The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Monday, November 21, 2016

Welcome Gus Rhew!

Forever, people have been asking me and Deek when we will have a baby. Well, the answer to that is "we won't," but we did something neither of us expected to do. We rescued a puppy! Both Deek and I consider ourselves cat people, but somehow, this little dog wiggled his way into our hearts.

Meet Gus Rhew:

Deek and I have been talking about getting a dog for about a month, and we recently discovered a great local rescue. So, we decided to fill out the paperwork on Friday, and we expected the process to take about a week. To our surprise, they called us later that morning and said they'd love for us to come out and take a look at their available dogs...THAT day. We had plans to go to the local tree lighting ceremony but decided to forgo it to go meet our potential pup.

Don't worry, we still went to see the tree. ;) 

Now, we had very specific requirements. We wanted a small, portable dog because we plan on taking him with us a lot. We wanted one who could deal with our active life but also switch gears and enjoy chillin' when we had our relax days. And we also wanted an older dog, one we didn't really have to train. Personally, I wanted a fluffy girl dog, but I was willing to bend on that for the sake of personality.

When we arrived, they showed us the dog they thought would match our specifications--Alana. She'd recently given birth to a litter of ADORBS puppies. Her foster mom said over and over how much she was the "perfect" dog. But she just didn't jive for us. Something didn't connect. 


The moment we arrived, Deek's attention had been snagged by a little bitty pup named Gus. Deek pointed out how incredibly cute and sweet Gus was, but we felt like we needed to give Alana our full attention. After about a half an hour, we still didn't feel connected to Alana, and we decided not to take her. While I was over talking to a "dog matchmaker" about that, Deek pulled Gus out of his pen. When I came back, I found a five pound bundle of adorable all snuggled up in Deek's arms. 

My heart squeezes at how incredibly cute he is!

Gus didn't fit several items on our criteria. He was not fluffy, he was a boy, and he was only six months old. But he had the personality. He's totally zen and laid back like Deek. I mean, he can get playful and fun (also like Deek), but his main personality type is chill. We fell in love with him right away--even though he'd never lived in someone's home, walked on a leash, or been crate trained/housebroken. His little heart spoke to ours, and we knew we'd found our dog. 

As we went through the adoption process, several employees and volunteers stopped by to say goodbye to Gus. They talked about how sweet he is and how incredibly smart. They said they were glad such an awesome boy had found his fur-ever home.

We brought out precious baby home, and he's fitting right into our lives. He's exactly what we asked for--social and outgoing when we are and relaxed when we are. He rolls with life like a champ. Even though he'd never walked on a leash before, he prances along beside us as proud as punch. And he fell into a schedule right away. We couldn't be happier with our choice! 

Dobby ears!

Now, his "real" name isn't Gus anymore. We changed it when we left the shelter. But we've decided to give him a pen name like us, so we'll refer to him as Gus Rhew from now on. :) It's an homage to the shelter who saved his life.

I know many of you are is Trinity dealing with the arrival of baby Gus? Well, this pic is from three years ago, but it pretty much captures her expression when he bounded through the door.

Trinna's "WUT?" look

She's the most flexible cat in the world--hence how we've traveled with her across the country...twice--so she's rolling with Gus' arrival. I think it helps that she outweighs him by double. It allows her to lord over him like the queen bee that she is. LOL!

And though we missed the tree lighting, we stopped by to see the tree later, with our new buddy.

Here we are with Gus in front of the tree. 
Is he not the cutest little thing in his sweater? It was COLD!


THIS is happiness right here, folks. 
I adore this man beyond words!

So, in addition to our literary cat, we now have a literary dog! Stay tuned for more pics and videos of both Trinity and Gus in the future! Until next time...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Winter Is Coming and Other Rhew Updates

Winter is coming. <cries> I am a summer girl through and through. Give me the beach and warm sunshine any day. But alas, until Deek and I start our vagabond life and move to warm places in the winter, I'm stuck being frozen. <cries again>

How we survive winter--big coats, warm hats, and coffee!!

Be prepared to see lots of pics of me in hats because keeping warm is more important to me than cute hair. <cries> Winter...

Also, my pal Jessica Calla released a new book today: She Runs Away. It's the second in the Sheridan Hall series. Let me tell you, Jess really has her finger on the pulse of the NA romance market. You'll love her writing style and characters. Keep reading for more info on She Runs Away!!

Trinna just HAD to get her paws on a copy!

Physical therapy: 

So, Deek told you I've recently started physical therapy to heal the damage done to me in a previous relationship. You can read Deek's account, of watching a survivor struggle, here and my account about being a survivor here.

When I went to the doctor to talk about lingering pain I have from my time in an abusive relationship, I wanted a solution to fix it. The doctor ran tons of tests and handed me a piece of paper: undeniable, irrefutable proof, in black-and-white, of the abuse I'd suffered. And while it was affirming to see a tangible representation of the truths I'd spoken, it wasn't a solution. But sadly, all the doctors had to offer me was that proof; they said my pain would just be a "quality of life" issue.

