Thursday, February 18, 2016

Random Girl

Want to know some random stuff about me? Well... if so, here ya go! I used this info for some contests I did and thought I would just put it out here on my blog too. I'm just a girl with a lot of baggage... but God loves me anyway! Enjoy getting to know me!


I was born and raised in Martinsville, VA. I moved to Delaware in my teens and lived there until I moved to Germany to follow love (stupid, stupid girl). I returned to Delaware several years later where I later met my husband. We moved to Texas with a job transfer in 2003. In 2010, we moved to Wisconsin to be closer to my husband’s family.


I was a HORRIBLE student! HORRIBLE, especially in English. I always thought I was stupid because no matter how hard I studied, I could only manage C’s and D’s. It wasn’t until my early 30’s when I was diagnosed with severe ADHD that I realized… I’m not stupid… I just have the attention span of a mentally challenged flea. In addition, I have an auditory processing disorder I was unaware of. Basically, when I hear words, my brain takes a very long time to process them. Sometimes as long as an hour or two. Imagine trying to listen in class LOL! Even on medication, I still struggle with these issues. It is not rare for me to stare blankly at my husband as he speaks then twenty minutes later shout excitedly from another room…. “Oh...I know what you said now!”


When I was 10 years old, I was hit by a car head-on while riding my bike. I sustained major facial injuries including my face being ripped apart requiring over 100 stitches and my jaw being broken in five places. To top it off, I landed in a patch of poison ivy. Yeah, that was a bad day. In the years following the accident, I had many plastic surgeries to correct the damage to my face. As a child I misunderstood my parent’s motivations for all the plastic surgeries thinking they were embarrassed of the way I looked when in reality, my entire family sacrificed a lot to make those surgeries happen (all but the first were considered optional). They went forward with surgery after surgery so I could have as normal of a life as possible. For this reason, I encourage you to have open discussions with your children about things like this. Something that seems logical to you may not be seen the same way through the eyes of a child. Today I am so thankful for that sacrifice! The scars are barely noticeable to most everyone but me :)


When I was a teen, I don’t know why but I had a feeling I was not going to live long enough to graduate from high school. The day of my graduation was a big deal to me because of that. Later in life I decided I was never going to get married, have children, or live anywhere cold again. After dating several men with alcohol and drug problems, I swore I would never be like them. Ironically, I am a recovering alcoholic who currently lives in Wisconsin with my husband and kids. After having a horrible pregnancy with my son, I swore I would NEVER have another child… ever. So when I found out I was pregnant at 40 with my next child, I gave God a dirty look and said, “Fine… but if I HAVE to do this, You will give me another boy!” A few weeks later we found out it was a girl. *sigh* (you can laugh… it’s funny). It seems whenever I put a “never” in place, God needs to show me who is REALLY in charge. A year ago, I was watching House Hunters International and they were doing a show in India. I looked at my husband and said, “I will NEVER live in India!” Quickly I rephrased, “I mean, I really don’t ever want to live in India… please.” Yeah… ‘never’ is a bad word in my world!


I am a very proud recovering alcoholic! I was a functioning alcoholic beginning around the age of 23 and had no idea I had an issue. I thought everyone drank the way I did; early in the morning, all night, never getting enough, never having a hang-over, and always in fear of the bottom of the bottle. I hit rock bottom and got sober in 2007 and will be celebrating my 9th year of sobriety on February 27th this year. My book “As Is” is a fictionalized account of my life as an alcoholic and how I found recovery. I am always willing to discuss this part of my life and process to healing so if you have any questions - please… I’m an open book.


I struggle with a few mental  disorders - chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and an undefined chemical imbalance which was caused by a medical mistake (I used to have a lot of anger over this doctor’s error in treating me but I have since worked through it, thankfully). I take medication that helps me have a relatively normal life but even on meds I have “episodes” that can not be stopped. I am open about these things for the purpose of educating others to show mental illness is not something you have to be afraid of. If you ever have any questions about mental illness, I’m more than happy to chat!


I have been in six car accidents, 3 were totally my fault and 3 were someone else’s fault. My adhd medication helps me be a more attentive driver but I have to make the choice to pay attention, and sometimes I forget. My cell phone is very distracting to me when I drive so I have begun to turn the ringer off and put it at the bottom of my purse when I am at the wheel.


I once lived in a house built in 1802. It was haunted but not in a scary way. The ghost was a little boy who enjoyed my toy collection and would move things around. I also started collecting Pez dispensers at the age of 21. I have over 800 now. Another thing I collect is Lego houses. My daughter recently got into my Lego collection and took them all apart, mixing up all the pieces of each set. It took me DAYS to fix. I am a child at heart, I believe because my childhood was a bit non-typical as a result of the accident. I wasn’t able to be “playful” back then… so I am now.


