If You Like What You Are Reading

Article by Wendy McCance

If you have been enjoying reading the articles on this blog, you might like to take a look at the main blog, Searching for the Happiness. Read personal essays, tips on blogging, social media, writing and gain ideas about how to make the jump to freelancing and make a good living doing it.

More links:

Blogging: https://wendymccanceblogging.wordpress.com

Writing: https://wendymccancewriting.wordpress.com

Social Media: https://wendymccancesocialmedia.wordpress.com

Portfolio: www.wendymccance.com


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This Weekend Sucks!

Article by Wendy McCance

There is no other way to put it except to say that this weekend sucks!  I have been dealing with a flare-up from fibromyalgia which has gone on for about two weeks now.  To say I am frustrated is an understatement.  Today is St. Paddy’s Day and yet I am at home in bed with my pj’s on typing on a laptop instead of out having a good time.  I am currently drowning my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream as I type away.

Long ago I accepted my fate.  I was going to live my life as fully as possible and try to ignore the rest.  I wasn’t going to let this disease run me.  About 80% of the time I am okay with the hand I have been dealt.  I make adjustments where needed and forget about what I can’t control.

It’s when I am feeling particularly ambitious and I have a flare up that I want to scream at the world or at the very least punch a wall.  Have you ever had the flu and couldn’t seem to shake it?  After a week of feeling miserable you were over it and began getting annoyed? You felt, enough is enough and you couldn’t put your life on hold anymore, you needed to get back to your responsibilities.  But you couldn’t push your self fully.  You would wake up in the mornings hopeful for a day where you are finally feeling better and would realize, shit, here we go again, another day of feeling crappy.  Welcome to my life.  This is my day everyday.  When I finally have to give in I am at the point where I can’t stay awake, my body hurts so much I have tears in my eyes and my concentration is gone.  I am completely depleted.

I woke up this morning feeling awful, gave myself a pity party for about an hour and now I am making concessions by sitting in bed in my pj’s but refusing to give up on my day.  I have work to do and it is going to get done, even if it means I absorb a bowl of ice cream and take a nap later on.

Here’s the takeaway from reading a post about a person whining about their heath issues. If you feel healthy, you have the world at your fingertips.  There is absolutely nothing stopping you from taking on the world.  You can accomplish anything and everything you set your mind to.  I envy you and wish I had realized how much more I could have done before I got sick.  I never understood or even pondered how lucky I was when I was healthy.  I took my good fortune for granted.  I never pushed myself the way I should have back in the day.

To you I say, you only get one life.  No more excuses.  Make those wishes and dreams a reality instead of sitting around finding dumb reasons why you can’t pursue something.

Done with my ranting now and it’s back to work for me.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  Hope you make the most of the day set in front of you.

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My Biggest Challenge as a Parent

Article by Wendy McCance

I have come to realize that my biggest frustration as a parent is the inability to get my kids to make the most out of their lives.  Kids aren’t puppets and you can’t control their thoughts or decisions when it comes to striving to push through hard times and demanding the best out of themselves.  You can demonstrate hard work, dedication and a willingness to live a fulfilling life, but you can’t make a child think in this same way.  You can only hope that they will grab this wisdom and use it themselves.

I understand that I am at a different stage in life than my kids are.  I accept that I have had experiences that have made me see the world differently than the kids.  Even so, it’s painful to watch some of the mistakes being made.

How do you help a child when they can’t see that they need the help?  This is my biggest dilemma.

One of my kids is sick.  We don’t know what is wrong yet.  My daughter had a blood test that came back abnormal and now has an appointment with a specialist on the advice of her pediatrician.  She is tired all the time and sleeps much of each day.

We are lucky in that our daughter’s school has been fabulous about working with us during this troubling time.  Homework is getting done, but there is a struggle getting her to the school. Each morning I spend two hours going in and out her room trying to rouse her out of bed.  She is so exhausted that it’s hard to get her to even understand that I am in the room trying to wake her.

Missing school has caused her to feel anxious and depressed.  Unfortunately, she has given in to her condition and isn’t fighting to get more out of her day.

She has seen me go through the ups and downs of having fibromyalgia.  She has seen me exhausted and in pain.  She has also seen me fight it as I make the most out of each day. Sure I might take a nap when I am too exhausted to do much else.  I have learned that if I don’t listen to my body, and respect the need for sleep, I will only make my symptoms worse.  On the other hand, she has seen me live a pretty normal life.  I have adjusted my work life so that I can work from home, but I found a way to work with what I deal with.  I still work each day, clean the house, run errands and make meals.  I won’t give in to a disease.  I can’t accept living a life that is much less than what I want for myself.

