To Leave or Not to Leave

Home is my personal “land of the fairies,” where I lose track of time, and even of what

Needs a few cats...

Needs a few cats…

day it is. I’ll often wake up and think, “I’m not sure whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. How lovely! But I still have 147 pages of revisions to do for Tremaine and Nita, and when did I become so addicted to the verb ‘to sport?’ I should do a global search. Lordy, I hope it’s Saturday, because the manuscript is due Monday…”

Happy thoughts. I can hear Winnie the Pooh singing, “Rum Tum Tiddle Dum, Rum Tum Tiddle Deeeee” as I pother around in my writing world.

Winnie-the-Pooh-HumBut I’ve learned that I need to get out, to drop in on my readers via social media, to write this blog, to occasionally meet a real, live, human friend in person for a bowl of soup, or a hot chocolate. In the land of Today is Tuesday, I am refueled in a way that home, with all its wonders, can’t do for me.

grow tubbyI’ve also learned that I need to move, physically, to GET OUT OF THE CHAIR, though everything in me rebels at the very notion. I’m happy when I sit in my writing chair, rum-tum-tiddle-dumming away. Happy, do you hear me? I’m also significantly overweight, and at risk for early Alzheimers.

So I get out of the chair, even if it’s only to toddle for a bit at the treadmill desk. I hate every minute of that exercise, but I will hate more being unable to recall my daughter’s name.

day without a friendAnother lesson that I know, though I must relearn it often, is that I have a tendency to hang on too long to relationships that aren’t working. I suspect the day job falls into this category–twenty years of child abuse law is enough. I’ve kept other jobs too long, kept relationships too long, and kept congregational affiliations for too long. “Too long,” means I’m spending way too much of myself on a situation that’s not giving enough, and I’m the only person to whom this imbalance matters.

Me, at Glencoe in Scotland, proving that I do Get Out occasionally...

Me, at Glencoe in Scotland, proving that I do Get Out occasionally…

I’m getting better about this, though, and what has helped is an uncomfortable insight: I want to be loved tenaciously. I want to be worthy of other people’s committed devotion, even when I’m lost in the land of Rum Tum Tiddle Dum, even when I’m obsessing over the verb ‘to sport,’ as if that really matters. I want what I’m giving away.

In my reluctance to cut loose what’s not working, I have my priorities inside out. I think it was Maya Angelou who said, “weak people give up and stay, strong people give up and move on.” I need to move on more readily than I do, not because I’m strong, but because that’s the way to be the most honorable in my regard for myself.

What lessons or decision points seem to circle your life? Do the upcoming holidays present any quizzes or tests that you intend to face differently this year? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amex gift card.

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57 comments on “To Leave or Not to Leave

  1. As hard as it will be for me to do during the holiday season I am going to try to be more positive and become more active and not let my situation at home ruin my day.

  2. I don’t think that recognizing that a relationship or situation is toxic and deciding to remove yourself from the toxicity is giving up. More, it’s taking care of yourself; which is the most important thing.

    • Alison, there’s a zone of interactions that’s shy of toxic, and that’s where I tend to stray. Maybe because these situations are NOT toxic, but merely tedious and unproductive, I don’t recognize quickly how bad a fit they are.

      We all have acquaintances and aspects of the job we put up with. I am getting at putting up with, but I need to watch where I apply that skill.

      • I actually see those types of “fringe” relationships as mildly toxic. While they aren’t necessarily as potentially abusive as some can be, they are still difficult to deal with and take an amazing amount of energy to maintain.

        There are folks that I have to interact with at work that are drama queens, etc. I deal with them when I have to; keeping it at as much of a minimum as possible; and when I leave work it stays there. Back in the day I used to stress over these types of situations. They don’t bother me so much probably because I can leave them behind.

  3. This is my first attempt at blogging back so hang on.
    I retired in Sept. 2012 after spending the last 19 years of a 42 career in education as a division’s director of testing. Very stressful job which contributed greatly to my gaining weight. I’ve tried many weight loss programs and finally realized one thing. Each weight loss program had me accountable to someone else weekly for any possible weight reduction. Very bad idea. Shouldn’t I be accountable to myself? A very dear friend and I began losing weight together in the spring of 2013. We used an accountability app, My Fitness Pal. I plugged in what I would eat for the day taking notice of what I wanted to eat, like a sandwich for lunch. Funny thing happened. I discovered I could be in charge of losing weight! I added mall walking (some shopping malls open at 7:00 am for seniors, really I can’t be one, to walk before the shoppers arrive. Mall walking was a slow process. By May 2014 I’d reduced myself by 42 pounds and mall walk 2 miles in 35 minutes. More importantly I enjoy buying clothes! If I fall off the wagon, I just get back on my forever program. Here it is December and I’m maintaining my goal weight and feeling great. Weight loss has been a life time struggle for me. I finally found a system that works while letting me eat the foods I enjoy! I know this circle has closed for me.

