I won! I won!

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I won Nano!  NaNoWriMo!  You know, National Novel Writing Month?  I did it!  The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days and I reached 51,101 words.  I’m still not finished with my novel and have not had time to work on it much the last few days but once I’m caught up with my workload, I will carve out time to finish the book, revise, reorganize, polish and then attempt to publish.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

So, who else participated in Nano?  How far did you get?  You know, starting is the biggest obstacle.  Forcing yourself to sit down and write every day is the next largest.  As long as you do those two things, you are a winner!  Work on it till ya get finished with it.  As Nike says, “Just Do It!”  Whether you choose to publish, or not, everyone has a story in them and you should write it down.

So, this one is short and sweet.  I’ve gotta get to work.  I have a full day ahead of me before I need to pick Hallie up from school.  Y’all have a great day!!  Love you guys!  *smooch*

-Carol

Thank You For This Nomination ;)

I’m so stinkin’ behind on making my rounds and commenting and liking and conversation, as well as responding/posting to these awards nominations.  I will start with the one that’s the farthest back, from March 18.  I’ll try to eventually catch up.  Working full time again, plus being a busy mom of an overachiever, and trying to still keep house, although that’s slackin’, and cook, etc., I just am always running outta time, so please forgive me.

I am so honored and my heart is so warmed by how many of you out there have made a difference in my life.  This blogosphere has shrunk the world for me and it seems as if many of you, who now I consider family and friends, are just down the road, although some are across the pond, as well as the globe.  But getting to know each of you makes the planet seem a lot smaller.  I consider myself very blessed to have met so many inspiring, interesting, kind, hilarious, talented, warm people.  I’m blessed to know you and call you family/friend.  Yes, I’ve adopted some of you, so my family has grown.  ;)

Thank you so much, Kristin, and Claudia, for this generous nomination.  I am always inspired when I read your blogs.  I appreciate you both for your friendship and encouragement.  This is a very cool award.

Here are the rules:

1. First, acknowledge and thank the
giver, link it back, and put the award
on your page.
2. Next, list 7 things about yourself.
3. Last, pass the award to 7 bloggers
who inspire you.

7 things about little ole me:

1. Being a mom is the most awesome experience of my life, but those who know me pretty much already know that.
2. What you may not know is that I was once a carpet cleaner.  Yeah, like…a carpet cleaner.
3. I was in the military from ’92 to ’98.
4.  Blogging is one of my favorite things to do, when I get free time.
5.  Hallie and Mama are my bestest friends in the world.  ;)
6.  Something you may not know?  Wolves are my favorite animal.  I used to consider myself a lone wolf, and I guess, sometimes still do in a sense, but not as much as I used to, because my circle of friends is always growing.  Still, I can identify with wolves. 
7.   I LOVE classic rock!  The 70s had the most awesome music.  I also like the 80s, but I think the 70s are probably the best.  I like some of the new stuff too, with Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Five for Fighting, Switchfoot, The Script, and many, many others.  I like mostly rock, classic, pop, no blues except for Billie Holliday (but she’s not new), no jazz, no rap, well maybe 1 or 2 rap songs, not a lot of country, but a little, no hard rock, although I used to like some hard rock in my younger days, but that only lasted for about 5 minutes.  ;)

Okay, as far as passing it on, I hate to cheat on this part, but really, I am running out of time, plus the thought of leaving someone out or hurting someone’s feelings, I just choose not to do, so here’s the thing:  Each person who comments to this post, I grant you this award, because every single blog that I read is very inspiring to me and I want to nominate all of you, because you deserve it. 

And thanks again, Kristin.  You and your blog (Let Life In Practices) are awesome.  And thank you again, Claudia.  I adore you and your blog (Pathfinder:  MotherWifeStudentWorker).  Y’all should totally check them out.  You’ll be glad ya did.

And for my pic for the day:


I think my daughter was a fish in another life. If there’s a body of water within a 50 mile radius, she’s gonna be in it. Even if it’s a puddle. That’s my fault. I taught her to jump in ‘em, and she just never stopped. ;)

Hope y’all had a completely fantastical day and an awesome weekend.  Look out, Monday, ’cause here we come!  Love y’all.  *hug*  Oh, and Happy Earth Day!  Did y’all do anything special for Earth Day?

