Up From Splat

From SPLAT to SPECTACULAR: How To Get Back Up When Life Slams You Down


If you’ve ever suffered a setback, loss, failure, or disappointment (and who hasn’t?), you’re in the right place.  If you’re perfect and everything always works out great for you, congratulations, and please move on.

This is a site about turning the downs in life into springboards to the ups in life.  It’s about finding power in the low points and creating more and more high points. It’s about focus.  It’s about triumph.

Most important, this site is about YOU.  It’s about looking away from whatever you think you’re lacking and instead putting your attention on your best qualities.  It’s about being happy with the you that you are now and where you are now and using what you have now to create something better … and better … and better.

Self-proclaimed Royalty

Everyone needs to be the queen or king of something, the happy monarch of some small … or large … dynasty.  Me?  I’m the Queen of Splat.

Ande with duck and ande with tim1 AboutI’m also the Queen of Wags.

“Wags” has two meanings.  First,  it means I’m the monarch of the tiny realm of the Waggener household

… or at least that’s what my dog Ducky thinks,

and it’s what my husband, Tim, (smart man that he is) tells me.

Second, it means that I know how to find the giggles, the fun, and the gift in every seemingly cruddy situation or big fat (and I mean that partly literally) challenge.

I’m all over SPLAT.  I have amassed more rejection, failures, disappointments, set backs, and dark-night-of-the-soul-type slams than I can begin to count.

And you may be wondering why I’m crowing about that.  You’d think I’d want to keep that to myself.

Here’s the thing, though:  I’m proud of my splats.  Well, it’s not the splats themselves that I’m proud of.  It’s the willingness to risk, the putting myself out there, the going for it, that I happily claim.

The Highs

Before you think I’m just a big loser and chronic tilter at windmills, let me share a few of my triumphs before I tell you more about the splats.  Because some of my risks have paid off.  And sometimes, when I went for it, I got it without any hassle at all.

In school, I did great.  I graduated from my high school class in Virginia with a 4.0 average.  Not many setbacks there.  I got into a great college—The College of William and Mary, and I did well.

I got married right after graduation.  My new husband, Brad, and I entered the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and I graduated in the top 15 percent of the class.  I got a clerkship with an appellate court judge, a prestigious job for new law school graduates, in Tacoma, Washington. Brad joined a large law firm.

We bought our first house when we were 25.  We upgraded to a big, beautiful house 7 years later.  We were gloriously financially secure.

When I was 30, I “retired” from my law career.  After clerking, I had taught legal writing at University of Puget Sound Law School, and I enjoyed it, but I had always wanted to be a writer, and after Brad went through a long, severe medical crisis (splat), I decided I didn’t want to put off going after my dream.

I started learning to write fiction, and I wrote short stories.  I sold the first one I wrote to Teen Magazine. I wrote poetry, essays, and I started a novel.

Fast forward a decade or so.  Brad is no longer in the picture, but I have moved to the Washington State coast, and I live in a small beach-town—Ocean Shores.  I have a cozy custom home nestled among fir and hemlock trees near the ocean.  My Springer spaniel, Muggins, walk on the beach daily.  Life is good.

Ande and Tim1 225x300 AboutThen it gets better.  I marry my wonderful husband Tim.

Over the next few years, my short stories, essays, and poetry appeared in various magazines.  For five years, I wrote a weekly column, “The Up Beat” for a daily Washington State newspaper.  I then wrote and had three books published:  

–Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise—52 Life-Changing Lessons for the Twenty-first Century, (Hazelden 2005)—a self help nonfiction book;

–Alternate Beauty, (Bantam 2005)—a novel

Dog Parenting— How to Have an Outrageously Happy, Well-adjusted Canine (Adams Media Corp 2006)—a nonfiction book on dogs.

