Some people are addicted to substances. For me, it’s stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. But then, alas, work. I always seem to bite off more than I can chew. I can’t stand an empty schedule.

For instance, I just started a part-time job (finally, someone called me back!). But then I picked up a book reviewing position, which should be 1-3 books per month. But of course this wasn’t enough. I also enrolled in 2 college classes, which start next month. But then-of course THIS isn’t enough. I am also going to start physical therapy on my knee that has osteoarthritis. And of course, then there are my photography classes I paid for on CreativeLive, and a certificate for “Writing and Editing” online, which by the way, mentions that 10 hours a week is average for completion.

There’s no way I’m going to get all these things finished at the same time. And I know this. But it just seemed like a month ago, unemployed and trying to get my Upwork freelancing site and proposals for editing didn’t seem like a “real” job. There wasn’t any way for anyone to prove I was working. There wasn’t a place I drove to every day, or a coffee shop around the corner to take lunch breaks at to show I was bouncing back from my slump. Now, if anyone asks, I have plenty of answers for the questions, “How have you been, what have you been up to?”

I got over the “Guess what? I’m finally divorced!” news when people asked. That pretty much just sounds like I’m bitter over it, and I let the 5-6 people who were part of my support network know that the legal headache was over. I didn’t even change my Facebook status to “single” or “divorced,”-it’s pretty much just assumed when my profile picture didn’t have the two of us together on it anymore. And I don’t know why the image of sitting around doing supposedly nothing, or having a virtual writing job seemed so hard to swallow for people. I guess it’s because I live in a city where everyone either works for the hospital system, or a small business like a restaurant or hair salon.

I also blame my wardrobe for this as well. If you dress in business casual, and someone sees you, they ask (which I still find unnerving), “Just getting off work?” For some reason, I seem incapable of just replying, “Yes! Heading home after this!” Also, it’s a small enough community that the gossip mill would inevitably have most people saying, “Hey, did you know she’s doing social work at the hospital?” Which, I was, ironically, doing hospice outreach for them 7 years ago, so not completely off base, but still.

It seemed like I just wanted to run for the hills this year with the pandemic, and rebuilding my life during my transition to single life. Some people say to go for dreams unmet. But I was already doing that. I just had a snag in my plans. Now I’m back on track and trying to be a consistent writer, editor, blogger, and photographer. It’s not that far from what I went to college for. I know some people just get a degree for the sake of having that piece of paper, but I was pretty strategic in my majors. The only different job I ever had is in retail management, which can only make a resume stronger.

But back to the impossible schedule.

I think I’ll buy a new planner.

And take a nap.

Love Is…

Photo by Alex Iby via Unsplash

So-yes. I got divorced. Ahh, the horror! Insert smug looks, and rolling of eyes. I never thought I would be getting divorced after 13 years of partnership. It was one of those abusive, contentious relationships too-the one your parents warned you about.

So I tried dating while I was in the midst of filing last year. I have to say that it was an interesting ride. I tried dating guys twice my age: some had never gotten married or had kids, and a couple had kids in their twenties and were divorced. I tried dating guys 7-10 years younger looking to settle down and get married, and some just wanted to know if they were attractive, and were they a viable “catch.” Basically, after being in a prison cell of a marriage, it was up for grabs from anyone who was not my husband who was not an addict or abusive, controlling partner.

I learned quite a bit from playing the field. Number one-even though I know people say change for the better, I really don’t intend on changing. If I say I want the toilet paper paper side over, not under, I mean it! But seriously, I knew what I was looking for.

The person I ended up the most happy with was a lot like me: loved animals, loved nature, and loved the news. I can’t say that I love the news now; all the mass hysteria of COVID-19 and the racial unrest is making me sick of looking at social media, and even going to the convenience store makes you wonder if even a clerk and people in line can get along while sharing their opinions on the sideshow that is our world today.

But, as I was saying, I was actually happy with this one particular partner. So I feel pretty accomplished about moving forward from such a bitter, tumultuous ongoing war zone that was my marriage. It wasn’t the end of the world. (Well, maybe for him, but he caused most of the relationship to fall apart with his behavior, so yeah, karma’s a bitch).

