Archive | March, 2016

The Up and Down Weekend

24 Mar

To listen along, click here: http://tobtr.com/s/8558331

I’m about to write something I rarely write or even think. This weekend sucked; well, parts of it did. All three of my boys, at two different colleges and one still in high school, had the weekend off for spring break, although one was on his way back to campus from Florida and could only stay for a night or two, but having my boys home at the same time is always a treat. I was invited to a shower, and I hadn’t seen most of the people there for years so it was a great time to catch up. I had dinner with some of my high school friends, two of whom I hadn’t spent time with in about five years. It should have been one of my best weekends in a long time, and in some ways it was, but in other ways, it was the worst weekend I had been through because my husband and I are out of sync. It hurts to type that, but it’s true. It happens now and then and we both hate it, but I’ve learned that we can come through it stronger when we both let go of what we think should have happened and move on with a new plan and a renewed spirit. The monkey wrench in the works this week is that I’m preparing for Easter and he’s out of town. We can’t look each other in the eye and hold hands and hug it out like we usually do. What we’re left with is email and texts and phone calls that can only happen after work because he is on site and can’t just casually disappear for an hour at lunch. I’ve been grousing about is all day in my head, and I have been to some pretty ugly and dark corners. Part of me wants to forgive everything and just go on pretending everything will be fine, but the wiser part of me knows that we need to talk this one out because if we just let it slide, it will keep happening until we address the real issues. What are the real issues? I think that depends on which one of us you talk to. From his perspective, he feels like he is trying to do everything that he can to make me happy. He just wants me to tell him what to do, and he will do it. He assures me that as I come close to finishing my next book and creating a coaching program that he and the boys will step up and do whatever needs to be done, and I am hopeful that they will do exactly what he promises, until Saturday happened.

Admittedly, I made most of the mess that I left in the kitchen, but my husband assured me that he would take care of the dishes. I also left a load of whites in the dryer and asked him to get them out, and he assured me he would take care of that as well. He also had planned to work in the basement because Easter is early, and we host 40-60 people, and if it’s cold and rainy, we need somewhere to put everyone, including the basement. I’ve been asking since December for my guys to clean up the basement. I’ve done pretty much as much as I can on my own and need their input and muscle to get the rest of the basement usable and safe for younger children. All four of my guys are wood workers and we have a decent set of power tools and machines to make their projects easier. Did I mention I’ve been asking since December for 15 minutes per week? On Saturday, it wasn’t finished, not even close, and I had done most of it. My husband had golf plans on Sunday and was leaving town on Monday, not returning until Wednesday, after garbage had been picked up for the week. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but since we fill the garbage can on Easter Sunday, its best if we don’t fill it beforehand. So, on Saturday evening, when I got home, there were clean dishes in the dishwasher, but the table was still a mess with dirty ones. The laundry was out of the dryer but was still in the basket unfolded, and the basement was still far from being finished. I was hurt. I was angry, and I felt betrayed.

That might sound like a strong reaction to one day, but as I thought about it, I realized it was the symptom of a much bigger issue between my husband and me. When I wrote my first book, we both had to face so many fears. What should have taken a few months ended up taking two years. This time it’s taken me a much shorter time to finish a book, but I’m also creating a coaching course to go along with the book. It’s a much bigger endeavor, and it requires so much more of my time and effort. I am in a constant battle of what needs my attention most: my home, my family or my work. I have worked for twenty years to have a family and home I’m proud of, but I am feeling called to do this work. My family is very encouraging and tells me often that they will be happy to step up, but we’ve gotten into an unhealthy pattern. I ask, and they ignore me until I scream, yell or become so angry, they look at me like I’m a lunatic and figure they better comply before I go completely mental. I’ve been aware of it for years with my children, and for the most part, we’ve gotten passed it. I actually tell them that I would really appreciate it if they would comply before I turn into a raving lunatic, and they get the message. It isn’t threatening; it’s just a realization that doing what’s being asked is easier on all of us, especially since I take great steps to give an appropriate amount of time to do the task and make the task reasonable. If it doesn’t happen, though, at some point you have to call the person out or do it yourself. That’s when things went wrong for us this weekend. I called my husband out when we were both tired and under-slept, so neither of us was in a reasonable mood, the evening ended badly, and the next day didn’t go well either. Now, he’s hundreds of miles away.

