Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Promise

At the end of last month I had to move back home to be the primary care giver for my ailing mother. She had been falling almost twice a day, every day for almost two weeks. The last straw was when she fell and ended up in the hall closet. If it was not for her home health aide showing up on time, she would have been in the closet for hours which could have been deadly. I had been vacillating for months if I should move home or not due to her failing health, but I finally made the decision and I am so glad that I did.

Although I am married, my husband has been very supportive and understanding of the issues I am facing. I am not an only child, but my sister lives on the other side of the country in Los Angeles, CA. My uncle was living with her, but he has to work and often leaves for days at a time. Facing the possibility that my mother could end up really hurting herself during a fall, I took a leave of absence from my job and have been caring for her 24/7.

Since I have been home, she has only fallen six times.  She has been having physical and occupational therapy weekly and was recently discharged due to an increased improvement in her balance and gait. But the best thing is her MRI came back clear and we have finally got the best cocktail of medications. It took a long time coming, but I finally feel like I can breathe a little easier knowing that she will be okay.

Her primary care physician made the call that she needs to move into an assisted living community. It was a hard pill for mom to swallow, but now she is excited to start a new chapter in her life. She is not going to be able to age in place at our family home, due to safety reasons. However, we found a nice, safe and award-winning facility close to my home. It’s been a tedious search, but I am so happy that she will be taken care of.

Usually, I don’t talk about my family, but I felt like sharing this story on my blog because a lot of my friends are watching their parents age and I want them and others to know, they are not alone. One of my high school friend’s father just passed last week and another’s mother the week before. Being middle aged has been good and bad, full of ups and downs, but I will have to say that watching my mother age has been the toughest part so far.  I can truly say that I am happy she is still here though. Sometimes I feel like the world is on my shoulders, but I know God is not going to put more on me that I can bear.

To those who are going through something similar with their parents know this: As you honor your father and your mother, your days will be long Ex 20:12. [It] is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on earth. Eph 6:2-3. You can take comfort in that assurance.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Book Marketing for Newbies

I finally finished my second full length novel and self-published under my own imprint. The hardest part of the whole ordeal was not writing the book though. The hardest part has been marketing and promoting the book. Before publishing the book, I set up a marketing budget, schedule and goals. However, the first week of publication I still heard crickets. Yet since then, the sales have been coming in consistently and I may end up selling at least 25 books (including eBooks) by the end of the quarter. Now, I know, that doesn’t sound like much, but for a new author that is awesome.

So, you may be asking what works and what didn’t work. Well let me tell the truth. Don’t expect your over 500 Facebook friends to buy anything. I put out a call to action on my personal page stating my goal while trying to be transparent and I don’t believe anyone of them actually purchased the book during the first month of sales. I was a bit hurt and disappointed about it, however I learned a valuable lesson. Your friends are not your customers! Let me say that again, Your friends are not your customers. 

What did work was hiring and paying for promotion and marketing with reputable companies and persons who are in the business of marketing and promotion for authors. I purchased campaigns for Twitter ($50) Facebook ($60, not including my ad) and I did a blog talk radio interview ($60) all within the first 60 days after publication. I am planning to utilize my contacts again because their methods are working for me. I use social media platforms as well as Amazon ads to keep the book out there and have remained consistent with promotion. Each month this year I have something set up to promote and market my work. I will keep doing this and although I know I may be in the red again come tax time, I know I did my due diligence to get my book into the hands of my readers and fans.

Friday, January 18, 2019

A Shutdown to Show Out

Right now, our country is bleeding from the inside out. We are in the midst of the longest governmental shutdown in history. That means over 800 thousand families have not been paid what they are owed. Their first pay day of the year was non-existent. And this is all over an idea from a man who doesn’t give a damn about anybody else but himself. I am just flabbergasted at the lack of respect for human decency this president continues to exhibit.

He has put so many lives at stake over a wall that he knows will not give the American what he promises. A wall will not stop drugs from coming in people. You know why, because it is big business here even though most of it is illegal. A wall will not stop refugees from trying to cross over to find solace in a land that offers hope. You know why, because the audacity to hope is more powerful than fear. I could go on and on but bottom line there ain’t gon be no damn wall. (Got me cussing)

What do you think will happen to those families who are going hungry right now? Eventually somebody somewhere is going to panic and there will be crimes committed just to feed their hungry children. But you know what, there is still hope. Yes, there is. Now is the opportune time for the people of God, true believers to step out of the shadows, come out of the closet, and get to work. We need to make sure not a day goes by that our neighbors and friends are not lacking. The Bible says that If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14. That puts us, Christians, on notice.

We have the power of the tongue to bring down the stronghold that this president’s menacing ways have been killing the soul of our country. I’m not going to argue with anyone about this. We have a monster at the helm and his antics are a disgrace to our nation. But we who are believers and understand that we must got to God in prayer over this situation and state of the union have the power to change the atmosphere and allow God to show up and show out. I am just that confident that when we pick up the slack for our brothers and sisters, the nature of the beast will be defeated and God will be glorified.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018 Behind, 2019 Ahead

We made it, it’s 2019. But what did we learn in 2018 that will help us to get through 2019? For me, it would have to be that forgiveness is for both you and the person who has wronged you. I finally came face to face, through social media, with an issue from my past that I thought I was totally over and healed of. My biological father reached out to me and wanted to begin a relationship with me and my siblings. That didn’t go to well, to say the least. However, by the end of the year, on Christmas Eve actually, I decided to call him and finally give up the harshness in my heart and be open to hear what he had to say. We didn’t talk about the abuse, but we did talk about the future which was most important. I felt good after the end of the conversation because I was finally free of that cloud of unforgiveness that had been holding me captive for many years.

In 2018 I also finished and published my second full length novel. It was a project I had been working on for over 7 years, however when I hit publish on KDP I was ecstatic. I had finally finished something that had taken the core of me to finish. During the development of the book I had to face so many of my demons and come to terms with one thing: I suffered from low self-esteem which had catapulted me into various relationships that were not healthy, including those with family members. By the time I typed the end, I was a healthier woman of God who knows her worth and married to a wonderful man from Nigeria.

In 2019 I know the sky is the limit. I will be stepping out of my comfort zone more often and talking more about my testimony and gift as a writer. I don’t make new year’s resolutions anymore, I just show up for myself and my family then do what it is that needs to be done to reach my goals. Last year I lost 47 pounds and this year my goal is to lose another 40 to get down to my goal weight. I have other plans and aspirations, but I will keep those to myself and be surprised with everyone else once they are accomplished. My wish for everyone this year is to have blessings upon blessings as God continues to grant each of us His abundant grace and mercy. He knows the plans he has for each of us and will work it in us until the end. So, Happy New Year, and may the peace of God go with you throughout the year.