-Carol

Day 113 of my Project 366

I Have Linkage

It was such a nice surprise to find an award in my comments/messages from my dear friend, Francine, over at http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/.  She is such a sweetheart and I so enjoy reading her blog.  Check out her blog when ya get a chance.  You’ll be glad ya did.  Thank you, Francine, for thinking of me.  I’m blessed to know you.

Then, I got a comment from my sweet friend (he’s my brother in my heart), Gerry over at http://cobbies69.wordpress.com/, nominating me for the same award.  Funny, because I nominated him, too, before I knew he nominated me.  How cool is that?!  You’ll love his blog.  Check it out.

For the 7×7 Link Award, the recipient must provide links to their own posts within the following 7 categories and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers.

 Here are the 7 categories and their posts:

 Most Helpful:  (Does a Reblog count?)  Reblog from liveloveyourlife – Moving Art – Gratitude

 Most PopularThe ABCs of Me

 Most Beautiful PieceWeekly Photo Challenge:  Indulge (I think?)

 Most Controversial (I got nothin’…):  On The Road Again (controversial, only because I have “bad taste” in “singers” – see comments for that post for the controversy)  ;)

 Most Surprisingly SuccessfulWeekly Photo Challenge:  Down

 Most UnderratedAnd a Happy New Year To You!

 Most Pride WorthyWeekly Photo Challenge:  Regret

 Please visit the 7 who’ve been granted this award:

 1.  Sophia

 2.  Gerry

 3.  Marcy

 4.  Frizz

 5.  Alyson

 6.  Judee

 7.  Mona

Now, I realize a few of y’all have previously received this award, but I just wanted to take this moment to let you know how much you and your blog mean to me, how you’ve touched my life, and the lives of so many.  Thank you for your friendship, for supporting me, your much needed tutelage, encouraging me and blessing my life. 

And here is a photo for the day.  ;)


A little blurry, but still smile-worthy. One of the many pieces of playful art at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Hope y’all have had a marvelous and beautiful day. We are done with the Girl Scout cookies. Woooo-hoooo! \o/ *hug*

-Carol

Day 78 of my Project 366. ;)

The ABCs of Me

A couple of days ago, I received a shock.  I was gifted the ABC (Awesome Blog Content) Award by my friend, Francine

She is a real treasure, and the real award is just in knowing her, as she is a lovely, intelligent, talented, kind, God-loving woman, who I’m proud to have come to know as a friend.  You really need to go by and check out her blog.  It’s pretty awesome.

I was working on my acceptance speech, and hadn’t posted it, yet, due to my anxiety of giving speeches in the first place.  Never been really good at that.  I have severe social anxiety, especially when it comes to speeches.  I even dropped college classes, because I couldn’t do the 3 or 5 or 10 minute oral presentations.  Oh well.  I used to look at it as failure, and I suppose I still do, a bit, but I also look at it as everyone having their own voice, and mine is not in my comfort zone to speak in front of a group, unless in front of children.  I’m more comfortable in front of kids, for some reason.  Maybe since I’m just a kid at heart?  I dunno.  ;)  So, I’ll just stay in my comfort zone and stick to the written word and photography – that’s where my truest comfort zones are.  I like to remain in the background and let my written/typed words and pictures speak for me.

And then, this morning, my sweet friend, Sophia, nominated me for this same award, but it looks a little different:

Sophia is a delight, and the better award is having her as my friend.  She is a kind-hearted kindred spirit, who shares the same love, affection and respect for furbabies as I do.  She also has a keen eye for photography and I am transported far away whenever I take in her lovely photographs.  I always feel I’m taking a walk with her in her lovely Africa, and I enjoy each and every mind-transport.

So, thank you, both Francine and Sophia, for thinking of me, and for this award.  I am truly honored.

I also would like to add that my friend, Claudia, pointed out that the ABC Award was created by Alyson and David Sheldrake over at http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/abc-award/, so thanks to them, as well, for creating it.

And so, the rules are:

(1)  Share something about yourself, using each letter of the alphabet;

(2)  Pay the award forward to however many of those awesome blogs you so admire,

(and since there’s no rule to not send it to those who have previously received it, I’ll forward to some of my peeps whose blogs I so enjoy reading, and for whom I am blessed to call friends.  It’s been so nice getting to know each of you and your blogs.);

(3)  Post the award on your page,

(and I’ll do that for about 24 hours, then it’ll just be located on the post itself and under the Awards page.);

So, first, my ABC list, which I did as an exercise:  I jotted down the first word that comes to mind and what it means to me.

