Inside the Mind of a Bipolar

My Story620X300Browsing through the blouses at a nearby consignment store I overhear the owner holler to an employee, “Grab up all the Kate Spade purses!” The employee responds, “What?  What for?”  The owner laughs, “She just off’d herself, they’re going to be worth a ton!”

It took everything I had to walk by her on my immediate exit out, without saying what I really wanted too.  Diagnosed bipolar for the last 18 years, I have attempted suicide three times.  I’ve thought about it a thousand times.

I’ve heard everything from, “How can you be so selfish?” to, “Get a grip, stop feeling sorry for yourself.”  I’ve dealt with, “Aren’t you on your meds?” to, “Stop attention seeking.”  I’ve fought the battle with mind over matter, prayer, medications, therapy, meditation and yet even then, even then, the thoughts still seep in thick as devil’s play.  Some weeks, when I’m cycling (mania causes a myriad of feelings and behaviors such as anxiety, depression, and hyper mania), I will even hide the pills and knives myself.  However, if I’m triggered by an outside force and it hits with the force of a tornado, it’s all I can do to hold on for dear life and pray I make it out.

I’m going to tell you the mind of a suicidal bipolar. In those wrecked seconds of time when that singular thought occurs, “I cannot do this anymore,” there is another voice. It says, “They’ll hurt, but at least they won’t have to suffer because of me anymore.”  Many see suicide as selfish, but in fact, often times it is the mere thought of putting our loved one’s through yet another episode, another bout of depression, another mania (over-spending, gambling, drinking, drugs, sex, panic, neediness, etc.) that drives us to actually think that it’s the right thing to do.  Okay, I know, you’re thinking, that’s totally ass backwards.  Yes.  It is.  Such is the bipolar thought process.

More times than not it is the voice, “You’re worthless.  You cause damage,” that cracks open old wounds and before we can even think to get a bandage, we are bleeding all over the place.  For bipolar brains, the ability to process healthy coping skills is stunted in many ways, and the electricity coursing and rushing through our bodies isn’t to rationalize our thoughts, but to save ourselves and our loved ones as fast as possible.

Here’s the truth … I live the most blessed, abundant, undeserved life of anyone I know. I am married to an Angel on earth whose love is unconditional and I am spoiled, treated, and fully and completely supported by this man.  I have incredible grown children who have endured 20 years of mania with me, our relationships aren’t completely unscathed but we love one another.  I have two beautiful grand babies who love to bake and read stories in my lap and I have a job I get to go to Monday through Friday that I’ve been able to keep now for 6 months.  I have outstanding friends who never hesitate to show up on my doorstep at 9:00 at night when I’m lonely, or invite me over when I’m down to cheer me up, and I have parents and siblings who never hesitate to call me on the phone just to say they care.  I live an authentically special life.

I still have episodes that cause suicidal thoughts.  You see, bipolar mania doesn’t care if you’re rich, poor, fat, skinny, loved, unloved, black or white or red … it is a mental illness that causes irrationality and poor judgement and the inability to process, at a normal pace, healthy coping mechanisms.  We look at Kate Spade, Robin Williams, and so many other individuals in the lime light who seem to have had it all … bipolar does not judge.

Please, please, if you have someone in your life who has this illness, read up on it and get to know what they are dealing with.  Some of my best supporters know that even as irrational and awful and strange it is that I deal with suicidal thoughts, I still deal with it.

It is not a selfish attempt to garner attention.  It is a mental illness.  And it’s real.  To all of you who have loved one’s that have bipolar disorder, please know … they love you.  How they feel about you and what you mean to them often has nothing to do with their suicidal tendencies.

For more information on bipolar disorder visit the National Institute of Mental Health

 

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Happy Birthday Mom! Musings and Messes From Your Daughter.

Remember when you’d spend hours upon hours making breath-taking wedding cakes in the tiny little Alabama kitchen with me and my sister playing at your feet?  How when a cake didn’t turn out right, instead of tossing it into the trash you’d give it to us so we could spend hours on end making messy roses and crazy frosting patterns that you deemed were a masterpiece?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember the way you smiled at me.

