Let’s face it. I’ve never been very good at finding my way. I once got lost leaving a person’s house. I got lost coming out of the wrong exit of a mall and once even got lost coming home from the church I went to every week. Granted it was at night. Still…
There are many ways to lose your way. Most of them don’t affect your life too much. If I lose my way home or to a location, I might be late. I might not make it to my destination. I might need someone to come get me.
But what if I lose my way in life? That’s what I’m taking about. I’ve definitely lost my way. Yes, I have God. Yes, I have my family, at least some of them, and yes, I have a support team of friends but I’m not sure where I’m going. I’m no longer sure I’m where I want to be. I want to make the most of the life I have left. I’m sure there are many out there the same as me. Just living your life but not really LIVING your life. I want to change that. I want to be able to take charge of my life instead of just letting life happen to me. I want to find my way. Do you?
At the beginning of this year I made some goals. They were pretty simple, yet some of them almost seemed an impossibility. Read 90 books, write just one short story, repair a broken relationship.
I’m well on my way to my first goal, having read 44 books. It’s not that difficult a goal. It just takes time management and I love to read. Not to mention that I can read at work. My job is mundane and listening to books is the only thing that makes it bearable.
But as yet I haven’t written even one short story this year. Why is that? My goals used to be writing a story a month, or write every day. How did I get from there to here? It’s pretty simple. Discouragement. I lost faith in myself. Faith that I could ever be successful. Faith that I could ever achieve my goals. Faith that I could ever be a somebody.The voices in my head kept telling me you’re never going to publish a book. Why even try?
There’s only one key to failure. Stop trying. The antithesis to that is there’s only one key to success. Never give up. Keep trying. Keep working. Don’t get caught up in the voices in your head. So despite literally years of not so much as writing one story or even posting a blog, I’m planning to write again. Nothing is finished until it’s finished.
As for my third goal I’m not quite sure what to do about that. But that’s not over either. While there’s life, there’s hope. In fact I’ll take it a step farther. While there’s life, there is faith. I believe in God and He believes in me. And God believes in the ones I believe in. I’m not giving up. Hopefully this blog may encourage those who’ve lost faith and even some of themselves in the process. Take this journey with me, will you? Just one step.
A few days ago I wrote a poem about sleeplessness. It’s really the only writing I do anymore and its been ages since I’ve done a blog post. I always mean to write. You know how people say, she means well. My whole life is like that. I always meant well. Things just haven’t turned out so well as I meant.
So sleeplessness is a fact of life. I wake up about four a.m. I can’t go back to sleep. So I start what I call my research. It’s really just media bingeing. I browse Facebook, look at my photos, check out kindle books, maybe read a chapter, and then see what cheap audio book I can get to add to my collection so work can be bearable.
That’s the goal now, to make life bearable, since things haven’t gone as well as I meant them to. This time is also the time I’ll message people, my friends that I have left, that haven’t unfriended me yet or family, the ones who still talk to me.
Life is endless waiting, waiting for something good to happen, waiting for someone to come around, waiting for God to answer my prayers, waiting for the next event that will make my day bearable.
So I also make plans when I’m sleepless. Maybe he won’t have something to do today and he’ll do this with me or maybe we can do this today or will that someone come today and we’ll have to revolve our plans around him.
Mostly I try not to think about Monday. That’s the day the work week begins and life becomes only maybe bearable. If I can just put in this time until Friday…
I want to be honest. This wasn’t what I was thinking of when I was young and I thought about what my life would be or even a few years ago when I thought I had turned a new leaf, when I became a published writer. Life was exhilarating at that moment. Now I’m just happy that I lost a few pounds, or that I saw my grandson today. Or that I still have parents alive. Maybe I should just practice gratitude for those small things. Another thing to do when I am sleepless.
