I had this great topic (for other writers) dreamed up this month (actually last month, but I digress), but it’s been one of those months.

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I finally finished the second book I had to revise and submitted it to my publisher. Edits for the first (which is being published June 20!) should arrive any day. We had an Open House and Formal Dance here this week with the kids and my daughter’s last day of Cosmetology school was Wednesday.

And I wasn’t there because my husband had to have surgery WAY out of town. And, so of course, we took her out Monday to celebrate. A surprise party with cake then sushi.

It’s been a hell of a month. In just ten days, my daughter and I will be making our way to Arkansas, by way of Nashville (where we will spend the night, going and coming, because I can’t drive that long in one go), to spend a week. She’s meeting up with a friend and I’m spending several days holed up with my critique partner, where I will be slaving away at the third Infamous novel.

No, you didn’t miss the second one. I just submitted it. Cross your fingers, please, that the publisher likes it.

So, here’s a gif of Princess Leia because she’s my hero.

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I’m going to take a deep breath and remind myself that things will eventually settle down.

The time I almost died. Featuring: a killer infection, Dr. Ridenhour, and my book, Infamous. Oh, and some sage advice on living.Settle in for a little story. As usual with me, there’s some drama and a little bit of humor.

You guys remember when I told you I’d become sick earlier this year, so sick I almost died? I wanted to tell you a little more about that.

I was getting ready to send in my manuscript from what’s called an “R & R”–revise and resubmit.

Even though I didn’t know they’d accept it, I just had a feeling. This was it, my chance to break into publishing.

First, let me set the stage a little. I’d had surgery in December. And even though it was over a month later (an awfully long time to show symptoms of becoming septic), I knew something was going wrong for well over a week before I ended up in the hospital.

I was sick, and it got worse every day. I called my surgeon; they called me in medicine for the nausea. Not uncommon with the type of surgery I’d had.

I went to see my surgeon. He told me that even though I’d been running a fever well over 102 degrees, I wasn’t running one at that point, and he just assumed I’d had a stomach bug.

Two days later, I was violently ill, my fever was 104 degrees. I would become desperately chilled as it spiked, then sweaty and hot when it broke. Over and over I went through this. Finally, I went to the hospital, no longer able to say I was going to be okay. I was also a little wonky in the head–a serious fever will do that.

I was hospitalized for eight days while they tried to get this raging infection under control. And one doctor saved my life.

I was trying to remember why I had to fight to live (my kids and husband) and this pervasive question kept popping up. Who would edit my book if I died? Who would sign the publishing contract? No one. It would never see the light of day.

In comes the internal medicine doctor I was referred to. I’m laying in the hospital bed, half out of it, half blasé because I was too sick to be scared, even.

I was not too sick to giggle when the doctor introduced himself, because apparently on the inside I am twelve. “Dr. Ridenhour.” Pronounced RIDE-an-hour. It just struck me as perversely funny and I swore right then that if he helped me, I’d put him in a book someday.

Lucky for me, he was not only an attractive man with a cool name, he was brilliant. He pinpointed right away that I had an internal abcess from the surgery and had slowly gone septic. My body was so close to going into septic shock, I still have flashbacks to the smells of that hospital room, the tastes of the saline as it hit my IV. The night before they gave me antibiotics (finally), when my fever had spiked to 105, and I was having trouble breathing. The nurses packed me in ice and stood around my bed watching anxiously. I was in serious trouble. And I was going to die.

I know not everyone is religious, but I know God brought Dr. Ridenhour into that room to save my life. Not just, obviously, for my manuscript (that is publishing next month–yay!), but for my kids and husband. My husband had lost his mother and best friend only seven months prior to my illness. He couldn’t lose anyone else. My kids had lost a loving great-grandfather and their grandmother just nine months before. And for me. I’m not done living yet.

At the time, I was too sick to be scared for myself. I worried about my family and my book. Now, I get chills when I think how close I came to not having this year, and however many more I have left. My daughter celebrated her twelfth birthday last month and I almost missed that. It hits at times like that.

So, the moral of the story is threefold. One, don’t take even one day for granted. Two, look for Dr. Ridenhour in a book of mine someday. And three, buy my book next month because I almost died and you’d never have seen it. It’s a flipping miracle book.

