Making Room for Courage

Pains and Gains – today’s prompt by The Daily Post.

The idea:  Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

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I would have to agree with that motto.  Sometimes, life can be hard, especially if you want to get anywhere in life, if you want to get ahead.  Going after your pursuits, your goals and dreams – you have to struggle.  At times, you have no money, so you can forget college, but many times you have the option of loans that you don’t have to pay back till a little later.  And even if you do go to college, sometimes you have to work 2-3 different jobs just to be able to live, pay for your apartment, buy food, and, even then, live on 4 hours of sleep per night and do it all again the next day.  I remember this life.  I did the full time school 8a-2p M-F, then work 3-11p M-F and work weekends, go home, eat a corndog, do homework and papers till 230a, get up at 630a to begin it all again.  I got used to it.  I was younger then.

Then, you realize you really know what you want to do with your life and you finally grow the balls to work toward it, after years of going back and forth (do I really want to put myself out there like that?!).  And it’s hard as hell.  You have taken a few risks.  You quit your 9-5 job working for assholes who don’t give a damn about you.  You quit because you can.  You quit because you searched for opportunities to work from home so you can answer your number one calling of being an active and present parent and actually raise your child.  So, you work from home and you take care of your kid.  You take more risks and reach out and acquire more contracts so that you can earn the money to keep the lights on and food on the table and occasionally go to the theater and sit down in a restaurant.  You’re tired but it’s worth it.

You try to sneak in time for your second biggest dream of becoming a best selling author.  You face your fears of insecurity.  You face your fears of one day becoming a huge success, God willing.  You struggle to find the courage to put yourself out there.  You like people but prefer to communicate through the written word, not so much the spoken one.  I guess you realize the “you” I’m referring to is really me.

If you want anything in this life, it’s not worth having if it comes so easily.  I went through a terrible marriage but received life’s greatest miracle and blessing.  My daughter.  All I ever wanted since I was a toddler was a daughter.  She made me whole.  She filled me with the love and appreciation and celebration I had been lacking all of the 31 years before her.  She made me feel wanted and needed and complete.  Then divorce came and I was thankful.  I was free.  My daughter and me.  No more eggshells to walk on.  Still, it’s a struggle being a single parent.  So many responsibilities.  You have to work hard to earn money.  You have to work in time to clean your house and mow the lawn, cut down trees, trim the hedge, feed all the animals, wash the clothes, get your kid to school, pick her up, get her all of her needs and spend quality time hugging, kissing, talking, laughing, walking, dancing and sharing secrets.  The last part is the easy part.  You have to fit it all in.

And still force in that time to write, which is your second largest dream.  You face your fears.  First, you write for you, because you feel lost without those words, those characters.  You talk to ghosts.  You talk to those in your head, your imaginary friends.  Then, you write not only for you, but to get out those messages from your characters to others, because they so long for their stories to be shared that it hurts your soul to keep it all to yourself.  You want to honor them.  You have to find your strength.  For them.  And for you.  You have to face your demons.  Maybe you won’t make it big.  That’s ok really, since you are still earning money and can pay the bills.  The point is that you tried.  You put it out there.  You put yourself out there.  You attempt to publish and face 100 rejections.  It hurts.  But you keep on.  I figure I’ll stop trying at 200.  But first, I have to actually finish the book.

Then, there’s the fear of success, which is stronger than my fear of failure.  I’ve already failed.  At many things.  I know what that’s like and that’s old news.  I can take it.  No biggee.  I have that experience.  But success?  Oh my GAWD!  To actually make it?!  To be out there and have to do interviews.  I throw up in my mouth a little at just the idea.  I mean, I did drop out of college classes just from my fear of giving 3-5 minute oral presentations.  To have to go out and do book promotion and marketing?!  Talking to people?!  Excuse me while I hurl.  Okay, I’m back.  It’s a potential reality I have to face.  If we want anything worth having, we have to battle it out with ourselves.  We have to step outside our comfort zone sometimes.  And sometimes, we fail.  But if we really, I mean REALLY want it, we don’t stop until we get it.  It may take years.  Years of struggle, tears, poverty, going hungry, going without sleep, going without air conditioning in 111 degree summers – we do it because we have to, because we don’t know who we are without that thing – the level we want to reach.  Fear is only an obstacle.  We work our way over it, around it, under it, or either clobber it to death and go through it, but we get past it.

