Category Archives: My Stories

Couldn’t Help Myself…

So, I couldn’t help myself when I saw these.  I just had to share them!  Not sure how many of you are Ryan Gosling fans, but I am.  I like to imagine he is actually saying this to me…

Book Readers Have Skills

The act of reading is a skill that everyone learns how to do in grade school.  We learn our ABCs in Kindergarden and our parents read us books, so that one day we can read on our own.

But I want to talk about a different set of skills that book readers have.

Reading While Walking:

It takes skill to read a book while walking.  When I’m reading while walking there will always be a chance I run into the following:

  • A pole
  • A parked car
  • A person
  • A tree
  • Any static object that may be in my walking path

To keep from running into any of the things I listed above, book readers have to develop a sense of situational awareness.  For me, I read while making my way to and from the train.  I’m primarily walking through a parking lot (which doesn’t have a lot of cars driving around in it at one time) and I’ve pretty much memorized the path I take, so I know where those static objects will be.  The only thing I need to worry about is looking up every once in a while to make sure I don’t plow through someone.  I’m essentially still aware of what is around me even though I’m reading.  I say that’s a skill.

Working Out & Reading:

I can say that I have yet to master this skill, but I see a lot of people doing it at the gym.  To read a book while you’re working up a sweat and trying to focus on toning those abs, takes real skill.  I tried it a few times, but I can’t seem to focus on the reading part.  I guess just doing a slow walk on the treadmill would work for me, but I have to do much more than a walk (considering the things I eat sometimes).  I really do envy the people that can do this because they probably get more reading done than I do.

Reading While Taking Care of Children:

Thanks to one of my followers I believe that reading while taking care of children is an ongoing skill.  I don’t have the honor of developing this skill yet because I have no children of my own, but this is a skill nonetheless.  I’m not sure if someone can read while taking care of a child at the same time, but I believe that finding the time to read is a skill.  With everything it takes to raise a child, taking even that 30 minutes to read is a skill.  This is also an opportunity to teach children to read…which is also a skill.

Cooking While Reading:

Yes, cooking while reading is a skill.  You have to keep from burning your food in the process of reading your book.  There’s also the chance of food splattering onto the book or all over you.  Essentially, this is the skill of multi-tasking.   This is like talking on the phone while cooking, but it has more of a difficulty level to it.

Reading in the Tub:

I think the main skill we develop while reading in the tub is not dropping our book in the water.  I have done this a few times, but practice makes perfect right?  It’s also about keeping your hands dry so that you can turn the pages.  If a book reader can do those things, reading in the tub is really relaxing.  I usually like to bring along a glass of wine and light some candles too.

What do you think of these skills?  Do you agree or disagree?  Are there any other skills you think book readers have?

My Favorite Places to Read

Although I like to read pretty much anywhere, I do have a few places that make reading more enjoyable and relaxing.

Here are my top three:

1. Sitting by a Fire

Ok, I don’t have a fireplace, but if I’m somewhere that has one the first thing I want to do is read.  It’s the perfect place to bundle up with some hot chocolate and get lost in a book.

2. At the Park…When the Weather is Nice

There’s nothing like sitting on a bench or laying a blanket out on some grass with a book in hand, but only when the weather’s nice.  You won’t see me if it’s too windy, if it’s rainy, cold, or snowing (not that it snows in California).

3. Curled Up in Bed or On the Couch

The place I do most of my reading is in my bed or on my couch.  I like to snuggle up with a glass of wine and a blanket while reading a great book.

Tell me where you like to read in the comments.

Problems That Book Readers Have

My fellow book readers can hopefully relate to some  “book reader problems” I have on occasion.  When I vent to my boyfriend he just nods and listens (he’s a great listener), but doesn’t understand because he doesn’t read books.

So, I wanted to share my top five book reader problems.

1.  Not Enough Room In My Purse

I like to carry around one or sometimes several different books to read.  This causes a problem when they all don’t fit in my purse.

2. Not Enough Room On My Book Shelf

I have no more book shelf space and haven’t been able to buy anymore books.  My dream is to one day have a library like Belle in Beauty & The Beast.  That was an entire room and will definitely solve the problem (maybe).

3. Hard Cover v.s. Soft Cover

I’m the type that loves getting books as gifts.  Now, I’m a hard core soft cover book lover (say that ten times fast).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful when I receive a hard cover book, but soft covers are much easier to carry around.

