Archive | July, 2016

A Slice of My Life

28 Jul

What a week this has been. On Sunday, our aging dog, Jessie, began making a crazy noise while she eats. We know she’s at the end of her time with us. We can see her going downhill, so we took her to the vet on Monday, and the vet confirmed what we’ve been preparing for. It’s time to let her go and do her the service of allowing it to be painless and quick. We have an appointment on Saturday morning to say goodbye to our sweet, furry friend. As much as I know it’s time, I find myself tearing up at the most normal of times. I’m aware of how few times there will be to feed her, to scratch her behind her ear when I tell her goodnight and to have her sit at my feet when I sit on the sofa in our living room. As she has aged, Jessie has become a bit of a nag. She seems happiest when I’m sitting, and she is at my feet. She stands in the living room imploring me with those big brown eyes to sit and rest, and with only days left to indulge her, I find myself drawn to that sofa. I am writing this post while sitting there, and I’ve been doing so much paperwork to spend those moments with my furry friend.

On Saturday, we have an appointment to have my son’s car looked at. It was hit a month ago and since he can only be here on the weekends when he isn’t working, we are very limited to the time we can go to the claims center. My son and husband are in a golf outing in memory of my father in law that afternoon, and I’ll be joining them for dinner with at least 20 of our family members. The thing about life is that life goes on. We have moments that feel like it has stopped, but it never does. The best we can do is savor the good moments and let go of the bad. This week, I’m savoring the feel of my puppy’s fur. I’m watching her sleep like I watched my children when they were little. I tell her she will be able to rest soon, and I’m more emotional about it than I thought I would be, but there is a grace for me in this process. It keeps me from getting overly emotional about politics. It keeps me from being overly critical of myself for moving slower than I would like on the book.

Last week I posted about having more fun, and last weekend I had a blast. I drove 5 hours to Chattanooga to meet two online friends and attend part of a writer’s conference. Then, the following evening, I drove back home. It was a whirlwind and a joy. It was just the kind of fun I’ve been looking for and just the kind of memories that help you get through a week like this that is more challenging. So many people think badly of social media, but I met both of these kindred spirits online. We have nothing in common and yet we have everything in common. We come from different parts of the country. We come from different political backgrounds, a dicey area right now in the US. We have different lifestyles from a traditional mom to a mom who raised her only child while working full time to choosing not to have children. In some ways we shouldn’t be friends, but here’s the joy of it; we all write. One is a published poet who is a force of nature who draws people like a moth to a flame. One is a fiction writer with a keen eye for understanding and creating character. One is a blogger who writes about life. We have the same fears and yet admire each other. We had a fantastic time just being together, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve also joined a blogging group and a WordPress group, and I’m learning there is so much more to learn. I’m also learning that every step is leading me to something else. It might be another gathering or a workshop or a weekend in Chattanooga, but it’s exciting and fun and it’s chasing a dream of writing for a living, even though I’m not sure what form that will take. I’ve written books and enjoyed that. I blog and enjoy that. I’ve begun making videos, and I enjoy that. I’m even working with my future daughter in love and enjoying that. No, that’s not a typo. It’s a phrase I heard years ago and one I like very much. This week has had and will have moments that are challenging and not enjoyable but I find that if I sail with the wind rather than against it, life flows more smoothly. So I’m setting my sails to catch as much wind as I can, and I’ll be sailing along the best I can, and some weeks that’s the best you can do. I wish you a week of smooth sailing and as always, thank you for being you and have a great day.

Fun is Not Frivolous

21 Jul

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for?” Well, I have and a while back I asked the Universe which direction I should go next in my life. By next, I mean as my children are growing and I am needed less and less on a daily basis. I don’t want to be that person who sits around waiting for life to happen. I want to be living my best possible life and making a positive difference in this world, but for someone like me, it has to be fun too. I’ve had the most fun job I could ever imagine for the past 22+ years. On my worst days, I thought about changing places with my friends with paying jobs. I thought about my husband getting to leave and not think about things, but in reality, I knew I would never be happier than I was at home raising my kids. My husband has always said that his worst day of golf was better than his best day at the office. I feel that way about the job I’ve had for the past two decades, but that job is coming to an end, and I am feeling pulled to contribute to the world differently, so I’ve been stepping out, and it has been eye opening.

