This Book Writing Thing is Haaaaaarrrrrdddd!

Can I tell you how much I do not like 5:00 a.m.?

I haven’t been up this early–or let’s be real, stayed up this late–since college. Which has been a minute. Even with all four of my babies, they at least went back to sleep for a few hours. And now I jump roll out of bed before the butt crack of dawn and I don’t like it.

But I have to do this because I am writing my second book. My sophomore effort. My #2. And 5:00 a.m. is the only time that I ever have a moment to think a thought all the way through to fruition. This is kinda important if you call yourself a writer.

And I am a writer. I accidentally wrote my first book called My Pink Champagne Life a few years ago. I didn’t start out to write a book; I had just been through a lot of changes and truly writing was my therapy. There were no expectations; no one even knew I was writing a book except my husband. And there were no deadlines. I was free to let my creative process go where it may. Which is why I wrote most of the book in late 2011-early 2012 and it didn’t come out until February of this year.

I’m not great with deadlines.

Now I have both expectations and deadlines and I’m a little bit nervous. Not to mention I still don’t really know what I’m doing. My plate is so much more full now that I’m on my next effort and I get a little scared. Since I write about my traveling circus family, I am opening up the door to our complete crazy for the whole world to view, judge, peer into. It’s a bit disconcerting if I think about it too long.

And this time around I’m writing about seriously hard and life-changing things. Life-shattering things. I don’t know about you other writers out there but for me it’s a bit like living through it all again when I write about the last two years of our story. I’m using words like PTSD and traumatic brain injury and financial hardships and four kids and baby spit up and caregiving, you know, real sexy topics.

But I believe in telling the truth. And the truth is our story isn’t always rainbows and butterflies like I would like it to be. My hope is that maybe my truth will help someone else in the midst of a truth they didn’t want any part of. That maybe our story and our crazy and our suffering followed by absolute redemption will give hope to someone who is buried in a dark corner and believes they are all alone.

Have I mentioned how much I hate 5:00 a.m.? For the foreseeable future this is my waking time. But I am trying to appreciate the benefits this provides me. I am watching sunrises that are gorgeous beyond belief. I get to hear and feel and breathe in the silence while everyone else is sleeping peacefully. There is an openness to my spirit at this time of the morning, before the day has corrupted my thoughts or pushed me down or some days, run me over. I am more alive, more vibrant, more me during my quiet time than any other part of the day.

It’s when I’m Meredith.

Not caregiver or mama or employee or chauffeur or wife or maid or any of the other hats that I wear. I love my hats. But sometimes it feels good to just be me.

I am a writer. Of books and thoughts and talks and life. It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s exactly where I am supposed to be.

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) Copyright Meredith Shafer 201

I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, come say hi!

Keeping It Real

As the Ringmaster of my Traveling Circus, I often find myself in the midst of weird situations. My daughter has this imaginary friend named Jake. From State Farm. And he’s “got brown skin like bubba.”

Then there’s the tween-turning-teen-too-rapidly-for-me who has just started enjoying the fun of sleepovers. This means a herd of boys come through my kitchen, wipe out my pantry in a swarm of biblical proportion locusts, and leave only wrappers, crumbs, and a boy funk that doesn’t dissipate as soon as I would like.

Sweet baby boy has become ever more curious, enjoying opening every drawer, door and cupboard he can find. We’ve quickly learned that all outside doors must be locked or he’ll end up outside with only Charlie the Service Dog as his canine babysitter.

The seven year old is trying his hardest to do all the “school” we have him in this summer: speech therapy, occupational therapy. He looked at me one day and said, “Mama, I thought it was supposed to be summer!”

Me too, little man.

And of course, we have weekly wrestling matches with the VA, the doctors, the counselors and the Vet Center to help Mr. Wonderful and I find our way through this maze and haze of PTSD. It’s a really steep learning curve with lots of pop quizzes. I’m usually an A student, but this one has me stumped lots of days.

I have this terrific job that lets me work from home and meet awesome people in my community. I executive direct a foundation that I’ve loved for a dozen years and hope to continue at for many more.

Oh, and I’m trying to come back from taking a month off from book publicity, marketing events, signings, speaking engagements, much to my publisher’s chagrin. I took time off to be with family, which will always be my first priority. The powers that be didn’t think that would be the best idea but I know in my heart if I keep the important stuff at the top of the list, I won’t regret it, no matter how many books I sell or don’t.

