All posts by Dee Kelly

I'm a single mom who has gone through my share of struggles. As I work to improve my life I also hope to help others along the way. It hasn't been easy but it is always worth it.

I am Emerging as a Beautifully Strong Butterfly

For people who have known me for at least a few years, what is most notable about my life is the change I have undergone in just a short period of time. To use a (possibly overused) simile, my life has been like that of a butterfly.

Up until the time of my divorce I was just a caterpillar, going through life, just getting by.

I did the things I thought I was supposed to do, but I didn’t grow or change much during that time. I didn’t think I had to, I was just a caterpillar, that was who I was supposed to be.

But then I got divorced and everything changed. As an introvert, I turned inward, trying to figure out what this meant and who I really was supposed to be.

I wrapped myself in a cocoon, protecting myself from the outside world while I worked this out. I was changing. A lot of the changes were on the inside, but I was changing on the outside as well. I was learning about myself and who I wanted to be. I was discovering ways to achieve my goals.

And now, after several years I have emerged as a butterfly instead of a caterpillar. I’m still shaking off some of the chrysalis and I haven’t yet truly tested my wings, but I am about to fly.

Some of you may argue that I am already flying. I’ve just published a book and am achieving many of my goals. I’m not minimizing my accomplishments, but I’m now realizing how much more I can achieve. To be honest, perhaps I’m still in the chrysalis and have yet to emerge.

One thing is certain, I’m on my way to becoming a beautifully strong butterfly.

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This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Notable

You Need to Unconditionally Follow Your Moral Compass

Never before have I believed so fully in knowing yourself, understanding your values and living by them without fail. I am far from perfect but my goal each day is to become better in some way. Every day I strive to learn more, do more and be more.

I hold myself to a higher standard, but not the unattainable one I formerly reserved to beat myself up over. I choose to do what’s right, instead of what’s easy. To be a moral person is to do the right thing when no one is looking; to do what is right even if you know you won’t get caught doing what is wrong.

There is no universal right or wrong, no clear black and white; and so every day I must decide for myself what I consider to be the moral path. I confess that my choices may vary depending on the day or the circumstances. There are no absolutes.

I believe we should always be honest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t soften the blow in order to be kind.

I believe we should always respect our elders, but that doesn’t mean we have to respect their decisions.

I believe we should return what isn’t ours, but that doesn’t mean we need to look for the owner of the quarter we found on the ground.

Every day we are faced with choices.

The ATM spits out an extra $100, do you return it to the bank? What if the bank is closed? Is it different if it’s only an extra $20?

You’re supposed to park on the top floor of the parking garage, but it’s pouring and you dread the walk to the elevators, do you park on a lower floor to stay out of the rain?

A coworker has left and you are assigned to finish his project. He has done most of the work already and you just have to present the final report, do you give him credit for the work he did?

There isn’t one standard for dealing with these situations. Others will always judge us regardless of the decisions we make, but what truly matters is if we are living up to our own standards. Are we following our own moral code? Are we doing what we honestly believe is the right thing to do?

It is up to us to set the bar for ourselves. We must set our standard and live up to that every day. Anyone who does less is nothing but a cur, a contemptible person who is little different from the mutts walking the streets.

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This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Cur

The Gift of Inspiration that Flows Over Me

I love to form elaborate plans. As I’ve mentioned, my Halloween parties involve quite a lot of details pulled together in just the right way to pull off. Last year each attendee was given a name and role to play. They were provided with character summaries that helped lead to the solution for the murder that they discovered during the course of the party.

I spent months ahead of time crafting the story, devising clues and perfecting every prop. When the day arrived each guest was given a name tag with a lanyard and an envelope with the information about their character. My daughters were the hostesses of the movie premiere they were supposedly coming to see, and were given a short script that they had practiced ahead of time. Unknown to them however, when they opened the red velvet curtain (because what movie premiere doesn’t have velvet curtains?) they found the body.

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Clues were hidden around the room, locked up in some cases, encoded in others. In my planning I had formed multiple paths, 3 to be exact, that could be followed concurrently so that there were multiple puzzles the kids could be working on at any given time. This was the first year I allowed the parents to participate and one of my friends who happens to be a computer programmer was excited to find ciphers that needed to be decoded.

