Freshening up and a Note of Thanks in the New Year

As we begin a new year, I want to say thank you to my Stacy’s Flutterings followers! I truly am thankful for each one of you. And I look forward to visiting with you this year!

And I have to be honest! I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in over a year! Wow! Time is flying. But I’m back! And to get back into the groove of things, I thought I’d share with you my latest project. And a little side note, it feels good to be back home on the Web!

So what have I been doing the last couple of days? Well…I’ve been updating my surroundings at home. Well…not really. And my family can attest to that. But I have been cleaning! Honest, I have! I’ve been freshening up the blog, and I’ve updated the book cover to Simply 1 Mom’s Thoughts About Coping. And I hope you check it out! Let me know what you think! My hope is that the newest cover represents the hope that resides within.

Now that I’ve shared, let me know what you are doing! I enjoy hearing from you! Until then…I’ve got a house to clean and a project waiting for me. That my family would agree with! See you again soon!

P.S. I’m already writing the next post. And it’s about a special, and important, moment I had with my son. Now back to cleaning!

Stacy (1 Mom)

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Perceived Obstacles | Seize the Opportunity to Shift Positive Thinking into Overdrive

Draw Bridge ImageHave you hit a roadblock lately?

It sure seems that I have. As a first time anthology creator and compiler, I’m finding it challenging quite frankly. I’m enjoying the process, and I especially like the creative aspect of compiling a collection of stories into a cohesive whole. In fact, this is a project that I’ve dreamt about for years. I’m no longer dreaming about writing the book Stories of the Traveling Talismans. I’m doing it! And it’s a kind of wonderful that I can’t even begin to describe. I’ve grown up to become a weaver of sorts, but rather than weave with fabric, I weave with words, and I absolutely love it and can get lost in it. However, despite my love for writing, it does come with challenges, and what seems to be the most challenging for me lately is waiting for the submissions to come in. I find that I’m worrying about whether or not I will find enough interested writers and thus submissions. After talking with my husband about this concern, I’ve come to realize that this is a perceived obstacle, and I’m going to seize the opportunity to shift my positive thinking into overdrive rather than let negative thinking overtake me.

How am I going to shift my positive thinking into overdrive?

First, I’d like to share a little about the photo above. My conversation with Bill about my writing challenges reminded me of this picture. I took the picture several weeks ago while traveling back home from the beach. At that time, we had a carload: Bill (driving), myself, our two daughters and one granddaughter. When we had arrived at the beach, and everyone got out of the car, it came to our attention that Kim, the eldest of our two daughters, had misplaced her backpack which had her phone in it. After expressing some frustration with Kim over the misplacement of her bag, Bill and Kim decided we’d better head back home to find the bag. All five of us, with disappointed expressions, got back in the car. Ugh! Instead of walking over to the beach to enjoy the warm sand beneath our toes, the radiant sunshine and salty ocean breeze, we ended up driving back home. That certainly wasn’t what we had planned. What was supposed to be a relaxing day didn’t seem so relaxing after all.

Lo and behold, on our way back home, we saw a drawbridge ahead of us rising. It seemed that Murphy’s law was in full swing when this happened. Let’s be honest. When you saw the picture, what was the first thing that came to your mind? I know that my first thought was “What?! Now we have to wait in traffic! We’ll never get to the beach!” After the initial shock that the drawbridge indeed works (we hadn’t seen it actually work before), laughter ensued. You see, when we drove over the drawbridge earlier in the day, to go to the beach, Katlin, our youngest daughter said, “Does this thing actually work?” So when we drove back over it to go home, you can imagine our surprise when the bridge, with it’s massive gear assemblies pulling it up, simply and ever so slowly rose up. The bridge no longer looked like a bridge but rather it looked like some medieval fort wall that was stopping us from passing through and that was keeping us from retrieving Kim’s backpack so that we could get back to the beach. Of course, it eventually went back down, and we were able to drive over the bridge, retrieve Kim’s backpack and go back to the beach.

And that’s just my point…

Even though something may seem like an obstacle, usually there’s a way around it. It’s not the perceived obstacle that’s keeping us from achieving our goal(s). It’s typically our thinking. Dr. Wayne Dyer said it beautifully when he said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” And that’s precisely what I mean when I say that I’m going to shift my positive thinking into overdrive. In essence, I’m saying that rather than think about things negatively, I’m going to think positive thoughts and ramp up my positive thinking when negative thoughts seem to be taking over. I’ve got a book to write! It’s going to be smashing! It may even end up on the New York Times Best Sellers list! This my friends is positive thinking in overdrive. And why not? It just may happen!

