Archive | Spiritua;ity RSS feed for this section

Little Changes and Better Results

22 Sep

Do you remember that I challenged everyone to choose their life this month instead of living by have to, need to, ought to or whatever “should” type phrase you use? Well, I did, and I had to remind myself of that today. Up until this morning, this week has been spectacular. I had been struggling with getting my writing accomplished because it seemed like there were so many more important things to accomplish or better said, I felt like I needed more hours in the day to accomplish them. This week I made a few small tweaks, and I mean small, and the days have been ridiculously more productive and easy. Want to know what those changes were? You may be disappointed by their simplicity.

The first tweak was getting fully dressed to shoes in the morning. Now, I don’t mean looking like I’m ready to conquer the world. I mean simply throwing on some workout clothes and gym shoes. It’s amazing how much more inspired to work I am when the slippers and robe are replaced with workout clothes. I can finish my morning routine in the morning. I have accomplished more by noon the past three days than I had by the end of the day for the past three weeks. I have even managed to take walks that were elusive and missing the past few weeks. The other thing I’ve done is avoid being online until I’ve finished everything I deem important for the day. This one is a bit more difficult for me because I have several groups and mentors online that have helped me so much in my journey toward a better life. I have a group that has helped me get a handle on my home. I have two that have helped me immensely with my writing, one local and one international. I have groups that help me spiritually and I have groups that help me with my parenting. While I know there is a mass of garbage in cyberland, I have found some amazingly positive places, and I love checking in on these I have come to care for deeply. The flip side of that joy, though, is spending more time online than I do offline and sometimes neglecting the things that bring me joy offline. This week I’ve found better balance because the tweaks have made better use of my natural energy flow.

You see, I am a morning person, or at least I’ve become one. When I was younger I would have definitely said I was a night owl. I loved the late night when all was quiet. I felt like I could accomplish more at that time because everyone was out of my way, and on the very rare occasion that I have trouble sleeping, I still love the quiet of the middle of the night and the peace of hearing the rhythmic breathing of those I love most as they sleep. I have found, though, that I have that same energy in the morning when I’m well rested. Imagine that. In a few hours I can write, exercise and keep up with my home and shower and re-dress, but then the afternoon slump comes, and I feel almost powerless to get anything accomplished. Part of the tweaking this week has included making peace with that slump and reframing it as downtime to go through paperwork, run errands, go through emails and/or play online without guilt. The results have been glorious, and I’ve been so happy with the results, until this morning.

This morning I woke up with a feeling of dread because the next three days are extremely busy. I began feeling like I couldn’t do the things I should do because I have to be out of the house earlier than usual, and I began to feel the panic and self-judgment that usually comes along with that stress for me, but I remembered the challenge I had issued, and began to think about what I wanted to accomplish. I realize that tomorrow will depend on what I accomplish today, so I tabled the stress about the next two days for now. I realize that the house is good enough and a shortened morning routine is more than good enough. I know my morning walks have helped me clear my head and get focused on writing, so I chose to take one, although that was shortened too, and I also am choosing to write this blog post because I promised myself to do at least one per week, and I failed to do that last week. I let the overwhelm get to me, and I failed to post. Guess what? We all fail, but this week I chose to approach things differently. This week I chose to act rather than let the overwhelm win. It’s currently 9am in my part of the world, and I am nearly finished with everything I wanted to accomplish before I leave. The only thing left to do is shower, and I will do that as soon as I finish typing. I’m actually going to make it, and that feels so good.

What I’m doing may not change the world, but it does change my part of it for the better. It helps me be a better wife, mom, writer and human being. I helps me focus on how I can change and grow and become a better version of me, and really, isn’t that the best thing any of us can do? Yesterday, I stopped at the grocery store around 6:30pm. A woman still dressed in her business attire was pushing her screaming toddler through the store. The little man desperately wanted to walk, and you could tell the mom was trying to get through the store as quickly as she could. She had her son strapped into the seat of the cart, and he was angry. He screamed at the top of his lungs that he wanted to walk, and she patiently sat him down every time he tried to stand up, but you could see the stress on her face. You could also see the stress on other shoppers’ faces as they looked at her, some in recognition, some in judgment and some in pity, but no one spoke to her. One older man tried to talk with her son, but it didn’t help so he walked away, and at first, so did I. But the longer I listened, the more I remembered what it felt like to be that mom. I remember feeling so isolated and alone when you have a screaming child in a store and everyone is looking at you. I remember feeling like I was hanging on by a thread to my sanity and my patience, and I was trying to be a good parent and still get the damned shopping done, and perhaps I was just failing at all of it. So, I stopped, turned around and looked for that mom. I walked up to her with tears in my eyes and said to her that just in case no one told her today, she was doing a great job, and we both walked away feeling better.

