Clever, Crafty, and Creative Wonder!

crafty girl

Jordan painting wooden centers for my earrings.

My oldest daughter turns 15 today. Just typing that out I’m in disbelief! It seems like I just gave birth to her moments ago, but obviously that’s not the case. She’s been a blessing since the day she was born and she continues to develop into an amazing young woman.

Along with my brown hair and eyes, Jordan has inherited by artistic nature. Although in her, it’s magnified far more than the talents I possess. She’s a great painter, drawer, writer, sculptor, and musician and she’s far smarter than I was at her age, or even than I am now. She’s always on the highest honor roll in school and she uses her clever and intelligent mind in constantly evolving ways.

She loves to paint in both small and large forms and her freehand abilities with a brush astound me. She’s painted a map of her fantasy world on her bedroom walls and she’s paint quotes from favorite movies and shows that further express what makes her tick. I’ve been asking her for over a year to draw or paint some centers for my earrings and over the last couple months she’s painted several wooden centers that I’m looking forward to beading around. Her steady hand and uniquely creative mind helps her design and implement artistry that is both intricate and fun.

Jordan has also inherited my sarcasm, wit, curiosity, and sense of humor. Although really, I can’t take full credit for that that because she has her own personality and individuality. I’m happy to say that Jordan and I get along very well, which isn’t always the case with parents and children with similar personalities. I’m also very happy that she’s not like “typical” teenage girls in that she’s not interested in any of the high school drama, has no interest in boys (unlike me at her age), and is more intent on enjoying her life than getting caught up in teenage stuff. She’s mature beyond her years and I count myself extremely lucky that she’s my daughter.

Jordan makes me laugh, she makes me think, and she makes me proud to call her my daughter. She’s a wonderful older sister to Jaycie and both encourages her and keeps her on her toes. Being Jordan’s mother inspires me to be the best version of myself because that’s what she does every single day. I love my clever, crafty, and creative wonder!

Revving It Up!

blue keyboard

This past spring one of my closest friends sent me a link to an article sharing various work from home opportunities involving transcribing. One of the company’s listed was Rev. As I’ve been typing fast ever since I took keyboarding class in middle school, transcribing seemed like an interesting new avenue to explore. A highly appealing part of Rev was that they pay every Monday and for a self-employed person, that was music to my ears!

I’ve been a full-time freelance content writer since I quit my secretarial job in July 0f 2013 and while I’ve loved being able to work from home and have more time with my girls, being self-employed has its challenges. I’ve enjoyed success on several content marketplace sites but quite often I’d find myself “chasing the money” as I hoped a client would accept my work or waited for someone to buy my articles listed for sale. Reading that Rev paid for all accepted work and paid weekly was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

I went through the online application process for Rev, which involved an online grammar test followed by a test with a sample transcription file. Although I’ve been a writer for almost 30 years and am currently majoring in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University, I was still ridiculously nervous taking the grammar test. I was afraid all the rules I’ve learned over the years would fly out of my brain. Fortunately, I did fine with the grammar test and then it was on to the transcription test.

When I started the test, I was immediately impressed with the user-friendly transcription editor Rev has created. There are numerous options that make transcribing files easier and they have an online style guide that helps transcribers understand the correct formatting for Rev. I don’t remember how long it took me to do that test transcription job but I remember my hands shaking as I did it because I really wanted to pass and see what Rev was all about.

Much to my delight, Rev accepted my application and I promptly started taking a few transcription jobs during the week. I was still mostly working as a freelance content writer and was also doing all my usual jobs of being a mom, homeowner, and college student. In hindsight, I should’ve started typing more frequently for Rev much earlier because the more I transcribe, the better I become and the more money I can earn.

A few months ago, I threw myself into Rev as my full-time job because I had fallen in love with the work. I’ve transcribed so many different types of audio files and learned a lot in the process. The jobs are brief glimpses into other areas of the world and industries I previously knew nothing about. Quite often I end my day feeling like I’ve had some really interesting conversations with people until I remember that I’m just the unseen transcriber listening in. Even so, it’s helped me feel like I’m more part of the world, which is a great thing for me since I work from home and live in a rather rural area.

I started as a Rookie as all newbies to Rev do and quickly moved up to the next level of Revver and in early June, had transcribed enough minutes to become their highest level of Revver+. The amount of jobs available daily is astounding and even on light job days, I always manage to find something I can do. I’m happy to report that I’ve received the highest grade of five on almost every job I’ve submitted (one 4.5 out of 5 in 30 graded jobs isn’t bad in my opinion!) and I often get five-star reviews from customers. I do my best on every job, submit every job on time and love that they provide feedback and review opportunities.