There is so much to learn, and as I learn, I realize how much more there is to learn, and there are moments of overwhelm when I wonder if it would be easier to retreat to what I know. On the other hand, there are the people I’ve met. They are such a diverse group, and I’m thrilled by what I’m learning from and about them, and I hope they’re learning a thing or two from me as well. We’re meeting over lunch to talk about writing. We’re meeting at Rec Centers to talk social media. We’re meeting at businesses to talk about blogs and how to use WordPress in ways I didn’t even know existed. See what I mean? It just keeps growing, but the thing I love is that every meeting and get together seems to lead to something new. I’ve found that people are so willing to help others and share avenues to success. This isn’t the business world I left in the early 1990’s, and I love it.

This weekend, I’m off on a new adventure. I’m meeting two members of an online creativity salon I’m part of at a writer’s conference. One is a poet who was recently published in the book Love is Love, an Anthology of Poetry for the Orlando shooting victims. The other is a writer who inspires me and others in our salon with her wit and authenticity. At one point, I thought about not going because I felt like an ant among giants, but I’ve stepped out like this before and the results are always beyond my expectations. I also remember so many saying that people coming to the end of their lives regret the things they didn’t do more than those they did, and I don’t want to be one of those people. I may not travel around the world, although I might. I may never write a best-selling novel, although I might. I may not make enough money to support myself with my blog, my books, my speaking, although I might. This weekend, though, I can drive a few hours to meet some kindred spirits so we can get to know one another in person and encourage each other to keep going. That sounds like a fun way to spend a couple of days. I know it might be a different experience for them, but for me, that sounds heavenly.

So who knows what you might see in this blog over the next few months. I’m moving forward on the Happiest Holidays book and have a Facebook page if you would like to follow the countdown to publication. We’re at 75 days from today, and I’m shooting video footage for future YouTube videos while I test recipes. I’m looking for recipes that make the journey simple and more fun and that nearly anyone can master. I’m learning more and more about the business or writing and blogging, and I’m having so much fun in the process. Fun helps me progress. Fun helps me learn, and for me, that fun is the best part of this journey right now. I hope you’re having fun in your life, and if not, I challenge you to find some because on your very worst days, a bit of fun can be the difference between living well and feeling like you’re not living at all. I could go on and on, but for some reason, this feels like the place to stop today. I wish you a great day, a better weekend and as much fun as you can incorporate into your life. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

May I Have This Dance?

2 Jul

Recently, I attended the wedding of my best friend’s son. I’m not sure where else this might happen, but in our part of the country, there is a moment in most receptions that the DJ or singer for the band asks for all married couples to come to the dance floor for a dance. During the dance, the couples are asked to leave the floor depending upon how long they’ve been married. Of course, the newlyweds are the first to vacate the floor, and then the rest of the couples are called out at various intervals. At this particular wedding, the dance floor was filled with married couples. A few couples left at 5, 10, 15 and 20 years, but when my husband and I left the dance floor when they called for everyone under 25 years to leave, over half of the couples were still left. Several left after 30, 35, 40 and 45 years were called, but there were still four couples left after 50 years. The final couple, who also happened to be the grandparents of the groom, has been married 58 years.

I couldn’t help but think what great role models for marriage this young couple has. Then I thought about all the people in this world who don’t have role models like this. I happen to be one of them. My parents said they loved each other, but they didn’t get along. I was born 10 months after my parents married, and I never remember feeling like they were a happy couple. Yes, they had their happy moments, but I never felt like theirs was a marriage that I wanted to emulate. Unfortunately, I did. My first marriage was very much like my parents’ marriage. We could never quite sync up. I felt abused and like I could never be good enough. It wasn’t until I was told I was no longer attractive at 5 ft. 7 in. and 140 pounds that I realized my marriage was in trouble. A week later, after I had lost seven pounds, my then husband commented how good a friend of mine looked because she looked like she had lost weight. I was devastated. I had done the very thing he’d asked me to do, and he didn’t even notice. That was when I knew my marriage was over, and although it might sound like a small thing, it was the culmination of too many small things over several years, and it was time for me to move on. I knew I would never be good enough no matter what I did. It took some weeks of counseling to work up the courage to leave, but I did it. I tell this story because I married again, and it has been wonderful for 23 years. I know what it is to be in the wrong marriage, and I fault no one for walking away from an unhealthy relationship, but to be at a wedding with that many people still married after all that time seemed extraordinary to me. I don’t know all of their stories, but I do know the stories of the grandparents who were the last ones dancing. I know they are older than they look, which is amazing to me because I know they were children in Eastern Europe during World War II. I know their stories, and although they are not mine to tell, I will share that no child should have to live through what either of them did. The most incredible fact, though, is that they have lived a beautiful life since. They raised three boys. They have traveled, and they still volunteer. They are such an inspiration to me, and I find it difficult to complain about my own life whenever I think of them as children.

