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Forget What You Thought Was Reality...

Monday, February 10, 2020

Getting Past It All...

Happy Monday One and All!

Yikes! It's been a month since I wrote on this blog. I'm sorry! If it's any consolation, I did update the Jeannie Averie blog.

This post is one that I started thinking about last week. I did some talking about this on Twitter (under both names) but I haven't actually written it all out in a more cohesive format.

First and foremost: this is not a pity party. I hate throwing myself pity parties. Please, don't pity me. Don't feel sorry for me. My life has had ups and downs like everyone else's and I'm not looking for special treatment. In fact, I hate being patronized, too. The only special treatment I ever got out of this was having a laptop to take notes in high school and untimed standardized testing days. For the rest, I've worked hard. Oftentimes, swallowing my nerves and asking for help. Sometimes facing less-than-understanding teachers, but never felt entitled to anything except for the help I needed...and even then, it was sometimes hard for me to accept because I didn't want to be different. (Now I like being different and unique!)

I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Yes, I know, I'm basically revealing my age, which I don't usually do--not from embarrassment, or being sensitive about my age, but because it just isn't important to my writing. But, it is important to my story, because I grew up in a time where learning disabilities weren't really as understood as they are today or have quite as many options and resources.

I'm one of eight children. Number 7 to be exact. I have 2 brothers and 5 sisters. We're pretty close-knit and very close to our folks. My dad was a Chemical Engineer, but you can banish the idea we were super rich or affluent because we weren't. That money had to cover the roof over our head, food, clothing, schooling, etc. With 8 kids, it adds up. (I wore hand-me-downs along with some newer stuff, too). But, I have no regrets with how I was brought up. From a young age, I was taught the value of hard work, honesty, faith, courtesy/manners, and taking responsibility for my own actions. We weren't perfect, but it was nice.

We weren't aware I had learning disabilities until I hit Elementry school. And even then, it wasn't until I was in the 4th grade that anyone took my low test scores and other stuff into serious consideration. My teachers before that meant well and made excuses that "some kids test low" and that my mother couldn't expect me to be a straight-A student like the sister closest in age to me (not that she ever did, she didn't...she just wanted to help me). So after 4th grade, I got taken out of the school, and Mom homeschooled me. It wasn't long before she noticed I had very clear differences in how my siblings learned. When teaching me the monetary value of things, I didn't make the connection between ten pennies being the same as one dime. So, in the sixth grade, she found out about a learning clinic and got me tested.

The tests revealed that I shouldn't even be able to use the bathroom on my own--which, was nonsense since I'd been going to the bathroom on my own rather successfully for YEARS (and I'm happy to report that I still can use the bathroom on my own). But, tests don't measure abilities, just a certain set of criteria. So, I went for remediation. I worked with the whole office on different things--visualization, focus, puzzles, memorization, and the like.

Part of my diagnosis fell under umbrella categories like dyslexia and such. The way I describe it is that everybody has bridges in the brains--bridges that connect one idea to another. Some of my bridges were broken, and in some cases, none existed. Through the program they used to help me, I made tremendous improvement.

They had me learn how to touch-type, and I started writing more. Mom says my handwriting improved, and even my math and spelling improved. Stories poured out of me, lyrics, and poetry, too.

In high school, I opted to go to a school 2 of my sisters had graduated from, and one of my other sisters was a senior. I don't regret it. Yes, I faced some bullying like I had in elementary school. Yes, sometimes it was hard. But, I don't regret it.

I met some great teachers, whom I'm still friends with over 20/30 years later. Some of my best friends are those I met in high school (and one who I became friends within the 4th grade).

Senior year, I decided I'd challenge myself. I'd go for the Silver Honor Roll for the entire year. I'd gotten it for different quarters, but never all year. The Silver Honor Roll required the student to maintain an A and B average for the entire semester, which meant for both semesters I had to maintain the average. Sometimes I was worried I wouldn't make it, but through tutoring, working my butt off at times, and dealing with being a procrastinator, I managed to maintain the Silver all year. It was one of my proudest academic moments.

Unlike my sister, I never qualified for the National Honor Society, and I only took one advanced class my entire academic career, but I got that Honor Roll and I graduated.

I ended up going to a business school for their 8-month Information Processing (clerical/secretarial work) and graduated from there with decent (I think A's and B's) grades.

