Category Archives: Life-Writing Balance

Fasting to Honor the MLK Legacy


Over the years, I’ve been hearing more and more about people unable to do “service” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day do a daylight fast to honor the discipline, willpower, and sacrifice that MLK had to endure in his mission to bring forth civil rights in America. Service to my community is part of my everyday life, and given that I was flying the solo parent flight this holiday, I was looking to observe the day more personally and spiritually. Fasting was my avenue.

I had only liquids – water, mostly. But I did have some tea and coffee, too.  You can’t be the mother of three teens still in the house and not have caffeine. I didn’t want my exercise in honor of MLK to potentially negatively affect my children. I wanted to be an example to them. I wanted the exercise to mean something. I love food. Therefore, a day without eating, felt like a difficult task for me, to mirror, in a small way, what MLK did every day. Not just one day a year.


I think I did pretty well. The children were all eating leftover pizza at the point in the day when I felt the hunger pangs the most ridiculously – my stomach rumbled like an earthquake was going to erupt down my abdomen. The smell of the crispy, greasy a pepperoni and melted cheese – oh! It was so easy to almost chow down. But, the kids also supported my fast and hurriedly ate and cleaned up their mess.

Then there was the moments of daily life stress that because I was hungry made me feel less capable to deal with the barrage of problems I typically slay quickly in my life:  hitting my head on the garage door, a string of bad drivers as I taxied my children around, the chickens deciding my calf looked like lunch, or when the line at the local café where I was meeting a client seemed to take forever and I was forced to stand in front of the pastry case for seven long minutes (it felt like seven years).


But I kept thinking about King. What he did when the government treated him as an enemy of the state, how he behaved even though what he was doing was the right thing, not the easy thing, how the legacy of his work still needs more work. I would breathe deep (pulling in those yoga sessions into everyday life), concentrate on my feet on the ground and move forward.


I did look at the weather app on my phone several times to make sure than when sunset was coming wasn’t changing on me. But then, Dr. King’s words would echo in my head, “Keep moving forward.”

King's home following the bombing. Photo by Arthur Shores (5 Sep 63)

King’s home following the bombing. Photo by Arthur Shores (5 Sep 63)

I also spent time reading about King and learning just how awful the government, the white patriarchy, and even some within his own community disavowed him, berated him, persecuted, and even asked him to kill himself! The entire exercise was for me to feel the primal urges that perhaps King felt when he was maltreated and victimized by the opponents of what he stood for:  justice through peace. How hard did King have to work to move past the animalistic emotion for vengeance and into the spiritual nature that he was so remembered for?  “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” he said.


Looking back at his life, my own accomplishments and battles seem paltry. But we all can’t be MLK. It does mean we may live our lives so that his life and work lives on (wow that’s a lot of lives and lives). It means I can’t give up on the battles I have to fight:  #LifewithAutism, surviving three teenagers in the house, and the ever elusive publishing contract, as well as the continued work in civil rights.

My son, proud of my fasting exercise for the day, made me dinner.

My son, proud of my fasting exercise for the day, made me dinner.

At sundown, I could eat; but, I took an extra ten minutes to relish the peace of knowing that humanity is capable of producing great leaders like King, ones whom in the face of unending antagonism, he never faltered. Considering all the good that has been wrought since his assassination, even given that there is more work to do (#blacklivesmatter), we shall all be thankful, and I was. I ended the day in an attitude of gratitude. It produced a dinner made mostly by my son’s insistence and assistance. It wasn’t the healthiest way to break the fast, but I was feeling my blessings and counting them, too.

Thank you, Dr. King.



Inkster Dispatch:  She’s a hot mess, but there’s still good news



I have just spent the last 30 minutes searching for a notebook where I had done an idea exercise. I generated about 50 ideas for my blog to tackle this year.

Can I find said notebook?

Nope. I tore apart all the usual places and then some. I can’t find the notebook anywhere. This is another example of how I’ve been loath to completely organize my write life electronically.  But in this instance, I have no excuses. Real life experience is smacking me in the face and saying, “Wake Up, Inkster! The digital age requires your presence.”

My hesitancy is obviously control. But when I think about spending 30 minutes searching for a notebook, can I really say I am in control? Not even.

Therefore, from now on there will be an idea folder in my hard drive, on the back-up thumb drive, and hoisted up on Google Drive.

Speaking of Google Drive, I’m anxiously awaiting the next email from a publisher who accepted my first serious essay. This email will hold a link to a shared Google Drive box for some editorial improvement. More evidence that electronic organization is industry standard anymore and I’ve got to stop being so lazy. Oh, wait. Yeah. I got a piece accepted. The ink is not dry on the contract, so I can’t give any details away, except that I got a really serious essay accepted.