Growing stronger…

Oh No! A Blog About Mental Illness | Wah Wah Wah

Wah Wah Wah Photo for SF

Yes, I really went there. I said “Wah Wah Wah,” in reference to this blog. Of course, I don’t really mean it. In fact, this blog isn’t meant to be a Debbie Downer. It’s meant to be the opposite.

When I say Debbie Downer, what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t want anyone to think that the blog will be a depressing read or a woe is me. I’m not going to be writing about whether or not, in our house, anyone is feeling depressed, etc. day in and day out. What I will be writing about is everyday life.  

Yes, we do have a loved one who lives with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and some of us live with depression and such, but the reality is our illnesses don’t define us. We are just like everyone else. And I imagine that some of you reading this also may live with a mental illness or have a loved one who does. And it’s okay.

So, if this blog isn’t going to be a Debbie Downer to follow and read, what will it be like? It will be about a busy family and a house full of love. There will be times that I write about those things that affect anyone living with mental illness including: 

And that’s it! There’s nothing else to it. Now, don’t get me wrong. Of course there will be times that I will write about something that will inevitably evoke emotion. That’s quite frankly the hope. I understand this. However, I just want to share with you that Stacy’s Flutterings blog, in and of itself, will not be a drag to read. Yes, living with mental illness or loving someone who lives with mental illness can bring about depressing feelings. However, can’t we say that about other things in life as well? Relationships can be a drag. The weather can be a drag, etc. I think you know what I mean. On the flipside, relationships can be invigorating and beautiful, and the weather can be as well. Can’t we say the same about anyone living with mental illness? We are all beautiful.  

The overarching goal, for the blog, is that I will provide a real glimpse into the world of the King’s in the King house in an effort to raise mental illness awareness. Why? Because mental illness awareness matters. And why am I so concerned about voicing my goals? Let’s just say, stigma plays a role. Stick around! Stigma is what my next post is all about.

Growing stronger…

Gulp: I Changed Career Hats

Stacy's Sun HatI’m ready to share some scary yet exciting news! As of Friday, October 23rd, 2015, I became a full time writer. No more part time blogging for me! I literally changed career hats.

Yes. You heard right. I’m blazing new trails as a full time writer. I resigned from my position in Student Services at a state college where notable alumni like Jim Morrison, lead singer from The Doors, graduated. Even something as cool as that couldn’t keep me from gracefully hanging up my Student Services career hat and placing upon my head the full time writer career hat.

Just the thought of resigning from my job was a scary proposition for me because I had the comforts of a 9-5 job. For example, each work day was filled with pre-planned responsibilities. Therefore, I knew what I had to accomplish each day. I also had job stability in that I knew I would receive a paycheck every two weeks. Now, I’m responsible for planning and organizing my work days, and I don’t know if I’m going to get paid. Now, getting paid depends on if my blog and eBooks are successful and if I can garner the attention and backing of a publishing house.

By now you might be asking, “Why did you quit your 9-5 job?” Well, as my coworkers said so eloquently via a PowerPoint presentation at a special goodbye party, “Do What You Love – Love What You Do.” And that’s as simple as it is.

In regard to the concept of doing what you love, no matter what, I can’t seem to shake my passion for writing. For example, I had the privilege, as a Student Services employee, of helping get the college campus blog running full speed ahead. During those moments, while writing the campus blog, I re-discovered that I really am passionate about writing. It didn’t matter what topic I was blogging about, I got swept up in the writing process.

Getting swept up into the writing process isn’t a new experience for me. I’ve been very aware for years that writing is something I enjoy. I’m in flow when I write. I’ve written using a variety of formats and genres. I’ve written and sent query letters and emails, and I’ve submitted manuscript after manuscript over the years to various publishing houses all in an attempt to get published. However, I didn’t pursue full time writing because I thought I needed to be a published author first. I think I had it all wrong. Instead of thinking of writing as a hobby and as something to do full time after publication, I need to “Just do it!” like Nike says.

What’s exciting is that through writing I can:

  • continue the important work of Stacy’s Flutterings blog, finally write those eBooks I’ve been wanting to write, continue to seek representation from a traditional publishing house for our memoir and start other new writing projects I’ve been planning, and the list goes on…
  • support my loved one and anyone else living with mental illness
  • advocate for those living with mental illness
  • work to prevent suicide
  • help eradicate stigma
  • provide helpful, credible resources pertaining to mental illness and wellness

As you probably can tell, I will be very busy with my new job just like I was in Student Services. So with my full time writing hat now on my head, I turn my head to the side while grasping the back of the hat brim with the fingers on my left hand and grasping the front of the hat brim with the fingers on my right hand, and I adjust my hat by quickly tilting my head forward and pulling down on the brim as if giving a quick nod of approval and to say, “See ya next time!”