The corporate world presented different challenges. I tried NOT to reveal my learning disabilities because I didn't want special treatment. I wanted to earn jobs and to prove my capabilities without any particular treatment. Unfortunately, that didn't really work out and I ended up having to reveal them pretty much in every job I had. It was frustrating because if I revealed them I risked being treated in a way I didn't want to, and if I didn't, I got in trouble.

Eventually, in my early twenties, I got married to a man who didn't care if I had learning disabilities or not (in fact, he's been really nice about them and encourages me to overcome my obstacles). I started getting serious about writing, and in 2013 my first novel was published. I've published 4 more since, and working on more, and now I'm working on getting my first adult (Jeannie Averie pen-name) out there.

The point is, aside from some extra tutoring, and my deceased friend spending a ton of time on the phone with me Senior year explaining the teacher's lecture from our Shakespeare class (my one and only advanced class!) And the patience of some excellent teachers, friends, and colleagues, I got where I am. I never asked them to just hand me anything. I wanted to earn it. I wanted to prove I could do it. (In a group situation in high school, kids would try to just give me the answer, instead of teaching me the process, which I wouldn't accept. I'd either learn it and come up with the answer, or I'd tell the teacher or my parents that I needed help). 

That's the way I am, now, too. I don't want things handed to me, I want to earn them. I know how to work hard, so I'll put in the time. I might not always get it right, but I will try, learn, and grow from experiences.

If you have learning disabilities (I hate the term "learning differences" because EVERYONE has their own way of learning, so it's all different; but, what I have are actual disabilities in my learning) I hope my story can encourage you. Even if it's hard, you can accomplish things. You have to set realistic goals, but don't be afraid to challenge yourself. More than once, it's paid off for me.

Have A Marvelously Merry Monday!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Welcome To 2020...

Happy Monday & 2020 To Everyone!

When I was in high school, I couldn't even fathom 2000, much less 2020. It didn't matter how close or far any of those years were, I just found it astounding.

It's another year to grow, learn, and experience life. Speaking from my experience, every year has good and bad. Some years you enjoy the good more, and other years, you've got to push through more of the bad. In any case, I like to experience each year whether it is mostly good or not.

This year, I want to finish books 5 and 6 in the Immortal Dreams series. I'm pretty much ready to wrap up the Immortals, at least, for now. I've got some other ideas flashing here and there, so it would be good to see where else my imagination takes me. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not going to pay attention to those last 2 books and try to do the series justice--I am, and I will. The series is important to me, and I want to do it justice. Just hang on a bit while I work out what that means for those books.

Under my Jeannie Averie name, I'm looking at books for older teens and adults. I still plan on keeping my goofy sense of humor, of course (and romance), but Jeannie Averie books will feature older characters.

So, while you're waiting on all that, a YA novel I recently read (and loved) is S. Jae-Jones' Wintersong. It was poignant and beautiful. (Also, fans of the movie, Labyrinth, will appreciate certain things that allude to the movie!)

Anyway, I wish you all a fantastic new year and the best 2020 has to offer!

Have A Marvelously Magical Monday!

Monday, December 16, 2019

It's Looking Like Christmas...

Happy Monday!

Can you believe that next week is Christmas? I thought it would take longer to get here. I finished my Christmas shopping last week. Have you finished?

The Averie Household has been slow about getting the tree up this year. The evening of December 13th, my Real Life Hero brought the box in. Slower than what we usually do, but things have been a bit crazy the last couple of weeks.

Despite being slow about the tree, we've been anticipating Christmas. The Offspring are excited and we've been to one Christmas party and Real Life Hero has one coming up at his work. In the car we've been playing Christmas music, which has been fun.

Working on some more projects under my Jeannie Averie pseudonym, but I'm thinking up things for the last two books in the Immortal Dreams series.

Averie Cat had his yearly check up and he's in good health. Got his shot he needed and we're now all set. He didn't enjoy the whole thing, but at least he's healthy.

Some family on my side are coming in after Christmas, so my parents are having Christmas dinner a couple of days after Christmas, so we'll be celebrating with my family on the 27th. For us, we'll have our Christmas Mass--likely on Christmas Eve, and then do our family presents on Christmas Day, and the presents from my parents on the 27th when we go over there.