    • Congratulations! Odd, how the instinct to listen to ourselves can take a while to hear.

      My sister did a stint as a group leader for a large, much respected weight loss outfit. I’ve been overweight for much of my adult life, so I asked her what their approach was. “Well, the group is a very important part of the plan,” she said. “You must come to meetings and weight in, every week, no matter what. After all, what else do you do in this life on your own?”

      Um, everything. I don’t go to a group to deal with my checkbook, my travel plans, my legal tasks, my writing jobs, nothing. Why would I go to a group to deal with a problem that’s about as personal as a problem can get?

      I bought a tread desk, started counting calories, and am down 25 pounds, with probably twice that to go.

      Other people find the weekly weigh in helpful, but that wasn’t for me AT ALL.

      • Not for me either. You must have an iPhone or iPad. Try the app I referenced. You might find it helpful. Remember this, even a one pound loss is a loss, not a gain.

  4. Ah, Grace! I needed this blog post. I suspect I will need to read it several more times in the coming months. My first venture into self-publishing goes live on Monday and I hope it will lead to bigger and better things. Walmart was supposed to be temporary. It payed the bills. It still does and I have stayed too long. I am giving more than I am getting in a big way and I am allowing it to take from me things I cannot afford to lose.

    I cannot begin to imagine the things you have seen and heard in your job. It is a calling to be sure, but even a calling can wear on your soul after a while. That is why I got out of teaching in spite of my love for it. Students who didn’t want to learn and parents who didn’t care if their children learned or not so long as they received a diploma. Coworkers who were simply marking time until retirement. Again, I stayed too long and left disillusioned. But I did leave.

    I have been working at this writing career for seven years. Contest finals, an agent come and gone, manuscripts going to committee and still no contract. And while all of the decisions and moves have been mine, I stayed in a critique partnership that was both toxic and eventually demeaning for far too long because my critique partner knew far more about this business than I did. I wanted as much as I gave, but the price was too high. My writing suffered and her “acceptable” path to publication – no indie publishing, no smaller houses – became mine. I stayed too long. I became convinced I could not do this. Two years ago I walked away. But it has taken those two years for me to shed all of the damage of that toxic relationship.

    I’m making my own way. And I am learning to let go of things that cost too much and give me no return. It is a hard thing to do when all you want is the same sort of appreciation and devotion you give to be returned. But there are those out there, those few, who will do so. The trick is to find them. And the more important tricks are to realize you are worthy of those things and to give them to yourself. Only took me 55 years to realize that.

    • Louisa, I hear you. Sometimes I think the whole deal with becoming a published author is to know again what you knew five years ago: I can write. I love to write. NOTHING and NO ONE will stop me from writing what I love to write.
      We write about love because we believe in love and it’s the only story worth giving the giving the time of day to.
      Put your goals where you can see them, and let me know what I can do to help. The world needs your stories, and Walmart is supposed to be temporary for all of us.

  5. I only have one day off a week & it seems like I end up doing anything but spending it with my family. I need to carve out time to be with my husband & teenage daughter, even if only to sit down & watch a movie.

    • Sharlene that is a VERY demanding schedule. I hope it eases up, because you deserve more than one day a week to recharge. God might be able to get by with one day of rest per week, but I personally need two and a half, at least.

  6. I’m naturally an introvert and don’t mind spending lots of time alone. For example, I’ve had four days off for the holiday and spent them alone with only a nice long walk and a foray to a couple of stores (not on Black Friday). I texted with my sister, son, and a friend a couple of times, but that’s it, and I’m fine with that. I was invited to a coworkers for Thanksgiving, but just couldn’t bring myself to accept. I would like to be with family for the holidays, but since all my family is on the opposite coast, being alone is better than spending a holiday with just acquaintances, since I know I would feel awkward and uncomfortable. I’ve always meant to volunteer during the holidays to help serve a holiday meal, etc., and I think I’m going to try to do that for Christmas, since I’ll be alone during that holiday too. I have a tendency to want to read all day instead of getting up and moving, but I do try to get outside and go for a long walk around the neighborhood when I’m home. At work I have no trouble getting exercise, we have a gym in the basement that I use at lunchtime, including yoga classes twice a week. 😀

    • I just MADE myself leave the property after a week here home by my wonderful–not by my lonesome. I’m a much nicer person for having had some quiet time, and when I don’t get it, I’m squirrelly. I love winter in part for all the unstructured time it yields, though I know for those other people (extroverts?) it’s all about how much socializing they can get in.

