I am a Christian and a firm believer in God. While I have not been going to church as I should be lately, I have always believed that God provides us with signs for life’s journey. Whether it be something small or large, they are there right in front of us. It is just up to you to see them.

This has been the case for me recently. I have been going through some down times and feeling lost. Even wondering at times if I was aspiring for the right thing in wanting to move back to Western North Carolina. The Great One above has been giving me signs, especially the last few days that I am on the right track in wanting to be back in Asheville. Just in the last couple of days, I have seen license plates or something related to North Carolina during moments of sadness/frustration. Such a great and amazing thing. I have to smile and my spirits lift a bit when these signs come along. God’s greatness surrounds us, even during times we feel lost and without support. We all need to remember that.

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
–George Washington Carver


January 14th – Odds

One-Minute Writer Prompt:
In what way have you beat the odds?

I’d have to say I’ve beat the odds in regards to my health. Just over a year ago, I was obese and completely unhealthy. I never truly felt good or well. It was a miserable way to be living. Finally, I decided to change that. I not only started regularly working out, but I ate healthier and less.

The odds I beat was getting an illness like diabetes and/or shortening my life. I don’t know the numbers that I was up against, but I know that I have prolonged my life by getting healthy and dropping over 70lbs. Feels great to know that I accomplished this for myself.

Beating those winter blues

So, I have been struggling with my mood the last few days… while life isn’t a bowl of cherries (who has a life like that?), it sure isn’t horrible. However, the winter blues can make you feel like everything is depressing and all you want to do is absolutely nothing.

I am working to fight and get over this seasonal issue, as thankfully, the cold snap that has overcome Florida seems to be taking a hike within the next day or two. Trying to get myself back into regular workouts will definitely help me a lot. Today, I went out and did a twenty minute brisk walk which felt great. Yes, it was still cold and windy, but I forced myself to get outside and take in the fresh air.

This disorder (known as Seasonal Affective Disorder) normally affects those in the northern states where winter is more harsh. However, this winter has been anything but ordinary for every state in the country. That said, I am not surprised that my body has been experiencing it. Going to make sure that it doesn’t win though, as I have worked hard to not only get healthy and fit, but to mentally relax and feel good. So, these blues aren’t going to get the better of me. Not saying it is an easy thing to get over or what have you, but there are ways to do it.

If you have stumbled across my humble musings here and are curious about the winter blues or S.A.D., here are some links you might want to check out:

December 25th and 26th – Gift & Insight

What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

The gift of better health. I started to approach the getting healthier and losing weight at the tail end of 2008, but it was the first half of 2009 when I achieved this betterment for myself.
By the summer, I was not only 70lbs lighter, but I was in the best health I had ever been in my life. I felt good and what was inside was showing on the outside. Giving yourself the gift of good health is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.

Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

What was my epiphany…. well, this came to me most recently. I believe that it was lingering in the air above me for awhile before, but I just never saw it. Maybe I didn’t want to see it, or maybe I just couldn’t until I was ready. Irregardless, my epiphany pertains to my writing and photography. The writing of course is something I never stopped doing, as I’m always working on some story or another during any given year. However, my photography did end up taking a sabbatical for awhile. Whether this was because I felt uninspired or what, I cannot say. Doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it though. I feel as though my future involves both writing and photography. This is not a new thought, but something about it now just feels different. I feel as though it is more of a realization now that it has ever been. I plan on focusing more on the two combined loves in the coming year than I ever have before. It just feels right.

December 24th – Learning experience

What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

To be more careful with money, not to just spend without thinking first. True, most of us are taught this lesson as kids, but we honestly don’t firmly “get it” until we are older and have made some mistakes first. All about learning from our own life and the mistakes that come along with it. Money is a big lesson in life. Whether we like it or not, we cannot live without that crazy green stuff. Any and everything we want or need requires the use of money.

This year, I learned that not only do I not want to owe anyone or any company money (never did, but finally am trying to avoid it as much as possible), but that I need to learn to budget myself better in 2010. I am not even close to a math whiz, so even simple things such as balancing my checkbook tend to go undone. I need to be better organized and know what I have in the bank and know that I have this bill or that bill to pay on such and such a date. It shouldn’t be a big deal to take care of these things each month. No, it’s not always going to be easy financially, but if I budget myself better, it won’t be as difficult on myself as I have been making it out to be.

So, in 2010, I hope to be a better person in this area. My goal is to move up to Asheville next summer in as good shape financially as possible. I shouldn’t have to play the guessing game in regards to my bank account. That is no fun to do. Better planning and organization is the plan of action.