I love this time of year. I'm praying for cooler weather. I'm not a fan of ice and snow, but I do like bundling up and snuggly blankets. It gets so hot most of the year down here, that it's nice to have some cooler weather when it happens. I haven't even broken out the tea and hot cocoa, yet!

On the reading front, I've got a whole pile of books to read, but I always add new ones. I'm trying to decide what I want to read next. I might read Jennifer L. Armentrout or C.C. Hunter. Then again, I've also got a Sophie Jordan and Cheyanne Young waiting on me, too. Not to mention my library book. What are you reading these days?

Anyway, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2020. See you in January!

Have A Mightily Merry Monday!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving & More...

Happy Thursday One and All!

Also, Happy Thanksgiving! My Thanksgiving is postponed until Sunday. My parents are out of town visiting one of my other siblings and well, we really don't have anywhere else to go. But, please, don't worry about us. We're actually happy to be at home. My Real Life Hero has to work half a day and Eldest has around an hour long online class to do, so we've got plans. I plan on cooking a little something--not a turkey (me and the Offspring can't have turkey without bad results). Sunday, we'll have Thanksgiving with my parents and one of my other siblings, so there you have it, I'm not missing it all together.

I've been working on the Jeannie Averie novel (this is polishing, extra edits--the novel is written). Planning to do more of it in the next few days since Real Life Hero will be off and so I'll have a little more space to work.

Recently, I finished reading a fun novel called Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram. It was cute and fun and emotional. Also, romantic.

Most of my Christmas shopping is done, and I've already started wrapping presents. Someone asked me if I was ready for Christmas and I said, "Always!" I love Christmas.

So, what's your favorite holiday?

Have a great Thanksgiving if that's what you're celebrating this week, and have a great weekend in general!

Also...

Have a Thoroughly Terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It's A Process...

Happy Tuesday One & All,

Last week I managed (over the course of a whole day) to edit a whole chapter in my Jeannie Averie novel. Considering that I had been laid up in bed at least a good portion of the day with a cold that has gone through my household, I was rather proud of myself. Proud and pleasantly surprised. Besides illness, there has been several things that slowed my writing and editing to pretty much a standstill. Some of it was beyond my control. As to the rest, well, there was a lot going on.

The point is, I really care about my writing, so I try to give 100% when I'm working on it. And while I owe it to my own creativity, I also owe it to you, my readers.

So, if I'm slow getting things out, it's not because I want to make you suffer, it's because these things take time. I know, it's hard to be patient when you're waiting on something (like the last 2 books in the IMMORTAL DREAMS series...I know, I know, I need to get moving on those) but be patient. Sometimes things take longer than originally anticipated (believe, I understand, I wouldn't say patience is my strongest attribute, so I totally get what I'm asking of my readers here!)

In the meantime, I'm reading, editing, and trying to find the breakthroughs on the last 2 Immortal Dreams books so that I can get them to you, my readers.

Currently reading in Fiction:  Enchanted Ever After by Shanna Swendson (Fiction with some Romance)

Recently Finished & Enjoyed:  Awk-Weird by Avery Flynn (Contemporary Romance)

Still working on Non-Fiction:  Purest of All Lilies by Donald H. Calloway, MIC. (Religious Non-Fiction)

Also Working On Reading:  My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy by Grace Buchele Mineta (semi-autobiographical comic-type book).

What are you reading these days?

Have A Tremendously Terrific Tuesday!


Monday, November 4, 2019

Whoo-Hoo, It's November...

Happy Monday All,

It's November! Texas weather isn't sure if it's supposed to be warm or cold (I say cold, but snow only on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day). We made it through Halloween (not exactly my favorite holiday, although my eldest likes parts of it). As a Catholic, I went to All Saints' Day Holy Mass on Friday (All Saints' Day is November 1st). People have been breaking out all their favorite Fall decorations, food, etc. Folks in the USA are looking towards Thanksgiving to get together with friends and/or family. A sense of anticipation hangs in the air as we get closer to December and the Christmas/Hanukkah season. And, it's my favorite time of the year--Fall/Winter.

For writers, November is the time for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I'm not participating, although on my author Facebook page, I am proposing another challenge for writers who aren't doing NaNoWriMo, if you're wanting to check that out.

