Archive for September, 2013

Prompt: Clean House

September 29, 2013

“Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?”

 

Yeah, there’s junk in my life.

However, I am a minimalist when it comes to material things. All of my junk is personal and emotional and mental. And junk is the perfect word for it. And I know it. And I know that ‘naming’ what something is, is half the battle of overcoming it. However, to me, naming the junk is the easy part … clearing It out has been damned near impossible, so far. But I will. I will absolutely clear house.

I will clear all of the junk that regret, remorse, and resentment creates. I chip away at it every day. I clear out the junk by consciously choosing to change my thoughts, by choosing light over darkness and by choosing forgiveness over bitterness.

Sounds good, right? Sounds easy. The truth of the matter is, whether it’s material or emotional, it takes a long, long time to get rid of junk. It takes so long because to truly clear out the junk, one has to also completely overhaul their habits that brings the junk into his life in the first place.

I wish it was as easy as naming it and thinking “I let that go’ … like seeing a junky thing and simply throwing it in the trash can. But it’s not. It’s a constant work in progress. Such is life.

But I will. I will clean my ‘house’. My house will be clear of all junk. It will. I will.

Prompt: Celebrate Good Times

September 29, 2013

“You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?”

This is an interesting question. Maybe because of the interjection of the word ‘improbable’ combined with ‘hoped-for’.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, in my life for the last few years, or if it’s our society in general, but it seems to me a lot of us have been waiting for ‘improbable, hoped-for good news’. It makes me wonder what the difference – if there is any – between faith, hope, wishful thinking and luck. I’d have to give it some thought, but I think it’s worth considering at some point.

For now, though, the interesting point that struck me first is how differently I would celebrate now than I would have just a few short years ago.

I love good news, happy news and those times that call for celebration. However, these days, instead of a party or going ‘all out’, or jumping up and down for joy – my celebrations are conveyed in the more quiet, humble manner of gratitude. When any of those improbable, hoped-for, moments comes along, I just give thanks and then put my nose back down to the grindstone. I’m not sure how big the improbable news would have to be before I really let loose and actually ‘celebrated’ in the true sense of the word.

After having the rug pulled out from under me (us) so many times, the lesson has been learned repeatedly that just as quickly as the tide turns for the better, it can turn again for the worse, and on and on … life is one big circle of good or not-so-good news. I also don’t think that’s being cynical; a few years ago it might have been, but not now. Not with this ‘new normal’ we live in.

I savor good news, whether its for me or for someone I love, or for anyone. It just never strikes me to jump up and down or buy myself a celebration gift. It does strike me to give sincere and joyful thanks, to stop and take in those moments, to relish the surprise and inconsistency of life.

Celebration to me is gratitude.

PROMPT: Are writing prompts a useful exercise, or do you find them to be too limiting and/or hokey?

September 19, 2013

I for one love these Daily Prompts! I think they are fun, they take my mind in directions I’m not expecting and they really get the creative juices flying. I even find myself thinking about some of the prompts throughout the day.

 

Maybe those of you that have had the discipline and time to write on a regular basis think differently, but for someone like me – taking classes, wanting to write but not actually doing it – for one reason or another – they are a great tool.

 

I am also impressed with the Daily Prompts on here, all of the contributors should be very proud of themselves. So, far the have been fun, unique and thought=provoking, thank you for that!

 

I can’t imagine why someone would think they are “too limiting” – I’ll have to read through some other blogs to find out if anyone answered yes to that one. I would be interested to find out why and how one would come to that conclusion.

 

As for me,  I love them and thank you very  much!

PROMPT: What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?

September 19, 2013
re·gret
riˈgret/
noun regret/plural noun: regrets = a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
Ouch, this one hurts. But I will go with the first thing that always pops in my mind when the subject of regret comes up: I married the wrong man.
I believe marrying the wrong person is one of the worst things anyone can ever do to themselves – especially when children become part of the equation. In response to that people always respond: “but if you hadn’t been with your ex, you wouldn’t have your son…” To that I say: “how do you know?” I mean, really? Maybe I would have had him with a man that actually deserved to be his father. Maybe I would have had him with a man that would step up, be a good and strong role model for him. Maybe, just maybe, I could have avoided putting so many years of time into a complete and utter asshole – but because we married and had a child, instead I have had no choice but to sit there and listen to baseless crap for what amounts to years of time off of my life. Seriously.
The only reprieve I give myself is that I was very young when I married. He is eight years older than me. I (and my father of all people) caught him a web of lies before I married him. He (with the help of his mother of all people) did a good job of weaseling his way out of that big, glistening web. But I still married him. And my father never advised against it (I was ‘over the age of 18’ and could make up my own mind … what a crock).
The first time I called my family attorney, was three months after we married. I had just found a closet full of proof that not only was my intuition right about all of those lies months earlier, but there were even more and deeper lies … and his mother was in on those also! He is simply a product of his environment – lie, cheat or manipulate until you get what you want. It still goes on today.
What fascinates me, is that yes, I was young. People get married later these days. However, I still watch people talk themselves into marrying the wrong person over and over – so, I’m not sure how much age has to do with it. What is it about the human psyche that when it comes to intimate relationships, we refuse to just call spades, spades?
I’m not even talking about situations as obviously wrong as marrying a proven liar when that is the one trait I cannot tolerate. I’m speaking of even the most simple examples of two people that simply want different things out of life. How often do you see a couple even date longer than they should, bicker all the time and then get married?! WHY???
It’s like the history of war in the world – people just don’t learn from others or the past. It is the most curious thing.
With all of that regret, that has crossed my mind every day for the last 16 1/2 years, I will admit one thing: if, when I die and +GOD+, +HIMSELF+ tells me: “YES, they were right, you had to make that human mistake in order to have your son … there was no other way.” Then all of this regret, for so many years, would have been for nothing; I would do it all over again, walking through hell, with a broken back, to have been assured I got my son.
So, what is the real lesson in this exercise? It is that regret, most likely,  is even more of a waste of time than having to deal with the aftermath of  mistakes.