My first real job was in high school. I was a cashier at a CVS in the local mall. During college, I had a summer job as a valet at the local horse race. I was a nanny for an American military family while I lived in Germany (that was a total blessing). When I returned to the United States, I got a job as a legal document analyst for Ernst & Young which led to a job as a payroll accountant at a local CPA firm. I worked my way up the corporate ladder becoming a payroll tax accountant, then payroll tax manager at 7 Eleven Corp. When I got pregnant with my son, I decided to be a stay-home mom which I thought was going to be easy… LOL… it was actually the hardest job I’ve ever done. When my son started school, I began working for myself as a digital designer which I still do on the side a little bit. My official jump into being a full-time indie author was in January 2014. I became a full-time author with a publisher (Maven Christian) in October 2015. 30 Below is our first official release together as a team!


I had decided to stop looking for a man after dating someone I really liked a lot and having him confess he was still in love with his ex. But God had a different idea… Ryan was put before my eyes in March 2001, only a two months after my break up and to be honest, I wasn’t all that interested at first. I was gun-shy and Ryan was the total opposite of every guy I had ever really cared about… blonde, blue-eyed, and quiet - I wasn’t sure how I felt about him. It occurred to me that all my other relationships hadn’t worked out… so why not try the opposite? We began dating and fell in love rather quickly. He was the first guy to stand up to me when I got a little nuts (pre-diagnosis) and I found that sexy. He was also the only guy I ever dated who had extraordinary patience… and he liked my annoying dog. He has always treated me with kindness and respect, even when I don’t deserve it. We got engaged in Oct 2002 and were married fairly quickly in May 2003. Our son, Brett, was born in 2005… then our surprise daughter was born in 2012. Yeah… we’re gonna be like 80 when she graduates from college - haha.


I am blessed to have several really good friends who I know are the real deal. Some of them are even just Facebook friends I have never met in person like Sara Preston and Lisa Angel Miller. A few of them are people I have met here on FB but have also met in person like Virginia Johnson and Nicole Stromath. I have a few from my adolescence that have known me through all my life changes and still love me anyway, like Jennifer Carlson and Stephanie Lorenzana. I have a couple here in the town I currently reside in who I have come to rely on often, like Britta Brossard and Stacie Houge. All of these women are AMAZING - true friends who I know I can count on even at 3 in the morning (and hopefully they feel that is mutual). To say I’m blessed in the friend department is an understatement because, let me tell you, it took me years to figure out what makes a real friendship really work. Time. Yep, that’s what it takes. Time, patience, and awareness. People show me who they are naturally through their actions (and I show them the same in return)… all I have to do is pay attention. My BESTEST friend in the world (not counting my husband) is actually a guy... his name is Garry and we have been through many things together. I love him to pieces… but he is an ass. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. I might be one too. :)


I am ‘officially’ a Lutheran. Born into a Lutheran family but as a child, I never understood what that meant. Lutheran was just a word to me that didn’t mean much. I attended a Baptist church in college and was interested in LDS at one point due to their clean lifestyle. As an adult, I began attending a Methodist church which I enjoyed greatly, so much that I joined a very intense Bible study where we read the entire Bible in six months. It was then I began to realize… I’m not Lutheran or Baptist or LDS or Methodist… I’m a Christian. While I do currently attend a Lutheran church, I am often extremely frustrated by denomination politics. As a Christian, I am called to love everyone… no matter who they are, no matter what they believe, and no matter how flawed they are. Communion is for all believers, and can even be the catalyst to bring a non-believer into the fold so I believe withholding it from people for denominational reasons is a huge mistake. Baptism… infant vs adult? Who knows? Jesus was an adult when He was baptized, yet He baptized children… I dunno!  I say talk it out with God and go with what He says to you personally, not what a particular church says. I could care less about the minutiae. I was once called a “whore” by someone who claimed to be religious and was upset with me about writing an affair in a book. Really? God is against adultery but it’s okay for you to call me a whore? Whatever.


My first book DESCO came from a dream - it was an awful book and I took it out of circulation! All the rest of my books have been created from a mix of my life experiences, knowledge of the Bible, and my imagination… although God seems to just give me words and rarely do I know where they are coming from. It has to be Him.

AS IS is based on my experience as an alcoholic.

I based my main character in 30 BELOW on myself as a person with mental illness & wrote the book because I don’t think sex is discussed enough properly. I have struggled with sexual dysfunction most of my life and I wanted to show my readers why it’s important to do things in a certain order… to protect your heart.

My book ABOVE 60 was written in response to God deciding I needed a second child when I didn’t want one. Nope… didn’t want one at all! But He knew the plan. I’m just along for the ride. In addition, I wanted to give the reader an example of a truly magical intimate marriage and how beautiful sex can be.

My book 360 DEGREES was written because marriage is hard! I know first hand that sometimes you have to CHOOSE to love instead of quit. Pushing past the bad leads to the better.

My short story LITTLE BLACK DRESS which is included in the book BIRDS OF PASSAGE is based on my own personal experience of losing my virginity and the impact that decision had on my life.

SEEDS… is loosely based on the parable of the Seeds and the Sower from the Bible, I was also in a serious relationship with a porn and sex addict. I feel sexual sin in society needs to be discussed and stop being ignored. It’s only getting worse.