Growing stronger…

WordPress 101: Unlock the Mind Writing Journey

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2It’s 10:23 am.  I’ve decided to participate in the WordPress  Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit project in an effort to increase my blog writing, for mental health purposes and to see where this takes me!  So here goes!

I’m sitting here in my office alone thinking about the big day.  Today marks the day my family and I begin a new journey, the journey of selling our home.  I’m feeling kind of sad today.  This big, old house I sit in has experienced a lot of life over the 11 years my family and I have lived in it.

As I think about life lived in this house I remember many, many good times.  I also remember sad times.  What’s wonderful is that our family has gotten through the good and bad times together and in one piece.  We remain the family that we have always been, but now we are stronger and ready to move in a new direction.

My son, now a young man, lives on his own and has for the past several years.  My youngest daughter, now a young woman, lives on her own, and she has for the past several years as well.  My middle daughter, now also a young woman lives with me and my husband.  The time seems to be nearing when she too will move out on her own with her little one in tow.  Even though I’m excited for all three of my kids to live their lives on their own accord I’m sad too because their absence marks the end to an incredible chapter in my life.

I’m excited about new prospects as we move on.  I don’t feel as if the house is mine anymore.  It now belongs to someone else.  It’s as if I’m taking care of it temporarily until the new owners move in.  I see my future right in front of me yet it seems murky.  It’s not as clear s it used to be.  I used to know where I was going.  After graduating from high school I met the man of my dreams.  We wed.  We started a family.  We got our educations.  We raised a family.  We’ve worked and still work.  We now have two granddaughters.  They are the sunshine of my life.  We now are in the midst of redefining ourselves as a couple.  Who are we now?  Where are we going now?  It seems we are moving away from our adult children.  What has happened?  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.  I thought that children grew up and left home.  What is this strange place I  mind myself?  I feel lost yet right on track.  It’s an odd feeling.  I’m older now.  Wrinkles now grace my face.  Painful joints now highlights my days.  Pain medications as well as supplements seem to be a permanent part of the picture now.

I have nine minutes left to free write.  My brain seems to take a break.  What is it that I want to write about?  I seem to have a lot of questions swirling around in my mind.  Where am I headed?  I know that deep in my soul I want to be a published writer.  I know that deep in my soul that I want to help others.  I know that deep in my soul that I want to be right next to my husband as we continue to journey forward in this crazy life.  I know that I want my family to be close yet for everyone to experience their own independence.  How do we do that though?  This is going to be a learning process for me.  I know that I can do it.  I have the best teachers: my husband, my kids, my granddaughters, my parents, my extended family, my friends…

For some reason I seem to look at the clock on my computer.  Now I have six minutes left to write.  I’m wondering if I wrote the word “six” correctly.  When do we write a number as a word as opposed to just writing out the numerals?  I’ll have to check my handy dandy grammar and punctuation book.  Speaking of books, I miss taking classes.  I miss learning.  I’m excited for the potential to once again be working in a job where I am making a difference.

In closing, I would like to thank the WordPress Blog Team for coming up with the idea of blogging for the next twenty days theme.  As busy as I will be selling this old house I plan on sitting down and writing a blog post each day for the next twenty days.  I look forward to each new writing prompt from the blog team!  As I end this blog entry for today I imagine myself in a new, sunny, warm place with ocean waves slapping up against the seashore.  I imagine my kids and grand-kids visiting me at our new place on Earth.  I imagine them running along the shore and picking up seashells.  I imagine the grand sandcastles that they will build.  I imagine many more sunshine moments to come, and I’m ready!

 

What Do You Choose Today?

It’s raining!  We have needed the rain so desperately.  And it here it is.  We have the windows at our home open wide so that we can capture some of the cool breeze as it mingles with the rain and winds its way through our part of the country.

I have decided to turn off the TV as I type.  I don’t want any distractions that would keep me from hearing the sound of the rain.  The heavenly sight and sound of the rain brings me a sense of balance.  The simple act of opening the windows and turning off the TV reminds me about the control I do have in my life.