//Happy Dance//

With increased traffic in my write-life, I need to stay organized. I’m getting the message loud and clear. However, it does make me nervous. To have all my ideas stuck in just an electronic file. So, maybe…

No. Don’t do it.

But, why not?


Why not have a notebook dedicated for my ideas? It can be stored in a file in my desk, clearly labeled “idea notebook,” and then transcribed to an electronic file and then backed up? There’s no reason, save my ability to be disciplined. There’s that word again. I talked a lot about that in my last blog post regarding my write life’s goals and plans for 2015. Yes, friends, organization saves you precious time and it only takes a moment’s effort more to do what needs to be done.

I once read that truly disciplined people are spotted by simply seeing how their shoes are organized.  If they are neat and dress-right-dress in their closet, they are organized. As always, there are always exceptions to the rule, like my friend in college, whose shoes were in clear boxes labeled and color coded, and very much dress-right-dress. But the rest of her place was disorganized and frequently downright messy.  I’m not that exception or the rule.  I kick off my shoes in the general direction of my closet. I didn’t used to be like that. I used to be dress-right-dress, both before and after I got out of the Army. But, once I embraced the artistic lifestyle, there are some things I felt were “unnecessary.” Do you know how long I took to find the mate to one of my shoes the other morning? Another 10 minutes that could have been spent in artistic pursuits. I can write 250 words in 10 minutes. Every minute is lost words.

So in order to be truly disciplined, I know I have to embrace total digital organization. I will, however, have a hard copy. You know, just in case the zombie apocalypse hits us and I’m holed up with nothing else to do but fill notebooks with stories.

Screw it. Just made a new idea notebook.

Screw it. Just made a new idea notebook.

Stay tuned for news about where that piece of mine will be published. Oh, by the way, I need to end this post with a shout out to Herr Chuck Wendig, who told me last year during a Goodreads conversation that I needed to just begin storing up stories – you know like a Penmonkey Prepper. His advice was dead on the bull’s-eye. The compounding of writing things and piling them up to send out is upping my numbers game. If things keep up this way, I’ll have something published each month this year.

It’s a numbers game, friends. Write. Revise. Polish. Send it Out. Rinse. Repeat. Oh, and stay organized.

2014 End-of-year wrap-up! A Digital Yule Letter…

This is where we live. Beautiful!

This is where we live. Beautiful!

Blessed Solstice and Happy Yule!

Family, friends, and devoted readers:

I’m taking the lazy way out this year. Since I didn’t even do the lazy way last year, I’m counting this as a success. My annual letter is being printed by digital code, not in ink and paper. Lazy is also more economical and environmentally friendly.

Our front yard this autumn. The fruits of our hard work.

Our front yard this autumn. The fruits of our hard work.

At any rate, 2014 has been an interesting year. As with any large family the ups and downs and rollercoaster of it all has been non-stop.

Rose holds one of the feathered-babies that live on our homestead.

Rose holds one of the feathered-babies that live on our homestead.

During this year, Greg left his position at Starbucks and is now working at Zillow and the move was a good one. He still keeps in touch with his Starbucks cohorts, but the opportunities at Zillow could not be passed up. He currently is the lead on his digital security team and has opportunities for advancement.

My Halloween Devil.

My Halloween Devil.

They treated us to a wonderful holiday party where we got to dress up as residents of Oz. It was a truly magical night. In his free time he’s become quite the homebrewer, keeping us stocked in beer and hard cider. As always, he humors my own projects and helps pricelessly with construction of coops, gardens, wood sheds, etc. Our Thrasher Studios Homestead would not be where it is today without him. He’s a good farmer’s husband. 😉

Residents of Oz.

Residents of Oz.

My freelance life under the auspices of Creative Word Lab, continues to gain traction and I’ve been able to shift directions from corporate/business communication products and services to more book doctoring and fiction editing, which is my first love and passion. I do this, along with personal writing projects, while running the micro-farm, raising children, and serving my community. I have definitive personal writing goals for 2015, and I hope to share with you some publishing success. I have some short stories that are scheduled to appear in 2015 and watch here for where and when as those times come closer. I’m not where I want to be as far as publishing goes, but considering I do this under the shadow of raising children (one with severe special needs), running a homestead, and serving my community, I think I’m doing purdy darn good. In October, I quietly started some new self-care endeavors and am really enjoying a new yoga practice and the art of self-care.