Awesome, which describes my Lord, my daughter, my mom, my furbabies, my friends.

Beauty  is what God created when He created each of us and this world we live in.  It can be found in the smallest, simplest of things if we only look for it.

Character – if we don’t have good character and strength of character, we don’t have much.

Courage – to live takes courage; to better ourselves; to push ourselves beyond our limitations; to do good deeds for others; to face our fears and do it anyway; to do those things we love and with excellence.  All of this takes courage, and I need more of it.

Defensive – one of the best words to describe me.  I am always careful to keep my guard up.  Nearly impossible to let the walls down.  They’ve been up since I was a small child.  Just part of who I am.

Determination – We must have the guts to stick it out, put in our time and dedication to getting to that place that brings us joy and contentment.  To finish what we start if it is for the good of our souls and our future.  Never give up.  Get it done.  Then look back and reflect on our accomplishments.  (Trying to talk myself into it.)

Exercise – Something we need daily, not just physical exercise for our bodies to be healthy and live longer, but it’s also good to exercise the brain = reading, learning, listening; good for the mind and soul = exercise our Spirit, our spirituality, worship, pray, guide others, meditate.

Faith in God to lead you to the right path, to guide you, love you and never forsake you.  Faith in others.  Faith in ourselves.

Family – God and Family.  There are none as important as these. 

Forgiveness is not just a gift we give to others.  It is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.  It’s freedom and it’s an awesome experience.  Hallie taught me this most valuable lesson.  She’s straight from heaven, ya know?

Friends – We all need them and we are better people for having them.  What a blessing they are (blogger friends included here).

Generosity of all you have to give others = generosity of Spirit, to share love and God and caring with others; generosity of your time to help others; generosity of our resources (money is included here), if you have it to give for the benefit of others; of education and our knowledge for sharing and teaching for the benefit of others.

Honor – We should all acquire this if we don’t already have it.  Honor for our God, planet, our country, every human, our family, ourselves.

Humanity – We should never give up on our fellow humans, our brothers and sisters.  We all fall down.  We need each other to help lift each other up, to help us on our feet and on our way again.  No matter our country, our religion or beliefs, the color of our skin, how much money we have, we are here on this earth to help each other, to love each other and to lift each other up to new heights.  I know how easy it is to lose faith in humanity, and just when I do, a human comes along and surprises me, restoring my faith in humanity.

Humility is the quality of being modest and respectful.  We should never allow ourselves to let our ego get out of control.  We should never consider nor call ourselves better, smarter or bigger than anyone else.  We are not larger than life.  We are all on our own path and on our own journey in this life, and no matter our differences, we should all be treated with equal respect.

Integrity is one of the most important virtues of all time.  It’s what keeps us honest.

Just be yourself – Never try to be like someone else.  Though I say I’d like to be like Hallie when I grow up, the thing is that God made each of us and we are each different and special in our own ways and we all have something to offer.  We each have gifts, even if we think we haven’t discovered them.  We are each given a purpose and part of that purpose is embracing ourselves and loving who we are as individuals.  Love yourself, not in a conceited way, but in caring and a self-respecting way.  Be the awesome person you were created to be!

Kindness is something we can share with every person, every animal, every creature we are blessed to come in contact with.

Love is the most powerful, most generous, most unselfish item in God’s toolbox that He ever bestowed upon us and gifted us to be used for the greater good of others and ourselves.  It’s the one thing above all others worth living for, and dying for.

Motherhood and Magic – Motherhood, I believe, is my truest purpose in life.  Though I can always improve my parenting techniques, it is my most fulfilling role in this life and there’s nothing I find more joy in than being a mother.  The magic is in realizing your life’s purpose.  We may have one purpose or many.  The magic is when you experience your purpose and embrace your joy.

New – Every day is new and fresh.  Each day, even each hour or minute is a new chance to start over, start fresh.  It’s a real gift – every minute we are given.  We have the chance and the ability to begin again.  We don’t have to make that mistake again.  We can have rebirth – to renew ourselves and our Spirit.  We can reboot and begin great things with each new moment we are given.  With each minute, we can make the choice to change our lives, to make a bold difference, or even just a small one.

Optimism – There is power in possibility, in positivity.  If we believe great things are happening, they will happen.  If we remain focused on the positive, then positive things will happen.  Same thing with negativity, so kick that minus sign to the curb!

