If You think you can you’re right, If you think you can’t you’re right too!!

image courtesy of http://www.oprah.com

I used to work with a woman who used every single thing that happened in her life, directly related to her or not as an excuse to be miserable. She had been divorced for several years, so she used being single as a reason for her extreme unhappiness. She was a single mom to a daughter and she held onto her so tight that she sucked the life out of that relationship. Her daughter decided to start a new life in another Canadian city with her boyfriend and her Mother threw an absolute fit, even going as far as trying to guilt her daughter into staying. I silently cheered for the daughter as she told her Mom that it was her life and she was ready to spread her wings. Her mother called her several times a day and complained to her about her pathetic existence. It was sad really. One day I gently told her that she should take this as an opportunity to make changes to make herself happy. Get a hobby, meet people, better herself. She had a reason (very valid to herself) as to why all of those things were impossible. I find that a lot of people who are unhappy make excuses so they can stay that way. I have been guilty in the past of doing it myself.

My friend (you know who you are) told me a story tonight about how she felt bad because everyone in her peer group was getting married and because she was still single it made her feel very down on herself. We have had similar discussions in the past and I have given her some advice, not all ill received but there is always a “But”

I am not single so who am I to say but I am without my spouse a great deal of the time. My husband’s job keeps him away for weeks at a time so I know what it is like to not be a part of a couple all of the time. Our children keep me extremely busy and I dedicate a fair bit of time to ensuring they will be well-rounded, confident individuals. I also try to teach them a lot about independence because I believe very strongly that another person cannot make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. If you are not happy (and it’s not due to medical reasons) then you are the only one who can change it. There are a great deal of people who bring joy to my life, my husband and children included (most days) but none of them are responsible for my happiness. There was a time that I relied heavily on my husband for my happiness and believed that I was responsible for his. A relationship should definitely enhance you, make you better in ways but you do not become half of a person when you become half of a couple so therefore you are not half of a person when you are single. Nobody can make you feel small or insignificant without your permission.

I have a very wise friend whose favorite saying was “You are the architect of your own life, if you are not happy it is time to draw up new plans!” She did so in a very big way. She left a marriage that even though she would probably always hold a little love in her heart for him it wasn’t a relationship that brought her joy. She became a single Mom and a very important role model for her impressionable daughter. She went to school, worked long hours and sacrificed. She had a goal and she knew excuses were not going to pave a golden bridge for her. A job that she once loved took its toll on her. Though it was advantageous to her employer to have her take on the workload of three people for the price of one it was a situation that was not great for her physical or mental health but as a Mom it was easier for her to stay then rock the boat. It was EASIER but she didn’t stay, she researched and she sought out opportunities and now she wakes up everyday to oceans and palm trees and a job that has personal and professional rewards. She broke down barriers, fought stereotypes and became the exception not the rule. She is furthering her education and broadening her horizons. She is still single and it certainly doesn’t make her less of a person, she realizes that her happiness and her life are her own and that is a great thing! She just sent her baby girl off to University, in another country. She had the same initial meltdown and late night tears as I am sure every mother experiences when their nest is emptied but she also got to experience a great deal of pride because she raised a wonderfully bright young woman who loves and respects her mother and because of that she is unafraid to face the world and have her own experiences and seek her own happiness. She has raised a daughter that will not measure her self-worth by physical beauty or whether she is in a relationship or not. She will struggle and make mistakes but they won’t define her, they will present opportunities for her to learn from.

So when I hear someone who is single with no children tell me all the reasons they can’t I want shake them. You can. You are your biggest obstacle!!

There are non-single, parents every where that would LOVE to have your problems. You have the freedom to think of yourself, put your own needs first, have hobbies, explore interesting things! Opportunities don’t always fall out of the sky, sometimes we need to make them. Anything that requires effort has the potential for a great reward!

I think we need to stop short-changing ourselves, we need to believe that we are worthy of everything life has to offer. See the beauty in every day, see the bright side of things and take a couple of big steps outside of our comfort zone (often) and realize that life happens outside of the walls we have built around ourselves. See opportunities, see potential. Say yes more. Stomp on negativity and eliminate negative influences. Choose happiness. Seek reasons to feel good about yourself.

You do not need anyone to save you, but maybe you will find someone to laugh and share with while you are saving yourself!

BE FABULOUS!!!