I don’t really know if I’ll get married again. I like the idea of long-term commitment and monogamy, but I hate the implication of what a soul-mate is. Pretty much quite a few people can be a soul-mate if you have a checklist of what you’re looking for. I just basically am grateful that I knew myself well enough to know that some things are just non-negotiable and I won’t put up from it from any partner.

I credit my psychology/counseling collegiate study on making this happen. Some people stay in unhappy situations, whether it’s a job, friendship, or relationship with a partner. And I’m not saying that people should be hedonistic and selfish, but the sad part of staying in one place to have an image of longevity, really doesn’t serve anyone well. Peace of mind and tranquility are my ultimate goals. Serving the fellow man and society are my goals. Caring for the elderly, disadvantaged, or distraught are my goals. I haven’t really changed. People that can’t be a part of that get eliminated quickly.

My parting thought is that people should love themselves and love their fellow man and love creation and the higher power that created us all. In times of hatred and misunderstanding, find someone to love that loves you for who you are, not what you can do for them or how you can make them appear. That-is what to me-love is.

Looking Out

Photo by Marcel Straub via Unsplash

It seems like I don’t have much to say unless I leave my house to interact with other people. How can there be anything interesting to say if you don’t do anything but clean the house and pay bills online from your computer?

I tried applying for local jobs, and nothing became of it. I got calls from managers, but when I said I wanted more breaks or accommodations for my bum knee, they seemed allergic to the idea. Mind you, I practically need knee surgery, so they probably worry about a worker’s compensation case if I fall down trying to lift something at work or collapse accidentally from standing up too long.

So, the conclusion still is to work from home. I did just read an article about dressing professionally if you work from home: to keep yourself motivated instead of wearing pajamas, and especially if you meet clients and then work on projects after you meet them.

This is not a problem to me to dress professionally. I have a myriad of business casual wear, and frankly, I feel pretty lazy wearing workout gear or pajamas anyway.

I just hate the elevator pitch you have to give people when you say, I’m a writer, and I work from home. You see the “oh, hmm.” reaction and rolling of eyes. But I actually have been writing and working on articles for many years. It just seems like people want an explanation when they go to a job they hate every day, or they think you’re describing your writing career as a way to nicely say, “unemployed.”

But, I am in a transition of getting my laptop fixed and purchasing software, so technically all I can do is use this blog to reach out to others and complain about being judged by others that don’t understand the writer’s lifestyle. It’s a constant flurry of ideas, drafts, editing, and marketing. Even if you don’t clock in and clock out like a 9-5 position, it’s still mental exertion. I think most of you on WordPress understand this.

But I lament that I can’t explain how writing can actually be a profession to people that don’t like to write, can’t figure out how to write, or prefer a manual labor job. That’s really their problem. As for me, I choose to keep looking for ways to improve my writing voice and reach an audience that encourages me and equally impact their readers for the same reason.

So here’s to creative outlook. May all of you continue to be understood and respected.

Thank You

I appreciate the support of my followers and the likes for my blog. I’ll admit, I’m not super motivated to write in it, but when I do, I’m grateful for the people and varied type of people that like what I post.

I originally began wanting to interview different people in person and post their views on life in the blog. Instead, it became a cathartic venue for my personal and professional life.

I went to college in 1997 to become an English teacher who specializes in reading and writing skills at the middle school/junior high level. Instead, I became a Psychology major, and finished with a writing minor. I went to a conservative Christian graduate program for counseling, and left over theological differences in ethics for women’s rights. It was pretty unpleasant at the end, to say the least. I was one of the few “liberals” that attended there for 4 years.

I usually assume that “everything happens for a reason;” such an overused saying, but I try to live in the present, reflect often on the past, and plan always for the future. It’s complicated living in three different tenses. I see now that I have passed the halfway mark in my life, reaching age 40, finishing college and now taking classes online again, and moving past a marriage that ended-you can never really know for sure what curveball the world will throw at you. I try to be a good listener, be empathetic, and not preach too much about what a “good person” is supposed to be. Everyone has a story.

I think always trying to improve, grow, be open to constructive critique, be reciprocal in your friendships and relationships and learn new skills makes me a better person day by day. I know some people are content to stay the same year after year, but I find that seeking new ideas is the only way to look forward to tomorrow’s opportunities.

