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.

This Is What Happens When You Don’t Stick to a Plan

Some of you have read a lot of my posts and are starting to realize how long my road has been, others are just joining me and perhaps this is the first post they’re reading.

I want to be clear, although I write about the struggles I’ve had, my life has not been bad. By most standards I live a very privileged life and it gets better all the time. I am grateful for the lessons life has taught and am thankful I have been open to learning. Many people have been through so much more than I can even begin to imagine. It is for these people I started to write.

I started this blog, Grateful Single Moms, thinking I could help single mothers connect so they could share stories of their struggles and success (this is why the “s” is on “Moms”). I wanted them to feel they were not alone, I wanted them to know there is support out there for those who seek it. I wanted them to feel hope that even if they’re having a hard time now, things will get easier for them, as it did for me.

I thought I’d write about parenting and my kids. I thought I’d share tips I’ve learned and maybe even some dating advice (I could seriously write a book about dating with all the mistakes I’ve made).

But as I’ve started writing, something different has come out. I’m not writing so much about being a single mom, or even a woman. Parenting hasn’t even come in as often as I’d anticipated. Instead, I’m writing stories of struggles and strength, challenges and courage, obstacles and overcoming them.

This was not my plan, and I like to follow a plan. Normally at this point I would realize I’ve gotten off track. I would work to redirect my course. After all, life is a long haul and we often have to correct our course.

But I’m not going to change direction after all. I love what I’ve been writing. I’ve never been more proud of myself, to be honest. As I write I continue to learn about myself and how I feel about the journey I’ve been on, because even though I have been living mindfully, choosing my path consciously, some thoughts remain unconscious until we give them a way to be expressed.

I’ve always loved the idea of journaling but have never been good at the execution. My life is busy, complicated, full already. Without something to hold me accountable my commitment to writing, in any form, falls below other priorities, like sleeping. I won’t say that this blog is a journal for me, as I honestly feel it’s far more than that.

But it has become an outlet for ideas stretching far beyond being a single mother. I am sincerely grateful for all of you who are joining me on this journey. I appreciate that you take the time to read what I’ve written and I love hearing your comments. The community here has been wonderful and supportive, and I thoroughly love getting to know you through your posts and comments.

I’m not yet sure where this winding road will take me but I love where I am right now.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Haul

Own Your Story – Day 2 of the Quote Challenge

I want to thank Discovering Your Happiness for inviting me to participate in the 3 day quote challenge again.


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

The second quote I will share with you is:

write the ending

“If you own this story you get to write the ending.” – Brene Brown

I love the idea that if I own the story of my life I get to write the ending. For a long time I was letting other people write my story. I was repeating the lines they gave me. I let them define my character, my actions, my thoughts, my beliefs. There are a lot of quotes about taking ownership of your decisions, but as a writer and someone who loves books I found this one particularly appealing.

And with that I will tag 3 fellow bloggers who I hope will join me in this challenge:

Froggy Crochet
Unoriginal Love Notes

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

I Saw a Star – Day 1 of the Quote Challenge

I want to thank Discovering Your Happiness for inviting me to participate in the 3 day quote challenge. Her support has touched me, as does her writing. I found her post about why it’s important to stay single particularly meaningful. I reblogged it already but if you missed it you should read it now!

The timing couldn’t be better as I’ve just finished the draft of my book, which happens to include 4 quotes that are very relevant to my life (you may find that I’ll do this for 4 days instead of just 3).


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

The first one I will share with you is:


“I saw a star.  I reached for it.  I missed, so I accepted the sky.” – Scott Fortino

For me this isn’t just about reaching for something and accepting something else, possibly less than what you’d hoped. That’s really not me at all.

What this says to me is that sometimes we weren’t meant to catch just one star, but rather appreciate the entire sky and all its beauty.

And with that I will tag 3 fellow bloggers who I hope will join me in this challenge:

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom
Creative PTSD Gal
Objects and the Distance Between Them

You have all touched a special piece of my heart. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind

I have decided I want a life of absolute abundance.

That is my goal. I don’t want a normal life anymore. I want an extraordinary one. And now that I know I want it, know how much it means to me, I will stop at nothing to get it. What I’ve just realized, just this very moment…is that my life is already abundant in so many ways, so saying I want a “life of abundance” makes it seem like I’ve already achieved my goal, that I’m not grateful enough for what I already have.

But I know there is so much more out there for me. So much more I can achieve. I know how, now.

I’ve learned so many things that have led me to where I am. I wish I had known these lessons earlier. I wish I’d done differently, been different. But that’s silly…because it’s exactly those lessons that make it possible for me to be who I am, where I am, doing what I’m doing. And I am grateful for all that I have in my life and how far I’ve come. I’m grateful I am now the kind of person who can teach my girls that there is more out there for them. I can teach them how to use both their strengths and their challenges to build the life they choose. If it had been easier for me I wouldn’t be as good a teacher as I am now.

For most of my life I’ve kept myself at a distance from others. I’ve thought I had to do it alone, that I was somehow stronger because I didn’t need anyone else. I’ve been afraid of being hurt, sheltering myself from harm by keeping people at arm’s length. I’ve used my label of “introvert” to justify being aloof and alone. I was frigid; I was afraid; I was uncertain.