Remember when, after the divorce, we were struggling and living on patio furniture in the living room and you decided to go back to college while working full time and taking care of four kids?  How when you’d lock your bedroom door and we’d hear you crying from the other side, and we’d have cinnamon toast for dinner?  Then, when you graduated.  When you walked the stage and took that diploma in your hand and owned every minute of every struggle so that you could better your life, our lives?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how inspired I was.

Remember when, after we were estranged for so many years, you came to visit me and we stood in my living room in Iowa and didn’t know where to start?  How you took a deep breath, looked me right in the eye and admitted that sometimes as a mom you didn’t feel worthy?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how I was so relieved because I felt the same way too as a mom and how we decided to love each other anyway.

Remember when I was a self absorbed brat who blamed everyone around her for her pain?   How I now call you everyday, sometimes twice a day, even though I’m 40 something and a Grandma myself because I can’t go a single day without hearing your voice?  How your sense of humor, prayers, and gentle reassurance that I am loved comforts me. Your patience did that.  And it is good.  And I remember, everyday, how much I value what you, as a woman, have gone through and how you, as my mother, have loved me.

Remember when we, one day, decided that the past wasn’t going to overpower the future and that we were super women hero’s who could defy all the odds and be best friends in the end?

Remember when I wrote a birthday letter to you and put it online and embarrassed the Sh&t out of you?

I love you mama.  Happy Birthday.

Thanks for being exactly, wonderfully, amazingly you.

momandme2

 

 

 

 

Motivated to Love: From Death’s Door to Heaven on Earth.

Everywhere we look we are inspired to love.  From self-help books to the Bible to do gooder’s on social media who remind us that there is hope in mankind; when we look for it, we see the evidence of love.  Love though … sometimes it’s not as easy as paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru or making smiley face chocolate chip pancakes for the kids.  It’s hard.  It’s selfless.  It’s messy.

I had been married for 19 years when my husband divorced me.  Oh, he had every reason and they were all good.  I was a selfish, manipulative, strung out bi-polar with no intent on changing.  I’d had several suicide attempts but yet refused to get help.  My husband, despite how much he loved me, knew he had to let me go.  I was either going to face reality or drop off the cliff, but he was no longer willing to go there with me or allow our children to witness the chaos of my ignorance.

Homeless, jobless, money-less, and without any family I ended up staying with an old friend,  in her basement.  It was late one night when rock bottom came crashing down around me and having lost everything I’d ever loved I got on my knees next to the mattress on the floor and I decided that I was going to end it.  I was tired.  Tired of the fight, tired of the failure, tired of never being good enough.  I thought everyone would just be so much better off without me messing everything up all the time.  Yes, I decided, I was doing the people I loved a favor.

Compelled by some reason to pray first, I bowed my head as the tears flowed and I prayed, “God, if you have any favor in me, please accept me into Heaven despite what I’m about to do.  I’ve tried everything, everything, and nothing’s worked.  I’m too tired now.  I tried.”

As I prepared to stand to go get the pills, I was racked with shivers, as if electricity shot through my head down into my toes and it froze me in place.  Then, in my mind, I heard the words loud and clear, “You haven’t tried everything yet.”

Now, I’m not going to say it was the voice of God, and I’m not even going to say I understood what was going on, but it was enough to quiet me.  It was enough for me to pause, and wonder … what haven’t I tried?

“You haven’t done it MY way.” I hear.   Love.   Truly, authentically, unselfishly, perfectly love.  I collapsed.  In a whirlwind of thoughts swimming around me I could see how, for all my life, I’d been in survival mode.  It was all about me and what I could get, what I needed to make it another day.  Approval, validation, praise.  In my insecurity, which started as a little girl who was abused for many years, I operated in performance  mode.  If I did this, you’d do that.  If I say this, you’ll say that.  If I act this like, you’ll act like this back.  I saw how I’d pushed so many people away because I was so needy to be accepted.  I was loving others, not because I truly wanted to bless them, but because I needed them to love me back.

“Okay,” I said into thin air.  “Okay.  It’s not about me, I get it.  I’ll do it your way.  I’ll love without expectation.  My motivation will be only to show my family how much I truly do love them, so that they know.  Once they know … I’m taking myself out.  You get 2 months God.”

I still didn’t get it obviously.  But, it was a start.