Tank is in high school now and struggling a bit with adjusting to the new demands on his time. Regardless, he’s in all advanced classes and is doing particularly well in his Spanish class. He loves learning a new language. He had a successful football season with his high school team. He’s looking forward to baseball season, his first athletic love. He’s grown so tall now, and with size 15 shoes, we’re certain he’s not done yet.

Tank, #47, Wildcat Football 2014

Tank, #47, Wildcat Football 2014

Rose started a program this year called “Running Start” which allows her to complete her high school credits while getting college credit simultaneously. She commutes with Greg each morning to Seattle and attends Seattle Central College. Her goal is to graduate high school with an AA in hand and transfer to the University of Washington. Like her brother, Tank, the demands on her time, coupled with two jobs, one here in Twin Peaks and one mid way between school and home, have provided her some challenges, but it’s all life-skill training and she is doing wonderful, I contend. She got a special visit for her 16th birthday this year from my sister, her Aunt ‘Chelle, and she longs for more visits with her special aunt. In her spare time (which isn’t much) she still is active in the drama community and is quite the little activist working towards equal rights and social justice every turn she can. She’s an amazing young woman.

Happy Sweet 16!

Happy Sweet 16!

Bean, 18, the oldest at home, is my special-needs child. For those who are new to my site here, at age 5 we started to be told that our son was “not ok,” and there was something developmentally going on. After too-long of a struggle and doctor after doctor, medicine after medicine, therapy after therapy, they finally determined that he was on the Autism spectrum. Since the diagnosis (not until age 14 which included co-morbidity disorders), getting him services, and education has been a long road.  This summer we campaigned to get him a place of his own here on our own homestead, and that has been helpful in stabilizing him. Given that he was sadly ambushed attacked and assaulted this summer, that Safe Place for Bean campaign was serendipitous. The “DeLuxe” Trailer apartment is a sanctuary for him, allowing for the conditioned experience that is needed to teach Autistic kids, often (e.g. put them in the math class before they get taught math). His recovery from the attack, physically, was quick, but emotionally, and mentally it’s been a struggle. But, things are looking up. He has now been accepted into an education program that will help him take care of his high school diploma and segue him into college, hopefully. He wants to go into agriculture (having helped me on the micro-farm, he’s learned to love growing food, etc.). Additionally, his application for disability was approved after a four-year long battle. It only took the testimony of six medical professionals, three social agencies, his long-time therapist, and my own avadavat.  Given the grueling process, I have NO idea how anyone could ever “cheat” that system, when it’s so difficult for deserving individuals to receive such benefits. There’s still an uphill battle towards further education and independent living, but he’s working hard alongside us to assist him.

Tank and Corbin, barely a year ago. They have changed so much in 2014.

Tank and Corbin, barely a year ago. They have changed so much in 2014.

My two stepchildren, Roxanna and Ivan, are young adults and seem to be doing so, so well. They both are in loving relationships and live life to the fullest. I’m so proud of both of them, and love them both so dearly. I’m blessed to have them and their partners, Chad and Ariel, respectively, in my life.

Ariel and Rose. Ari's like a big sis to Rose. So blessed.

Ariel and Rose. Ari’s like a big sis to Rose. So blessed.

At any rate, our household continues to work hard towards our goals – we set out last December to raise chickens and not only got the chickens but also a brace of ducks. We are never out of eggs. It’s a wonderful endeavor that we get to share with our friends, as well. If you’re a regular reader of my blog here, you know all about our Grow Food, Not Lawns adventure. In 2015 we’re hoping to add a hive of honeybees and maybe a goat. Additionally, Greg and I are hoping to finish the repairs to our motorcycles and do a U.S. 2 motorcycle camping trip this summer.

The fun around our house.

The fun around our house.

Thanks for reading and our household wishes all of you a happy holiday season and a blessed 2015.

Be well.

Casz & Crew


I’m ruining my children; I’m not alone

Remembering the sweeter times to get you through the rougher times.

Remembering the sweeter times to get you through the rougher times.

Every once in a while I have to step out of the write-life, micro-farming, foodie-being, book-hoarding, and talk about my life as a mother. I wrote the below in another forum. A month away from it, I’m calmer (I started Yoga at the beginning of November) and can appreciate how I was feeling and the article that began to calm me down in the first place.