There were keys and combinations, codes and symbols, and puzzle boxes to open, all leading to the answer to the question, “Who among us is a killer?”

And none of this includes the food, drinks, games and music that all needed to be included. You can see why this took so long to put together. I love to devise intricate clues that help guide them to the answer. It’s only April and I’m already anxious to start planning the party for this year….

But I’ve learned something. Sometimes life works out better when you’re not tied to a detailed plan.

I used to apply this same level of forethought into all areas of my life. I have written SMART goals that have actionable steps to complete that will lead me to success. I’ve mapped out my path, outlined it on a calendar, creating a schedule to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Yet the accomplishments I’m most proud of did not follow my plan. To be honest, almost nothing since my divorce has actually gone the direction I thought I should move.

The book that I just finished, for example, was written completely from inspiration, without a charted course or blueprint. The words flowed from me. As I’d walk around a thought would strike me and I’d pull out my phone to jot it down before I lost it. Laying in bed inspiration would strike and I’d grab a notebook to record the idea before it slipped away.

Entirely without arranging it, each idea in my book naturally led to the one that followed.

I wanted to discuss ways I’d changed my thinking that led me to a completely different life than the one I’d been living. I knew I wanted to write about accountability, perspective, gratitude and forgiveness, but other than that I just wrote and let the words come. At times the words flowed as quickly as a waterfall, almost drowning me in ideas that I could barely keep up with.

As I was putting the words together I began to realize that there were logical connections between each of these; there was a natural progression from one to the next.

    • Once you accept that you are accountable for your current situation, for the decisions that have led you to where you are, you begin to realize that you can choose your response to situations.
    • Once you can control your response, you can then decide to select the perspective that is not just appropriate to the situation but the one that will also serve you the best.
    • Once you are aware that multiple perspectives exist and you acknowledge you can choose which one to respond to, you can cultivate a feeling of gratitude for any situation; you can find the lesson, choose the more favorable view, and be grateful for it.
    • Once you begin to hold yourself accountable, find multiple perspectives and develop a true feeling of gratitude, you can use these to help you with the more challenging task of forgiving those who have wronged you, even if that person is yourself.

As I was writing the book, these connections became clear; but this was not part of a well crafted plan.  I almost wish I could say it was because honestly that would have been brilliant!

Instead this is something that came simply from doing, not from  holding myself to a well formed path. But honestly I don’t believe the book would have been nearly so insightful if I had forced myself to stick to an outline. I am certain it is because I kept an open mind that I was able to find these connections at all.

Perhaps this is what people refer to as “flow.” But whatever it is, I want to connect with it for every project…except maybe the Halloween party.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Elaborate

Nombril de semaine…

Come view this listing of authors to check out!

Cyranny's Cove

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Hello Lovelies!

It is Wednesday already, and the time to share some links with you… Dee, from Thriving not Surviving gave me an idea, without even knowing it! Dee is releasing her first book, on April 28th (yes, this Saturday) and was asking people to share the news, since pre-order is already available on Amazon. I thought “Hey, I know a bunch of people who offer their e-published books online… Why not make this Nombril de Semaine about them??”

And that’s just what this post is about. Now, I know I most probably forgot some of you, fellow bloggers who have an e-book out… And of course, I don’t know everybody either. So if you’re not in the list, and you’d like me to add you, just leave me a little note in the comments, below! The same applies if you have a published blogger-friend you’d like to help by…

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V- Villain #BlogchatterA2Z #AtoZChallenge #AtoZ

I have been all of these…How about you?

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Nobody likes the bad guy, yet he is in almost every story, movie, and play we have seen.

Villains are not limited to stories, we all probably experience them in our personal lives whether it is a co-worker that makes our life miserable, an ex-lover that haunts us, a boss who digs our ass, or even a system that seems to unfairly rule over our lives. Sometimes the villain has a transformation of character and change of heart; other times we begin to understand what makes them tick, or even fall in love with them, in a strange sort of way.