I did everything I could possibly do to begin building my life again.  Once I decided to live, even temporarily, and once I decided to love, without expectation, things slowly began taking form.  I did everything I could to re-build from tossing newspapers at 4 am to working in a call center collecting debts, and finally a retail sales job with education benefits.  My husband allowed me to see the kids every weekend, and while I felt so incredibly guilty for not being able to take them anywhere because I was so broke, we spent our weekends playing dance off party, at the park, or simply sitting around talking.  I was re-bonding with my babies.  I started college.  I rented a little house.  All in month one.

Then, the bigger step.  Getting help.  Therapy and medication started.  I knew going into it that it was only for another month, but I’d promised myself I’d try everything I’d never tried before, so I went for it.   Another week came and went, and my ex-husband, sitting in the garage on his new motorcycle, said as I came to pick up the kids, “You look different.”

“I do?”  God he looked good on that bike.

He nodded, “Yeah.  It’s a good look.”

“Well, that bike looks pretty good on you too,” I say.  We laugh.  For the first time.

He calls on me to help when help is needed and I am there.  I begin to make enough money to treat the kids and give them their own bedroom in my house.  I work 40 hours a week and do several online classes and two on campus classes and every ounce of my time outside is spent with the kids.

I’m 7 weeks in and my youngest daughter says to me, “I like the way you are now Mama.”

I wonder.  Maybe I’ll extend another month.  Heaven can wait a few more days.

As my motivation to love shifted from getting my own needs met to meeting the needs of others, my life started to become easier.  I wasn’t thinking about who cared about me, who was paying attention to what I was doing, or if I was good enough.  I was just, well, living.  The joy in my heart grew every time I gave.  My confidence sky rocketed.

I slowly began to see that I had something of value to offer, and that it was good.  It didn’t need a billboard of praise or a gift of thanks, it was the first petal on a Spring flower that bloomed after the freeze and existed even if no one ever saw it.  It just was.

Two months turned to four which turned to six.  I was excelling at work, my children were beginning to trust me, I was facing some dark demons through therapy, and the new medication was curbing the mania.  I began reaching out to my extended family, asking for grace and forgiveness for the pain I’d caused and hoping to start again.

Eight months later I went to pick up the kids and my ex-husband, in the garage working on his bike, caught me off guard, “Hey, uh, I just wanted to say thanks.”

“Thanks for what?” I ask.

He stood, slowly and came closer to where I stood.  Taking my hand in his, “For loving us enough to change.  I  see what you’re doing.  It’s a good thing.”

Later that week I got a call late at night from him, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d wanna do lunch tomorrow? If not, that’s cool, just asking.”

Never in a million years did I ever expect that my ex husband would ask me to go to lunch with him.  I was treading lightly on the soft waters of his heart, and I knew, going into this, he deserved the very best I had to offer and if I was honest with myself, I had to also ask if I was that best.

“Friends, right?” I asked over a Panera Asian salad.  He smiled, “Yeah.  Friends.”

I saw my ex in a different light that day, a man who had loved me more than anyone else ever had but who had the courage to stop being an enabler and protect his children from further damage.  I saw the pain in his eyes, the having to let me go, but I also saw a new light forming there.  Confidence.  Trust in himself.  We had both grown through our loss of one another, having chosen to be motivated to love without condition.

We started secretly getting together behind the kids’ backs.  Motorcycle rides through the country side, late night phone calls, lunches, and often times just sneaking off for a few hours to sit in the car and talk.  Friends.  Just friends, I kept telling myself.

Nearly a year later I was washing dishes in my kitchen in my little rental house when the kids came rushing through my front door.  I was surprised because it wasn’t my day or weekend to have them, “What are you doing here?”

Their eyes were wide, their breathing rushed, and I could tell they were so excited about something.  My youngest daughter spoke first, “We gotta tell ya something!”

They pulled out a chair and sat me down in it, all gathering around me.  Then, without warning, in walked my ex-husband.

With the children gathered around me, he got down on one knee.  They all said, at the same time, in unison together, “We want you to come home.”

My ex-husband and I remarried in 2013 and have been blissfully overcoming our past history for a glorious five years and counting.

I get down on my knees almost every night before bed, and I pray the same prayer …

“… Thank you.  Hold my spot.  I’m not coming anytime soon.”