PROMPT: Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

September 19, 2013

Prosperous but challenging changes and transitions.

I’m a single mother. I have been for sixteen years. It has been my full-time responsibility – every day, every night, every weekend. My son’s father lives across the country, so there has been no shared responsibility raising my son – it’s been all on me.

All I can say is “thank you, +GOD+ for giving me an amazing child”. He has been perfectly behaved, perfectly adjusted, and the perfect student.

Even so, I thought I would be looking forward to getting him off to college by now, being free to pursue everything I wanted to do for me in my life – you know, ME time.

But now that the time has arrived, I have found it so challenging to switch my focus, to not look back at how fast the time has gone – to not yearn for my little boy. Truthfully, challenging is not a strong enough word to convey the depth and conflict of these emotions of the last few months. But it is what it is.

On the other hand, I do have all of my time, which up until just two months ago went to him, his school, his sports, his life in general (with my work-work ‘on the side’) – to throw into the ideas and projects I have had simmering on the backburner for so long.

I already have investors for one of them. I have written more on one of my projects in the last few weeks than I have in the last two years; and I have already received feedback that has truly surprised even me. So, all indications are my future will be a good one, for which I give thanks.

Change is challenging simply because it makes us step out of our comfort zone, which most of the time we don’t even realize we are in. However, I am of the belief, that the changes going on in my in my life right now may be my reward for dedicating these last eighteen years to raising my child. Any prosperous results will certainly be from the lessons I learned about dedication and devotion in doing so. If the rewards are even a fraction of the positive results I get in return with my son, my future is so bright I will be blinded by even trying to take a peek.

PROMPT: The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).

September 19, 2013

I like this prompt. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not have to look too far out my front door to see how blessed my life is. However, gratitude is severely lacking in our society right now; instead, everyone wants more, everyone is so quick to call ‘foul’, everyone acts as if they are entitled to everything. The gluttony of narcissism is disgusting.

In the last few years, I have been one of the many that has experienced great stress, great loss and great uncertainty. I’d like to say that the majority of the time, even in the midst of those different experiences, I am still thankful through them all. Even so, I still have to take self-assessments on a constant basis to consciously count my blessings, state the good in my life, and to say THANK YOU out loud!

Above all of the wonderful, obvious elements of my life, I am by far the most thankful for my son. When I first learned I was pregnant with him, his father and I were already going through a divorce, so it was not a happy, joyful revelation. We did try to stick it out when we found out, but that simply prolonged the inevitable another two years. I remember being despondent, in shock an so angry and resentful that this twist was taking place in my life. I was so resentful that as the mother, every aspect of my life changed while my former husband’s didn’t skip a beat. It was horrible.

However, it did not take long before I realized +GOD+ really does know what he is doing, because my son was not a sacrifice in my life – but the greatest blessing ever. I am such a better, deeper, compassionate, loving person because of his presence in my life. I have thanked +GOD+ every single day for him; I have thanked +GOD+ for instilling the deep, deep rooted knowledge that I had to be his full-time mother … no matter what I had to go without personally and whatever other sacrifices it took on my part.

I am also a much more all-around  grateful person because of the experience of having my son. I take more time before calling ANY situation a bad one. Because I learned so long ago that sometimes – actually, more times than not – when things seem the worst, or what I first perceive as the worst thing that could happen in any given situation happens – in reality, if I simply take a breath, step back,&  give thanks that I’m even still alive and licking – things always, without a doubt, turn out for the best.

And hey, what a great prompt, thank you!!

PROMPT: What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

September 19, 2013

Well, there is definitely a connection between how I ‘played’ and what I do and how I am now. However, I didn’t have or play with many toys … I never wanted to. Instead, as long as I, or anyone in my family can remember, my play was ‘updating’ and ‘improving’ whatever space I called mine in any given moment. as a result, I have been literally renovating homes since I was nineteen years old.

