Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015: A Year in Pursuit

For 2015, I have decided to scrap all resolutions except one: pursue the life I want and live it fully. Of course I want to lose weight and be healthier, as so many people do, but that is only one part of the life I want. I also want to be a writer and tell amazing stories. I want to travel and see the beauty around me I don't often take the time to notice like I should. I want to reduce my debts and increase my savings so all of these things are that much easier. So, 2015 is not going to be about just doing one or ten things. It is about doing everything.

This year and every year that comes after, I want to live a voracious life in pursuit of my dreams and in support of the dreams of others. So, I'd like to now take a moment to introduce you to a friend of mine's dream: Terence Klein came up with this idea and he has worked hard to make it a reality. But what is it exactly? is a way to connect people who want Non-GMO verified foods in their pantries, fridges, freezers and bellies with the companies who make them. It's genius. Each box contains samples of Non-GMO verified products, which lets the box-buyer try before committing to a full-sized product. Once you try something and like it, you can simply visit and purchase the full-sized item. Each box also contains information about the brand, which is an added bonus because then we, the consumers, are educated about which brands to buy when we're looking at one hundred different types of chips, snacks, granola bars, etc. It's a one-stop-shop for Non-GMO education, information and product procurement.

So, do you have a dream you're working on? If so, what is it and what support do you need? I don't have a lot of money, but I'm a good writer and editor with plenty of ideas of my own. Feel free to comment on this post or email me at

I want to live a life where dreams come true, don't you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wrapping Up 2014

2014 has been a year of growth and accomplishment, tinged with disappointment and important epiphanies. In other words, it was a full and robust time to be alive. 

I have had an incredible year working for Barlean's. I helped create a beautiful recipe booklet using Barlean's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, which was rewarding and so much fun. I not only achieved professional goals I'd set for myself at the beginning of the year, but also exceeded them. 

I finished writing my third novel, a Young Adult Contemporary novel. It was a challenging book to write, but it was worth it. I also wrote 32 new poems to coincide with the book, and they are some of the best poems I have ever written. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the 3rd time, and wrote 61,263 words in 30 days! I've also come up with at least two new ideas for writing projects, which I am excited to start as soon as I finish writing this post!

Speaking of poetry, I wrote 72 poems this year - 6 more than last year - and published them on my poetry site, My Life in Words. I'm thinking of putting together a collection, but I might start small and submit my work to magazines for publication instead. Either way, I'm definitely going to keep writing. 

I relearned the mantra "Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should", and started applying it ad nauseum to my life. I focused on being more positive through social media, and within my interpersonal relationships. I learned, even at 35, my commitment to my friends is sometimes much stronger than their commitments are to me, and that what my dad told me as a child still rings true: you can only count your closest friends on one hand. I also learned to appreciate the people in my life who are so wonderful to me and never take them for granted. 

Here are some highlights from 2014:
  • January - A few snow days mid-month proved my Hyundai Tucson was a great buy!
  • February - Spent four short days in South Carolina with my Dad for his birthday, and we watched the Seahawks stomp the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII
  • March - Became a Vegetarian with my bestie; only made it 40 days before I caved into my meat cravings. I also dropped my A1C from 7.8 to 6.6!
  • May - Founded my book review business, Book in Hand Reviews
  • July - My 35th birthday! Had an awesome birthday party at a tasty Mexican restaurant with 17 of my favorite people! I also finally went to the Ferndale Old Settlers' Picnic after living in the area for over 4 years. 
  • August - I went on the Bellingham Museum Bay Tour. It was rainy, but fun to learn so much about the area. Also, on a separate note, some of my photos were accepted by iStock Photo and will be available for sale in the coming months.
  • September - Sassy, my 10-year-old Toy Poodle I inherited from my mother, broke her foot in four places. The one positive is I found an amazing new vet!
  • October - I dropped my A1C again from 6.6 to 6.3! I also lost weight!
  • November - I successfully participated in NaNoWrimo for the third time.   
  • December - I finished writing my 3rd novel, Sassy got her cast off finally, and I had a great time at the Barlean's Christmas party. Oh, and I got an awful eye infection which might make it a problem for me to keep wearing contacts. 
It was a busy year, but I'm glad it's coming to an end. Many people I know went through some tough times, and I'm looking forward to a 2015 that's better for them and for me. I head into the new year a little lighter, a little wiser and proud of everything I did - and even the things I didn't do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A1C Update