I continue to check myself daily, asking the hard question … what is my motivation?  Am I self-seeking right now, am I wanting something in return, or am I simply loving to bless?  Am I being the real me, a woman who has value, or am I performing so others will give me the feedback I think I need?  It’s an on-going process, a daily refresher course, but what I do know for sure … what will always and forever be true for me isn’t just the fact that the night I wanted to die God saved me; but that he taught me love.

I hope you get the opportunity to love today.  I hope that my story reminds you that you are worthy to be loved, as much as you are called to love others.  Sharing the ugly, dark parts of my life is not easy, but we all have them and we’ve got to stick together to remind one another that we’re not in this alone.  Be kind to yourself, and love with your whole heart.

And chocolate chip smiley face pancakes help too.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Cry After I Workout

I can’t look at myself in the mirror when I get out of the shower.  I avoid the reflection, telling myself that should I accidentally look, there’s another woman in here with me.  Surely, this is not me.  I have to call for my daughter to help me put my new sports bra on.  I am too fat to maneuver it by myself.  I don’t look her in the eye, I am ashamed.  My breathing is elevated, my heart rate’s up, I’m already starting to sweat, and I have to sit on the toilet to get my pants on because I can’t bend over far enough.  When did I do this to myself?  Just getting dressed is an effort.  Who am I kidding, putting on these dumb work out clothes.  As if it’s worth anything at all at this point.  I think I am too far gone.

I sit in front of the building that holds a large sign reading, “Empowering Fitness.”  Empower my ass, I think.  I sit there.  I don’t know if I have the courage to go in.  I am so fat.  What if I can’t do it?  What if they all stare?  What if I make a fool out of myself?  I catch my eyes in the reflection of my rear view mirror, and I see how afraid I am.  I grab onto the fear, as if it has power, and suddenly from a place deep within me I get angry.   I get really angry.  Angry at myself, angry at my husband for deploying again, angry at my kids for growing up and leaving, angry at my past hurts, and angry that I have somehow allowed myself to get up to an enormous 250 pounds.
I grit my teeth, “I will NOT be afraid,” I tell myself in the car before I watch my hand going to the door handle, pulling, and opening the door.  My feet are pounding on the gravel leading up to the door, as if I have to be a force of rage just to put myself in that place.
weights
They start jogging as a warm up.  A warm up.  I can’t jog!  I fall in line and give it my best, even though I’m not as fast as everyone else and it hurts so bad that I’m screaming inside, getting dizzy, and want to puke.  I can’t do a damn plank, or a burpie, or a power squat, or Jesus, anything.  What am I going to do?  I grit my teeth again and tell myself, “You’re just going to do what you can.”

 

Then, it was over.  Just when I couldn’t make one more move, the workout ended.  The class all applauded, high fives were handed out, and several people told me, “Good job.”  From the pit of my stomach grew a sob … I had to get out of there quick, I was going to explode.  From the inside of my car I cried and I cried and I cried, it spilled out of me like a pressure cooker whose hole had been covered for a few hours.  An explosion of emotion.
I’d done it.  I’d gone in, I’d worked out, and I’d faced my fears.  Why was I crying?
Day two, three, four ….. all the way through the first two weeks I go through the same routine.  I have to work myself up to go in, and I have to bring myself down when I come out.  It is an emotional roller coaster that I’m not sure I can afford to be on but I’m riding it out none the less.
My whole body aches.  I don’t think I’ve lost any weight, but I’m too afraid to see the number on the scale and face what it means and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter as much the number but how I feel.  Damn, I feel great.  I feel accomplished.  I feel proud.
And I cry.  I cry it out because I need to release the pain I’ve put on myself so that I can make room for the beauty that is me.
I am worthy.   Despite being weighed down by these physical pounds, I can see now that all I needed was to believe in myself.  So I did.
I step out of the shower and smile.

Give Yourself Permission to Cry.

8d0f69ef7e45bda62769ad9315a3131f--sweetest-quotes-quotes-loveSometime between the hamburger I could hardly stomach and standing right there in front of him, I resolved that this was going to actually happen.  My husband was leaving for war.  Again.  I knew logically that I’d done this goodbye before, that I knew I could survive deployment, and that the only thing I needed to focus on was that he needed all the love and support I had to give.  The thing about logically knowing something and actual feelings is that they live on separate planets that eventually collide.

