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.  ūüėČ

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…

Trust is Never a Must

Twas promises ashen left woman to scorn

Ripened with passion then love would be torn — Go!

Undone the marriage by lies, fury, and so

Sayist none — carriage departs¬†thee at first dawn

Taunt and disparage me no more — I am gone!

 

Tis a bit brutal, yes?  Still, trust is something that can be your undoing, at least for me, so tis better to not.  I believe you can love deeply while still holding that barrier up to protect yourself and not trust, or not completely, anyway.  What do you think?  Do you easily trust?  Do you feel you have to have trust when you love someone?

Today’s prompt with The Daily Post’s Writing 201: ¬†Poetry is Trust. ¬†The form is Acrostic or Double Acrostic (which I tried my hand at) and the device is Internal Rhyme. ¬†Won’t you join us in the fun daily challenge? ¬†It’s only for 2 weeks!

 

 

 

 

Sit Still and Trust

dark and wait

 

__________

Love this! ¬†I know how desperately hard it is sometimes to do this — to sit still, much less trust?! ¬†Sometimes I feel I need to DO something, take action. ¬†SOMETHING! ¬†But when all my time is spent and there’s no free time to take anymore action, I really have no choice but to be still and trust. ¬†If you’re like me, trust is hard to come by. ¬†It’s probably my strongest weakness — being able to trust. ¬†But when I’ve done all I can do in this one direction, the only thing left to do is trust that The Dude’s got it all under control, one way or another.

Breathe, Trust and Let Go

inspire

I’m trying this. ¬†I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. ¬†New and better contracts are popping up, so perhaps soon, I’ll have more free time (after I let the lesser contracts go) to work on my video project! ¬†Yea!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! ¬†*smooch*

Hold on

no

I feel like God is saying “No.” ¬†Trying to hold on to faith. ¬†Trying to find some… ¬†Hard sometimes. ¬†But not giving up.

Expecting Miracles Manifesto

I don’t usually post twice on the same prompt but I had this stuck in my head this morning…

If you don’t know what prompt I’m talking about, check out The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge prompt, Manifesto.

Okay, so many of you that know me know that, at times, I have a love/hate relationship with God.  Okay, hate might be too strong a word.  Let me try anger.  Yes, a love/anger relationship.

However…

Today is going to be different.  Queue Manifesto:

Expecting Miracles Manifesto

halo

 

 

 

Today, I will not anger.

shirley

I will not cuss.¬† No matter if that dude cuts me off in traffic.¬† I will not allow road rage to invade my brain nor trash my mouth.¬† I will not curse.¬† I will not utilize rude hand gestures.¬† The most I will do is flap my tongue at him in frustration as if Ms. “Ouiser” in Steel Magnolias.¬† Remember when the bird pooped on her head?¬† Because let’s face it, most of us cannot just grin and wave happily at someone who just wronged us.¬† But I will not cuss.

melt I will practice faith.¬† This means I refuse to let worry take me over.¬† I will not doubt God.¬† I will KNOW he is listening and he is gonna take care of everything today.¬† Even though my car a/c isn’t working and my car is making a funny sound, I will be glad in the fact that my car runs and gets us to where we need to go and home again.

crutch I know my daughter will have an awesome day.¬† I know it will be more amazing than yesterday, wherein she will not feel the need to take somebody out with a crutch to the head, because she is armed and dangerous.¬† She’s packing.¬† Two crutches, so she has a backup.¬† I know they will not mess with her in a rude and hateful fashion and instead, be helpful and kind as students who attend a Christian school are supposed to act.¬† I believe.¬† She will have a wonderful day.

smile I will grin and bear it no matter what.¬† They say ‘fake it till ya make it.’¬† Not sure who they are but I’ll try it.¬† They say the more you smile and are happy, even if it’s not real, it will eventually become real and then all of a sudden, POOF! you realize you really are happy.¬† I’ll try that.¬† I will be silly and goofy also.¬† This always helps.¬† Yes, not only will I help those around me laugh.¬† I will laugh at myself.¬† Because I can.

moon I will find beauty in the day.¬† Like how sometimes the moon hangs overhead during the day in the clear blue sky.¬† I think it looks other worldly.¬† So cool.¬† No matter how hot it gets or what things may go wrong… I will look for the good, only the good and the beauty.

 

 

I will think positive and be positive and remain mindful of being positive.  I will not let fear to enter my mind.  I will not doubt.  (Please see faith above).  I will expect miracles.  Good things will happen.  Yes they will.  Yes they will.  Yes they will.  Say yes.  Yayess!!

