Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Random Pointless Thoughts

Call it Spring Fever.  Call it a lack of focus.  Call it what you will.  Here are, count them, 5 Random Pointless Thoughts to mildly entertain you.  And, I seriously hope you’re reading this list when you should be doing something more productive.  I’m all about being a total and complete distraction - You’re welcome.

#1  So, I hear they’re making a movie off the book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I think it’s interesting that it’s going to be a comedy because when I read it, it seemed to have more potential to become a script for a horror film.  I  believe (and please don't fact check this) that there were extra words that had to be cut from the original the title.   I know I heard about this from somewhere.  Something like:  What to Expect When You’re Expecting Everything That Possibly Could Go Wrong With Your Pregnancy And Your Baby That You Didn’t Know About But Now Do Thanks to Reading This Book Which Is Causing You To Sit Up At Night Wracked With Anxiety. 

#2  I recently read a statistic in Prevention Magazine that said if you buy new exercise attire, you’ll be 16% more likely to work out.  Hmm.  What about the other 84% of the time?  That’s when you put on the new yoga pants and matching top and pretend you’re going to workout.  I like to drop the kids off at Pre-K looking all “exercise-y” when in reality, the illusion of getting in shape is all the effort I’ll be doing.  I feel better about myself just by wearing the clothes.  Why sweat them up?

#3  I hate those ads for pharmaceutical drugs for everything from depression to weight loss.  Once, I was so sure I had Fibromyalgia.  I really believed it.  The woman in the commercial was so convincing.  She was in pain but was still trying to paint.  I don’t paint so I don’t know why I was so into it.  Anyway, I ran to my computer and looked up the symptoms and, here’s the good news: I don’t have Fibromyalgia.  Thinking that it’s a fun word to say is not one of the symptoms.  Neither is "hang over", but that’s a story for another time. 

#4  And, while on the subject of clothing and infomercials, all I want for Mother’s Day is Pajama Jeans.  I want to sleep in them all night while saving valuable time and effort by waking up already dressed for the day.  This is what I hear the ad saying to me, “Sleeping in your clothes all night can be so uncomfortable even if it saves you valuable time in the morning.  And, going to Wal-Mart in your flannel pajama bottoms should be banned by law.  But, now, here’s a solution!  Pajama Jeans!  All the comfort to get a good night’s rest plus all the convenience of skipping getting dressed in the morning!   And, best of all, you leave the house looking fashionable and sexy!”  I so want them! 

#5  When it comes to winning anything from contests to scratch off tickets to sweepstakes to slot machines, I have absolutely no luck.  It’s so bad that even the thought of gambling makes me all nervous and jittery.  I can’t think straight knowing I’m going to lose no matter what.  The last time I was in a casino, I placed a bet on red and was handed a glass of wine.  I thought, wow, I’m already getting complimentary service.  My luck is about to change … until I looked up and realized I was standing at the bar.  (Here’s where I need that end-of-a-joke-drum-sound.  And, here’s where this list must end before it gets any worse than this last one!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review: White Elephants by Chynna T. Laird

File today’s book review under “the pursuit of following dreams”.  Today’s author tells her personal story of resilience when the experiences of her youth and young adulthood stacked the odds firmly against her.       

Elephant in the middle of the living room--that is one way of explaining how a family walks around the invisible presence of huge problems. Hindsight is what brings the elephant into focus.

Somehow at the innocent age of five Tami began to see the bulky creature crowding her family and took on a sense of responsibility far beyond expectation for her age. Her mother was different than other mothers. Family life in their household was not pretty. No one seemed to notice. No one did anything about it, and Tami wanted someone to do just that. As an adult Tami took on her first name, Chynna, and took up the challenge to find out what might have helped her mother fight her battle of self-destruction. She couldn't help her mother, but she would consider it worth everything if her family's story helped another.

