Sometimes life can take you on a rollercoaster ride you didn't ask to be on. But, whether you know it at the time or not, it all happens for a reason. Life is a rollercoaster, but the ride is worth it. Look at our past two years as an example. They’ve been a dark tunnel of nightmares at times. But there's always been a light at the end, even though I didn't know there would be at the time.
My life partner and co-owner of this very media company (Richard Rowell) was in the middle of the battle of his life (literally) at this time last year. You see, he was fighting cancer - a massive tumor in the form of mediastinal seminoma. We never knew if he'd get through it. It was both uplifting and devastating to watch him fight for his life. I was so afraid I would lose him.
But he did it. As of his last scan, he is still cancer free. And now, we have a miracle of a baby on the way right now. You see, with the form of cancer he had, coupled with the chemotherapy he received, there was minimal chance of us ever being able to conceive.
We did just that and so far, our unborn child is happy and healthy and thriving. We just found out she's a girl and we've named her Nova Skye. Rollercoaster. Down, now up. This is his first and my fifth. We didn't ask for any of what we've been handed and he certainly didn't deserve that fight. But that's what life has handed us and I believe there is a reason.
Perhaps the reason is our unborn child. Perhaps it's something bigger - something us as a family (or that child alone) is meant to do. Who knows? But what I do know is that life is a huge rollercoaster and we have to take it as it comes because there is always a reason for everything in the circle of life.
Aside from Rich's health scare, we've had other bumps, some big and some small. But we've held each other together through the winds and downhill dives. We keep each other climbing and our love has never been an issue, not once.
Very recently, I've had to take more time off from my non-content job than we can afford, due to me having severe pain (the baby is fine and I'm under care of good doctors). But, sometimes we have to listen to our bodies, instead of our wallets. My OB doctor agreed.
We're working together to find more work content-wise in order to make it up and I'm crazy enough to have faith it will will work. It will because it has to and because I'm a stubborn ass and refuse to give up. And obviously, so is Rich. After all, he did kick cancer’s sorry butt.
There's a reason Rich and I met. There's a reason we have this baby, despite all that's going on.
Some people are judging, saying we aren't in the best position for this right now. I honestly don't care what they think. It's irrelevant because it only matters what we think and what we do to get back on top of that hill.
Others are being extremely supportive and I've cried happy tears over some of the things people have done, such as helping with our Amazon baby registry. We created it for ourselves and never expected so much help. But at least a dozen people have purchased one or two things each and a few people are sending used items. Of course we'll have to do the bulk of it ourselves - and rightly so. But it feels good to know there are people who care. Everything helps, especially right now.
As with anything in life, there will be ups and downs and it will be one hell of a ride. But we are up for the challenge. And we deserve that light at the end of this bumpy dark tunnel. And I will make darn well sure we get it, no matter what. Our family of 6 ½ deserves it.
Today was an adventure in more ways than one. Yeah I know, we're always having some sort of adventure. What can I say? During today's adventure, Rich and I learned that old things are often some of the best things.
We ran lots of errands today. On the way to the area we needed to be in, we took an old road that was all beat up - probably took a good beating from the horrible Massachusetts winter we just got past.
Anyhow, though in need of repair, along that road was some beautiful scenery. Trees, water, a farm, old buildings, you name it. We took the same road on the way back into town. Old things can definitely be the best ones.
But wait, I'm not done yet.
Before we went home, we had to make another pit stop. Because there was one item we still had to get near the house, we decided to stop at the mall and browse while waiting until we were hungry enough to eat. There's a store that's going out of business and I was able to get several -- yes, several -- clothing items from there for TWELVE dollars total!!! Yup, old store closing for the win.
After we ate lunch, we went home and decided to watch some older movies on Netflix. Rich hadn't seen the leprechaun movies. So I suggested those because Netflix has all six. I explained to him that they're the type of "horror" movie you laugh at. Another win. We got some great entertainment during the parts us "old" folks didn't sleep. Ha! We were a bit worn out by errands. We watched three of them so far, only interrupted so he could watch the Red Sox.