CONCEPTIONS… my next new release, was written to share my personal experiences with unplanned pregnancy and the effects of the decisions made. It is my hope that women who are faced with this, as well as women who have already gone through it can find hope and healing through my book.

Friday, February 05, 2016


Something has been weighing on my mind for awhile now, something I finally got some clarity about this morning and thought I would share for two reasons...

One: I think it applies to all of us and it might be helpful to someone who might be struggling with the same thing

Two: It will be a great post to share the link to in the future, should I need to explain this to someone

As you know, I'm a fiction writer for God. My books are about the real stuff of life: sex, cursing, addiction, pregnancy, mental illness. In my writing, I allow my characters to experience the real stuff and then I allow them to work through it in a real way as a hope to those out there who might be struggling with a similar issue. While my message is Christian, I feel the experiences of my books are fitting for anyone, not just a Christian. I see them as morally-infused. It just so happens that my morals are based in God.

I started a YouTube series where I am reading my book 30 Below for free and then I give some commentary at the end of each episode. In doing this, I am explaining my reasons for making my characters do the things they do. My husband has been previewing them as I finish and after about the third one he came to me and said this...

"When you write, do you really think through all of those lessons and things as you go or does it just happen naturally? I had no idea everything in there had a purpose. It would be really easy to miss so much of that because your work is so entertaining."

I beamed with pride at so many words in those sentences. The answer to his question is BOTH. I do think through a lot of it and make my characters do what they do for reasons, but also I feel like God just gives it to me and if I'm obedient... it all just fits together perfectly. I was glad to know he picked up on that and that he thinks my books are entertaining. I'm so blessed to have him... he is a wonderful man, one I take for grated far too often. (Sorry honey, I'm trying to do better.)

As I continued recording my videos and doing my commentary, I have begun to feel like... I'm not worthy to give these messages. That perhaps I am going to do more harm than good to God's mission and it gave me pause. Why? Well, I'm a very flawed person. Very. Yet, I'm sitting here writing about people who turn to God and resolve their issues with His help. I began to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and wonder if I should continue. I mean, what if someone were to find out just how flawed I am? Would my work then be discredited? Would God's movement in my life be seen as not enough? Over-all would it all be just plain hypocritical and do more harm than good? I got scared and started to feel like I needed to be more perfect just so I don't disappoint the Lord.

Perfection. Yes, if I could do a perfect job at living this life... then my words won't come back to haunt me. But unfortunately, perfection is not within my grasp. Yes, it is my job, especially as a person who is actively pursuing this career to further God's loving reach to be the best I can be... but honestly, I'm just really dang flawed. There is so much to work on to be better that I get overwhelmed when I think about it. And that's when I feel like quitting.

But here's what God had for me this morning as I listened in silence:

Aside from Jesus, God has always used very flawed people to share His love with the world. Always. Why, you ask? Well, who better to reach the flawed than a person who is also flawed. It's relate-able, it's authentic, it gains trust, it's credible and it's the only way He can reach others through a person here on earth since all of us are very flawed.

Let's say you are a person who struggles with gossiping. If a person who claims to have never gossiped came to you and said, "You should really work on your gossiping, other people have noticed it and you should stop." How likely are you to listen to their statement and work on it? Since they claim to have never gossiped, they have no advice for you on how to stop... and if they gave you some, how credible would that advice be? Most likely you would walk away grumbling about hypocrisy.

I myself have struggled with gossip for many years. I have an attraction to drama and gossip stirs it up but what I have learned is that gossip says a lot more about me, than it does about anyone else. It says I am not trust-able. It says I don't respect other people's privacy. It says I am judgmental. It says I am not a good friend or confidant. In the end, it creates distance with people who I actually want to be close with and, it makes me feel disappointed in myself at the end of the day. One thing is for certain, if you are hearing gossip from a person... that person is most likely going to gossip about you too when you're not around. Who wants a friend like that?

Since realizing all of that, I have worked hard at trying not to gossip. I pray asking God to help me be a good friend who respects other people's stories and experiences - they are theirs to tell, not mine. I try to think before I speak and make sure what I'm about to say is appropriate. I do my best not to listen to gossip, as it leads to me wanting to gossip. I fight my urge for drama, reminding myself that being centered is much better for me. I still fail at times though. *sigh*

That's me - I'm flawed. I admit it. I'm a hypocrite. But I share the ugly parts of myself with the hope of helping someone with my experience.  I've broken nearly every commandment (probably all of them in some way). That's what I write about... my experience and what I've learned so I need to stop being scared that someone will attack me for not being perfect. I need to just do my best and trust God.

The apostle Paul is my favorite... I especially like what he says here...

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
Romans 7:15

Paul knew exactly how I feel now. I know better, yet I still fail. I make willful decisions to act incorrectly. I make accidental mistakes that lead to sin. I forget about God and behave like me... often. Yet, God has called me to be used by Him to reach others and I will be obedient to that call. Anyone who has a problem with that can take it up with God. You will never hear me say I'm perfect... you will only hear me say, "The only reason I know this... is because I'm guilty."

Have an amazing day! And try your best to do the next best right thing. I'm trying!