Morning Musing

I know that I need to write more, but I’ve ignored the urge so much that when I sit down to finally do it, my mind goes blank. And then I allow myself to become distracted until I don’t have time to do any actual writing. Needless to say, the books I have floating around in my head are still unwritten. In fact, there’s quite a bit floating around up there in my dreams that I plan to get to… some day. (More than I care to admit, actually.)

But what about TODAY?

Most days, I’ll convince myself that I can’t. That I don’t have enough time, money, experience, clout… I’ll find ways to keep busy and justify my lack of progress. I’ll say I can do it tomorrow, that it’s not important enough for today, that something else needs my attention more – the kids, the house, the finances… you know, real life. Or I’ll once again fall victim to my triggers and lose hours out of my day as I process.

But the truth is, until I make writing a priority – it won’t be. Until I decide to stop letting those negative voices and excuses impede my success, they won’t. Until I accept that my needs are real, my dreams are important, and my desires are okay, I’ll never fully heal and enjoy my life.

So TODAY, I am going to do life different! Today I am going to tell myself that I CAN and I WILL. Today I am going to make time, earn money, gain experience, give attention. I’m going to allow myself to let go of my perfectionism and enjoy my day. Today, I am going to write.

Welcome to my Morning Musings! 

And then Life Happens – Week 17

Time is absolutely flying past me. It seems as though we brought our baby girl home just a few weeks ago, when in fact she is 9 months old already! On top of our normally hectic days, our family has also been occupied with several ongoing projects around the house, including a garage sale that was a couple of years overdue. In addition, we have dealt with a plethora of life’s lemons, ranging from a family emergency that required an out-of-state trip, to botched vacation plans, to hosting out of town company for a week at the spur of the moment with time, space, and a budget that was already limited. And just when we thought our hands couldn’t possibly get any more full, we discovered we are (unexpectedly) expecting our third child this December.

{{{Insert anxiety/depression/panic attack/meltdown here.}}}

Even with the little bit of progress I had started making on this self-imposed journey of mine, the whirlwind of life’s challenges got to me. As much as I love my children and despite how much I craved, planned, hoped and dreamed of becoming a wife and mother, I never expected to have more than 1 or 2. The weight of the responsibility, the financial stress, the dramatic change to our current life plans, the stress of caring for another little person all day, everyday…Learning that I was pregnant again hit me so hard it plumb knocked the wind right out of me. I fell down into the ditch I have become accustomed to lying in when I let the world get the best of me. It’s the ditch I built as a little girl that I use to protect myself when I’m hurt or fearful. When I’m in the ditch, I’m numb – disconnected from most everything around me. I surround myself with fire to stop others from getting in, a fire fueled by my anger, rage and meanness. I let my sadness bury me. I become immobile, barely able to function. I feel hopeless and lose sight of everything I’ve overcome in my past and everything positive I use to see in my future. Until I stop fighting and start getting real.

Sometimes, when you dig into the dark corners of your soul you find things hidden there that you don’t want to see. Things that have been buried for years, pushed out of your consciousness, perhaps even locked away from your memories. It’s hard to imagine these things can have much of an influence on your present day life, but they do. I’m realizing now that in order to truly achieve the life I dream of, I need to face my dark corners head on instead of pretending they don’t exist.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I typically would see this fall off the horse as a failure. But I know that I am not a failure and that life is a journey and not a destination. I’m taking things day by day and giving myself credit where credit is due. I’m slowly pulling myself back out of the ditch, dusting myself off and putting one foot in front of the other. I’m shining light on my dark corners and learning to deal with what I find there. I know it’s going to continue to be difficult, but I also know that if I genuinely want a better life, it’s up to me to make it happen.  

How do you handle life’s lemons and keep the world from getting the best of you? 

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.

~Aristotle Onassis

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

~Martin Luther

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

~Joseph Campbell


My Story

Like most, my life is far from perfect. It didn’t have a perfect beginning but I have spent its entirety working toward a more perfect middle and ending. I experienced a childhood that shaped me into a strong, independent and passionate woman. Much of what I experienced in childhood also shaped me into a negative, isolated and doubtful little girl, confused, lost and angry at the world. I recall reading somewhere about how connecting with your inner child can help you achieve a more balanced life. I was having difficulty finding my inner child until I recognized that maybe I knew her all along, I was just ashamed to face her. My inner child is a sad and scared little girl, cowering from the world with her back against the wall of a dark cave. She’s naive, distrusting of most and juggles between being filled with anger and being completely hopeless.

Your inner child greatly influences your actions as an adult. Think about a child’s behavior: it is impulsive and impatient, prone to throwing a tantrum if he or she doesn’t get what he or she wants. As an adult, we have to learn to act more mature, postponing immediate gratification and acting civilly even though we’re throwing a tantrum on the inside. If your inner child hasn’t learned how to act properly, it’s going to be reflected on the outside – by your behaviors. Since my inner child is negative, my behaviors as an adult are negative.

I am learning how to help this hurt child inside me become the happy, healthy and thriving adult I want to be – the kind of person that I hope I’m raising my own child to be. So far, realizing all of this has been my biggest step. I always felt like I understood my past because of years of therapy, but I could never figure out how it was affecting my present. It turns out I was missing a vital key in my life, the puzzle piece that connects all the other pieces: I was missing God.

I’ve never been an especially religious person. I called myself spiritual because I’ve always believed in a Higher Power, but I had difficulty making an actual connection with God. Over the past few years, He has continually placed a woman named Joyce Meyer in my path in the form of both books and televised sermons. This woman has introduced to me to God. It’s as though I have always felt His presence, but my inner child was too afraid to turn around and introduce herself; even though she knew He was there to help her, she was too shy to ask for the help. Now that Ms. Meyer has done the hard part and we have been introduced, my inner child and I are learning together how to live in the Spirit of God, where I know I will find true freedom.