Over 500 Iowa soldiers said their final “See you later”‘s on Saturday.  We lifted our eyes to meet our best friend’s gaze and forced out the words that we’d play over and over and over again in our minds for weeks to come.  One last hug.  One last “I love you.”

In that moment time stops.  It’s not necessarily what you say but how you say it and it’s not really about the “goodbye” but more so freezing that second of time to hold onto.  It’s a moment we cannot have regrets with.  It’s a few seconds of time that we spend knowing we may never get it back again.  It’s being willing to let go, but being strong enough to hold on.

Hundreds of wives came back this weekend from Texas without their husband or boyfriend with them.  Each of us carry a sort of grief that can often go unnoticed because we are, in fact, military wives and we are strong.

As a 23 year military wife with four deployments I am here to tell them, “It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to vent.  It’s okay that you came home, looked around, and felt utterly and totally alone.  It’s okay that you want to stay in your jammies and binge netflix Hallmark movies.  It’s okay to miss him already.  This is the hard part.   That last hug still resonates and we have yet to get into our deployment routines.  Right now, today, is probably the worst pain you are feeling or will feel.  Let it be what it is.  Cry it out.  Scream it out.  Give yourself permission to feel this.  If you don’t, you’ll bottle it all up and it will spill out into the deployment in ways that could hurt you, your spouse, and your children.  Don’t listen to people who say, “Just be strong,” or, “It will be over before you know it.”  Listen to your heart.  Feel what you need to feel in these next 72 hours.”

Then, we will pick ourselves back up and we will forge ahead.  We WILL be strong.  We WILL be tough.  We will do things other wives could not fathom to do.  But for right now, while that kiss still lingers on your lips, please give yourself permission to feel.

Journal it out, call a friend who will listen to you (without trying to relate to you or give you advice), pump out some reps at the gym, get a babysitter and lay in bed with his pillow and bawl for an hour.  Whatever it is you need to do to process this monumental life experience, do it.

Even if it’s just to have someone acknowledge that you are a bad ass who just went through a hell of a hard time; find that person.  You deserve to be heard, validated, and loved through this.  It’s essential, because after about a week it’s your job to suck it up and get on with it.

In the chaos that is this kind of pain, never forget, while few will understand there are those that do.  Find them.  Hold onto them.  Reach out.  Don’t isolate.

A good cry never felt so good.  Have at it ladies.  Get it out.  There’s plenty of time for us to be tough.  And tough we will be.

 

From Fear to Fearless: This is YOUR year!

devil

When Amy was alive she always told me, “Be fearlessly you!”  She was a woman who lived by her words and yet for all the years she told me this, I never grasped it.  I lived constantly in my own self doubt.  The shadows of all my mistakes and shortcomings over-rode any light I thought I might possibly have buried deep down somewhere.  No matter what I tried to do, whether in career or relationships, it seemed like I was a vacuum sucking people dry because I hungered so much for validation.  I never stood independent of how I thought others thought of me.  So how could I change that?  What could I do differently this year?

What could I do so that when I looked into my children’s faces I didn’t see all my regret that I could have done it better before they left home?  What could I possibly change to see my husband take  a sigh of relief that he no longer carried all my pain or purpose?  My friendships, how could I operate in love in such a way that did not demand reciprocity?  How could I possibly be independently fearless and stand in my truth that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a beautiful being with something to offer?

I think we all struggle with this at one time or other in our lives.  We look around at those closest to us, those we’ve lost through filters through the years, and those we hope to become closer to in the future and we wonder … do I have what it takes?  Am I good enough?   Do I have value?

Fear.  Fear of being wanted, loved, and liked.  Fear of loss, fear of gain.  Fear of failure and success.  We become stagnant in our doubts, almost sometimes to the point of being frozen in it.  We stop going out, we are isolated with work and friends.  We shy away from socialization.   Then the voices really start up, man, they can be harsh.  See?  I told you, no one cares.  See?  I told you, no one notices you.

How do we overcome that kind of fear?  I went to my bedside one day and knelt, shaking, on my bedroom floor and I prayed, “Lord, my precious Father, you did not have this in mind when you created me, did you? With Amy gone now, I feel lost to courage and bravery.  I feel lost to me.  Help me to see myself as someone who can love as you love. Change my heart.  Mature me.  Please, give me opportunities to shower my world with faith and friendship and love and laughter and not do so with a selfish heart.  Train me up to stand in the gap for those I love, rather than whine about being the gap myself.  Let me be the light.”