My daughter is now having pain when she moves because of all of the inactivity.  I have told her that a body isn’t made for lying around and that the less she moves the worse she is going to feel.  There is a lactic acid buildup and she needs to move to release it.

My heart breaks because I see my daughter’s life being lost.  I have begged her to fight through her symptoms.  I am not looking for her to run a race, just make an effort to try to get through the day.  I understand if she needs to take a nap.  I can understand if she is too tired to get to school.  I can’t understand when she doesn’t try to get out of bed.  I just want to see an effort.  I want her to show some determination to have a better life than what she has been allowing herself to have.

So here I am waiting for that appointment.  It’s still days away.  I am hoping that an answer is found and I can get my daughter the help she needs.  In the mean time, we have talked quite a bit about not giving up or giving in to whatever is wrong with her.  I know that much of what is going on is out of her control, yet I also know that she can control how she handles what she has been dealt with.  I just hope she sees her life as important enough to find the fighter in herself.  I wish I could do all the fighting for her, but she is the only one who can control the outcome of what type of life she decides to have.

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I am a Compulsive Multi-Tasker

Article by Wendy McCance

I am a compulsive multi-tasker.  It’s difficult to do only one thing at a time.  My obsession with doing more than one thing at a time has gotten almost comedic in nature.  I have recently noticed just how out of hand my need to multi-task has gotten.

  • I am always reading two books at the same time.  There have been a few times where three books were being juggled at once.
  • I can’t work without the television on or music playing in the background.
  • I get out of bed at night to write down ideas.  My mind doesn’t turn off, even when I am supposed to be sleeping.
  • When I am driving, I am eating, talking on the phone or putting on makeup.
  • I am writing two articles right now.  I keep switching between this blog and my Searching for the Happiness blog.
  • I empty the dishwasher, wipe down counters and empty the trash while cooking a meal.
  • I will do a facial mask, condition my hair and brush my teeth while taking a shower.
  • When the kids were small, I would give two kids a piggyback ride at the same time.
  • I eat breakfast and lunch while I work.  Dinner is the exception, but only if the kids are home for that meal.
  • I can blow dry my hair and put on makeup at the same time.
  • I am always checking email or playing a game on my phone while watching a television show.
  • I pump gas and clean my car of trash at the same time.

I’m sure there are a dozen other examples I can give, but you get the idea.  What about you?  Are you a multi-tasker?  Do you find it difficult to only focus on one thing at a time?

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You Have the Power to Change Your Life!

Article by Wendy McCance

College isn’t the end all to getting the life you want!  I am probably one of very few parents who would even venture to tell their kids this, but I have.  Your dreams, your hopes and aspirations can come true no matter what your background is and how much money you have.  You only need a desire to do something so much that you go after it no matter what obstacles are in your path.

Let me give you some examples.

Example 1:  I only have an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts.  This degree never did a thing for me.  It never helped me get any job.  The only reason I got any degree is because I was told I had to by my own parents.  After getting a 2 year degree, I stopped going to school.  I was already in a career as an account manager for a beverage wholesaler and had no idea what I would have studied if I went on with school, so I didn’t.

Years later, I ended up working at General Motors as a line worker.  I made more money than most people I knew who had a degree.  After the plant closed, I panicked because I didn’t know what to do for a living.  I went back to school because I thought it was the only way to move on.  I studied to become a paralegal.  When I got out of school, the only jobs I could find were for receptionist’s at law firms.  I applied to a few firms.  Minimum wage is what I was offered.  I could have done better without the extra training.  I figured that eventually I would be working as a paralegal so I took the job.

The work I did was something I could have done while I was in high school.  It was a horrible feeling to go from making $60,000 a year to minimum wage.  I didn’t even feel challenged in my job.  It was a low point for me.

A year later, I was out of work (still having worked as a receptionist).  I had fibromyalgia and sitting for long periods of time was painful.  I had no idea how I would make a living.  It was at this very low point that I began to write.  Writing became my savior.  It was what I loved as a child.  I used to dream of being an author but never took myself seriously enough to pursue that avenue when I was younger.

I realized that I could write sitting, stretched out with the laptop or standing if need be.  I could nap when I was exhausted and work when I felt good.  My passion for writing and the realization that I could work around my fibromyalgia and still contribute to the family expenses with an income of my own was the way to go.

I never had formal training and didn’t have any professional assignments to show to a potential client.  I didn’t care.  I was determined to create a life for myself with a writing career.  I worked like a madwoman by prospecting for work and showing off my skills on my blog and in writing groups.  The assignments began to come in.  I am now a full-time writer with a steady flow of work.  I took adversity and fought back.  I followed a dream and made it come true.