      A gym in the basement sounds wonderful… reading on the bike, on the tread mill…. yup.

  7. There have been a few times that I have stayed a little too long. Not in any relationships that I can recall, but in my work life there were a few times that I should have moved on a little sooner than I did.

    More recently it was a church organization that I had joined years ago. For many years I felt a lot of joy and good energy from the help I was providing. But the last year or so that I was there, it felt more like a duty, a chore, an obligation. I was talking about this to another member/friend one day and she put her arm around my shoulder and reminded me that “to everything there is a season.” She was right. I quit the organization. They are doing well (still) and so am I.

    • I made the mistake at one church of letting them know I could play the piano… Boom, every other week, I was playing for the service. Getting there early for the prelude, last out the door for the postlude… and the nice people who roped me into that were fresh out of ideas regarding who should watch my four-year-old while I was making that joyful noise…

      They’re still doing fine too, but when I noticed that solving their problems only created more problems for me… time to move on.

  8. this week I have been doing some massive holiday decorating. I’m not sure if it is just some holiday spirit or an attempt to convince myself that although I’m 1500 miles from family I can still have a happy holiday and life. But now the only thing that will help me this minute is getting off this chair and getting moving. Let’s do it together, Grace.

    • I’m on my tread desk as I type this, Dot. Thinking of youooooooo. For my early adult years, I’d use up all my leave and all my disposable income to be with family over the holidays. I’d come home to a cold, empty house, exhausted and broke. I even tried that for a few years when beloved offspring showed up, but finally, that kind of holiday got to be too much.

      So I tried a different kind, where I stayed home with my daughter, put up a tree, baked like a fool, and had a great time.

      The game has changed again, but I’m still having great holidays. Hope you do toooooo!

  9. Staying is so seductively familiar! Intellectually I know all the reasons to move on. I have even experienced the truth of it. And yet….

    I have an interesting invitation before me that beacons me to move forward in my eating and physical movement habits. The hopeful new angle here is that it is chunked into smaller pieces that are related to the engagement (to just stay with it) rather then a specific goal (to arrive at a certain accomplishment at a certain time).

    I am writing this to all of you so that I have “put it out there” which is supposed to help…

    • Sue, I have stopped caring about what I weigh, and about what I look like. I care how I feel. If I feel healthy and positive, and I’m having fun and hitting my wickets, the rest doesn’t matter. Probably never did.

      If you’re feeling better, if you have a sense of accomplishment, and you’re making progress toward a goal that’s meaningful to you, then I think you’re on the right track, regardless of whether the numbers change.

      My two.

  10. This holiday season is already proving to be a big test. EVERY DAY I am coming bang up against a wall of grief — delayed from my mother’s death over 2 years ago, worry/fear about my business, I don’t know, but it’s there, demanding to be faced this year. (Which is really tricky when I have to put my game face on and work retail during the holiday shopping season!)

    And all I can do is say, “OK, Grief, you’re here, you might as well come on in and let me figure out what I need to know and how to deal with you, because you’re obviously not going away this time.”

    So I don’t know what I’m going to find at the end of this, but clearly it’s time to draw inward as the year winds down, to face some difficult things, and to hold onto the hope that somehow the light will return so I CAN move on.

    • Grief is like a bad back. You can’t reason with it, you can’t hurry it, you can’t ignore it. Holiday grief adds a sore hip to that bad back, so no matter how you circumscribe your movements, or your activities, or your expectations, it’s THERE.

      I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this, but I also admire your forthright attitude. I offer a prediction–the grief will bring you opportunities for true community. Maybe little twinkles, maybe a big hug, maybe a look exchanged on the job with somebody you sure was the Uber Scrooge.

      The love is still there. It taps you on the shoulder, jostles you in a crowd, or waves at you in the mall parking lot, but it’s still there.

