Selling the Balance

When I left my job as a hospital housekeeper in April of 2013, I left behind the blood, the tissue, the vomit and urine and most of all, the DRAMA. I left it to finish my novel and take a break after planning our wedding, the wedding of the century—ok, not quite that big, but an ordeal nonetheless. My break went from a month to three months to a year to almost two years. Initially, the plan was to take the break, then look for another job. What we discovered while having me home was that it was nice. There was someone at home to keep the house and yard up, and do the daytime running that would otherwise have to wait for Saturday or result in someone having to take time off from their daytime job. With no kids, I could do all of that and still had time to write and read, which, aside from horses, is inarguably my life’s passion. I also had time to cook and try all of those long-pinned Pinterest recipes. That benefited my husband and me greatly since we’d been guilty of dining out virtually every day of the week and wasting money and gaining weight.

Now that I’m essentially working full-time again, with the cleaning I do for several families and the position in the insurance agency, I’m scrambling for balance. Along with the increased out-of-the-house work, I still have to maintain my home and I also lend a hand to my disabled mother and 84-year-old grandmother. I share the responsibility of keeping Granny living independently in her own home with my mom. We shop for her and mom gets her to appointments. I mow her yard and clean her house and make sure her pills for the week get set up. Mom and I call her throughout the day to remind her to take her medication. For my mom, I do heavy lifting and offer moral support. Being disabled has caused her to be depressed and unable to push forward sometimes. Dealing with my own depression hasn’t always made me the best pep-talker, but I feel like if I go down, we all do. So I keep my head up, my nose just above the lapping waters of anxiety and depression at times, and keep pushing. With everything on my plate, it’s been easy to feel overwhelmed. I have to straighten the chaos.

I know I’m not alone. And that hurts my heart. This country is full of people who’ve given up on their dreams because they have to work. So many are busy working to live that they indeed forget to live. My husband is probably the example of this closest to me. I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want to give up the cooking new recipes and keeping us out of the fast food joints. I don’t want to forfeit my clean house and all the projects I have in mind for this summer and our home. Mostly, I don’t want to let my writing be put on a back burner again.

Right now, it feels like it might be on the back burner of someone else’s stove. I let that happen for years and that’s why it took me a decade to get my novel done. This blog and *d* and joining the writing community Scribophile has allowed me to enjoy writing like I’ve never been able before. I am desperate to not let it go. I don’t want to sell my dreams for a steady paycheck no matter how much I enjoy the work. There is a way to do it all. I know there is. There has to be.

~L~

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A Note to My Groom Ten Years Later

Happy Anniversary to my husband. Ten years have gone by so fast but it hasn’t been easy. If we were to rewind and meet up with ourselves ten years ago, we would not be surprised to know that we desired all the newlywed perfections for our future; a big house, good jobs, the sleek suv filled with our 2-4 kids, maybe a Siberian Husky playing in a big yard, health and happiness. We got some of what we wanted, we finally moved to a nice sized house in a nice community, instead of the suv, we got the mini van we said we never wanted, we don’t have a dog (or any pets for that matter), we have maxed out on our dream number for children, we have had difficulty with health, but we do have happiness.

Our perception of happiness changed from ten years ago. I knew what I wanted and I couldn’t wait to get it. I was just as selfish with my desire to the check off every dream on my list as I was when I met you. I had taken a gnarly road to get to our wedding day and I wanted the road ahead to be as beautiful as the tree lined driveway we dreamed about. It didn’t always turn out that way. Every time we hit a bump on that beautiful road, I was easily discouraged. I waved my white flag and shook my hands at the sky but you reminded me to be patient. You had a positive attitude and encouraged me to pray about our difficulties. Three years into our marriage, we had struggled to get pregnant,  I had some health issues, and we learned our little guy had an incurable disease. For the first time, there was uncertainty in your eyes but you still held strong to the belief that God would see us through. The long, uncertain days became shorter and we began to adjust to our new normal. We began to bond closer together through our common struggles because no one else truly understood what we were facing. The endless nights of little to no sleep turned into years and we began to wear thin. Our special guy began to display behavioral issues, his seizures were never fully controlled and we always had questions. I would be close to losing hope and still you prayed. Your actions were and have always been selfless.

