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Tag Archives: God

What Makes a Good Character?

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Last night I broke out my pilot. It had been about six months since I looked at it and I had a few reactions I wasn’t expecting:

  1. The first two scenes are pretty funny
  2. The second half of act one needs more work than the tile of my 1950’s wackadoo kitchen
  3. Act two is about as together as Sonny and Cher after a few blissful years of marriage

I’ve done enough writing in my past to not worry about the current state of my pilot. I just needed to go back to my outline.

So I did.

The story wasn’t clear enough. And then it became even more clear that in order to have a solid story I need to know more about the characters.  Who are these people, why are they in my script, and what makes them tic?

The Transformation of This Blog

As many of you know, this blog started out as a journey for Tourette Syndrome. Who was my kid and what made him tic? What would his life story be? Would it be a comedy, a tragedy, a giant mystery full of gluten free bread and neurologists?

I started this blog when my son was 4. He’s now 14 and doing very well. (He starts high school next year! He’s six two! Eeeegaaads!)

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The truth is, like most good scripts, his story came out when I gave him time. I wanted a cheeky basketball player. He wanted to be a Vegan animal lover. I wanted a straight A student with a perfectly clean bedroom. He’s an A/B student with a room that looks like Gravity Falls and Harry Potter threw up in it. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

When I didn’t force my kid to be anything other than who he was supposed to be, he was able to develop into the kid he’s supposed to be. He has limits and boundaries, but freedom to shine. I will extol that same grace to my pilot.

A Writing Schedule + Freedom = Great Characters (for me and my scripts)

With that in mind, I plan on giving myself some freedom over the summer to get off my crazy work train of a schedule and continue to write.

And read!

In addition to my morning spiritual books, I am toggling between:

one for the money

emotional intelligence

anne of green

What Do These Books Have in Common?

Amazing characters and insight. From a Jersey Girl bail bondsman, to an intelligent, fast talking orphan, to fascinating insight on the correlation between IQ and empathy, these books take me in. They make me laugh. And they make me think.

My Next Job Move

As I wonder about what next year holds for me at my current job, I can honestly say that whatever happens it will develop my character. Like the people in the books I am reading now, I will be forced to ask questions like:

  • Why am I making the choices I’m making?
  • What is my definition of success?
  • How can I be me while still contributing to a group? (My family/finances)
  • How can frustration be transcended into personal growth?

In the end, as I develop the character of Andrea, I will pour what I’ve learned into the characters of my pilot. And that, my friends, is really exciting! It’s my favorite kind of script – one where the lead character goes into the unknown with a bit of courage, sass and, hopefully, some humor.

Knock Knock!

Who’s There?

Your Life.

Your Life Who?

Whoeever you want it to be. You got one shot. Make it worth it!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

bookcover profile pic

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I Am. Enough.

Enter Adele Song

Hello, blog…

It’s me.

I  have lost you in the pile of the

Trash and the laundreeeee

blog 11blog 8

But I’m finding…

My waaaaaay out…

Of the construction and the shipments so this post is all about….

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(Big bridge)

Hello from the other side

My freelancing career done died

No more Ebay… and clients

It was all way too much

So I’m now… going full time…

So I don’t go any more nuts…

blog 14

Anymore…..

Yes, hello from the other side… the side that is getting back to the me-that used to be. Like my kid who tried to rock the Robert Plant rocker look only to finally get a haircut yesterday, sometimes we have to cut off the old in order to grow something new.

after

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but sometimes things can feel overwhelming. It can feel absolutely impossible to get everything done in one day and do it well. And, well, that’s because it IS impossible. How does one mother, work, clean the house, shop, exercise and, God forbid, stoke the fires of her own soul?

I could overthink until I’m blue in the face (or pink like my kid’s pic above) but the real answer is: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL.

Knowing this, and giving oneself the permission to not get it all done, are two different things. I’m making baby steps toward the second option and cutting myself some slack. But here’s the deal. I love to write. Some of my favorite times were when the kids were little and I wrote for a few big name blogs in addition to keeping my own personal blog. There was something connective about it. Something exhilarating about getting a comment. It felt like I made a difference. When other people wrote and I read their words, they often pierced into the very marrow of my bones as if to say, “I get it. I’ve been there. Keep going.”