“Your life is the fruit of your own doing, you have nobody to blame but yourself!” Joseph Carter”

P.S. No excuses Edmonton singles (cough cough)

http://singles.meetup.com/cities/ca/ab/edmonton/

INSPIRED

library

I have been feeling so uninspired lately. For those of you who follow my blog you can tell because I have been absent. I went on a couple of quick back to back trips so I originally blamed it on being busy but even when things went back to normal I found I was sitting in front of my computer trying to force myself to write. I guess you could call it writer’s block…I was feeling insipid and the more I tried to write the worse it became.

This morning I had a great workout and then met a friend for brunch. I decided maybe I needed a change of atmosphere so I went to the local library. In front of the library someone had written in chalk “The Public Library is the University of the People” That immediately made me smile. People from all walks of life go to the library. I love the library, I love books, I love the big wooden tables overlooking the lake. I loved that there wasn’t any laundry to do, dishes to wash or floors to mop.

I looked around at the people and silently wondered what they were all working on, some were on laptops like me, others were reading, and some were studying. A man caught my eye. Actually a woman caught my eye and she was curling up her nose at the sight of this man. My first thought was that the man was homeless. He had unkempt hair and a very long beard and appeared to be travelling with a lot of bags. He thumbed intently through the shelves of books, wide-eyed as a kid in a candy store. Although the lady with the curled up nose appeared unimpressed I was fascinated. So many people, so many walks of life but this particular man captured my attention. He seemed enthralled by the selection of books at his fingertips. I wondered would he choose a mystery, a documentary perhaps or was he doing research? I thought of the sign written in chalk on the pavement walking in “The public library is the University of the People” I smiled. If he was indeed homeless I am not sure what paths in life led him to that place but I am glad that a path led him to the public library. He wasn’t a man on the street begging for money or my judgment, he was a man searching for a passion, an escape, and maybe characters to enthrall him and take him to different lands he may never find the opportunity to visit. The public library didn’t belong to me or the lady with the curled up nose, it belongs to all of us; the people.

I often get approached by homeless people and though every encounter is different they always make me think,

“How did you get here?”

I believe a lot of them are not so different then you and I. I have made bad choices in my life, none of us are exempt from that. Did a choice or a succession of choices lead to a situation that was so overwhelming and beyond their control that they couldn’t find their way back? Was it an illness, a death, an addiction, a tragedy?

I am not going to pretend to have heart and sympathy for everyone who has crossed my path, I am no saint, but I do believe that everyone has a story, like characters in a book. It is so easy to sit back and be a critic but you can’t judge a person by their appearance anymore then you can judge a book by its cover. All of us are just characters in the book of life, all of us faced everyday with good, with evil, with conflict and choices.

I started writing a book almost ten years ago. I had faced some very difficult marital problems and in writing I found a creative outlet that allowed me to escape from my own problems. I fashioned characters in my head and penned them to paper. I literally penned them (I didn’t have a computer ten years ago). For a while the characters were like family to me. I felt their joy and their pain. At some point, maybe as I began to heal I put the characters on a shelf but they were still very much alive in my head. They were like family to me, I didn’t see them every day but they were always in my heart.

Recently I was thinking of the characters a lot and I looked through my garage until I found a bin of crumpled, handwritten words, lives that I had created and woven together many years ago. It was like being reunited with old friends. These characters faced pain and decisions and they made mistakes. If you drew the wrong page out of the book, without knowing the whole story maybe you would hate the characters, maybe you would think they were hateful, shallow or foul. However, maybe if you read the whole story you would fall in love with them, you would forgive them their missteps and cheer for them. You would long to help set them on the right path because you had faith in them.

When I first found the basket of crumpled papers I became obsessed with finishing the story. At a certain point I became overwhelmed. Years had changed me and the way I think and feel and some of the plot that was in my head was arduous to put onto paper. I had a beginning, a middle and an end but drawing a straight line and connecting that all became so overwhelming that I took something I loved and turned it into a chore instead of a passion.

I would think to a person who has been knocked down in life and experienced rock bottom it must be a very overwhelming place to be and to navigate your way back up. I am sure at some point they saw their way out, could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the path was too rocky, too overwhelming. We will never know just by looking at them and turning up our nose. Could a smile or a kindness make a difference? I believe it can.