Truly I am an introvert. That is my nature, but it doesn’t define who I am. It doesn’t limit me or my potential when I label myself this way. By understanding my nature I can use it to my advantage. By knowing myself I understand that it is this part of my nature that permits the introspection that helps me make better choices. It is this that helps me forge such strong friendships, once I connect with people.

But I no longer permit myself to use this as an excuse to keep my distance from others, for I’ve discovered that it is my connections with others that have most contributed to my abundant life. It is the friendships I’ve forged that enrich my life so much. It is the opportunities they provide, their encouragement and support, their passions and their experiences that have made my life abundant.

It is because of a good friend that I am able to write this post sitting by the pool, listening to the waves crash against the shore. It is because of my good friends that I take more risks in life, that I push past fear into the unknown. It is because of good friends I am being introduced to more amazing people. It is because of these people in my life that I fully appreciate the person I have become, because I can now see what they see. They hold the mirror up in just the right way so all my best qualities are reflected back to me.

You cannot live a life of abundance if you are frigid. You must live your life with passion and joy, opening yourself to people and experiences. It is because I have welcomed life with open arms that this morning I was able to walk along the beach to breakfast at a beautiful café. It is because of this that I watched dolphins frolicking in the ocean. And it was the abundance of these dolphins that made me reflect on how fortunate I am to be living this life.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Frigid

Why I Need to Ignore the Churning Fear

I didn’t sleep well last night. Again. This is the 3rd night in a row I’ve been awake at 2 am. Last night I did not go back to sleep. I didn’t even doze.

And perhaps because I’m so utterly exhausted I’m struggling with things that are coming up. I am taking a writing retreat. Things aren’t supposed to be coming up. But they are.

Today I realized I lost something. It was something valuable, and it wasn’t even mine. It belongs to my daughter and I was responsible for it. I remember specifically having it in my hand Tuesday before I left my house. I haven’t thought about it again, until this morning. And now my stomach is churning with fear that I won’t find it.

As I was pulling into my parking space at the condo where I’m staying I kept thinking, “Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could I be so stupid!” I rushed upstairs hoping that there was a chance I’d stuck it in one of the bags I brought with me. Unfortunately, no, it wasn’t there. Immediately I thought, “What’s wrong with me!”

It’s gone. Hopefully not forever, but for now. I lack the energy to look for it and I haven’t even begun to work on the book today.

Speaking of the book, I made amazing progress on it yesterday. I felt inspired. Who wouldn’t be in this amazing place, where every time I look up I can see the ocean? I laid out the whole book, worked on transitions, completed a chapter that had still mostly been outline. I was confident in meeting my deadline, possibly completing ahead of schedule. I was brimming with a certainty that this book will be meaningful for those who read it.

Then today I had breakfast with a friend. He’s a really good friend who actually has experience as an author, so he knows about publishing. As we were talking about it and he was asking me questions about my plans I couldn’t help but think, “Why didn’t I think to ask his advice sooner? I have no idea what I’m doing. How can I think I can publish a book?” He meant well but again, my stomach churned with fear.

And then I stopped myself. These thoughts aren’t constructive. They are eating away at my self-confidence. Fear is threatening to take hold, and I need to stop it.

I know why my stomach is churning. It is not from rational thought. I’m tired and my unconscious mind has taken the reins. It’s celebrating the control it has regained. It enjoys making my stomach churn.

But I can stop it. Logical, rational thinking will put this to an end. The lost item will be recovered, or it won’t. It’s expensive but not irreplaceable. It is nowhere near as valuable as my self-esteem. And the book will be published. I might not have all the answers but I will figure it out, or I won’t. But either way I am putting it out there to the world. Regaining my certainty is more important than fear of failure.

Most importantly, I think I should take a nap…

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Churn

Never Be Afraid to Explore Your World

There is a whole wide world out there for us to explore.

I don’t necessarily mean we need to travel to the other side of the world to begin your exploration. I love finding local trails and parks to wander around, lost in thought. I love visiting local bars and discovering new musicians who are following their dreams despite whatever holds the rest of us back. I love strolling the beach, listening to the waves and watching the birds do what birds do, feeling part of something so much bigger than myself.

After my divorce I began exploring all that Florida has to offer. In the beginning I felt guilty when I started to truly enjoy my time without my kids. I thought that being happy without them somehow made me a bad mother. I feared that I was losing part of myself.

But I wasn’t.

Instead I’ve discovered more and more layers of myself. I encountered a multitude of ways to enjoy life that I never thought would be part of mine. I realized how much more there is to uncover.

I’ve learned that my girls benefit when I take care of myself. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I’ve learned that they understand how to fully engage in life. Because I am committed to living life to the fullest.

I’ve learned that my kids meet interesting people as I bring more people into my life who are living the kind of life I want to be living.

I’ve learned that they gain confidence in themselves as I gain confidence in myself.

I’ve learned that these girls learn from my example, that they will develop a love for exploring life, and that they will feel free to explore life because they see that I am doing so.

I did not lose a piece of myself when I stopped being singly focused on being the mother I thought I was. I gained more depth and learned more that I can share with them as they grow older. And I will continue to grow, as I continue to explore.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Explore