Things have been even more circus-y around here than usual, and I’ve been needed at home. Period. There’s no worry or wishes or way I would’ve done this time any different. I know it’s not the way you should do things if you want to sell books. But I want my kids to grow from amazing little humans to amazing big humans and this summer I just needed to make sure I was present.


Available for all my kiddos and Mr. Wonderful.

The rest will fall into place, working it’s way into our five ring Traveling Circus however it will. And I am beyond positive I’m going to look back on this time and be so glad that I made these choices.

Anything going on with y’all that has involved choices that others disagreed with? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear that I’m not alone!

Blessings friends:)

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) I would love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!


I’ve been a little MIA on my blog lately. I haven’t written as much, I haven’t been to visit the other truly lovely blogs I enjoy following, I haven’t commented. I’ve missed y’all and apologize for my lackadaisical appearance here at My Pink Champagne Life!

I’ve been in full-on author mode lately. That feels weird to say, but I’ve been slacking here because of the demands of my new gig, authoring. I’ll admit I was a bit naive to the amount of work I would be doing! I’ve had several weekends of book signings in a row and I’m working on a second book that’s not even close to halfway finished even though we’re halfway through the year and a January deadline is rapidly approaching. 

And honestly, the seven year old basketball games and kid dental surgeries and arguing with the insurance company and figuring out life insurance (still) and four year old tantrums and Baby Houdini who has figured out how to let himself and the dog outside and the whole keeping-a-close-eye-on-the-eleven-year-old-who-is-growing-up-way-too-fast thing have just filled my world to the brim. 


In a good way. 

 My family is my muse. I write because they give me so many moments I want to hold on to, so many memories that I absolutely must document so I’ll remember, and so many joys that I can barely contain them.My life may be full but it is filled with my crazy. The crazy I own, that I wake up grateful for every day.  

 So I’m sorry I’ve been slacking, but these guys are so worth it! 

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello! 

What a Difference a Day Makes

During a 24 hour period this weekend, I realized how ridiculous my life truly is sometimes. It’s never boring around here!

Friday night we were awakened by what sounded like enemy fire. Occasional explosions punctuated by our dog barking and then the kids waking. After awhile we figured out that our neighbors were shooting off fireworks. Two weeks before the 4th of July. At midnight.

Now, our neighbors are great. We like them a bunch. And we do live out in the country in a county that legalized fireworks. But for a family that deals daily with PTSD from a war overseas fireworks are not our friends. Especially the kind that wake you from a deep sleep.

Sidebar: Isn’t it ironic that the day set aside to shoot off fireworks to celebrate our freedom is one of Mr. Wonderful’s least favorite days?

Let’s just say though the neighbors were cool when we went to talk with them, another member of the party wasn’t, a scuffle ensued and then the county sheriff was called.

Good times in my ‘hood.

The next day was my very first solo book signing at Barnes & Noble! It was awesome! How many other authors bring all their kids, their parents and their Grandma for a four-generation book signing? It was a wonderful traveling circus for sure. Many thanks to B&N for treating me like a queen and friends and family for being so supportive!!!  

 Grandma Ginger, me, Baby Boy    Mr. Wonderful and my best sales guy! Old friends and new:)

And finally, my just-turned-four-year-old has been hilarious lately. She told her brothers when they have babies she wants “those kids to call her Uncle Sister.” 

And that she was tired of sitting because her butt sheeps hurt.

Her butt sheeps.

You can’t make this stuff up! How was your weekend??

Photo credits Meredith Shafer, ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life and Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!


Today was weird. Started out rainy and gloomy, which means this Mama had trouble starting her day. Mr. Wonderful ran out and got doughnuts which, I’ll admit, did help turn my morning around. Good man, that one.

Prior to this though, the fiery red-headed three year old had woken me up in the middle of the night to inform me that her “pillow was broken.” If you wake me out of a deep sleep a body part better be hanging the wrong way because I. Will come. Unglued.

And she woke me by standing next to my bed and whispering in her creepiest voice. This did not compute in the deep of night. Her pillow is broken, my brain kept saying. At the time I couldn’t grasp that her pillow case had come off, a true 3:00 am emergency.

I suppose the lack of sleep and strange weather were somewhat to blame for my funkiness. And not the cool Uptown kind I’m always hearing Bruno Mars and his pals sing about. 