Click here to find out more about my book and to access pre-order links.

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The Time I Almost Died: A killer infection, hot doctor, miracle book, and advice on living. Click To Tweet

rules thirdI have two adult daughters and an almost twelve-year-old. My middle daughter, nineteen, was complaining because her sister got everything at a younger age than she did: cell phone (she needs it for basketball practice!), later bedtime, social media, and now crazy hair color.

That’s right. I’m letting my almost-twelve-year-old dye her hair purple. I think it’ll help her burgeoning self-esteem. It’s typical at this age to feel like the whole world is staring at you. So why not put her best face forward and, pardon the expression, let her freak flag fly?

My nineteen-year-old has blue hair. She has for a couple of years and, at this point, it’s her business. She pays for it herself (she’s in cosmetology school, so it basically costs her the dye), and she’s an adult. None of my business what she does with her hair.

The thing is, I realize some parents will think I have a lax code for raising my last child. Oh, she’s done all that and just isn’t worried about anything because she’s tired of raising kids, I imagine people thinking. And, I bet, some of them are. People can be terribly judgmental.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For one, I’m not sick of raising kids. I adore my children and being a parent has been the greatest privilege of my life. Second, I have a degree in social and behavioral science. Not only did I study child development in college, it was a good portion of the social work exam (which I aced, thank you very much).

At her age, it’s normal to just want to be invisible. And she did that last year. She didn’t want people looking at her so much that she struggled in school. Don’t look too smart, don’t read in front of the class, don’t excel at anything. And I get it. It’s normal.

But, now? Now she wants to be an individual. And if a purple pixie cut is her way of doing that, then I will pay whatever it costs, including judging looks from other parents, to let her do that.

People will say I let her run wild. She has rules, and I promise you, she is NOT a rule-breaker. But, you know what? I’m kind of hoping she does run a little wild. I didn’t discover myself until my late twenties because I needed a chance to run a little wild. I’d prefer she not have to go through that.

If she can figure out who she is while she’s still young, she has a much better chance at being happy. And I’m all about that.

Have you ever made choices that made people call into question your judgment? Click To Tweet

I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me, leave a message on the FB page, or comment here to let me know.

xo

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I know that last time I was here, I discussed my surgery and apologized for being MIA.

Well, just as I was making my comeback, I became septic. Not to be too dramatic, but I was in the hospital for eight days and nearly died. For real, I’m not exaggerating for effect.

However, I’m well now and finally starting to get my bearings physically as well as mentally and emotionally.

I’m back, for real. Tomorrow I’ll post my writing tweets since last time, and then I’ll continue doing so weekly. I’ll also be blogging on the third Friday monthly and I’m very excited to be heard (read) once again.

Thank you for hanging in there with me and for listening. I heart my readers so hard.

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house1Actual thing I just had to say:

Don’t do wild jazz hands while your sister is trying to do math. Math and jazz hands do NOT go together.

11265726_1639929216225704_1032860535_nToday, I’m sharing with you a conversation between my husband and me, as we stood arm-in-arm and watched my stepdaughter dance with her new husband after the wedding. She’s a nurse as well as just an independent, kind person.

Him: I can’t believe we didn’t screw her up.

Me: I know, right? We did good.

Here’s hoping we’ll manage with the other two!

540fcca1a4e83_-_manners_post-lgI was raised that it’d be better to tie a rock around your neck and jump in a body of water than be rude to people. Don’t get me wrong, this has not helped me at all when, say, a salesperson is rude to me. I’ll keep right on being nice. Nonetheless, these are the rules I live by.

I can’t help but be polite.

Let me tell you, was I in for a shock when I traveled above the Mason-Dixon line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all of you up there are very kind people, but you are not sickeningly sweet, like iced tea. Something else you don’t have. For some crazy reason.

I thank everyone.

Speaking of iced tea, I can’t even buy one from the drive-thru without a sincere, “Thank you very much!” Sometimes, I thank people after I do something for them. Some weird ‘thank you for letting me take care of  you.”

I also use the other magic word–please.

As in “please don’t hit my car with that rock,” or “please stop standing on my foot.” It literally doesn’t matter what request I make, I have to couch it in a pleasing way.

I’m so sorry.