I want that again. Full-time job or not, family obligations or not, I want to do the thing that makes me feel most alive. I want to do what God wired me to do.  I’m a story teller. And while for a season of my life it seems I’ll be adding commuter to my title, I’ll still need a place to share my stories. And that’s here.

Today on a walk with a friend, we were discussing the notion of balancing “want to’s” with “have to’s”. She, too, is a worker, a mama of two (one with some extra needs). She, too, knows the frustration of feeling like, in her words, a “piece of silly putty… pulled in a zillion directions.”

She told me about a sign she has on her computer screen at work that reads, “I am enough.” Yes, she is. So am  I. And so are you. How do I know this? Because I have a God who, in translation, literally means “I am.” Add a period to her sign and you’d get, “I Am. Enough.” I can’t help but believe this is the very God I choose to worship, telling me to cool my jets. “Slow down, Andrea. I am here. Stop with the spinning. Enough.”

And so, just for today, I will breathe.

I will get that transcript ordered from my college to turn into my potential full-time gig.

I will go back to the grocery store and pick up the items I had to leave yesterday when my checking account disagreed with the amount of food I was attempting to purchase.

I will take my son to Bible Study with his best buddy, Ty, because it’s Tournament Series and nothing says Jesus like a bunch of stinky tweens with painted faces and wrestling capes screaming “Lucha Libre!”

lucha libre

I will take the $100 a neighbor so kindly gave me out of the blue (“for always helping my son out”) and bring my daughter to the mall for a dress for her first middle school dance. (Visa bill, you can suck it for one more month. My kid needs some ruffles.)

I will send a reformatted galley copy of my book to my publisher so that I can get my #s up on Amazon from 200 sold to 201. (Nothing says hitting the big time like a $90 residual check.)

I will grit my teeth when I feel like screaming and tell my husband that he is “smart” and “courageous” and that I “have his back” with his business, even though what I really want to do is fall face first into my raised garden bed and cry about having to work full-time because I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA!)

The truth is, despite what can seem like a pretty daunting to-do list, all of it is do-able thanks to my God. This God helps me do big things. I don’t need to be scared. I have a teammate. I am no longer alone.

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How can I let go of fear of the future? I can live in the present. In His presence. Because there, in His embrace instead of my own anxious mind, I am secure.

I am brave.

I can do this.

(And so can you.)

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

 

book cover

Blog Hop – Why I Write!

I bring this long fast to an end to talk about something dear to my heart. No, not tics! Writing!

Not only did I just finish a second rewrite of my book where it’s actually being considered by some pretty decent agencies (Squeeeeeel!) but a lovely writer named Lorraine Devon Wilke asked me to participate in her Blog Hop.

What is this Blog Hop, you ask?

A Blog Hop is where a writer refers her followers back to other fabulous voices in the online community. I’m a big fan of supporting other writers, especially women, so I said ‘Yes’ to the opportunity to play.

To start with, let me give some love back to Lorraine!

lorraineLorraine Devon Wilke is a creative hyphenate currently enjoying her three-ring circus of writing, photography, and music. She’s a longtime HuffingtonPost contributor, a successful screenwriter, and a widely published essayist; she curates her fine art photography site, as well as her personal blog at Rock+Paper+Music, and her original CD, Somewhere On the Way, can be found at CDBaby.com andITunes. But her latest “big adventure” is the launch of her first novel, After the Sucker PunchatAmazon…stop in for a copy! Check www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for links and information, www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com for updates and links for her book, and stop by her blog at www.rockpapermusic.com for her own answers to these questions! 

Secondly, here are a few questions I was asked to answer. I will ask the same of two other writers I bring into this. Check back Tuesday or Wednesday as I add them!

1.What am I working on?

Writing full time for a faith website

Currently I’m writing full time for the faith website, Believe.com. This means spear-heading campaigns such as “I’m a Believer,” featuring such up and coming voices as Leanne Penny, Doreen Lecheler and Michelle Wulfestieg. I also get to feature old friends and equally talented voices such as Gretchen Hanna.

