Category Archives: Favorite Posts

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

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

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

My Favorite Place in the World

After my divorce I spent a lot of time alone and so I had plenty of time to think. The beach became my retreat, my escape from the rest of the world. So I would head there to fill any free moment and I would walk. Sometimes I would walk for hours. I would walk most nights until sunset, watching the sky change, the sun reflecting off the clouds. It made me appreciate that I was part of something bigger. That the things going on in my little world were small in comparison. The sun would set and I would be grateful because I’d made it through another day.

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Sunrise has also been special to me but in a different way. I am fortunate enough to be able to see both sunrise and sunset over the water, without having to drive to the other side of the state. For most people sunrise represents limitless possibilities. That certainly resonates with me. But it is also a time of peace, of calm before my busy day begins. It is a time when the kids are still asleep and I can reflect on all that I am grateful for.

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The rise and fall of the sun has been such an influence in my life. I am grateful I have this opportunity to share it.

Revised 3/29/18

A great friend has just sent me pictures of sunrise and sunset on Easter Island where she is currently traveling. She is one of my most faithful supporters so I instantly knew I had to add her pictures to this post.  We miss you!

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This post is in response to the photo challenge Sunrise/Sunset

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?