My journey to find a job has been a lot of ups and downs. When I lost my job due to circumstances beyond my control, it was a huge down. I was totally acclimated to my job. I knew exactly what to do. I had my friends on my job and we worked well together. My job fit my schedule perfectly and the pay was adequate for my needs. Then I began putting in applications and realized maybe I could do something I always wanted to do. That was a big up. Somehow I let this job go because I was willing to settle for something that was more convenient for my circumstances. That was a down, but after all I was going to get this job that I wanted from the start and it wasn’t out of my comfort zone. But I let that job go, too, because it wasn’t all that it seemed to be. That was another down. Still, I got back on the horse and started the application process all over again. I don’t know where it will take me. It is a treasure hunt.
Let me explain treasure hunt. It’s not what you’re thinking. I’m not planning to find a chest full of diamonds and rubies or a pot of gold or anything so wonderful as that.
When my youngest daughter was just a child, we went for walks all the time. Sometimes just for fun I’d say we are going to have a treasure hunt on our walk. What did that mean? Well, it meant that we would look for something useful. Something useful that some people think might be useless. It might be a pen, or a hair barrette or a penny. It could be something that someone dropped. A small toy, a piece of jewelry or a hat. Whoever found the treasure first was the winner.
It wasn’t really much of a treasure. It all depends how you look at it. One year on our anniversary my husband and I went to Pittsburgh for a few days. We dropped our daughter off at college after Thanksgiving break and Pittsburgh was an hour away. So we decided to celebrate there. I forgot my gloves and it was the beginning of December and very cold. We were walking over frigid windy streets and across many bridges and I found a glove. I put it on and then I found another glove. They didn’t match. But they were treasures because they kept my hands warm.
I am on another treasure hunt. I’m not out to find the most valuable job in the world, or the most successful. Just something useful that maybe other people wouldn’t even want to do. But it will be something that will work for me and make me feel valued again. A treasure is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s been quite a while. The last blog I posted was almost a year ago. What can I say? Discouragement is hard. My writing had been going nowhere and I was missing motivation to keep on going. So why am I writing now? I guess because even if I’m not at a place where I have a clear direction in my life, I have a story to share. That’s what makes me a writer.
Almost three months ago now, I lost my job. People who haven’t experienced this, don’t know how hard it is. They think you have all this free time to watch tv, read books, take naps, have extra vacation time and just collect that unemployment. In reality it is something else. You spend most of your days and nights worrying about what you are going to do with your future. You job search endlessly. You put in applications for jobs you are not even sure you want. You go to interviews or have phone interviews and wonder if you tanked them or aced them. Sometimes it is hard to tell.
You answer the endless questions from well meaning people. How’s that job search going? Did you get a job yet? Where have you put in applications? So and so is hiring if you want to try there.
You try to keep a positive attitude. I’ve been trying to tell myself from the beginning God would not have taken away my job if He didn’t have a better one for me. But many times I fail miserably at this. I wake up in the middle of the night and think about my next step. Will it be a good one? Will I make the right choice? That last interview I could have said…
So, here I am. Waiting for my new start. It puts new meaning to life being an empty slate each day for me to write upon. Prayers, people. It’s all that keeps me going. Prayers and determination. Until I find my new path, I’m sharing a little of the road with you.
A girl always has a special place for her daddy. She looks to him for protection, guidance, strong hugs and affection. She crawls into his lap and feels safe. A lot of times Dad is the one who gets down on all fours to be a horsey ride.
I remember my dad getting out a guitar and singing Elvis songs to me. Now I love Elvis. My dad still sings but mostly he sings hymns now. It is so sweet to hear him sing them. In the mornings in Iowa when we were visiting Autumn it was so reassuring to hear his voice floating outside because he didn’t want to wake anyone in the house.
Growing up I didn’t really see much of my dad. He had a lot of demons to conquer, but he finally conquered them. I am so proud of him for doing that. When he re entered my life, I was the happiest daughter ever. When I see Mom and him together, I see a walking miracle, because my Mom never dreamed that she would go back with him again. But here they are supporting each other in a million ways as they grow older. They even teach Sunday School classes together.
