Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


I started following Angie Thomas on Twitter as I was trying to network and promote my own book. For months, I have wanted to get my hands on this book and am so glad that I finally did. This is an unpaid and unsolicited review of her book.

Have you ever read a book that you already know how it’s going to end? Not because the ending is that obvious to foresee, but because the story is so close to real life issues, that an author would do it an immense disservice by sugar coating it and giving it a better ending.

This book should make you feel a wide spectrum of emotions. Whether it’s because you have witnessed these injustices firsthand,  you know these exist through story telling from friends and acquaintances, or even simply watching the news. Flat out, this book makes you feel uncomfortable, makes you view things in a different light, and makes you ask yourself , “What can I do to help?”

Angie throws the issue of racism in your face through the eyes of her main character, Starr, a teenaged African American  girl who lives on the bad side of town. She addresses racism in the outside world, race/gang activity within communities, the issue of wanting to better one’s life without abandoning your neighbors and culture, wanting a better life for your family, rising above to break the cycle, views on inter racial romance, police brutality… there are so many issues and themes addressed in this book that to truly give justice to them all I would need to read it again. Above all there is a theme of love. Through all the ugliness, there is love. Love for family, friends, community, and  culture. Although I have read reviews stating this book is perpetuating hate, I couldn’t disagree more. My take away, was that the author was trying to explain the many complicated layers for our young heroine in this story. The internal struggle of right from wrong, where do I fit in, how do I maintain my heritage, how do I not look like a sellout or abandoning anyone, how do I maintain when it seems like  the world won’t listen or is out to get me. If anything, I walked away from this book changed.

I will never pretend to understand what it is like to grow up any other ethnicity than white. I recognize that I have been afforded so many more life opportunities due to this. I have however tried to reach out my hand to individuals of other cultures, only to have it verbally slapped away. I have been told I don’t understand, I can’t help, or I am the problem. I still actively look for ways in which I can help and keep looking for the individual or group that can help me find a way. Books like this need to be written and they need to be read by everyone. Until I can actively find a way to help the cause, I will share this book with as many people as I can until my throat runs dry. Our racial divide isn’t black and white. I have always felt that our media perpetuates the hate between the races in the way that they report crimes in our country. Angie addresses just that in a scene with Starr and her friends at her private school, and puts her and the characters around her in a tense situation. Those uncomfortable scenes, they need to be spotlighted. They need to be brought to the forefront not just so they can be recognized, but also to make the reader then reflect and potentially recognize and correct these actions within themselves.

My hopes is that one day this book becomes part of public education curriculum, as it speaks on so many levels not only to the younger generation, but to all ages who are willing to listen.

If you don’t get a chance to read the book, it is being turned into a movie. As an avid bibliophile, I will say most books are better than their movies, so I would suggest buying one off the shelf before it hits theatres.

Did I mention this is her debut novel? Angie has another book being released next year and I guarantee I will be in line to pick it up when it is released.

Let’s Take a Stroll in my Shoes Part:2

Part 2: and then… we were four

The end of my last blog, I was following a second ambulance with my husband in it. We weren’t given any answers, just that something had been seen in a CAT scan and we needed a better hospital to assess it.

Now, I have to pause and tell you that there were many blessings, divine intervention, the universe conspiring to help us, if you will, along our journey. This became as joyous as they were frustrating because my husband failed to see just how much the divine was pulling for us. We would practically stumble upon them like a boulder impeding our path in the road. The first, was the Doctor we met at the second hospital.

Upon arrival, my husband was immediately taken in for another scan. The doctor came out to introduce himself to me, and that was when I knew why we were there. He was a neurosurgeon. Not just ANY neurosurgeon. The HEAD neurosurgeon in the entire medical group we were part of. He just happened to be the doctor on call at the hospital that night. He said he liked giving the other doctors a break, it was nice to go back to where he started. Luckily for us, that night was his turn. He made me aware that the item in the original scan made them think it might be a tumor, but he wouldn’t know for sure until a better, more detailed scan was in his hands. He patted me on the shoulder and told me he hoped for the best. My husband was wheeled back into the room and we waited.

The doctor came back in and told us, he wanted to do a biopsy. He said a tumor was in his brain and they needed to run tests to see if it was benign. He suspected that it was the culprit for his massive seizure, it was the size of a golf ball and was likely putting pressure on his brain.