Now I don’t know if anything I have done to improve my life gave me the opportunity to do that, but I do know this: Because I did those things, my home was in order and I had crossed off most of my list which gave me the opportunity to go to the grocery store to buy items, not that I needed, but that I chose to buy to make my mother in law a special treat for her 85th birthday today. Had this been last week or the few before, I probably wouldn’t have attempted it, but because of what I have done, I was there. Because of those changes, the holiday book is closer to being finished. Because of those things, I am sitting her typing and choosing to be at peace rather than worrying about the fact that I “should” be in the shower if I want to leave on time to get to where I choose to be going next. I’ve chosen better. My life is better and for those of you who are not in dire situations where you really and truly have no control over your, I double dog dare you to choose better for yourselves too. It may not change the world, but I bet it changes you for the better in more ways than you can imagine. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

Advertisements

The Happiness Rebellion

8 Sep

You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the craziness going on in the world. In the US, the election alone could send you screaming into the night. There are refugee crises around the globe. Human trafficking is everywhere. Drug use is rampant, especially heroin, the news says. The economy is in danger, as is our health and the list goes on and on. All of this could be and probably is true, but most of it has also been going on for centuries and yet, here we are, struggling with the same issues. What’s a girl to do in such circumstances? In my world, you stay relatively informed, which means getting most of my news online and checking sources outside of my country as well as within because sometimes you get a very different view. It means knowing that the issues exist, and it means doing what I can to help and letting go of the rest.

There are so many issues that one could give attention to. There are injustices and inequalities and poverty and need everywhere, which makes it very easy to be offended, angered and/or afraid, and many people are offended, angry and/or afraid. What if we choose differently? What if we choose to look for the opportunity to do and be good and to live in joy instead of surrendering to the ugly emotions? Don’t get me wrong. There are unpleasant images that will never leave my head from Columbine high school, from the September 11, 2001, from refugees that didn’t make it to Greece alive, but rather than let those images stop me from living, I use them as inspiration. I used Columbine high school to inspire me to become a better parent, to be more loving and patient as a parent, especially in the morning knowing that every time I said goodbye to my children, it could be the last time I see their faces. Am I perfect at it? Hardly, but I try. From 9/11 I’ve learned how important it is to understand those who are different from us. I don’t know as much as I would like to, but I’m working on it and will probably work on that one for the rest of my life. Finally, there is the refugee crisis, and while there are probably many ways I could be helping there, I am helping with issues in my own country with displaced people. Within a few hundred miles of where I live, tornados destroyed property and homes less than a month ago and a few hundred more miles away, the state of Louisiana has seen its worst flooding since Katrina. As I said, there is need everywhere. I help where I can and pray someone else steps up where I can’t. I don’t know if it’s enough, but the fact that my children wonder if we would ever be wealthy even if we won the lottery because I give so much away tells me I might be on the right track.

There was a time in my life I was consumed with anger over the injustices of the world. I was infuriated at those who perpetrated the ugliness and for those who suffered, but at some point I realized that those feelings weren’t doing anyone any good, especially me. I understand that some people use those feelings to spur them on to great action in this world, and I applaud them for that. For myself, I’ve found that getting peaceful and even happy allows me to find better ways to contribute to this world in a positive way and create change. That may sound trite to some, and I admit I hesitated writing this blog because I know so many people think that happy people are uninformed, stupid and/or so privileged they just don’t understand. I’m sure there are situations I’ll never understand because they are unfathomable to me, but there are many more that I do understand, and just because I don’t discuss them doesn’t mean I don’t understand. Some things are meant to be private, at least for now, and they will stay that way. Instead, I’ll share why I decided to finally write this post. It’s because of two books I’m reading.

