Plotting Along…

Hi y’all. As you know, I’ve attempted to be mostly off of social media for a bit. I’m still at that point but I may post to the blog a little more often than I have. I’ve had a few friends ask me about my blog and tell me they were missing it so I’ll schedule in time to post at least once every other week if not once a week. I must admit, I have missed speaking to you guys on a regular basis. I miss our engagement, our connection. Alas, the life of a writer is much a solitary one, and I admit to appreciating that also. Working from home is right up my alley, as I no longer have to deal with fake gossipy drama-mamas in the corporate setting. Thank You, Lord! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to love your job, working from home and the people you do work for.

Lately, I’ve been going through so many mood changes, and I’m presently experiencing a shift – hard to explain but I’ll try. The mood changes are mostly just a roller coaster of emotion, due to my daughter being a senior in high school, her being accepted to her college of choice, choosing her dorm roommate, planning her grad party and trip, her just turning 18. It’s exciting. It’s an adventure. It’s emotionally draining and bittersweet. As most of you know, Hallie and I have always been extremely close. Our nicknames for each other are Lorelai and Rory (you’ll understand if you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls). And it sickens me to think of her moving to college next year and not living in this house – only to visit on weekends, holidays and summer break. I don’t even want to imagine what it’ll be like because I want to cry, and then, honestly, to throw up. I know I have to let go. I’m just not ready. It hurts my heart too much. I’m used to her going on trips for a week or two. I miss her, of course, but I take comfort in knowing she’ll be home, as I count down the days. Don’t misunderstand. I do have things on my ‘To Do’ list that I take pride in accomplishing while she’s gone and I do appreciate my alone time. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my little love monkey. Maybe I can’t use the word “little” anymore, but she will always be my little one, my wee one, my baby, even after she’s 40. Thankfully, she doesn’t mind my nicknames for her. She has nicknames for me, too.  😉

The shift I’m undergoing is multi-faceted. I’ve been on a journey of exploration – not just for the self but being more mindful of others and taking in all of the possibilities for connection with others – looking out for like-minded people to associate myself with but also “trying” to be mindful of others in the sense that no matter their mood, I have to take into account they may be going through something I know nothing about. Such as the clerk at the grocery store or the clothing store we normally frequent. Many times, we think these people are there to serve us and be kind and high spirited while they do it. However, we must put ourselves in their shoes, if only for a moment. If we do this, we may consider that perhaps their grandpa that they were raised by just died, or they lost their best friend in a car accident, or it’s that horrid time of the month and they are in great pain. 

You never know what someone is going through. These people are not there to only serve us. We are here to serve them, as well. We can offer a smile, a kind word, something funny to say to maybe lift their spirits. If nothing else, we can offer our gentle understanding. They are just like us. They have to work to pay the bills. They have to work when they are sick because they have a child to feed and have to make the rent. I admit to sometimes being a harsh judge of people when they are hateful or rude and I have been rude as a retaliation. What sense does that make?! That’s easy. Why is it so easy to fight back with hardness and more difficult to reply with love and compassion? This is something I’ve been mindful of lately and I feel it’s changing me. Mind you, I do still have much work to do in this department, as I am still trying to rid myself of anger I strongly hold on to. I have no idea why I hang onto it.

Not only with others but within myself. I’ve always been my toughest critic, being more hard on myself and sabotaging myself rather than romancing myself, appreciating myself and my accomplishments. I tend to beat myself down over everything – every little thing. But lately, I’ve been watchful of my words, noticing how negative I tend to be on myself, trying to change the language I use. If it’s negative, I’m trying not to say it or change the wording I’d normally use. I’m trying to believe in myself, have faith in me and my abilities. I’m writing down all I’ve ever been good at, then and now, and everything I’ve accomplished. Turns out, I truly have been more of a success than a failure. Many of the things I’ve wanted to do and truly made an effort with have come to pass and I’m practicing daily gratitude for each of these things and in everything I have in my life that makes me thankful and happy.

Normally, I have resting-bitch-face – not because I’m feeling bitchy or depressed or irritable, but because I don’t think about how my face is resting. LOL! Often, I’m contemplating something and that’s how my face is – in contemplation mode, or I’m extremely tired because I walked the dog like 10 times during the night, got up at 4am to go to the gym, worked all day, worked on my book after that, had to go to a meeting or event after that and I’m feeling very DONE with the day.