After I was done praying I heard the word, “Act.”  Then, from Scripture, “Do not be afraid.”  In my mind I could hear the trumpets of Jericho.  Bring the wall down.  The wall of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  Shake it to its core so it has no hold over you.

I heard Amy, “Be Fearlessly You!”

I’m determined that this will be a year of letting go of fear and falling fearlessly in love with my life, my family, friends, and the path I am so blessed to be able to be on.

I pray, for all who read this and can relate, that you have the courage to stand on your knees, be humble to God, and become an action person verses a reactive person!  This is going to be a great year.

 

 

 

Preparing for Day 1 Arbonne Cleanse!

For about 39 years I never worried about my weight.  In fact, unless I was pregnant or nursing, I didn’t even have to watch what I ate. (what a $(@&* …. I know.)  I was a comfortable size 6 at about 5 foot 6 inches.  I always felt sorry for overweight people.  I felt sorry for women who were losing their hair.  I would be comforting and say, “No, you’re fabulous!” But inside I was feeling, “Please God, don’t let that happen to me.”  Truth.  Ugly, but true.

I didn’t want to get “old” – not that at 41 I am but let me just say ladies …. at 40 the tides become to come in and they just aren’t soft and subtle.

So here I sat, a 41 year old who suddenly weighed 234 pounds YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT.  I went from a nice steady 140 to 234 pounds …..and had lost some height and stood at 5 foot 5 inches. I’d lost so much hair that from any direction you can see how white my ugly scalp is.  I was miserable.  What happened to me?  Life I suppose.  My medications for anxiety and depression had some to do with it (Weight gain side effects are for the birds, and my husbands 4th tour overseas with the military didn’t help).  But then, I quit smoking on top of everything.  I was a smoker, yes.  For 28 years.  Two packs a day.  Until Pneumonia nearly killed me about 8 months ago.  So instead, I ate.  Ugh.

Skinny girl in a fat body.  I mean, for those of you that have known me through the years thank you, thank you, thank you for not mentioning WTH has happened to me!  I sware to you ….. just last week I was walking by a mirror in a department store and I thought, “Oh, gosh, that poor girl.”  Holy crap.  That girl was me.  ME.  The girl who can’t get up the stairs without stopping to take a break.  My ankles feel like they’re breaking, I eat fifteen tums a day, and my bowels?  Oh TMI.

So …. when my co-worker started feeling healthy and losing weight on a cleanse of course I wanted to hear about it.  Then, I learned it was an MLM.  The Arbonne Cleanse. Ugh.  Not my first rodeo here folks.  Been there, done that.  However, she was so excited about her own success I couldn’t help get excited with her.  I don’t have to sell it, just use it, right?

My husband was leaving for two months for Leadership training with the military and I knew, if I was going to make a move on my health and weight …. now was the time!  How fun to surprise him!  Hmmmm …. how to really stabefore-fronty motivated?  My son!  I have a 21 year old son in the military also who happens to be living at home right now (no pressure from me to move in whilst dad is gone. lol), and I wanted to see if we could do the cleanse together.  Mama and son.  He was in.  Not just in.  He was helping me afford it.  *insert tears.

We met Heather on a Thursday night in her new home, she was literally just moving in.  She was friendly, open, warm and inviting.  She also had a military background.  She explained the product, let us try some stuff, and then stepped back.

I told her and my co-worker we would think about it.  But, we were in.

Hence the food prepping tonight and the preparations to start this 30 day journey.  Here, you’ll find my “Before” picture.

 

before side.jpg

Here were my top 3 requests:

1.)  It’s gotta be easy.

2.)  It’s gotta be easy.

3.)  It’s gotta be easy.

Then, I learned I have to give up coffee AND martini’s.  Holy smokes.   So, tonight, I’m getting ready to dig in tomorrow.  My meal prep’s are all done for the next few days and I’m about to embark on a new journey for 30 days to change my eating habits and begin to develop a healthy lifestyle.  Please, don’t ask questions tonight ……. I’ve got a full martini and I’m enjoying the living heck out of it!  🙂  Love you all and I’ll keep you posted!

