Please enjoy my article in Southern Writers Magazine:
I think it’s time I just come clean.
I have been suffering from depression and anxiety for as long as I remember. It’s always there, sitting quietly in the corner, letting me know that maybe today is the day he’ll take charge again.
I do my best to keep him there.
But wait. I’m a Christian. How can I call myself a Christian and also suffer from depression? Does this mean I am somehow a liar? Shouldn’t the sacrifice of Jesus be enough to heal me forever from this darkness that threatens to overcome?
Well, here’s the short version: the blood of Jesus IS enough, but sometimes, I’m still sick. Sometimes, God chooses to leave us in our illness. He’s still THERE for us, but he does NOT always heal us.
Even the best Christians get sick now and then, and I’m hardly the best. We don’t blame a woman for acquiring breast cancer. She is celebrated as a fighter. We don’t blame a child for acquiring leukemia. We pray for her healing and think of her fondly, hoping against hope that the tests will come back clean.
Why am I supposedly in charge of my depression? How is this different from any other disease? I’ve had it my whole life, and chances are slim it’s going away. If you are my friend or my family, here is what I need from you.
- You can’t really fix me. You can support me, call me, make sure I’m alive.
- You can watch my social media and decide if my posts have become too dark. It’s okay to reach out to me. It’s even okay to get angry with me. Just don’t expect me to “buck up” or “be thankful” or “move on” just because you think I’ve “wallowed” too much.
- Force me to go do things. Make me leave the house and get some sunlight. If I try to lose myself in my work, don’t let me. Tell me you love me and come over if necessary. If I can’t get out of bed, climb in with me. Watch reruns of “Downton Abbey” until you can’t stand it. Make me shower.
- Make sure I’m taking my meds. No, you don’t have to parcel them out like a nurse or anything, but just ask me … gently…if I think they are working. By the way, DO NOT ask this if we are fighting. This is the equivalent of your husband saying “Wow–are you on your period or something?” NOT COOL.
- Love me anyway.
Thank you, Jenny Lawson, for your new book Furiously Happy which reminded me that I can be crazy and still hilarious and cool. You are my hero.
25 years ago (and nine months), the pink stripe unmistakably proclaimed my suspicions that I was pregnant. Lee Bausinger and I had been married about six months, and we had about $5 to our name. If I remember correctly, we were living at a hotel in California (not THE Hotel California, just so you know), working for a few weeks until we would move to Winter Park, Florida where Lee would be attending Nuclear “A” School for the Navy.
Needless to say, I was worried. I worried about the pregnancy, I worried about gaining weight, I worried about moving so far from my beloved Arkansas. I worried about what kind of mama I was going to be. At 18 years old, let’s just say I knew diddly squat about parenting, and had in fact proclaimed to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t going to have kids. They are expensive. They do disgusting things like pick their noses. They go through a period where they don’t even know how to use the toilet! I shuddered to think of the implications.
But God knew better, and pregnant I was. If the test didn’t confirm it, my inappropriate consumption of bean burritos and Little Debbie snack cakes would have been a tipoff.
There were a few scares, as Miss Jody doesn’t like to be kept waiting. I was hospitalized and put on medication to stop premature labor. It was terrifying, and for the first time, I realized how precious this little life was. I realized there were no guarantees.
The labor took a long time, and I was young and dumb and didn’t know to ask for an epidural. When Jordanne Bausinger was born (it only took 18 hours), it was well before the due date. Jody likes to say she doesn’t like to be late. She was 8 pounds and had a gorgeous head of black hair. I took one look into those baby blues and lost my heart forever.
Those baby blues have long since deepened into a lovely green, much like my mother’s eyes, and her mother’s before her–a reflection of our stubborn Irish-Scotch ancestry.
Jody, I love you. I love your protective heart, your perfectionist attitude, the way you take on too much and don’t know when to stop (wonder where you get that?). I love your loyalty and your witty sense of humor. You are one of my greatest accomplishments. Happy birthday, Sweetheart. Next month, you graduate with a double major (Music Education and Performance) and the world will be set on fire when you storm the scene.
I can’t wait.
I know I will miss you when you leave to embrace your future, but I can’t be selfish anymore. It’s time to share you with the world.
I love you.