Lately, I’m practicing mindfulness on the muscles in my face. I actually think I may have inherited my grandmother’s facial expressions. She even frowned in her sleep! I don’t want her facial expressions. So I’m focusing on a slight constant smile, just barely there, enough to lighten my forehead muscles. I’m focusing on every blessing I’ve been granted each day and I’m being actively thankful – meaning thanking the Lord daily, telling these special people how much I love them and how amazing they are, hugging and smooching and laughing at my silly dog, appreciating our home and land more, loving working from home and the jobs I do and the income to pay our bills and save for important things, appreciating going to a great gym and getting healthier, and just every special thing and person, even what may sound small to some – sometimes it’s the smallest blessings that make the biggest impact/difference, and I’m thankful for each one.

Another thing I’m trying to learn is to Let Go and Let God. Being a control freak, this is a hard one, but I’m learning little by little. I am letting go of things and people that no longer serve my life in a positive way. I actually just joined a group that I thought would strengthen my character and spirituality as well as offer friendship and connection but learned that group was not the answer so, after 2 meetings, I let that go. I no longer have space or time in my life for what does not assist me or help me grow in some way on my journey. Joining and leaving that group only helped to further teach me that lesson.

Another mood swing is the novel I’ve been working on since 2013. I cannot count the varied emotions I’ve been going through. I birthed this story with great enthusiasm and excitement, only to set it on a shelf because I had too many clients at different times, too many things going on and I did not have any further time to devote to it. I did have to pay the bills and that was more important. As time went on, I got better clients, bigger contracts, but didn’t want to face the book, because I let fear distract me – fear and lack of faith in myself.

So now, I’m happy to say that I am 95% finished with the book. I thought I was actually finished but am reworking chapter 6. I’m thinking I may even interweave it with chapter 5 or 7 or just leave it the smallest chapter in the book. I kept giving myself a deadline, which in many ways is helpful, while at the time was putting an obstacle in my path. The deadline was more stifling my writability and creativity than bolstering my motivation and ambition to get in touch with my muse. My muse heard DEADLINE and ran for cover! So I will work on my book daily, finish when I finish, revise, revise, revise, then query agents and publish. And then become a #1 New York Times bestselling author.

I am learning to have faith in myself. I am learning to trust myself, love myself, believe in my pursuits – my dreams – my goals. I’m learning to lift myself up to new heights and tell myself only good things and reaching, stretching for a higher plane of existence. There is nothing wrong in bettering myself. I have everything I have ever prayed for, except the one. And the one? It’s only a matter of divine timing, inspired action, and persistence.

What have you been up to lately? Share all your joys, your pursuits, your progress, your fears, your expectations, your news. I have missed you greatly and I only wish for you good things, always.

Love you!

Carol

(P.S. Oh, and that picture? I’m just dreaming of cool Fall weather, wishing for long-sock-wearing, gushy-sweater-wearing weather. Please, chilly Fall breezes – come to Mississippi?). And sorry for the very wordy post…

Advertisements

Catching up – everything and the kitchen sink

i-missed-you

So I realize I’ve been absent a while. Many of you know I started a new adventure – my family etsy store. Not only have I been busy creating, filling custom orders and managing the biz, I have been studying up on other items we will soon be adding. (By the way, the store is http://www.etsy.com/shop/cedarcreekhaven and if you want a 10% off coupon, one will go out in the upcoming March newsletter, and you can sign up for it here.) Also thinking about adding a blog related to the store and creating/crafting, perhaps showing how-to’s, perhaps how-to instructional videos, step-by-step how to’s…I don’t know…it’s just a thought. Not sure if people would be into or open to that. What do you think?

But my absence is not only in relation to being busy with our store. I’ve been working, of course, with my clients (non-store related) and, admittedly, I’ve not made much time for writing. Like everything I do in life, I put it off. I put off what’s important to me. I push it off the plate, talking myself out of it, as if I have no time for it, or I tell myself I’m not a good enough writer or look for some sort of way to self-sabotage because that’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. Okay, maybe not with everything. I mean, I have run businesses that I started myself and ran for years and actually loved it and was quite successful. I question myself there, too. How could I have been?

***I had an idea. I didn’t spend a ton of time planning and thinking about it. I just thought about it for a day or two, made a quickie 1-day plan, started finding ways of drumming up business, got booked for a couple of months making more per hour for myself than half that working for someone else, put my 2 weeks notice in at my regular job that I hated, and POOF! I was running with it and I ran with it for years.

Then the recession hit the fan and I was offered a full-time gig working for one of my clients, so I took it while the taking was good and before I ran out of work. Girl’s gotta pay the bills. Plus, firms were slowing down on calling my freelance legal service. After years of being highly sought after, the calls stopped, but I could still pay the bills because I opted for the full-time gig. Smart, right? I mean, sure, the money was good and I had benefits but isn’t there more to being happy than that? It can’t be all about the money and benefits package.