If you’re a mother who still tries to have a life outside of that role, I gather you’ll greatly appreciate this. Also, many of you who have been following me from the beginning of this blog or followed me over from Livejournal know that I have an Autistic son. I don’t talk about it much, but over the course of the next months I’ll be opening up more about that. In the meantime, here’s the piece following an epic mommy meltdown:

I felt it coming. It was a giant wave of dread and doom building up in the vast ocean of my psyche. I tried to avoid it, to circumvent it, to even try to make it not so bad. But, it came anyway, the mid-October blood-moon rage-filled meltdown tsunami. Blame it on a too-late football game in the middle of the week, or the fact that my husband has been out of town on business for a week, which the three teenagers in the house seem to think means the rules are suddenly gone or, at minimum, changed; or, that the daily trials of ‪#‎LifewithAutism‬ is turning my strength to mush. It came all the same. The house walls rumbled this morning, bringing soaking rage at the 14-year-old who seems to think that he’s the only one that had a late night and it’s somehow harder for him to get out of bed than anyone else at this god-awful hour. Anger that ‪#‎AspyKid‬ makes messes like that of six 4-year-olds and eats like a Platoon of Huns. Frustration with the 16-year-old that she can’t let me know her plans and schedule until JUST before anything is supposed to go down. That the dog trips me at every turn as I try to be a decent housekeeper (bwauahahahaha). Or that hubby is sending me photos of a paid-for business dinner of all of my favorites, while I scoffed down leftovers before racing off for a football game for my youngest. Or, or, or…..anything and everything.

Now here I sit with my first proper cup of coffee for the morning wanting to do nothing but hole myself away from all these responsibilities, or maybe get in the car and drive and never come back. Instead, I did the dishes, started the laundry, made my bed, and sat down to write, when my friend shared this article with me. There is solace in knowing that some of the outcome for my kids will be the same. I’m going to get blamed. Mom did something wrong. I went from being a soldier with a target on my back, to being a mother, with a target, too. Obviously, they are different, but a target just the same.

They will blame me. But, the hope that maybe that I’m setting a good enough example of how to live graciously despite challenges will remain with them and they can blame me for their optimistic attitude, for their ability to never give up, for their passion to fight for what is right, and try to laugh in the process. My sister said yesterday that I needed to remember that I’m human. To concentrate on what I can do. I can’t make my son happy in the morning when he wakes up; but, I can be the cheerful voice that tells him it’s time to get ready for school. I can’t make my other son’s Autism go away; but, I can sure as hell do what I can do to make his life as fulfilling as possible. I can’t organize my daughter’s life, but I can demonstrate how to keep a calendar and manage my time wisely. That I can stop and give my dog the attention she needs for a moment so she stops following me waiting for that moment.

My Oma said that children need very little discipline if they are watching good examples. I’m a human example. Like the woman in the article, I’m ruining my kids. But, I am choosing to concentrate on what I can do, regardless of the outcome. Some days it means I wear my slippers to the grocery store, or dinner is McChicken sandwiches, or that the kitchen floor spends another day unswept. But they’ll get hugs, words of encouragement, homework help, and can feel safe and secure in the knowledge that mom was the real deal. How did you ruin your kids today? Read the following. You’re not alone.…/10/were-ruining-our-kids-for-l…/

Update: A Safe Place for Bean


A big hug and thank-you from Bean for all your support thus far!

Today’s Fun Brought To You By You!

Good news! We’ve purchased the trailer. It’s adorable! It’s really clean and well-maintained for its age. Best of all, it’s just the right size to implement our mission of partial participation towards adult living for Bean. It’s a vintage 1969 Timberland Midlander DeLuxe. Blue and White. Bean kept saying, “DeLuxe” repeatedly when we told him. He’s making up a rap song about it as I type.

With the money we received already, we were able to make the initial investment in the trailer, rent a truck to haul it (given as our own truck broke down a week ago :/), and gas for the excursions of purchasing and hauling.

We still need to raise the last $640, since reaching our full goal will help cover the investment in the power, water, and propane hook-ups, since that all requires purchasing cables, connectors, and potable water hoses. We’re in need of a new black-water hose, as well. Also the 45-year-0ld shower curtain hooks need replacing. :)

Little things need to be fixed (we planned on that given we had to purchase used). Then we need to title & tab it. We’ll also need to purchase more propane as the tanks received with it will likely only get Bean through the the next few days or so. I’ll hit the thrift store for some other trailer supplies like bedding (we have only twin or queen in our house), kitchen/bath essentials, etc. Everything to make it a home for Bean.

Attached is a video that shows how overwhelmed he is (I was excited for him myself and didn’t want the video to run too long). He plans to sleep in it for the first time tonight — however cooking and bathing will have to be back in the main house until we get the rest accomplished.

We’re so grateful for the support and will try to move forward with what we have; however, the remaining fundraising efforts will alleviate any hardship and allow connections, repairs, and supplies (including the first sewer dump) to occur without delay.

Thank you for caring and sharing and supporting.