It seems that all too often things are out of our control.  I don’t know about you, but I have many days where I feel like I can’t get a grasp on anything.  At times my life feels like a speeding, reckless train headed to the depths of the unknown.  And then I have days like today where I am reminded that I do have control over many things in my life.  I can choose to open the windows and allow the fresh aroma of the rain to fill my house.  I can choose to turn off the TV and allow the sound of the rain to calm my senses.  The question now remains…what will you choose to do today?

Growing stronger…

Finding Hope in the Arena of Mental Illness with Spotlight on Recovery Magazine

My family and I currently live in the St. Louis area, but that is far from where I was born.  I was born in Washington state.  I grew up living in different areas of Washington, Idaho and Big Sky Montana.  I relish in memories of statuesque snow topped mountains and fresh mountain air.  There was something special about that mountain air.  To this day it lingers among my memories of the Northwest.  I recall that my childhood was laced with the sweet scent of pine.  The syrupy, pine scent, as if it were perfume, mingled with my childhood shadow and would gracefully follow me throughout my youth.  Every once in awhile, when I return to the Northwest, I find that I experience a sense of tranquility when I breathe in the cool, mountain air.  There is nothing quite like it.

One of my fondest memories, in addition to the fresh mountain air, comes from a time when I was ten.  Outfitted in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, orange plaid pants and a green kerchief around my shirt collar I showed a one year old horse named Pepsi at the Kalispell, Montana County Fair.  With my heart pounding and Pepsi’s hooves beating the soft dirt as she pranced the show grounds Pepsi and I proudly took third place among the contestants.  I felt satisfied with third place, especially since Pepsi happened to be overly skittish when it came time to show our stuff during the 4-H halter competition.

I distinctly remember, during the halter show, standing in the arena with Pepsi on my right and the watchful eyes of the rodeo crowd staring at us, including my beloved family.  I stood tall, but my 10 year old knees were trembling…after-all…this happened to be my first rodeo show.  It was Pepsi’s first too.  Pepsi must have been nervous because she decided to rear up.  Somehow…my small, 5th grade body was strong enough to get her under control but not without some dirt first being kicked up from her yearling hooves.  As she reared…the horse lead yanked at my arm.  I calmly, yet sternly, pulled her close to my side.  She tried to rear her head again.  Her mane danced in the rodeo air.  She pranced side to side and snorted.  Her size and weight didn’t seem to phase me.  I used easy commands that I had been taught, and I let her know that I was in charge.  Once I had control of her I acted as if nothing happened.  Her thunderous break from the halter show routine wasn’t going to stop me from completing my part of the show.  Pepsi and I even went on to compete in the costume show.

Later that evening, after a long day of competing, my Mom and Aunty Pat shared with me that one of the reasons I won a ribbon my first time around was because I was able to get control of Pepsi, calm her down and I finished the show.   I actually remember very well the rodeo crowd cheering as I got a nervous, young horse quickly back at my side.  The white ribbon that Pepsi and I proudly won has been lost over the years, but the memory of that day remains.  Now, in my forties, I stand in the arena of mental illness with my heart pounding as I dare myself to step outside of the box and tell my story in an effort to raise awareness and erase the stigma.  The trophy is not a ribbon; it is awareness, acceptance and support.

So how did that little girl from the Northwest grow into a woman that has become passionate about raising awareness and erasing the stigma of mental illness?  Well…she has a dear loved one with a mental illness: one of her beautiful daughter’s in fact.  As she began to weary, as the disease unfolded and took hold of her daughter and family, she remembered where she came from.  She remembered that she is strong.  She found renewed energy and in turn has faced the disease just like she faced the rodeo crowd back in the day with a feisty yearling at her side, and she does what comes naturally…she writes.  She writes in an effort to reclaim her sense of self, to encourage, uplift and support her daughter and to help others.  Then she connects with others who are just as passionate about mental health advocacy.  Who does she connect with?  Well…as of lately…she connects with the East Coast, in particular New York publisher and founder Robin Graham of Spotlight on Recovery Magazine.

I am honored and proud to say that I have an article titled, “Sister, Can We Talk? When Mental Illness Strikes a Loved One” that was just published in Spotlight on Recovery’s June, 2012 issue.  I am honored and proud, not because of my article, but because of the mission of Ms. Robin Graham.  She gives a voice to those who have been there, and she instills hope one story at a time.  She actually has been instilling hope since the devastation of 9-11.  Chynna Laird, contributing writer for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine, has written a wonderful biography about Ms. Robin Graham.  To learn more about her story click here: http://www.lilywolfwords.ca/s_26.asp.  I feel so grateful to have aligned with such an inspiring soul.  You can learn more about Ms. Robin Graham and Spotlight on Recovery Magazine including subscription and advertising rates by visiting spotlightonrecovery.com.  The website is temporarily under construction, but check back often!  It will be up and running soon.  Spotlight on Recovery Magazine also has a video on YouTube.  And you can also follow SOR magazine on twitter www.twitter.com/SORmagazine.  Thank you Ms. Robin Graham for an amazing, inspirational magazine and for instilling a sense of hope during challenging times.