This morning I read a blog post of a fellow mom blogger, and it’s amazing how reading someone else’s perspective can change yours. Her blog post, Nest Stress, http://shalavee.com/nest-stress/ got to me in a strange way. When I read her post, I realized we were having our own version of nest stress, and we have to be careful not to knock over the rocking nest. It has rocked before and it will probably rock again, but right now we’re trying to steady the wobble so we can enjoy this week of spring break and get ready for Easter with less and less stress. That was goal three months ago and is still the goal today; make progress and enjoy the process as much as possible. Today my kids pitched in, on order from their dad. We made progress. I don’t know how much they enjoyed it, but I think they’re proud of what we accomplished. I’m slowly on the mend from this weekend and I hope my husband is too. I wish he was here so we could work this out. I wish it wasn’t so exhausting. I wish I had a magic wand that could make it all happen without effort, but it’s bringing clarity to so many things that I may yet find a blessing and a miracle somewhere in the mess. My husband has apologized by email. I haven’t yet replied because this blog post will be my reply. I’ll get his input, and perhaps post a follow up before I even post the original. Perhaps this blog post will never see the light of day other than in his inbox, but I felt compelled to write about it to process my own anger and frustration and figure out the next best steps to take. I want to finish the book. I want to make my family proud. I want my family to step up, and I want us all to have the best spring break and Easter possible. As an eternal optimist, I believe that can happen, and being that it’s Holy Week, I can think of no better time for a miracle. So that’s what’s happening in my corner of the world. I hope your weekend was better than mine, and I hope we all have an amazing Easter weekend however we choose to celebrate or not.

Postscript – The hubs and I talked and more importantly, we listened. Isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but it’s better, much better. We are moving forward with a better understanding of each other, where we think our lives are headed and what got us out of sync in the first place. I am grateful for a man who is willing to listen and to talk and for a blog post that helped me get passed my own nest stress. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

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Creative Declarations and Adventures

10 Mar

To listen along, click here: http://tobtr.com/s/8431725

I have shared before that there are two questions that are directing my life right now. Those questions are about what I want out of life and who I want to be. What I want includes writing, traveling, improving our home, paying off said home, being an awesome wife and mother, assisting our children with graduating from college debt free, helping those in need, particularly mothers and changing the world for the better in every way I can. It all sounds so lofty and wonderful and while there is so much going on that is sending my life in that direction, it amazes me how sometimes the simplest things can throw me off. In my case, it was dog barf this week. I will be using the term barf because most of the other terms make my stomach churn. I struggle with barf of all kinds, but dog barf really messes with me, and I was almost undone earlier this week because we bathed our dog on Sunday afternoon and she barfed in her crate Sunday night and sat in it. It smelled up our entire house. Blech! We cleaned it up and cleaned her up but the smell stuck around. It seemed like no matter what we did the smell just wouldn’t go away. We wiped the dog down with wet cloths. We brushed her thoroughly. We even gave her a second bath, and tonight she’ll have her third because nothing else is working. Entirely too much of my week has been taken up with trying to make my dog smell better, but it is kind of a metaphor for my life right now too.

Recently, I declared what I want in a big way. The coach who created the creativity bootcamp challenged us to declare huge, but to beware because once the genie was out of the bottle, amazing things were going to happen. She was right. I sit here exhausted as I write this blog post because I’ve committed to writing it for the radio show this week. The intentions to do everything right and well are there, but things keep showing up and changing the process. Sometimes they stink and sometimes they are blessings, but there is an exhaustion factor that keeps growing and even my normal amount of sleep isn’t quite enough. There are two kinds of exhaustion in my mind; the kind that results from soul sucking endeavors and the kind that stretch you so far, you think you might break, but you know deep down inside you’re really becoming a better version of yourself. I am currently experiencing the latter. I declared in boot camp that I want to publish multiple books this year. What I didn’t make public is that I know there are marketing strategies beyond publishing, especially in nonfiction, that lead to income generation. That part that has always tripped me up. I believe in the words that I am inspired to write. I believe the information I share will help others. I have this problem with making money from it, and I’m finding that other creatives do too. Most of us create because it’s part of who we are, and we struggle to understand the best way to put a price on what we do. As a writer I have much less in supplies than painters, but we put in the same hours. We can both mass produce our work through publishers and prints, but what is that initial investment worth? That is such a tricky question, so often we satisfy ourselves with an occasional kudo or book sale and wonder if we will ever see the success others have seen, hopefully before we pass from this Earth. Then occasionally something wonderful happens. In our bootcamp, one of the writer/poets got incredibly inspired and began entering her work into several contests, and she was chosen among many to have one of her poems featured in an upcoming publication. In addition, she was asked to attend an event and read her poem in person in Ireland in just a few weeks, and she’s going. To me, that is like winning the writing lottery, and it is inspiring me to keep going and keep working. I think several of the others in our group feel the same way. We are inspired to write more, to paint more, to create more and to put ourselves out in the world through our creations like never before. Like our fearless leader shared, though, the magic of the declaration began to bring one opportunity after another, and it can be overwhelming. My inbox is overflowing with them. They’re popping up on my Facebook feed. I’m reading about them in articles. Some are beyond me creatively and fiscally, but most are exactly what I need to move forward. There are free seminars and those are so easy to say yes to. Then there are the opportunities that ask you to take a leap of faith and invest in yourself, your learning and allow yourself to be blessed afterward. I have more than one of those opportunities right now and it is like standing on the edge of a cliff because I don’t know if I’m going to fly or fall to the rocks below.