This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 19th & 20th – Car ride and New person

What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

The most memorable car ride of 2009 would be the weekend trip mom and I took to Asheville and back. One Saturday after work, I rented a minivan and the two of us drove up to Western North Carolina to get the remainder of my boxes from my move. A friend had been storing them in her basement.
I ended up driving the whole way up to the mountains, as I really wanted to get there as quickly as possible. The drive back, mom and I shared driving duties. The ride back down to Florida was long and felt as though it would never end. That point b just felt like it was taking an eternity to reach. We made a number of stops for caffeine fixes and food. In the end, we opted to stay overnight in a hotel in Florida as neither one of us could muster to drive any further. For the first time in my life, I paid for a night in a hotel, entered the room and quickly passed out in one of the beds in my clothes. Definitely not a pleasurable stay in that hotel for neither one of us. We then awoke about five hours later to complete the final wing of the trip, which was about two more hours worth of driving on the interstate. All in all, a bit of a not-so-fun trip, but one I most likely will never forget for a long time.

She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

This prompt is definitely the one that got my brain going into deep thought mode. Just who is my unsung hero of 2009? Well, I don’t have a boyfriend, nor have I dated anyone this year. The love arena has stayed rather unexciting and silent as of late. And, I didn’t meet any new friends that have done anything incredible. So, where does that leave me?
My “new person” of 2009 is me. I began the year as the old Shannon and am ending it as the new Shannon. While I am the same person overall, I believe that I have undergone a transformation due to my health journey. Losing 73lbs changes a person. It changes a person for the better. For the first time in my life, I am a confident person. I love myself and believe that I am worth all the good things that come my way. Never thought of myself in that way before. Putting myself first and foremost has done a lot of good. Sure, I have gone through times where I was not necessarily the most likable gal in the room, but I think that I have grown a great deal lately. The weight loss and moving are two big reasons for all of this. Nice to be able to appreciate myself. I firmly now believe that you must love yourself before you can expect anyone else to. For all those reasons, I believe I am my own new person.

This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.

The future and change

Back in 2005, I began my comic creating adventure with my first baby, THE LINE. I was full of enthusiasm and excitement for what lie ahead for myself and my new creation. Soon after I completed the script for the first issue, I found my partner on the book in artist Eric Gravel. Eric and I just clicked right from the start creatively. His initial sketches along with his own eagerness he brought to drawing the book really pushed things forward. A few months later, and there I was, at Wizard World L.A. with issue #1 in my hands behind the Ronin Studios booth. The feeling I felt in not only having something I worked hard to create in my hands, but in being out there at a comic convention sharing it with others was like none other.

From 2005 until this year, I attended as many comic book conventions as I could. I have enjoyed every moment of the ride. This adventure has taken me from Florida to New York to the previously mentioned California. I regret none of the experiences I have had since embarking onward as a comic book creator, not even the bad ones. Every single experience and moment has helped me learn and grow not only as a creator/writer, but as a person.

That all said, sometimes life brings forth new opportunities. I believe this is exactly what is happening for me right now. In the last year, I have gone through tremendous changes in my life. All of the things I went through from 2008 to this time now here in the year 2009 have pushed me in new directions. In short, I moved to Western North Carolina in June 2008 and ended up back here in Central Florida by the beginning of December 2008 due to job loss. In addition to the moving back and forth, I began a weight loss journey in September 2008 (more on that in previous and later blog posts). These things happening in my life along with all the recent experiences this year have changed me. I believe change is a good thing, and this belief stands with my current whereabouts. I feel like a caterpillar who has finally gone into her cocoon and emerged with a new vision on the world around me.

What does all of this have to do with comics you are asking yourself? Well, I have decided to stop creating comics. At least for the forseeable future. Now, I will be completing the HYPERSONIC mini with co-creator Chris McCarver, as well as getting THE LINE #4 in print, but beyond that, no more. This decision in no way has to do with not loving the comic book medium or creating comics. On the contrary, I love and will always love comic books. This decision has to do with the feeling that I need to return to my writing roots, so to speak. I began writing as a kid in school with short stories and for the school newspapers and have been yearning to return to this sort of writing. I want to return my focus to journalistic and creative writing again. Yes, I could still be writing my comic stories at the same time, but I want to truly focus my efforts in this area and I feel that this is the way I need to go for now. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and I am working eight of them, and commuting there and back with another hour and a half, so free time is few and far in between most days (not to mention my workouts in the mornings). So, I have decided to just focus myself and narrow things down a bit for now. This could change however…so you may just see another blog post from me in a few months stating I am writing THE LINE or what have you…this is just where I am mentally right now. I felt that for those following the books, they had a right to know what was going on. To all those who have been there, supporting myself and THE LINE since 2005, you have my sincerest appreciation and thanks. Your loyalty means a lot to me. Thank you.