I will step outside my comfort zone.¬† That would be a miracle right there.¬† I did step a little out of the zone.¬† I finally posted a pic of me on my about page yesterday.¬† I like being behind the camera, not ever in front of it.¬† I do not like photos of myself.¬† So, see?¬† I can step outside my comfort zone.¬† It’s working already.

Wow, it really is working.¬† It’s still morning and my daughter just texted me with, “you were right.”¬† They are being nice today?!¬† Nice!¬† Keeping those crutches vertical.¬† My mom texted me with happiness from work, so it’s a good day for her, too.

I will believe in myself.  Not only faith in God and other people but in myself.  I will stop the resistance.  I will stop the self-sabotage and I will have faith in me, in my writing, in my goals and dreams.  I am smart.  I am creative.  I am capable of greatness.  I am.

Today, I will let go and let God.¬† I will let him deal with all our issues today.¬† I will do what I need to do and get it done.¬† I will work on my contracts, get the work done and do it well.¬† I will put in time to write and work on my book.¬† It’s going to be an amazing day.¬† I’m expecting miracles.

Good things are happening today.

How to Pray: The 411 (Part 1)

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before and I’m positive I’ll revisit this subject many times but I wanted to share with you my experiences of how I have prayed and received God’s answers.

Deals with God

I’m not sure what the Bible says about making deals with God.¬† I haven’t read the entire Thing yet, although I’m working on it, slowly but surely.¬† All I know for certain about making deals with Him is that He has come through for me, perhaps not every time, but a lot of the time, when it’s something I truly needed and I made a great offer.

When I was 14, I questioned his existence.¬† I wasn’t sure he was real.¬† Many tragedies had ripped through my young life and everything that had happened to me forced me to question everything about God, love/protection/safety and life in general.

My best friend (a very wild girl with terrible parents who didn’t give a rat’s ass about her) ran away and I was to go with her but a series of events transpired during this crazy day that caused me to stay.¬† She took off.¬† I felt surely she’d call to let me know she was okay, she’d found somewhere to stay, she was safe, but perhaps she was angry with me for not being able to go, although she was there when the events took place and probably understood why I couldn’t.

I was so terrified for her.¬† She was the kind of girl with a wild boy-crazy in-your-face sort of personality; the type of girl that would get picked up by a carload of guys and get…well…you know.¬† So, I feared greatly for her life and her protection.¬† I prayed for really the first time in my life.

Oh sure, I’d talked to God before, as I prayed for a daughter since I was a toddler but it was a bit different sort of prayer.¬† I guess when you are little, you maybe have a stronger innocent connection to God, because it hasn’t been that long since you’ve seen him, so your trust in him has not been trampled on yet.

My prayer on this particular evening was a prayer in tears and in fear and hope and not so much rudeness but just more of being authentic in my prayer.¬† It was a short conversation in my room.¬† I don’t recall if I was laying in bed or kneeling or sitting down and it doesn’t really matter.¬† What matters is your words and how you use them, how you are feeling in your heart.¬† It’s about speaking in truth — your truth.¬† I made a deal with him.¬† I guess I sort of gave him an ultimatum, which probably wasn’t the best way to handle it.

I pretty much said, “God, if you’re real, now is your time to prove it.¬† I’ve never really asked you for anything.¬† If you want me to believe in you, please do this one thing.¬† Please just keep (we’ll call her:) Stacy safe.¬† Protect her.¬† Let no harm come to her and I will never question your existence again.¬† Do this one thing.”¬† I don’t remember if I ended it with “in Jesus’ name” or if I said “Amen,” as I didn’t really have much experience with prayer.¬† I simply told him what I needed to believe in him.

Well, it seemed like days passed and maybe they did.¬† It was a few years ago so I don’t recall how long it took.¬† For all I know, it could have been the next day.¬† To a 14 year old, I’m sure it seemed longer than it actually was.

So, on this other day, the phone rang.¬† Mama answered and she hollered, “Carol, it’s Stacy!”¬† Not that she needed to holler, mind you, as I was listening at the doorway of my bedroom.

“Stacy?!¬† Are you okay?¬† Where are you?”

“I’m okay.¬† I’m with these new friends.”

Om, of course hearing that scared the crap out of me.  New friends?  What new friends?!  A bunch of guys, like I feared?!