I have contributed over 50 articles since December, including movie reviews for Noah, Son of God, Heaven is for Real and more. I have the pleasure of interviewing big faith writers, too, like Ted Dekker. (You can see my bio at the top of this link. The articles are underneath it.)

While I don’t mind the movie and book reviews, I’m most proud of the blog I write which features a transparent look into my journey of faith.

Why be so open online? Am I that needy?

Yes. I’m needy for connection. And so are a lot of people. Life is too short to go about it alone. Writing gives me the wonderful opportunity to look fear in the eye and say, “Buzz off. You don’t scare me. I got peeps around the world going to emotional bat for me. And guess what? I’m doing the same for them. Plus, by writing about faith, I have people PRAYING for me now, too. Look out!”)

Some people wouldn’t “air their dirty laundry” for the whole world to see, but I don’t look at my personal writing this way. I also don’t buy that to be a person of faith we must not have challenges. No, I don’t believe we have to be perfect to find Jesus.I believe Jesus wants us to come to Him as we are, because He is perfect. That is the gospel. That is the redemption. When we can get real with our very ugly warts and scars, we can rise into the people we are meant to be in our souls.

Want to see those blogs? They are located in the parent section at the right side bar!  It’s called “Fundamentally Imperfect.” I wanted the title”Jesus on the Couch and other Tales of Christian Therapy” but hey, life ain’t perfect. This leads me to question #2.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My writing is a bit different than what many people expect Christian writing to be. There is a misconception Christians are the epitome of hypocrisy – shiny on the outside, rotting on the inside. Me? I make no bones about it. I’m a rotten sinner. What do I mean by that? Sin is simply being separated from God. Every day I have to fight my natural instinct to do what I want to do. I don’t get to run off with Hugh Jackman and smoke doobage at Disneyland while singing Sesame Street. Instead, I have to be a responsible human being. Christianity gives me permission to know I’m not alone. That someone else out there loves me enough that I don’t have to be perfect.

Do I 100% believe everything in my faith? No. I don’t. I admit it. If being open and honest about some of the things I’m not sure about makes me a wishy washy Christian, then I guess I am. But, like a kid, I didn’t know everything about what it meant to be an adult, but I trusted my dad. Jesus is my Father now, and I can moan and complain all I want, but I feel safer, more creative and stronger under His guidance than I do without Him, so I journey on.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I got lucky enough to have someone find me on Linked In right when my husband lost his job. Some big company actually wanted to pay me to talk to writers all day, interview production folk, and write about my faith journey. So I said yes!

I also write because in writing there is connection. I am not afraid to be vulnerable, because in being so, I let others know they don’t have to be perfect. Then they tell me their war stories and together we trudge toward our happy destiny of peace together.

4) How does my writing process work?

I write every day without exception. Mostly I write because I’m on deadline, but when I am writing for myself, I set a time and do it. Example: My second rewrite was due May 1. I’m working full time. I have kids I pick up from school at 3. This means I’m up at 5am to be on the road by 6. Lest I sound like  martyr, I’m grateful to God to have this job. But my job is not as exciting to me as my book. It just isn’t.

And so, with that in mind, I wrote an hour/day from 6am – 7 for a month straight. I came home and did an additional 2 hours of paid work later. I knew, in my gut, that THIS WAS THE TIME to finish this book. I know my job won’t last forever. I want to have something I love in the depth of my soul to carry me into my next experience. I think it’s this book, but if I’m wrong, I’ll never regret writing it. I’ll self-publish if it’s not picked up by a traditional publication!

Any questions?

Does anyone have any questions? I’m not often asked about my writing or my faith on this site. I am your tic mama and I love that. But I also know that if it weren’t for my writing, I’d be much more stressed about tics which, for the record, are a bit better today! (Though my sweet boy DID have a new tic which kind of scared me. Check back Wed for more info.)

And come back tomorrow to see a few new writers I’m going to add to this Blog Hop!

Love,

Andrea

 

 

Gluten Free Living/Vitamins/More Revelations!