I am sorry for everything. Did you forget your umbrella like an idiot when it was already raining? (I do this constantly.) I’m sorry. Do you regret making an ass of yourself at your ex’s wedding? Golly, I’m so sorry. I can have zero culpability for whatever happened to you. I am still sorry for it.

Do manners rule your life, like it or not, or are you one of those strange creatures who can just speak up without thank yous, pleases, and I’m sorries?

lifeI’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in the last three months. In February, one of my friends since childhood was brutally murdered. In March, my grandfather passed away. And last week, my mother-in-law died from a sudden illness.

I am exhausted. I don’t mean that to sound mean, like, “Oh, hey, people dying is very inconvenient for me.” I just feel like I’ve walked through an emotional mine-field. And I have written. I know I have, because since January, I’ve kept a small calendar in which I put a star on every day that I write. I’ve missed maybe four days a month, on average, since the beginning of they year.

I’m proud of that. Like, maybe I walked through an emotional mind-field juggling chain saws. Unfortunately, I had nothing else to write about on the blog except, “Wow, life is hard sometimes.” But, I’m here. I’m surviving. And I’m writing.

20150212090406In honor of Mother’s Day (hi, mom!), I thought I’d throw down five things my mom was totally right about.

I will have a child just like me.

I have three girls. In some tortuous way, they are each like me. Sometimes it’s an eye roll, sometimes a quippy retort I simply can’t rebut, and sometimes it’s discussing the merits of each Legend of Zelda game. It’s both awful and wonderful to have people so like me. And I bet my mom feels the same way.

You’ll thank me when your older.

Boy, did I thank her later. Thanks for not letting me go to that party where my friend got drunk then pregnant. Thanks for telling me to respect myself and my body too much to share it with someone underserving. Thanks for telling me kids would be the most awesome reponsibility of my life. I like to think I did a better job because of all that she taught me. So, you know, thanks, mom.

Life as a grown-up doesn’t mean you’re free to do what you want.

Okay, I totally want to go back to being a kid again. All I had to worry about was math homework and what to play after dinner. Now? Bosses, the government, and the IRS are constantly pushing me around, making demands.

Get an education.

I may no longer be working as a social worker, but the years I spent in college, learning critical thinking skills and how to transition from a child to a woman will always shape who I am. Despite all the challenges my husband and I faced, we persevered and we’re able to live more comfortably because of it. Thanks… again.

You’re not going to care what those people think when you get older. (AKA: If your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it, too?)

Yeah, I may still be in some kind of touch with some of those people, thanks to Facebook, but I truly don’t care a bit what they think. I’ve got both my parents, fantastic aunts, a loving husband, and three awesome kids. My world is pretty full of people that do matter, although I lacked that perspective at 14.

For all of this, I have to say thanks to all the moms (because you know you said it, too) for doing the very best you can with all you have in the moment. It’s exactly enough.

I'm That MomThis morning, my daughter walked around the house, in the aimless way they look for something except they expect you’ll pull it from behind your back and save them the trouble. She was supposed to wear her school shirt today. Literally, everyone else will be wearing theirs.

But, she went in the outfit she could find, because I’m that Mom. I know the other mom’s will judge me, maybe the teachers, too. It’s just that she knew two days ago, and she chose to Facetime with her friends yesterday instead of finding her shirt, so… she doesn’t have the shirt. Gotta learn the hard facts about responsible choices sometime. Might as well be today.

It was 39° outside, but she wore capris. Why? I’m that Mom. It matched the shirt (the wrong one), and she’d spent almost all of her time searching for the right shirt, so… she either caught the bus in capris or I drove her (after the argument) in jeans. Now, here is where you say I’m a shit mom, and maybe I am that mom. But, here’s the thing. I didn’t feel good. She was walking from the house to bus and bus to building… like 5 seconds of being cold. She won’t break.

I suppose I should add that this degree of devil-may-care-attitudeness comes from raising two girls already. I found the shirts, I fought for the jeans, I did everything because that’s what moms do. And, don’t get me wrong–they’re great grown up people. I just don’t think those details that got left to me, because they knew I’d fix everything, made their lives better. Or worse. It just exhausted me.

I can’t be everything to everybody, and I think there’s a lot of societal expectation to try to do that. Screw you, society. I’ve got writing to do, so I can show my daughter what comes of perseverance. I’m that mom.