Want to read more like this? Check out Tina’s best-selling book on Amazon:
Anyone who knows me at all knows this…I am a Type “A” Personality. Actually, I’m not sure Type “A” is quite good enough…is there a Type Double A? I’m always going 90 miles a minute, juggling projects, taking on too much–I don’t know when to stop. Inevitably, I will overbook myself and then melt down when I can’t control everything. Do I learn my lesson? NOPE. NOT A CHANCE.
Both my daughters are also Type A’s. This is both good and bad–having three strong-willed women in one household, fireworks can fly, my friend. When we’re angry, you KNOW. EVERYBODY KNOWS. People in Africa know.
Forget sparks. Entire fireworks shows take place. Forest fires begin. Civilizations burn.
Because God thinks it’s funny, he sent me a Type “B” husband. Oh, and a Type “B” son. Because irony.
The boys are laaaaaaaiiiiiiiiidddddd baaaaackkkk. They can spend hours watching T.V. or playing video games. Big deadline? Eh, it will come together. Time limits? Well, it’s not gonna hurt if it’s a bit late…
Meanwhile–I’m watching the whole thing deteriorate … biting my nails down to nubs. Hubby and Mancub are lounging around … la tee da…like there is all the time in the world.
Welcome to my madness.
I just want to place a disclaimer out there: Type B’s get mad too. It’s just instead of fireworks, it’s more of a slow simmer. Instead of yelling, it’s THE ICE AGE. Glaciers float by. Time stands still. It’s always winter and never Christmas.
Just in case you need a refresher, Type “A” is the bossy, controlling, planning personality. Type “B” is the laid-back, “no worries”, easy-going personality. As they say, opposites attract, so these personalities can complement one another. They can also DRIVE ONE ANOTHER CRAZY!
It’s come to my attention that 99.9% of the battles I have with my husband and son are probably personalty related. The other .1% is this: they are giant slobs.
Anyway, I’m not saying that we have it all figured out or anything, but it does help to have a strategy. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind if you and your kid are opposite personalities.
- Try to keep your cool. If you feel your temperature rising (or lowering, Type B’s), take a moment. Breathe. Take a coffee break, or a walk around the block. Do your taxes or something else relaxing. Everything doesn’t always have to be worked out right this second.
- Choose your battles. Type A’s–loosen up a bit. Every second doesn’t have to be planned. You don’t have to be in charge of everything. If you find yourself organizing sandwich bags by size, just stop.Type B’s–don’t be an anchor–contribute. Trips, events, etc. all take work. If you don’t want to plan, at least help carry.
- As the French say, Viva la difference! Make an effort to appreciate the positive traits your loved one brings to the relationship. Maybe your kid does procrastinate and is sloppy–but look how kind he is to Grandma. See how patient he is with his little brother. Try to ignore the way he peels his socks off like banana skins and drops them on the floor, leaving them to engrave in the wood flooring like bones in a fossil…
It’s a work in progress, people. Sometimes, all you can do is try to live another day.
And tell him to pick up those socks. We aren’t barbarians.
Tina is the Author of Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens, a best-selling book on Amazon.
When I went back to college full time at the age of 34, I was clueless about what to expect. Being what I called “The Elderly” student, I avoided making friends and wanted my focus to be solely on making good grades. I had a family and a full time job. I didn’t have TIME for anything else. Here’s what I wish someone had told me.
- Study buddies help your GPA. Get to know your classmates. Our society is gravitating more and more towards social media, but away from actually being social. Making friends in your classes gives you someone to call if you miss an assignment or don’t understand something. Of course you can always ask your professor, but just having a peer back you up can be invaluable. English majors can sometimes be awkward around others—we live in our heads and in books and because of this we sometimes have trouble talking to others. Take the leap. Make a friend. Having a community of others who are going through the same thing can really help you stay in the fight.
- Ask for help. Sometimes with work and school and family—the task of finishing school can seem insurmountable. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Share your struggles with your family and those closest to you. You will be amazed how people will support you if they just know that you need help.
- Take a moment to count your blessings. This is difficult in the thick of it, when you have finals and essays and projects all due at once. Those of you with kids at home, this is even more important. I always felt a bit guilty about not being able to attend every ball game, every meeting, etc. but I made a point of verbally and physically demonstrating to my family how important they are to me.