  11. I learned a long time ago (and the hard way) to let friendships ago. I may be hurt and puzzled why someone chooses to turn their back on me; but if they want to go that’s on them and good riddance. I have found that sometimes those friends were isolating me (however unintionally) from people who were/are much better friends to have.

    • You have said the mouthful, there. The energy I put into trying to make a lame horse sound, I could be spending out out on the trail with a new pony.

      It does seem though, that I get this lesson figured out in one sphere–guys?–and it just pops up in another. Church, work, work…

  12. Everything I love to do is sedentary – read, write, research/play on the the laptop paint (the way I do it), knit/embroider, eat, read.

    Aging and sloth, plus the activities mentioned above, meant I reached a point where a change had to made. I needed to get into better shape to be able to travel, as my other vice is spending quality time in museums looking at paintings and sculpture.

    My Eureka Hallelujah moment – finding a recumbent bike at the local gym. At the time I was just looking for something that wouldn’t injure my joints. Here’s the glorious part – I can READ on the recumbent bike. Once I fall into the story no amount of sweat or panting for breath distracts me.

    I started at level 2 for 15 minutes. Eighteen months months later, I go three times a week. I set the controls for random hills at level 9, fire up my Nook and pedal away. The next thing I know it’s been 60 minutes and the bike has switched into cool down. The beauty part is I no longer think ‘woe is me, I have to go exercise, grumble grumble.’ I think ‘yippee! I get to read, uninterrupted, for an hour.’ I have actually added twenty minutes to a session when the story is so compelling I can’t bring myself to stop.

    When I am going on a trip, I throw in a couple of miles on the the indoor track, listening to audio books and walking guides to the city I’m planing to visit (this year it was Paris and the Louvre, next year it’s Madrid and the Prado). I also do some upper body weights so I can sling my luggage into the overhead bin, and drag it around railway stations.

    A side effect of doing this, besides more strength and endurance, is increased optimism and calm (I also refer to exercise as ‘going to the endorphin store.’) I am well and truly hooked.

    Look around for a gym – it gets you away from your routine and has no laundry, no kitchen, no yard and no pets whose needs might distract you – and think of your goal as reading for an hour. It’s changed my life for the better.

    • I am so glad you stuck with the decision to change and found the right path. The right yoga teacher, walking partner, gym…
      For me it’s the tread desk in my living room. I’ve joined many, many MANY gyms over the years, and faded from them all. At the very least to get the gym, I have to drive ten miles.
      The tread desk… there’s just no excuse that will work for three straight days with the tread desk. Julia Quinn suggested it…. it MUST be a great idea, right?

  13. It’s been a rough year for me. My mother passed away this summer and we are experiencing a year of *firsts*….first Thanksgiving without her, first birthday without her etc. But by far the hardest aspect of the whole experience has been *discovering* who my true friends are.

    With Mom’s final illness *family*, who have had little to nothing to do with her care both physically and emotionally for the last year of her life, came out of the woodwork. Several of my siblings–I’m one of six children–have been estranged from my parents because of money issues. Mom struggled with their behavior to her and to my Dad. When she didn’t see or hear from one of my sibs for 20 years and the other for eight years, she resigned herself to not seeing them again. We were making arrangements to ask Mom in person if she wanted us to contact them during this last illness, but before we had a chance, a cousin (who I always thought was one of my best friends)took it upon herself to contact them. Our Sibs did what they always did and what we knew they would do….create dramatics and not help. While we will never know if their *visits* to her hastened her death, Mom told me she wished SHE had been the one to decide to see them and could have been more in control of the situation. As to my Estranged Sibs…haven’t heard a word from them since their hugely dramatic and overly theatrical performances at Mom’s Wake and Funeral….disgusting!

    Grace, I have decided to cut all contacts with that cousin. Cousin whined to me that the estranged Sibs had a *right* to know about Mom…I would agree…but it was Mom’s call to make, not hers. As well, Cousin said she wasn’t sure we (the four non-estranged sibs) would do the right thing and contact the others. That perhaps was the most hurtful thing she could say. Toxic. And now it seems I have lost my mother and my best friend.

    But, you know what? After almost five months, I feel better about cutting Cousin out of my life. Because if someone believed I would not do the right thing, perhaps Cousin didn’t know me as well as I thought she did. And it’s a relief to not have to worry about what else she could have misconstrued about me.

    And I have learned through this ordeal, any time it’s a RELIEF to leave, move on, and cut someone out it’s probably the right thing to do!

