Thursday, May 31, 2018

Judge Ye Not...

I had a blog post all written. I was on my soapbox complaining about people who feel entitled to things they cannot afford. It was a good blog post. Except for one thing...I was not being humble OR kind. I was being sort of bitchy...okay, more than sort of.


 

I'm financially frustrated and it was showing. Someone I love and respect read the blog post, told me that it was really good, then said "However, you tell everyone to be humble and kind to one another, but how is this humble or kind? It's neither of those things. You're judging people based on YOUR measuring stick of ethics, morals, and values. Not everyone can be held to your standards. It's not realistic and, quite frankly, it's not right."

I went back and re-read what I'd written. This person was right! (And I HATE to admit that :) ) I was being mean because they're doing things that I don't agree with. They're not harming anyone. They're not doing anything other than what they believe is right. Do I agree with it? No, but it isn't my place to judge.



See, dear readers, I have a purpose for writing this. I could have simply deleted the blog post that I'd written and called it a day. However, I also vowed from Day One of this blog that I would always show you that I am human, that I hurt, that I make mistakes, and I have flaws. I wasn't going to merely show you the highlight reel. I wanted to show you the bloopers and the really bad shit that hits me from time to time. And sometimes I need a kick in the ass to bring me back to the reality of it all.

So, here I am, telling you how human I really am! My morals, values, and ethics aren't without their flaws, but they belong to me and no one else. They are also not the basis on which I should judge the world. If I did that with everyone in my life, I would be more alone than I ever could imagine.

Because I need to be reminded today, always be humble and kind! You don't know someone else's journey or reasoning behind their actions. Love each other! Show compassion and empathy!  And be good to one another!


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Birthdays

Anyone who knows me is highly aware of how much I HATE celebrating my birthday. For years, I've said "It is just another day. It's nothing special." It is just a day where I'm reminded how old I am and I'm tired of being reminded that time is rolling by. I want to grab onto the bumper of time and hold on, slowing it down.

I haven't always hated it. I'm not sure when it started exactly, but I'm guessing around the time I turned 30 and saw life passing me by. I had so much I wanted to accomplish and no idea how to do it. 

Now, I'm accomplishing goals and checking things off my list left and right. I'm enjoying my life and I want it to slow down a little bit so I can make sure I have time.



My mom and me with my cousins, Mark and Doug

This is a big year for me. I'm heading into a downhill slide toward a number I'm not ready to face. I have so much left to do and as the numbers go up, I find myself panicking because I may never see the fulfillment of some of the things I want to do. I just don't feel like celebrating this year.

The other day I was told, "Did you ever stop to think it is the day of the year where we get to celebrate you? That it is maybe the one day of the year where those who love you get to be grateful that you were born into this world? Maybe you could be a bit happier since while yes, the number goes up every year, some people aren't as fortunate. And what about your mom? She went through pain for you and if for no other reason, it is a day SHE gets to celebrate."

So, I took a step back and let the words sink in. Okay, this hit me in the head like a ton of bricks. I hadn't stopped to see it that way before and have had to admit that I've been more than a bit selfish through the years.

One of the only pictures I have of my dad smiling

So, here I am, embarking on another year. And while I'm quite anxious to see where this one leads, I can only hope that it is as deliriously wonderful as the last few years have been. I've been blessed in ways others haven't been and for that I am grateful. I have so much left to do!

My grandma always said "Time flies when you're having fun," so I must be having the time of my life :) But my uncle would always say that he'd never laid the last brick on one project before starting the next. His reasoning? "God can't call me home until the job is done." So, I'll keep having fun, but I'm not going to finish one job before I start another. That way, I'm serving a purpose, right? LOL

Here's a big thank you to my mom! For carrying me under her heart and in her heart from the very beginning, for putting up with a daughter who seems scattered, but really had a purpose, and for loving me through all the bullshit! On my birthday, I am celebrating her and all she's done for me!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Name-Calling- a Confidence Booster

I'm not a fan of name-calling. I despise it with a passion. Who are you to think you know my story? However, this past week I was called two different names all in the matter of an hour. And it was all by one individual...a woman I respect greatly. It gave me such an enormous boost and my confidence went through the roof.

I was sitting in my English class about 10 minutes early this past Thursday. I was reading, as is my habit. My professor walked in and made a joke about seeing who the eager students were. I laughed and she said "You're laughing. Have you not been called an overachiever yet today?" (This is a 9:20 am class.) Overachiever? Oh wow! Then, she proceeds to say, "You worry so much about your performance, but you shouldn't!" *jaw hits floor* She took my breath away. 