Fear is only the devil on the way out.  You’re making room for God and courage and strengthening your soul.

Who else is willing to face their fears?

Who will stand with me?

Butterflies. {short story}

Carol B Sessums:

Check out my friend’s (Gerry) blog. He weaves such a wonderful story with his words. His stories always bring me to tears of joy or sadness and sometimes fills me with suspense. Sometimes, they haunt me. Check him out. And I’m so honored that I inspired one of his stories. How cool is that?!

Originally posted on Restawyle:

Thursday 28th August 2014.

From an original idea from a good friend and exceptional blogger and writer herself.  Pop over and say hello. Carol B Sessums at adjustingyourfocus. – http://adjustingyourfocus.wordpress.com/

The Butterflies.

Flight-of-the-Butterflies-H

Words 1106.

It always started off with her stepping outdoors, walking a few steps into her garden. A large orange and black butterfly would flutter around her head, then land on her shoulder. She would walk a few more steps then a blue one would flutter in front of her face and then settle on her other shoulder. She never attempted to wave them away, she always welcomed them. Even though she was walking she never moved any further away from her back door.                                        

The next time the same would happen but now four butterflies would appear and settle on her shoulder. Each time she would then wake up, sweating all over, her forehead soaking her pillow…

View original 1,025 more words

Before The Break of Dawn

P1140203The Daily Post’s prompt for today is New Dawn.

Here’s the general idea:  How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise?  Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

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So, I posted this photo yesterday on my blog since it was so inspirational on the way to school.  So funny that today’s prompt is New Dawn.  It fits.

My daughter and I rise at 0:dark:30 every morning to get ready to go to school.  She’s a typical teenage girl in the sense it takes her 2.5 hours to get ready.  I’ll admit it took me about 2 hrs to get ready when I was a teenager.  Some of you might remember the 80’s with the big hair.  I hot rolled mine every morning, put on way too much makeup (and badly, I might add, since I never had any instruction on application back then).

My daughter doesn’t roll her hair.  She sometimes uses a straightener (hot iron), although I’m not really sure why, as she already has straight hair.  Hmmm.  Oh, believe me, I’ve asked her and she says, “My hair’s not really straight and the straightener makes it straight and smooooooth.”  ;)  Okay.  Well, sometimes she doesn’t do anything to her hair and it looks pretty much the same to me.  So whatever.  Whatever makes her happy, I guess.  She does wear makeup but she does it in such a way that it doesn’t really look like she’s wearing much makeup, if any.  That’s good actually, as I would not allow her to walk out the door looking like a freak (like I did back in the 80’s), but I haven’t figured out what takes her sooooo long.  I’m sure my mother wondered the same thing when I was her age.

So anyway.  We get up at 4am.  Monday thru Friday.  I get coffee.  Lots.  Of.  Coffee.  And get her bath water ready (as she is still recovering from knee surgery and can’t do all the bending yet).  It takes me about an hour to get ready these days.  Sometimes I fix breakfast.  Sometimes I don’t.  It all depends on if she’s hungry or not.  Sometimes the girl eats like a man and other times, she’s just not hungry in the mornings.  Lack of breakfast doesn’t hurt her as she has always excelled in school.  Gotta feed the furbabes (2 dogs and a cat).  Gotta fix her lunch and pack it up.  Gotta get her to school by 7am for Driver’s Ed, which is the first hour before real school starts.  And then I go back home to work.