4. Having to Stop Reading When Iv’e Reached the Best Part of the Book

The worst thing about getting to the best part of a book, and I mean the part that has me crying or biting my lip in suspense, is when the train is at my stop.  That means I have to put my book away and get off.

5. Diminished Listening Skills

I don’t know about you, but when I’m so caught up in a book, people around me tend to be…non-existent.  Essentially, when I’m reading a really good book, I don’t listen to others very well.  I’m in my own little world.

Let me know what your book reader problems are.  

I would love to read some of your stories. 

A Story: Can She Feel Me?

Can She Feel Me?

By Danielle Miller

I can’t believe how she has grown.  She is much more than I dreamed.  It’s wonderful to see her laughing again after seeing nothing but sadness.

I place my hand on her shoulder and wonder…can she feel the happiness she brings to me?

Her eyes light up with every word about him.  The more I hear, the more I know she is in good hands.  They are in love and perfect for each other.

I place my hand on her shoulder and wonder…can she feel that I am happy for her?

Years have passed and she is dressed in white.  She walks down the aisle with such grace.  Nothing is as beautiful as she.

I place my hand on her shoulder and wonder…can she feel my love for her?

I see her standing alone.  She kneels down next to where I lay.  I kneel beside her as she traces each letter of my name.

I place my hand on her shoulder and wonder…can she feel me?

Can she feel that I have been with her all this time?

It’s A Gift Being A Big Sister

For me, being a big sister can be a frustrating role to have, but can also be very rewarding.  I have three siblings…all are younger than me.  I would like to share a bit about each one of my them to show just how much they mean to me.

(From Left) Ariana, Joshua, Rayah, and Me

(From Left) Ariana, Joshua, Rayah, and Me

Ariana or Ari as we call her…she is quite the opposite of me in many ways.  She has blonde hair…I have brown.  She is short…I am tall.  Our tastes in music, shows, and movies are completely different, but I love her just the way she is.

Honestly, it would be kind of boring if we didn’t argue about what radio station to listen to while driving or who borrowed a shirt and didn’t return it.

I believe our relationship is like many other sisters who are close in age…she is three years younger than I am.  There is a competitiveness between us, which I am certain will always be there.  We always have to do things differently than the other, I would assume it’s so prove who is right and wrong.

Regardless of our differences, I have always had this strong urge to protect her from everything and everyone.  I made sure nobody picked on her…because that was my job.

When she was about 6, I remember she was playing outside.  I was listening to music at the babysitter’s house when she came in crying.  She told me she was swinging on the swings when an older girl started yelling at her to get off.  I was fuming!

We then proceeded to walk around the mobile home park to find this girl because she conveniently disappeared from the play ground.  We eventually found her and I gave her a piece of my mind, telling her to never talk to my sister like that again.  Don’t worry…I didn’t fight her or anything, but I know she wanted to.  I walked away knowing that I said what I wanted to say to her.

I consider Ari to be the other me.  When I can’t help my other two siblings, she is there for them.  Lately, she is able to do more for them than I can.  She understands that she is also a big sister…so she takes on the same role as I do for her.  Ari is a great big sister…and an amazing little sister.

Being there for each other is what bonds us.  Yes, we are different, but we will always be sisters.  I will always be there for her during good times and bad, supporting her decisions, and just having fun with her.

Ari is one of the most beautiful people I know.  Not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.  She will love unconditionally and want nothing in return.  I think she gets that from our mom.

Ariana and Me over the years.

Ariana and Me over the years.

Josh…my baby brother as I like to call him.  Let me just say that he is the greatest little brother a girl can have.  Even though he is younger, I know that he will be there for me.  If a guy is being a jerk…he will set him straight.  If I need someone to cry to…he listens.

One of the things I loved most about growing up with Josh is that we goofed around a lot together…and I mean a lot!  There would be many instances when we would lock ourselves in my room…blast some music…and dance in crazy, weird, and goofy ways until we were about to pass out.  This always gave us a good laugh…I miss it.

There are times when he needs me, but what he needs me for now was different from when he was little.  At three years old he needed me to help him when he fell down or when Ari was picking on him.  Now, he needs me to give him advice about girls, school, and work.  I like to be the one he comes to.

