“Jacqueline, women CAN do it all, so what’s the problem?”-my grandmother’s favorite question!

The other day, I was eating lunch with a friend at Logan’s in Houston discussing all the things I’m up to now. Her response, “Jackie, how do you do it with kids? You have a full time job at the school, a book out, another book in the making, you’re blogging, coaching kids in soccer, you run everyday, and now I hear you are shooting motivational videos!” I was flattered but not surprised. I got this a lot. My answer? I don’t give one. I just shrug and smile. Heck, I don’t even know how I do it. I just do. I’ve just always been like that. But I can tell you I learned something important from a very smart lady years back before I had kids. I learned how to be a mother and have it all too as the saying goes.

My story goes back to my teenage years sitting in Piccadilly at the Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles, LA. My grandmother, who raised four kids while working as a librarian at the local college, used to give me pointers on raising kids long before I ever knew I wanted any. She would look around at all the mothers and grimace. Then, she would complain about how these moms would do everything for their kids. She would say, “Look, Jacqueline (she was the only one that called me by my full name), isn’t it sad how these moms do everything for their kids? Not only are they not teaching their kids anything, but they are also wearing themselves out. You know kids that age do most of the labor on country farms.” I would tear into my crab salad trying to get her to change the subject. But she would continue on and on about how she raised her kids to be independent, and how I should do the same from the very beginning unless I wanted to give up all I worked for to be their handmaid. I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, but I wouldn’t dare. Grandma was a face slapper!

Before everyone criticizes her, I want to point out that that was the same woman that graduated high school early at fifteen, graduated from LSU with a Master’s in Chemistry, and then tried to get a job working in a science lab only to be repeatedly turned away because she was, take a guess, a woman. Which was typical back then, it was the fifties. She just wanted me to embrace the opportunities that I had that she didn’t.

Well, I had my babies, three of them, and decided to do the one thing I thought I’d get disowned for: ‘be a Stay at Home Mom!’ The day I told her, she just stared at me for a second and asked, “Jacqueline, you have a business degree and a great job as an Accountant. You can still work and raise them too. You can do it all, so what is the problem?” After I explained to her where my heart was at the time, she actually smiled. She told me it was the right thing to do because a woman’s heart always prioritizes the most important thing in their lives, their children. SHOCKER!

So, I followed my heart and sacrificed my career for what I thought was important. However, I still taught my kids to do as much for themselves as they could like she instilled in me. They had chores, helped with cooking, yard work, etc… So much so, I got incredibly bored. What does a career woman do when she is accustomed to being busy and finds herself not so busy anymore? She starts a business from home. I started a cake business. By the end of the first year, I was baking twenty five cakes a week for birthdays and weddings. And guess what? I taught my kids the ropes too. My kids learned how to bake, decorate, and help with wedding setups. It was a family affair. I continued to stay home with them for another seven years before I ventured back into business.

I don’t regret my time home with my babies, at all. But I did learn a thing or two about how working moms pull it off because of what my grandmother taught me back in that Piccadilly over a crab salad- That we need to teach and expect our kids to help the family too. However, the biggest lesson I picked up from her then and through the years, was that a woman can do it all as long as we don’t sacrifice what is really important and what makes us happy-our hearts and our dreams.

I do juggle a lot, but it is what makes me happy. When I’m happy, my family is happy. On top of all that, I’m instilling the same values in my daughter.

 

 

Merry Christmas but dang it to best laid plans!

Whether you stayed up late wrapping/putting gifts together or you had a few too many glasses of the good stuff Christmas Eve with family, I hope you are well rested to enjoy your Christmas Day now. For me, it was the latter. However, I planned everything for this holiday season down to the very last detail so I could enjoy this day for a change. In fact, a local gift store helped Santa wrap all the gifts ahead of time, with a little extra coin, but it made it easy. Meal prep for today was done Sunday, and the kids were required to mop, vacuum, and dust for me as part of their chores. Oh, and I allowed them to shove unfolded clothes into their drawers this time, because we had no time to actually fold them. But that’s okay, at least the guest room is officially uncluttered for our arriving guests. That’s a good thing, right?

So I woke up, watched the kids open perfectly wrapped gifts, drank coffee to ease the headache, and then headed to the kitchen. I thought cooking was going to be a breeze. I was wrong. My turkey was still frozen, because I misread the label stating how many pounds that darn bird was. It wasn’t twelve pounds. It was a twenty-one pound turkey. And I swear, I am not dyslexic. But dang it, no way! This was a problem because my parents would be arriving in less than four hours for lunch. Epic fail. Ugh!

So the lesson is that no matter how much planning you do, something is going to go wrong. My solution this time was to pour more coffee, think to myself, “Such is life”, and call the parents. Looks like lunch has become dinner and Ho Ho Ho, now wine will be the beverage of choice.

