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

 

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Love Yourself Enough to Shine Your Light

gallon or teaspoon

We have to love ourselves. We are worth loving. We are worthy of great things. We must forgive those who pained us and learn from that pain. There is always a lesson. We need to be the love to others that we want for ourselves. We also need to be the love to ourselves that we want from others.

Life is full of lessons and at 47, I’m still learning from the past. Sometimes, we don’t learn until we are older and can come to terms with the lessons that pain has been trying to teach us. Sometimes, we never learn even when we’re old. Some people repeat the patterns of what their parents did to them, even when they know it was wrong to treat them that way. Some of us are weak and just continue the pattern while others are stronger and learn there is a better way.

Be the change in the world that you want for yourselves and for your children. Be the light in their lives, in your own life, and in the lives of all the strangers you meet. We all have a story and lessons we can teach others. There are lessons others can teach us.

We are not going to build a better future if we just repeat the patterns of bad behavior, abuse, neglect, hate, unforgiveness, resentment, disrepect and judgment. The change begins with you. The change begins with me – with each of us.

Learn from the mistakes of others and of your past. Forgive them and yourself. Move forward on a better path with the intention of helping.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m far from it. It’s so difficult to not judge, especially when you read the Bible and it says “this is bad,” and then in another place, it says “do not judge others.” But I’m trying. I’m trying to love – others and myself. I’m trying to love people where they’re at. I do not have to understand them or their ways and I do not have to tolerate or condone what they do, but I do believe it was the intention of God and Jesus for us to know our job is to love others as we want to be loved and to forgive as we want others to forgive us. We need to love each other as if we are that person. We are mirrors to each other. Be a good influence. Live your life the best way you know how and if you don’t know how, learn. There are so many great life teachers out there, on the internet, in books, in the Bible. Great spiritual teachers surround us – even in the laughter of a child in the grocery store – they teach us to laugh and be free, laugh with our belly and be happy, do not stress.

We must first learn to love ourselves right where we’re at, with all our weaknesses and failures and laziness and stuck in a rutness. Yes, I made up a word. I’m talking to me, too, by the way. I just want you to know you are loved. You are worthy. You do not need the approval of others to do your thang. There’s my southern draw comin’ out. BE YOU. You are the only one that can do that. There is only one of you and God needed you on the earth. That’s why he made you. Get it? You are special and unique and have gifts that others need. Get out there and share what you have.

Believe in yourself! You aren’t getting any younger. You don’t want to be 95 and wish you’d gotten off your ass when you were 50. Do it now!!  Time goes by sooooo fast. Stop waiting, because life will pass you by in the blink of an eye. I mean, look at last year or 3 years ago. How much progress have you made since then?

The New Experiment & Day 2 Assignment

waving

Top o’ the marnin’ to ya!  I trust you are ready for the weekend, yes?  YAAAS!!  Have a most enjoyable Friday.  Now, on to the assignments for this new thingy…

hug

So how’d ya do with yesterday’s assignment?  Did you embrace your inner child?  This is actually something we should practice every single day.  First, we have to remember we have that inner child that needs love from ourselves. That inner child needs hugging, smooching, dance with her/him, tell the inner child you love her/him, do fun things that you used to love as a child – play, laugh, sing, bake cookies, read your favorite book, frolic in the rain, jump in the water puddles, fix hot cocoa with marshmallows – reengage with that playful and fun side of yourself and remember how important it is to love yourself.  Do it daily, for at least 10 minutes to start becoming reacquainted if you haven’t met up in a while.  Doctor’s orders.

rain

How’d I do with the assignment? Well, I’m a kid at heart, so I’m always a bit of a goofball, silly, playful and childlike, but even I get down on myself, beat myself up, tear myself down, get depressed and then I drink a rather large glass of wine and it’s all better!  No, really…  We all lose our childlike selves at different times but it’s so important to love yourself and I’m finally learning to after all these years. Maybe I did love myself, even though I found myself to be unloveable for most of my life. I do love myself and I pretty much act giddy every day. I laugh daily, I treat myself to that hot cocoa and dance with my kiddo in the kitchen, singing loudly and off key.  Plus I laugh at my kid – she’s hysterical! And my mother next door! The 3 of us go out every weekend to eat out and get groceries together and that chick (Mama) is always dancing in the seat in the restaurant and down the aisles! She’s a nut.  It’s always a fun day with either/both my girls.

dancing

Although I can be a nagging mom. Comes with the territory when you have a teenager, right?