I wish everyone the best as they move through the pandemic and the changing outlook on society and how we all interact. May you all be blessed and well.

Woe is Me…

I haven’t felt like myself for the past week. It is really unnerving. I think I have to admit the pandemic is finally getting to me.

It seems odd that even though I was online for years, with the outbreak and administered separation of people, I feel very isolated. Why this bothers me is probably my obsession to figure out, “what is wrong with me?”

I have always been very conscious of improving myself and taking active responsibility to change and grow. What is annoying about the social distancing is that it’s harder to go interact without wondering, “am I too close, should I really go out today, is someone going to contaminate me that isn’t wearing their mask?”

I always had anxiety, but now I have society’s anxiety. I have the new job outlook, the surge of online interaction, everyone now being inundated with health concerns.

I have been spending today trying to find things to be grateful for: like that I had already finished my college education; I wasn’t financially unprepared to be kicked out of a job that wasn’t “essential;” I had computer skills, I was good at budgeting. I had a safe neighborhood to live in, I wasn’t afflicted with the health problems that I started this blog for.

I also listened to a church service online and videos of uplifting music. I went for a walk. It was just good to reflect on what was going right, not wrong.

There are always things that put a snag in the carpet. It is up to yourself to look at the silver lining in the clouds. The glass can be half full or half empty, but the point is, you have something to drink in it. Count your blessings and look for more. One day, you’ll want to look back with hope and gratitude.

In the end of so many years, it will be better to have memories of resilience and positivity. React with influence and intention-you’ll see results and motion.

Control Theory

We live in a world of chaos and unpredictability, at any time things can and will change.

For instance, last year I ended up in a continuous upheaval of living situations, almost never quite knowing if I would have to ultimately move out of the state; or, even out of the country with offers to work or study overseas.  It ended up pretty normal that I’ll just stay in my current locale and study online.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, quite a few circumstances have led to more internet opportunities.  I will probably just reconcile to make homeschool videos for tutoring as someone had previously inquired of me on professional social media.  I was also already using an online platform for continuing education in law and science study, so-I guess of all the evils, my addiction to my phone and laptop stays put.

I also lost my password book for most of my online websites, so of course-other than this one, I had to delete existing ones after being unable to verify my accounts and rebuild new profiles and preferences.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, due to the fact that most of my previous contacts and interests were from an existence I now consider outdated and non-reflective of my daily routine and ambitions.  I still have a penchant for fashion and design, but with life seeming more about authentic presentation and comfort, it doesn’t make much sense to spend endless hours planning an outfit to run to the convenience store.  Yes, my grandmother found me once wearing sweatpants one day when I went to the store to get herbal tea for breakfast, admonishing me that someone important could see me and offer me a job opportunity, but it would make more sense to be a decent, amicable human being that leaves a good impression of public relations skills than what suiting outfit I had on but I look mad and disgusted that my shoes hurt and I can’t concentrate because I might spill my coffee on it an need dry cleaning again.

My friends usually prefer chaos anyway, not the all-encompassing type that destroys all reason and civility, but the kind that promotes analytical thinking and a devotion to bringing compassion to the table for those road-weary and wondering where faith and teamwork exists.  I find that in a society where everyone must now prioritize and think first of what legacy and outlook they should carry, it is better to err on the side of love and understanding.  Anyone could be in a breaking point or transition unprepared, and I am ultimately grateful for the friends I’ve kept for the past 2 decades and the new allies I made last year.  Change is a constant, but another constant is God and prayer, and without having a future we can all predict, it is a sure thing that faith in action rights the wrongs.

Choices, choices.

I love how they tell kids to dream big and believe they can be anything they want.  My teachers, mentors, and relatives did.  My biggest blow was not moving to become a writer in New York.  I had all these offers to be a lawyer or doctor, but I really wanted to continue being a writer.

Is the pen mightier than the sword: probably.  But who is competent to read things and dissect thoroughly?  I see in education news that we are pondering if screen time is robbing students of literacy skills.  At least a library in Chicago is discharging library fines.  Maybe people there can read books for free.  I loved to read as a child and young adult, but even as I type this, I wonder who will read these words.  Will it sound hopeless or hopeful?  Is the glass half full or half empty?  I had a library of more than a thousand books at home, but I wanted to.  Does anyone else?