- Don’t be afraid to show your kids/spouse/parents your struggle. My son is a junior in high school, and I’m constantly checking with him to see if he has homework, what his grades are like, etc. Last week I didn’t do so well on a quiz myself and I told him that too. I don’t want to hide from him the difficulty of college—he needs to know it’s hard—but I also don’t want to paint a false picture that it’s easy and effortless. He also knows what a difference having parents who both have degrees has made in his life. His older sisters did not benefit as much as he has, and he is aware. If he ever forgets, they are sure to tell him.
- Take a moment to smell the roses. When I was attending college I used to work night shift at Trinity Mother Frances and then drag my tired self to class until noon. One morning, Tyler had an unexpected snowfall that simply blanketed the area, covering everything with a sparkling white frosting. Everyone was relieved to get a snow day, and all I could think of was YES! I GET TO SLEEP.
When I came home, my son was running around the yard playing in the snow. He asked me if I wanted to have a snowball fight. My first answer—not really. I want to go to bed. I have homework. I’m exhausted.
But that look of excitement stopped me. Yes, let’s have a snowball fight.
That is a memory we both have stored in the back of our minds. When he was 10 years old and he chased me around the tree house pelting me with snowballs. The tree house is gone now, and so is my little boy. Now he’s 16 and 6’4” and driving his girlfriend to the homecoming dance. I’m working on my doctorate and he’s about to graduate. Time moves so quickly…so it’s okay to take a moment sometimes.
Keep studying. Keep writing. Keep living. Play in the snow occasionally–so all your hard work is worth it!
Read more in Tina’s new best-selling book Cold Coffee and Speed Limits, now available on Amazon!
Kristen is my social media HERO! And, she make me giggle.
Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:
Other writers frequently ask how I somehow manage to get a lot of stuff done, despite my having the attention span of a ferret…with a bad crack habit. Here are 10 ways to help you be productive even if OOH! SHINY!
…even if you tend to be
a tad majorly ADD. The following tips are what help ME stay focused. I am NOT a doctor or psychologist or ADD expert. I’m a Jedi master, warp engine inspector, and WRITER so you get what you get.
We’ve been talking this week about how to be able to do all it takes to not only be a digital age author, but to freaking ROCK IT while we are here. Truthfully, the explosion of social media is just proof to me that ADD people will rule the world…which probably explains all those “End of the World” prophesies.
In the meantime? We have dreams…
View original 1,363 more words
Yes, it’s possible, even for Indie publishers.
My book, Cold Coffee and Speed Limits hit #6 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” Parenting and Family Humor category. It was released less than a week ago and I don’t have any major publishers or big-time book reviewers backing me. For brief shining moment, my book was in front of Whoopi Goldberg’s and Jim Gaffigan’s! It’s updated hourly.
I published my first novel through a traditional small press publisher (so yes, someone bought it and I signed an actual contract), but when it was time to put out my second book I decided to do it Indie-style–on my own.
Here’s what I’ve done–and it’s WORKED.
1. I promoted my book on social media for the last 6 months. I used Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest the most.I’ve been posting little teasers on my Facebook posts.I created a Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page for my book. It’s free advertising. I chatted it up to my friends, who also chatted it up with their friends. Word of mouth goes a long way!
2. For the last year, I’ve been blogging. This has cost me nothing but my time, although I have invested in a nice-looking template and a few other goodies. Blogging has helped establish me as an “expert” in my field as well as given me material for my book. In addition, it helps my “Google-ability” or my social media presence. I don’t blog JUST about my book (nobody wants to read just commercials!), but it’s one of the topics I cover. I’ve also gained readers who are interested in my blog about parenting teens, so naturally many of these same readers are also interested in buying a book about the same topic. If you spend time giving people valuable information (or inspiration, or entertainment), they will come back for more.
3. I had a professionally designed cover made. When I was working on my draft, I had a really cute picture of my son and his girlfriend for the temporary cover, then I asked my friend Josh Kennah who’s a pro in graphics and marketing to help me. I paid him in ENCHILADAS, people. I mean, they’re pretty good enchiladas, but I know he was on the losing end of this deal. A professionally designed cover sets you apart and gives you an edge.