This year, for Thanksgiving, the Fam. and I are likely headed for my parents' house. I don't know who else will be there (or we'll be at my sister's house, depending on what my mom says). Christmas will be at my parents' house. And after Christmas I think some other family will be in town. I look forward to my Dad's baking. He's an amazing baker and cook. My mother is, too, but my Dad is more into it. I like to bake, so hopefully I'll get around to doing some of that this year.

I need to finish reading Avery Flynn's Awk-Weird. I love her work. So much fun and light-hearted. I've got a stack of new books (and some older ones) to get to, as well. I finally got my hands on Shanna Swendson's newest Enchanted Inc. book, Enchanted Ever After, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Non-romance books, I've been reading one by Fr. Donald Calloway, which I have enjoyed another one of his books and his videos. He's an inspiration to me. What's on your TBR (To Be Read) list this Fall/Winter?

It looks like I'll likely make an appearance at BrazCon 2020 (I believe that's on February 15th). I'm hoping to make RWA Nationals 2020 (in San Francisco) but my plans aren't firm on that. My narrator plans to be there, so I'm really trying to get out there so I can introduce him around!

Books 5 and 6 in the series still need to be finished. I know, I'm being incredibly slow. This year has been--well, interesting. I can't go into detail, just know it's in my heart that I want to get back to writing and I'm hoping all the stuff that's gotten in the way goes away. I still have to finish polishing (I've got a good amount of the edits done, just got to do these last details) on my Jeannie Averie novel.

Other than that, we're fighting allergies, sore muscles, and whatever else gets in the way of a perfect day. Life happens and often good and bad exist together on the same day/week/month/year, so just gotta power through the bad and hang onto the good!

Hope all is well on your end, dear reader, and I wish the best of Fall and Winter!

Have A Meritoriously Marvelous Monday!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Birthdays, Blessings, & Fall...

Happy Friday All,

Also, happy Fall, and October, (and I missed September!) It has been busy (although, I think it always is--or mostly is).

October means a lot of things...getting further into Fall, apple cider showing up in the grocery store, people gearing up for Halloween with costumes on sale and pumpkins popping up (and Pumpkin Spice stuff everywhere LOL!) It's quite a month. It's also my birthday month.

No matter what age I'm turning, I enjoy my birthday month. Sure, sometimes it feels weird to enter a new decade (like I did when I turned 30) and such, but every year has good things and bad things and I like to experience each year as it comes. Plus, I just like that there is a special day celebrating the fact I was born and came into existence. Think about it...without a birth day, you wouldn't be born, there would be no day that marks when someone who is uniquely you came into the world. So, although sometimes it's weird to think about turning one age or another, I'm rather fond of my birthday, so for me, it's a Birthday Yay and NOT Birthday Blah.

A friend of mine died in 2013. When we were turning 30 she wasn't keen on it. I decided instead of sitting around thinking how weird it felt to me, I'd have a party. And I did. It's one of the best decisions I could've made in terms of dealing with a new age I wasn't sure what I thought about. I got to hang out with people I care most about and have fun.

I know plenty of people of all different ages. Some are younger than me, and some are older. Sometimes the younger ones seem more upset about turning an age than I did. But if you bemoan being one age or another, then you're wasting precious living time in my opinion. I mean, nobody is happy all the time, but if all you do is sitting around being negative about your age, or being negative about this thing or that, then it's just depressing.

My mother taught me to try and focus on the positive. It's not always easy--I will say there are times I get depressed or unhappy--but I don't like to sit there. I'm always trying to find something positive. Sometimes I just have to get over the negative feelings and that takes a little time.

But instead of dwelling on what age you're turning or thinking "I'm so old, help!" consider this: it's another opportunity for you to experience life. It's another opportunity for you to find something good. It's another opportunity to make someone smile. Or help someone.

For me, it's a real privilege when I can help someone. So, as my birthday fast approaches and a part of me is thinking "How did I get to this age? How weird does this feel!" I'm also thinking about how great it is to have the family and friends I do, and how blessed I am to be able to pray for those who are having a rough time, or just be there for them.

So today, my advice--whether it is your birthday month or not--think about how you can be a blessing to someone. Make the world a better place, just by helping someone have a better day (in a legal, moral, ethical way!)

Here's a joke my high school Junior history teacher told (many moons ago!)

"A mushroom walks into a bar. The bartender says, 'Get out of here, we don't serve your kind!' The mushroom says, 'Why not? I'm a FUNGI."  :-)

Have A Fabulously Funny Friday!