Like a whirlwind, the staff came in and took him out again, this time with me by his side, squeezing his hand the whole way, until they entered the surgery room. The last few hours had been such a blur and had happened in the blink of an eye. I took the time to call his family and let them know what was going on. Some of his family made their way to the hospital to visit. They had scooped up the kids for me at our house and brought them to their own and said they were fine, just concerned, especially his daughter. I asked to let them know he was fine, and we wouldn’t know more until tests were run.

When my husband was returned to his room, the waiting game began. We were told that the biopsy was sent off to a lab and we should know by the next day what we were looking at. We did what we could to keep ourselves distracted. We called the kids, watched T.V., played games, and his sister and brother-in-law were there when we got the call. My husband answered first and all three of us watched him in anticipation. When tears started tracking down his cheeks, I expected the worst. His sister rubbed his arm as he listened to what the doctor had to say. He then handed the phone to me.

The doctor apologized for not giving us the news in person, but wanted to make sure we knew the results right away so we could decide what to do. The results came back. My husband had Stage 2 Oligodendroglioma and he wanted to schedule brain surgery right away to remove it. Tears started rushing down my face, as I was handed a tissue. He continued and said he felt that was all that would be needed to be done and no radiation therapy would be needed, because they caught it relatively small. He knew that it was a lot of information to absorb and that the two of us would want to discuss our options. He said he would follow up with us the next day to see what we decided.

As I thanked him for his help and hung up the phone, everyone in the room was crying. No one wanted to say the big ugly word hanging in the room, and for the longest time we didn’t. We referred to his cancer as a tumor,  especially around the kids to soften the blow of it. There wasn’t anything to decide. It needed to be removed. We scheduled a date with the doctor for surgery, which happened to be our anniversary.

I showed up on surgery day with roses and a card. One nurse flipped out at me, he was still in ICU and apparently flowers were contraband. My emotions were so high, I got upset back and told her I would remove them when he was taken to surgery. Apparently, she talked with another nurse who was much kinder and explained to me why flowers weren’t allowed. 

I answered quietly, “I’m sorry, but..” looking up with tears in my eyes, “it’s our anniversary, and I wanted to do something.” 

The look on her face softened, “Well, perhaps we can make an exception by keeping it at the front desk, if that’s alright with you?” 

I agreed and she gave me a hug. She made sure to place it on the desk where it could be seen through the window of the room. “Hang in there, sweetie. I can’t think of a better anniversary gift than finding something before it’s too late.” 

I cried and hugged her, “I agree. Thank you so much.”

The staff arrived to take my husband back to surgery. Again, I followed him to surgery until they said I no longer could. Somehow, I had held it relatively together, even as I kissed him good bye and squeezed his hand one last time. I could feel the emotions bubbling to the surface as the elevator rose higher and higher to the waiting room. The doors opened, I saw my mom, and the flood gates opened. She hugged me and rocked me as I openly wept, sobbing, in the hospital waiting room. Everything had happened so quickly and like that our world had been turned on its head.

In times like these….

My heart has been breaking by events happening in our country, culminating with the alt-right, neo nazi, white supremist demonstration that happened in Virginia over the weekend. Whether that was what the march intended, this was the type of people it drew to their side. I have felt sick to my stomach from the photos, the videos, and the response of our President. Perhaps I, like so many, was deluded in my thoughts that this type of thinking had been almost eradicated in our country. I’m watching on social media as it is ripping an even larger divide between the different races in our country. One person tried to be supportive and post this meme on their page:

Innocent, simple message…. right? Apparently I was wrong. The vitriol that was spewed beneath it in the comment section made me want to hide under my blankets and never come out. Statements like:

“you never heard of Racism that much until obama was elected president. He was turning black people against white people”

“I disagree everyone is born with hate … humans will always fear what doesn’t look like them …”

“They’re cute, but this isn’t exactly true. Research shows that we are born with a strong tendency to prefer others who are like ourselves…”

Obviously all these statements about this innocent picture of three kids, created a fire storm of insults and name calling, on all sides. A simple photo of love is even turned into a platform for hate.

What makes my soul ache from this, is we will be our own undoing. As long as we fight against one another, they win. “They” as in the men in power. While we fight each other, they can pass legislation regarding healthcare, women’s rights, immigration law, social programs, start wars…. pretty much anything they want, because We The People, are too busy fighting one another to notice. They want a racial divide because then we will never notice their slight of hand. By the time we do notice, it will be too late.