This candid memoir is a story of one girl's struggle to deal with her mother's alcoholic/bipolar condition--the white elephant no one else would see. With a conversational tone, Laird shares her remarkable story of abuse, survival, and her triumphant recovery into becoming a healthy, well adjusted wife and mother. Tastefully written, this book will touch your heart. It offers hope that, no matter where you come from, life is what you make it.

It's no wonder White Elephant has been ranked #1 on 'Best Books On Recovering From Childhood Trauma' on GoodreadsThe last time I read a memoir this psychologically captivating was This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff (which, yes, was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and a young Leonardo DiCaprio).  The image of a white elephant, so precious despite its destructive nature to those caring for it, makes its presence known on every page.  Though gut-wrenching and heart-breaking, I was compelled to keep reading to find out how the author portrayed as the innocent girl standing directly in the elephant’s path had survived. 

In an interview with WOW, Chynna Laird explained how her first draft had been an outpouring of emotions, the greatest of these: anger.  I can rightfully see why this would have been the case.  However, the final draft, takes on a tone much like listening to a friend.  And, it is out of her compassion for helping others struggling with a family member suffering from a mental illness that Chynna Laird finds her courage for sharing such a deeply personal account.       

About the Author:
Chynna Laird is a psychology major, freelance writer and multi award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner, Steve, and their three daughters [Jaimie (almost nine), Jordhan (six), and baby Sophie (three)] and baby boy, Xander (five). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs.

You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored an award-winning children’s book (I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD), two memoirs (the multi award-winning, Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With SPD and White Elephants), a Young Adult novel (Blackbird Flies), an adult Suspense/Thriller (Out Of Sync to be released March 2012), and a Young Adult Suspense/Mystery/Paranormal/Sweet Romance (Undertow, to be released 2012). She’s also working on a sequel to Not Just Spirited called Not Just Spirited: The Journey Continues and a few other projects in the works for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers.

Please visit Chynna’s website at, as well as her blogs at and, to get a feel for her work and what inspires her.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Never Worked a Day in Her Life”

Me: “I’m feeling sick.  I think the kids gave me their germs.”
My husband: “Don’t say that!  You’re fine.  Take a pill or something!”

Here’s The Problem:  If you’re a mom, everyone else in the house can get sick, moan and groan and lie around.  You, on the other hand, don’t get a day off.  And, if you do, say for example, let something like the laundry slide, wow does it ever pile up waiting for your return!  So, I popped a pill to ease my symptoms of the stomach rumbling sort and continued on like nothing was wrong.

“Never worked a day in her life,” the reporter quoted in reference to last week’s breaking news in which this statement intended for political gain against the Romney campaign backfired big-time.  I was laid out on the couch.  At this point, my head joined the agony raging in my stomach.  I listened to the rebuttals from several notable women including our First Lady that being a stay-at-home mom is, in fact, work.  I felt validated, inspired.  I got back up, waited for my head to stop spinning and kept going.

White Elephants.  This is the title of the book I will be reviewing this Saturday (bonus blog post!) and thus, was reading the next day in an effort to be productive.  Anything else I could have and should have been doing involved moving around and moving around caused a stomach-flipping, jack-hammer-in-my-head sensation. As I strained to concentrate on what I was reading, it felt like the white elephant had stomped through my front door and flopped down on top of me.

Mom’s Sick - Commence Armageddon!  Luckily, my oldest son caught the bus and was at school all the next day.  My twins, however, took full advantage of my weakened state: toy closets emptied, stickers stuck to unlikely places, whispers of conspiracy while working together to raid the candy stash perched on a shelf and, in a grand finale, both of them tripping over their own path of destruction thus sustaining minor injuries that produced major crying.

White Flag.  I’ve often told my husband that I wouldn’t leave him for another man.  Why would I want to add another person into my life to bother me with their needs?  I did tell him that I would leave him for an island resort where I’d be left alone to rest and relax in calm, quiet, peaceful bliss.

