Archive | April, 2016

Thanking Mothers and Others

14 Apr

Love Letters to Mom Day (1)Some days the words flow out of me and I am in awe of how the Divine works. Other days, I completely understand Ernest Hemingway when he said that writing was nothing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Although we’re on keyboards and screens these days, the idea is the same. Some days the words fly, and some days you wrestle them to the ground. Today I felt like I was on the losing end of that wrestling match. Maybe it’s because I have a task associated with my writing, which is rarely the case. On Thursday May 5th I’ll be launching a book titled, Everyday Heroes of Motherhood, Love Letters to Extraordinary Moms. The book is a celebration of motherhood in its many forms, traditional and nontraditional. On that same day, I am calling on everyone to participate in Love Letters to Mom Day, a day that will celebrate great mothering moments whether it came from the woman who gave you birth, direction, belief or love. The roles of mothers are more diverse now than ever. Some women work full time. Some work part time. Women raise children alone by choice and by chance and some raise children they didn’t give birth to . Some mother in traditional ways and some use a screen, and so many have been mothered beautifully by those who would never even call themselves a mother at all.

I’ve been working with a coach and a team to help me bring this book to market. If you ever want to write and self-publish a book, I highly recommend Bestseller in a Weekend and the Publish to Profit follow up program. I love the energy of the writing and the coaching group. I love the idea of Love Letters to Mom Day. I love the sometimes hilariously crazy ideas they have given me for all of the other marketing, but when I sat down at the keyboard to bring it to all of you, it came out stilted and stupid. It sounded like a bad infomercial. Crap! Then I realized I was trying to sell the idea of the day and the book, and that isn’t what it’s about at all. I’ve been a letter writer all my life. I send letters to encourage, to comfort and to let people know what they mean to me. I especially love sending them when they aren’t expected, and I used to wonder whether they meant anything to the recipient until one day, a former coach of one of my children showed me a tattered envelope in the back of his planner with a letter I had written several years before to thank him for being a great coach and a great role model. He told me that he looked at that letter whenever he needed encouragement and to remember that some parents did appreciate what he did as a coach and as a role model to his athletes. I understood at that moment that those words mattered; not the words themselves, but the meaning behind them. It wasn’t about being eloquent. It was about speaking from the heart, and that’s what I want Love Letters Day to be. I want those who need it and those who deserve it to get some recognition. I want people to write to that teacher, that friend, that family member who did something that changed you for the better to know how much it meant to you, especially if you never told them. Don’t know where to send them? We are hoping to work with local and national media to share this idea, so maybe your letter will reach the recipient that way. Maybe we’ll launch another book with those letters in them. I have no idea where this idea is going to take me, but I am excited to share the letters I’ve written to some amazing moms and even more excited to send my letter to a woman who helped make this day possible. I only wish I could be there when she reads it, so join me friends, and I’ll let you know what other shenanigans we’ll be getting up to on May 5th and the days leading up to it. I’m getting out of my comfort zone in a way I never have before to make this all happen, including creating the artwork for this blog post, so who knows what could happen? I certainly don’t, but I can hardly wait to find out. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day!

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When Life Calls

7 Apr

follow_your_dreamsSome years just seem to float by. You’re in what I call cruising mode. Life is pretty routine and that can be a great thing. I had those years when my boys were younger. We were doing the sports thing and the music thing and having a wonderful time being a family. Since 2012, life has been different. Life has involved lots of change and that can be a pretty great thing too. In 2012, my oldest son graduated from high school and began his college journey. Because he attends The Ohio State University, we have been treated to watching a Big Ten conference championship live in Indianapolis. We have spent New Year’s in New Orleans to watch the first playoff game in NCAA college football history live. My middle son graduated high school and began his college career, and my youngest son has started high school, gotten his first job and will be driving soon. My husband has traveled for business all over the country, including a six month stint in Dallas when he could only come home for two days every other week; nothing like a military wife but difficult nonetheless. I’ve spent most of that time keeping everything running smoothly at home, and I’ve loved most of it. No job was ever as fulfilling for me as being a wife and mom. I know that isn’t the case for everyone, but it has been for me. Even the thought of having a job was stressful, until recently.

As my youngest son began high school, I had more time on my hands. I thought I might be ready to do what so many of the women I knew had done and get a job to help with college costs, but nothing sparked my interest. Some people might say, just pick something, but at my age, I know myself well. I get bored easily with jobs that don’t interest me. I’ve taken jobs hoping I could work my way into other positions, and it never ended well. After learning about my son’s ADHD, I understand why things happened the way they did, but I didn’t want to get a job only to change jobs every two to three years for the rest of my life. I knew with the empty nest coming soon, I wanted to do something, but I was struggling with which way to go. I always admired women who could apply for a job as an administrative assistant, teacher’s aide, food service worker or retail worker and be happy doing that for years and years. I’ve done most of those jobs, and after a year or two, I wanted to tear my hair out. The routine of it was maddening. I wanted variety, and those jobs, although every day was different, didn’t do it for me. For a long time I thought something was truly wrong with me. Why couldn’t I just be like everyone else? That thought makes me chuckle now because raising my children has taught me something very meaningful about people. Everyone has different needs, and those needs are neither good nor bad, they just are. Some people thrive with constant routine. It gives them a sense of power and purpose to be able to count on their days being basically the same. Other people need variety and differing levels of excitement, and we need all of those people in this world.