While we were watching the leprechauns attack people over gold, a package arrived. We didn't expect it to be here already. I won an old flute on eBay just a couple days ago and it had arrived that quickly. It was very tarnished (I knew it would be and won it for cheap because of it). However, I was able to shine it up pretty well and will be working on it some more. The picture in this post is that exact flute before and after I cleaned it up.
Yup. Old things are often some of the best things. Never pass up what could be a good thing, just because it might be old. You may be very pleasantly surprised.
P.S. This is my "O" post for the A - Z Blogging Challenge.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
The other day, my two teen girls and I were browsing around in a few stores. When we got to the clothing section in the thrift store, a kind helpful employee overheard our conversation about the affordability of this particular store. So we struck up a conversation with her.
About mid-conversation she says "Oh yeah, we have lots of great stuff for girls your age." She then proceeded to talk about fashion and such. Once she finished, I said something like "I'm the mom, by the way." She was in disbelief for a second because she actually believed that I was a teen, like my girls.
She then asks me how old my kids were. She thought my kids were at home and smaller. Well, she was halfway correct. The younger two were at school. I informed her that the 15 and 17 year old were those ages and were in fact my kids.
The conversation continued into more talk like that for a bit.
I’m never sure whether to be flattered or feel immature when people mistake me for a teenager. This isn’t the first time. Most of the time I take it as a compliment. But sometimes I wonder if looking too young may not always be a good thing.
Until the next adventure!
*I originally published this on PersonaPaper (I have since removed it).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
We all have those little things we love that mean something to us, big or small. One of my favorite things is the sound of rushing water. It just does something to my soul every time I hear it.
Whether it’s coming from a waterfall, a soothing shower, the pouring rain, or a wave crashing over the shore, I love hearing the sound of rushing water. It’s like music to my soul. When my album comes out (yes, I sing), don’t be surprised if one or more songs feature or mention some form of rushing water.
Rushing water can energize me, as well as relax me. From wading among waves, to standing under Niagara Falls, to running in the rain, to picnicking on the shore of a rushing creek, to falling asleep to the sounds of a thunderstorm, water is always present in my life.
Do you love the sounds of rushing water?
*I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Positive discipline consists of more than disciplining your child in a calm manner. Positive discipline for children should consist of steps that lead to the child's well-being and development, teach a lesson about the issue at hand, and not be condescending in nature. In positive discipline for children, the action taken should lead to the child understanding why his or her behavior was wrong, as well as teach that child a life lesson that will help to prevent similar incidents in the future.
First, there are a few things to remember about positive discipline for children. Every family will not follow the exact same methods, as every family is different. Also, different methods should apply to different situations. A child who has hit another child should not be getting the same form of positive discipline as a child who forgot to make his bed before breakfast.
Different misbehaviors have different consequences and the discipline should fit accordingly. Also, remember to always follow through. Any form of positive discipline for children that is discussed, yet not carried out, will be ineffective. Not following through shows a child that he or she can do certain things without consequences and that isn't a good idea because that is not how the world works.
Daily Chore Add-Ons - One good form of positive discipline for children is to add on an extra daily chore for a week. Doing this can teach a child responsibility. At the same time, it also teaches a child that there are consequences for actions.
Misbehavior Journal - Another good form of positive discipline is to have a journal for each time a child misbehaves. The child should write down what his or her feelings were during the time of the act, as well as why he or she committed the misbehavior. This should be a private journal between parent and child. None of the children should ever see each other's journals. Once the child has written down the thoughts, the parent should in turn, respond to those thoughts with understanding, as well as a way for the child to resolve that type of situation in the future.
Behavior Money Jar - I also like to keep a jar for each kid in a place easily accessible by older children, but out of reach of younger children. In each kid's jar is any money they have that isn't for savings. Each time one of the kids does something that hurts another in some way, they have to take out a pre-determined amount (depending on what they've done) and place it into the child's jar who they've hurt or offended. Each time they do something good for someone, I might place a certain amount of money into their jar, but not always. This form of positive discipline for children reflects what may happen in adult life. In adult life, if we hurt someone, we are likely going to be paying for it in the long run. Likewise, if we do good deeds, eventually they will come back around. However, it doesn't work that way every single time, which is why I only give the money sometimes.
