19 October 2014

Renew Your Spirit with Invitation-Only Trips

Yesterday morning I took some time off work so I could take Puck out for some much-needed one-on-one time. No one else was invited.

After breakfast, he and I went to the bookstore for story time and to pick two books to bring home, then we had lunch at Toojay's. I had a black bean burger and Puck had chicken tenders he described as "delicious."*

We laughed and talked and played and had a wonderful time.

And, since the trip, Puck has been reading one of his books nearly constantly. Out loud. By himself.

It was a happy, happy day.






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*Puck made me promise we'll go back. He enjoyed his lunch.

11 October 2014

Still out....

Today is National Coming Out Day.

I have been out since early 2012, unashamed of who I am and how I live my life. I am a lesbian, and I am living authentically, raising my children to live authentically.

But coming out is still important.

The LGBTQ community has gotten a lot of great news lately. More than half of the states in our country have marriage equality, giving this basic right to a significant percentage of the population. More and more, people are not afraid to live authentically, and when they come out, they are met with support and love by friends and family members.

But coming out is still important.

Because there are still many states--including my own home state of Florida--that do not allow same-sex marriage. There are people who have decided that they're own prejudices should determine the rights of others where they live. And they need to know we're not going away just because they don't like us. We are here and deserve rights and we aren't afraid of who we are.

And coming out is still important.

Because there are people--particularly teenagers--who can't come out because they would be disowned or kicked out of their homes or risk being physically assaulted by people who are supposed to love and support them in all things.

I have been extremely lucky. I wasn't disowned by my family,* and have found incredible support and love from friends and Bo and her family. But I know that there are so many who aren't as fortunate as I have been.

So because they have no voices, I will be their voice. I will speak for them and fight for them and show them that there is love and support in this world. It is not all ugly and intolerant. There are 35 states that are working to prove that.

Coming out is still important, and always will be.






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*There are those who have distanced themselves from me since I came out and since Bo and I started dating, but it was done quietly.

10 October 2014

I once said I didn't want to be a health writer...

When I started freelance writing way back in 2008, I got a client writing health-related blog posts and newsletter articles.  It was a really good starter gig, but when I took it, I told myself I wasn't going to let myself get locked in to writing on health-related topics for my career. It wasn't something I had a passion for. It was just a starting place.

Now, as I'm looking ahead to changes in my career, my target market will be small to mid-size holistic health and wellness organizations.

I know, right?

Here's the thing. Health-related writing gave me a start. And as I started focusing more on my own health--from a holistic perspective--I developed a passion for the field. And now it's my career path.

Freelancers are told to find a niche. It helps narrow the field of potential clients, and allows writers to use their expertise to create the best quality writing they can.

When I started writing, I didn't want health-related writing to be my niche. But I used it as a foundation, and the more I wrote about it, the more passionate I became about the topics. I found myself drawn to health-related topics, even narrowing that to holistic health and wellness-related topics. Now I can't imagine writing about anything else.

I'm excited about what is coming next year as I focus on my target market in my niche. 2015 is going to be a good year, and my own health journey is going to get to be a major part of it.

06 October 2014

Thinking about work....

Fall is always a busy time for me for work. This fall is no exception. I do a lot of academic writing, so during the school year, I have more work on my project sheets.

It's a good problem, especially for an independent content journalist.

And the best news is that there are the beginning of plans in the works that will make things even better (and busier in some ways), which I'm really, really excited about.

I can't give many details yet, partly because there's a lot that hasn't been decided and worked out. However, I can tell you that means narrowing my target market, changing my career focus slightly, and moving to the next level in this crazy adventure of self-employment. This change will allow me to continue to do all the things I love about my job, and add another aspect that will be beneficial to my clients as well as to myself.

Over the next few months I'll be working on my 2015 business plan, defining my new target market, and getting ready for this transition. I'm excited about what this will mean for my career in the coming years (and long-term). I've worked hard to get where I am, so I'm ready for the benefits of what's next.

Of course, from a business/financial perspective, this change will allow me to better provide for my family and our future since this shift will help me focus more on the value my services bring to the client in a way that my competitors don't.

The transition will consist of baby steps between now and next summer, at which time I'll officially launch the change.

I'm excited about what's coming.

2015 is going to be a damn good year.

03 October 2014

The coffee house book in third-person point of view

Writing has been different since I changed the point of view of the coffee house book from first-person. In some ways, it's been easier to write the stories, but first-person lent itself nicely to exposition with the characters who were on the ramble-y side.

I've had to adjust my thinking in developing the characters and telling their stories. I need to share intimate aspects of their lives and stories while remaining true to the structure and narrator I've established.

The good news is that now that I have the point of view right, the whole process is going much more smoothly, and I'll be finished with the draft by the end of the year.

How's your work-in-progress going?

02 October 2014

Sofa shopping

Bo and I currently have a hand-me-down loveseat in our living room. It's fine, but worn, and we've been talking about getting a new sofa soon.