    • What a sad, sad tale, for you and your mom. Any time we have to hit eject on somebody, there’s an element of loss, but you have a point: If what you feel is mostly relief, you probably made the right decision for you, for now.

      I hope life gives Cousin a chance to experience her behavior from the other side, to feel the disruption and disrespect when somebody hijacks a family’s center of gravity to suit their own moral (or emotional) agenda.

      • Grace, Cousin is an intellectual property lawyer! She believes for some reason, she has the answers and is the go-to person for knowing what is right. The problem is as you suggest, for every situation there might be a different *right*. Sadly, until she experiences having other people’s conception of what is right or wrong foisted upon her in her own life, she won’t get that.

        But I do feel better, not having to deal with her and knowing in my heart, I won’t have to deal with her. And that has made my December journey a bit lighter.

  14. Oh my! Have your hearing checked. You sound like me. A big hug is coming your way. Make a gratitude list. Acceptance is the key to life.

  15. I decided to remove myself from a friendship.
    It’s been a hard decision but I feel it’s for the best.

    Our husbands have been friends for over 30 years and we became friends during our courtship and marriages. Lots of fun times and holidays shared.
    My friend is separated after a 25+ relationship, has a new boyfriend and has started a new life.
    I am happy that she is moving on and has found someone to go forward with.

    Not so happy that she has not always treated me with respect over the years.
    I dealt with her…and realized that I don’t have to be treated badly by anyone; a friend or family member.

    I realize now that friendships should be valued…not taken for granted.

    • I’ve let a few friendships lapse, too, Sue, and while I’m sad about that, those folks did not make any effort to coax me back into the friendship, either. Maybe somewhere down the road, our paths will cross again…

  16. I hang on to most everything. I’m now at a point in my life that I just accept that is the way I am and I have learned that I can live with that. I’m also the one that gives in to most things so although things from the past may still bother me, I have learned that that is me too.

  17. I am guilty of the same. It is so easy to get caught up in the writer lifestyle of work, work, work. And while the work may be enjoyable, it can still cause a sacrifice to mental and physical health. Having a day job that keeps me indoors and desk-bound talking to people on the phone for 10 to 16 hours a day takes it’s toll. My preferred method of communication is text messaging or email and my family is forever lamenting the fact that I never call them. I just can’t abide the thought of socializing or talking on the phone once I leave the building. Coupled with the time spent on my current WIP, I’m lucky if I ever get away from a desk, much less get out to exercise. But I am taking a page from one of the Bosses at work and giving myself a walk goal. Three miles a week at least. I figure I can rack up at least 156 miles a year. I’ve even conned some of my writer friends to join me and created a virtual walking group on facebook (Fit Writers Walking Club). What better way to stay motivated than with friends?

    I am blessed with my friends, both writer and non, who harass me into going out with them. They pester me with phone calls and social media and text messages until I give in and join them! When I do go out, I enjoy the time I spend with them and look forward to going out again. And now that we are walking, it makes it a much more sociable event. Real human contact. Who would have thought it could be so enjoyable after dealing with people all day?

    I say, everyone should virtually join us. We could all use a little extra support in the places we aren’t comfortable…yet. 🙂

    • I’m surprised at how much walking I can do and not “mind.” When I’m doing social media, when I’m playing solitaire, when I’m responding to blog comments, or writing in my journal… all tread desk stuff. I also listened to my audio proofs on the tread desk, and that was good for ten hours of walking right there….

      You’ll exceed you goal, I predict, and hats off the big boss, who wants the employees to have good health.

  18. Generally, those who are getting more out of the relationship – especially work and large group type ones – either don’t notice or don’t care that an individual is not getting enough back. Just an observation. It does make me incredibly happy to read that you are still enjoying writing – though I believe that the enjoyment I get from reading your books is higher. Of all the authors whose books I love or you are my only autobuy author.

    Working retail makes the holiday season more stressful if only for the fact that we cannot take extra time off. This year it presents more of an annoyance since both of my children are in college and I know that their longer visits home for Christmas are likely short numbered.

    • Retail is such a crucible, and this time of year it only gets worse. I wish you kind, reasonable customers, but as for those college aged kids… My older siblings realized I was a little mopey when my daughter left home at seventeen. They told me not to fret. As long as children have dirty laundry, they manage to remember where home is. Yes, they do eventually establish themselves independently, and that’s why I’ll be flying out to DENVER to see my DAUGHTER shortly!

