Category Archives: Favorite Posts

What Happened To “Grateful Single Moms?”

After much thought, I’ve decided to rebrand this blog. As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts, my writing has taken a completely unexpected direction, and it’s one that feels true to who I am. I know many of you refer to me as “Grateful Single Mom”…or “GSM”…and I’m still all of these things, particularly the Grateful piece.

I’m grateful to all of you who have connected with me, supported and encouraged me, occasionally empathized and always lifted me up. Truly you have given me the courage to flourish. I want to sincerely thank all of you.

I am still a Grateful Single Mom. But I’m so much more.

As I started writing, I shared stories of courage, strength, and overcoming obstacles. I wrote about struggles and challenges, trials and conflicts. And I’ve barely begun to touch on all I have to say.

As I wrote, I realized that I have gone from a life where I was just getting by, to one that is more than I’ve ever dreamed of. And now I can see how much further I can go. The possibilities are endless.

I have gone from surviving, living day to day, to thriving, and living a life I never thought could be mine.

There have been times that the words of my posts have flowed so freely that reviewing them afterward felt like I was reading something written by someone else. The stories were mine; the thoughts and ideas belonged to me. But how they were put together was not how I thought I’d be writing.

Shortly after I had one of these moments I thought, “what if I wrote a book?” I had always wanted to write a book; I’d even started a couple that fizzled out. Nothing I wrote felt authentic. It all felt like I was trying to write what people expected.

But here, with this blog, I found my voice.

What if I wrote a book with the same voice I’ve found for my blog? What if I wrote about some of the ways I’ve been able to change my life? What if I shared my personal stories, and perhaps even stories from others who have struggled?

And so I started to write. For the first time ever, as I was writing the words I wrote came easily to me. They were completely true to me, and who I want to be. They were emphatic and heartfelt. They were impassioned and insightful.

I won’t minimize how much work it was, because as much as I loved every single moment I spent writing, it has been work. I have put much of my life on hold to get this finished. I needed to complete this before time allowed fear and self-doubt to creep in. There is still work to be done, but the end is in sight. It will be published on or before 5/1/2018.

It may be imperfect, as am I, but it is sincere and authentic. I am extremely proud of what I’m about to put out into the world.

And so I’m rebranding my blog to align with the book title I have selected. It reflects who I am, where I’m going, and what I’ve found myself writing about here. Grateful Single Moms has become:

Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind.

The River Wild (1)

For the First Time, I am Open to Every Unimaginable Opportunity

I grew up believing there was one right path for everyone. I believed the goal was to make enough money to pay for the necessities of life, to survive and maybe have a little extra for fun; but fun was optional, something “nice to have” if you can afford it after all the bills are paid.

I was told to get good grades in school, work hard in college and find a nice safe job working for someone else. Getting married and having kids was also set in stone, something that had to be done. In my mind, there was just this one road to take. There was no other way.

But as I grew and changed, as I met people who have chosen a different direction I’ve become aware of the unimaginable opportunity that exists for everyone. The more I learn, the more open I become. The more I learn, the more I want for me, for my girls, for my friends, and now, suddenly, for everyone else.

When I started writing just a short 6 weeks ago, my plan was inchoate. I hate using fancy words to describe something so basic, but this word is so apt it can’t be helped. I had thought the plan I’d developed was fully formed, the “right” thing to do; but I’ve discovered how incomplete it truly is. It was completely rudimentary compared to where my writing might take me. 

See, I was still working under the assumption that there was a “right” path to follow. I still thought that if I just researched and learned the process of being a successful writer, blogger, investor, homeowner, gardener, mother, friend, whatever…that I would then be successful. I still believed life was a mathematical equation to be solved; a science project where the right inputs would get the results you desired.

But it’s not.

I’m starting to understand that the best path really is to remain inchoate; to keep any plan undeveloped so you remain open to every single possibility; start in a direction but know you might end up someplace completely unexpected.

And so I persist with my writing, because for the first time I feel I am doing what I am meant to be doing. I have chosen a direction but I am open to every impossible opportunity that presents itself along the way.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Inchoate

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

Warning – Do Not Read This Post!

You’re reading it anyway? In spite of the warning?

Why is it when people tell us NOT to do something, it is so much more tempting to do it?

I’ve already written my post for today. Perhaps you saw it already, or maybe you haven’t scrolled down that far yet. You should look for it. It was brilliant. I have nothing else to say. There is no reason to read this.

And yet it is soooo tempting to do something when we are warned against it.

I’m sure there’s a psychological reason for it that I could look up on Google and quote here. But I’m not really interested in regurgitating boring textbook data.

And yet I really want to know. Why are you reading this when I told you not to? Maybe you are regretting it.

Is it the thrill of doing something you’re not supposed to do? Does it feel empowering to do what you want to do instead of following the rules? Do you naturally rebel against restrictions?

I’m a rule follower. I always have been. If I break the rules even just a little my heart pounds and I’m terrified. What if I’m caught? What if I’m found out?

Last night on the way to an amazing concert (which I may post about later) Google instructed me to divert off the main road onto an access road to get around traffic. “I can’t do that,” I thought to myself. And I didn’t. I sat in traffic instead, watching other people zooming past us on the access road.

My life has kind of been that way. I was told early on that I can’t ______ (go ahead and fill in the blank yourself because the list of things I wouldn’t be able to do was too long for this short post). And I conformed. I followed what I was told and I watched others sail past in their happy lives, wondering why they were getting so much further ahead.

I need to learn to break the rules once in a while. There are still rules that are good to follow, that benefit everyone; but we need to decide for ourselves which rules matter, and which don’t. We need to decide for ourselves what we can’t do, and what we can do.

And so this is why I’m breaking the rules. This is why I’m posting for the second time about the word of the day. And if you’ve read this far please tell me, why did you read this post?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Warning

See These Remarkable Life Lessons from Kayaking

Today I was able to go kayaking for the first time this year. It didn’t work out quite as I’d planned as I was supposed to go with my wonderful friend Jill and a group she was leading, but I didn’t get free quite in time. Still, I went out by myself and it was fantastic, truly inspiring.

While I was out on the water ideas kept coming to mind that I wanted to write down. Among them was the following list of life lessons you can discover from kayaking. I decided to just post the list without expanding on them. They may mean something different to each person but there’s nothing wrong with that.

  1. Never care so much about your car that you’re afraid to get the seats wet.
  2. It’s okay to leave technology behind.  It will be there when you get back.
  3. Sometimes it’s okay to drift, but if you don’t paddle enough the wind and current may move you off course.
  4. Going with the flow can make things easier, but it takes courage to paddle against the current.
  5. Paddling into the wind is hard.  Just sayin’
  6. Look out for others, they may not be looking out for you.
  7. Use leverage.
  8. Sometimes slow is fast enough.
  9. The further from shore you paddle the rougher the seas, but you can get to great places if you’re not afraid to leave the shore and put in the effort.
  10. Sometimes it’s best to follow someone else’s trail.  They know the way because they’ve been there before.
  11. Be grateful for the people and circumstances in life that allow you time out on the water, or wherever you choose to go.

Kayaking today would not have been possible without the love and support of my good friend Nancy, who is always there for me.  Today was also sponsored by a fellow parent who was willing to help me out.  I am truly grateful for all the people in my life.

Who are you grateful for?