As a writer, I view these transcription jobs as little stories that people are telling. That may sound odd when referring to conference calls, video interviews, focus group meetings, and so on, but to me they’re all people with a story to tell and information to share. My experience as a writer of fiction and nonfiction helps me format the jobs in a way that makes sense even during times when the speaker might not pause for breath through a long discussion. My job is to help them make their information shareable and searchable and I do my best to always submit quality work.

An interesting thing I’ve discovered while working for Rev is that I’m good at understanding certain accents. I credit that ability to my love of watching TV shows and movies with various accents throughout my life. While I might struggle a bit at the beginning of a job with an accent, as I continue to listen and type, it starts making sense and I barely notice the accent anymore. By the time I’m done typing the job and do my final listen through, I can usually fill in any parts I marked as inaudible during the first lesson. Learning how people speak in other areas of the world and understanding the context of the conversation helps everything make sense during the final listen through.

I can proudly say that my upcoming family vacation with my girls has been made possible in large part by my job as a Rev transcriber. I’ve been working diligently since late June to save up for this trip and I’m so proud of myself. On days that I have my girls I’ve been doing two to three jobs and on days I don’t have them I do three to five and have been working from sunrise to sunset. I feel so accomplished at the end of the day and I really love being paid reliably every Monday from Rev.

Another great part of Rev is that they keep improving their transcription editor to make it more versatile and user-friendly for Revvers. I love the ability to create my own shortcuts for commonly used words because that improves my speed and prevents my fingers tripping over words and slowing me down. I have my own transcription language now thanks to Rev and I find myself wishing their editor worked in everything I typed so I could get my messages across faster.

Rev really is an innovative and intuitive company that listens to their transcribers and their customers and I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to work for them. Working for them has greatly improved the life of this self-employed mom and self-sufficient woman and I’m sure numerous Revvers feel as I do. So keep up the good work Rev as I hope to be Revving it up for years to come!

Swing Set Loving Sweetie!

swing set

Jaycie on the swing set at my house.

My youngest daughter Jaycie turns 11 today! Her favorite part about birthdays? The presents, of course! My favorite part about her birthday is that it marks the day when she came hiccupping and kicking out into the world and showed everyone her truly unique spirit. I can’t imagine my life without her and her older sister and I know I am so very blessed to have my girls!

I’m picking Jaycie and her sister up later this morning and will have them both for half of the day before they go back to their father to celebrate with that side of the family. Jaycie wanted a Scooby-Doo theme for her decorations so I was up early this morning hanging decorations and streamers to celebrate her special day. I’m sure she’ll like them, but I know all she’ll really be thinking about today is opening presents!

Jaycie’s favorite past time for a majority of her life has been swinging on a swing set. I still remember the first time she figured out how to do it by herself and it seems like she hasn’t stopped swinging since! She’s had physical and mental developmental delays her entire life and while that means she’s not like other “normal” kids her age, she’s never let it bother her. In fact, very little seems to bother Jaycie except maybe when her older sister tries to intentionally bug her.

Jaycie getting tickled by her older sister.

When Jaycie is outside swinging, she is the happiest kid in the world! She grins the entire time and periodically pauses to talk to our outside cat Owl or just chat about little made up adventures in her mind. She can literally spend an hour swinging and that just amazes me. She doesn’t get bored, she doesn’t get tired, and most times when she comes inside it’s because it got too hot out or she’s hungry. I think she finds great freedom in swinging because it’s an activity that involves motion but that isn’t slowed down by her lack of physical strength.

As with every birthday my girls have, I can’t believe how much they’ve grown! I can’t believe Jaycie is 11 and going into sixth grade to start middle school this fall. As she’s already taller than me (I’m 5’5”) I imagine she’ll fit right in with the other middle school kids and no longer be one of the tallest kids in the hallway. Although it feels a bit odd to me that my youngest daughter is taller than me, I’m constantly encouraging her to stand up straight and love her height. There’s so much to see in the world and she’s lucky that she can see it from such a high vantage point!

Turning “Old” Years Old

Senior Picture, 1995.

Me now in 2017. Not too bad for being “old.” 😉

This Sunday, June 4th, I’ll turn 40 years old. According to my 14-year-old daughter, I won’t be considered “old” until I’m 40. So I guess I’ll be enjoying my last couple of days of being “young.” I’m not upset with her for considering 40 old and I imagine I thought the same thing when I was her age. I think when I was her age the idea of turning 40 was beyond my comprehension, but now that’s it’s almost upon me, I’m not the least bit concerned about it.