So what should a person like me do to help? In times like this I feel absolutely helpless. I don’t live in that state, I’m thousands of miles away, what can I do? That’s a good question that I don’t ever seem to find an answer to other than:

I will continue to teach my children to love other human beings for their morality, the nature of their hearts and not by the color of their skin. I will teach my kids that if they see someone that needs help, being picked on, or treated unjustly because of their race, creed, sexual orientation, or religion, it is your duty to help another human being. I will continue to teach my kids why. Why are people upset? On whose backs has this nation truly been built on? What is our country’s history? Where have we come from and what are my hopes for the future. The time to remain timid and quiet is gone. If we want to see change in the world, phones must be put down, electronics shelved, and hard work must happen, and it starts in your own backyard. If the vast majority of the country is appalled by the actions, truly the majority can band together to stamp out the darkness of hate.

Kindness begets love begets compassion which has a ripple effect like a stone tossed in a pond.  Where will you toss your stone first?

Let’s take a stroll in my shoes: Part 1

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As a leader at my job there are lots of factors I take into account before I address a situation with an employee. I could go through a decent check list of everything I tick off in my head but today I’m going to talk about one that many people don’t consider: when they clock out, what is life like for them when they take off their work shoes and put on a different pair? Most of us try to dump our personal baggage at the clock when we start and leave it behind for our eight hour day, but do you ever have a day that some of it snags at your heel and drags itself in with you when you walk through the door? No matter what you do you can’t shake it off as it clings to you for dear life. I’m a good listener, which means I sit there quietly and take in whatever the other person has to say without interrupting, most times we just need to get things bothering us off our chests. I have encountered though those individuals that don’t share, which is their prerogative, but you know in your gut that something else is going on, it’s obvious due to work performance or their behavior has changed. Employees that I have grown close to, may comment on these individuals: their lazy, off-putting, rude, slow etc., and often times I’m told I’m far too nice as a leader when I comment that I think there is more going on than meets the eye. I say this especially as someone who has seen this person slowly change over a period of time. I’ve been told I give people too many chances, however, here is a small sample of stories I was able to find out from people I worked with after they trusted me: divorce and custody battles, an unexpected visit from CPS, loved ones battling illness, money woes, losing their homes, homeless and living out of their car, being kicked out of parents’ home for being gay, family drama (too numerous are the stories that this article would go on infinitely), loss of loved ones…. the list goes on and on. Some of the stories I have heard have been so mind-boggling that you wonder how this person in front of you was able to function let alone show up to work everyday without breaking down. No wonder their co-workers have seen a change in them, with what is going on in their lives how can you fault them? Why am I such a bleeding heart and consider all this before I approach someone I need to talk to? This was once me. I was doing everything I could to hold together what little was left of my world I had built, and make it to work. I withdrew into myself, and became much less open about the goings on of my life. In the mean time, the other half of my story was telling every Tom, Harry and Sally every little sordid detail of our life. I was slowly becoming the worst version of myself ever, I became a horrible leader, doing the absolute bare minimum my job required of me because that’s all I had energy for. I have never told my story. Today I decided to tell my story piece by piece, so people could understand why the energy wasn’t there. It wasn’t a lack of caring, but a fear of breaking down. You see, when you are always the one to fix things, be the glue that holds things together, you don’t know what to do when you need a helping hand yourself.

Part 1: And then…. we were 4

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This photo was taken just a few weeks after my separation. They were all so little and you would never know behind this photo about anything that had been going on. The year 2012 sucked. I could find more eloquent and flowery words to use but sucked, sums it up perfectly. We lost my grandpa to a sudden heart attack in his home at the end of January. He had been suffering with a string of illnesses off and on, but was still making into work every day and was considering running for city council again. We were all struggling with the news that my uncle was dying from cancer, but grandpa struggled the most, it was his oldest son. I’ve always told everyone with a heavy heart that grandpa got what he wanted, he was able to go first and not have to watch his child be buried. The day we were grieving over his loss, the family was informed that my uncle was in his last days, that his health had declined greatly and the cancer in his lungs had moved to his brain. The doctors said he could go any time. We all gathered at his home that Sunday to say our good byes. After every family member, even his sons who flew in from Louisiana and Vegas, had a chance to see him one last time, he left this world, just four days after his father.

