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…

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Thankfulness Poem

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Thankful Thursday week 2 and a poem…

 

Thank the Lord for Mama and my babe

For the sunrise each beautiful day

For our good health and our comfort zones

For the dream come true of work from home

Sweet Jesus and the angels above

For fun clients and work that I love

Sweet furballs that give our cheeks a lick

That backup truck when my car gets sick

The house in the country — can run free

America, though it’s not like it used to be

For a few freedoms in how we live

If we face our fears and take that risk

Abilities to accomplish dreams

I am thankful for all of these things

 

What are you thankful for?  In rhyme, or not.  🙂

 

(Photo courtesy of heartlandchurchofchrist.com)

 

Thankful Thursday – Week 1 – I LOVE YOU & I Think You’re Awesome!

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I haven’t made a lot of time for blogging lately but I feel the need to at least do little snippets of blog posts so I thought Hump Day Haiku would be fun, quick and perhaps engaging with those of you who might want to play along.

And I guess Thursday will be for Thankfulness.

Trying to learn to be more mindful in each day, in each moment (something new I’m trying to teach myself) made me realize I want to be thankful in each moment, in each breath I take, with every beautiful thing I see and feel and experience.  Like the sky this morning.  It was an awesome sight!  Hauntingly romantic foggy mornings as the trees and flowers are beginning to wake from their slumber.  The way the sky is illuminated with shades of purple, pink and orange when the sun is slowly descending in the west.  The musical tones of the laughter that spills out of my beautiful daughter and adorable mother.  A sweet smile from a kind stranger as he passes by and the infectious giggles from those little kids over there talking about something just between them.

So much beauty and charm surrounds us on a daily basis but so many of us don’t see it.  We don’t notice.  We don’t pay attention.  We’ve learned to tune so much out.  Have you noticed?  You might be so completely surprised how your mood might be changed just by engaging with someone, have a conversation, smile at someone, allow someone with less groceries than you to go in front of you, say hello.  This not only benefits those around you as your positive energy resonates outward onto others, but this benefits you, as well.  One good feeling deserves another.  Keep that going and you are going to feel AMAZING at the end of your day.

Take time to be thankful to the one who created you and your life.  I actually sort of think we planned it all out with The Big Man before we came down here.  That’s another blog post but I think we chose our family, certain experiences we’d have — all in the spirit of strengthening our souls, we had things we wanted to learn, we wanted to build our character, we wanted to test ourselves, we wanted to grow our spirits.  Might not make sense, I don’t know.  It’s something I’ve felt since I was little.

Many bad things happen in our lives and we make mistakes, perhaps we have regrets.  I’ve screwed up a TON!  But, honestly, I only have one regret in my entire life.  I didn’t make up with my daddy after we’d had a disagreement and I’m so bad at holding grudges.  He’d moved on and was over it but I wasn’t.  I wanted to punish him by staying mad.

And then he died.

My daddy died so suddenly and unexpected and I’m afraid I’ll never completely heal from this.  Oh, I know he visits often and he’s forgiven me and that’s cool and everything.  I know he loves me and I’m forgiven but it’s not the same, you know?  I’ll never have that moment back to say I’m sorry to his face or at least make things happy again between us and not be angry with him before our last goodbye.

Another reason to be mindful.

So today, and every day, I am thankful.  I am thankful most of all for those I love and hold closest to my heart.  My answer to a life-long prayer = my daughter, who is also my best friend.  My mom, who has always loved me, even when I wasn’t loveable, who never left me, and whom I’m so proud of.  I’ve watched her grow soooo much over the years into the wonderful person she is today.  Mama, I could not be more proud of the lady you’ve become.  She’s also my best friend.

I’m thankful for so many things, and I don’t have all day long to list them all, and you don’t have all day to sit and read and I don’t want to cause you to fall asleep at your monitor so I’ll leave you with this — be thankful.  Not just for everything you have in your life, but especially for those people in your life that mean the most to you.  Always be happy with them before you say goodbye or good night, because it might be your last chance to ever see or speak to them again.  Speak to them with love.  Treat them with love.  Be sure in your soul they know you love them and they bring you happiness.  You’ll be so blessed by this and so will they.

What/who are you thankful for?

Another thing… I love you guys!  *smooches*

xoxo

 

(Photo courtesy of projectwarmsb.org)

Are You a Mindful Type of Person?

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Are you a mindful person?  I would love to say I am but I’m rather an aspiring mindful person.  I try to be mindful at certain times, in a certain moment, on a certain day, but that’s not really being mindful, is it?  No.  I stress and depress and project it onto others around me, especially those I love the most.  I direct it onto my closest friends, my mom, my daughter, God, heck…even my dogs.  God forbid I’m working and one of the dogs has to go out, or I’m in the midst of focusing on a project and I get a text, so I even project my stress onto my somewhat smartphone.