In some way, they are the reason I am sitting at the keyboard today because this could be a week of self-pity. This week we found out our son needs surgery. For most it would be no big deal, but this is a person for whom a broken bone or needing stitches or even getting the flu can be life threatening. It adds stress, but life is always filled with choices. I could sit on the couch eating chips and/or ice cream while I think about how unfair life is, or I could do something productive that will help me feel better at the end of the day. I chose the latter. I started with calling in an accident claim because someone hit my son’s car this weekend. The good news is that no one was in the car when it was hit and the person who hit him came to the door to tell me. It is inconvenient, but it will be fairly simple to fix and then we can move on with minimal inconvenience. There is so much I could be doing, like every other person I know. I could work in the yard. I could clean the house. I could do laundry, but instead I am sitting at the keyboard because it helps me think and helps me clear my head.

Lately, I have been facing some of the emotional demons that come with setting new goals. I know some people don’t set them because they don’t want to be disappointed. I know some people find it difficult to get started; some find it difficult to follow through, and some get so scared of both failing and succeeding that they shut down from the overwhelm. I’ve experienced every single one of these, but I’ve learned with each goal, that the journey is always worth it. It can be harrowing some days and blissful on others. I’ve found that when we align with our highest purpose, life seems to open up in ways we never expected. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have challenges, but the challenges don’t derail you as much. You realize that no one became successful without some challenges. Nearly everyone knows about someone who overcame great obstacles to be successful. The list is endless; Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Jim Carrey, Steve Jobs and the list goes on. Now, I don’t aspire to have the kind of fame any of those people have, but I do want to make a significant impact with my life. Parenting is one of the ways I’ve made a contribution, and I truly want to help others make that same type of contribution as well. I also want to keep writing books and teaching courses, so I have to keep growing and writing and learning so that I can help others. It’s scary to keep stepping out of my comfort zone, and some days it’s downright frustrating, but those steps out of the comfort zone are helping me to become the person I aspire to be, although I mess it up frequently.

Yes, I mess up. I let days go by without writing or working on any of the other creative endeavors I’ve started. I get frustrated with myself or my family members, and sometimes I react badly rather than respond like the calm, cool and collected person I aspire to be. Some days the undone housework calls louder than the creativity, and sometimes the events of life do the same. This weekend, though, I realized that I have 100 days until my next book launch. It is a schedule that can change a bit, but there is so much to do between now and then. I’m working with a team of amazing people, but most of the work has to come from me. I recently joined a writer’s accountability group, and I’m excited to learn from them. I belong to a private creativity salon, and I am delighted and inspired by them daily. I have goals and dreams beyond anything I could have dreamed when I was younger, but I also have moments that stop me in my tracks, and I am reminded that this journey we call life is rarely a straight line. It is filled with hills and valleys and twists and turns and just when we think we’ve got it figured out, it feels like someone changes the rules. So what’s a girl to do? Well, today I’m putting one foot in front of the other and choosing to do what will make me feel better at the end of the day. I’m choosing to work my way through a to-do list that will make life better. I also put the kettle on and had a lovely cup of tea. It didn’t fix everything, but some days you just do the best you can. Right now doing my best means taking extra care to eat healthier, walk daily and get adequate sleep so that I can write most days and still keep up with the rest of my life. Our tentative date to launch a book about having an easier holiday season is October 4th. I’ll be starting a Facebook group for that soon with a working title of Happiest Holidays with a countdown and lots of extras along the way. Next Thursday, I’m due to debut my online course called Mom Mastery. It’s a four week course designed to help moms create a more peaceful and stress free life, so there’s much to do, and I’m loving life as much as possible while I am helping others to do the same. It’s a life I love and one I wouldn’t trade for anything. I hope you’ll come along and join in the fun wherever it suits you, and if none of it does, I hope you’ll continue to hang out with me here. If you know my life, you know it’s rarely boring, and my motto is almost always, the more the merrier. For those in the US, have a spectacular holiday weekend. For those in other parts of the world, I still wish you a wonderful weekend. It just won’t be quite as long as ours. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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