Also, this afternoon I had a book signing at a lovely bookstore where they forgot to put me on the calendar! Which meant no publicity and people avoiding my table like I had the plague or was selling Amway (if you sell Amway, I don’t avoid your tables. I’m just using this as an example.) Thanks for helping me stay humble I’ll-call-you-unnamed-bookstore-since-you-felt-so-bad-you-invited-me-back-for-a-big-publicized-to-do! 

Lovely sidebar: I got to catch up with my former youth minister from high school so it was well worth the trip.

Then we went bowling for our oldest son’s Gotcha Day. For the uninitiated, this is the day this awesome kid was handed over to me in an airport 11 years ago. It’s like his birth into our family, and since I didn’t get to be there for his actual birth, this day’s pretty special. 

Technically this day is Monday but since it’s a school day we decided to celebrate today when we would have more time. (More on Gotcha Days in another post.)

As we were leaving the bowling alley I could just feel Mr. Wonderful’s tension mounting. I’m somewhat of an emotional barometer these days. I can feel when something’s building.

It wasn’t a bad building, increasing to the point of no return. Because I could feeling it coming I was able to give him a break and take over kid duties like bath time and bedtime. And we were able to just hang out in our Oasis and watch Netflix.

This is usually heaven for me. But when I can feel the tension and anxiety and his desire to tussle bubbling towards the surface, it makes  me feel what he’s feeling. I’m like a freakin’ human emoticon. I usually love being able to intuit and read people and really empathize with them. But I hate when it’s Mr. Wonderful going through stuff. It’s hard to feel his suffering.

I really wanted to say, hey! PTSD, give us a break today! I’ve had it with you and I’m kicking you out. Show your face around here again and I’ll get Mr. Wonderful to kick your…yeah, that’s right. Run away! (Fist shaking here.) 

So it’s all weirdness and I find myself up in the Danger Zone (aka Kid Area) writing things and listening to their untroubled kid sighs. I love listening to them sleep. Their little yawns and sounds and sometimes even laughter (I have two that tend to laugh in their sleep) make me smile through my tiredness and remember it’s all gonna be ok. 

Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies waiting for all of us like an unwrapped gift. 

Thank God.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015, (Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015)


Yesterday was pretty great. And a little surreal. I went to a book signing for My Pink Champagne Life (available here) in my hometown. And I finally felt authorish.

Holding my finished book in my hand for the first time was so cool. Making the first sale to a long time friend was amazing. Showing my parents that my weird artsy fartsy lifestyle wasn’t in vain was freaking awesome. But if I’m honest with myself, I haven’t felt too much like an author.

I still have my day job. I’m still trying to find time to write this blog with four kids underfoot, much less work on my next project. My kids, frankly, aren’t terribly impressed with Mama’s book since they write books all the time. My three year old showed me her book and said I should write a better book like hers because it had pictures in it. She may be onto something.

I grew up in the middle of farm country. Where, if you drive thirty seconds any direction out of town you would be surrounded by wheat fields. The town itself has two stop lights and sports still reign supreme. It was tiny by any standards but when I lived there, it was my whole world. I didn’t need anything beyond its borders. My friends, my family and everything I loved was contained within its small radius.

On my drive back this weekend, the memories came flooding back. Every turn reminded me of some moment from my past. And then I had the sudden epiphany that I had only lived in my hometown for six years. 

Six years?

Why did I still consider it my hometown? I’ve lived other places much longer. It dawned on me that from sixth grade through when I graduated high school were some of my best, hard, wonderful, life-shaping years. And the town I called home was instrumental in shaping me. 

From the moment my family moved there, the town embraced us and adopted us as ones of theirs. Even though we were new. Outsiders. And even though my parents were so embarrassing to me at the time.

There were a whole bunch of people who kept an eye out for me and my siblings. I knew if I got in trouble somewhere in town my parents would know before I rode my bike home. My friends’ parents were authorized to treat me like their kids: put me to work, feed me, ground me, expect me to do my best.

It’s hard to believe six years could make such a difference. But they did. They kept me safe. They broke my heart. They made me try new things. They made me grow and change and start on a path that has led me here. And through the good and bad and ridiculous (judging by the way we wore our bangs back in the day), they planted the seed of the idea that one day I might write a book.

So I went to my hometown for a book signing where former teachers and classmates and friends stopped by, let me hug their necks, and caught me up on their lives. And they bought my book. And asked for my signature.

And said they were proud of me.

Six years. In the scope of my life it’s not much, but in some ways it was everything.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015