4. I recruited people to help me. In exchange for an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), readers promised to 1) give me HONEST feedback 2) tell me of any spelling/grammar/continuity issues 3) write a short review and 4) help me promote my book on social media. It’s a cheap price to pay, AND I placed excerpts of the reviews in the beginning of the book so that people who were just checking it out might be motivated to KEEP READING. This cost me nothing. When my book was released, I asked these guys (as well as others) to go on Amazon and post a review there. Reviews (even less than 5 stars!) add a legitimacy to your book.
So remember, PLAN AHEAD. You don’t have big bucks for promotion, but you do have to spend some time. It’s all worth it to see your book on the list!
Get Tina Coleman Bausinger’s book Cold Coffee and Speed Limits today!
But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter. Yin Yang. –Amy Tan
Note to the reader: Part 1 was published in a previous post. If you want to read it, click here.
What I Want My Daughters to Know: Part 2
My sweet girls,
I am so very proud of both of you. You have both worked so incredibly hard, sometimes through outrageous hardships and complications, to follow your dreams and to become successful women in your right. You both have giant hearts as well as the ability to recognize need in others and to try to help others.
I will never have the time to tell you everything I want you to know–there aren’t enough hours in an ordinary life. God only gives us a terminable view of eternity–and it’s fleeting at best.
I know I’ve told you much of what I want you to know already, and sometimes I have done the direct opposite of what I preach. I’ve had wrong priorities; I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. But I hope you know above all how much I love you both. Here are a few more things I want to pass on to you.
1. Don’t make anything (or anyone) your whole world. People are only human, and will inevitably let you down. It’s unrealistic and unfair to make a mere mortal the center of your universe–and doing this will rarely lead to happiness. This goes for spouses, parents, even your own children. Children SHOULD be the most important part of our lives when we are raising them, but they too will move on one day. They are only on loan to us, and the time with them is fleeting, but balance is everything.
In the same way, jobs are only temporary pieces of who we are–important pieces, yes, but merely fragments–and there will come a day when we can’t go to work anymore. The only thing that can make us whole is our relationship with God, and that’s not always easy either.
2. Nobody can take away your education. Whatever training or schooling you earn will only help you succeed in life. If you want that master’s degree–GO FOR IT. Want a Ph.D.? You can absolutely have one. Going to school is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s worth it to pursue your passion, but it’s time consuming and there’s always a cost, financially, emotionally, and with your relationships. That old saying that nothing worth having is easy is absolutely true.
3. Always save for a rainy day. It’s almost a law of nature that the worst things will happen when you don’t have a penny to your name. The one who controls the purse strings controls you.
4. Never let anyone break your spirit. This can happen suddenly, like an unexpected thunderstorm that leaves you breathless, or bit by bit, so gradually you don’t even notice until the day you wake up with an emptiness you can’t name. Always, always keep in mind your own worth. Your opinion–your happiness– matters. You are beloved by me and God. If you wake up, dear one, and find this has happened, it sometimes takes the help of others to heal. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
5. It’s so important to have good friends. Always foster relationships with two kinds of friends: those who admire you and those you admire. It’s important to be an example to others, to teach what you have learned, to help other women find their light. It’s equally vital to find a mentor for yourself–someone you wish to emulate, who can teach you and advise you when your own view is cloudy and hard to navigate. There have been several times when you both have became my beacons in a cloudy harbor when I was too weak to swim to shore. You’ve stood by me in difficult times when I felt I couldn’t talk to too many people about my problems. In this way, you’ve both become my best friends, and this is the best gift you could ever give me.
I love you, my sweet girls.
You make me so very proud.
For more of Tina’s writing, get Cold Coffee and Speed Limits on Amazon today!
Originally posted on Tina Bausinger:
Whenever I try to talk to Mancub before noon, it’s always a crap shoot. Whatever happens, you must be prepared for the worst.
Sometimes, I’ll speak to him, and though it appears he heard me, nothing happens. It reminds me of those Ghost Hunters shows where three grown men walk around in abandoned hospitals in the complete darkness with night vision goggles and their EVP equipment. Seemingly on edge–which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that they are poking around in an abandoned mental hospital’s morgue or a supposed haunted hotel–they attempt to break through to the voices “on the other side.”