For the past few months, I’ve picked up the reading habit again, and I am so happy. Every weekday, I set a timer and read for at least fifteen minutes. I just finished a book about healing ADD. I read books about the supernatural, and I’m currently reading the books, Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I usually read one or the other each day, but this morning, for some reason I felt compelled to read both. Now, if you read my blog regularly, you know I have a great love of the Divine. I believe there are messages from the Divine, if we are open to recognizing them, and I feel like I got a big one this morning. I was mulling over whether to share these ideas or not because philosophy of life can be a pretty sticky subject. I decided to read before putting hands to the keyboard, and I began reading Dying to Be Me. One line in particular stuck with me when Ms. Moorjani was talking about how much more powerful she is when she works with life rather than against it, and I feel like that line explains my life so well. I feel like so many people give their power away to others, not willingly or even consciously in some cases and then complain that that they have no control. I used to do that. I blamed my kids for my messy house, my inability to write like I would have liked and my inability to do anything about my weight, and I blamed my husband for his contributions to all of that too. You know what that did for me? It kept me stuck and kept me from taking responsibility for my life. Yes, when you have children in the house, there is more mess, but there are ways to get what you crave. Currently, my friend Shalagh Hogan from Shalavee.com is conducting a 30 day creativity challenge while raising an 11 and 3 year old. I’m not sure I could have managed that when any of mine were three, but it has become a priority for her, and she’s doing it. Because of people like this and someone long ago who issued a challenge to stop complaining for 30 days straight, I learned to begin to take responsibility for my own life and choose to live differently. It’s a very different vibe when you choose to do laundry, clean and cook than when you do it filled with martyrdom. It gets done faster and more efficiently, almost as if by magic.

Speaking of magic, here’s something else. I have loved being creative my entire life, and it was about ten years ago when I began to see creativity in places I never had before. I remember being at a Halloween party for one of my kids and during the craft one of the moms remarked that she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. I laughed because I knew this woman was an accountant, and I asked her if I brought my taxes to her if she could find ways for me to save money and get more back from the government in my refund. Of course she said yes, and I told her I thought that was wildly creative because I couldn’t even begin to imagine how to do that. The one thing I couldn’t reconcile in my own life though was how selfish I felt being creative instead of being employed. I felt like I should be contributing financially to our home, especially when money was tight, and I’m sure my husband would have been happy to have more money coming into the house, but he also gave me the freedom to be exactly who I needed to be. What that meant was that he was happy for me to use my creativity to learn to keep a house the way that worked for me rather than how everyone else did it. It allowed me to make healthy meals on a budget, and it allowed me to be creative with our finances. When I finally let go of the struggle of that, everything improved. I was finally able to get our house and our finances in order and even find time to write. That’s a big part of the message in Big Magic, giving yourself permission to live a creative life. For a while I got caught up in what I should be writing about and being careful not to offend people, and I truly never intend to offend anyone, but authenticity sometimes means you offend people because your truth may not be the same as theirs. It sucks when it happens, but it does happen, and even an apology doesn’t fix it sometimes.

So the question becomes. Do you live your life in full on creative mode or do you censor yourself? While I would love to write things that soothe everyone’s soul, I know that being authentic is my first order of business, and I find I like me much better when I live that way. The days seems to flow better, even the challenging ones, because I have the grace to give myself and others space to be who they need to be. I am much more loving and giving and productive on every level. I feel like I am truly living and truly happy and who doesn’t want to feel that? So, this month I’ve challenged everyone to choose their life rather than let themselves be bullied and pushed by life. We can’t control everything. Some days it feels as if we control nothing, but we can learn to control how we choose to respond and today, that makes me feel incredibly happy. I hope you’ll join in The September Choosing Challenge and find your own happiness revolution. If not, I hope you find authenticity whatever your path may be, and as always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

An Inadequate Mom

18 Aug

There is nothing like the first day of the school year to make you feel inadequate. I see pictures of everyone’s children as they wait for the bus or car pools or are ready to drive off to their first day, and as much as I love them, they make my heart hurt because I have never been that mom. Not once have I ever been prepared enough to have my boys line up and give me their best smile as they head into a new year. We have had a special breakfast here and there. We’ve occasionally had our lunches pre-packed. We’ve had years when I’ve not been hurrying them out of the house so we can beat the rush of the drop off line, but never have we been so ready that we have taken pictures, and sometimes it makes me feel like an inadequate mom.