So, life goes on right? As the family is still reeling from losing two important men in our family, and they are sorting out how to honor both of them individually and set up memorials, I continue going to rehearsals for “Flashback”, a variety show that is put on by co-workers to raise money for local charities. I used to love performing and was glad to get my feet wet and try it out again. This show, sadly, was the subject of many fights between my husband and I. I was required to attend rehearsals Monday through Thursday from 8 pm to 11 pm for about 8 weeks. The time commitment was intense because we had such a short period of time to pull this off. Even though I would have the kids ready to go, homework done, bellies full, bathed and in pjs… I would be told I was selfish, that I was choosing this show over spending time with my husband, that I already performed in Candlelight every year and that should be enough (disclaimer: the same conversation would happen every year for Candlelight too, and those rehearsals were once a week for 2 hours). He even accused me of cheating on him at one point, that the “rehearsals” were a ruse and there was no way I needed to be there that much. I challenged him and told him to make sure he showed up to watch me perform so he can see just how much was goes into making the show. The performance days were drawing near and my husband hadn’t picked up tickets to go, and the first of the two nights was already sold out. After much cajoling, he reluctantly paid for two tickets and said he would take one of the kids with him, leaving his oldest daughter to babysit the other three kids. The final performance day came around and my husband came down sick. I had taken care of him most of the day and figured he had come down with a stomach bug that everyone around us had been catching. I found some friends that would be willing to have our daughters join them in the audience and asked my husband how he was doing. He said he would just try to sleep it off. I enlisted the help of our oldest son to get himself and his brothers in bed. They had all been bathed and fed, and were just enjoying some down time when I left, bottles of Gatorade next to my husband if he needed them.

The last show was wonderful! Many hugs were given by the cast and an invite to celebrate at a cast member’s house just a city away from mine. I stated that I would have to go get my girls in bed, and check on my husband and if all was well I would drop by for about 30 minutes to an hour. The girls crawled right into bed after we arrived, I checked on my husband to find he hadn’t drank any of the Gatorade I had bought for him. I’m afraid I chastised him for it, which contributed to his mood when I mentioned the cast party. He forbade me from going. Once again, saying that I didn’t love him, that I should be staying home and taking care of him. I mentioned why should I stay home? You’re a grown man. I gave you what you needed and you didn’t use any of it! This back and forth goes on for about five minutes before it escalates to cussing. I change and decide to stand up to him. I apologized that he didn’t feel well, but reminded him I had taken care of him all day while the kids were at school and leading up to leaving with the girls. That I put our oldest son in charge so he wouldn’t have to worry about anything and my husband had confirmed that yes, the boys had brushed their teeth and gotten to bed on time without any help from him. I was tired of his jealousy and trust issues. That I wasn’t like the other women he had been with and I had hoped after eight years together he would finally realize that. I grabbed my purse and told him I would be back in an hour. My parting greeting from him was an “F You”, which enraged me. I stormed off to the door, ripping my keys off the wall, hand on the door knob when a voice in my head said ,”Don’t leave angry.” This voice startled me, but I was so upset that I didn’t want to listen, I started to turn the handle, The voice became more urgent, “Don’t leave angry. You’ll regret it!” Pausing I responded, “I’m not going to say I’m sorry. He’s being an ass.” The voice replied, “Don’t apologize. Give him a hug and kiss, tell him you love him, but don’ leave angry.” Reluctantly, I let go of the door handle and headed back around the corner towards the couch. The whole house was asleep and as I approached him I was telling him that I loved him and I didn’t want to leave the house upset. I leaned over to look at him and found him unresponsive having convulsions on the couch. I started yelling his name and the third time I yelled it, our oldest daughter came skidding into the living room right as I was reaching into my pocket for my phone. She looked at me panicked and said, “Mom! Call 911!” I was already on it. It felt like forever although it was only a few seconds before the dispatcher picked up, “911 what’s your emergency?”

“My husband is having a seizure on my couch and isn’t responding.” She was asking me follow up questions when he started to change colors: pink, red, blue, purple. It was when he turned an ashen gray I finally freaked out because I realized he wasn’t breathing. “Oh my god, he is going to die!” I yelled into the phone, “he’s changing colors!”