How’d ya do with the scolding? Did you lay off scolding yourself and your loved ones? It’s hard to do, how well I know. I’m sure I nag quite often – just look at Hallie’s eyes roll every time I say something – that proves it, right? I have to be honest here. I have a bad habit of beating myself up for not doing this, not doing that, not making time for that thing, my house is a wreck, I need to scrub that stovetop, I need to mop the laundryroom, I need to quit eating everything in sight and get my bootie on that treadmill, I need to take my dogs running (and then the rain starts). When it rains, it pours. It’s always something, and I scold myself for every little thing that I don’t do, instead of praising my accomplishments each day. I will try to do better with this one.  It needs some work.  And quite possibly I will be bringing this one back up on a later day – praising our accomplishments.

So chime in, if you like, and share how you did with yesterday’s assignment so I can cheer you on, clap my hands, scream hoo-ra (Whoot! Whoot!), or console you and tell you that you’ll do better today, and send you air hugs either way!  ’cause I loves you, sweet babies!!!!

me blowing kiss

Today’s assignment was an A-HAAAA! Moment I received from my sweet soul sista Allison Marie over at Glory Begin. She always carries and sends out those positive, creative, loving vibes and I cannot get enough of her empowering, uplifting, right-on! words that always hit the spot and always seem to be just what I need to hear that day.  I got this idea from one of her latest posts.

Assignment:

Write one true thing that is truer than true for you
I can promise that this is most helpful to do
Healing and enlightenment may certainly ensue
Share, but only if you like, with the rest of the crew

Sorry, inspiration spurred inside me and I couldn’t help my silly self.

My true statement for this moment, and I guess I don’t mind sharing (UGH!), or maybe it is a little difficult to share, because I don’t like to show my vulnerability (we all wear masks, don’t we?) but I’ll do it anyway…

I write because I love to write (it’s my escape from the world) but I’m always too fearful to finish the story, even when I’m close to the end, because somehow (1) it’s too final – even if there’s another book in the series – and (2) I feel it should be shared but I feel it’ll never be good enough to share.  Ultimately… I don’t feel like I’ll ever be good enough.

crying

Okay, there, I said it. I mean, I feel I’m awesome at times, with my writing, and with my spirit, and with my parenting (sometimes), but we all self-criticize, don’t we?  Sometimes, I’ll read a bit of what I wrote and I’ll cry or I’ll have belly cramps from the laughter, or I’ll be moved and think, ‘I wrote that?!  Me???!!’, so those are times when I find my writing is awesome, so see, I’m not completely down on myself all the time.

Share, won’t ya?

Oh, and Ian Somerhalder waving at the top?  You’re welcome.

Questions for YOU

I think I’ve spoken about a vlog idea I had in a previous post or two.  Perhaps not.  But I know I’ve talked about getting outside my comfort zone and I’ve taken a bit of action on this.  I’m about to take some more.  Yes, I’m going to start a vlog.  Or attempt to anyway, with the participation of strangers.

So, I need a few things first…

If you know anything about vlogging, about editing videos, about how to approach strangers and interview them, please send me in that direction.

And just to get me set on which particular questions to ask, what would YOU feel comfortable answering and sharing with the world?

1.)  What is the meaning of life, for you?

2.)  (especially for youth but for everyone) What do you hope to do/accomplish in your life?  (i.e. go to college, get married, have a family, be a doctor, be a writer, climb a mountain, live in Paris, be a Nobel Prize winner, or anything that comes to mind.)

3.)  What does love mean, to you?  (i.e. for a significant other, for how you wish to be loved, friendship, family or just in general; again, anything that comes to mind)

What other questions do you feel would be thought provoking that you wouldn’t actually mind sharing with the world?

My thoughts on this are to ask questions and not so much give them direction with their answers but for them to speak their truth from their own mind and thoughts, without judgment.

Do you have anything about your personal story that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

If I get enough people to participate, I will learn how to establish a YouTube channel as well as post on my blog, either here, or begin a new one.

I have several purposes for wanting to produce this vlog.  First off, it came to me in a vision.  I daydream a lot and this came to me while driving, if I remember right.  To go up and speak to just anybody and ask them questions would definitely be taking a great leap outside my comfort zone as I’m halfway terrified of people, because I’ve faced off with several crazies in my life, and I halfway love people, because certain ones restore my faith in humanity on a daily basis (just yesterday, the lady in front of us paid for our breakfast, so we passed it on).  People surprise me.  Everyone has a story.  I feel if we all share our stories with the world, it makes the planet feel a bit smaller.  When we hear the stories of others, it puts our own lives in perspective, makes us realize how blessed we are, makes us feel not so alone, makes us sympathetic to others’ plights and increases our capacity to love and reach out to those who need us, whether it’s a smile, a handshake, or a conversation.  No matter how you slice it, we all need people.  We all need each other.  And we can argue this point till we’re blue in the face but I think, deep down, you know it’s true.

I also want this to be a G-rated vlog, so that it can easily be viewed by young and old, all races and religions (or lack thereof).  So if, in fact, I receive profanity on the video, it would be edited/bleeped out (with their knowledge and permission).

Any thoughts?  Advice?