Monday, December 30, 2013

The Messy Truth

This change is good, as well
Change is good.  It keeps us from growing stagnant and pushes us forward.  It keeps things alive and fresh.  In a world of stale ideas we need alive and fresh.  It is with the thought of change in my mind that my musings of late have centered.  I was ready to change things up a bit, shake the tree some and see what fell out.  The Mess is doing great and the readership has more than doubled over the past year.  I thank all of you who have kept coming back to read what has filtered from my brain to the typed page and hope that you continue to do so.

As we took a look back last week, this week we look forward.  Most people make resolutions that they will break before February, because, well, that’s what we do.  We determine to make goals because we want change, but then decide it’s too much work and fall back on bad habits.  Last year it was my Get Fit goal that bit the dust.  However, this year is going to be different.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking Back

2013 is almost over.  Everyone is making resolutions that they will break before January and planning out the coming year.  The girls and I have already planned our five big trips and filled in the dates of 2014 with as much information as we had on hand.  Dates are reserved and some goals have been set.

However, I prefer to use these final days as a time to look back on the past year and see where I was at the beginning and how far I’ve traveled since that first sip of champagne ushering in the New Year.  The journey through life is the most important thing and it pays to reminisce on the path walked so far.  Consider it a progress check or a self evaluation.  What goals did you meet?  Where did you drop the ball?  What have you achieved that you set out to accomplish?  It’s a time for introspection before moving forward and reevaluating your goals and dreams.  Did you grow any?   Learn anything new?  Did you ever find those keys you lost?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Use of the Like Button

To be honest, when people press the LIKE button on Facebook, it sometimes confuses me.  I’m not talking about pages for authors, movies, musicians, or inappropriate jokes.  Those I can comprehend.  However, sometimes, I have to sit back and wonder what people were really thinking when they placed their cursor over that little blue LIKE word and clicked..  I’ll give you an example.

Facebook status update from someone on my newsfeed: “Not feeling well today.  Couldn’t sleep all night as I was coughing and felt like puking my guts out all over my butterfly sheets.”
And then someone clicks LIKE.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hey, I’m Eating Here!

Seat for one
On our way back from Miami, we decided to pop into Boynton Beach and visit some friends we don’t get to see very often.  It wasn’t going to be a long visit as we were on a time schedule in order to get back for the 9 year-old, but we figured lunch would be a perfect time to get together.  We don’t have a Sweet Tomatoes in our town and I enjoy eating there when we can so I picked the lunch spot.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with Sweet Tomatoes, but it’s an all you can eat salad and soup restaurant.  They have a few other things, such as baked potatoes and breads of all kinds and even an ice cream machine.  I don’t know if the fact that you’re eating salad cancels the weight gain of the ice cream or not, but I see it as a just reward for eating a healthy meal.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking you’ve seen pictures of me and I do not look like a salad and soup kind of person.  For the most part you’d be right, but once every few years it isn’t a bad change of pace and makes me look good when I recommend it.  I need all of the help in that category I can get.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tales from an Autistic Childhood: School was a Minefield

While we were in Miami, I had the great privilege of meeting author Jeannie Davide-Rivera.  You might remember me talking about her in my post Reader's Favorite Awards.  She is the lady Teri just had to hug and a talented writer, as well.  She is also an award-winning author (Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed; Growing Up with Undiagnosed Autism), the autism category expert writer for, a writer for Autism Parenting Magazine, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and a professional blogger with Asperger’s Syndrome. Growing up with undiagnosed autism, and now raising three ASD children gives her a unique inside look at the world of those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Jeannie lives in South Carolina with her husband and four sons.

For more information about life with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome visit her website, (Aspie Writer: Understand Autism from the Inside), follow her on Twitter, or connect on Facebook.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Christmas List

It’s that time of year again.  You know the one; where people are asking you what you want for Christmas and then telling you what they want “just in case you need some ideas.”  The 9 year-old has already written her letter to Santa, even though she refuses to sit on his lap.  I’d be leery as well, I guess, if I knew that in a few weeks that chubby old man was going to be sneaking into my house to leave gifts.  I mean, our parents do warn us about strangers offering gifts, right?  Still, that doesn’t keep her from asking for things.  Lots of things.