People don’t pay attention to the words they see, hear, or read.  Is this intentional?  Is everyone damn stupid?  I feel like no one wants to understand anything, just ingest rhetoric.  I thought communication majors studied these things to teach truth.  It seems like people prefer lies.

I guess just cross-examine everything and think about what we’re all fighting for.  I thought it was unity, tolerance, and diversity.  But now it is just re-packaged slop in a bowl.  Sound morbid?  Try going back through my reel of slides in my mind.  I guess some crimes are solved; others are perpetuated.  They must love the ratings.

I prefer pictures of lives saved and children smiling.  Reunions and holidays.

Buyer beware.

I know I’m not shopping.  I buying things to survive and live.  But it’s easy to get confused.  I know quality materials and cost-effectiveness measures.  But don’t ask how I learned these things.

I was paying attention.

Honor is earned, not bought, and never forgotten.

I’ve paid many prices with my life.

Like Christ.  But I’m not delusional thinking I am Him.  I just follow His ways.

I made my choice at age 13, baptised at 15.  But it is a personal relationship.

You don’t try it on like an outfit and put it back.

My house doesn’t serve two masters.  But God forbid I fight for what I earned or believe in.

Do you?  If not, look in the mirror.  I’ve always known it’s me I see.  Christ dwelling in my heart and soul.  But sadness is there too.  He cried and had sweat of blood when he was facing death.

This is why my blog is “23”.  One step out of Catch 22-The Lord is my Shepherd.  I go after lost sheep, because I was one, and my Christian friends fought for my life.  Shepherds are not always in a church building.  And even if they work at one, they will go out to find the lost.

But don’t shoot the messenger.  We’re all fighting a war.  For our families.  But it’s supposed to be bearing each others’ burdens, not exacerbating them.  That’s evil.

And evil will not win.

“Guard your hearts, for within it is the wellspring of life.”  Proverbs 4:23.  Ignorance is not bliss.  Ignorance is just ignorance.  Read between the lines.  I still do.  And I don’t make conclusions for everyone.  That’s your job.  I make them for me.  Sorry if anyone is offended.  That’s either your problem or you don’t like my blog.  Turn the page, then.  I still writing page one of my book.  But now I have to change more names to protect the innocent.

I hate fiction.  I prefer reports.  Sorry if it’s bad news.  I feel encouraged by the good news of the Lord above.  Heaven is real.  There better be.  I won’t believe all countries and heritages have a salvation story, and then there isn’t any.  But it is a choice.  Make good ones.  The scales of justice want good to outweigh the bad.  I’m tired of running into my friends and they are all crying or in despair.  I guess if I make and keep my understanding and forgiving ones, and others are left out-that’s on them.  Stay positive my friends.  Because the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not comprehend it.  John 1:5.  May God be glorified.  Enough said.



It Is What It Is…

Well, after much deliberation, and pain; insights are discovered.  We are all really cut from the same cloth.  Everyone has regrets and joys.  No one ever has it timed right where we’re all on the same page.  Who can predict what tomorrow brings?  Only the Lord.

There are different stages of understanding and awareness.  Do you need to re-arrange your entire being to please others?  Well, yes, if your loved ones and close friends say your behavior is a hinderance.  But sometimes, you are just the way you are for a reason.  Personality is usually fixed early on in life.  You can change traits by watching others succeed or fail.  It’s not a cookie cutter way to make your journey like theirs.  If you see something you want to replicate, see the method, not the choices.  If their is a protocol for setting up your goals and achieving them, follow them.  Edit as you go.  Learning from mistakes is what helps people of greatness stay great.  If you fail, “fail forward”, as John Maxwell, business leader quotes.  You can’t go forward by standing idle.  If you want change, make it happen.