The people who thrive on routine keep the world in order. The people who thrive on variety keep the world growing and changing. Both are necessary for our survival. The routine people keep the variety people grounded, and the variety people inspire the routine lovers to grow. I admire the routine people and have even adopted a few routines of my own, but at heart, I’m in the variety camp. If I could pay someone to do the routine things for me, I would. I have a friend who is incredibly wealthy and the only thing of hers I have ever coveted is the woman she pays to come to her home every day and keep it in order. Someday, I plan to pay someone to do that for me, although, having to create routines of my own has been a great learning experience. For me, the idea of a routine used to bring out the rebel in me. I didn’t want to do the boring cleaning, laundry and dishes. I didn’t see the point until I visited a few houses where those things didn’t get done and I realized I did not want to live that way either. Some people watch an episode of Hoarders and think their house looks ok. I watch an episode of Hoarders and want to get rid of everything. The key is balance, and I’ve found a way to do that. I spend a minimum of 15 minutes each day on house upkeep and more time when I have it to keep our home in order so I can move on to other, more fun things for me to do. Errands are not a problem for me. They get me out among people and that always makes me happy, but routines come first or they won’t get done. If I have to be out early, that isn’t a problem anymore because I can miss a day or two without anyone noticing, but daily attention is a beautiful thing because it frees me to have a life. It may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. It means no marathon cleaning days on Saturday or Sunday. It means I can have family time without guilt about all the things I “should” be doing. It took a while to get here, but here is a great place, and it set me up to answer the Divine calling I believe is the direction I’m headed next.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I write every day. I have published one book. I blog. I journal, and recently, I have written another manuscript that I will be sending to my business coach later today. I hesitated to write that I had a coach helping me because it sounded pretentious at first, but here’s what I’ve learned about experts and coaches. I self-published my first book. I took a course that helped me with the writing and organization of the book and it was fantastic. I could have invested more money in the process and paid professionals to edit my manuscript, create my book cover and help me market the end product. I chose to do it myself which took much longer because I didn’t have most of the skill sets needed to do it quickly. I made less money and less of an impact because I didn’t understand current marketing and how to bring a book to market successfully. I’m still proud of what I accomplished and still love that first book, but this time I’m paying the professionals to do the things they do well. I feel like part of a team, and I feel like the team is invested in my success. For a writer, that is new and often unusual. We are used to doing things on our own, sometimes feeling adrift from humanity. It’s a life some embrace but not me. I like this team effort, and I’m excited to see this book come to life. The tentative launch date is May 5th, just in time for Mother’s Day and since this book is a love letter to many of the mothers I’ve known, that suits me just fine.

I’ve also answered another Divine call on my life, and that one is proving to be more challenging. I have wanted to be a speaker for a long time. I know, most people are terrified of speaking in front of people. I find it energizing. I want to encourage women, particularly stressed and overwhelmed moms and help them live the life of their dreams. I’ve been doing that for many years, and it is the best way to live. Recently, I was given the opportunity to participate in a course that will help me design a system to help those moms. The course will help me put the knowledge I have in a cohesive format that can help others. What could be better than that, right? Well, here’s what I know about trying new things. It can be scary, and I admit that working with yet another coach and creating this system is stretching me in ways I hadn’t imagined. I am having to dig deep, but I’m also learning that so many of the people in the course have the same fears and resistance I do. So many of us grew up being told what we couldn’t do rather than being encouraged to see what we could. Now, in our 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond, we are breaking out of old patterns to follow our dreams. The support is incredible and the attendees are helpful and amazing, but I was still feeling afraid to charge for what I had been giving away for free for so long. I was wondering why anyone would pay for me to teach them this until one woman asked a beautiful question. She asked if I believed in my content, and I do. Everything I talk about has changed my life for the better, and she suggested that I let my faith in the content be my guide and merely allow myself to be the delivery system. Have you ever had a moment when everything becomes radically clear and it feels like the Universe is speaking directly to you? I had that moment, and every time I feel like I’m headed back to that place of fear and resistance, I remember that revelation and I hang onto it as tightly as I can. I’m behind on the course, but it doesn’t matter. I’m not as seasoned as some of the other participants, but that means nothing. I’m relatively unknown, but who cares? I believe in the content because I know how powerful it can be, and I am also beginning to embrace the idea that the Divine doesn’t call the qualified. The Divine qualifies the called.

I am being called, and it is a huge adventure, but it is also a call to walk my talk. I’m using my time better. I’m making every day count. I wake up each day ready for the new and exciting things I’m going to learn. I’m living every day fully, and I am falling into bed delightfully exhausted every night. It gets scary now and then, but there’s a team to help me out when I don’t know how to proceed with the book or the course. There’s a tribe or two online that will help me out when my confidence is low, and there is a family inside my four walls when I need some extra love. Finally, there is the Divine team that fuels all of them and me, and I am most grateful for that Divine call, guidance and love. Being a wife and mother has been the most amazingly beautiful journey I could have asked for, and now I’m being called to help others have the same experience. It feels huge some days, and I’m not sure I’m up to it, but I keep moving forward. I keep answering the call, and occasionally, I call back and ask for help, sometimes really big help, and it always comes because that’s the other thing I figured out. Not only does life call on you to step it up, but that conversation is not one sided. Call back and ask for the help. Ask for what you need. Believe the Divine can and will give it to you and then be willing to receive. Change your mind and change your life. What an amazing idea, and it works! I hope you’ll try it. I hope you get everything you desire, and I hope you make the world a better place because of it. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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