What about the inner-most callings of your heart? My heart?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. A writer of books. Of course, I didn’t know when I was 5 or 6, it was about books. At that time, it was about making up funny songs and imaginative, adventurous stories to tell my dolls (Patty, Lisa, and Tender Love Baby Doll) and stuffed animal (Peaches, the Wonder Dog!), and oh my, how they loved hearing them, as they sat on the edge of their seats, gripping the covers, wide-eyed and gasping, on the edge of my bed, and sometimes couldn’t even contain themselves, as they fell right off.

And then time passes by and your stories have become private – your innermost secrets not shared with anyone. Not even your dolls because they are packed away.

And then time passes and you’ve lost all belief in yourself, so you stop writing. Anything.

I sat one day thinking I used to write great imaginative stories that my teachers loved and asked to keep. I used to write poetry and songs. I even wrote love letters to my beloved one-day husband, or who I wished to be my husband – not that I had anyone particular in mind but more of a dream of what I wanted him to be… I never met him. I married once, had the daughter of my dreams and lifelong prayers, and happily divorced. My daughter is still the child of my dreams and prayers, and I’m happy being single, but deep inside, very very deep inside, I still wonder what it would be like to have that best friend, that confidant, that man that actually listened when I had something to share, and actually remembered what I said. That man who knows how to make me laugh when things have become too serious and knows how to make me laugh just because he knows I love to laugh. That best friend who shares his soul and allows me to be heard, respected and treasured. I still wonder if he exists. Who knew I had any sense of being a hopeless romantic?! I surprise myself. Or maybe it’s just me living in my own little dream world bubble.

Even the thought of the love letters drifted through the years and I had resigned myself to never marry, adopt my daughter when I turned 35 and live happily ever after as a writer or secretary. I knew one thing for certain. I had to have my baby girl. Thankfully, love is blind and I married and had her and she looked like me, which made me appreciate my looks for the first time. Since then, she’s brought me to appreciate so much more about me and about life and about humanity and God. Actually, she brings out the best in me. She helped me to appreciate my mother more and to see everything differently. I treasure every second with my mom and daughter.

And I was a secretary for over 20 years.

More time passes and you start writing again because if you don’t, you’ll just burst! The voices in my head could no longer be stifled. I had to let them have their say before I lost my mind. I tried to ignore them for years. They were just not having it. I’d start a book. Then, at 2 am, I had a nightmarish idea for another book, so got up to write everything I could remember about that dream. Then, I’d start another book from another dream. Other voices showed up. It was a nightmare! Creation overload much?! Some might be thankful for the outpouring of such creativity but I was easily overwhelmed, I have to say. I told the voices that I have a job and a family and I need sleep, so the voices stopped again. The cool dreams stopped. I worked, I was there for my family. And then I wrote articles and sold them to magazines. And I ghostwrote stuff for clients, which worked well. I edited for them, proofread, a little of everything really, but I still, deep in my soul, was unhappy. I just could not understand. I gave up writing books, even though it made my heart so full of joy, and I’ll tell you why…

It wasn’t earning me any money. It can take years to write a book, especially when you are working full-time hours and taking care of a home as a single parent and raising a family. It just didn’t seem feasible. And I was giving myself negative self-talk such as “You aren’t a writer. You’ll never be any good. What are you doing? Why waste your time? You have no talent.” Actually, I was looking for ways to sabotage myself. It’s what I do.

I go back and forth with this all the time and I don’t know that this time will stick but I’ve been making small steps lately, making changes, trying to simplify my life. I realized and I’ve known for a long time I’m a hypersensitive person. Everything affects me. I cannot watch the news or read it or even hear about much of it because I will go home and cry my eyes out. I cannot see graphic pictures and videos that hurt my heart, mind, and soul, so I am careful what I view and I’ve been in the process of deleting Facebook “friends” who choose to post such crap and say stupid stuff like “Oh, I should have warned this video was graphic. Sorry, not sorry.” Some of my friends call me an empath. I don’t know what I am except I am going to be careful what I let into my brain because I am a very sensitive and emotional person. I feel deeply and I think it sucks. I guess that’s one thing that can possibly make a writer good – you can feel the feelings of every character easily. And since I’ve been so unhappy not writing what’s truly in my heart, I’ve decided to get back to it. I did participate in Nanowrimo in November, so that was a step in the right direction for the book I’ve worked on for the last 2-3 years. It’s more than half finished so that’s another perk. Much of the research has been done. I’ve talked with several experts in various fields, so there’s much truth to my fantasy adventure YA novel series. No more am I going to focus, at all, on ever having it published. I may continue to get my finished children’s book out there – I have been submitting to agents for a little while. From now on, when I write, I will write for me. I will act as if never another set of eyes will grace my typed pages and when it reaches completion, once I’ve revised once and twice and polished and proofed and final, I will then, and only then, take it to my Beta readers and decide if it’s meant to be out in the world.