Volunteering - Volunteer work is also a great form of positive discipline. You never want to insinuate that the volunteering is a form of punishment because that sends the wrong message. You instead want to say something like, "I noticed that you were unhappy about some of the food choices we made in the grocery store. How about we go together and donate those foods to people who don't have the same type of choices we have?” Then, go from there with the volunteer work. This will likely trigger the child's thought process and let him or her realize that they cannot always have everything they want. It hopefully will also cause them to think twice about complaining when they know there are kids out there who don't have a fraction of what they do.
Good Deeds - Similar to the volunteer work, another great method is to elect the offending child as "Favor Giver of the Day." For one day, this person has to do at least one requested good deed for each member of the household. This form of positive discipline for children is good for when the child has disrespected one or more family members. This lesson usually teaches a child that it's more fun to help others than it is to mistreat them.
Note: The author's positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Green parenting has definitely become a trend. But, as a parent who has been committed to living green for quite some time, I'm here to tell you it's much more than just a trend. At least that's true for our family. I started down the path of living green not because of a trend, but because of a commitment to making the Earth a great place for my kids to be in the future and for generations to come.
I don't know the exact date I started our family on this journey and don't really recall there being any sort of epiphany. It seems that I've always instilled at least some green habits. As we discover new things, I add more and more to our lifestyle. I don't base our green living habits on what so-and-so is doing or on the latest fad green products. Instead, I make conscious choices on what's good for the environment and what is not. I consider the impact each time I make a purchase or commit an action. Being a green parent is less about special products and more about minimalism and reducing waste and chemical usage.
Believe it or not, everyday activities, like visiting the park with the kids, can make a huge negative impact on the environment. This is especially true if they are regular activities or a parent is not thinking green at the time. Of course, no one is perfect. Even I participate in activities that are not Earth-friendly. We all do both consciously and subconsciously. But if we can be green as much as possible, this beautiful planet will stay pretty even longer. Just because we may not be around to see its demise doesn't mean we should be careless. Our kids and their kids and so on need a healthy place to grow.
Try cleaning the house with homemade solutions that are both cost-effective and better for the environment. A bonus is that the kids can also help you clean and they and your pets will be safer. Use homemade shampoos and natural haircare alternatives for the family. Kids like to be messy, so let them join in making some of these items.
Teach kids to be green with lessons that will last a lifetime. Teach them by doing, but also explain what you are doing and why. Be creative in instilling the lessons. Play games, incorporate it into the chores, and just have fun! Green parenting is important, but it certainly does not need to be boring.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Shine
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
We all have those little things we love that mean something to us, big or small. One of my favorite things is the sound of rushing water . It just does something to my soul every time I hear it.
Whether it’s coming from a waterfall , a soothing shower , the pouring rain , or a wave crashing over the shore, I love hearing the sound of rushing water. It’s like music to my soul. When my album comes out (yes, I sing), don’t be surprised if one or more songs feature or mention some form of rushing water.
Rushing water can energize me, as well as relax me. From wading among waves, to standing under Niagara Falls, to running in the rain, to picnicking on the shore of a rushing creek, to falling asleep to the sounds of a thunderstorm , water is always present in my life.
Do you love the sound of rushing water?
*I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
In the past year or so, I have had many changes going on in my life. So naturally, I've been doing some reflecting and I hope it helps someone else too. I've been hurt in the past many times by many people. That caused me to put up walls in many areas of my life. I wasn't open to changing anything or letting anything new in. I let many good things pass me by because instead of seeing opportunities, I saw chances for getting hurt or disappointed.
Thank goodness I changed that attitude or I wouldn't be where I am now. You have to let people and opportunities in to be able to experience certain things. You have to knock down your walls to see what's right in front of you that you may be blocking. It's OK to let go of your safety net sometimes -- in fact, it can be far more than OK if you are willing to let it be.
Is there a person or opportunity trying to present itself in your life right now? Are you afraid of what will happen if you take the next step? Yes, you might get hurt. But what if it would have been the best thing that ever happened to you and you didn't let it in when you should have?
If you have general good feelings toward something, don't let it go.
Don't be afraid to fall and let something good catch you.
Freelance writing and life in general can be full of surprises. While I advise all writers to always have a plan they can execute, I also recommend being open to change.
You can plan, organize, and prepare for your career all you want. But sometimes, that career (or even another) will take you down another (possibly better suited) path. But that can only happen if you are open to change.