You’d think I’d be happier.  I mean, I’ve got it made.  I work from home, which is just a life choice I made a while back, because I wanted to be present for my daughter.  I wanted to raise her properly and be here for her.  Not to say that parents who work outside the home are not raising their kids properly.  Not at all.  I used to do the 8 to 5, the commute, working late, working on a Saturday.  I did the whole thing.  It’s just a choice I made that was right for me and my daughter.  I have awesome contracts with clients I love, finally.  I’ve worked for some true devils.  I mean, before doing the WAHM (work at home mom) thing, I worked for attorneys and there were some devils in that mix, let me tell you!  I can’t believe I did it for as long as I did, but the money was awesome and the perks weren’t too bad, either.  Yeah, I’ve worked for some monsters but the worst one I ever had was one of my clients, whom I kicked to the curb last year.  No, I love my clients now, so I should be happy.

So I work from home, I get to hang out with the kiddo, take her to everything (or rather, let her take me, since she’s got her permit), hang with the dogs, take Mama to any appointments she needs me to (she lives just next door), not work for attorneys/crazy people/head cases/monsters (although there are 2 attys that I actually adore and call them friends but they are a very rare exception), no commute, no extra expenditure on gas, no dealing with people in the office I don’t particularly care for, I get to fit my work schedule around family time and appointments and walking the dogs, washing clothes, whatever.  I get to fit in a little bit of time to work on the novel I started a year or so ago.  I can jump on the treadmill whenever I want.  I’m healthy.  My family is healthy.  So, one thing goes not according to plan or wrecks my schedule and I have a meltdown.  What’s the deal?  Am I going through mentalpause?  Or are my hormones all wonky?  Oh, maybe it’s the lack of sugar in my diet since I’m into weight loss right now.  Or the fact that I’m hungry from putting less food in my belly.  God help everybody when I take coffee off my menu.  Trying to get healthier.  Yeah, I’m gonna healthy all over the ones I love.  Poor things.

I keep telling myself to live in the moment.  Be present.  Be mindful.  Mindful of my words, my thoughts, my actions.  Be kinder to not just those I love, but to everyone I come in contact with.  Be kinder to myself.  Be gentler.  Stay calm, slower to anger.  Be patient with myself and…well…just everybody.  I haven’t much patience when it comes to someone doing 40mph on the interstate and I can’t get around them, ’cause grammaw over here in the left lane is going 40 also and refuses to pass.  No, actually, I imagine myself shooting out one of their tires, not so they’ll have a wreck, mind you, but slowly pull off to the side and get the heck outta my way.  Mean.  I know.  This is what I’m saying.  I’m so angry.

This is not being mindful.  Oh, I’m sure of my emotions.  I know what I’m feeling.  But my feelings are out of control.  Depressed and crying because my baby just entered 10th grade and I’m simply not prepared for her to be this age, yet — this big — this grown.  *sniff*  I realize I have 3 more years with her, but do I?  She’s getting more involved in clubs and activities, with friends, stuff in school, stuff outside school, pretty soon she’ll have her driver’s license and probably a part time job.  I’ll never see her.  My baby will be out the door even before college.  Am I afraid of being alone?  I don’t think that’s it.  I’ve always cherished my alone time.  I’m not the lonely type.  If anything, I look at it as an opportunity to write or to read.  Boring, you say?  Nah.  I love it.  Sometimes I think I need to find a man so I won’t be alone when she goes off to college and then I realize how stupid that thought was.  Divorce was good for me.  Maybe I just need to learn how to chill.

I need to learn how to be mindful.  I need to cease, slow down, stop, HALT!  And be still.  I need to pray more, meditate.  I haven’t meditated in I can’t tell you how long.  I used to do it every morning.  Hallie even did it with me!  We looked forward to doing this together every morning.  So, why did we stop?  I think I let my work hours consume me.  Now that I actually have clients I love and work that inspires and benefits me (and the world), I need to reevaluate my life, my time, ME.

I need to ask myself what it is I want and get to it.  I need to get back to the plan.  I need to fit in my fun quality family time, work hours, writing hours, exercise, walking and smooching dogs, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn and everything else I have to do and be glad about it.  Be glad I have the opportunity.  Be mindful of every minute and make sure I’m not wasting it.  I admit, I waste a lot.  I think too much.  That’s my strongest weakness.  I can’t get out of my own head.  I need to prioritize and eat the frog.  Meaning, get the work hours done M-F as soon as I can get done and get it out of the way, so I have the free time I need to do everything else.  I procrastinate a bit.  I get distracted by my thoughts, an idea of a storyline I’m working on, so I quit work to type it into my book.  I’m so disorganized.  Even this post is all over the place.  I ramble.  My thoughts are scrambled and rambling.  I’m a rambling gal.

So, I’ll shut up and just make my greatest effort at being mindful.  I’ll live in the moment.  I’ll be gentler with myself and others.  I’ll stay calm and if I don’t have a nice thought or word, I’ll keep my lips zipped!  I’ll let it pass.  No one needs my stress.  I don’t even need my stress.  I’ll try to chill and be thankful for each moment I’m given, thankful for all my many blessings, and I do know I’m blessed.  I’ll just start acting like I know I’m blessed.