I figured out that some habits die hard.  What can you do.  Just accept.  Sometimes it’s just the way you’re designed.  If God didn’t want you have these traits, He wouldn’t have given you this DNA to work with.  If you get dealt a bad hand, play again.  It’s not so bad.  Nothing is useless and hopeless.  If you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, get a flashlight, or even a lighter in front of your face.  It is also darkest before the dawn.  Their are lights all around us.  Be a light for others to see in the darkness.  Share your struggles and triumphs.  We can all be a beacon of hope.  Don’t forget that other people may be smiling and laughing, but laughing how they feel dead inside.  Don’t underestimate the fears and pains of others who can hide it.  It is our responsibility to achieve and reach back and take others out of their pit.  We can all win.  It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and.  Why not see the possibilities?  People without hope tumble more into despair.  IF you are in the winning end, share your trophy.  We can’t all be gold-but we are all First Place to God.

What the Housekeepers Knew

It was late-enough.  She was studying developmental and forensic Psych, asking what to do next.  I told her about my life: my struggle with nicotine addiction, my hope for humanity and my experience with mentoring teens.  I sang a gospel song-a song of redemption and a song about havoc repaired.  She wanted to change the world and make things right with people exposed to on-going violence and threats.  It seemed like a simple discussion.  Maybe that one last cigarette wouldn’t remind me of my uncle, the airplane mechanic who had never been buried, my ongoing desire for the perfect ending to a long, tiring day and night, and when would everyone finally have the answers of Life when they should and not at the last minute.  My work at the hospital and nursing I hoped had meant something to everybody.  Did I have the solutions when people hated surprises and uncertainties?  I guess.  I’m just doing improv comedy-I was trained to perform and say the world is a stage.  Well, shine a spotlight on this-I’m sober but people don’t think I am because I left a bar after talking to a girl attending Kareoke who has a boyfriend in rehab for his second run at it.  This is why I go out late at night.  She’s trying to cope and adjust.  I don’t have to look far to find someone in need of encouraging words and a guide to not drink too much and get a ride home.  Give your keys to your friend or walk I told her.  So maybe she did, maybe she didn’t.  At least I did my part.  And she might just move forward if her life has a chance for change.  Things aren’t always hopeless.  But the song plays on.  See you guys next week.  Hope we’re all stars.  We can be if we look up.  There is a guiding light out in the sky.  And the sky is waiting for us.  Spread your wings and soar.  We’re not living on the edge.  We’re right on time.

Funny How Time Flies

It is occurring to me that as I reconcile my past: childhood, teenage years, young adulthood-I really haven’t changed much personality-wise. I may have gained knowledge, learned from my mistakes, and obtained wisdom; I have remained the same consistently throughout my whole life.

When I was three, my neighbor was dying and sleeping in a hospital bed.  I used to visit him daily and hold his hand.  His mother said I brought him comfort.  Finally, before I moved to my parents new house, he passed.  I knew he went to be with the Lord.

When I was five, I read a book of Bible stories.  I knew that God was very important.  I vowed to memorize how the world came to know a higher power that orchestrated reward for positive choices and eventual destruction if you were a person that harmed others for not much reason other than selfishness and greed.

But fast forward to my college and adult life.  I became a part of the healthcare industry and also the business world that provided funding for national and international governments.  I was never what you would call “sheltered.”  I had plenty of exposure to life’s ills.  But it always horrified me about corruption.  I always (perhaps with no warranted hope), prayed for justice.  I began to study law, but not officially.  I just wanted to know what rights people could fight for.

I ended up attending a Seminary graduate school.  However, I was from a liberal arts state university for as a Psychology/English Major.  So I couldn’t say I was their favorite.  I was honestly defiant every day.  But I had an “A” average.  It made the leaders pretty mad, especially coming from a woman.  I was pro-rights, but everyone’s rights, not just the privileged.

My biggest weakness is that knowledge can be power, not just money and wealth.  So I do agree that I can be elitist just because I read and study obsessively.  I admit that I’m judgemental because of this.  But I share everything I learn with everybody.  I don’t think anyone should be left out of the learning curve.

Before I have a twenty page blog post today, I just want to say that knowledge can provide the biggest power.  A library card is free.  Not everyone has to go to college to become successful.  A lot of entrepreneurs are self taught.  You don’t have to go to school to learn common courtesy.  It is a Biblical principle-do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Everyone can have their own relationship with their higher power as they know him or her.  But this one idea is so powerful.  I try to live my life by this constantly.  I know I stumble and fall, but even when I get up I teach others how to do the same.  I honestly hope the entire world can become a better place.  And the clock is ticking.  Do you know what time it is?