I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 thirteen months ago. I was 34 and it was a bit of a shocker. Should I have been surprised given my weight (450+ pounds), my family's history with Diabetes and my unhealthy relationship with food? No. But I was.

Now, I've lost over 40 pounds and I'm working through my food issues, and that work is reflected in the numbers. My A1C is coming down and so is my weight. What am I doing different? Consciously eating. I track what I eat. I pay attention to what I eat. I actively choose everything I put in my mouth. It's not rocket science, but it's really hard and I will get through it.

Proof is in the numbers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Season of Change

The leaves burn yellow, orange and red with the winds of seasonal change, and I've learned a lot by just watching the green landscape transition with such fiery beauty. Change is a part of life. Some would even say it is inevitable. Growth and aging are themselves a form of change. So then I ask: what is this great resistance we mount against changes in our own lives?

I don't want to spend my life fighting the wrong battles. I don't want to waste energy on things I cannot control. Change is inevitable, but my attitude about it doesn't have to be of a revolutionary bent. And, as I watch the world around us change and brighten with the amazing colors of autumn, I feel like sometimes - just sometimes - change will make us better. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm a fighter. I fight for what I believe in, I fight for my loved ones (I got your back!), and I unfortunately have more fight in me than flight when it comes to adrenaline-based situations. But, I have come to believe that change can be good and embracing it only strengthens who we are. 

So, in this season of change, I say: BRING IT ON.

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Poetry

I've been writing poetry every since I can remember. I started out playing with word rhymes and making up little poems in cards for my parents. Then, I wrote a Halloween poem as an assignment for class in the 4th grade. This is the moment I became a poet.

I've written hundreds, possibly even thousands of poems since that day in Ms. Ramon's class. I have notebooks filled with scratched-out stanzas, half-poems and ideas scribbled across the pages. I have floppy disks filled with poems I wrote in college for my Poetry Writing classes (I took three). I have words written in slant rhyme and hard rhyme, typed and hand-written, slipped into books or boxes for safe keeping, all over my room. They are everywhere, which is why 3 years ago I started posting them on a poetry blog.

I started My Life in Words as a way to keep all of my words in one place - both for me and for anyone who wants to read them. I still write poems in notebooks and other random spaces, but mostly I type them out on my poetry blog. Tonight, I posted my 200th poem. It was a spectacular moment many days in the making.

My poems don't follow form or function, and they're not really what some would call "academic". They just are. I let the words flow through me like electricity flows through an outlet. I conduct the emotion into words and write them on the page. Sometimes, the words make sense together and sometimes they don't. Either way, it's what I'm feeling in the moment in the purest form.

If you like poetry, or even if you don't, check out my site. It's got a little something for everyone I think. Plus, it features some new poems that will be part of The Anneslee Poetry Project. Anneslee is a character in a book I'm writing; and like me, she's also a poet. She's 16 and has a lot of drama, so skip her poems if you want something lighter. There's also a lot of unrequited love stuff - something I've been working through for a while. But mostly, I think you'll find a lot of human stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

As the world mourns the loss of Robin Williams, many are left wondering how someone who brought so much joy and happiness to everyone could've been in so much pain. I am astounded at how many times I have read comments like "suicide is selfish" and "why didn't he just get help?". Who are any of us to assume we knew what Robin Williams, or anyone else, is going through when this kind of decision is made?