When I was younger and I thought about turning 40, I expected that I’d have some big bash with all my friends and family. I will be going to lunch with my daughters and mother on my birthday but as my friends all live in different states, I won’t be seeing them. There won’t be a big 40th birthday party for me and I’m okay with that. I know how blessed I am to have my wonderful family and great friends. I’ll save the big bash for my 50th I guess. 😉

If you’d asked me in my teens where I thought I’d be at 40, I would have said happily married with children. Well the happily married didn’t work out, but I do have two amazing daughters that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I probably also would have said that I’d be a published fantasy author by now and that hasn’t happened either. Mind you, I haven’t exactly been trying to get anything published for the last couple of decades so the fault is my own. I also haven’t written much of my own work in the last decade despite my continuing desire to do so. Perhaps I’ll spend some time writing today to dust off that area of my brain before I become too “old” for such creative endeavors.

Honestly, age is just a number to me and I’ve felt that way for many years. I still have the same spark and energy that I had when I was a teenager, even if my body doesn’t always agree. I was a positive person in my teens, but I think I’m an even more positive person now because I’ve gone through so many life challenges and come out stronger. I know who I am and what I want far better than I did in my teens, 20’s and early 30’s and I’m sure my 40’s will bring me even greater self-awareness.

To all those young women (and men) out there who fear getting “old” and “aging” I want to say that fear will only hold you back. Embrace every day for the gift that it is and relish all the amazing moments in your life. Don’t waste time wishing to be older or younger, just love who you are and what makes you different, unique, and a force to be reckoned with.

Mom: My Favorite “Job” Title

waiting for bus

My girls waiting for the bus that comes before 7 a.m. They’re always so thrilled.

Mother’s Day as denoted on the calendar has come and gone, but for me, every day is Mother’s Day. Mom is my favorite “job” title and I know how blessed and fortunate I am to have two amazing daughters. I grew up wanting to get married and be a mom and once I became a mom, I knew it was the job for me. The wife part didn’t work out, but as I often say, having my girls is the best part of my life.

My oldest daughter has grown into an intelligent, clever, witty, and down-to-earth young woman. She’s not a “typical” 14 year-old girl as she doesn’t give a wit about boys and has no time for the drama that consumes some of her female friends’ lives. She loves to read books and is often reading 3-5 at a time. I don’t know how she does that because my brain wouldn’t be able to keep all the different stories straight! She and I are very much alike and like many of the same things. We have numerous “inside jokes” relating to things like World of Warcraft, The Lord of the Rings books and movies, Marvel movies, and too many other things to name. She and I get along very well and I’m so proud of whom she has become and whom she will continue to grow into.

My youngest daughter will never fit the “mold” of a girl her age and I’m fine with that. At 10 year’s old, she’s already my height (I’m 5’5”) and towers above most of her fifth grade classmates. She’s had developmental delays her entire life and she may always be “catching up” with others her age on certain things, but on other things, she’s ahead of the game. She’s very clever, has a great sense of humor, retains all sorts of interesting information about movies and toys she loves, and is very rarely mad or unhappy. Although she doesn’t like school and will probably never like it, she’s doing well and is lucky enough that our local school has a great support system for her. She and I are also close and I find her endless curiosity infectious at times.

Both of my daughters play musical instruments and have a great talent for music. My oldest plays flute, baritone saxophone, and piccolo and my youngest is a percussionist. I keep saying that I really need to start playing my bass guitar again so we can have our own little band, but it hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully someday I’ll get my act in gear but until then, they’re both doing wonderful in the school bands.

bridge in Honeoye NY

Exploring around town recently.

My world is full to overflowing thanks to my two daughters. I have custody of them for half the week and I cherish every moment I have with them. When I don’t have them, my life feels a little less full and I miss their sunshine. Nonetheless, I use the time when I don’t have them to get work, college, and household matters taken care of so I’m not distracted by such duties when I have my girls. We have been the triumphant trio for several years now and will continue to be so for the rest of time, even if distance eventually separates us. There’s no one else like them in the world and they’ve agreed that no one else has a mom like me. I think they mean that in a good way… 😉

Celebrating Strong Spirits

My father’s 76th birthday was this past Saturday and I usually write a blog on that date to honor his memory. This year I decided to just enjoy time with my family and not write, but this post from last year expresses the same sentiments about my dad I always feel. Jaycie is doing the Special Olympics again this year, but not until May 12th. It will still be a great tribute to my father’s spirit as we celebrate her strength.

