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Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Waterpark That Includes Special-Needs Kids? Meet Morgan's Inspiration Island!

Summertime means fun in the sun, splashing and laughing and sunblock galore. If you're a kid, it's a stretch of halcyon days that you cherish for a lifetime.

For some kids, though, fun in the sun is a restricted thing. Most beaches and waterparks aren't meant for wheelchairs or walkers, and these kids are often restricted to watching from a blanket nearby as their siblings and friends have a blast.

That's all changing thanks to Morgan's Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Important Things To Remember When You Talk To A Teenage Girl

I am the mother of a teenage girl. Some days, I can't say that without gritting my teeth or having my lower lip tremble, and some days, I'm crowing it from the rooftops as pride swells my chest. It's a never-ending rollercoaster ride, this puberty thing, and it can take a lot of fortitude to communicate through the storm sometimes. Here are five important things I've learned about talking to my teenage daughter:

1. Perspective is everything – and she doesn't have it yet. It's very easy to sit here with decades of life behind me, and not see every little bump in the road as an insurmountable mountain. For my daughter, it's not so easy. Some of those bumps came out of nowhere and jostled her in ways she's never experienced before. They're startling and derailing and making her re-evaluate the road she's on constantly. And that's a good thing and a growing thing, but it's also a frustrating and occasionally frightening thing – for her, anyway. She may be "all about the drama" some days, and I do my best to try to help her put all that in perspective when it arises. Getting her to see the bigger picture isn't always easy (or welcomed) but it's necessary for her to develop her own sense of balance.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Please Indulge The Writer . . .

Because I'm just going to crow a bit. The cover reveal is out for my second novel, DREAMER (which is a sequel to TRAVELER). And it's just gorgeous!

You can read all about it on my guest post at Swoon Reads, and you can even pre-order it through Amazon!

Holy cow, my second book. Still hard to believe.

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Summer - Time To Get Your FAIL On!

Ah, summer. Full of sand and chlorine and salty, chapped body parts. So much fun, but so much that can go wrong when you mix tanning oil, frozen alcoholic drinks, and people in glorified undergarments. Let's have a look at some summer fails, shall we?

Sweetheart, you eat ice cream with your mouth.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What Is Just Not Worth The Money To You?

That, my friends, is an expensive handbag. Like, $3500 expensive. Why?

I have friends with Coach and Louis Vuitton handbags that they shelled hundreds of dollars out for, wrapped carefully in tissue paper in sectioned areas of their closets, and all I can say is why?

A handbag is a utility. It carries your wallet, your keys, maybe a small umbrella or tissues or lipstick. If you're a mom, God only knows what it carries. But that's what it does.

If you have to go to a wedding, you get the fancy little clutch purse that goes with your dress and if you're smart you get one that will go with several dresses so you can re-use it, since weddings don't happen to your friends and family every day.

I buy my handbags at Target, or on occasion at a department store. I buy a new one when the old one breaks a strap or a zipper, or gets too worn and scuffed. And I use that purse every day, with every outfit. It's not about fashion for me. It's about utility. I cannot fathom spending more than $40 on one, either. And they wear just fine. Years. So it's not about fine workmanship, it's about status, and to me, a fancy handbag only tells me you're willing to part with your money too easy and also impressed by stuff like that.
You also won't find me shelling out money for:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Mr. Sneaky Strikes Again

His latest bit of deviltry
Involves the sneaking of a spoon from the drawer
Then pressing it to my bare back
Under my shirt
As I'm cooking dinner or putting away dishes
I shriek loudly
He laughs louder
Sometimes he even dances in his glee
And today, I found a spoon in the freezer
Oh, baby boy, baby boy
It is on
It is SO on

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

10 Movies I've Never Seen (And I Own Them!)

I don't go out much.

Okay, at all. I hardly go out at all. And I missed a lot of good movies back when the kids were younger because . . . kids. And no sitter. Then they got older but I got divorced and money for movies is very tight and is usually spent on Disney and Pixar movies when I get it. 

So a lot of great movies go by, but thank goodness for Wal-Mart and Target. I'll see a movie I'd really wanted to see in the theaters on a shelf with a price tag of less than $10 (God bless the Wal-Mart $5 DVD bin!) and I snag it, if I've got the cash.

And then it sits. See, the problem is, I'm a writer. And I need my kid-free time to write. When the kids are around, they make it hard to watch and enjoy a movie (my son sings all the time and my daughter is always playing YouTube videos while we watch). Consequently, the movies don't get watched. They gather dust. Here are ten I want to watch, but am ashamed to say I haven't, despite owning the damn DVD.

That's right. I own the whole Dark Knight Trilogy. Never watched it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"And The Children Shall Lead" - A Beautiful Expose On What Makes Us Different

I wanted to share this with you today because I think it's just amazing. The BBC-1 show CBeebies (a children's show in the UK) put together this video full of interviews with children in pairs all asking the same question: "What makes you different?"

Their answers will humble and amaze you. It's not so much what they see, but what they don't see. Watch.