Well, that didn't jive with me, so I did what I am freakishly good at doing: research.

And I discovered many people had found real solutions to these problems in physical therapy. Again, I researched and found an office in my area that specializes in my type of situation. I called and told them about my pain, about who and what caused it, and asked if they thought they could help. And to my immense relief, they said they could.

On the first day I met with my physical therapist, she said given my history of being abused, I'd need a very specialized treatment program. She ran some tests and affirmed--as the doctors had--that abuse had caused my pain. BUT she disagreed with the docs about it being simply a "quality of life" issue. She saw no reason why I couldn't completely reverse the damage, even the bad ones done to certain nerves!! She explained it like this: My nerves had been damaged, and my muscles had grown accustomed to being constantly tense, constantly "on alert" and ready to protect my body. And even though I've been safe for years, my muscles and nerves don't know how to undo what they've learned. So, we're teaching them. And as the muscles stop preparing for attack, the damage to the nerves will heal. We have to get my body out of protection mode and into healing mode.

Deek comes with me to my physical therapy sessions, and the therapist teaches him things he can do to help me at home. I am beyond blessed to have such a supportive partner throughout this process. My therapist says she's never seen an individual so prepared--yay, research--and a couple so committed to working together to tackle this problem. She said she knew from day one I would succeed in this endeavor because of it.

After only a few visits, I've already seen a marked reduction in pain. I will beat this. I will be victorious. With Deek by my side, as always. Stay tuned for the day when I proclaim: I am pain free!!

Team Tenacious tackles all problems...together. Boom!


So, Deek and I celebrated another anniversary! We spent the weekend together: chilling, talking, eating, and getting a massage. I love how we both value time together rather than money spent. It's all about the time, my friends. 

Gosh, I epically adore this man!!!

Ready for massages

But first, some fries...

We always eat at Wendy's for lunch on our anniversaries because it's the first meal we shared together when we met in person.

Couple's massage...ahhhhhh.

Then we may have lived it up in a less relaxing location! LOL!

In Bookish News:

We got celebratory coffee after talking to the biggest local retailer about carrying our books!!

Deek got some super amazing, incredibly exciting book news, but we can't share the deets yet!

My friend and coworker, Jessica Calla, released her second book. It's soooooo good!

About She Runs Away

After tragedy strikes New Jersey University's Sheridan Hall, freshman quarterback Ben Riley’s stable, normal life is turned upside down. Sidelined from playing the game he loves and on the verge of losing his scholarship, Ben wants nothing more than to escape the chaos of college and return home to rural Pennsylvania and his family.

Yet, there is something that keeps him from running. Or someone. A cute blonde he had a chance with but blew off for all the wrong reasons.

Megan Smith has secrets. Secrets that have burned her in the past. Secrets she’s unwilling to share with anyone at Sheridan Hall—especially Ben, her sexy, rough around the edges floormate who broke her heart in a matter of days after moving into Sheridan. Meg decided early on that it’s easier to live life on her own than to share her secrets and let people in.

Meg runs and Ben follows, but sooner or later the clock on their chance at love will expire. With inner demons dragging them both down, they must find a way to stop running and trust one another, or risk losing their perfectly-matched love forever.

This is Jess. Ain't she cute??

And Other Randomness:

Deek and I had the opportunity to go learn about falconry this past weekend. I'm a big history buff and proponent of the "never stop learning" ideal, so we went. We learned a ton about birds of prey and even got to pet a fluffy owl and touch a hawk's talons!!

We froze our buns off but learned a lot of fascinating things!

Annabelle the barn owl

Christmas is coming!!!

Nerding it up with my hat and glasses.

Trinna Baby wants to be part of the hand holding. Be still my heart!

Sometimes, we just can't be serious... ;) 

Until next time, be a beacon of light and love in the world. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Anniversary Time!

It's that time of year again!! The anniversary of our first (aka: Pacific Northwest) wedding!! YAY!! Be sure to check out Deek's post about it here.


After my last blog post, many of you contacted me to talk about your own situations. So I feel the need to speak to you again--the abused, the alone, the heartbroken--about second chances. About finding your happy again after sadness. Of course, I want to speak to and celebrate my beloved husband, but I also want to show you the joy that can exist on the other side of pain.

Play this song while you read my post...

I could not ask for more than Deek. 
He's everything I ever wanted, needed, desired, or dreamed and #always!

I am SOOOO excited to be celebrating another wonderful year of marriage to my best friend and the man of my dreams -- Deek Rhew!! 

Another AMAZEBALLS year of marriage!