I've worked hard for my right to sit in this classroom. I've busted my butt to be in the seat. Am I an overachiever? Quite possibly. I do worry about my performance in a space where performance counts. After all this time, when this semester ends, I will have accomplished something I never thought possible...I will end this semester with a 4.0 GPA. After all the struggles I've had with the various classes on this campus, I've found my way!
Then, class began. We were to write a take-home quiz on the topic she had given us on Tuesday. My topic was to prove that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a sexist book. I almost cried when she gave me the topic. This is one of my favorite stories! I had decided that I didn't need the grade (which I didn't) so I wasn't going to turn it in. Of course, who does the good doctor call on first? That's right...me! So, I explained how it was hard for me and how I worked hard to find the flaws that I prayed wouldn't be there. She told me that I really had some good points and she was enjoying my struggle because that means that I'm growing. When I told her that I had this epiphany, she laughed and said "Congratulations! You are now a true English major!" Again, I almost cried! It's true! I'm an English major and I've been baptized by a woman I consider to be one of the best. 
Two names were used by one person whom I admire. In the time it took for her to teach us, she blessed me in a way that she may never fully understand. 
I love it when readers read my blogs, books, etc., and tell me the parts they fell in love with. It means I'm doing something right. I love it, too, when the readers get frustrated and upset because, again, I'm doing something right. Then, to have this woman, a professor who I aspire to emulate someday, tell me I have what it takes to succeed...I'm doing something right!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Yes, You Can!

The other day I posted a blog about the day you became the person you are now. I had something happen this morning that made me realize exactly where I am going! And trust me, it was a bit of a revelation *G*
How many times in your life have you been told that you can't do something? Not the kind of "NO!" that is for your own safety, but the kind where someone doesn't believe you are smart enough, strong enough, or simply enough. I've encountered this more times than I care to count.
I was sent this last night. If you know me, you'll know that my faith is a mishmash of a lot of various faiths. However, this one spoke to my heart to the point that I was beyond words. 



When I wanted to be a veterinarian, I was told I couldn't because a) there wasn't enough money for college (financial aid wasn't what it is now) and b) my heart was too soft. When I wanted to be a nanny, I was told that I'd never be able to be too far from my family. (That one was sort of true!) When I decided maybe I'd give college a try, I was told that I wasn't ready. I had too many things on my plate and I'd fail. When I actually did start college, I was told that I'd never follow through. I was told that an English degree was a waste of money and I'd never be able to find a decent job. When I wrote, I was told I'd never continue. (I will someday, but right now, it just isn't the right time.) And this morning, I was told that it was interesting that I was still pursuing an English major because I was neither a good writer nor a strong one. 




Well, guess what? I am still here. I'm on the downhill slide to a number I'm not comfortable admitting just yet, but I'm not giving up! I'm still busting my ass and I WILL succeed! I'm a good writer. I'm a strong writer. I'm intelligent and I will accomplish the things I want in this life! I can only get better with all the incredible people who are teaching me, showing me, and guiding me. And guess what? I don't need your approval!
And neither do you! If I can do this, you can, too. Get out there and make your dreams come true! I'll believe in you, if you need me to! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Who You Are...

Do you know the exact moment it happened? The very moment that you became the person you are? Do you know when it occurred? 
I believe we are always evolving and changing, but I also knew the moment where I became the woman I am...the very core of who I am.

It was a difficult day and I knew there would be no return to who I had been. The day when I had the rose-colored glasses yanked off my eyes and I saw the world as it was. It was the day when I realized that come what may in my life, I'd never face a moment like this one again. Nothing as difficult as this moment.
I remember the smell of the office, the feel of the table under my fingers, the way my breath caught and my heart broke, and the rage I felt at the very kind man who was doing his best to help a broken-hearted woman. I can't imagine doing his job on a daily basis!
It wasn't the day I found messages from my now ex-husband to another woman. It wasn't the night I got the phone call telling me my dad had passed away. It happened while I was sitting in a conference room in lower Michigan, attempting to find a way to honor the man I loved more than life itself. The day I had to plan my dad's cremation.
I looked at the man sitting beside me, who knew the pain I was experiencing. Yet, I knew this is where our journey together ended. No matter what happened from this moment on, I was walking this path without him. I wasn't just dealing with the death of my father, but the death of my marriage as well. The other man sitting with me wanted to help in every way, shape, and form to make this as easy as possible. He took notes and wrote down the things that came out of my mouth. Unfortunately, he didn't do my father justice. I had intended to write my dad's obituary myself, but I just couldn't.
That day I knew I was stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I didn't need the man who was holding my hand, trying to console me. I was on my own! The one person I had relied on from the beginning was gone and, from here on out, I was never going to be the same person. 
And I'm not. I'm strong. I'm standing on my own two feet. I'm not sure I'd recognize the woman I was before. I'm pretty certain she and I wouldn't have been friends. This new and improved version is walking barefoot along this stone path, relishing the calluses that have formed. The softness and naivete are gone. The uncertainty has disappeared. There is a sureness in each stride. Confidence is a more consistent friend. 
Maybe I needed this day to happen. I miss my dad dearly every day! However, if I hadn't had to plan his cremation, I wouldn't be where I am. I would still be stuck in a place I didn't want to be in. And I really love where I am at this moment! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Changing Your Stars