A new reader asked me to point her toward some of my more concise posts on diet and T.S.. (Me? Concise? Is that possible?)

It got me thinking that I should really add a tab on diet/nutrition to this site. Until, then, though, I’ll leave her and you with a link from my old website.

Gluten Free/Caesin Free Living and Tourettes

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2011/09/10-ways-to-go-gluten-free.html

This is a great book on T.S, diet, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Treatments-Tics-Tourettes-Patient/dp/1556437471/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331674008&sr=8-1

Here’s info on how to test for food allergies

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2008/11/the-abcs-of-igg-testingfood-allergies-and-tics.html

My Revelation

Stink’s Tarzan is still with us. I’m trying really hard to love it. Perhaps instead of viewing it as the squatter that constantly interrupts my son’s speech, I will view it instead as a quirky visitor who adds spice to our days. If only Tarzan would cook and clean toilets I might consider permanent adoption.

While I will never stop looking for ways to eliminate this sucker (stricter diet? more acupuncture? less Wii? better vitamins? drug options?) I had a super big epiphany today about me.

I was sitting in Bible Study, and we were asked to talk about a time when we simply could not forgive someone – no matter how much we were called to do it for our faith.

“Who would like to share?” our 82 year old kick-butt leader asked us. (I seriously want to be Rosemary one day. She hikes, wears Ugg boots, and is a nurse working as a lactation consultant. She had a shower at her home last weekend for one of our knocked up sisters in Christ. She called it “Better Than Sex” cake. Moving on.)

No one wanted to share their stories of un-forgiveness and anger. I don’t believe it’s because they were all so pious. It’s hard to talk about the ugly side of ourselves. Lucky for my leader, I have no shame.

“I have someone I can’t forgive,” I said. “Tarzan!”

I explained how, no matter how much I tried, I simply could not accept that annoying sound. I admitted that I’ve come a long way from getting totally nutty about it, but it still bothers me. I want it to swing on outta there.

“I am not 100% defeated, but I’m not 100% at peace when my son tics. I want to love Tarzan as he is part of my child. But I don’t. I hate him. (pause) With all my heart. (Pause) I don’t forgive him. (Pause) But I want to.”

People nodded and said they would pray for me – which is totally awesome. I do believe it’s God’s grace that is strong when I am weak.

Then a beautiful Barbie of a woman – call her Jodie – chimed in. In a venue where she could have left me with happy platitudes, she cut right to the core: “I don’t think you’ve accepted the tics because it’s not really about the tics. It’s really about you. When you are able to accept everything about you and love yourself the way Jesus 100% loves you, the tics will lose their power.”

Well, there’s that.

5 Ways To Face TS and Tics In 2012

I’m excited to bring you my very first post at my new website domain! Like my son’s favorite present from Santa, I hope my site can be a treasured gift to you so that you can find joy despite a diagnosis you may not be thrilled with. If there’s something you disagree with, let me know.

For those of you new to my blog, you can catch up on my TS journey at my old site here. But like Tourettes, despite good and bad days getting used to my new platform, this is my new home. Welcome!

For my first entry, I thought I’d cut and paste an entry I wrote in response to a friend of mine who was worried about her son’s new facial tics. She, like many new moms at the beginning, has moments of complete devastation. Sure, there are times when she feels like she’s okay with her son’s diagnosis (like the time when her son’s tics are the most minimal – shocking, I know.) But just when she feels like maybe she’s accepted his condition, a new twitch starts. With it comes fear, riding on a raging horse.

She wrote that she felt bad about, well, feeling bad! Like somehow she should be more accepting! Other moms in our group, it seems, are “over T.S.” and she isn’t.

For those of you who might feel like you are alone – that other folk can handle T.S. (or any disorder) and you’re in a fetal position in the corner drowning your sorrows with Two Buck Chuck from a sippy cup (hey, I resemble that remark!) rest assured – we all have our off days. Or weeks. Or months. Just hang in there – you will feel better in time.

Here’s my two cents on the subject. I edited my response a bit for the purposes of this blog.

I have been better lately for a variety of reasons.