I smiled at the man and sat down with my coffee. I decided that along with my change of scenery I needed to change my direction. My problem is I couldn’t write in a straight line from beginning to end and maybe that is OK.

On this beautiful fall day I wrote the last chapter of my book. The middle may remain unwritten but that is fine. I wrote an ending that was eloquent and heartwarming. I brought people to life and I will bring them full circle. I even cried reading what I wrote (I am a sap)

One day I hope to share the whole story with you, until then I will take each day one day at a time.

Share your smiles today, someone needs one more than you know

Outside my local library today

Hole in the Word-Saluting the unsung heroes of 9/11

Hole in the world tonight
A lot of my life can be related to an Eagles song, Victim of Love, Take it to the limit, Take it Easy, The Long run….but no song in the world quite evokes the emotion of this day in 2001 quite like The Eagles “Hole in the World”

Last night I was watching the “History of the Eagles” one of my all-time favorite bands and I was looking ahead to my friend’s birthday on September 12th. It didn’t occur to me till I woke sometime in the wee morning hours that it was 9/11 and how I felt on this day 12 years ago, like there was a hole in the world.

I was at work at the Truro Daily News in my hometown of Truro in Nova Scotia when I heard about the first plane hitting the tower in New York City. I felt sadness but continued to take phone calls. As news started to break our staff started to flood into the newsroom to crowd around the TV’s and catch the breaking story. I had joined them and when news of the second plane hitting the tower flashed across millions of screens my sadness turned to disbelief, shock and unmistakably fear. The certainty of a terrorist attack on our sister country, the strong and beautiful United States of America and its people; proud and enduring was a feeling that is hard to put into words.

As a young mom I never wanted my children to experience the type of horror that comes from terrorism and war. As parents it is our job to keep our children safe and of course we want them to be innocent and not know evil as long as possible.

A darkness fell over the world that day and I know that I for one did not sleep easy for a long time.

As media reports continued to filter in throughout the days following it was determined that in total four airplanes were hijacked and used as weapons in a coordinated attack upon the United States in New York and Washington. The hijacked airliners were flown into the North and South Towers of The World Trade Center in New York City (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175). Within two hours both towers had collapsed. The devastating debris and fires resulted in the loss of all other buildings in the WTC complex as well as colossal damage to at least ten other buildings in the area.

American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into The Pentagon (headquarters of US Department of defense) leading to a partial collapse on the West side of the building. A fourth plane United Airlines flight 77, landed in a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overtake its hijackers. Washington had been the intended target of the fourth plane. The passengers of the plane paid with their lives but saved the lives of many others.

The attacks launched by Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda were responsible for almost 3000 deaths. The devastation was huge. The loss of lives, severe damage to the economy and global markets, the six-day closure of Wall Street as well as countless evacuations and closures seemed like insurmountable odds to overcome.

The heaviness of sadness and fear hung in the air for what seemed like a lifetime. Radio, newspapers, television and internet covered every aspect of the attacks and related news.

I spoke to a complete stranger on the phone in Pennsylvania a few short weeks after the attack. The world that I was living in was much different then the one he was living in. He said “This will not break us. Together we will be stronger” He spoke of the American people and their unwavering faith and pride.

I decided then to see things from a different perspective. I focused less on the uncertainty and fear surrounding the tragedy and allowed myself to feel the goodness and hope felt by the people of America. Stories of bravery and courage restored my faith in humanity and made we want to live, not live in fear.

Seemingly ordinary people displayed great courage and bravery in the face of that tragedy and the days, weeks and months that followed. People sacrificed their lives to help others. People comforted strangers and helped grieving families.

First responders, civilians, passengers on the planes, people in stairwells and in offices, strangers on the streets. I salute you today, the unsung American heroes.

Psalm 112:4
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

LOVE HURTS

Tuesday August 21 1990 is the day I lost my father. 23 long years ago that in a lot of ways seem like yesterday. Sometimes I don’t remember why I walked into a room but I remember everything about that day, one of the most horrible days of my life. I am not going to elaborate too much in this post because I have written about that day, if you haven’t read you can read it below.

https://michd74.com/category/adoption-2/thousand-acre-heart/page/4/

My daughter asked me last night what were my biggest fears and I said death and traffic circles. The biggest reason we fear something is that we don’t understand.