      • Words of wisdom from those who’ve been there. Dirty laundry is as reliable as death and taxes. 😉

        I can tell you are looking forward to that Denver trip! Hope the weather cooperates and you have an amazing time!

    • Seanna, it’s tough, because the children did NOTHING to deserve the low cards they’ve been dealt, and most of them will have a very uphill slog to find any kind of stability and happiness. The amazing thing is that so many of them succeed. There are a lot of tragedies, but there are miracles too.

  19. Hmm… My best friend called me on Thanksgiving night, to catch up, debrief, and decide what we want to give each other for Christmas. My umbrella has died. I was looking online. There is a Monet umbrella for $20.00 or a red umbrella with black cats on it for $40.00. I want the cat umbrella, but feel guilty about spending that much money. My best friend said “I’ll send you a check for the umbrella and homemade applesauce.” My goal this year is try to not go crazy, to not get in my Martha Stewart mode, where I must have the perfect gift for everyone. To just do the best I can.

  20. I intend to be a little more unplugged from the holiday business this year. Holidays that leave me feeling frazzled aren’t enjoyable.

  21. I hear you! I have a habit of avoiding “moving on”. I am in a situation now and have been for several years that has a mildly toxic flavor. I am thinking on how to change that.

  22. My biggest lesson in life has been that My Happiness Matters. I’ve always been a people pleaser, and as a result I’ve often put myself last. The first time I really followed my heart and happiness was in graduate school, when I left early to become a high school science teacher.

    At the holidays, this lesson actually points me in the opposite direction as you. I need to value my alone time, whether it’s a quiet few hours in the afternoon or coming home from my family visit a few days early.

    • I’m ALWAYS in need of solitude. I had to be in the office a lot this fall, and I also hit several writer’s conferences, and geesh… Took me about a week home ALONE, not seeing a two-legged soul, not setting butt into truck, before I could feel my balance returning.

      I know I function much more effectively and am a nicer person when I get the solitude, but life doesn’t always accommodate my agendas.

  23. Wow. This one really hits home. On a number of levels. I’m a true blue, dyed in the wool homebody … I can go days upon days with only books and social media for company and never feel lonely or bored. But I know at a deeper level I wither if I stuck to a constant diet of solitude. Recently I’ve gone a little overboard in trying to combat this trend. First, I accepted parts in two plays (one would be plenty!). Second, I tried online dating again and found someone I really click with and who I’m investing time and energy in, when the plan was to just to be casual and practice very rusty dating skills! The potential to overextend is high, so I’m keeping a close eye on it. I make sure one day a week is pure hibernation. Thank you for the reminder of why I set out to leave my cave in the first place – balance is always desirable and ever elusive. I believe the best life is one where we are content to be alone, but brave enough to share that contentment with others.

    Wishing you well in the ongoing battle for balance. 🙂

    • Hats off to you, Catherine, for taking charge of yourself and your days. Isn’t it interesting, that when we’re determined to keep it casual, that’s when the fun begins? There’s a book premise in there somewhere…

    • Yeah, but what if I asked you what you really, truly, madly, wish to get for Christmas yourself. Not socks and undies, not “books,” not “gift cards,” but something specific for YOU? Bet you don’t have that answer at your fingertips, you.

  24. I liked the quote by Maya Angelou. I myself stayed in a job too long (finally left after being fired and it was the best day I had had in a long time), a marriage that was only good about 25% of the entire tortured time and tolerated my parents’ difficult interactions with me for much too long. I had always been taught not to give up. I finally learned, as you did, that it can be better to not give up but decide to change my circumstances.

    I periodically have to remind myself that I can’t change others but I can change how I respond to them. That is what helps me stay true to myself and not respond in a like manner to people when they are rude or disagreeable.

    I just recently discovered your books and now I am busily collecting as many as I can. I love your characters and the way they interact as a family (Duke’s Obsession and Windham Sisters series). The first book I actually read though was “The Traitor” and I was very intrigued by his challenges. Keep up the good work!

  25. I am hoping to get ahead of making homemade Christmas gifts, and also Christmas shopping. Sadly, I have not gotten as far ahead of that ball as I would like! Its hard when your body refuses to do what you want it to do! On another note you donnot look (to quote your words) significantly overweight, to me you look beautiful. But, I understand getting ahead of a possible health issue. (Sadly, I did not get a warning.)
    I am so sorry to hear about your tough decision. I can imagine its hard to walk away from the kids… I can tell you are a compassionate person. And my heart breaks for you! On a happy note maybe you will have more time to enjoy life!