One thing that hasn’t changed with my brother is that he still calls me “Sis”.  I don’t know what it is, but I have always wanted my siblings to keep calling me “Sis” or “Sissy”.  It’s something that I consider special… or something that I long for as a big sister.

When Ari stopped calling me “Sis”, I was actually really sad and I had my brother promise that he will never stop…even when we are old wrinkly people.  He has kept that promise and I am sure will always keep it.

He doesn’t get embarrassed calling me this in front of his friends or in a public place and I am extremely grateful that he does this one thing for me that is dear to my heart.

Josh and Me over the years.

Josh and Me over the years.

Rayah…my baby sister, who is 15 years younger than me is my motivation for many things.  Since the day she was born, she has been a focal point in my life.  I would do anything for that little girl.

My mother gave me the honor of picking her first name and I picked one that was different…a name that wasn’t common.  I knew that she deserved something special because she is special.

The relationship with her is more like a mother daughter relationship.  I take care of her like a mother would when she is with me.  Teaching her new things about life.  Disciplining her as needed.

Now that our mother is gone it’s even more important for me to be there for her.  She will need someone to talk to about boys, about college, about marriage and children.  Being the oldest, I will be able to use my experience to help her because hopefully I will be married and have kids before she does and before I am an old maid.

It is my job to show her what life can be like and what opportunities she has.  It’s just about working hard to get them and having support from people who love you.  That’s what I will be for her.

Rayah and Me.

Rayah and Me.

Having my siblings is one of the greatest gifts I have.  It’s like having friends for life.  In good times and in bad we can count on each other to be there.  There will never be a time in our lives when we don’t see each other and together we will conquer anything.

Love You Always & Forever Ariana, Joshua, and Rayah. ❤

A Letter to My Sister

Today, my sister has turned 9.  Time flew by so fast.  I still think of her as a three-year old who needs help putting her clothes on, but now she reminds me that help is no longer needed (unless it’s a complicated garment).

So, for her 9th birthday, I wanted to write a letter to her.  When she is able to understand its contents, I will show it to her.

My Dearest Baby Sister,

You have become such a beautiful girl, growing each and everyday, making me laugh and enjoy life.  I can’t wait to see how you are at age 15, which was how old I was when you were born (keep in mind I will be 30, so try not to rub in how young you are).  I can’t imagine my life without you in it and I cherish every moment we spend together.

The thing I remember most is how we would watch Cars together almost every night before going to bed.  We would get your cute three-year old self ready and turn on the movie while I started in on homework.  You would fall asleep well before the movie ended.

After finishing my homework, I would make sure you were warm enough, kiss you on the cheek, and fall asleep next to you.  I’m glad we can still have nights like that.

Unfortunately, the most devastating time in both of our lives was when we lost our mom.

It’s amazing how much you look like mom with your curly light brown hair, delicate complexion, and green eyes.  I truly wish I could go back in time to prevent the loss we have endured and the pain that still resides in our hearts.  You of all people deserved more time with her because frankly four years wasn’t enough.

Even though you didn’t get a chance to really know her, she loved you with all her heart.  You came during a time of struggle for us and brought joy to our family.  I know when mom was having a bad day, she would hold you in her arms, kiss your forehead, and forget all that was around her, focusing only on you.

I would frequently find both of you asleep on the couch after school.  Your thumb would be in your mouth and mom would have her arms wrapped tightly around you.  Both of you looked so peaceful.  This image of the two of you will forever be with me.

While mom cannot be here in person, just know that I will be.  You can count on me to give you advice, help guide you in the right direction, and be your cheerleader…just like mom would have been.

You are everything to me baby sister.  I love you with all my heart and soul.

Happy 9th Birthday!  Mom would be so proud of you.

Love Always, Your Sissy


Growing Up With My Mother

For those of you that follow my blog, you know I talk about my mother’s passing quite often.  If you are new to my blog, first off welcome and thank you for supporting my writing.

To bring the newbies up to speed, my mother Lisa Miller passed away in September 2008.  Coping with her loss has been difficult and has caused an inner struggle for me, mainly because of our deteriorating relationship and the environment I had to grow up in.

Today, I want to talk a bit about what it was like growing up with my mother….the good and the bad.