There is a quote I like from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie

“Death ends a life, not a relationship”

My dad will always be my dad, nothing will ever change that. I think a lot of the grieving process is so painful because we are hurting for the person that was taken from us when in reality they have gone on to a better place. It’s the living, us that are left behind to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and learn to love and laugh again that suffer and lose ourselves in grief. We often shun the things that can help us like friends, family and faith in God. I know that I locked up my heart for a long time and shut out God and light in my life. We think we are protecting our hearts from further pain when in reality we are protecting ourselves from love. LOVE HURTS. Anything that can bring us great joy has the potential to bring us great pain. Loving is one of the most courageous things we can do. I still fear death but I am trying to understand that death is a part of the inevitable circle of life. Today I am trying really hard not to remember that day but to remember the good times and the memories that death cannot take away. I will probably listen to some sad songs and cry a little and maybe listen to some of my dads old favorites and dance around like a fool.

“Love Hurts”

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds
And mars, any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts……ooh, ooh love hurts

I’m young, I know, but even so
I know a thing or two
And I learned from you
I really learned a lot, really learned a lot
Love is like a flame
It burns you when it’s hot
Love hurts……ooh, ooh love hurts

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves I guess
They’re not foolin’ me

[1] I know it isn’t true, I know it isn’t true
Love is just a lie
Made to make you blue
Love hurts……ooh, ooh love hurts
ooh, ooh love hurts

Game Called life

Courtesy of momlogic.com

I had one of those days. Not only am I sick to death of Miley videos, jokes, references, tweets, and innuendo, as well as devastated by the events happening in Syria I have had my own personal struggles in the form of a hormonal teenage daughter, a truck that won’t start and a husband that is hours away for the next ten days. All things considered I know that I have it so much better than a lot of people. My husband may be away but he offered to drive home to my rescue. For those of you who know me, you are aware that as much as I may think I want to be rescued it would make me feel weak and needy. I have the most wonderful friends that jumped at the chance to come to my rescue and gave me something I didn’t even know I needed. A moment to breathe, to laugh, to share a glass of wine with friends. A moment to feel like it was OK to be something other then a wife and a mother. Sometimes I need to just be me. Also, my teenage daughter really is amazing. However, she is sometimes an emotional ball of hormones that she doesn’t quite know how to handle and we are trying so hard to navigate a neatly painted line somewhere in-between crying and screaming. I am trying hard to raise a smart, capable and accountable young lady in a world full of entitled youth of Generation “I”

Recently I have been faced with that all too familiar struggle of trying to split 200% of myself between all the things that matter in my life. When one thing requires more attention I seem to lose my balance and the balls I am juggling come crashing down. I stand tall against whatever I am faced with in life but sometimes I feel like I am inevitably going to fall.

I know that a lot of people feel how I am feeling right now. Wondering how they can be everything they need to be to the people in their lives and still have enough left over for themselves. I know how important it is to take time for myself. If I were to give advice to any of my friends I would most definitely tell them that they are the most important person in their lives and they need to make the time for themselves. Giving advice is always the easy part.

It has been fifteen months since I quit my job to stay at home. My biggest fear was losing myself, being insignificant and dependent. I think my family has absolutely benefited from me being home but often I feel I am spending way too much time trying to convince them that I am not a maid. I am an involved parent, sometimes to the point that I am not the wife I would like to be or a good friend to myself. I am still figuring it all out. I don’t strive for perfection, just quiet imperfection and happiness. I pray sometimes and I still wish on stars.

My goal is laugh more, to steal time for myself to do the things that are important to me, to say no to things that I don’t have time for and that add stress that I don’t need. I want to experience the moment without worry or anticipation of the next. I want to be present and accounted for in my own life. I want to learn from my mistakes without holding myself in constant judgment. I want to expect less of people but quietly encourage more. I want to abandon the idea of who I think I should be and be the person I know I can be. I want to love more, and forgive things that weigh me down.

Here I go….wish me luck as I continue to play my hand at this game called life!

P.S. I also need to make more time for wine!!

Game Called Life (The Big C Main Title) by Leftover Cuties

It’s so hard to turn your life over
Step out of your comfort zone
It’s so hard to choose one direction
When your future is unknown
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
Are we, are we all really slaves?
By the hands of ourselves
id I really make all of those mistakes?
Am I really getting older?Then why do I feel so lost?
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
And at the end of the road, is there someone waiting?
Do I get a medal for surviving this long?
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.

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