At times like this, I often think back to the beginning. Deek and I had both, thankfully, gotten ourselves out of terrible relationships. I talked about mine in this blog post, and one day, when the time is right, Deek will talk about his. But suffice to say, we had both come out with emotional baggage, and we'd both vowed never to be in relationships again. I'd been planning to be the perpetual, eternal cat lady, and he'd been planning, for years and years, to backpack alone through Europe. It's kind of amazing when I think back to that time because neither of us knew a life and love like this existed in the world--neither of us believed it could.

I never would have believed I could be so happy!

Now, of course, we knew each other during this period because we were critique partners. We'd even spoken a few times on the phone about his project, when he didn't understand my editorial notes and called for clarification. But since we'd come out of terrible relationships with major battle scars, we'd never really thought of each other "in that way."

I remember it so clearly. I was editing 122 Rules, and I came to a letter Tracy wrote to Sam. When I read it, I felt the character's pain. I mean, I really felt it. I choked up. So, I made a note on the manuscript to say how much it had impacted me and how it sounded like something from his own personal experience. And he responded to say it definitely had its roots in personal experience. We traded war stories about our past relationships. It started out more as a friendly commiseration. He told me all the awful things his ex had done, and I told him all about my horrific experiences.

I love his smile, and I'm so glad I get to see it often.
His friends told me he didn't smile much before he met me, 
so they loved how much he flashed his big ole grin after we got together.

But over time, something shifted. We started talking more--about ourselves, about our dreams, about our flaws, our hopes, our fears. And what had started out as a critique partnership grew into a friendship. And then that friendship grew into love. We talked on FaceTime every night for 4-5 hours for months and months before we ever met one another in person. My dad says our relationship developed like old-fashioned courting. We didn't have the distractions of a modern romance, so all we could do was talk. And we did. We told each other everything. We even had this running joke where we'd reveal our faults and hashtag it #JustSosYaKnow.

Looking off into the great unknown of a future and feeling excited/thankful I have Deek to walk it with me! 

When we decided to give dating a try, we each came to the table with a list. Given our pasts, there were certain things we HAD to have in a relationship and certain things we REFUSED to have. We agreed that if the lists didn't match for some reason, we'd stay friends but not pursue a relationship. Guess what? Our lists matched perfectly. Like I'd been made for him, and he'd been made for me.


At that time, I didn't believe in the concept of soulmates, but I tell you what, I do now. There is no one else on this earth but Deek who could have unfrozen my heart and made me believe in love again. He always jokes that I never would have made it as the cat lady because men would be lining up to be with me, but I always say 1) that's not true 2) it doesn't matter because no one else ever had a chance. No one but Deek could have restored my faith in men, love, and relationships. 

I always gaze up on him this way. 
I always think couldn't adore him more if I tried, yet every day, I do somehow...

I'm so glad I took a chance. And I'm so glad that he took a chance. We were both hurt, bruised souls who had shunned the idea of love, but somehow, somehow, we found our way to one another. And friends, my life has been one amazing day followed by another. Deek is truly my soulmate in every way. We match up on every core value, and our wants, desires, needs, and dreams line up like they were made to go together. I honestly believed men like him only existed in stories, as the figment of someone's imagination. But I'm beyond thankful that he's dream come true (and then some).

Holding hands through life, now and always

Before, when I imagined my future, I dreaded the prospect of more years like the ones I'd been living. But now, when I imagine my future, it's so bright I need sunglasses. I wake up excited to spend another day with Deek, and I go to sleep wrapped in his arms, more content that I ever knew possible.

From our anniversary last year!

So, if you've been hurt by bad relationships, I encourage you to remain hopeful. Don't let the sins of others harden your heart against the possibility of love and happiness in the future. Learn from the past (so as not to repeat it) and charge ahead. Never stop believing that there is joy out there for you to claim!

Thank you for taking a chance with me, Deek. Thank you for being the incredible man you are, and thank you for loving me in the most epic way ever. I love and adore you, and I'm honored to be your wife.

Happy Anniversary, my love! Here's to a lifetime of more (and then some)! #Always

I'm not sure he could be more swoony!! 

Our Year In Review

Deek and I attended our first NBA game.

Celebrated Deek's birthday

Celebrated Christmas with the Portland tree lighting

Spent a lot of time laughing

Saw the new Star Wars and Star Trek movies because we're nerds in love!

Got cool bookish gifts for one another at Christmas

Kissed on New Year. Deek had never been kissed on New Year until he met me!

Celebrated book releases!

Did book signings

And comic cons, where we met new friends like Dango Nu Yen from The Walking Dead and Roanoke.

 Spent time at warm and cold beaches

Celebrated the anniversary for our second, Southern wedding!

We're weird in that we celebrate anniversaries with tattoos! LOL!

Said goodbye to the Pacific Northwest

Moved across the country...again.

Moved into a new place

Ate yummy Southern food

Went on crazy adventures

Got the courage to speak the truth about the past and help support those in similar situations.

Deek voted for the first time at an actual polling station (since the PNW does mail-in voting).

And enjoyed being together