The first childhood memory I can think of is my mom being lifted into an ambulance.  I was probably between 6 and 8 years old, looking out my window with no real understanding of what was going on.  With tears running down my face one of the paramedics came up to my window, took my hand (my window had no screen on it), and said, “your mommy’s going to be ok, don’t worry”.

Not sure if this trip in the ambulance led to her going to rehab, but that’s what happened after.  From that point on, it was clear (to me) that my mom had a problem with prescription drugs and on occasion other drugs.

My mother and I in 1989

My mother and I in 1989

After my parents divorced, she often had people over who were obviously her drug dealers.  These people always made me uncomfortable to be at home, so I would avoid it as much as possible by going to friend’s houses, staying with my cousin, and doing extra curricular activities in school.

When my youngest sister was born, our relationship took a drastic downhill plunge.  I came to resent her because of what she put onto my shoulders and that it never seemed like she wanted to get better.  A 15-year-old shouldn’t have to share a room with her newborn sister.  Don’t get me wrong, I would do anything for my sister, but I would have liked sleeping through the night during my teenage years.

When my sister would start crying in the middle of the night, I would go to my mom’s room and try to wake her up so my sister could get fed.  Many times I would have to do it myself because either my mom was on something or she was just too tired and asked me to do it.  I can’t tell you how many times I would go to school on 2-3 hours of sleep.

My sister and I in 2006

My sister and I in 2006

I was taking care of my sister so much she actually started calling me “Sissy Mamma”.  My mom was hurt by this, but I told her, “What do you expect?  When I’m not in school I’m watching her all the time.”

Once we moved from the east side of Palmdale to the west, during my freshman year of highschool, her addiction to prescriptions became noticeably worse.  One one occasion, I came home from school, my stepdad was at work, and she was sleeping on the couch (obviously on something).  It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if my 3-year-old sister wasn’t running around with no baby gates up and saying she was hungry.

By the time I was a senior my mom checked herself into the mental ward at the hospital.  I came home and an ambulance was in front of our house and  a police officer was sitting at our table writing down all her prescriptions.

Afterward, my dad got custody of my other sister and brother.  I was old enough to decide where to stay.  I had no other choice than to stay at my mom’s house because who was going to watch my baby sister.  So, while my mom was in the hospital I watched my sister everyday after school and on weekends, while my stepdad went to work.

Rayah and I after a long day

Rayah and I after a long day

At this point, you probably think my mother was some horrible person, but I know that she was never in the right state of mind.  She had a really tough life growing up, to the point that it caused her to have extreme depression.  I won’t go into detail about that.

I will say, that even though my mom had problems, she was a loving mother.  She would never go a day without saying she loved us and always supported everything we wanted to do.  I could have told her that I wanted to build a spaceship and she would have been cheering me on from the sidelines.

She hung our report cards on the fridge, would show off our A+ papers, and would help us with homework if we asked.  When I was in the 5th grade she stayed up all night helping me with my California Mission project because I waited until the last-minute to do it.

I know that she wanted more for us than what she was able to give and she knew that her children would go on to do great things.  Her belief in us is part of the reason why I push myself for more.

Mom and I Halloween 2006

Mom and I Halloween 2006

While I didn’t grow up like a normal kid, I learned a lot of valuable lessons that some don’t even encounter until later in life.  I think it spurred my motivation to accomplish my dreams.

I don’t want to go through life living off of hand me down clothes, eating ramen noodles for each meal, and living pay check to pay check.  I don’t want my future children to have to pay for college or stress about money while trying to finish a 50 page assignment.  I will never go back to that.  I want a comfortable, satisfying life.

I 100% believe that how you grow up and who you grow up with defines who you will become in the future, whether good or bad.  Unfortunately, my mom didn’t overcome her childhood struggles whereas I took it as my motivation to reach for the stars.

24 Birthday Goals


A year ago today, I posted my 23 birthday goals.  Now that I am 24, it’s time to update them.  I accomplished quite a few things in the last year, so I had to add new ones.  There are also on-going goals I have accomplished, but will continue to pursue this coming year.  It is important for me to set goals, no matter how small, because it gives me something to work towards.