The first day of school is also when I realize we didn’t have the summer I hoped for. We didn’t have fun every day. We didn’t engage as much as I would have liked. We didn’t travel together like we love to do, and that makes me sad. On the other hand, my oldest son will finish college after this semester without any college loans and my middle will have finished a year and a half without debt as well. My youngest had his best year so far in school last year, which gives me hope for this year. We’re planning a wedding for my oldest and not only do I love his fiancée, but I also love her family. I also happen to like my other sons’ girlfriends as well, and nothing makes me happier than having them all in my home, laughing and having fun. I wish it would happen more often, but I’ll take what I can get. This week, they all go back to school except my oldest son’s fiancée. She is working full time and is also helping me with my next book about the holidays, which I hope to have published in about 45 days. Will we make it? I don’t know, but I’m giving it my best. I am so proud of these young people, and I feel privileged to be part of their journeys. Do they make me crazy sometimes? Of course they do, but all in all, they are an amazing blessing, and I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of them, and maybe that’s why the first day of school is so difficult; I’m going to miss them so much.

The funny part about school starting back up is that I’m so much more productive. When I sat down to write this post at 10am, I had finished my housework for the day, decluttered some paperwork, figured out how to fix my fitbit because it wouldn’t talk to my account, and I had taken a shower. It has been months since I’ve been that productive and part of me loves that. That part of me realizes how good routines can be for me and how much easier it will be to finish the book now that everyone is getting back to their school routine, even if I’ll miss them while they’re gone. That part of me feels like a ninja mom for having my dishwasher unloaded, laundry done and home tidied up before 10am. That part of me feels renewed and ready to tackle the day and all of the unfinished projects, especially the book that will make way for bigger and better things. The other part of me that adores my children and is so very aware of the precious little time I have with them as “mine” is mourning the end of this less than perfect summer and the opportunities we may have missed to be together, to travel and to savor every moment. Some days I think I’m going crazy being so happy and so sad at the same time, but as I talk to other parents, especially moms, I know that so many feel the same. I’ve never wished that my children would stop growing because I lost one that will never grow up and gave birth to one that needs medical intervention to grow. I’ve found joy in every age, although I admit age 3 and ages 9-11 with each of my boys was more than I thought I could handle some days. I love who my boys are, most days, and feel honored to be their mom, but that doesn’t mean that all the days are easy. In fact, some days still take every ounce of maturity I have not to have a complete meltdown, and occasionally I fail. I was on my way there this morning when the fitbit wouldn’t work, we forgot to start the dishwasher last night, I didn’t feel prepared this morning, and I felt like I had fallen short as a mom this summer. As I was putting the load of laundry in the washer this morning, I could feel the downward spiral coming; that spiral that would mean nothing would get done and I would spend the day on the couch feeling upset and depressed and like a failure, and I stopped. I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths, and I called on the Divine to help me and then chuckled over what I probably looked like, worshipping at the altar of the washer. I walked upstairs and apologized to my husband and admitted I was feeling inadequate as a mother and a human being. He assured me I wasn’t, and the tide began to turn. I helped my youngest get out the door on time. I silently thanked my husband, who was waiting in the car, for driving our son to school so I didn’t have to. I silently prayed that this would be a great year for my son, for me and the rest of our family, and I dove into the day with much more gratitude. I know this year won’t be perfect, but that really isn’t the point. The point is that while I am amazed that some moms are able to get first day pictures of their kids, some do not. Some moms do other things like make a great breakfast, write letters to their kids or maybe just thank the Divine that they got their kids out the door with clothes and shoes on. Some moms are also teachers, and I cannot imagine what the first day is like for them. I’m betting that even those moms with the great first day pictures feel inadequate some days because none of us is on point every day. So, today I tip my hat to those who do the first day of school well and offer a virtual hug to those who find themselves feeling inadequate. We’re all in this together and doing our best, whatever our best may be. Wishing you all a happy school year, rest of the year or whatever kind of happy you need. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

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.

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.

%d bloggers like this: