Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Explanation & A Request... For A Sweet Jedi

I know that I have been "missing" somewhat, lately... But I promise that I have an excellent reason!

You see this little man? ---------->

Well, he's my oldest son. His name is Renn, and he's 5 years old. In less than a month, he'll be going to Kindergarten. He loves Star Wars and knows everything about all six movies... Seriously. He's very smart (okay, yes, I'm a teensy bit biased!), and has said some of the most hilarious things I have ever heard in my life.

Back in February of this year, Renn began having seizures. I mean, out of NOWHERE. They are not your stereotypical lying on the floor, twitching, convulsing, and drooling type seizures (those are called Grand Mal seizures). He has what is known as Petite Mal seizures, which are far less scary to watch (unless you're the person's parents!). He'll begin by shuffling his feet, pointing at or asking about a million different random things, and then his body will "spasm" and he'll flail his right arm out, and might run in a circle while clapping or hopping.

We ran him through the gambit of tests. He had a CT Scan, an EEG, and a MRI... I must admit, with each test, my heart sank. It was hard to watch. But him? With each test, he got to be a cooler and more intelligent Jedi. The resilience of this child... I can't even explain. Anyway, the CT scan came back clear. MRI? Perfect. But the EEG? No such luck. The doctor said it was just "ugly". Believe me, I didn't spend years in medical school learning how to read EEGs, and to me, that thing made me cry.

So in March, we got hit in the gut with a load of the heaviest bricks. Our little boy was diagnosed with Complex Partial Epilepsy.


That word just didn't make sense. He was perfectly FINE all this time! Would he be able to live a normal life? Would he be able to drive one day? What did that word mean, exactly? It truly is unbelievable how little we knew about the disease, and what kind of stigma it holds for those who don't know. I've long dealt with people not understanding my disease (I'm a Type 1 Diabetic- have been since I was 10), but now? Was I going to have to go into each teacher at every new school year and whisper quietly all the restrictions he was to have? NO. I just wasn't having it.

Luckily, his Neurologist- thankfully a close family friend of ours- calmed me the heck down. He said Renn would be just fine, and there were no restrictions. He'd be on medication, and once it kicked in and he stopped having seizures, we'd recheck in a year and see if we could start weaning him off the meds. That meant there's a chance he'd outgrow this!

Hope! There was hope!

But, three months, three heavy medications, seven different dosage changes, and many seizures later, that one year goal seems further and further out of reach.

Tomorrow (July 23, 2012) I will be taking Renn to our wonderful Children's Hospital, where we will admit him, and he will be monitored for at least 72hrs on what's called a VEEG (Video EEG). The goal is to find out what, exactly, is going on in that beautiful, innocent brain of his. I am praying for answers. I don't think there is anything worse, short of losing your child, than not knowing what is going on with your baby.

Why am I sharing this? Well, one- I'm a writer. I have to write, and as I've explained before, it's extremely therapeutic for me. But, two- I am sharing this because I know I have a family, here. A family that cares about what is going on. But more than that, we write for kids everyday, so odds are, we kinda like them. :) I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can lean on you in this hard time.

So I am making a request... If you wouldn't mind it this week while Renn is in the hospital, could you share this picture and story with everyone you know? I will be making it my profile picture on FB, but you certainly do NOT have to go that far. But maybe ask your friends, families, or followers to pray and/or share?  I want to be able to show Renn, as he sits and sits and sits during the VEEG, that there are people in the world praying for and thinking of him... That he CAN get through this, the only way Jedis can... By using the Force. :)

Please copy and share me!

For now, I am on hiatus from my Pondering posts. I hope that you can understand. My love for writing is only surpassed by the love I have for Jesus, my husband, and kids. But I promise, I will be back!

For now, I'm off to a galaxy far, far away with my handsome Jedi. Thank you, in advance, for all the love you have shown me and my sweet boy. I hope to repay you with the same kindness one day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: Should Age Really Matter?

As I have been cruising along in this year of writing and meeting writers, I have discovered something that is definitely NOT talked about within the writing community...

Now, of course I realize we discuss age when it comes to who our intended target is for our books. But we never really discuss how old we, the writers, are. Maybe it's not a politically correct question to ask, but I have been noticing a couple issues regarding it, and I feel it's a topic worthy of a blog post.

I was reading an interesting blog (which will remain anonymous), and the author happened to be talking about the writers of a very popular children's television program. She was saying that the direction in which this iconic series was going was awful, and that it was simply not worth her grandchildren's time; It wouldn't teach them the things that it taught her daughter. The conclusion that she came to was that it was the "young writers of today" who simply "didn't possess the knowledge and maturity that the older generations have".  I was SHOCKED to say the least.