The girls and I began to ask the questions this year, as well.  “What do you want for Christmas?”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reader’s Favorite Awards

If you’ve been paying attention to the Mess over the past couple of weeks - and shame on you if you haven’t - then you know a couple of weeks ago the girls and I ventured to the chaotic city of Miami to celebrate with author Taylor Fulks as she accepted her Reader’s Favorite Gold Award. Reader’s Favorite is “the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the internet,” and now thanks to Taylor, I now know about them. To be honest I didn’t before, but that’s because I haven’t done my homework as I should.

Reader’s Favorite was founded by Debra Gaynor, who at one time was a librarian for the public school system as well as universities. She was also a reading coach for young children. Her love for books led her to open her own reviewing company in 2002 which went full time in 2005 and eventually became Reader’s Favorite. As she discovered while coaching children to read, “A good book not only educated children, but made them want to pick up another. This applies to adults as well. The more good books we read, the more good books we want to read.” After attending my first Reader’s Favorite ceremony, I’m glad Debra went for her dream.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Paying to Park

We were in the planning stages of our trip to Miami and searching out hotels. The one where the Reader’s Favorite Awards was to be held was full, so we were doing our best to find one close by and within our budget. There were a few and we had a couple of choices that appealed to us. Having traveled a little bit, we’ve become trained to search the reviews for comments and the listing for the amenities offered. I mean, hey, I require certain luxuries even on the road. I want a coffee pot in my room for starters. Well, scratch that, actually. I no longer care. I’ve grown tired of what hotels pass off for coffee and have decided to take our portable Keurig with us from now on. Still, there are other things, such as the continental breakfast and working ice machines. We also prefer irons and ironing boards in the room without having to travel to the front desk to borrow one. With a couple of selections in mind we were almost set to choose.

Friday, December 6, 2013

That Voice Inside My Head

Happy Friday, my Messy friends.  As you know, I normally do guest posts on Saturday, but when Shirley asked me to be a part of her blog tour, I just couldn't say no.  So settle back with your morning cup and learn more about this great writer and her book.  Be sure to check out her links as well as her book, Our Lady of Victory, and participate in the giveaway at the end of this post.

And thank you, Shirley, for allowing the Mess to be a part of your blog tour.  It was great having you here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hello Robbie. Thank you so much for hosting me on your site. This is the last stop in my blog tour and as they say, the last is always best. I have been sharing a little bit about myself along the stops as a way for my twitter friends to get acquainted with me. Now I will share with your audience what exactly got me motivated to become an author.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Miami Take Two

Something wrong about this...
Our second day in Miami, we woke early to sample their continental breakfast.  If you read my post from last week about the breakfasts found in some hotels, you know we weren’t impressed.  I actually settled for Frosted Flakes and coffee.  Always coffee.

Taylor and Margie had their own agenda that day, so the girls and I decided to go back to Bayside Marketplace and do some shopping and enjoy the view.  It was Saturday, so the traffic wasn’t bad and what had taken us forty-five minutes the day before in almost crawling traffic, now only took us about twenty.  What a difference a day makes, right?

Parking was quick and easy and this time we could see the War on War exhibit without street lamps shining down on it.  We took some pictures of the exhibit, which made even less sense in the daylight, and then hung around a tree, a couple of us literally, and took some more pictures.  We always love photo shoot opportunities.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Messing in Miami

Hats for everyone!
We were going to make a weekend out of it.  You know us; we don’t require much convincing to make a getaway out of something, even if it’s only a couple of hours away.  So when author Taylor Fulks invited us to tag along with her to her award ceremony for the Reader’s Favorites down in Miami, the girls and I started looking at what all we could do while we were down there.  Our nights were going to be filled, but that still left the days and if you subtracted the 45 minutes it took to make a five minute trip due to traffic, we still had plenty of time.

The week before I had told the girls what time I wanted to leave Friday in order to be there.  As the time drew closer, I kept edging liftoff time closer and closer and soon it went from noon to eleven and then to how fast can we get out of here.  At one point Char looked at me Thursday night and said, "Do you just want to get in the car and go?"  I almost said yes, but we still had to get the 9 year-old to school that Friday morning.  However, she arrives at school at 7:30, so we could be out of the house by 7:35.  The girls just shook their head and we were scheduled to hit the road at ten that morning.