The dispatcher said exactly the words I needed to hear, “Ma’am! I need you to calm down. The only way we can help him right now is for you to remain calm and follow my directions. Can you do that for me?”

With a quick intake of breath I replied, “Okay…. what do I do?”

She instructed my daughter and I get him off the couch, we needed to tilt his head and clear the passageway so he could breathe. We worked together and got a very raspy breath out of him. “Is that him I hear?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yes, but it doesn’t sound right.”

“That’s okay,” was her response, “at least he’s breathing and that’s okay. Are you doing okay?”

“Yes,” I lied.

“Okay, you did a good job, you got him breathing I’m going to stay on the phone with you until the ambulance arrives okay? Don’t hang up until they knock on the door, they are almost there.”

Once the paramedics arrived I had three people and a stretcher in my living room. They had to move the couch out of the way so they could work. After lots of frustrating questions about his tattoos, whether he was a drug addict (which they questioned multiple times) they declared he was stable and that they would be moving him to the closest hospital. The next few moments were a blur. What to do with the kids, who amazingly hadn’t woken up during any of this, thank God! My daughter telling me she’s got this, go follow the ambulance. Calling his family, who lived close by to tell them what was going on and I would call with an update.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, my husband was awake and hooked up to monitors. I hugged on him and told him that was the scariest thing I had ever been through in my life, up to this day it still is. Everything so far had checked out, and we were chalking it up to severe dehydration due to him being sick and not taking care of himself. The last test they did was to do a CAT Scan which was procedure whenever anyone had a seizure to make sure he hadn’t done any damage. My husband and I were joking around when a nurse came in and told us they found something on the scan and the doctor needed to talk to us about moving my husband to another hospital. The doctor walked in shortly after and said they couldn’t be sure what they had found, but their hospital was small and didn’t have the equipment to do a proper job so he would be transferred to a much bigger hospital the next city over. He wouldn’t even hint at what he thought it could be and ordered another ambulance to transport him.

Thus my emotional roller coaster of a year started an accelerated plummet as I got back into my car to follow a second ambulance carrying my husband in it.

Don’t just write… finish writing!!

Originally, this blog was going to be about writer’s block. As luck should have it, as I was looking up photos to pair with my musings today, I realized my issue isn’t writer’s block. It’s finishing my damn projects! 

I’m lucky, in the sense that ideas come to me pretty easily, and if they don’t….. I started practicing advice I once read from Maya Angelou, insider tip…. it totally works!

I have a story so close to completion I can taste its sweetness at the tip of my tongue. My issue is, once the creative work is done and it gets down to the nitty, gritty of editing, I lose momentum. I come to a full stop.

Oh I will continue working on it, all the “fun” stuff. Talking back and forth with my sister about illustration ideas and giving the green light to move forward with concepts she has sent. I’m not exactly sure why this happens to me. Today I had all the time I needed to fish it out of my laptop and tie up all the loose ends after suggestions were emailed to polish it up. However….

I pick up my kids in 30 minutes and my hopes are, by writing this blog I will give myself the courage to finish my book, insert my illustrations I have so far, mock up a cool looking cover photo and finally….. finish! Otherwise, I will never have any books where I want them…..

Please send me awesome vibes and well wishes that the writing muses lasso me and hold my feet to the fire this evening. 

Finding My Sanity

I had called my boyfriend after dropping off the kids at their dad’s house. One kid had a fever and I wound up getting a call that evening that another had a fever as well. I was between a rock and a hard place. The kids were there for the week and I desperately needed to work. I was told they would be taken care of…

“You need to get me out of the house. I can’t be allowed to think.” I told him nervously.

When asked where I wanted to go, with no hesitation I responded. The beach! The beach has always been my sanctuary. I close my eyes, listen to the waves crashing on to the shore, get lost as the breeze whips my hair around my face, and hopefully be there long enough to enjoy a sunset. Salty air clears my soul I suppose.

I wish I could escape there every time I need it:

Stressing out over cutting it close on bills at the end of the month?

Pissed because your Ex refuses to talk to you about problems your having with kid weekends at his house?

Worn out and tired over a day full of work, chores, kids needs, and a kiddo on the autism spectrum who has been having an evening peppered with meltdowns that have re-surfaced after months of positive progression?

To have a genie in a magic lamp that could transport me away for even a few fleeting moments to regain my center. 