Her followers? Yikes. I've never seen sooo many comments on one post, both good and bad.

The arguments that ensued were ones you can clearly think of yourself. There are great points on both sides! But to me, I don't see why it should matter. Aren't we all part of the same goal? Don't we want kids to learn, read, and feel emotions from books that help them develop well over time?

I, personally, do not share my age with other writers. I have been told MANY a time that I am too young for this business... That I have "plenty of time" to get my writer life in order.


Okay, I'll admit, there ARE some younger writers who might be, shall we say, a tad arrogant. They don't represent all younger writers, but they tend to make those who are- ahem- younger than 30 look like they have a chip on their shoulder. Then again, I look at amazing k-i-d, (yes, kid, as in, CHILD!) writers who have huge followings and fabulous supporters. One specific 10 year-old I know, Erik, has a fantastic blog where he reviews books. He also is participating in 12x12 in 2012, which means he is writing. Awesome, right? He's got a great talent, and no one is giving him guff. I love that!

I'm just curious if the bias for writers to be taken seriously lies in the hands of those who have maybe "lived more life" and might be a teensy bit more experienced.  I don't want to feel that way, but it makes me wonder... Am I crazy?

I can guarantee it works the other way around, too. I'm sure that there are a lot of writers who feel that they are "too old" and that they cannot compete, because new/younger writers are popping up all over the place. They bow out far too soon, instead of sharing what needs to be shared. How sad is that? The truth is, it shouldn't matter if you're 100 years old- if you have a story to tell, by all means!! TELL YOUR STORY! No younger writer should ever, and I mean ever, "take your place".

I understand that on both sides of the debate, there is one word that plays the largest role... EXPERIENCE. Younger writers may not have as much of it (life-wise) as older writers, but older writers might not be able to relate to the things that younger writers see and experience now. I believe that both can create (and should create) wonderful tales to tell.

So, here's my question for you to really sit and chew on, for this week:

When it comes to writing for children, should age really matter?

I am wondering if I am the only one who sees the stigma every once in a while... I absolutely do NOT see it daily, or even monthly! But I have been on one end or another of this issue a time or two, and it always throws me for a loop. To me? Age simply doesn't matter. You're writing to enrich the minds of countless children. In my opinion, I don't care if you're 11 or 121... 


Monday, July 2, 2012


Who doesn't love a "Fashionably Late" party guest?!!

(Pssst! Me. I loathe them. I mean, how flippin' rude, right? One doesn't simply put the TIME option on the invitation as a guideline... Sheesh. What nerve!)

Ahem... As I was saying, sometimes the real advantage goes to the F.L. party guest:
  • They don't feel uncomfortable by being the first ones there (aka they don't feel obligated to start conversation with every. single. guest. who shows up after them
  • They get a room FULL of smiles, hugs, and cheery greetings (and maybe a few sloppy, slurry, "How ares yas?" from those who freqented the bar too much already)
  • They get to bring more food (and at that time, since everyone has already eaten, it REALLY won't matter if they made it from scratch or bought it at the store on their way to said party)
Anywho, I have found that I, myself, have become the latest party guest in HISTORY! I'm talkin', the party now consists of deflated baloons, sad looking streamers, and a bunch of half empty red Solo cups EVERYWHERE...

But... But... I brought... THIS-

Yep. And now, it's all for meeeeeeeee!! Spoon, anyone?

So, what party am I late to, that now you're soooo bummed you totally missed?? Why, it's the

12x12 in 2012 Half-Way There celebration!!!!

Yep! We made it half-way through the challenge! And, I am proud to say that I have written, and finished SIX mannys! Holy cow!! And I am sooooo lucky to have had my hand held the entire way... In our 12x12 group, we've had more encouragement, success stories, tragedies prayed for, babies born, love spread, stories shared, virtual hugs given, and ideas sparked, than I believe has EVER happened in six months time. I am so PROUD to be a part of this group!

You must see the creative ways that my pals are celebrating! I've seen crosswords, read fantastic parodies of songs, and even listened to a sweet jingle! We've had pictures posted, and glasses clinked... It truly IS a fabulous party!

As for me? I am celebrating by continuing to write... Manny #7 is on its way, and I am THRILLED about it. I won't lie, though, this Bloomin' Onion and deeeelish drink suuuurrree is fabulous on this hot summer evening...

Happy Half-Aversary, my wonderful 12x12ers!!  Keep up the great work! What amazing things we have yet to come up with!! I am honored to be standing on this platform with you! And of course, thanks to Julie Hedlund... The very brains behind this whole thing!!!

Six more, y'all!! Let's do this!!