She continued, “So I was walking along the highway with my stuff, right?”

“Yeah!¬† Yeah?”

“And this car started to slow down and pulled over a little ways in front of me.¬† A man got out and started coming toward me.¬† He asked me if I needed a ride and I told him I had run away.”

“Oh my gosh!¬† Seriously?¬† You told him you ran away?!”

“Yeah.¬† He asked if I needed a place to stay.¬† He said he was a preacher and that I was welcome to stay with him and his wife.”

“Oh, I’ll bet he did!¬† You didn’t really trust him, did you?”

“I looked at the car and there was a lady in the front seat so I felt like he was telling the truth.¬† He seemed like a nice man.”

“Oh, Stacy!¬† You didn’t know those people!¬† You got in the car?¬† Seriously?!¬† Are you at their house?”

“Yeah.¬† Carol, they’re really nice people.¬† He really is a preacher and he made me promise as soon as we got to their house, I had to call my parents to let them know I’m safe and then I can stay with them as long as I need to.¬† That was the deal.”

There’s more to this story but you get the gist.¬† Anyone could have stopped and picked her up and I’m 95% sure she would’ve gone with them.¬† But it was a preacher and his wife.¬† That’s no coincidence.¬† I used to believe in coincidence.¬† I know now that every single thing happens with a reason behind it or a reason in front of it or both.

I was a very hard-headed, stubborn, dense teenage girl and God showed me loud and clear and ever so brightly that he is real.¬† He protected her and he brought her home again, safely, by none other than a man of God and his wife.¬† He couldn’t have answered better.

(updated)

Maybe he answered because I prayed for the safety of someone else. Maybe he answered because I needed to believe in him. Maybe he was protecting her anyway and it wasn’t even about me and my prayer. Maybe he answered because he’s good and he could kill two birds with one stone. Maybe I shouldn’t question why he answered and just be thankful he did.

FROG out! Fully Rely On God!

I had prayed for months to be able to work from home and be there for my daughter, and He gave that to me. I was blessed enough to work from home for almost a year. Not long ago, I was stressing over surgery bills and wondering how I was going to get through having more expenses than income. I applied at all of the law firms and continued to pray for God to show me what to do. I felt certain He didn’t send me home to raise my daughter only for a year and then send me out to be away from her again.

I got a call from one of the firms, the main one I did not want to work with. I worked with them for 1.5 months and it told me everything I needed to know. Yes, I needed to keep praying and stay home. It helped me catch up on bills but it was scraping the bottom of the barrel. The class of people I worked with was more sinful than I’ve ever been around in my life. The clientele base was horrible, as well. I knew better than to apply for that job and to take it. Everything starting from the first day was telling me I did not belong there. I did what I had to do to drum up more work from home and once I got a new contract to go with my other two that kept an open invitation for me, I quit the law firm. Usually, I have integrity and give 2 weeks’ notice but they lied to me to get me to work for them. They made all these false promises with the intention of never following through. So I didn’t owe them anything. I owed it to myself to do what was right for me.

God was trying to tell me to be patient, one of my strongest weaknesses. He was trying to tell me to hold on, keep praying, keep looking for another contract so I could stay home. I let depression, stress, anxiety, doubt and fear overrule my faith and dependence on God. It’s hard to see the truth when you are in the darkness of despair and confused as to what the right thing is for you to do. When you have bills you cannot afford, you may stress like I did. You can’t hear what God is trying to tell you. Possibly, because you aren’t listening to Him anymore. Our connection to Him is blocked when we worry, when we doubt, when we fear, when we are uncertain. His side of the connection is always open. It is us who blocks it. It may be unintentional. We don’t mean to block it. We don’t mean to worry or doubt or fear. It’s the human condition. We must learn to keep that connection open. To do this, we must be patient, pray, have faith He will show us the way and help us. To doubt and worry is to not have faith in God; to not believe He will take care of us. I’m talking to myself here, too.

We must practice a “minute mindfulness,” which means to be mindful every minute. Mindful that God is always in control. Mindful that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Mindful that He will bring us to that place where we need to be. All we need to do is believe He has a plan and have faith that He will fulfill His promises to us. We just need to FROG out – Fully Rely On God.

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes and showing me the truth, even when I doubted You. You are too good to me. For always loving me and looking out for me, for always answering my prayers in one way or another, for your forgiveness, for all you give and do for me, and especially for Your Son, Jesus, I know I’m blessed. Thank You, Father.