 

 

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Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

Reviews are coming in!

Shirley S. (Amazon Review 5 out of 5 Stars!)

Phoenix: Field of Mars was better than I expected. The genres listed were Romance, Inspirational, Historical Fiction, and a bit of Science Fiction. I am not a Sci-Fi fan and the title almost made me change my mind, but I ready anyway. Needless to say, the planet of Mars has nothing to do with this story. The title referenced the god of war, and you’ll have to read to see why. I was also iffy on the genre combination, but the story delivered all of the above in such an entertaining way that I couldn’t put it down!

The story starts out with Kyla traveling back in time to land right in the middle of a very important mission to save the human race. She tries her best not to stand out in Ancient Rome with the help of the special ops soldiers that decide to take her along instead of leaving her to her possible fate. Romance begins surprisingly during the mission between her and one of the soldiers in a way that had me almost in tears at different points in the book. The story also had a realistic feel in how the characters handled the situations, yet there were some hidden inspirational points behind much of it that really was refreshing to read for a change. However, the author was not overly pushy with any faith. This author actually touched on many different faiths without any biases.

The action was paced well, and the historical facts were very accurate.

Although this novel could stand alone, I look forward to seeing where the story takes us in future installments.

Another Great Review!

Phoenix:  Field of Mars

Book Review by Mark Sherfy

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Jacqueline Anders, a self-professed fiction addict has provided us with a real jewel.  Part science fiction, part historical fiction, part action/adventure and part romance, this book has something for everyone.  Ms. Anders has taken all these genres and woven them together in a comfortably ergonomic fashion.

The story begins and runs most of its course in Israel, both modern day and the far past.  It introduces us to ancient peoples and customs, including Hebrew, Roman, Phoenician and the Germanic tribes.  Keeping within the margins of historical accuracy, the tale unwinds imaginatively in a way that kept me turning pages until I had finished the book.  The characters are for the most part likeable and engaging, though a rare few of them border on stereotype.  In a story of this type, this is difficult, I understand, to avoid.

Ms. Anders takes a bold tact in this book, touching on matters religious and spiritual.  I was impressed with how she did this, avoiding pushing opinions, bias and preachiness.  It is heartfelt and refreshing.  A strong, yet careful mixing of belief systems is portrayed and beautifully presented.

The story itself is bold, the adventure is well paced and smooth.  From modern day Israel to the year 8 ad, our protagonists must adjust their behavior and appearance to stop a very modern, very deadly threat.  One that imperils not only those in the time in which they are travelling, but those in the future from which they’ve come.

Reading this book sparked my own imagination to the point I finished it in a single reading.  I look forward to the next installment in the series, “Phoenix: …By the Sword.”

Excerpt from ‘ARION RISING’

They let me sleep in what they probably considered a shack. To me it was immensely elegant. The last time I slept inside four walls and felt safe was twelve years ago. If they only knew. This was a treat for me not a deterrent as Ben would like it to be nor a test as the woman mentioned. They mistakenly viewed me as the spoiled, pale-skinned one, like most Americans were. That’s okay. I’ll take it. I needed the nice hospitality for a change. And I lavished in it.

Then a few hours later, an intense pounding woke me up. The splatter of slurpy licking sounds filled my senses. I opened my eyes and realized I was still on the reservation but trapped inside, removed. I knew everyone was asleep so what would it hurt? I slipped out of my shell of a room and stepped into the cool breezy rain. Within seconds my light blonde hair turned almost black as it was drenched with elemental pride. And my spirit had come back alive. The lack of freedom had been piercing my soul these last few days and I needed a release. Now, standing out here in this powerful storm, I never felt so alive.

I closed my eyes and tilted my face up to the Heavens as the clouds released all they had over and over onto me. Fiercely trying to return me to the Earth drop by drop. And then lyrical sounds filled my ears as the wind picked up again. An andante beginning mixed with fire and passion. I spun around with its movement and swirled as a dirt devil free of my confines. Free of my scared, miserable heart. The puddles under my feet flattened as ice aiding in my speed. I was cavorting with her. She and I were moving in agreement and nothing, save the people of this village, were going to take her away from me.

Then, it ended. A trapping of blankets and hands grabbed and pulled. Before I knew it I was confined back in a room. I kept my eyes low as the cursing began. He was angry. I could tell, but I didn’t want to allow him to see me cry. Ben will never be able to understand me. He will always be distantly watching me in doubt. But I knew who I was. I knew who I was.

Rough fingertips lifted my chin, and I reluctantly gazed into caramel eyes with a silvery glow. They were filled with worry and something else. Ben was worried about me? No way. However, that something else I saw in them was even more puzzling. He stared at me and was no longer speaking. His breathing had slowed and his jaw clenched as if he was fighting with himself. His warm breath danced over my face in an unsure manner. The moment froze us in time.