The thing is that I’ve sort of been here before when I published my first book, and I wasn’t ready. I shied away from so much. I don’t know how much more ready I am now, but I do have more of one thing and that is faith. I’ve seen so many times in the past couple of years how the Divine has opened the way when I thought there wasn’t one or led me away from situations that were not healthy and led me directly to situations that helped me develop a clear vision of what I’m on this Earth to do and who I’m supposed to be. I am so grateful for the vision and for those moments that have challenged that vision because they helped me to know what is right for me. I love helping people create a better life. I love helping people figure out what to do to improve their lives on a daily basis. I love laughing and having fun and look for both in every day. I am still first and foremost committed to my family. Most of what I do is worked around them and for now, that works for me. My husband has assured me that he can hold down the fort if I need to step away for anything, and I believe he will, but I’m happiest with my family, and I will take every opportunity to spend time with them before they leave the nest.

Lately, not one day has looked like I intended it to look, but they’ve all turned out just fine. Even the dog barf is merely an annoyance. My family is happy and healthy. I find many blessings in each day and know the challenges are there to help me see the blessings. I feel more aligned with my Divine plan than ever and it feels so good. I’ve signed up for some training that will stretch me even further, but I’m also finding that as I move toward the life I feel I should be living, life is falling into place. Yes, I have doubts and fears that pop up, but faith is winning out and it seems that when faith wins out, the results are always better. Faith doesn’t mean that things always work out, but faith has me asking what I can learn from every situation rather than asking why something is happening to me. Faith is seeing how time seems to expand when you’re doing what the Divine has inspired you to do, and every day seems to be exactly what you need it to be even when it isn’t what you intended it to be. That might sound a bit crazy, but it seems to be the life I’m leading right now and I’m having more fun with it than I ever imagined. I encourage everyone to ask themselves who they are supposed to be and let the Divine lead them to their next best place. It won’t look like mine, but I’m betting it will look just like it’s supposed to for them, and trust me, the journey is a hoot. So, I’m off to keep trying to figure out this adventure we call life knowing every time I think I have it figured out, the game changes just a bit. It’s kind of like playing Twister. You never get to stay in one place very long, but the moving around can be filled with challenge and giggles galore and it is completely worth the risk of making the declarations in the first place. Wishing you a fun filled adventure full of amazing declarations until we meet again. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

Divine Whispers and Bricks

3 Mar

To listen along click here: Some days I feel like the Divine whispers to me, and I need to be still to listen. Some days I feel like the Divine hits me upside the head with a brick. I medita…

Source: Divine Whispers and Bricks

Divine Whispers and Bricks

3 Mar
Our newly painted kitchen

Our newly painted kitchen

 

To listen along click here: http://tobtr.com/s/8347969

Some days I feel like the Divine whispers to me, and I need to be still to listen. Some days I feel like the Divine hits me upside the head with a brick. I meditate to hear the whispers, and I am sometimes surprised by the bricks that accompany the whispers. The other day was a combination of whispers and bricks that leaves me laughing at myself and humanity in general.

Unless you are brand new to the blog, you know that I’ve been involved in a creativity bootcamp that ran the entire month of February. My goal was to finish a manuscript for one of the books I’m writing. I didn’t make it. I’m much closer than I was at the beginning of the month, but life got in the way, sort of. You see, I was excited to see that I had nothing on the schedule for the last weekend of the month. Friday through Sunday was wide open so I could spend as much time as I wanted writing, and life happened. My sister in law, who teaches Physical Education at a small private school asked me to help her teach volleyball on Friday. I’ve played, coached and/or been an official the sport for nearly forty years, so I know the game well. I said yes. Then, my oldest son decided to visit for the weekend. He will be graduating college in December and has recently gotten engaged, so I know our time with him is limited and I welcome every moment we get to spend with him. It was not the weekend I planned, but I figured it was the one the Divine wanted me to have, so I decided I would write early and move on with the day after that. On Friday morning, I felt awful and chose to lay down for a bit to see if I could shake whatever was making me feel ill. I felt great when I woke up but didn’t have time to write before I had to be out the door. By the time I came home, I had to pick up my youngest from school, and I was exhausted and no writing happened.

