Monday, August 25, 2014

Lesson Learned

The bend it the road turned out to be just that and not at all something to fear. Even though I'm all in one piece, I feel I am forever changed because of it.  I now know the power of prayer unlike I have ever experienced before in my life.

I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time -- waking and sleeping. It does not change God -- it changes me.
C.S. Lewis

I don't know if praying made God make my problem go away or if it was never really there in the first place  --- only God knows that for sure --- but I do know I was changed because of praying.  Praying gave me perspective. It helped me redirect my thoughts from the fear of the unknown. Praying gave me peace.

Prayer has always been a part of my life, but I have never experienced it's greatest gift until now.  I saw a quote last week that really hit home.  I wish I could find it again and give credit where credit is due but it went something like this---

It's only when we face a trial empty-handed and make it through,  that we realize it was all God's doing.

I now know the truth of those words.  I had nothing but God took care of everything and I pray I never forget that lesson.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Curve Ahead

I like to think that I am a pretty easy going person. I don't get upset when plans change. I try to just go with the flow. When I am faced with something I have never experienced before I try not to let worry get the best of me.  I trust that the bends in the road are just opportunities for new adventure.

Most of the time I am that person, but today is not one of those days.


I am facing a great big "curve ahead" sign and I would be lying if I didn't say it's got me nervous.  Without going into detail, I'll just say it is requiring a huge amount of trust in God.  I know that no matter what lies ahead, God is already there.  I know all that, but sometimes I still forget.  Sometimes I still give into to the what-ifs.  Sometimes I still worry and that's where I am today. Just being honest here:)

I am not without hope, however. I know that even if things don't go according to plan (my plan anyway), it will be alright. I know that He will walk beside me just as He always has, giving me the strength to get through this crazy ride that is my life. Even though my spirit is uneasy today, I know in my heart that no matter what happens --- I will be OK. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Favorite Day



“What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet
"My favorite day," said Pooh
A.A. Milne

Do you have a favorite day of the week? Many moons ago when I worked outside the home, I loved Fridays. When the clocked struck five, I was free until Monday. Free to have fun. Free to satisfy a bit of the wanderlust in my soul. Free to stay up late or sleep in. Free to be me.

Now that I am home full-time, I don't get that sense of freedom in quite the same way anymore. I am on the clock 24/7 around here :)  I'll admit there are days where I long for that Friday Feeling once more. It's then that I remind myself what I have now is even better. Staying at home and homeschooling my littles gives me the freedom to make any day a "Friday" if I want to.  

Being a stay at home Mama Hen also gives me the perfect excuse to have fun. My chicks are always game for a bit of silliness and game-playing. This is actually one thing I would like to do a little more often than I do. I have been letting all the seriousness of being a grown up get in the way lately.  Note to self:  Loosen up already and act childish once in a while --- your heart will love you for it and so will your kids!

Now that I am no longer tied to a desk during the week, road trips aren't just for weekends anymore. Sunny day? How about a field trip, Chicklets? And who says meals have to be eaten at the kitchen table? My crew knows every park and roadside picnic table within a 50 mile radius --- maybe even 100 miles. I love that because he works from home,  most days I can count on The Geek to join me on my mid-day quest to just go somewhere ... anywhere. We leave our cares behind for a few stolen moments and run an errand or two --- some real, some imaginary, but all necessary for my sanity nonetheless.

I have never been a morning person. I like to stay up late and lose myself in a good book or movie on TV until the wee hours. While I was doing the 9 to 5 gig, I had to save that for Friday and Saturday nights only or I'd pay dearly when the alarm clock went off. Now I can stay up late almost any time I want. No more 5 a.m. wake up calls for me --- especially with littles that are long past needing early morning feedings or diaper changes. And if I'm a little tired from staying up past my bedtime? I can squeeze in an afternoon cat nap without worrying about the boss finding me asleep at my desk.

I think what I like best about my days now are that they are mostly mine to choose what I want to do with. Granted there are many things I have no control over. Taking care of things around the house, the kiddos and my mama takes up a lot of my waking hours, but I still get to choose (for the most part) when and how I spend my time and that makes just about every day my favorite day of the week.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Counting My Blessings


AWESOME things come to those who focus on the positive, recognize the blessings, find the humor and never give up! 
Comic Strip Mama

Recently a friend challenged me to find at least three things to be thankful for over the course of five days (Thank you, Kitty!).  I am on Day Three and truthfully it has been a piece of cake so far.  From blue skies to fresh corn on the cob, I haven't had trouble finding something deserving of gratitude and today was no exception. 

Earlier this year I enrolled Boo (aka The Munchkin) in a self esteem building workshop series put on by and organization called A Beautiful Me.  It was here that I met A Beautiful Me's founder, Karen Palka (please check out her wonderful organization here.)  She is a true Godsend to my life and it was through her that I was blessed with the opportunity to write a guest blog post for a feature called "52 Real Women" on the Entirely Women page at WGRT.com  My article was posted without fanfare yesterday, but today it "hit" Facebook and I have received many encouraging comments.  I wrote from the heart about something I felt would resonate with women and I think I was right.

As I have said in the past, I have never been one who enjoys drawing attention to myself.  Sitting on the sidelines, quietly observing the world around me has always been more my style.  I also have worked hard to not rely on others to make me feel worthwhile.  As a child of God, I try to always remember where my true worth lies.  That said, sharing my work with others and having them praise it has been a thrill and definitely one of the blessings in my life today.  

Thank you to those who took the time to read my story and thank you to those who stopped by my little home on the web.  I am thankful for each and everyone of you.  Whether our paths cross often or if this is a one time shot, I pray that you too will "focus on the positive, recognize the blessings, find the humor and never give up!” 