Villains, Heroes, and Victim…

These characters were with us ever since we first understood words and heard our first stories from our parents. We identify with them; we aspire to be like them or struggle to avoid becoming them. We generally end up playing all these roles in…

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I am Happy to Cram More into my Already Crazy Life

We all have unique gifts to bestow upon the world. Do you truly take time to appreciate the value you bring?

It’s easy to let responsibilities, the daily grind take control of our lives. We do what we need to do to get through each day, sinking onto the sofa at the end with a sigh of relief and the TV remote in our hands, ready to escape for just a little while before we head to bed and start it all over again the next day. Our weekends become filled with chores and errands we weren’t able to accomplish during the week.

We spend time with friends and family, we might even find time to do something fun once in a while…We’re happy, for the most part. Sure there are things we might change if we could but this is how life is. We hurry the kids out the door in the morning so we won’t be late for work; we rush through the day, trying to squeeze in 10 hours of work in an 8 hour day, fully believing we are accomplishing more by “multitasking;” we speed home to pick up the kids, make dinner, do homework and walk the dog.

Is this constant struggle to get by really your gift? Or are you too tired to worry about what else you could be doing? Most of us here are writers of some sort, poets, authors, even photographers and artists….so maybe you’re already presenting your gift to the world, or maybe there’s more you are meant to share.

But if you’re too exhausted by what you HAVE to do to consider anything more, I don’t blame you. My life has been draining.

I’ve had months, even years, when I had no idea how I was going to do all I needed to do. After my divorce I was overwhelmed by all the responsibility that suddenly landed squarely on my shoulders. I had 2 kids, a house, a car, a dog; I worked full time; and I had serious emotional issues I was dealing with. “Getting by” didn’t come close to describing my life. I felt like I was drowning.

But that was not the end of the road for me. I was determined to find a way to manage these burdens better (at the time it all felt like a burden). Once I got to a point where I could handle what was on my plate, I started adding more, little by little.

I’ve always been a good mother, but once I got things on track I was able to do more for and with my girls; I was able to invest time in reading and learning to become even better.

I’ve always been handy with household improvements, having helped renovate 3 houses with my ex, but suddenly I was able to find time to work on improving the house we were living in, painting the entire house both inside and out completely by myself.

I’ve always been an animal lover but being responsible for all the pets my daughter wants was daunting, but eventually I was able to start fostering for the local animal shelter which has filled the same kind of desire.

I’ve always been a saver, ensuring I have money in the bank for emergencies and saving for retirement, but now that I am firmly in control of my life I’ve been able to add investments, including a rental home.

On and on I’ve added responsibilities to my already busy life. But that’s not all! I also somehow have plenty of time for all the activities that truly add value to my life: reading, writing, bike riding, kayaking…

How is it possible? I’ve honestly gone from having nothing more to give, to actively seeking my next opportunity.

I believe it’s because I’ve found my value; I’ve found the pieces of me that make this world better and I focus on only things that align with my gifts. I no longer end the day trying to escape; it ends with me trying to squeeze in one more thing I want to accomplish.

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This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Bestow

Today: Announcing Exciting Results, After a Last Minute Frenzy

Quite unexpectedly, my book is available NOW for pre-order on Amazon! The actual release date is Saturday 4/28 so you won’t be waiting long!

After much hard work I have been able to publish well ahead of my self-imposed deadline….And you, my reader, are among the first to know!

Although I am listed as the author on this book, I have been fortunate to be able to collaborate with two amazing WordPress bloggers. I am grateful for both their contributions:

The Creative PTSD Gal

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

Their work is featured throughout the book alongside my words. Using personal stories of success and struggle I share some of the changes I’ve made in my thinking that have allowed me to fundamentally change my life in ways I would never have imagined. Their words reflect what I have learned personally.

Even as a child, I have always had issues with self-esteem and true happiness proved to be elusive as I grew up. After 40+ years of searching I’ve finally discovered the secret to happiness and this book shares the most important mind sets, the shifts in my thinking that have allowed me to finally understand what happiness is.

I am not one to ask for help or favors, but if you find this news worthy of sharing with your readers I’d be honored if you’d reblog this post. I am grateful to all of you for your kindness and support along my journey and look forward to achieving much more together!

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