Saturday, I woke up and thought I would get plenty of writing accomplished before we headed to church in the afternoon, but apparently the Divine had other ideas for my day. My husband woke up with the idea of finishing the marathon painting of the kitchen that had been going on. I’ve been painting the kitchen ever so slowly (taking over a month because I found out I needed to paint the trim as well as the walls), and I was to a point where I really needed help to pull out appliances and do a few other jobs to keep the job moving along. My husband detests painting, so it was shocking to see him be so motivated. I’m sure he was sick of seeing our kitchen torn up and the cabinet doors missing. Those details don’t bother me much, but they get to him. I wish I could tell you I was thrilled for the help and we worked swimmingly together, but that wasn’t the case. He is a very detail oriented person. I am a big picture girl. We are a great team most of the time, but we did not start off that way Saturday morning. I was resentful that he “high jacked” my morning, although I never told him that I had planned to write all day. I felt like he was silently commenting on the fact that I wasn’t moving fast enough on the painting of the kitchen, although he never said anything to confirm that. I felt judged and angry and overwhelmed, and frankly, I was not hiding it well. I went to the basement to take a breath and walk away from the situation and just think. Why was this upsetting me so? Why was working with him such a struggle? After a few minutes, my husband came downstairs to check on me. I admitted that I was struggling, and I didn’t know why, but just being willing to admit that seemed to soften the situation. We talked about what each of us was doing that was irritating the other, and we worked the rest of the day without issue. It wasn’t until Sunday morning while meditating that the cosmic brick came flying.

It has been said that prayer is when you talk to the Divine and meditation is when the Divine talks to you. I made a goal at the beginning of the month to finish a manuscript and paint the kitchen. I knew I wasn’t going to finish the manuscript and was disappointed with myself. I am not the greatest at finishing tasks, so I was feeling particularly upset with myself that I had failed once again. Within minutes of feeling that way, my husband began talking about painting the kitchen and being able to work together to finish the painting by the end of the weekend. I was so focused on my failure to finish the manuscript that I totally missed the blessing in front of me. Here was this man who detested painting offering up his day to help me, and I was resisting the help. It wasn’t until the next morning, while meditating, that I realized what a beautiful gift I’d been given. The kitchen is now finished. I love the color. I love the progress, but most of all; I love that man for putting up with his grouchy wife when she couldn’t see the miracle and blessing she was receiving until later. We’ve talked about it, by the way, and he thought it was hilarious because he really couldn’t pinpoint why he felt so motivated to help me and now playfully blames me and the Divine for inspiring to do something he normally does not like doing.

The irony is that everywhere I look these days I seem to see things that say to receive a miracle, you have to be willing to receive it, but miracles don’t always look like we think they will. We have this idea that if we get a miracle, we get everything we want. I am finding that miracles and blessings don’t work that way. Sometimes, miracles and blessings come disguised as work or heartache. Sometimes it’s only when we look back that we can see them for what they truly are; at least that’s the case for me. When I was getting divorced from my first husband, it didn’t feel like a blessing, but it led me to the life I have now, so it surely was one. When my dad was dying of cancer, it didn’t feel like a miracle, but we healed a lifetime of hurts and pain and when he passed I could let him go with love rather than regret. When my father in law was passing from cancer no one thought it could be a blessing but knowing that each of us had the opportunity to tell him what he meant to us and in my case, to thank him for loving me and my children and for raising such a fine father for them is one of my most cherished memories. Each one of these things ended up being such a blessing in my life eventually, but it didn’t always feel like it while I was going through it.

This time when I realized the blessing I was receiving, I had laundry in the washer and the dryer that needed attention. I had half of a kitchen painted. I was still in my pajamas because that is one of the perks of being a writer. You don’t have to get dressed to go to the office, especially when you get hit by a Divine brick on a Sunday morning. I now have a kitchen that is painted and thrills me when I look at it. I love the color. I love that there is less clutter, but most of all, I love that it will constantly remind me of the blessings and miracles that happen in life even when we are not aware of them. I’m still wishing for, praying for and working on being open to miracles and blessings. I hope for my husband’s sake that I get better at recognizing them when they show up, especially with him as the delivery system, but even if I don’t, I’ll figure it out eventually and be as grateful when I do as I am for those I have already figured out. I would wish you all the same miracles and blessings, but I know we don’t all wish for the same things. Instead, I’ll wish that each of you finds your best life, your best path and the best miracles and blessings for your life. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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