I love the views in the morning on the way to school.  There are 3-4 different routes we can take and this drive is, by far, the best.  I’ve posted several pictures of this drive on my blog in the past.  Fields are filled with fog cascading over the rolling hills, hanging like a veil, blanketing the sleeping trees, so quiet and peaceful and cozy.  I could just drink it in.  It’s the best part of the day, watching the sun rise, watching the world wake up and breathing in the life of a new day (or one of the best – I like stormy skies and starry/moon filled skies too).  It shows me that beauty abounds everywhere at every time of day and we should look for that beauty and appreciate God’s masterful artistry.  I know it fills my heart with joy.  I hope it does yours.

Y’all have an inspired and beautiful day.  ;)  *smooch*

If I Had My Own Personal Robot…

The Daily Post’s writing prompt for today is You, Robot.

The idea:  Congrats — you’ve been handed a robot whose sole job is to relieve you of one chore, job, or responsibility you particularly hate. What is it?

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Okay, this is an easy one.  I don’t hate this responsibility/job, BUT if I had a robot to handle this for me, I’d have him/her/it relieve me of my contracts.  I actually like the work I do.  However, if I could more fully focus on the book I’m writing, I would so love to not have to work all day long.  I’d have time to clean my house, time to write, time for yard work and quality family time.

My contracts go anywhere from 3 hours a day to 15 hours a day, 5, 6 or 7 days per week.  There are highs and lows to working from home.  I’ll take all of it, though, because there’s no place I’d rather be.  I am allowed the opportunity to drive my child to and from school, take her to any and all appointments, help her with homework and projects and everything else she does.  In other words, I get to stay home, work and raise my child all at the same time.  And.  It’s.  Wonderful.

I hate to do the dishes but it doesn’t take long to do those.  So I’d rather be free of “work” to have the 3-15 hrs per day to do other stuff.  Wouldn’t that be amazing???!!!

What would you have your robot do for you?

Wear Books Like Crazy Hats

ray  “You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
Ray Bradbury

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That’s funny.  I thought I was the only one who wore books like crazy hats.  I’m telling on myself, aren’t I?  ;)  And don’t you just love that old musty smell of books?  The more vintage the book, the better the fragrance?  Or am I just weird?  Do you ever wear books like crazy hats?

What Would You Do?

Work? Optional! is today’s prompt from The Daily Post.  If you join us in this challenge, you are sure to have a great time!  It’s tons o’ fun.

So, this is the idea:

If money were out of the equation, would you still work?  If yes, why, and how much?  If not, what would you do with your free time?

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Oh, wow, if I didn’t have to worry about money?  How awesome would that be?!  Would I still work?  Yes.  In a sense.  While I love my contracts and the different hats that I wear, I would transition someone else into those positions and I would simply work on my books.  My first love, after my family of course, is writing.  I’ve been working on a book series since about October/November 2013.  It actually started as one book and then turned into 3.  Now, it’s 4 since the backstory came into my head.  The story before the story and that will continue to be book 4.

I would simply work on my books and attempt at publication, I think.  The whole idea is simply to earn money from my books.  I have NEVER wanted fame and I don’t care to be filthy rich.  To be comfortable, to not have to worry or struggle with money issues and take a nice vacation once or twice a year is all I care about where money is concerned.  So, if money were out of the equation, I’d have to rethink the whole publication thingy.  Hmmmm.  That’s a really good question.  In many ways, I believe these voices talk and sometimes scream in my head because they need their stories to be told.  I suppose I’d be doing them a disservice by not sharing their stories with others as they are beautiful characters and their stories are both tragic, unexpected and breathtaking.  So, okay, yes, I’d attempt to publish the stories.  Can you tell I think as I write?  Hope ya don’t mind.

How much would I work on them?  Well, it’s safe to say I’d have many other items on my To Do list but here’s part of my To Do list if money were out of the equation:

1)  Family first, so cooking more, more fun family time, road trips at least one weekend per month, maybe more, cook more with my daughter.

2)  I’d probably write about 4-6 hours a day at the very least M-F.  Then, I’d spend at least an hour on Saturday and on Sunday.  I think when you are a writer, the lust for writing/typing words is just rushing through your veins constantly.  This is why it’s so difficult at times for me to stay focused and stay on task when I’m working on something other than writing.  Ideas come into my head.  The voices start talking and I have to suppress them to get my jobs done.