So, here are my 24 Birthday Goals updated from my 23rd Birthday Goals:

  1. Get a new car ACCOMPLISHED (New Goal: Pay off my car)
  2. Get toned
  3. Get a new swim suit(s) ACCOMPLISHED (New Goal: Get a tan)
  4. Try sushi
  5. Get a new computer IN JULY OR AUGUST
  7. Hike to upper Yosemite falls
  8. Read all the Nicolas Sparks and Mary Higgins Clark books READ ALL THE NICHOLAS SPARKS BOOKS (NEED TO READ THE ONE COMING OUT IN SEPTEMBER)
  9. Run a full marathon
  10. Graduate from the Woodbury University MBA program ACCOMPLISHED (New Goal: Get my CPCU)
  11. New Goal: Move up in my career at work
  13. Start my retail business
  14. Expand my business consulting services ACCOMPLISHED (New Goal: Get more clients for my business)
  15. Pay off my student loans
  16. Get my own place ACCOMPLISHED (New Goal: Save money, on-going goal)
  17. Buy a house
  18. Get married
  19. Get my Ph.D
  20. Have children
  21. Teach entrepreneurship at a university
  22. Save up enough money to pay for my youngest sister’s college tuition
  23. Expand my philanthropy for my Alma Mater Woodbury University and other non-profit organizations ACCOMPLISHED & ON-GOING GOAL
  24. Create a scholarship fund for students who have lost a parent from prescription drug addiction

An update will follow in a year. 🙂

Life Can Be Unfair

A lot of things in life are unfair.  At seven, its unfair when your sister doesn’t have to help clean the bedroom.  At thirteen, its unfair that you can’t go to a birthday party when all the other kids are.  At seventeen, its unfair that all your friends can drive, but you can’t.

In retrospect, these things don’t really matter.  What really matters, is family.  So, the most unfair thing in life is losing someone close to you.  I know what its like to lose someone and so do many other people, such as Matthew Logelin.  Matt is the author of the memoir titled, “Two Kisses for Maddy”.  If you get a chance I would highly recommend reading it.

It is about the emotional rollercoaster of a man whose child was born pre-mature and less than 24 hours later, his wife passes without ever having held her child.  It is a truly inspirational story of how a single dad raised his daughter while trying to cope with a tragic loss.

Much of his book really hit home for me in the sense that my mother was taken from us while my sister was so young.  Rayah was only four when our mother passed.  She didn’t get a chance to really know her and I feel as though the only memories she will have are the ones we tell her.

It’s so unfair that I got to spend 19 years with her and I was able to grow up with a mother in my life.  My sister doesn’t have that constant mother figure in her life.  She is having to grow without our mother’s love and support.

Rayah understands that our mother is in heaven now and she has been coping in a way that I will never know or experience.  I couldn’t imagine being in Elementary school and having to explain to my classmates that my mom is gone or what it feels like not being a part of the Mother’s Day projects.

When she was younger, I don’t think the concept of death was really there yet.  She didn’t know and still doesn’t completely know the social etiquette when discussing death.  That was usually clear when her and I were out in public alone together.  There was one instance when Rayah and I were at a mall…she was about five.

A sales rep promoting a hair straightener asked if he could use it on me.  With time to kill I said ok.  In the process of doing my hair the sales rep asked Rayah, “Doesn’t your mommy’s hair look so pretty?”

Rayah replied, “My mommy’s dead.  This is my sissy.”  She said it so matter of fact that it hurt my heart hearing it…and embarrassed the sales rep who didn’t speak another word until we left.

The older she gets, the more questions she asks.  She has asked me about my mother’s “skeleton”being buried.  I had to explain to an 8-year-old about why there were no bones in our mother’s grave because we instead cremated her.  Looking at her face while I tried to explain it to her almost made me burst into tears.

Questions like this are really tough for me, but I know that she needs an answer.  She wants to understand and know who her mother is and I want to give her that, no matter how hard it is for me.

Yes, I think about all the things in my life where mom won’t be here, but Rayah hasn’t had our mom for anything passed the age of four.

My mom should have been taking her to her first day of Kindergarten.  Signing her up for a sport and watching her team win games.  Helping her with her first big project in school.  All of these things in Rayah’s life should have had my mother in it.

I know what joy it brings to a child’s life to have her mother and if I could, I would trade all the days I had with her, just so Rayah could have them.

One of the few pictures I have of my sister and mother

One of the few pictures I have of my sister and mother

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