The home I grew up in was on five acres. Just outside of the house, was a building we called the ‘green house’. Originally, it must have been a hen house, maybe. Or a really nice gardening shed. It wasn’t too large, maybe 10×10; it also had shelves along one side. Since my parents didn’t raise chickens or hens and didn’t need it for storage because there was also a huge barn on back just a little bit, I used it as my ‘play house’. People pay thousands of dollars now for mini replicas of their homes for their children’s play houses now. Maybe I can say I started the fad?

I used to drag flower pots, lawn furniture, rugs, carpet remnants, pots and pans … everything and anything I could find, I would drag in there and constantly rearrange that little bitty space. I did that until my father built an attached kennel  on the side and cut an opening in the side of the building for our dogs to get in out of the weather. So, at that time, I took my somewhat obsessive habit of rearranging and updating to my bedroom.

One time, in fifth or sixth grade, my parents came home to find all the carpet in my room had been taken up by me (tack strips and all!) because I preferred the beautiful hardwood floors underneath it. Fifth or Sixth grade!

I also taught myself how to paint. Furniture, walls, household items, etc.

The light bulb went off when I dated a guy my freshman year of college. He and his father began buying, renovating and selling houses. I began helping them do everything. EVERYTHING.

Well, we parted ways, however, I then began buying my own property and doing the same thing. Currently I can tile, do electrical work, do plumbing, take out walls. simple carpentry … I am a jack of all home renovation traits. I also paint, update and restage my properties several times a year. Isn’t that funny? You can say I continue to play even to this day.

 

 

PROMPT: If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?

September 19, 2013

Wow, what a great question; it really invokes deep and wide thought.

Hmmmm … which one would it be?

Well, thinking of superior sensitivity in the different senses: superior eyesight would mean what? seeing hyper-colors, seeing farther distances, seeing clearer words on a page. Superior sense of touch? Things would feel hotter, colder, rougher, softer… I am already hyper-sensitive to smell, let me just say, that is not good all of the time. I will smell long before anyone else, sometimes bad smells can keep me up at night and/or give me a gut reaction and make it difficult not to throw up on the spot when a very pungent smell hits my nose. However, smell warns me when something is not good to eat or drink, so I don’t want to give it up – it keeps me safe and healthy.

I’m think I would give up my sense of touch … and gain super-sensitive hearing. Losing touch would be hard, maybe even creepy; however, gaining super-sensitive hearing would be awesome. It may allow me to know the truth of matters, helpful information, when someone is scheming, when alarms are going off, etc.

Having to really think of all of the different senses we take for granted so much of the time was a really interesting exercise. It leaves me very thankful all of my senses are in tact. It also leaves me in awe and wonder of the magnificence of the human body. Thank you for all of that!

 

PROMPT: Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.

September 18, 2013

Fog. What a cool tenth word. So much comes to mind even before performing the google image search. Then, scrolling through all of the images, there were so many to choose from that both emphasized my original thoughts on the word in addition to expanding them.

My first thoughts on what this particular image brings to mind is how one thing such as fog is able to set or change the mood of so much. The fog effects the color, the light reflection, the energy level – everything! I look at this and think of walking through the vineyards on a cool Napa morning just before the sun shines through, at my best friend’s home.

I can feel the cool damp air. Then I think of how the weather changes so quickly from morning until evening in Napa. This image makes me think of serious thought, quiet thought and sincere meditation.

The center of the image looks like a blanket of fog, while the fog in the sky looks so expressive.

This image makes me miss my best friend and makes me very grateful to have Napa as an annual retreat.

Fog is wet, dangerous, moody, halting, relaxing and refreshing all at the same time.

Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

September 18, 2013

I absolutely do not like speaking in public.

I kind of don’t even like speaking in social settings anymore.

When I stop to think about it, there are a few reasons for these feelings – it’s not all about shyness.

The first reason is because I can’t imagine anyone thinking I have anything interesting to say. I mean, I’m pretty smart and I read a lot and I’m pretty observant however, the bottom line is: who cares?

Secondly, I guess I assume the majority of people probably feel like I do in the sense of ‘opinion burnout’. Everyone talks so much these days, everyone has an opinion, everyone has a cause, everyone thinks they need to ‘speak up’. Well, no everyone doesn’t.  Unless there is something I am absolutely amazed by and extremely interested in learning about – I find it hard to make myself listen to other public speakers. Therefore, I always imagine other people would feel the same about having to listen to me speak.

In that same line of thought, the few public speakers that truly impress me seem to have a natural gift for it. Yes, we all take Speech 101 at some time or another, however, learning the technical format of something and truly possessing a natural affinity for it are two very different things. I love great speakers that reel me in to whatever topic they are speaking of by use of their voice, vocabulary and form. I love when they begin a story, then take me on a few different paths of thought and then come full circle to remind me how we began the little journey in the first place. I love that! But I also know I do not do that. Therefore, if I cannot be one of THOSE speakers, I simply rather not do it at all.

I’d rather leave the public speaking up to the people that really count, that make me think and that expand my knowledge.

Oh, and yes, I am just a tad bit shy.