3)  What else would I do?  I’d work in the yard more.  It’s all I can do to mow the grass and I really love to mow.  Hey, I’m a country girl.  What can I say.  I even miss bush-hogging!  So, yes, I’d mow as soon as the yard needed it, I’d keep things trimmed up nice and fresh and clean, I’d garden.  Oh my, how I miss gardening!!!  We used to have corn, tomatoes, peas of all kinds, peanuts, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and on and on, and Mama (further over on the property) had strawberry gardens.  We’d have strawberry shortcake, strawberry homemade ice cream, everything strawberry!  Fabulous!!!  I miss shelling peas, shucking corn, all of it.

4)  I’d make more time for volunteering and take my family with me.

And those would be the top 4 on my To Do list, although, I’m sure if I sat here for another 30 minutes, I could come up with several more.

So, what would you do?

There’s Always A Way

The Daily Post’s daily prompt:  Breaking the Ice and here’s their idea:

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in?  Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

__________

Wanting to help others is part of why we were created.  We are supposed to give to the poor, feed the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.  However.  I will never give money again to a homeless person.  I did once, since he begged for food.  “Just a dollar.  Anything you can give.  I just wanna eat.”  I was putting gas in my car and in order to get him to stop spitting on my windshield and wiping it “clean” with his shirt sleeve, I gave him $5.  There was a fast food chain right next to the gas station.  Did he go get a burger?  No.  He watched me watch him go into the gas station and buy a pack of smokes.

Now while I realize not all homeless people do this, it nipped my giving money to them in the bud.  I have given food to homeless people.  They did not say thank you (not that they really had to), nor did they seem happy to be fed, so I’m 95% positive they only want money.  I am sure many of them want the money to eat, but I wonder what percentage are actually homeless.  I’m talking about those standing at the intersections holding the sign that says ‘Please give money.  Hungry.  God bless.’  Many have been followed and watched as they gave the money to someone else in their group.  They go buy smokes, alcohol, drugs.  It hurts it for the honest ones who really do need the money to buy food.

With that said, I will only donate money to the shelters (once bitten, twice shy), to the local food pantries and to those charitable organizations I feel passionate about.  I’m passionate about helping the poor but only through the food kitchens, so I buy food for those places, I serve with my time, along with my mother and daughter.  Even our Girl Scout troop has served and raised food donations and money for our local soup kitchen.

I’m also a huge animal fan.  We’ve given monetary and food donations to animal shelters, blankets, food & water bowls and we’ve served with our time.  We have a rescue dog and he’s the best dog we’ve ever had (shhhh!   Don’t tell the others.)  We’ve actually had several rescue dogs and rescue cats and we’ve rescued wild animals that were hurt or nearly killed.

We have participated in walks and raising money for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (I have friends with or who have survived breast cancer and some did not.)  I participated in walks and raising money for the American Diabetes Association (my grandpa had diabetes and I have friends that suffer with it.)  I’ve walked and raised money for the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, as well as a handful of other causes.  We love to help out the Angel Trees, Toys for Tots and give to battered women’s shelters, children’s homes and many organizations that help abused, neglected and hungry children.  And then there’s St. Jude, the Make a Wish Foundation, our local Ronald McDonald House, Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital and on and on.

The point I want to make here is find a cause or causes you believe in.  There are so many that we support.  I wish I had enough money and time to give to many more, because there are a great many I believe in.  If you don’t have the money to donate to these causes, that’s fine.  Sometimes (much of the time) we don’t have money to give.  Try to make some time to gather belongings you don’t need/use anymore and donate them to the Salvation Army, women’s shelters, children’s homes.  Call up your local food pantry or soup kitchen or a hundred other organizations and charities in your own neighborhood that could use an extra pair of hands and offer your help for an hour or two.  Better yet, get your whole family involved.  Take your Girl Scout troop, a group of friends from work, etc.  You’ll be amazed at how great you feel afterwards when you help someone else.  Find a way to serve.  If you have the will, there’s always a way.