The Lows

Through all of the above triumphs, I had my share of splats:

  • Brad’s illness
  • My food addiction
  • My severe depression (diagnosed bipolar II manic depressive)
  • Brad’s and my divorce
  • Hundreds of rejections of my stories, essays, and poetry
  • And even once I achieved the beach lifestyle I’d always wanted, the splats kept coming:
  • Getting in a verbally abusive relationship
  • A second divorce
  • Another lousy relationship
  • Relationship break-up
  • Gaining a hundred pounds

But about five years ago, the splats came faster and hit harder:

  • Tim fell and suffered a head injury that wiped away 99 percent of his lifetime memories (including any memory of our past)
  • Regaining the hundred pounds I’d lost and adding another 60 above that
  • Suffering a freak fall that breaks my right ankle in two places, breaks my right leg and tears up the soft tissue in my left ankle so I’m totally bedridden for 6 weeks (there’s nothing like a bedpan to spice up a marriage)
  • Ending up with permanent damage from the fall so that I now can’t walk normally
  • Facing severe financial crisis as a result of all of the above
  • The death of my beloved dog, Muggins, at the age of 17
  • Going through bankruptcy

I’m just skimming the surface here, but you get the idea.  I’m all over splats.  But every one of those splats (with the exception of Tim’s and my falls), came from being in action, from moving toward something important to me.  I may have failed, but at least I LIVED.

I’ve gone through health splats, money splats, people (relationship) splats, spirit (mental and emotional) splats, and work splats.  Along the way, I have discovered some outstanding resources that have helped me get back up from splat.  In fact, when I don’t get back up—when I wallow for awhile—it’s always because I’m stubbornly refusing to use the resources I know work.

I wallowed for a bit.  Now I’m done with that.

Going Up

My latest and biggest splats have inspired me to get moving again.  And the journey I’m undertaking to go from Splat to Spectacular is one I’m chronicling here.

As I dig up my old tools and techniques and apply them, I’ll share my process and my progress.  I’ll let you know what is helping and what isn’t.

Even though I’ve had my share of splats, I have a whole lot to be thankful for too.  I still live in a lovely custom home nestled in the trees near the ocean.  I share my life with my loving husband, Tim, and my awesome one-year old Springer Spaniel, Ducky.

Daddy and ducky About

I get to do so many things that I love:  walk on the beach daily, beach comb for glass balls and agates and other treasures, play Scrabble with Tim, watch the rain, read great books, draw, play the piano, sing, take long baths, and of course, write.

Life is good and getting better.

Will You Join Me On The Ride Up?

I hope you’ll share in this journey from Splat to Spectacular.  I invite you to be a part of the merry band I’m creating here—a committed group of people who know that sometimes the biggest triumphs come after the hardest falls and who are ready to take a supersonic ride on their desires, a ride that will lead right to those triumphs.

What you’re going to find here isn’t generic self-improvement information.  You’re going to find real, usable, how-to ideas, offered in a fun way by someone who has been through BIG SPLATS.

I’m no self-proclaimed guru or “expert.”  I’m just a woman who has found, in the midst of the splats, self-acceptance, self-esteem, confidence, and happiness—all of which add up to POWER–and who is using that power to create a better and better life everyday.  Think of me less as a teacher and more as an eager playmate who wants to help you have a FUN life.

My purpose here is to lead a conga line of encouragement, perception shifts, vibrational alignment, thought focus, and practical resources in a Spectacular Shindig of success.

I’m not perfect, and if you’re still reading this, neither are you (because I sent you away at the beginning if you were perfect, and if you’re still reading, you don’t listen, so you’re not perfect after all).  So we can all start where we are, RIGHT WHERE WE ARE—too fat, too short, too shy, too depressed, too broke, too uneducated, too discouraged.  We can TAKE WHAT WE HAVE NOW, even if we don’t have enough—not enough money, not enough beauty, not enough smarts, not enough contacts, not enough humor, not enough confidence–and use it to craft a life that LIGHTS US UP!

No matter how “imperfect” you are, you are everything you need to be.  And you can get from where you are to where you want to be.  I’m here to help you do that.

If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, any questions, or any suggestions, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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  • About

    I'm Ande Waggener, and I'm on a journey from Splat to Spectacular. I invite you to come along with me.


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