1. Time: I have been down this road for FIVE years. I get the waxing and waning. I’ve done it all, from food and diet to supplements and possible medication options. I’ve done the holistic docs. I’m starting acupuncture. I have gotten to a point where I accept that Stink has TS and I”m doing my best. I don’t feel like ‘why can’t I fix it’ because I know I can’t 100%. But that leads me to #2.

2. A Plan.I have one. I’m going to do Brain Balance. I need to make some money to do that. This means selling some articles, teaching some online writing classes, Ebay, etc. Doing what I’m passionate about not only makes me joyful, but it has the added benefit of making me think less about the tics so I can actually change something I have control over: my attitude.

3. My Faith – Hope: Christianity has been a tremendous source of support for my up and down emotions.

* Note: Where I ramble like a Bible Thumper –  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This passage is a source of great hope for me. It means that my “suffering” is not in vain.

That tics are just like a puzzle piece. For a while, like when Stink was first diagnosed, the puzzle pieces seemed jarring. It felt like they would never fit together. Slowly, with my plan, I got the border put together. That was my emotional balance.

Now I have some of the middle put together. I can see a beautiful picture despite some missing holes. With faith, the holes can be filled in with a picture I create. That picture is a life where Stink is happy, healthy, funny and over T.S.. And if he’s not over T.S., it’s not in vain, because his character, and mine, was shaped from it.

* More thumping: And a sidenote!  I encourage all of you to find your own personal road to faith! Romans 5: 3-5 promises “And we rejoice in the HOPE of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance: perseverance, character: and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us.” (Hooray for hope! I love hope!)

4. Finding my Passion: My writing has been tremendously helpful to me. It’s my love. I can’t form sentences and write blog posts while, at the same time, obsessing about tics. It’s simply impossible. In writing this blog, I am serving others as well. I have bad days like we all do, but in lifting others up, I am selfishly lifting myself up also. The key for me in helping others was realizing that I can’t just serve when I’m feeling okay. God can use me when I’m feeling like a piece of spit out gum stuck to the sidewalk. Before long, I’m blowing good bubbles of encouragement. And I even forgive myself for stupid analogies like the one I just wrote.

* Last thing on serving others: This is not meant as some do-good Christian tip. I don’t care what your religion is or how you feel. Taking your eyes off yourself, and putting them on someone else, is the cure-all for anthing. Don’t believe me? Try it. You’ll get hooked.

5. Acceptance: I accept that some days I’m just down. I don’t like the verbal tics any more than you all do. I have moments where I can’t be in the same room with Stink. I need a break. I have to fight for my “me” time and my “down time” and work on my marriage to do this. It’s created a wedge between my husband and me, at times, as I’m no longer the “yes” person where he gets all the breaks after his hard day at work and I continue to slave. Yes, I have down time while the kids are at school, but I also do a hell of a lot of work while I’m at home alone. I know… I KNOW… I’m worth some relaxation. Rex is starting to understand that. It’s not been a fun road, but he’s getting there, and that is all I need. Love is not a feeling – it’s an action. It’s a verb.

To help with all five points above, I am not ashamed to say I take 75mg of Zoloft every day. It’s evened me out enough to take my head out of my ass and face life the way life is. I hope to not be on it forever, but if I need to take it, I will. My good friend, Chrissy, sent me a link that talks about depression better than I could.

In closing, please know I’m here for all of you. I hope you’ll consider making a plan for yourselves to then get a plan for your child. If it’s meds, go for it. If it’s back to work, go for it. If it’s exercise, go for it. But know this: if it weren’t TS, you’d face something else at some point in your life. Perhaps your mom would die, throwing you into a tailspin. Or a husband who cheats on you. Or your child could have some other illness or you could be diagnosed with something.

I truly truly believe, now, that TS is the invitation we all need to accept life on life’s terms and do the best we can. I pray that you all find peace and are not so hard on yourselves. I’ll take the same hope for me, too.

Until tomorrow, remember my motto: A kid who tics with confidence outweighs an insecure  ass wipe any day of the week. (I should probably consider revising this tagline, but for now, the sentiment remains! Hug that ticker today!)