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)

In the Nick of Time, I Have Thwarted the Enemy

Each of us has a different enemy to face, that thing that is holding us back, keeping us from reaching our full potential. Who is yours? Your parents? Wife? Husband? Kids? Genetics? Luck? Fate? Kharma?

Who is to blame?

We blame discrimination, but there are successful people in every color. We blame inequity, but there are prosperous people from every gender. We blame favoritism, but there are wealthy people who have never been popular. We blame poverty, but there are famous people who have been homeless. We blame genetics, but there are fruitful people who have never been able to see.

Why have these people succeeded when others fail?

This is a question I desperately sought to answer, and in finding the answer I have thwarted the enemy. I have slayed the dragon. I have defeated the beast. I have conquered the castle.

I did not find the traitor by looking at genealogy, or sociology, or economics. I didn’t find the adversary in theology or religion. Instead, I found my opponent much closer to home.

I was the villain. I was the one who single-handedly held me back from achieving my goals. By pointing the finger at myself, holding myself accountable for my situation, I crushed the one who betrayed me.

I suddenly gained control of my future. I became my champion. I grew into my strongest supporter. I overcame fear. I beat down self-doubt. I fostered self-worth and nurtured my fragile self-esteem.

I have begun living my life, striving toward my dreams, blooming into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I have embraced new opportunities, possibilities I never knew existed for me before. I have accepted my ignorance, and in so doing have begun learning in ways never before imagined. I have welcomed others into my life who have their own enemy to battle, as I welcome you, my reader, my friend.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Thwart

The Best of the Best

The community I have found on WordPress has been simply amazing. The way bloggers connect and support each other here has added so much to this writing journey. I never expected to be able to truly relate to and get to know people on such a personal level, and yet I have found that in just a few short weeks I have done exactly that and am able to call several of my fellow bloggers friends.

As many of you know, I’ve been working frantically on a project, working toward a ridiculous self-imposed deadline. I’m proud to say I have met that deadline and while the work is far from done, I am able to spend a little time this weekend catching up.

I have been so honored to have been nominated by some fantastic bloggers for some of the blogging awards. These are a great way to recognize fellow bloggers for all their hard work. It helps spread the love and also lets other bloggers connect when they might not have otherwise run across each other. I truly value what these add to the feeling of community but have not been able to respond to the ones that I was nominated for while I was focusing on my goal.

Because I’ve been nominated for 6 awards I wanted to spare you all having to read 6 different posts. Although I know that responding to the questions is an important part of these and helps us all get to know each other in a different way, I am not going to post that all here. I love the questions that were asked, but it’s a lot to ask you to read.

So I’m taking a slightly different approach. I hope it still honors the spirit in which these awards were given, because I certainly mean no disrespect. The people who have nominated me have been active in connecting with me personally and I sincerely value their friendship.

I have been nominated by the following bloggers. They are all amazing and unique and I hope all who read this clicks each link to read at least one of their posts and spread the love.

Sunshine Bloggers Award
Qui Talks

Mystery Blogger Award
Discovering Your Happiness

Sierra Leone Girl

Blogging Chums Award
Feel Purple

Liebster Award
Objects and the Distance Between Them

A Slap Dash Talk

Another important part of these awards is nominating fellow bloggers. In this way we “pay it forward” and the number of nominations grows exponentially. At times I’ve been rebuffed for nominating someone,once by a very public post (I’ve since determined his blog was not worth following). I understand that not everyone chooses to participate in these awards. We are all here for a different purpose. Answering the questions provided and finding blogs to nominate, following up with each nominee to let them know they’ve been nominated….that’s all a lot of work and isn’t in line with everyone’s goals.

I really do understand. And yet I want to be able to recognize those blogs that I find meaningful. So, given that I’m already breaking all the rules (which if you’ve read some of my other posts you know is very difficult for me), I am going to use this opportunity to simply recognize the blogs and bloggers that have been most influential, the ones that have been the biggest part of my new community. I do this with no expectation that you will post anything in return. This requires nothing of these nominees. I do hope you, the reader, will read some of their posts. They’re wonderful people and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to share them with you.

In addition to the lovely people mentioned above who nominated me for these awards, I recognize the following blogs and bloggers as exceptional in the blogging community, not only for the quality of their work, which is truly beautiful, but also in their participation in this community, their openness in their communication, and their willingness to give as much as they receive.

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

Creative PTSD Gal

paeansunpluggedblog

Walt’s Writing

Cyranny’s Cove

Froggy Crochet

Believing Sight Unseen

There are so many other bloggers who well deserve to be recognized. You are all special and I’m grateful for the opportunity to know you.

Featured photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Multi-Collaboration: Smiles & Miles !!!

Proof that together we can create great things.

The Floating Thoughts

Dear Readers,
Thank you for showering overwhelming love on the 800 followers !!! THANK YOU & Write with me … I am touched by the lovely and beautiful lines that you shared for the collaboration. 
I have compiled it into a final poem and your NAMES have been added at the end of the
lines that were contributed by you. The links to your blogs have been linked to your names.
I would also request my readers to visit the blogs of these FEATURED GUESTS. They have an awesome collection of stories and poetry.
Have a happy reading !!!


Mask my face with your smile

Until this bare heart remains fragile

Soon my path would be lost in many miles
With only your memories left to be called as mine                                    Roy & Dee Kay

I trod…

View original post 532 more words

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

The World Is a Garden – Day 3 of the Quote Challenge

I want to thank Discovering Your Happiness again for inviting me to participate in the 3 day quote challenge.  This has been so much fun!

Rules:

  • 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 final quote I will share with you is:

Black and White Simple Quote World Book and Copyright Day Social Media Post (1)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

This reminds me that when my world isn’t looking the way I want it to, I might need to change the way I’m looking at it.  We can see the beauty in life, if we choose.  We can be grateful for what we have, if we choose.  We can love our life, if we choose.  The world is our garden.

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

Feel Purple

paeansunpluggedblog

Cyranny’s Cove

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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 Living an Amazing Life!