As my children grew up, my Dad was there for them. My parents took them camping. Dad fished with them and hiked with them and now he walks with me every morning. I am so thankful to have these sweet times with my dad. Sometimes it feels like God took that big hole in my heart when I didn’t have him growing up, and He is filling it up now with every walk we take together.
When my daughter left a little more than two years ago for Iowa, it was my parents that comforted me. It was my mom and dad who cried for me. I know they hurt every bit as much as I did. Having that in common bonded us together even more.
I love my daddy. He is my hero, my friend, my handy man, and my comforter. He is the one I turn to when I need to laugh or when I want to cry. He is the one I look up to but he’s not too high to hug. No one can ever take his place. Happy birthday, Dad. May God bless you as He has blessed me with you for a Daddy.
Lately there’s been a lot of talk about storms. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and a possible Jose have saturated many of our conversations. People’s plights have delved into our hearts and minds and rightly so. But it’s given me pause to think as well. Where do you go in a storm?
Would you head to an evacuation center just to be safe? Or would you hunker down and weather it out? Would you run to family in another safer place? Would you count on prayers to carry you through? Would you say I would go but I can’t leave my belongings. I can’t leave my pets. They are my family.
How about the storms in your life? Where do you go? Do you cling to your spouse, your children? Do you hunker down and just stoically weather them out? Do you just zone out and try to pretend they’re not there? Do you run to a professional safe place, like a counselor or rehab center?
Any or all of these things can help us find solace in our storms, but they are not the solution. Instead, I turn to the Rock that is higher than I. What does that mean? It means that God is bigger. I once told someone very special to me that God was bigger than all her changes and bigger than the whole state she lived in and I had turned her over to Him because He could care for her much better than I could. God is stronger than any storm, higher than any rock you can flee to, and kinder than any family we can cling to. He is our protector, our fortress, our deliverer. Even when we are not delivered from a situation, such as sickness or calamity, we are still delivered to His loving arms. He holds us fast and never lets us go.
I’m reminded of a story in the Bible about two men. One built his house upon a rock and one upon the sand. This is not a slur on all those living in Florida right now. Our hearts bleed for those people. The house on the sand washed away but the house on the rock stood firm. The rock is the Rock. It is our God, that we put our hope and trust in. When all else fails, when the wind blows, when the waves crash, He is our tower. He will not fall, and neither will we. Where will you go in your storm? I’m going into the arms of God.
Summer is almost over. Some say summer is over because the kids are going to school earlier and earlier every year. For this blog, I want to write about some things, actually a lot of things you might want to check off your list to make sure you lived your summer to its potential.
Go to the beach at least once.
Tell your kids you loved them and appreciated having them around more.
Take your dog to the dog park.
Help someone in need.
Go to an outdoor concert.
Go to an outdoor movie. Drive ins are my favorite but there are not so many of them around anymore.
Take a hike in the woods.
Go for a creek walk.
Take that family vacation even if it seems you can’t afford it. You’re building memories. There are always ways to save.
Have lunch with a friend.
Tell your spouse you appreciate them, especially if they did the yard work.
Have a cook out at a park.
Go to the zoo.
Go to a garden attraction.
Watch butterflies at a butterfly house.
Sit outside and look at flowers.
Take a picnic lunch somewhere.
Do a trail ride.
Play a game of outdoor sports.
If that’s too strenuous. Play a game of horseshoes or Croquet
Read a book outside under a tree.
Play miniature golf.
Go out for ice cream.
Have a campfire. Make Smores
Be thankful for the heat. Soon it will be cold.
Go to an amusement park.
Go to a nature center and learn something new.
Go to a pool.
Go to a historic attraction.
Watch the sunrise/sunset.
Have a water balloon toss.
Go to a fair.
Go to a farmer’s market.
Buy corn on the cob and eat it with lots of melted butter.
Visit a state park.
Take a day trip to a place you never went before.
Shop at a yard sale.
Paint a painting outside.
Take a field trip.
Thank God for air conditioning.
Take a walk in the rain.
Get out the wading pool and splash with your kids/grandkids
Play in the sandbox.