Sometimes I feel that this is an adequate metaphor for seeking to not only communicate with Mancub, especially in the morning when he’s not fully awake.
Me: “Nate, it’s time to get up and get ready for school.”
Me: Knocking gently. “Nate, are you awake?” Checking…
View original 100 more words
A Letter to Mamas of Teens:
Why is it that there are thousands of books/blogs about raising babies, toddlers, and even school-aged kids, but when we get to the teenage range–poof! Everybody disappears from the blogosphere faster than my pre-pregnancy figure. Sure, there are plenty of scary clinical approaches out there, but this isn’t one of them. I’ve been a mama of teenagers for a while now, and though I’m no expert, I’ve been there. Actually, I’m still there.
I am with you, Mama.
The life of a mom raising teens is anything but easy. This book began with a blog: http://www.tinabausinger.com. I wanted to chronicle my experience raising teenagers (two girls and a boy) not only for myself but to encourage others. In this book, I’ve included the most popular posts.
Some posts are funny—some are not. Some I wrote out of complete frustration and heartache. Others I wrote with joy and humor.
Besides being a mama of three, I’m a writer, an experimental cook, and an English professor. I’ve published in magazines and newspapers and internationally in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I also wrote a novel, War Eagle Women. I live in Texas (the land of Old Yeller) and I survive on large amounts of coffee and ungodly amounts of sugar. It’s really not healthy.
I refer to my son (now 16) as Mancub. He just LOVES IT. Ok not really, but he’s gotten used to it. Remember the Jungle Book? It’s Rudyard Kipling’s classic post-colonial story that sort of satires the motives of the British Empire as it claims to “civilize” India (and any other country it could get its hands on). All that aside, I think the jungle is the perfect metaphor to explain raising teens. Here’s why:
It’s scary. You can’t quite see your hand in front of your face, and your lantern is just not bright enough.
It’s dangerous. There are many things just around the corner wanting to hurt you (or your Mancub). Sometimes, your Mancub may even go looking for danger. Sometimes danger comes looking for him.
I use the term Watergirl for the female of the species. In the Jungle Book movie made famous by Disney, Mowgli thinks he knows EVERYTHING until he sees the girl who sings about fetching the water. After that, Mancub is just GONE. So that’s the collective term I use for teen girls in this book.
So yes, the jungle is a dangerous place. Mancub can’t be expected to look after himself just yet, even though he disagrees. But oh—the beauty of the jungle…it’s breathtaking if you take a moment to reflect upon it.
For now—welcome to the Jungle!
What people are saying about Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas
Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is an enchanting look into the journey that is mothering teenagers. Recipes, open letters, anecdotes and practical guides come together in this book to inspire and comfort readers. More than the perfect Mother’s Day gift, Cold Coffee speaks to teens, mothers, mothers-to-be, and everyone in-between. The raw realities of life are beautifully arranged to fulfill our need of obtaining important information rapidly and allowing the reader to slip into the beauty that is family life.” Stephanie L.
Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is a mix of advice, recipes and anecdotes that will have the most serious of readers laughing and taking notes. It made the chaos of parenting seem both magical and practical…I laughed, teared up (RIP Goliath), and jotted down a meatloaf recipe to try later. After reading this book I went and hugged my mom and told her I was sorry for putting her through teen hell and thanked her for loving me through it.” Gabbey S.
Tina shares her mother of teens experience to show others there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they aren’t traveling it alone. Joy K.
Even though I’m not a parent, I found myself tucking little nuggets of your writing away in my mind for when I do have kids of my own. Kelsi A.
So many other parenting blogs/books just make me feel guilty. It’s already too late to do or not do what’s suggested, or I don’t have the means. Yours are helpful and flexible. They help me see that, though I’ve made mistakes, my kids are doing well, and I still have time to teach them a few things.-Bryony T.
With each laugh, worry, and reflection shared, Tina unveils the teenage years of parenting as a time to revel in the beauty of living despite the chaos of the jungle. Through her journey, she shows the weary mom how to focus on the moment at hand versus the entire collage. Slow down, enjoy the coffee and hug your babies: we are all going to make it with the help of a little comfort food! –Kari M.