You are patient. You never complain when I need a shoulder to cry on. When those inevitable moments arrive where the world has crashed down on me and I have lost hope in myself, others, and my ability to move forward, you listen. You don’t try to fix me, you talk with me as long as I need, even when our conversation wears on into the morning. You constantly desire to do more and the only flaw I can see in you is the size of your heart. It is so big that you would give away all you have if it meant helping someone you loved. But on the other hand it isn’t such a flaw, God Himself answered prayers with self-sacrificing love.

The only question I would have for our future is, “What would I do without you?” Who would laugh at my terrible jokes, take time to pull apart my reserved personality and see me better than I could ever see myself, and who would help me carry our heavy burden? You are not just my husband, you are the perfect piece of me. I see in you all the things I wish I could be and I often lay awake wondering how I could deserve….. you……

We aren’t perfect but together, we can conquer the imperfections. We can be a cheerleader for one another when we feel like life has handed us too much, we can find a smile under the tears when disappointment once again comes marching in our door, and we can hold on to each other when we have no choice but to pray. It seems like a bulk of our marriage has been praying for answers and hoping we can pull through. In reality, I think the answers we have been seeking have been in front of us for ten years, you in front of me and me in front of you. We have been pushed, pulled and driven harder than most couples but we choose to face it together instead of turning from one another. Happy ten years. I can’t wait to see what else life hurls our way and how strong we will be because of it.

*d*

Homemade Pizza and Prozac

We didn’t have homemade pizza tonight but we used paper plates and those plastic support thingies. Well, I’m happy to update that Husband put his plate away when he was finished. IN FACT, he’s been putting it away since I told him he was featured in this blog. Five years of bitching, and all it took was writing about it–and then telling him I wrote about it. Never doubt the power of the written word!
~L~

CrossRoadTrippers

I made an awesomely beautiful homemade pizza tonight. My grandmother, who’s staying with us for the winter and loves pizza, was very impressed by its tastiness. My husband, who thinks he’s a pizza aficionado found it to be “amazing.” In all fairness though, he thinks a Quarter Pounder with cheese is “amazing.” While yummy in the throes of an insatiable grease craving, I would never say the burger is amazing. Regrettable, Indigestion inducing, Nap inspiring, those are all terms I’d use to describe the sandwich. But, the pizza was really good.

Anyway, pizza is something we don’t often break out the good china for. We spare my blue and white farm animal print dishes and use paper plates with those plastic support things under them. The practice has always been to use the plastic thing, throw away the paper plate when finished and put the supporter back in its place…

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FURIOUSLY HAPPY. And scared. And back to happy again.

As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, I’ve always loved the way Jenny Lawson makes me feel pretty normal. Oh yeah, and awesome. BUY HER BOOK! I know how hard it had to be to write!

~L~

The Bloggess

If you’ve been here long enough you know I’ve been working on my second book for the last three years.  I’ve carried it with me every day, adding a paragraph here, deleting another there, reworking a sentence for the eleventieth time because I want it to be perfect, always feeling like a loser because Stephen King and cocaine set unrealistic expectations about how easy it should be to write a book.  If you know me in real life you’ve seen me lugging around a giant manuscript and scribbling furiously in it when inspiration strikes.  You may have asked me why I don’t just use a laptop and then nodded in what you hoped passed for understanding when I explained that I was afraid I’d lose everything I’ve written when the robot revolution happens and computers become self-aware and refuse to humor me anymore because I wasted their potential watching videos of baby hedgehogs in bathtubs.

When I was deciding…

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