Example 2:  My husband only has a high school diploma.  He is extremely smart and picks up technical information quickly.  He was also a factory employee who lost his job when our plant closed.  He began to take classes at a community college to become a computer programmer.  It was going to be a long road for him.  He needed a Bachelor Degree at minimum to qualify for the jobs offered in the area he aspired to work in.

My husband found another factory job, but this one was through a temp agency and only paid minimum wage.  To make matters worse, he hated the job with a passion.  He was miserable each day he headed out the door to work.  On a whim, he decided to take a day off and look for another job.  He figured any job would be better than what he was doing. He found a job working at a company that manufactured car parts.  The job he applied for was right up his alley.  He knew he could do the job which required installing assembly lines, writing programs and working on circuit board designs, but the company was looking for someone with experience.  He wrote up a resume anyway and was able to demonstrate what he knew and why he would be a good candidate.  An hour after he sent the resume, he got a call for an interview.  He got the job.

Two years later, he had his eyes on going into an area where he could work with robots. Always in the back of his mind he wanted to be a computer programmer, but he didn’t have the time or money for additional classes, so he put his ultimate dream on hold.

Looking through ads for job opportunities, he stumbled upon a company that had the robotic job he had hoped to get.  Even better, there was no mention of needing a degree of any type to qualify.  He applied even though his training was somewhat different from what the company was looking for.  Even so, he had a background working for a car plant and then a manufacturer of car parts.  This company was also in the automotive industry.  He got a call and ultimately the job.  His new title was project engineer.  Yep, he got that title without a college degree.

The job was a dream but there was travelling that over the years got out of control.  He ended up out-of-town more often than he was home.  The travel ultimately got to be too much.  He was back to trying to figure out what was next.  I was doing well with my career and so it was decided it was time for him to finally pursue that dream of becoming a computer programmer.  It didn’t matter if his salary was cut in half, but he hoped to get an internship instead of going back to school.  He has this ability to learn fast and can work with minimal supervision.  He heard of a job where he could work as an intern and applied.

The interview went well and he was offered the job on the spot.  While he was being interviewed, he was told that it was unbelievable how many people came in to intern but knew nothing about programming.  What set my husband apart was not only his background programming robots, but more importantly, he was studying programming by reading books and watching videos online about the areas he was interested in.  He had already been prepping for an opportunity like this.

Example 3: My daughter is a year out of high school.  She is going to a community college because she assumed it was what she should be doing next.  She is frustrated because school has always been difficult for her.  She has ADD and has struggled with learning in a formal environment.  She does her best work when she gets to be creative and learn in that fashion.  In the last year she began taking dance classes.  She loves dance more than anything she has ever done.  A second class was added into her schedule and she is thriving.  She has been praised repeatedly for how fast she catches on and how she is a natural.  She really is THAT good.  So now she wants to find a way to create a career out of what she loves.  She is still taking some academic classes because she is not sure what area of dance she will end up in.  Will she dance, teach, have a dance studio?  For the moment she is testing the waters and figuring out what direction will be best for her.

In her very first semester of dance, she stood out enough that a tv crew who was doing an interview at the school asked if they could use her in their clip.  She has impressed enough that she was asked to be in a dance show at the end of the year.

I am confident that if she was to drop out of school tomorrow, she would still thrive. She wakes up each day and absorbs dance all day long.  She watches videos on technique, practices and reads up on how dancers have carved out a life doing what they love.  Her passion takes her through each hour of each day and each day of the week where that’s all she focuses on.

For some, school is the most effective path for them to get where they want to go.  But, for others, a more creative approach works just as well.  There is no one size fits all way of making your dream come true.  All you need is the passion, persistence and desire to work like hell to see your dreams fulfilled.  If you want it badly enough, you can do anything!


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Doctors Aren’t Always Right!

Article by Wendy McCance

About 10 years ago, I got sick.  It began with a feeling like I was overheating.  I would get so hot that I felt like I would throw up or faint.  As time went on, I began to notice my hand shake.  I thought I just needed to eat something or maybe get more sleep.  At the time, I had a child in elementary school and two babies.  It made sense that I felt so off.  The strange thing was I had a feeling of endless energy.  I had trouble sleeping and could run around without a feeling of exhaustion.

Over a month, I got worse, fast.  My feet began to feel as though I was wearing cement shoes.  There were times where I could only drag my feet.  It seemed impossible at times to lift a foot.  It became obvious that things weren’t right and so I made an appointment to visit a doctor.

