Silent Auction for LGBT Charities…The Highest Bidder

winner

The highest bidder was Maggie with $150 to Out Youth!!

Out Youth is a nonprofit organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth, ages 12 to 19 in Austin and Central Texas. They offer counseling, educational programs, social activities and community outreach.

Thank you so much to Maggie and everyone who bid, especially to those ineligible to bid who donated anyway. You guys are all awesome!

If you’re still interested in donating, here are the organizations we support:

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
Wounded Warrior Project
Freedom to Marry
The Trevor Project
No H8 Campaign
Equality Ohio
You Will Rise Project

Talking About the Realities of Alcoholism

On my mother’s recommendation, I recently read INFAMOUS by Suzanne Brockmann. Aside from being a very good book in general, it has a hero who’s former Army, spent time being homeless, has PTSD, and is a recovering alcoholic. The heroine makes it through to acceptance of all of those flaws…except the alcoholism.

By the way, this is going to have spoilers for those of you who haven’t but want to read this book.

The reason the heroine can’t accept the hero’s alcoholism goes back to her mother’s struggles with the same. Her mother would be sober for months or years before inexplicably drinking again. There was neglect and fear for her as the child of a single parent who couldn’t parent. To be with a man who could fall of the wagon at any moment seemed insane to her, utterly unacceptable.

It takes a lot of conversations for her to see that there are no guarantees in life. Just like he could drink again, she could get cancer. There’s a struggle, a need for help, a potential devastation. Do you walk away?

Of course not.

This was the first time I’ve seen alcoholism addressed like this. I know people (even alcoholics) talk about being in recovery like that’s it, you’re cured. But that’s not it at all. There is no cure. Like with cancer, I’m in remission right now. It might last the rest of my life. It might not.

I’ve learned to take life one moment at a time. Yes, I plan for the future, but I focus on now. I get myself through minutes or days, depending on what I’m going through.

It was nice to see a book from a popular author take readers into this place so honestly. It’s a story that ends with you knowing their lives won’t be easy, like real lives aren’t, but you’ll root for them and know they’ll make it. That’s a satisfying read.

Like last week, if you’d like to talk about alcoholism, I’m around.


Remember, today’s the last day to enter a bid in the silent auction for the LGBT charity of your choice.

Silent Auction for LGBT Charities

Cowboy Xmas Tree

Cowboy-themed Christmas Tree, Part 1 of the auction winner’s pressies.

Tis the season for giving! :)

While in my fave crafty/artsy store a few weeks ago, I came across a bunch of tiny tree ornaments with a cowboy theme. I couldn’t resist them! And then I thought… What if I give it away? Or… What if I auction it off for charity? Better :) So that’s what this is, a silent auction.

Beginning today and ending tomorrow at midnight (EST), you can use the form below to email your bid to me privately. The highest bid received by the close of the auction wins the pressies! :D

What does the winning bidder get?

  1. To donate to the LGBT cause of your choice;
  2. The cowboy Christmas tree; and
  3. An original cowboy-themed mini acrylic painting by me! :D (What’s it look like? That’s for the winning bidder to see ;) )

How do you participate?

  • The auction closes at 11:59pm (EST) Wednesday, December 10, and the winning bidder will be announced Thursday, December 11.
  • Winning bidders will be asked to make your donation directly to your LGBT charity of choice, and then email me a copy of the receipt to qualify for the pressies.
  • This silent auction is open to continental US and Canadian residents only. The cost of shipping the tree is too great to accommodate international bidders. (Sorry! :( )
  • Fill out the form below:

Good Luck! :D

Talking About the Realities of PTSD

Over the holiday weekend, there was plenty of time to sit down and talk with different groups of people. Thanksgiving — and Christmas — is a time when four families merge. I get a chance to talk with folks I don’t see all the time and it’s a good time to get other opinions.

Going up there after I finished reading RJ Scott’s LAST MARINE STANDING, I was curious to see what they thought about PTSD. What they knew about it, what they’ve seen of it in me, what they didn’t understand.

Turns out that one thing they didn’t understand was what’s called hyper vigilance. I’m not as hyper about it as I once was, but it means being overly aware of your surroundings to the point of obsession and paranoia, looking for and expecting a threat. It can happen anywhere from the grocery store to the bedroom. Usually, it’s absolutely unnecessary. Always, we can’t just stop doing it.

I explained that if they’ve ever seen Carter stand behind me, his hands on my shoulders, while I was sitting or standing, he’s helping me out of that hyper vigilant place. We’ve got it down to him recognizing my signs or me giving him a look. But knowing someone I trust has my back lets me relax and be still, accept that I’m safe.

If any of you remember my old blog, the name of it, The Unguarded Edge, was about me feeling without my brothers, exposed and on my own.

I’m feeling a lot less on my own nowadays and I’m grateful to my family and all its extensions for helping me get here.

If you have questions about PTSD, go ahead and ask. I’ll be around to answer.

Next week, we’ll talk about alcoholism.

The Few. The Proud.

rjscottcoverAfter Thorny recently read LAST MARINE STANDING by RJ Scott, he talked with me about it. Said he recognized me in the characters of Viktor and Mac, and it got me curious to read it myself. We talked more so I’d know what to expect from any action scenes, and I’m slowly making my way through the book now. I skipped the entire chapter where Mac was injured just because, from talking with Thorny, it was a little too close to home for my experiment.

What is my experiment? Lately, I’ve found myself drawn to books with Marines — or warrior-like characters. “Before” I would read suspense/thriller books and I enjoyed many of them. They spoke to me when I was that warrior type. I think reading romances, even ones with mysteries or milder suspense/thriller plots, has helped me through my recovery. Being able to relax into a story and get lost in a love story where people try for good.

So my thinking now is to try and ease back into stories with more action/adventure. I’d like it if you all could offer me some recommendations of excellent books you’ve read with warrior-like characters. I don’t have a preference for contemporary, historical, scifi, fantasy, etc.

I do have a hard limit on scenes of war or conflict. RJ Scott’s book here touched on a lot of what it’s like after being discharged, especially medically discharged. That’s been rough enough for me at this stage in this little exploration. Reading about explosions, maneuvers, engagements, etc. isn’t for me right now. So if you’re going to recommend something, please make sure you know exactly how many conflict scenes there are and what they include. I’m making a list and it’s possible I’ll have a few people pre-reading for me if I have any questions about the content.

Authors, you know your stories the best; tell me about them.

I’ll try to remember to write up a review on Goodreads for LAST MARINE STANDING because Scott really does know us retired Marines and our brothers. It’s testing me, but it’s an excellent book.