The phrase "And the children shall lead" is actually not the correct version of the origin of that quote, by the way. The quote comes from the Bible, from Isaiah 11:6, which reads:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

Even thousands of years ago, wise men knew that the kids had it right. Differences are as superficial or as deep as you choose to make them.

A lesson we can all take to heart, courtesy of our children.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Time For Some Fun On A Father's Day Friday!

Ah, Father's Day. That wonderful time of year when we celebrate all things Dad. He's our rock, he's our champion, he's always there with a terrible pun and an adventurous spirit that can occasionally make mom wince. Let's hear it for the man of the house - give it up for Dad!

This Dad knows what love really means. Sometimes, it means No.

These next few Dads mean well, but it just didn't work out as planned . . .

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wife Is A Four Letter Word

When we were first married, my ex-husband had a very, very hard time saying the word wife. To be fair to him, we had been dating for over seven years, and engaged for nearly two by the time we tied the knot, so the word took a little breaking in.

Still, we'd been married nearly three months when we were at a barbeque hosted by one of his coworkers, and he kept introducing me as, "This is my...uh....this is Ellie" to everyone, over and over again, followed by me smiling and saying "I'm his wife. He's not used to the word yet."

This went on for entirely too many months. At the six month mark, I finally decided enough was enough.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Back When It Was Cool To Be A Kid

It's hard to believe they're teenagers now
Back then they'd willingly pose
And willingly be in a room together
Back then he looked cool and she looked like sunshine
Now it's the other way around
So much has changed
But the love is still the same
The love is a constant
You'll always be able to see it
Even through the tears

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

5 Great Father's Day Ideas That Won't Break The Bank!

Father's Day is Sunday and I know you're probably rolling your eyes at the thought of another necktie or bottle of cologne. By the same token, we're also looking ahead at summer, and summer camp and holiday outings to be paid for. How do you show Dad you love him without taking a bite out of the vacation fund?

Here are five terrific ideas for making Dad feel special without overspending your budget:

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Want To Share A Story About David, An Awesome Human Being

No, he's not my David, but I'm so very glad we can all claim a world with this David in it. David is an employee of American Airlines, and when Autism activist and speaker Russell Lehmann (who is a person with autism) found his flight cancelled and the ensuing chaos pushing him into a meltdown, David showed genuine empathy and helped Russell through.

As Russell describes it:

"David calmly approached me, and with the utmost compassion, he asked me what was wrong. I was barely able to get any words out. I believe I mumbled the words 'I don’t know. I can’t think, I have autism.'"

How David handled it from there shows not just his knowledge of the best way to speak with someone on the spectrum, but a depth of compassion we can all use in our daily lives. Russell says it best:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Time For Some Friday Fun - How About A Big Bowl Of NOPE

Ah, the end of another workweek, and the start of a summer weekend full of yardwork, laundry, and self-loathing for not getting enough yardwork and laundry done. Can't wait.

In the meantime, let's see what's registering on the "Nope" meter, shall we? How about starting your day with a bracing cup of cheese tea?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

You Want Me To Blog About Your Product For Free? Of Course You Do!

I've mentioned before that I occasionally get offers from various publicists and marketing people to try out their products. Lots of times, it's stuff for older women (thanks for that - I don't have the AARP card just yet).

Sometimes, it's books - oh boy do I get people who want to send me their book or their client's book and have me crow about it. I don't mind those so much and I totally would review a book if I had time to read a random book but I'm a writer and I'm busy re-reading and editing my own books, thanks.

Sometimes I get offered campaigns because I'm an "influencer" (Do any of you feel influenced? Really?) but a lot of it is stuff for mommies with little kids and I'm not that mom anymore. Even when I was that mom, I doubt I would have blogged about all the cute widdle baby products that cost a fortune and can easily be replaced by normal stuff you'd have in your house.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: My Writing Partner

I've taken to working at the kitchen table
And she's taken to napping while I work
The paw reaches out
To remind me she's there
And ready for a head scratch
Anytime I feel like moving my fingers
Away from the keyboard
It's not so easy to write
But she's really easy to love

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

5 Musicians With Insane Amounts Of Talent

There's a lot of musical talent out there - we have TV shows dedicated to it, buskers on street corners, and giddy fan-followings galore. Sometimes, you come across a musician who isn't as well-known, but still deserves some spotlight.

Like Dario Rossi, casually drumming on the street in Germany:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Autism Parents - Your Help Is Needed For A Short Survey

A Master's of Science in Occupational Therapy student at California State University Dominguez Hills has asked for your help with some research. The University is conducting a study on parents' perceptions on music for their child.

You can find the survey here - it should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Thanks for helping!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy Friday! Let's Have Some Fun Checking Out These Bar Signs!

It's Friday, folks, and that means weekend! And for some of you, that means a trip to a friendly pub for some refreshment. So pour yourself a tall one and belly up to the bar for a collection of whimsical signs!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Oh, The Weirdly Wacky And Wildly Wonderful Things You Can Buy Yourself

I'm assuming this toilet belongs in a Taco Bell or something, but you must admit, it has pzazz. Of course, if you want to make a real statement,  you could always go for a pair of high-heeled hooves with revolver heels.