For me, this means maintaining a healthy, happy and balanced life. Some internal reflection has made me realize my truth – I am not living a very healthy life. So my focus is on becoming healthier physically, as well as mentally, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.

American Dream Maker is where I am going to record my trials and errors, hypotheses and experiments, successes and failures along the way. I am in the middle of the unfolding of my own personal love story (in the works of being told as a novel currently entitled Becoming Mrs. Casey). I have searched for and found my prince and the road to happily ever after began. Now, I’m learning how bring the happy to the ever after as we bring our American Dream to life. And you, my friend, are invited along for the ride.

Christmas Hope

This is an old blog I recently rediscovered. I thought I would share it here since, after all, ’tis the season! Find this posting and more in the Digital Time Capsule.

Holiday Thoughts
December 13, 2007

It’s that time of year again… Christmas is here!

So, that magical time of year is upon us yet again. It’s really hard to believe that another year has flown by so quickly. You know, time is really a funny thing. When I take a moment to pause and reflect on how much things have changed in the past 12 months, it really boggles my mind. There have been some pretty amazing times, heart breaking situations and instances that I know I have taken for granted.

Each day seems as if it passes relatively slowly. Yet, when a certain event, such as a holiday or birthday, occurs, it is not unusual to hear phrases like “Wow, where has the time gone?” or “That flew by!” Yes, time will always pass at the same rate – it is unchanging yet we, as humans, are constantly changing – always growing and learning. Before the close of this year, I wanted to take some time to share what I have learned this year:

1. Cherish every moment. If you are always preparing for something – waiting for the “right” time to do something – stop! The time is now. THIS is your life. Live it to the fullest.

2. Tell your friends and family you love them. Make time to call – or even email if you must. Don’t let the day to day get in the way of the people that truly matter to you. Everyone has a busy life. It’s nice to hear that you’re being thought of once in a while.

3. Don’t be afraid to let go – to grow – to learn – to take risks. It’s not worth holding on to something if you are not happy. The reality is that we all live life once. Do it for yourself.

4. Never forget to kick back and have some fun. Genuine, real, laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts-and-you-have-tears-streaming-down-your-bright-red-face fun!

5. Take initiative. Work hard. Be honest. Take pride in everything you do.

6. Take credit when you do something well. Congratulate yourself and be proud.

7. SMILE! A lot.

8. Remember that everyone has problems in their lives. And most of the time, there is someone out there worse off than you. So, count your blessings and give back when you can – even if it’s just taking a few extra seconds to hold the door open for someone or letting that car cut in front of you on the highway. You might be running late for work – that person cutting you off might be rushing to the hospital because his wife is in labor.

9. Take things in stride. Let go of the little things. Don’t gossip. Try to be a little nicer – remember karma.

10. Every day is a chance at a new beginning – a fresh start. Stick to your guns. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t get taken advantage of – don’t take advantage of others. Just be you.

I also wanted to comment on the spirit of Christmas. Now, for those of you that know me – I mean really know me – this won’t come as a big surprise. Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. And it’s never been Christmas day itself. It’s not about the presents or Santa. I consider myself a religious person, but it’s not just about the birth of Jesus, either. To me, the miracle of Christmas has always been about the days and weeks leading up to it. While most everyone else is out bustling about with holiday shopping and preparing family meals, I prefer to watch the snow fall or listen to children laughing as they wait for a picture with Santa. I love how at Christmas everything in the world – for just a few still moments – seems right… at peace, even. People smile more and greet each other happily as they walk down the street. Arguments seem insignificant and selfishness and greed melt away; after all, “It’s Christmas”. The spirit of the season encompasses a sense of hope. And this is what strikes me the most.

I don’t come from a wealthy family by any means. When I was younger, it was an unspoken understanding that we wouldn’t have as many presents as our friends and the ones we were fortunate enough to receive were never nearly as good as those of our classmates. So hoping for that beautiful 3 story dollhouse or bracelet from Tiffany’s wasn’t even a thought. That’s not the kind of hope I’m talking about. My family, as most families, is full of drama and complications so hoping for a wonderful Christmas where everyone got along or sat around a piano singing Christmas carols isn’t what I mean either. I mean the kind of hope that you get from watching someone worse off than you opening a present. The hope that you get from seeing strangers show kindness to one another. Hope that is gained only at Christmas. Hope that one day the whole world can live in harmony and people will act year round as they do at Christmas.

This year, I am very fortunate to have the most amazing friends that anyone could ever dream of. For the first time in my life I truly feel loved, appreciated, needed, wanted and secure. I have come a long way in my short 22 years and I actually feel proud of myself. I’m looking forward to my future instead of dreading it. I’m enjoying life and worrying less. I’m letting go of things that are out of my control and I’m preparing for the wonderful things that I finally believe lie ahead of me. I’ve realized that true friends are there for you no matter what – regardless of the number of times you call on them (or the time of day, for that matter). And I’ve realized that the family – the family I keep trying to build and hold together – the one I’ve been searching for is right here… my friends truly are my family. I love you all so much and I appreciate everything you have done for me this year and always. I am truly privileged to know each and every one of you and it makes me smile when I think of all the memories we share. Thank you just for being you.

At this special time of year I just want to say, Merry Christmas. I wish you all a warm and happy holiday. May you find your own magic in this season and the kind of hope only Christmas can bring.