Soon is getting closer. And the good news is that we know what we want. If it's still available, we'll get the one we sat on some time ago and both liked.

I'm tempted to make a case for a chaise.



01 October 2014

The 30-day burpee challenge

So I've tried this challenge before and failed spectacularly, which is really the best way to fail. But I'm trying it again.

I feel the need for something a little more intense than just yoga in the mornings or getting in my steps each day, so I'm trying the burpee challenge to get me in the habit of exercising a little more intensely much more regularly.

The calendar posted on this blog post is the one I'll be using for this challenge. I like it because I know it will challenge me (especially toward the end of the month), but there are regular rest days that will help keep me from feeling overwhelmed.

Once I finish the challenge I don't know whether I'll continue doing burpees, or try a different exercise routine. It will depend a lot on how I feel on day 31, and where I am in meeting my health goals.

In the meantime, wish me luck. I have five burpees to do today.

30 September 2014

Sticky notes everywhere!

Image source
As I've mentioned many times, I'm the type of person that needs to write things down in order to remember them. That's why I've gone back to using my book, and why I use task lists daily to stay on top of what I need to get done.

Another thing I use frequently is sticky notes. I jot little notes and reminders to myself and stick them with my calendar or task list or on my laptop where I'll see them when I sit down to work.

As a result, my book and task lists are a little sticky note crazy, especially now that we're at the end of the month. Reminders about ending projects, updating files, and generally keeping myself organized as I get ready for October. All in sticky note form.

The reason I like sticky notes added to my calendar and task list is because they can be added, removed, and moved around without crossing things out or using white-out. Much easier for quick notes. And they add a bit of color to my pages, which is always nice.

Do you use sticky notes to help keep you organized?

29 September 2014

Why conceptual gayness is different from practical gayness

When I came out to people, they were largely supportive. In fact, people I thought might disown me or turn their backs on me didn't. Some people were confused and sad and angry, but they seemed to accept it.

And then I started dating, and things shifted.

What was once a non-issue became an issue. People who had once been comfortable discussion marriage equality and LGBTQ rights with me were suddenly nervous about the topics, or were much harder to get in touch with.

A couple of friends seemed to drift away entirely, and this has prompted me to think about conceptual gayness and practical gayness.

For the purposes of this post, "conceptual gayness" refers to someone being gay but not in a relationship. For the purposes of this post, "practical gayness" refers to someone who is gay and in a relationship.

There can be a bit of a shock when someone comes out as gay, even if they are not already in a relationship. Saying you're gay is a shift in thinking for family and friends, but it's manageable. It's just something you are.

But when you make that shift to practical gayness, and show that not only are you gay, but you have every intention of living a "gay lifestyle," people can no longer ignore the fact that you're gay or pretend you're still straight and single. You are really gay.

It's a strange shift because, to me, there was no shift. I was the same person I always was. The only difference was that I was in a happy, healthy relationship. When I said I was gay the first time, I meant it, after all.

And still, conceptual gayness and practical gayness makes things different, I guess.

Is this what people mean when they say they're not opposed to gays as long as they don't "flaunt it"? I have heard people (I know) say, "What you do in the privacy of your home is your business, but don't throw it in my face." Does the public declaration of my relationship constitute flaunting my sexuality?*

Here's the thing: I'm not in the closet anymore. And it irritates me that those in my life who claimed to be supportive of that are now balking at the fact that I closed the closet door behind me.

I haven't changed. I'm still Puck and Tink's mom. I'm still a writer. I'm still mildly addicted to coffee.

I'm just me in a relationship with an amazing, beautiful, wonderful woman whom I love very much. I am gay in the conceptual and practical sense.

And it shouldn't be any different.






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*Let's pretend we don't see teenage (straight) couples climbing all over each other and making out in public, oblivious to the world around them. Because that's different from me holding my girlfriend's hand in public.

28 September 2014

Renew Your Spirit Sunday with Autumn

According to my calendar, it's fall now. We've passed the magical day of the autumnal equinox, and the days are continuing to shorten as we work our way toward winter.

According to our electric bill, it's still summer. The weather continues to hover around the upper 80s and into the 90s, and it's rather humid.

Autumn is when I miss the Midwest. It gets chilly earlier in the year there than it does here, and I'm always eager to make the switch from the sweltering heat to the coolness of fall.

And the trees aren't as pretty here. There are trees with leaves that change, but because it stays so much warmer here than in the Midwest, not all of the leaves fall. And there are lots of palm trees, too. It's just not the same.

Autumn is my favorite season. There is just something I love about stepping outside to feel that little bit of a chill in the air and needing a jacket in the evenings and seeing the brightly colored leaves all over. There's nothing quite like snuggling into your favorite sweater or hoodie and wrapping your hands around a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning.

I'm not a big fan of pumpkin spice everything, but I can look past it for everything else.

There's still a little bit of time until I'll feel like autumn is really here. Until then, I'll keep looking longingly at my autumn clothes, waiting somewhat patiently until I can start dressing a little cozier.

Does it feel like autumn where you are?