Visit a petting zoo.
Fly a kite. These are just some things I thought of. Don’t be sad if you missed out because summer is almost over. Some of these things can be done into the fall. So go out and have a ball!
Do you ever wonder why dogs are so happy? You might say well, they don’t have to go to work. But a dog’s work is making his master happy. A dog is happy as long as you’re around and he’s fed and has a roof over his head. In short, he’s content with the little things in life.
We’d do well to imitate dogs. I always think I’ll be happy when the next thing comes along. When summer cleaning starts at my job, I switch to day shift so I said to myself I’ll sure be happier when summer cleaning comes along. Now that summer is about over, and I’m very sick of doing the extra work and getting up at 5 a. m. every day, I say I’ll sure be glad when I get back to second shift and I can have all those morning and some of the afternoon to myself.
When my kids were growing up, I said I can’t wait until they sleep through the night. I can’t wait until they’re potty trained. I can’t wait until they can talk and tell me what they want. I can’t wait until they can dress themselves. I can’t wait until I can go out and leave them without a sitter. Now that I have no kids at home, I desperately long for the sound of their laughter, to see them sitting in my house, making that same mess I used to complain about so much. You just don’t know a good thing when you have it.
The secret of life is to be content wherever you are in life because it doesn’t last. Sometimes I thought what I was going through was the biggest hassle in the world, but there are bigger hassles when you have nobody at all to share the hassles of life with.
I complain a lot about my job. Everybody does. But I need to be thankful I have a job to complain about. I complain about my house. It’s in need of a lot of repair, but I have a house to gripe about. I complain about the car, especially when it costs us over $1000 for repairs but we have a car to grumble about. Most of all, I complain big time about my husband, but he’s here for me every day listening to my complaints. Who else wants to volunteer for that job?
The secret of life? Think like a dog. Life isn’t about all the things. If you have something to eat, somewhere to go, and someone to be close to, that’s all you really need.
Have you ever noticed that sighs can be used for different purposes. I sigh, because I wish I hadn’t said that. Or I sigh because I am remembering something from the past I wish I could repeat. I sigh because I’m sad. I sigh because I’m wistful. I sigh because I’m relieved. I sigh because I can take a breath. There’s a change in the air and it feels good. That is the contented sigh, which in my way of thinking is the best kind.
Today I am breathing a sigh. Why? Because I wrote and submitted a story. If you want to know why I am happy about this, I will tell you. The last time I wrote and submitted a story was January 20th of this year. Although it was a good story, it wasn’t accepted. But that isn’t the reason why I haven’t written another since. I’ve been going through a period of depression. I didn’t even admit it to myself. On the outside, I was going through my routine like normal. I went to work. I did my chores at home. I enjoyed my grandson. I played with the dog when I wasn’t too tired or in too much pain. I paid my bills. But inside I was sad. I was sad all the time. Even when I was happy, I was still sad. I know that’s hard to explain to anyone who is not gone through depression of any kind.
I told myself you should be grateful. You have a brand new grandson. You have three healthy children. You have a husband who mostly cares about you. You have wonderful parents who are still alive and thriving, despite your mother’s bout with cancer. You have God who never lets you go. You have so much to be thankful for. I knew all that in my head. But my heart kept feeling pain.
My life didn’t have meaning as it once had. I didn’t have any motivation or inspiration to write. God seemed distant, and I know the saying that if God is distant, who moved? I wanted desperately to move forward but I couldn’t. It was like the ocean. When you stand in the sand and the waves lap over your feet and the longer you stand, the more firmly your feet are entrenched in the sand, and after awhile you are buried there.
I felt buried alive. Little by little, I am digging my way out. Some days I don’t cry. Some days I don’t think about what could have been. Some days I say, this day I will take a small step in the right direction. That’s what I did this week. I took a step toward my goal of becoming a successful writer. I’m not saying everyday is going to be brighter now. Some days will still be very dim and grim for me. But at least I’ll let the sun shine in more than I used to.