Ah well. I may not be at the beach, but I think I have a few bottles of chilled cider in the fridge. After kids finally wind down, this writer’s imagination is going to transport me to a tropical paradise. I can already feel the sandy crunch between my toes, and the sting of salt water spray on my face.

Care to join me?

Getting Back in the Saddle…Again

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Good Lord!! I haven’t written a blog since March!! That trusty saddle was hung up seemingly momentarily as I balanced a move, work, and getting my kids settled into a new home. What actually happened was far worse…

…… I got LOST!


Not in the literal sense of course, but as a writer I lost direction. If anyone has been watching my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account in the last couple of weeks you wouldn’t know it. I gently pulled myself up by the boot straps and started talking shop again. Promoting my E-book Sun Kisses, getting everyone in the loop that another book is on its way and getting more active on my group page again. Here is the kicker, all this self promotion and amping up for another book is just a bunch of noise to distract me from my real problem. My recent book was sent off to be edited, and as I was working out details for more illustrations with my sister, which are coming along swimmingly, I received my book back and I was shocked! It had been edited beyond recognition in my mind. The story that I was trying to tell with all the details I felt were so important was completely chopped out. I literally felt like this…


I lamented, I cried, I was despondent. I reached out to friends and colleagues, asking for input. I was riding the wave of my first published E-book, steaming towards getting another out there while the iron was hot, and in an instant, I was completely deflated, ready to crawl under a rock. I haven’t looked at the story since. After a time, I started to get more active on social media and followed other Indie Authors and read blogs to try and glean from them and figure out where I went wrong. Some of the critique of my book made some sense after researching it. I learned a lot. However, at the end of all this and taking in much needed advice I decided to look at my chalkboard and say….


Yes, I paid this person to edit my story and make it polished and clean for my readers. However, it’s still MY story. I ultimately decide what stays and what goes. I am the story teller, and I know what I am hoping to gain from this book. Understanding. My new book, Gretel: The Wonder Dog, is about a little dog who helps a boy with Autism. She gains his trust and helps him do one of the things that is hardest for any child with special needs: making friends. Perhaps I took the content editing too close to heart because this story is exactly that. My son has Autism and I have seen him struggle to make connections with other kids. My hopes for this book is to help other kids understand what that “strange” kid on the playground may be going through. I don’t expect to be a best selling author from this, although that would be nice, but my hope is that if even only 10 kids the world over read my book, then that will be 10 more people who grow up compassionate towards others that may be a little different than them.

Have I looked at my story yet? No. This blog needed to be written to help cleanse my poor soul which I had allowed to be crushed. I can now walk away renewed and steam ahead with the realization that dreams are possible.  I am able to go forward believing that this story should be told the way I envision it and always remember….



What is your niche…??

The first time someone asked me this when I mentioned starting a blog, I honestly had to ask for the definition. I had never heard the term. Once explained, I was even more at a loss. So what you’re telling me, is I have to find one infinitesimal part of me that I hope relates to other people like me, and hopefully be able to write enough about it that it stays interesting, rather than sounding like I’m writing in a diary? Okay…

I have started following other bloggers and authors and all I have to say is… where the hell do they find the time?? One author not only publishes new titles but she also runs six blogs, SIX! I think I’m doing fabulous if I (a) Dropped the kids off on time and made it to work on time (b) Get everyone to bed on time and (c) post at least one blog post every few days and write an hour a night. I seriously don’t have the time and until I can do this gig full time, I fail to see where I could carve out the time without taking time away from something else, like sleep.

There are so many layers to what makes me, well me, that I have figured out I would also be running six blogs to cover all the subjects I could write about.

1. Motherhood (First and Foremost)

Hell, I could even break this down into multiple blogs, i.e. A mother of sons, a mother of an almost pre-teen girl, reminiscing about the toddler and newborn days, single parenting advice…the blogs could go on and on. I could even give parenting advice on traversing the jungle that is Disneyland in a blog about…

2. Life at The Happiest Place on Earth

I have been a cast member at the Disneyland Resort for 16 years, and the stories I could tell. That’s a blog better left for when I retire or quit the company though. However, I could recount heart warming stories about interactions with our guests. I could give insider tips as to when is the best time to swing by for a visit, what are some cast member tips and tricks, assist in help with our DAS system for our rides which could lead to another blog about…