This is it folks.  This is your "real" life --- there are no do-overs:)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wake Up!

I took a bit of a blog break.  Not sure if anyone out there noticed. It wasn't intentional, but I think it was needed.  My creative well had grown a bit dry and writing was losing its oomph. Nothing like a little living to get the creative juices flowing again.  

I won't make any promises about the frequency of my posts, lest I disappoint my many fans --- all two of you:)  --- but I will say I will try to post at least once a week.  I'm sure some weeks I'll be more prolific and others I might be lucky to get one post up --- hey, I'm only human:)

One thing I gained from my time away from the keyboard (not sure how it ended up being close to six months!) is a better understanding of my priorities.  Taking time to identify the things that matter most to me has helped me to focus more on the things that energize rather than drain me.  

“What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big, juicy creative life…of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  It’s going to break your heart.  Don’t let this happen.”
Anne Lamott 

I am fast approaching a "big" birthday next year and it's been sort of a wakeup call for me. My littles are growing up faster than ever and soon the first one will be leaving the nest.  Being intentional about the time I spend with them has become a top priority.  I have wasted a lot of days and hours I can't get back on the stuff that doesn't matter. Learning to say "no" to things is hard for a people pleaser like me, but there is no other option.

Up until recently, I tended to live life quietly on the sidelines --- bogged down with worry and what ifs --- but no more.  Slowly I have begun making an effort to put myself "out there" a bit more. I have been making friends and trying things I might have avoided in the past.  It's been scary and way out of my comfort zone, but there is no denying the payoff has been worth it.

The bottom line is I am still a work in progress and I will be until I leave this crazy world.  My prayer is that the best is yet to come and living life "out loud" doing those things that bring me and my family joy will make my next fifty years the icing on the cake.




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Music Speaks Louder than Words

I love words.  The number of quotes I have "collected" over the years is immense. Journals, notebooks and my computer are full of inspiring messages I have found meaningful along the way. Many times I have come across a quote that says exactly what I need to hear just when I need to hear it.

The same holds true for songs, possibly even more so. It's uncanny how often a song will come on the radio and share a message that I need to hear right at that very moment. My playlist is full of songs that hold special meaning to me. Some remind me of where I've been, some relate to where I am at the moment and some point to where I need to go. 

I might be able to live without a lot of things, but music isn't one of them.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Where I Should Be

The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment;  if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment.
Wellen Calcott

am not by nature a person who is envious of the lives of others.  I would like to say I am above it, but that would be a stretch.  I think a lot of my lack of envy as of late is because I am so caught up in the crazy spinning wheel that is my life.  I have little time to do more than hang on for dear life and hope I make it through the day without dropping too many spinning plates. 

Contentment is accepting what God has given us, and, by his strength, making the most of it.
C.J. Jackson

In calmer times I must admit I have felt my share of discontentment.  I have bookmarks in my Bible marking well worn pages with highlighted verses directing me to be content with what I have.  I have scores of quotes that speak to me about gratefulness.  I even "force" myself to blog each November in order to reinforce an attitude of gratitude lest I let discontent take up residence in my heart.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

So whether its because I am too busy to care or because I make a conscious effort to live a life of contentment, I  blessedly rarely have to experience pangs of jealousy.  That is why a recent bout with the green eyed monster left me floundering a bit.

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy.
Never underestimate that.
Oliver Stone

I have been plugging away on this little blog for a while now --- hard to believe it has been three plus years. I have done very little to increase readership of my musings.  That is by choice at this point in time.  My real life leaves little time for self promotion.  I have been so bogged down with the minutia of daily living that I haven't even taken the time to share much about the fact that two of my stories have been published. (Can I get a woo hoo?) Only a few people know I have penned and illustrated a children's book, won awards for poetry and short stories and have begun to write a novel.  I have kept my accomplishments pretty much under the rug  --- as a result of circumstance and choice.

I don't live in a vacuum.  I read lots of mommy blogs and see their readerships soaring ever higher.  I see them get book contracts and endorsements. I am happy for them and their deserved success.  I have told myself it's all good.  I say I don't have that because of choices I am making and I comfortable with it.  And I was until ...

Until someone I know personally began to experience writing success.  Her first blog post received 149 likes on Facebook and garnered tons of complimentary comments.  I wish I could say my first thought was "Good  for her!" but it wasn't.  Then I heard she had written a children's book that is set to be published soon.  Did I say a prayer for her success? Not even close.  I ignored the fact that she had put the time in to promote her blog.  I ignored the fact that her Facebook friends outnumber mine by the hundreds and that she puts in a lot of time and effort reading and commenting on others postings.  I ignored the fact that she had secured a professional illustrator for her manuscript and had done the "legwork" necessary to get her book in the hands of a publisher.  I ignored all of her sweat equity she had put into her success and instead threw a pity party for one.  I let envy into my heart and began to feel the stirrings of discontent.  I was jealous and it wasn't pretty.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own.
Harold Coffin

Thankfully I have a Heavenly Father that met me in that dark ugly place and brought me back into the light through the words of my beloved.  My sweet man steered me quickly off that path of self-pity and said a prayer over me asking God to fill my heart with humility and contentment.  He reminded me of all that I have to be grateful for and pointed out all the successes I have had as a writer.  He told me that I am exactly where God wants me right now doing exactly what only I can do --- being the best wife, mother, daughter and friend for those God has placed in my life.   With my love's love, support and prayers I was able to throw off the shackles of jealousy.
  
Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth.  Each of us has something to give that no one else has.
Elizabeth O'Connor

Someday I may enjoy the fruits of a successful writing career.  I may see my work on bookshelves in bookstores and listed on best seller lists.  Or maybe I won't.  But published and acclaimed or not I am a where I need to be as long as my heart is in the right place ...  a place of contentment.