And since I’ve been so unhappy not writing what’s truly in my heart, I’ve decided to get back to it. I did participate in Nanowrimo in November, so that was a step in the right direction for the book I’ve worked on for the last 2-3 years. It’s more than half finished and books 2, 3 and 4 all have a bit of work done so that’s another perk. Much of the research has been done. I’ve talked with several experts in various fields, so there’s much truth to my fantasy adventure YA novel series. No more am I going to focus, at all, on ever having it published. I may continue to get my finished children’s book out there – I have been submitting to agents for a little while. From now on, when I write, I will write for me. I will act as if never another set of eyes will grace my typed pages and when it reaches completion, once I’ve revised once and twice and polished and proofed and finalized, I will then, and only then, take it to my Beta readers and decide if it’s meant to be out in the world.

But until then, I write for me.

***(reading back over this, I think I need to return to this plan – not the legal thing but the 1-2 day brainstorm/planning, 1 day of going with the plan and taking action, getting the word out, getting clients booked and just go, go, go!) Stop thinking. Start doing. Thinking is my biggest problem. It’s always been my biggest problem. I overthink everything!

Anywho, sorry for my rambling on. Just wanted to catch you up on everything and I got carried away. But now you are all caught up. Did I leave anything out? Sounds like I put in everything but the kitchen sink. Oh, guess I just added that. Huh?

I hope you are all well as are your loved ones. Drop me a line and let me know how everything’s going. I’ll attempt to do better on updating more regularly. And I’ll try not to be too wordy.

Love, hugs and smooches,

Carol

 

Breaking up with Tech

panic

Final Day of our 30 day Challenge!

Day 30 of Happily Ever After and since I’m a bit late in the evening rather than this morning, you can postpone doing this until one day that you are off work, like next weekend, since many of us have to have tech when we work.

Day 30 – Give tech a rest.

If you wrote down the time you spent on social media or reading emails or reading stuff online, I bet it would add up to hours over a day’s time, if not your entire work day, and then some. Get away from tech for one day! It won’t kill you. If you have to stay in contact with your family, use it for emergencies only or to know when to pick someone up but other than that, give tech a rest. And as far as that goes, TV too. Play board games, talk to your people, play with your pets, read a book.

I know tech keeps us connected and for many reasons, it’s a good thing, but we have become too dependent on gadgets and gizmos and living our lives completely around technology. Sometimes, we need to get back to nature, shut off electricity, live by candlelight, live by daylight, embrace the freedom from being tied up with tech for what seems like 24/7.

Break up with Tech, just for 24 hours. You might actually like it and it could become a new staple in your household, like one day a month, no tech, only connecting with each other and nature and the natural sounds around you.

Hope you guys found some happiness within some of these challenges. Let me know?

Until next time…

😉

#happilyeverafter

Take a Day Trip

Five friends in convertible car, waving arms in air, rear view

Day 29 of our 30 day challenge.

Today or tomorrow, plan (or don’t) a day trip. Gather your favorite peeps, get in the car and go somewhere fun, spend a few hours doing fun things and then come back home before bed time. If you are a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, or not, shake things up and do something different.

However, I should say to pick a place within 3 hours drive and google the place to see if there’s at least one interesting thing to see or do or place to eat. I did a spur-of-the-moment day trip and it was not at all what I read it was. The restaurant was probably the most horrible place we ever ate, the worst food, the worst service and had it not been for the fact that we enjoy each other’s company sooo much, that trip would have been an epic fail. Plus, we were in the middle of nowhere land and I don’t mean now-here, I mean no-where. We weren’t in the sticks. We were in the toothpicks. There were fields and grown up grass and trees and that was it. I think this was the one restaurant in the entire one-horse town.

With that being said, just be sure to do at least 10 minutes of research once you pick the place you are headed and find something there you and your peeps will enjoy. And take off!

Share with us where you went, how far it was and what kind of time y’all had!

Hope y’all are having a groovilicious weekend, so far!

*smooch*

#happilyeverafter

Do Lunch with a Friend

Welcome to Day 28 of our Happily Ever After 30 day challenge.