Lidancie Arts

(Featured image: My father holding newborn Jaycie with 4 year old Jordan on his legs)

Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 75 years old. The last birthday we celebrated with him on this earth was his 68th because he walked on in October of 2009. He was more than my father; he was my best friend, confidant, supporter and a man who showed me how I deserve to be treated and cared for by a man. I’ve yet to meet his equal and I probably never will. I was blessed to have him for as long as I did and I’ll always be “Daddy’s little girl” no matter what age I am.

Special occasions like today are always hard without my dad and his birthday marks the first of many special events during the spring and summer. Every summer birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial…

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Flowers From My Father

tuilps

All of the tulips behind my house.

My father had a green thumb. I don’t know if he was born with it, or if he cultivated through during his lifetime, but he was great at making plants grow. He loved planting gardens of flowers and vegetables and whatever he touched thrived. His efforts to create vegetable gardens didn’t always go well due to animals finding their way past garden defenses, but his flower beds always thrived.

While I’ve had some success growing things, I did not inherit my father’s knack for making green things grow. I’ve killed cactuses and other low maintenance plants and my annual flower gardens have been hit and miss. I’ve discovered that pansies and snapdragons seem made to survive my lack of green thumb, but I haven’t had much luck with perennials. Well, lucky for me, my father’s spirit decided to help me with that problem.

A few years’ ago, a tulip plant suddenly appeared growing next to the irises behind my house. Those irises have been here since before I moved in and they always do extremely well, but I’d never planted any tulips. I took that first tulip that produced a single red blossom as a gift from my father’s spirit and I thanked him profusely. That tulip has returned every year and I’m always amazed that the squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, skunks, or deer don’t manage to nibble it away before it can bloom.

Apparently, this year my father decided I needed a few more bulbs in my yard. The first new plants I saw were a couple of yellow daffodils growing over by my smaller shed. I didn’t plant daffodils and I’d never seen them there before, but there they suddenly were one day! When I first saw the splash of yellow next to the shed, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, especially since the weather hadn’t been warm enough for dandelions yet. I was bewildered when I walked over and realized they were healthy daffodil plants dancing in the chilly breeze.

daffodils

The daffodils by my shed.

Once again, I thanked my dad’s spirit for the gift of flowers and figured that was his new flower for this year. I soon learned that I was wrong.

Shortly after the daffodils came up, I went over to investigate my usual tulip and discovered more tulip plants growing a bit further away from the first. Again, I didn’t plant any more tulips so I was surprised to see them. I thought perhaps they were more red tulips and that they were finally growing because I’d cut the rose bush back more. I was happy to see more tulips growing and appreciated my father’s continued efforts to add flowers to my gardens.

As the weeks passed and the tulips continued to grow and create buds, I noticed that the new plant had five buds on it as opposed to the single bud on the red tulip. After a couple more days I realized that the second tulip plant was a different color than the first tulip plant and when it finally started to show its colors, the buds were a lovely combination of yellow and red. I was elated that such beautiful tulips were growing in my yard when they bloomed and revealed their stunning colors, I nearly jumped for joy. My father’s spirit had certainly upped his game this spring!

yellow and red tulips

This year’s tulip plant

tulips

The original red tulip and this year’s new addition.

I’ve been enjoying the colorful displays of tulips behind my house for the past week or so and even though the blossoms are starting to fade and wilt, I’ve taken plenty of pictures to remember them by. Plus, I know they’ll be back again next year. The gift of flowers that my father’s spirit keeps giving me is something I’m truly grateful for and I wish he were still physically around so I could thank him in person and give him a huge hug.

I’m sure there’s a lot my dad could do with my property if he was still alive and I’d welcome his help. I always make grand plans for gardens on my property, but I don’t have the time or resources. Instead, I just make my little backyard container garden around the birdfeeders and admire it from my kitchen window or when I’m outside on the deck or in the yard. The birds also help me out by dropping enough sunflower seeds to sprout at least a couple nice sunflowers every year.

Although I may never have the beautiful gardens my dad used to create, I do the best I can to keep up with my property and incorporate pretty (and resilient) flowers where I can. It’s nice to know that my father’s spirit seems to understand that I’m trying and that he helps me out as best he can. For as long as I live in this house and even after I move, I know I’ll wait anxiously for spring every year to see if my father has planted more gifts of flowers for his little girl.

flower garden

Standing by one of my dad’s flower gardens.