The doctor I saw was brand new.  My insurance had changed and it had been years since I saw any doctor other than my gynecologist.  I went in to see the doctor and talked about my concerns.  At the appointment I felt rundown and shaky.

After asking a bunch of questions and checking me out, the doctor came to the conclusion that I was just a stressed out mom who felt overwhelmed with 3 kids, 2 of which were under 3 years old.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed and said as much.  I tried to explain that I felt something else must be going on, that the symptoms I had were not normal, even for a mom with a few young children.

The doctor decided to do a blood test just in case, but I felt like he ordered the test just to placate me.  I had tears in my eyes as I left the appointment.  I thought I was losing my mind.  How could a doctor think that having  a problem walking had anything to do with being stressed out?  Honestly, the only thing stressing me out was the fact that I felt ill all the time and didn’t know why.

Before my blood test came back, I was at home and began having problems walking again.  It was worse this time.  I was clumsy and banging into the walls as I walked down the hall.  I was shaky and felt like I would faint at any moment.  My heart was racing and I was scared out of my mind.

I called my dad and told him I needed help.  He rushed over and basically carried me out to the car. By the time he got to my house, I was shaking horribly and couldn’t walk anymore.

We went right to the hospital.  The whole way there, I was apprehensive, terrified that the doctors there would think I was just crazy.  I went over that thought a million times asking myself if I could bring on such horrible symptoms by myself.  Was I just losing my mind?

At the hospital, I was diagnosed.  I was going through thyroid storm.  It turned out that what I was experience was a life threatening event.  Thank god I went to the hospital.  When I had entered the hospital, I was sick to my stomach, felt dizzy, couldn’t communicate or process what was going on, my heart was beating rapidly, I couldn’t walk , I had breathing problems and I was having trouble staying awake.

The doctors were able to get me stabilized.  Thankfully, they didn’t pass off my symptoms as a panic attack or as being an overly stressed mom.  What I was experience, I later found out could have caused me to go into a coma or led to a heart attack.

Over the next few weeks, I was diagnosed with Graves disease.  I had gotten a recommendation from the hospital to see an endocrinologist.  This doctor said my thyroid was so overactive that medicine wouldn’t help get the hormones produced back to a normal level.  I ended up having radioactive iodine treatment.  Basically you take a pill that kills your thyroid gland so it no longer works.  You then take a pill to replace the hormones that your thyroid no longer produces.  One pill a day for the rest of your life.

A few weeks later, I was back at the original doctor for a check-up.  The doctor walked around with a superior stance as though he knew all along that I had a thyroid problem.  There was no admitting he was wrong, or apologizing for making me feel as though my condition was all in my head.  It was the last time I would see that doctor.

Overall, I was crushed.  I had always held a doctor at such a high level.  I had always felt that a doctor would take your symptoms seriously and would be proactive in finding a solution.  It was degrading to see a doctor who without much thought put the reason for my symptoms on me as though I was out of my mind.

Sadly, I have heard of many people who have gone through situations like the one I described.  No one knows your body better than you do.  My advice to anyone who ever experiences a situation like this is to get a different doctor if you feel that the one you have is not taking your symptoms seriously.

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A Simple Act of Gratitude

Article by Wendy McCance

I was walking through Target with my daughter today.  We were on a mission to get her new headphones for her laptop along with a few other odds and ends for the house.  We were walking around quite leisurely checking out whatever caught our eyes when I wanted to stop and flip through a row of magazines.  As soon as I stepped in the aisle, I was drawn in by the paperback books instead of the magazines I had intended on looking at.  I am quite an avid reader and noticed that many of the books on display were the very same books that were sitting on my bookshelf at home.

As I walked down the aisle, a book jumped out at me and although the cover was unassuming, it had caught my eye.  The title of the book was, A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik.  The back cover describes the book as being about an attorney who is struggling through a difficult time in his life and how he aims to put his life in perspective.  His plan is to write 365 thank you notes of gratitude to help get through his difficult time.  Through this journey, his perspective of his life begins to evolve as his plan gets underway.  I knew instantly that I needed to read this book.  It struck me how perfect this book was for me considering that I was looking for that happiness.

I loved the hook of this book.  The idea that through thank you notes this man could slowly get a new lease on a life that seemed horribly out of control with the bad aspects of life suffocating the good.  Needless to say, it was a good read.  I finished the book in one evening and felt enlightened by the message of the book.  The books popular theme, which was to look for the simple pleasures and feel grateful for the good in your life still got to me because of the way in which it was accomplished.

We have all heard this advice a million times over, but it’s the way in which to accomplish this, particularly when you are at such a low place in your life that really stuck.  If you are facing adversity and having a hard time moving out of what can sometimes feel like debilitating depression, I highly recommend this book.  By the end of the book, I had felt as though a weight I didn’t know was there had been lifted.

