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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blog Takeover: Change Angel Aloshua has a Special Request.

Hi loves,

Today, I've turned over my blog to my eight year old nephew, Aloshua, who has a very special request for us.

My name is Aloshua and I am eight years old.


When I was born, I was very sick, so my doctor sent me to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
For the last eight years, ACH has been my second home. I’ve had 23 surgeries there, and spent almost my whole first three years there! But I’m not scared when I go to ACH because I know my doctors and nurses are going to take great care of me. They know me by name and they always give me my favorite stickers. My mommy calls me a miracle, but I think ACH is a miracle, too. They helped me get better when so many kids like me don’t!


Mommy always tells me how important it is to help take care of others kids who are sick like me, so every year, I help collect change for the hospital. They use it to make sure that all kids get the care they need, even if their family doesn’t have all the money to pay for it. Being sick is scary. It makes me happy to know that I helped make it a little less scary for kids like me and their families.


You can help make it less scary, too! When you support me with a donation to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, you’ll be making a life-saving difference for kids just like me.

Your spare change helps the hospital do great things for all the little kids who need their help.
Every dollar you give is meaningful!

Consider giving:
$27 the cost of 10 aluminum finger splints
$50 the cost of an infant blood pressure cuff
$78 the cost of 6 pairs of child crutches
$150 the cost of an IV pole
$250 the cost of one day’s worth of diapers
You can make a difference just like me. Just enter your donation amount to the left and help me change lives!

Thank you,

*To make a donation please visit Aloshua’s fundraising page on the Change Angels website. Thank you to all of those who have supported him thus far!

Ayden's Note:

How sweet is he?! If you'd like to help but don't want to donate online, you can tape a penny to a postcard and mail it to Aloshua at: Team Losh, PO Box 982, Bald Knob, AR, 72010. All pennies received by March 7th will be donated during the Change Angels radio-thon at Arkansas Children's Hospital on March 7, 2014.

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New You? No Thanks.

I don't do resolutions for the New Year. I think most people who make resolutions tend to make them fully intending to follow through with them... but also with a little voice in the back of their minds whispering that it's okay if they fail because, come March or April, everyone they know will probably have failed too. Maybe I'm making a broad generalization there, I don't know.

But I do know that, year after year, I watch my family and friends make resolutions. And year after year, I watch my family and friends commit to those resolutions for weeks or months at a time. And then, year after year, one by one, my family and friends fall off the wagon and just don't bother getting back on again.

There are always excuses when it happens.

Life got busy.

I didn't have the energy.

I don't have time.

I'm never going to make it.

Who really keeps a NY resolution, anyway?

The list of excuses and rationalizations goes on and on.

Resolutions are a good idea in theory, but in practice, they're full of unintentional, unacknowledged self-sabotage. We resolve (or intend) to do something, but from the moment we make that resolution we know that, if we don't quite make it, it's okay because no one else made it either. We know that there's always next year, and the year after that, and the one after that. We set ourselves up for failure before we ever begin, and most of the time, we don't even realize we've done it.

That seems a little silly to me, especially when the New Year is supposed to be a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future, so I simply refuse to play along.

Instead, beginning in October (the time of the Celtic New Year), I assess the year quickly drawing to a close, and I set goals for the approaching year.

Goals and resolutions aren't the same thing, at least not to me.

Goals are more tangible than a resolution. Goals come with steps and plans and little measures of success along the way. And goals can be amended. They don't have to be a win or lose thing. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing endeavor. If I set a goal too high, I know I can adjust that goal without feeling like I cheated. I also know that I'm more likely to stick with those goals simply because goals don't come complete with that little internal voice telling me it's okay if I fail, or that I'll never make it, or that no one else will either. There are built in triumphs along the way, the ones that empower us to keep going, even when the going gets tough. We don't have to wait for a New Year to try again if we fall off the wagon. We can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and hop back on the proverbial horse at any time.

And we will pick ourselves up and hop back in the saddle, because we have a goal to meet, and we have no excuses for failing to meet it. We're accountable for that goal, not a New Year, not the failure or success of friends or family, but us. We challenge ourselves to meet those goals, and we don't have a built in scapegoat if we don't rise to the challenge.

Even better, we don't have to start from scratch with our goals. We can piggyback off of the success of the year before, or of a previously met or established goal. There is no "New Year, New You" mantras involved. We're not reinventing ourselves. We're bettering ourselves or our lives, one tangible goal at a time while fully recognizing and celebrating that fact that the "old us" is pretty cool, too. There's nothing wrong with the person I was in 2013 or with the challenges I faced. I don't feel a pressing need to change me. What I do feel is a desire to continue learning and growing in 2014, just like I did in 2013.

Goals help us accomplish all of that so much more realistically than do resolutions. At least, that's my opinion of the whole thing. And I'm looking forward to meeting the goals I've set for 2014.

Aside from getting the husband well again, I have a lot of goals for the next year. There are action plans and measurable successes and celebrations along the way. Some are huge, and some are small things.

I won't bore you with all of the details, but here are a few of the goals (big and small) I'll be working on in 2014. 

1) Bringing home baby Morgen - This year, my husband and I will start working on bringing home a baby Morgen. We'll talk with my neurosurgeon, and fertility specialists, and adoption agencies. We'll decide whether IVF or adoption is the best route, and we'll pursue that option eagerly. We'll panic along the way, and worry and doubt and, hell, probably even fall apart, but we're ready to try again for a baby Morgen, and we're looking forward to the nerve-wracking, nail-biting, crazy, beautiful journey.

2) Writing more often - This year, I'll finish FLAME, Ravished, and Stricken. I'll begin working on FEAR and Rapture. I'll work on eliminating passive phrasing from my writing, and on showing more than telling. I'll get rid of words like really and just. I'll write as often as possible, participate in NaNo, and stop wasting so much writing time browsing the web. By year's end, I will have at least four novels in print.

3) Redecorating - This year, I'll finish decorating the house. I'll stop stalling on buying new furniture, and will move the old furniture into the den. I'll also pain the den, finish the guest bedroom, and turn the pet room into a pet friendly sunroom.

4) Becoming healthier - This year, I'll work toward getting the migraines under control again by reducing my stress, becoming healthier, and admitting when enough is enough. I'll learn to admit when I need a break, to say no, and will work to stop pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion at the expense of my health. I'll stop surviving on sugar and caffeine.

5) Vacationing/Lazy Days - This year, my husband and I will take an actual vacation. I'll actually watch the movies I put on my Netflix queue, and will read at least 50 of the books I put on my TBR list. I'll spend more time doing less, and learning to enjoy it. I'll turn the music up loud and dance like a crazy person more. I'll also make the husband dance with me.

6) Education - This year, I'll finally make a decision about whether I'm going to law school instead of putting it off for another year.

What are you hoping to accomplish in 2014?

Happy New Year, loves. No matter what the year brings you, I hope you meet your goals and learn more about yourselves along the way.



FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million