3. Autism

My oldest son, was non-verbal at 3 1/2 and was diagnosed with Autism. The emotional rollercoaster we have been through between diagnosis, finally getting the help he needed, the rise, fall and plateau of behavior therapy, special day classes in the public school system, societal stigma and coping skills for him, would make for a blog that would take tons of my time. Hey! When old enough he could even guest spot on it for me! Anywho… we continue with…

4. Divorce

The ugly “D” word and what it all encompasses. The feelings of regret and remorse, advice on how to put oneself together while you’re trying to keep your kids grounded, how to move on and keep yourself healthy while trying to sort through the mess and the squabbling. Health would lead me to…

5. Celiac Disease

Imagine being a foodie finding out that all those delicious pastries, pastas and breads you were shoving in your face were causing your health problems, and now you are told you can’t have any of them or it will slowly kill you. This blog could be a place to share war stories (some accounts of diagnosis I have read have taken 10 + years to diagnose), recipes, laughter and love over this illness that can lead to other auto immune diseases. Which would segue finally to….

6. Storytelling

The one thing I have loved since childhood has been reading and eventually writing. A passion of mine that I was de-railed from of my own doing. This blog is already created, in a sense. I share blogs about my current book, and future works, I’ve dabbled at some poetry, shared some story ideas and generally use it to get the creative juices flowing. It has in a way become my diary where I creatively muse in between sharing about my work.

So what is my niche? Well… pick one. I find it hard to wrap up one item that means so much to me in a pretty little bow and focus on just that. There is too much to all of us that makes us who we are and we should use it to help us connect with others. I understand why we as human beings compartmentalize because it helps us process things better, but I feel if we knew more of what was going on with each other we would feel better about ourselves. “Wow!! I’m not the only one who is nuts and has an insane amount of things going on!”

So for now, this blog will be my catch all. I’ll tag each blog hoping it will connect to the people it needs to…. that is until I’m a wealthy writer and then I can have “my people” help me run my blogs 😉

Celiac Adventures…Life Without Gluten

Gluten. Wheat. It’s in everything! Do you want to know when you become painfully aware of this? When you are diagnosed with a disease that causes your immune system to go on the attack when you eat it. The funny thing, I was given the blood test to check for it to “rule it out”. I had been battling fatigue off and on, severe bloating and discomfort and just generally feeling run down. “Well, you’re a single mom. I mean, you have to be tired a lot”. I had to let this well meaning professional understand that I knew the difference between “Mom Fatigue” and “Something is Wrong Fatigue”. We did find an issue with my liver that was corrected…. did you know the liver is the only organ in the body that can heal itself? I know, now. Over two years later of going in and out of the doctor to get checked out I was sent back to the GI who I saw for my liver except it wasn’t the head physician, it was the PA. I have found that this mentality of “ruling things out” is much more common with the PA. Many head practitioners almost gave me a verbal pat on the head, kind of a “take two of these and call me in a couple of weeks” diagnosis. I was so grateful that the bloodwork came back positive for something, because now I had at least an explanation. After my final gluten meal, brought to me by my amazing boyfriend (the beer is missing in the photo) Hey!! I was told not to eliminate gluten before my procedure and I made sure to follow doctor’s orders 😉

I had a colonoscopy to check how much my intestines were damaged, I have been on a strict gluten free diet ever since.

My kids are just as diligent as I am about checking labels, ALL labels. Some things I have had to give up because I wasn’t aware they had wheat filler: Campbell’s Tomato Soup (let’s just say pretty much all soup but this killed me the most, that and clam chowder),  Teriyaki sauce, Soy sauce (again, let’s just say all sauce. Asian food being my fav I have to check for soy sauce in everything), sausages and hamburger patties (because who knew wheat is a filler), How about checking all packages for being processed on the same equipment with wheat (I had an episode with a package of almonds… almonds!!! ).

So when I find somewhere that I can eat a burger with a gluten free bun processed and prepared on a separate counter, you get this reaction. (It had been months since I had eaten one)

Or when you are clued in to a bakery that is entirely gluten free! Which I stopped by and bought from today!

I kind of jump for joy! I have always been a foodie and love food. So my new adventure for the rest of my life isn’t just a foodie adventure it’s a Celiac Adventure! There are so many foods out there I can enjoy I just have to find the people who make them! Adventure is waiting!

After I have a lengthy conversation with the owner and find out how it’s prepared 😂