How to be mindful…

Hmm…

  1. Being in, living in the moment – each minute of the day – not so much inside my head, just aware of my thoughts, my feelings, my actions and words and what’s going on around me.  I will make a choice.  I will choose how to spend each and every moment.  I can participate or I can observe.
  2. Staying calm, being gentle, slow to anger – if someone tries to piss me off or I start to overreact, I will breeeeeeeeeeeathe and I will smile, forcing myself to chill and be patient.  I will not flip anyone off.  I will not cuss.  I will not yell as if I believe the other driver can hear me.  I will not tailgate.  If the checkout person in Walmart is in a pissy mood, I will smile at them, try to engage them in polite conversation and try to ease their suffering.
  3. Act with love.  Speak with love.  Feel love and exude love.  For others as well as myself.
  4. One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned (thank you, Tessa) is “it’s not all about you.”  I will remember it’s not all about me.  Just because a person is acting a certain way, it may be about them and it probably is.  I tend to get paranoid.  I’m getting better at this.  I will focus more on others and realize everyone has a struggle.  We never know what another is going through.  I will take my mind off myself and focus more on others and see if there’s any way for me to be helpful to them.
  5. If I get distracted, I will come back to center.  When I realize I’m goofing off (like now.  I should be working), I will refocus, stop playing or thinking or procrastinating or wasting time (even though I just had to talk to y’all), I will ask myself, “Self, what do I need to be doing right now?  What am I doing?  Do what needs to be done.  Eat the frog.”  Y’all do know what ‘eat the frog’ means?  I’m not actually going to Eat.  A.  Frog.  That’s just wrong.
  6. If my mind begins to wander, I will bring myself back, get out of my head, refocus, and do what I need to be doing.  I will be mindful.

Any other tips on how one can be mindful?  HALP?!  Please insert in comments below.  ’cause we all need to know.

Smooches!  xoxo

 

 

Photo courtesy of arttherapyspot.com

Whispers from God

This was my day today:

God, I’m late for work already! I left the house late so I had to get her to school the quickest, fastest route and missed the beautiful longer route. Which is fine, since she was acting like a nincompoop anyway. Then, I try to speed to make up for lost time so I won’t be late and there’s the train. Thanks for that, by the way. Then, I get through that and finally make it to the interstate behind all these slow as you please drivers and can’t even make it all the way to the stack and cars are backed up as far as the eye can see. I sit and wait for cars to budge. And wait. And wait. I have to be to work by 8:30 and it’s 8:28 so I call in saying I’ll be late, I’m stuck in oh so slow traffic — actually non-moving traffic. So, every minute or so, I get to move up a foot. Eventually, I see a wreck just passed the stack and try to get all the way over so I can get off at my exit. Nobody will let me in!!! I hate people! They are so rude and selfish. (I roll my eyes and say a few words I probably shouldn’t, but think at least I’m being real.) Finally, at the last minute, people let me squeeze in and get over. I made it to work but it was nearly 9:00 when I arrived and then had to go immediately into a 45 minute meeting that I completely forgot about and didn’t even get my coffee! I should have just stayed home!

Carol, number one, that speed limit is put there for a reason and you should follow those rules of the road. You ridicule police officers for acting as if they are above the law and then you do the same thing when you speed. You could have gone the speed limit and taken the longer route and enjoyed the scenery. You still would have been late but you would have enjoyed your journey a bit more. Did you miss the beauty of the shorter route? There was beauty there, too. The moments between home and taking Hallie to school should be happy moments, even if she does act like a nincompoop. She’s supposed to act like a nincompoop. It’s in the job description under “teen.” You are “Mama” and need to send her off with a prayer and loving words. Never leave someone you love without giving love first before saying goodbye. Yes, I saw the two of you laughing and kiss each other goodbye. But you should have been talking and laughing the whole way as you normally do and saying your prayer for the start of the day which you forgot because you were angry and late. I put the train there to slow you down. You’re welcome, by the way. I put those slow drivers in front of you to slow you down. I put all that slow and stopped traffic in front of you to show you that I spared you from that wreck. That could have been you. You did get off at your exit, so not every person is mean and selfish. By the way, they were late to work, too, and were nice enough to let you in. I do appreciate your being real but you also know how to be respectful, so please voice and express your anxiety and frustration but do it respectfully, as I am your father and deserve your respect. And I also have feelings. And I do also appreciate apologies. I’m very forgiving. I know you were late to work but you did not get in trouble, you made your meeting and eventually got your coffee. And you got there all in one piece. Had you stayed home, you would not have been paid, so there’s something else you can be thankful for. Be glad you were at work today. In fact, be happy you have the ability to earn money. There are many who would love to have your job or any job at all.

Lessons learned. I will try to be more patient. I will be calm in the waiting. I will be mindful that everything happens for a reason. I will remain positive as I believe like vibrations reverberate against other like vibrations and grow, building more positivity and good karma and good energy and who doesn’t need more of that?! I wonder if I can do this. I have anger issues. This is something I need to work on every single minute.