I know that suicide is not the answer, and it is tragic that Robin Williams chose to end his life. I can't imagine what kind of pain he must've been in to make this choice, and I am sad that he's gone. However, I do understand what it's like to feel so alone that you don't want to exist anymore and that feeling is not selfish. It's painful, like down to the marrow in your bones painful, and sometimes it's much too deep to be remedied quickly. The loss from suicide affects so many people, but the act itself is very singular. It is, for many, an attempt to end unbearable torment that no one and nothing up to that point has been able to stop.

Depression - a struggle Robin Williams talked about struggling with himself - is a serious illness. It is diagnosed and treated just like Cancer, Heart Disease and Arthritis. For some, it is fleeting and related to personal tragedy; for others, it is a lifelong battle. Medications and therapy can help, but not always and not for everyone. Just like Cancer, radiation might work for one person and kill another - the same goes for treatment of depression. Nothing works all the time for everyone who deals with this illness, so what's left? Batting down the hatches and hoping we make it through. Remember, our medical professionals "practice medicine"; they do not master it. And many have no idea how to treat an illness like Depression beyond writing a prescription and telling you to think happy thoughts.

It's cliche to say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situation, but it's also true. It doesn't have to be the only answer to the pain we feel, but it doesn't mean that we should look at a person who makes this devastating choice and say they're selfish. Maybe the pain was so awful that they just couldn't take another second on this earth dealing with it. Maybe the sadness sucked them so deeply into the darkness that it seemed like such sweet relief to let it all go.

I don't look at the death of Robin Williams and think he is selfish or wonder why he felt the way he did. I look at the happiness he brought to the world, and I am grateful that he is finally free of his pain. I pray for his family, his friends and for all of us who will miss the light he brought to our lives. May he rest in peace.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please take a breath, a moment, a second to give yourself a different choice. Just ask for help, even if you have to ask someone you don't know, and let someone try to make a difference in your life that you undoubtedly make in others. You may not feel like you mean anything to the rest of the world right now, but I can assure you that you mean the whole world to someone.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

35 Things Kids Today Just Won't Get

I just celebrated my 35th birthday this past weekend, and it made me think about all the things that have changed since I was born in 1979. So, I decided to make a list of 35 things I experienced growing up that kids today most likely will never experience. 

Here's my list in no particular order:
  1. Garbage Pail Kids
  2. Winding Cassette Tapes with a Pencil Eraser
  3. Slap Bracelets
  4. Waiting for your favorite song to come on the radio so you can record it
  5. Mix Tapes you made for your friends from said-recorded songs
  6. Anderson Cooper on Channel One (although it's kind of like Anderson Cooper on CNN)
  7. Saved By the Bell
  8. Having to rewind or fast forward VHS tapes to get to that one scene you love
  9. Blowing on VHS tapes or Nintendo cartridges to get them to work
  10. Watching She-Ra (although it is available on Netflix or so I hear)
  11. Listening to books on my Fisher Price record player
  12. Pee Wee's Playhouse
  13. The creepy vinyl E.T. Doll
  14. My awesome ewok stuffed animal
  15. Watching the Berlin Wall come down
  16. Seeing Baby Jessica rescued from a well (made me NEVER go near a well again)
  17. Scholastic Book Order Forms
  18. Using Library Catalogs and NEVER finding the book you want
  19. Dot Matrix printer paper
  20. Pound Puppies
  21. Rainbow Brite
  22. the MASH game
  23. Tiny Toons & Duck Tales
  24. Oregon Trail Day at school
  25. Hypercolor T-shirts
  26. Making your own Slip 'n' Slide and getting seriously banged up
  27. Wearing Tights with socks and high-top Reeboks
  28. Trying to recreate the Say Anything boom box moment
  29. Watching Magic vs. Bird
  30. Tight-rolling jeans
  31. Using a Banana Clip in your hair
  32. Saturday Morning Cartoons
  33. L.A. Gear
  34. Saying "Sike!"
  35. Using a payphone or having to ask for directions (oh, cell phones, what would we do without you?)
Did you grow up in the 80s? If so, what great things did you experience that you wish kids today could experience too?