And that is how a little Montana girl grew up to become passionate about the arena of mental illness and wellness.  If you found a little hope today by reading this blog post pass it on!

Growing stronger…

Once Again in Flow: Breaking Through the Writer’s Block Wall

The following blog post was written as I worked through writer’s block.  It is written in present tense and a free writing style.  I want to share it because it is interesting to see how my words start out more controlled.  Eventually, my words loosen and you can tell that my creativity is once again sparked simply by allowing myself to be in flow.

June 17, 2012 ~

For the first time in my life I am experiencing writer’s block.  I can’t explain why, and it is somewhat frustrating.  It has become a mystery to me.  The more I sit and analyze the situation the more I find that I am verbalizing my concern about it.  Actually, just minutes ago while Kim was sitting at the dinner table with me I blurted out, “I think I have writer’s block.”  Kim said, “Well, it sounds like you just need to write.”  I think she is on to something.  Maybe, if I get past the thought of not being able to write, the words will flow if I just do it.

Usually, like a child playing in a sandbox…sifting through the sugary like granules of sand with an old spoon, I am inspired by life events to write.  I sift through words, sentences and experiences which culminates usually, and hopefully, in a meaningful blog post, article, chapter or picture book scene.  That hasn’t been the case lately, and it isn’t for lack of inspirational moments or experiences.

At this very moment as I type the following words…I notice something…the words are flowing…my fingers are once again moving effortlessly as thoughts begin to flood my mind.  The writer’s block wall has begun to crumble…Kim’s idea to “just write” worked!

Regarding writer’s block, Psychology Today author Steven Kotler wrote a helpful article titled “Overcoming Writer’s Block.”  You can access the article by clicking here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-playing-field/200904/overcoming-writers-block.

Now that the writer’s block wall has crumbled I look forward to writing future posts about support, volunteering, mental health advocacy, change agents and even a special book review.  In the meantime, if you have something in mind that might be a good fit feel free to send me your input.  It is always greatly respected and appreciated.

Growing stronger…

Reflections of Support

When I awoke this morning I found myself feeling very thankful.  Thankful is such a wonderful place to be!  What am I thankful for on this beautiful Sunday?  I will try to explain.  The past few weeks have been almost blissful.  To write the word b-l-i-s-s-f-u-l seems almost foreign, and it feels so good!  You see, somewhere along my travels I almost lost sight of thinking and feeling blissful.  We seem to have toiled for so long in the realm of supporting our loved one with finding and maintaining a healthy mental health balance that I somehow managed to have lost that feeling of blissfulness.  It’s like I took feeling happiness and joy, as if they were tangible, and set them carelessly on a shelf so high I could barely reach them.  I don’t know about you, but I happen to have kitchen cabinets that are tall.  They are fabulous for storage purposes.  However, to reach the top shelf I need a stool, and sometimes when I am reaching for an item I have to blindly reach to the back of the cabinet to find what it is I am looking for.  It seems that is what happened to that feeling of blissfulness.  It was never far from reach.

I think what has brought about the wonderful feeling of blissfulness is stepping back and seeing the fruits of our labor.  I knew almost instinctively that by providing support it would potentially pay dividends too grand to even comprehend.  And that is just what has happened!  I understand that the words I write today may not seem like much, but the next few words that are written at the end of my post are priceless.  The words are intentional.  The words reflect education, treatment, love, unwavering support and never giving up on ourselves or one another.  The words are from my loved one who for awhile could not put pen to paper because her thoughts came so fast that by the time she tried to write she would forget the words.  How thankful my heart is and how blissful I feel.  May we always support one another know matter who we are or how different our paths may be…growing stronger…

You found me
not struggle free
facing my enemies
taking it day by day
to trace back to my real self
You love me
so wonderfully
you face my enemies with me
taking it day by day
to trace back to the real us
complete trust
I’ve never known before
You’re so beautiful
your heart and mine accept
the struggle we’ve been through
and now we’re back to the real us
because
You found me
~ written by Kimberly King 2/26/12 ~