I've been doing a bit of thinking lately. Mainly about who I am, where I've come from, what it took to get me to this point, that sort of thing.

It was never expected that I would go to college. Financially, it just wasn't possible. My grades were never good enough and, to be honest, I don't think anyone ever expected me to dream bigger. My cousin went to a tech college to get a degree, but he never did anything with it because he made better money at a job that didn't require a degree. 

I remember being in high school and my guidance counselor asked what I wanted to do after high school. I remember saying I wanted to be a nanny. I wasn't thinking too far ahead. I knew I always wanted to be a wife and mother. I never dreamed too far beyond that. I didn't have the traditional 5-year plan, let alone 10-year plan.

When I stepped onto the campus of the 4-year college I currently attend, this is exactly how I felt.

I didn't fit! I felt as if I were being judged by all these people who didn't have a clue about me. And I certainly thought they could tell how old I was by merely looking at me. I felt like I was too old to be in these classes. I felt too stupid! After all, why shouldn't I be able to work 40 hours a week, go to classes full-time, study, AND pass with amazing grades? I set myself up for complete and utter failure! And I felt completely alone in this world, which certainly didn't help me.
The worse I did in my classes, the more depressed I became. And the cycle was vicious! I had to work to pay my bills, but I needed to study to pass my classes. I didn't know how to balance it all! I lost my way and wandered along my Life's path, disoriented, depressed, and failing at everything.
I knew I was meant for more. My heart told me I was meant for more. And my mind needed more stimulation than I was getting at my job. That meant I HAD to stay in school. But I HAD to follow my heart, my passion, and tune out those who had no stake in my future.
"A Knight's Tale" is one of my favorite movies (if you can't tell) and this line has been my mantra for a long time. I just didn't realize it's significance until recently.
If you know anything about sailors, they always used the stars to direct them on their journeys. Stars showed them directions and the constellations, depending on the seasons. Stars showed them where they were and if they were headed in the right direction.

I was set on the road to being a wife and mother, but I was unhappy! I longed for more. I craved more. I needed to change my stars. I had stopped looking up to find my spot on my journey. When I finally stopped for a moment and took a glance at the sky, I realized I had lost my guiding star. So, I had to take a step back and study the stars and their alignments. It took me some time, but I trust my ship is moving in the right direction, following the northern-most star, and heading to the most fabulous destination I can imagine.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

I Am Where I Am Meant to Be...


For years, I have carried this quote with me. It has been my mantra whenever I've found myself questioning my life.

Looking at my life, I had plans. By this age, I had intended to have children who I would be seeing off to college, attending weddings, big family holidays. I was going to be married and planning our retirement. I would be half owner of a house, driving a better vehicle than I am, and life would have come together.

Instead, I am renting my home. I'm the one in college working on my bachelor's, not my children. No weddings are being planned. Holidays are a bit more subdued than I imagined they would be.

It is as if I have just beginning to find myself at this age. I'm learning new ways to cook and enjoying new foods. I'm elevating my heat levels in my cooking and loving every bit of it. I'm dipping my toes back into the waters of literature that I have always loved. I am falling back in love with Chaucer and Hemingway. I walk across campus and sit in classes with kids. I'm learning from them and forming friendships with them. I won't go bar hopping or partying with them, but to sit and share ideas, I am all for that.

At this age, I expected I would be settled and content with my life. Instead, I am loving my life! Hell, I'm living my life!

I had these big plans for where I was going and how I would get there and who would be on this journey with me. However, as I have been told by my mother recently, God has other plans.