Photographs – It’s one way of preserving pieces of history and memories forever, if we take good care of our photographs.  These can be passed on to future generations.  I love seeing the beauty of the world through photography.

Prayer – Honest communication and openness is what God’s looking for.  Not repetition.  Some of us pray repetitive prayers, because perhaps they offer us comfort.  A mantra, if you will.  That’s all well and good – for ourselves to find comfort, as well as to offer possible comfort for someone else.  But the praying that God appreciates the most, I believe, is the praying that’s sincere.  Open your heart to Him and talk to Him like He’s your best friend, because He wants to be.  Even if you’re angry and yelling at Him, He appreciates you being honest and authentic.  He appreciates your openness; your candor.

Quiet – It’s in the stillness, the quiet times, that you can hear the whispers of your heart, and those God whispers you’ve been praying for, for so long.  When you cannot find answers, nor peace, be still, be quiet, and know that God is there with you in that place.

Respect – a very strong and important tool we should all use for every aspect of our lives.  Respect for God, our planet, our country, every human, every animal and creature, and ourselves.  No one person on this planet deserves more respect than another.  We each deserve the same amount of respect.  This can be a tough one to earn.  If we can’t treat others with the same respect we want for ourselves, we don’t deserve any respect at all.  For more information, please see “The Golden Rule”.

Satisfaction – Most of us are in search for the gold at the end of the rainbow, always searching for something better.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that.  Just try to see what you have right now in this moment.  Do you have a family you love?  Good health?  Are you able to pay the bills and put food on the table?  Do you have joy in your life?  Try to be satisfied in the moment – in what you do have, right now.  It’s good to seek and find and be searching after your pursuits – it’s part of what drives us, motivates us.  But sometimes, take joy and satisfaction in what you already have and be thankful.  Be satisfied with your life, and know that you are whole.

Social Anxiety is something else that describes me.  I am anti-social, I suppose because people scare me.  I’ve been this way from childhood.  I get nervous when around groups of people.  I have many friends, but I prefer to be a loner, and around my daughter and mom.  I actually tried to undergo hypnosis to recover part of a lost memory, and to try and conquer my social anxiety, but the doctor was unable to hypnotize me, as I scored off the charts with trust in people, or lack thereof.  Not exactly proud of this.  In fact, I’m sort of ashamed to admit it.  It’s something I work on every single day.

Thankfulness or Gladness – We should all be thankful for every tiny and large thing we are given.  When I’m depressed or feeling blue, this is a great exercise for me – getting out my gladness journal and start listing every single think I’m thankful for – what I’m glad about.  Not long after I start, do I begin to feel more joyful than sad.  It gives me strength and happiness and it refocuses my energy off of myself and onto God and all those people, animals and things that make life grand!

Usefulness – We all have something to offer.  We do not need to sit around, lazy and feeling sorry for ourselves, because of what we don’t have.  We all have something that is useful and we can use it for the betterment of someone else.  Be useful.

Validation – With emotional validation, we can learn to have more connected, more open, full relationships.  When we learn to listen to how the other person feels about something, what they think, how they have perceived something, we are allowing that person to trust us, to open up and communicate freely with us.  When we try to understand and not judge them but accept their feelings, we validate them.  Everyone is unique and sees things and feels things in their own way.  And we should make them believe and know it’s ok to feel that way.  You listen, try to be understanding, acknowledge them, nurture them and make them feel good about themselves for sharing their feelings with you.  If you want to build a relationship with someone, never regret, ignore or judge their feelings.  Let them know they are accepted.  Don’t we all want that?  We certainly all deserve that.

Wisdom is knowing when something needs to be said or done or to leave well enough alone.  They say wisdom comes with age, but I believe it can come at any stage.

Write – I sabotage myself much of the time.  I put so much stress on writing something publishable, working on that great American novel, or trying to, and then I get so stressed and nervous about it, I put it down, let it get a bit dusty before coming back to it.  We should write because it brings us joy.  We should write with our heart and our soul, even if it never graces the shelves for someone else to read.  We write for ourselves, even if we never do anything else with it.  Write only out of love for writing.

eXhilaration – Be an exhilaration!  Find something in your life to be exhilarated about!