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What Type of Socializer are You?

Article by Wendy McCance

I have a question for you.  What type of socializer are you?  I had never given this much thought until a conversation I had with my daughter today.  She mentioned that she enjoyed being in large crowds of people where she could bounce from one person to another and chat in an easy laid back way.

It got me thinking about my own preferences.  I enjoy small groups.  Hanging out one on one is what I prefer the most.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy big get togethers, it’s just that I enjoy the conversations that take place in a more personal setting better.

When I am in a large group, the conversations seem more superficial.  Everyone saying hi to each other, lots of smiles and laughter, but nothing very meaningful.  In a small group or when I am just visiting one individual, I tend to come away with a feeling of connection that I don’t around vast amounts of people.

My daughter intrigues me.  She finds it hard to have those deep meaningful conversations and large groups gives her the comfort of not having to go to deep trying to fill empty spaces with meaningful words.  In small group settings, she freezes up and doesn’t know what to say.  Her explanation is that it’s easier to dance on stage for a full house than dance for just one person.

I on the other hand live for the opportunity to really know each person I surround myself with.  I want to feel that I know more than a favorite color or activity.  I want to know a person’s soul.  I’m not sure why I have a need to know people so personally, but there just seems to be a disconnect when I look at someone’s face and have no idea what might be going on in their head.

It makes me wonder how the general population feels.  Am I too intense?  Is my daughter too closed off?  I understand that my daughter does value deep conversations with a select few.  I understand that if a topic is hit on that she is passionate about, you will learn everything about her feelings on that subject.

The part I find most fascinating is that I would have guessed that she is the extrovert and that I am an introvert based on are preferences of participation in large groups.  The opposite is actually true.  My daughter is very shy although she can pull off a show of confidence in big group settings.  I am somewhere in the middle, but you can always tell how I feel in each and every situation I am in.  

So my question to you is what is your opinion on this subject?  Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Do you enjoy large or small gatherings better?  Are you the type that gets into deep conversations or do you enjoy a lighter atmosphere?  Let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


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Are You Living the Life You Were Meant to Lead?

Article by Wendy McCance

I have been doing some reflecting on where I am in life compared to where I’ve been.  Am I happier now?  More content with where my life is heading?  Do I miss any part of my younger self?

I feel that as a woman in my mid forties, I am pretty happy with where I’ve landed.  I have a really great husband, wonderful children and a nice home in an incredibly good school district.  What I am really reflecting on though is how I feel personally about myself.

I am what you would call a late bloomer.  My ambition and confidence has always been around here and there, peeking out on occasion and taking me in some great directions.  Overall though, it wasn’t until my late 20′s before I started to kick myself in the butt and make some quality career decisions.  As children entered my life and my first marriage went down the tubes, I lost a good portion of myself.  I could no longer hear my own voice and my ambition and confidence were shattered,

It wasn’t until I had gone through a brutal divorce, and the end of a seven-year stint working in a factory that I began to regain my own sense of identity.  During this time, I became married for a second time.  I had found a man who loved me and the kids, was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to reach for the stars and grab on hard to my dreams.

I found writing which I love in an almost obsessive way.  I also began a career in real estate which feels like slipping on that old pair of your favorite jeans, comfy and just right.  I have finally found myself.

It’s a truly bizarre notion that I have found myself when I hadn’t realized I was lost.  I had never realized that there was so much more that my life could be.  I wake up each day with excitement over the things I will be working on that day.  Who knew that it really was possible to have a job you could really enjoy and a hobby of writing that has become so much more.

I wonder how many people out there got it right the first time.  Who are these people who graduated high school, went off to college and then started their adult life happy and content?  I wonder how many people out there had to go through many learning experiences before they finally got it.  Did it take as long as me?  Did they know that something was missing or did they stumble upon their true self by accident?  I wonder how many people haven’t gotten to the place I am at or who live their whole life never having found out who they really were or what made them tick.  These are the things I have been pondering.

I relate my story to my children often in hopes that they may be spared a long drawn out amount of time until they find themselves and what makes them feel like the person they were meant to be.  I know their journeys are individual and can not be changed because of some stories told by their mom.  Even so, maybe my story will temper how harsh their adult life might be.  Hopefully they will have the peace, comfort and happiness all parents wish for their own kids.  Only time will tell.

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Putting a Smile on Your Face

by Wendy McCance

I thought I would do something a bit different today.  I saw this video and it made me laugh out loud!  If you are looking to brighten your day or someone else’s day, watch and share this video.

Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for stopping by.


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