MARCOS VASQUEZ/©2008 RAMEY PHOTO 310-828-3445 Los Angeles, Oct. 30, 2008 EXCLUSIVE! EMMY ROSSUM enjoys lunch with a friend in Beverly Hills. PGmv

For today, make plans to do lunch with a friend. Or breakfast, or, supper, or dinner and drinks, or even with a family member if you consider them a friend. It’s important to cultivate happy, healthy relationships. We must establish strong friendships to be happy.

Some of us may consider ourselves an island, because maybe it keeps us feeling safe. No one can hurt us if we are on our own and have no connections but is that really a happy way to live? I don’t think so. I’ve gone through years of not having close connections with anyone, and for a while, it was nice to protect myself from being hurt by people but I see I’m much happier when surrounded by people that love me and that I love in return, those who are silly and make me laugh, those who are deep and I can confide in and somehow, they understand. It makes life a lot easier when you have such people in your daily life.

So have a meal with friend, either out or have them over.

How’s this challenge working for you, thus far? How many of the challenges have you taken on? Do you feel happier as a result? I’m eager to hear how it’s going for you. Please drop me a line and let me know.

Have a fantastical kind of Friday, y’all!

Love ya!  xoxo

#happilyeverafter

Get Out of Control

funny-baby-jesus-take-the-wheel

“I will take the leap of faith and peace;
I will let go and let God.”
~ Dana Fonseca

Day 27 – Get out of control

I mean, let go of control. It is what it is and if you cannot change it, hand it over to God and let it go. It’s not going to manifest in your life by your continuing to want it, longing for it. You can continue to pray for it but then, try your best to put it out of your mind as best you can and focus on other things you do have control over.

This also goes for anything in your life you hate. If you hate your job and your boss is a jerk and unappreciative, it’s time to let it go, but here, you take control. And only after you find something else first, of course. If your spouse is beating the crap out of you, time to let him go and get out of there fast, preferably when he’s not at home. The things you actually do have control over, it’s time to get in the driver’s seat of your life, take action and own your life. If you have no control over certain things, let Jesus take the wheel. He’s a much better driver anyway.

____

Happy Friday Eve! Y’all go out there and make today as amazing as you are! And you’re pretty darned amazing!! xoxo

#happilyeverafter

Days 22 – 26 of 30 Day Happiness Challenge

volunteer

Day 22 – Volunteer day

This can be at a soup kitchen, helping a neighbor, helping an old lady at the grocery store. As long as you are assisting someone else for free, this is volunteering.

listening

Day 23 – Practice silence and the art of listening

It’s hard for me to be still but I am learning. It makes such a huge difference in the busyness of life when you can learn to be still, be quiet and listen, not only to what thoughts come flooding through your mind but the art of actually listening to others. It’s so beneficial to stop focusing on yourself long enough to listen to what others are trying to tell you. And when it comes to those thoughts floating through your mind, be careful what you listen to. We all have negative vibes that bounce through, so try to not pay too much attention to those voices. Just observe them and let them pass by. Listen more closely to the positive, uplifting voices. You know the difference. These are your God whispers and perhaps messages from your higher self.

read

Day 24 – Read something happy

Look for an article or book on anything uplifting, something that will help to lighten your mood, preferably something filled with humor. Read it.

positivity

Day 25 – Practice positivity all day long

Believe in people. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Not all people are bad. Go back to the old saying, “Screw me over once, shame on you. Screw me over twice, shame on me.” Give people a chance to show you they can be trusted. Also try believing in yourself, that you are talented, you are intelligent, you deserve good things, and practice having faith in yourself. Take your concerns and prayers to God/Jesus and then let it go. Try to not constantly focus on what it is you want. Only ask and expect it, while also taking inspired action toward it. Believe good things are happening and they are on their way to you and your loved ones. Believe it with all your might. When you send out the positive vibes, they will return to you with better results than what you might expect. But be careful with what you ask, because you just might get it. It’s always best to ask for what you want but end that statement with “…this or something better for the highest benefit of all concerned.” God listens to the small details of your requests, so be sure to include them. And just remember, you get what you put out there. So if it’s negativity, non-belief, doubt, stress, that will return to you. If you are positive, believe, have faith, know it’s happening, cast your worries aside, and let it go, then good things will return to you.

hug

Day 26 – Be gentle with yourself day

We are hardest on ourselves than anyone else. Apologize to yourself, forgive yourself, love yourself, thank yourself, be gentle with yourself. Only think today of your positive qualities and if a negative thought comes in your mind, observe it leaving your brain. Only positivity lives here today.

_____

Y’all have a wonderific day and know that you are loved!  xoxo

-Carol

#happilyeverafter