Youth – I will always try to hang on to this, no matter how old in years I become.  Ah, the freedom and uninhibited silly laughter of youth.  Running and playing and frolicking in the sun, or even dancing in the rain, jumping in water puddles, and not even care what I’m wearing or who’s looking.  Loving without condition and without reason for mistrust – the greatest gifts of youth, and some I’ve lost sight of.  Never stop learning and growing.  To know how to truly live – the wisdom of youth.  Children are free and happy.  Forgiveness comes easy for them.  Love comes easy for them.  As we grow older, we learn to not trust, not forgive, not love, forget how to laugh.  I say, laugh with abandon, even if it sounds silly.  Embrace your inner-child, your inner-silliness.  Dance like nobody’s watchin’, or don’t care if they are.  Don’t worry.  Especially if there’s nothing you can do about it.  Be happy.  It’s healthy.  Find the wisdom of acting young and it’ll make your heart young.  Never grow up, completely.  That’s my motto.

Zen – Find your zen.  Realize it.  To me, it’s not only enlightenment, but where you are happiest and most peaceful, most calm, soothed, relaxed, free.  My zen is snuggling on the couch with my daughter, feeling the peacefulness and calmness of the sage green walls of my livingroom, cracking the windows just a bit so we can better hear the rain tinkling, dancing on the leaves like musical chimes, and looking out the window, letting the rain soak into our minds, our hearts, our souls.  There’s something very cleansing about watching and listening to and smelling rain fall.  I feel closest to God when it’s raining and we are in the safety of our home.  And I feel closest to God when the sky plays a stormy blue background, illuminating all of the colors of the stage in front.  Everyone needs their own zen.  What’s yours?

Ok, so it was rather long.  Sorry about that.  Hey!  Ya still awake?

*knocking on computer screen* 

I do tend to ramble, don’t I?  Typical southern girl, I am, I suppose.  Now onward to paying it forward to just a few of MANY of my favorite blogs (not in any particular order):

1.  Claudia

2.  Frizz

3.  Gerry

4.  Marcy

5.  Cee

6.  Rois

7.  Jake

8.  Paul

9.  Judee

10.  Gilly

Please, stop by, and pay each of them a visit.  Their blogs are AWESOME!!  ;)

Y’all have a beautiful day!  It’s raining here.  Gonna be rainy all the day long.  Good sleeping weather.  ;)  The birds are LOVING it.  They are out there singin’ and chirpin’ and bathin’ and playin’ in the puddles.  Fun to watch ‘em.  Through the rain, it’s hard to see those birds in the background.  They look like tiny specks.

*
*hug*
-Carol

Big Bear Hug From Me To You

I’m so very honored and appreciative to the generous and kind-hearted Francine at http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/ for bestowing upon me this HUG AWARD, created by Connie Wayne of http://ahopefortoday.com, and for which the guidelines for this award can be found at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/. I’m so grateful for your thoughtfulness, support and friendship.

The Hug is partly to tell you that you make a positive impact – that your blog makes a difference. Isn’t that what each of us strive for? To make the world a better place by something we do, by doing something we love? It warms my heart to offer a HUG to each of you. One rule is to award the HUG to those who have not yet received one, so here is but a short list:

1. andy1076

2. davidstrachan611

3. Fergiemoto

Here’s a HUG to each of you and thank you for coming to visit with me at my blog, taking the time for conversation, and for sharing your world with me.

Thank you, Connie and Francine, for inspiring us to open our arms and our hearts to embrace others and share our worlds through a Hug and our creative pursuits. Thank you so much for this recognition. I truly do feel encouraged and blessed.

One Lovely Blog Award? Thank You!

I apologize for taking this long to respond to the incredibly gracious Cee over at http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/ who passed on this beautiful ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ to me.  I’m honored, and humbled, and so grateful to you for your support and thoughtfulness.

Thank you for this recognition.  To receive this award just one month after starting this particular blog is truly amazing.  It’s a real buzz!

There are no conditions to receiving this award, except to pass it on to those who you believe to have a lovely blog, so I’ve chosen just a few (ten to be exact) of my friends who have been supportive of me and my blog, those who stop by, hold a little conversation from time-time-time, and I just want you to know that I appreciate you, your friendship, support, and I enjoy your blogs very much.

1.  frizztext

2.  Gilly

3.  Madman

4.  Cardinal Guzman

5.  fgassette

6.  Jakesprinter

7.  cobbies69

8.  malou

9.  katehobbs

10.  Rois

Pass on the blog-love!

Thanks again, Cee.  I feel truly blessed and encouraged.

*hug*

-Carol  ;)