My Own Private Island.  Since I’m not independently wealthy (well, not yet and only in my dreams), I deferred to the kindness of my wonderful parents who rushed to my rescue until my husband came home and whisked all three kids off to McDonald’s and then to soccer practice.  I had three hours all to myself to rest and recover on the more economical, yet practical “Sofa Island”.  Maybe my low grade fever caused me to hallucinate, but it did feel like a resort spa.  While watching House Hunter’s International, I accompanied a couple as they toured Fiji in search of a lovely vacation home.  I would have went with House #1 as it had better views of the ocean, but they chose House #3, the most expensive.  I hope I get invited to their house warming party.

Like Max in Where the Wild Things Are.  Eventually, I got lonely and missed everyone.  Eventually, I sailed my boat back from Sofa Island.  Eventually, everyone came home.  Eventually, and I mean eventually, like after a week, I finally felt well enough to resume being that very busy lady named, Mom.    

Never worked a day in her life?  That’s not an insult.  That’s a fantasy. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Egg Me On

While searching for inspiration for this week's post, I came across this photo and couldn't resist:

A few captions came to mind:

"OH NO!"

"I'm a survivor!  I'm gonna make it!"

"It's no fun being the good egg around a bunch a devils, or well, deviled friends."

"Wow, that was a long night of partying.  What?"

"Please give to the Mistreatment of Eggs Fund.  Only you can end this kind of shame and abuse: the hard boiling, the pastel colors, the paprika ... The list goes on and on."


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Somebody Call a … Nurse!?! (Book Review Time!)

Ever since a nurse risked life and limb by throwing her body across the hospital room door to prevent my hasty departure moments after I had checked in as a woman in labor with her first child, I have been extra fond of those fearless, caring women (and men) in the nursing profession.

“That’s it. I’ve had enough of this,” I said when the contractions turned from fun and exciting to wretched and horrible. 

Somehow I thought running and screaming down the hallway, hospital gown flapping in the breeze, into the elevator and out to the car would squelch those first true rumbles of debilitating gut wrenching pain.

“Did you take a birthing class?”  My nurse asked, I assume in desperation.

“Yes,” I said still poised to bowl her over, if necessary. 

“Do you remember what you learned?”  She asked and managed to say it in a calm voice.

So much patience this saintly woman had, especially when I replied, “Not one thing!” 

Book Review Time!
In honor of this nurse on duty the night prior to having my son (who provided me with the ability to take very necessary calming breaths while I waited for the Demerol to kick in) and to all nurses everywhere, I present to you Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor's Journey of Faith and Self by Lois Roelofs. 

In this touching memoir, the twists and turns of pursuing a career in the medical field, balancing the demands of a family and the unexpected struggles of life are described in an entertaining and inspiring manner.  This is a story for all women, not simply those in the field of nursing, as it touches upon themes we all can relate.  I would recommend this read for anyone who appreciates an insightful memoir.    


Lois Roelofs describes herself as a rebellious minister’s daughter, a reluctant nurse, a restless mom, and a perpetual student who eventually became a fun-loving teacher of mental health nursing.  During her forty year nursing career, she cared for patients and taught nursing students in primarily mental health and medical-surgical settings.  As a caregiver, she learned the value of caring for herself and did so by changing jobs to suit her interests, going back to school more than once to feed her crave for learning, and seeking professional help when personal and family crisis invaded her life.

You will be amused, saddened and inspired as you read this intimate and introspective memoir.  Plus you will learn the importance of faith, family and friendship-whatever your profession-and come away with a new appreciation for caring for yourself as well as caring for others.


May is National Nurses Month including National RN Day on the 6th, National Nurses Week 6th-12th and Florence Nightingale’s birthday on the 12th.

Find today’s featured author, Lois Roelofs, online at

And you can glimpse excerpts of Caring Lessons at

Lois lives in Chicago and her website is worth checking out, if nothing else, simply for the top banner picture of springtime in the windy city.  Ten points if you find her book propped up on a stand in the photo.

Happy Easter to my wonderful, fantastic readers!!!