressions it is a start.  I am not trying to get people to feel comfortable or trying to impress anyone.  I am just trying to survive, and sometimes by being me give some one a smile or a nod.  I am a mess.  I am the first to admit that, but that is okay.  It's taken me 47 years to figure that out, but at least that is one lesson I have learned.

Just Cat sharing my thoughts with whoever wants to hear.  Hope you understand, but even if you don't I refuse to be quiet anymore.  Thanks for listening.  You are welcome to comment if you would like, but don't need people telling me what to do.  Done that too much to myself.