If you’ve done the Arbonne http://www.arbonne.com/pws/homeoffice/tabs/home.aspxcleanse, let me hear about it!

 

 

Book Review: A Mathmatical State of Grace

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In her novel, A Mathmatical State of Grace, Cathy McGough pairs an awkward yet highly intelligent young teen girl with a super star jock and the result is a love story too sweet to pass up.  Grace is a loveable, isolated yet sweet character whose crush on Vincente Marino, who is the opposite of Grace, is resolved early on to be wishful thinking on Grace’s part.  The two live in separate worlds, Grace a mathematical genius with few friends and Vincente a jock with a beautiful and equally popular girlfriend.  Vincente only notices Grace because she helps him with his math homework so that he can stay on the cricket team.  It’s a sweet, enjoyable beginning to the inside of every young girls mind whose crushed on a boy that seems far out of reach.

The novel takes a slight twist when Grace is injured, at the hands of Vincente, and ends up in the hospital having lost her memory and possibly even at death’s door due to brain complications.  Vincente, in his guilt, stays by Grace’s side at the hospital and becomes more of a dimensional character as we are introduced to his soft side.

The novel from there, takes a turn and enters into a science fiction like mode.  Hardly explainable, Vincente and Grace find themselves lost in a world together which seems to have no way out.  Left with no one, alone in the world, the two characters embark on a journey of survival. Their love story blossoms as they traverse this apocalypse type setting and it is very sweet to watch the characters develop deeper.

While I struggled as a reader to grasp the plot and the turn of events taking place I did find that the love story was comforting.  It reminds readers that true love really can happen in the least expected ways, and that often times, love can bring out the best in us.  I did not necessarily connect to the events or happenings in the story outside of the relationship between both main characters but am hoping that book two will bring some insight.

This would be a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction, or for teen girls who are looking for a great love story.  My recommendation however is that you really do need to read both books one and two as I was left without an understanding of anything that was really going on.  Hoping to get book two and give a more insightful review!  BUY BOTH BOOKS NOW!

 

 

Book Review: Another Time – Another Chance

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Author Steve Wilhelm gets falling in love right in his novel, “Another Time – Another Chance.” His ability to weave the magic of new love into a truly beautiful story of desire, hope, and healing is exceptional.  The story of a man, in this case, Daniel, whose life swarms with the blessing of beautiful women to whom he claims his love for, is at first a little bit one dimensional.  After all, the man has it all.  It seems, at first glance, when initially reading, that Daniel just got a great round of good luck and lives in bliss.  Where’s the plot?  Oh boy … keep reading.  Wilhelm introduces the idea of regret, that often not so distant companion of all things what if?  He does so in such a twist of fate, a simple moment of wonder, that the story takes on a life of its own.  What if we could go back and change things?  What if we didn’t have to wonder about the effects of our choices?

Daniel, having it all already, chooses to open Pandora’s box.  His memory plays tricks on him, to the point of his memory being completely erased for some period of time.  He cannot seem to shake off the idea that whatever it is that is missing, might be important.  He is given an opportunity to re-trace his life, to literally go back in time, to discover what it is he is missing and ultimately, find out what may have been.

As the reader I was at first angry at Daniel.  In fact, I had a lot of emotion.  Daniel had everything – a great wife, a loving daughter, a picture perfect everything.  Why risk what he had by challenging his memory to recall things that possibly were erased for a good reason?   Why, when he discovers what that memory is, does he want to immerse himself in it?  I struggled with the transition the author takes from Daniel in “real” life to Daniel “going back.”  However, Wilhelm doesn’t disappoint.  The new “life” Daniel finds is one that sucks you in and breathes a new life entirely into the novel.

The cliffhanger ebbs and flows throughout the second half of the novel, and I found myself getting more and more excited for a perceived outcome, one that I was sure was going to take place.  I couldn’t put this book down, not until I knew what was going to happen when Daniel woke up from his jaunt down memory lane.

Then, the author does the most difficult thing of all and does so in such a way that if he were here, in my living room, I would have smacked him on the shoulder.  He went somewhere I didn’t even think possible.   The ending leaves you breathless, and desperately wanting more.

Quite the love story, but also a novel that leaves you contemplating your own life, your own regrets and choices, and in the end provides a path that astonishes.  Five stars for this novel, pick it up today on Amazon!

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