Sometimes life puts you on unexpected journeys - things you didn't plan - that end up being the some of the best things that have ever happened to you.
That's what happened to me. I had all these huge plans for my writing and an idea of the direction I was going in. Even though I was happy with that plan and enjoying what I was doing as a freelance writer, something else pulled me in a related (but different) direction.
Because of my own personal successes, I had become a mentor among my peers. In freelance writing, this can happen quite often, as writers tend to be very supportive in my experience.
It had become a natural thing for me to help other freelance writers at the venue I contributed to the most, Yahoo! Contributor Network. While I was helping people, I didn't always think of that as a potential career. It was just something I enjoyed doing.
But eventually, that's exactly what it turned out to be. For the past couple months, I've been enjoying my new role as Community Advocate at the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Am I still writing? Of course! I'm a writer. It's what I do. But so is helping people - and now I have a position that allows room for both.
Will I still be running all of my websites? Do you really have to ask? You bet I am. While I won't be taking on the majority of writing assignments requested through my two writing sites, not to worry. Jaipi Sixbear (my talented mother) and several independent writers in my circle of professional friends are available to take on those projects.
While my role has changed, I am still the same me, always eager to help and always writing!
When life throws new things your way, don't be afraid to grab on and take a ride. Don’t run from change. Use it to your advantage. Adapt and grow as writer and as a person. You never know where change will lead you. It took me to a very happy place and I am looking forward to whatever's next. How about you?
UPDATE: 10/19/2016 -- Since YCN closed its doors in July of 2014, I've continued my writing advocacy in other ways, such as through the Write W.A.V.E. Media network (as always)! As I stated above, things are always changing and evolving. You just gotta roll with it!
Ever feel like your life is one big zig-zag line - like things are down in the dumps one moment and high in the sky the next?
Guess what? So does everyone else.
While each person's individual situation will differ, we all experience both joy and pain. Both ups and downs teach us lessons. When your zig-zag is on a downward spiral, it's easy to lose focus or wonder if you'll ever pull through.
Instead of moping through those lows, remember that sometimes the best lessons come from pain. Everything happens for a reason. I know you're thinking it must be so easy for me to say this . You think I haven't been through whatever you are going through.
While I may or may not have gone through a situation similar to yours, I can guarantee you that my life has been far from privileged. I've had my fair share of rough spots (some quite tragic) and you know what? Those are some of the things that have shaped me into who I am.
Take a look back at some of the things that have gone on in your life and ask yourself if you would be the same person had things gone different. Personally, I'd rather zig-zag through life with all its ups and downs than cruise through without a care. I'd like to keep my compassion, empathy, and heart.
If I walked a straight line without all the zigzags, I would never know how to relate to people or how to care. I also wouldn't learn very much about life - or have one for that matter.
How about you? Are you embracing your zig-zag?
"Mommy are we there?" "Not yet."
"Excuse me Mr. Boss Man, is it time for that promotion?" "Not yet."
If no matter what you ask these days, it seems like "not yet" is the answer, read on.
"Not yet" has been my life story for..well, probably my whole life. Once I became an adult and started working, "not yet" was often the answer when it came to living my dream - or what I thought was my dream at the time.
I am finally starting to live my dream after years and years of "not yet". It hasn't been easy getting here. But now I realize all those "not yet" answers happened for a reason.
Some of those things I wanted then are not at all what I would want now. Some of them, I did get, just at a different time than expected. No matter how much you 'know' you want something right now, if the answer you're getting is a "not yet" there is good reason, even if you don't know it yet.
Have I lived out all my dreams? "Not yet."
Is my career exactly where I want it? "Not yet." While I do enjoy what I do, there are still some related things I want to pursue, such as expanding upon my network of sites, getting the RV going again for a F/T travel writer's life, and so much more.
But instead of dwelling on the "not yet," I am enjoying the here and now, in realization that there is a reason and a season for everything. Enjoy what you have while you have it and make the best of it.
The "not yet" you are hoping for could happen any second or another "not yet" that's even more awesome could be right around the corner.
Listen to Corrine Bailey Rae. "You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow." If it hasn't happened yet, there's a reason. Relax and let it flow.