If You Could do Anything. Anything! What Would You Do?

I’m sitting here at my desk contemplating what I can do considering that the entire world is open to me right this very minute. The universe opened up and said, “Be free. Go. Do. Be.” But. What? Where? How? Obviously the time is now, but…. What’s next?

Do I…

Go sit at the ocean and write a novel?

Trade my car in for an old truck and trailer, head west, with no timeline or true course to follow?

Clean houses?

Drive for Uber?

The possibilities are as endless as the choices. And every choice comes with consequences. Ones known and ones unknown.

What would you do… if you were set free… and life was yours to direct and change course as you pleased… *breathes*  Everything happens for a reason. Everything is orchestrated chaos. When asking why did this happen, why did I do that, why isn’t this happening… sometimes a violent tearing away just has to occur for motion to propel you outside your comfort zone.. and onward to something great.

For this moment, I’ll just close my eyes. Breathe in and out. And rest.

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Peering Through the Fog Into Life

I sit and wonder if I’m the only one who ever feels disconnected from life. I am a conformist. I love the norms of society. Pure and naive little girl grows up loved and surrounded by support, graduates high school, gets into a good college, meets the man of her dreams, marries, has 2.5 children, grows old with the love of her life and enjoys teaching her grandchildren about life before moving on into Heaven.  I didn’t get past the first stage of this fairy tale.  I didn’t get to grow up pure and naive. 😦

That one fact set into motion an entire lifetime of misfortune, mistakes, and bad decisions that led me to where I am today. Alive, doing the best I can, breathing in and out, just surviving and making sense of where I’ve been, what I’ve gone through, and trying to figure out how to end this whole thing on a good and right note.

But, there are many, many hours where I sit and “watch” social media posts and people around me doing life and I feel like I’m an outsider. I feel as if I’m looking through a fog or glass.. peering into a fishbowl of activity.. activity that I’m not allowed to be connected or involved in.  I feel distant.  I have truly, sincerely supportive friends that absolutely love me and welcome me to be a part of all they do.  But… no matter how desperately they try to make me feel a part of things and welcome, I always feel like I’m the odd one out.  That I’m somehow not the same, or lesser than, or different from everyone around me.

Can you relate at all? What’s your story?

Tell Me Why It’s Good Writing

What gives you the opinion that a writer is a “good” writer?  How do you judge literature?  Is it the character development? The original thought of a storyline? Or the continuity of all the story elements to create a solid work?  For me it is about getting lost in the story. If I can forget my surroundings and not be able to put the book down because I’m living the character’s lives right along with them and can’t stand to wait for what comes next? It’s a winner. I was born with such a curious soul. I can’t seem to keep my nose to myself. I always want to find out what others are doing, thinking, and acting on. Like a fly on the wall, I want to see and hear it all. I’m not sure why.

The Fault in Faucets (Plural)

I have been single for many, many years. It stems from a long line of very bad relationships. One day I just decided I was DONE. And for once in my life (probably the only time in my life), I meant what I said. Because from that moment on, this bitter middle-aged lady hasn’t gotten more than a friendly hug from any romantic interest. Ever again. At times this brings peace into my world because I know that I am capable, independent, and my own person. I am all about me. No compromising. It feels good to dominate the world sometimes.  I don’t need them.  But, then there are those other times…

Plastered all over Facebook or at social gatherings.. When I see photos of families on vacation.  When I read about the newlywed adventures of friends. When beautiful new babies are born. Valentine’s Day passes with roses and candies all around. Big life decisions need to be made and I have no one to bounce ideas around with or debate options. Times when I wish I had a significant other to spend time with.  Or, heck, for no other reason than just snuggle a little while and know I’m truly loved by someone other than myself, my cats, and my kids. But I need to wait. Be patient. This patience thing has been a significant problem of mine since the day I was brought into this world. I don’t have any. And sometimes, things in this world serve as a reminder in my face that I’m still waiting.  Like double-sink vanities. Ugh.

doublesink

I don’t WANT to wake up every single morning and go in to do my hair and makeup and see another sink in my life. I don’t want to go to brush my teeth and wash my face every night and the last thing I see before I go to bed alone is another blasted sink in MY bathroom!  I LOATHE DOUBLE SINKS!!

I searched Google and Pinterest to find ways to cover up this blatent obnoxiousness and do you know what I found? NOTHING. That’s right. For the first time in the history of the internet, GOOGLE and PINTEREST failed me!  They have millions of ways to convert your SINGLE sink into a DOUBLE sink. Millions of vanity ideas to expand and make room for MORE.  But nothing about covering that despicable hole to eliminate the vicious reminder that I’m alone.  Short of ripping it out and replacing it, I’m just stuck with it. And what’s sad?  It’s brand NEW!  The sellers of the home I am purchasing installed this lovely piece as a courtesy for me to help get the home ready for purchase! Spent good money to put this atrocity in. And I’m stuck with it. Until I change it.

We all know about the cost of home ownership. We all know about the repairs and constant needs that a house requires. So this, of course, is very low on the changes list due to the fact it’s new, functioning, and in perfect working order.  I hate it.

Am I the only soul alive that is disgusted by double sinks? They seem to be all the rage all over the internet. Yay for you and your need for double sinks. But, keep it down will ya?  And stop posting the latest selfies of you and your wonderful partner on my Facebook news feed. It’s just common courtesy.

But, alas, I have to face the fact that I made my decision to be single years ago. It was my choice. At the end of the day, singleness is something I worked hard to keep.  I refuse to compromise. I refuse to be treated less than I deserve. I refuse to be a piece of meat. I refuse to go against my beliefs and spirituality (YES, I REALIZE WHAT YEAR IT IS!  YES, I KNOW WE AREN’T LIVING IN THE 50’s ANYMORE!). I will stand my ground and wait for what I believe is the right one. I just wonder if “the one” is going to show up before… or after this double sink is annihilated and counter space takes over.

Wishing Money Rained Inside My Apartment

I have worked in “corporate” America my entire professional life. I was told at a very early age by my mother that taking typing and office classes were magical. No matter what happens to my career, I can always fall back on administrative skills to land a job in tough times. My dilemma?  I never left the administrative field.  A career never bloomed for me.

Over the past 28 years I have held numerous administrative jobs in office buildings. My experience has trained me in everything from law to real estate to the residential moving business. I have had to dress in suits to impress clientele in some offices. I have been free to wear jeans and tennis shoes in others. But, one thing remained the same no matter which atmosphere or employer came along. I was making money they decided I was worth through them. No room for growth or bonuses. Their companies thrived under my administrative talents, growing them richer, while I sat at my same wage. There was also the God-awful responsibility of showing up every single day, regardless of what life threw at me, to sit in an office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at minimum. There was zero flexibility. If the office was scheduled to be open, I was there to manage the phones, correspondence, filing, and any administrative tasks that had to be fulfilled. Holidays were only available if my employer decided to generously grant days off. If not, my commitment to my employer was to show up. No room for discussion. No hope of change. I was a slave. A mule. Don’t think for one moment that my employers worked the same hours. My bosses never needed to come in to ensure their hourly pay. They could sleep late, go to meetings and network, attend lunches, and all manner of business escapes that kept them from the four prison walls of the office. They still made their money. Far more than my paycheck. Living far better, healthier lives because I was back at the office keeping it alive and operational. If anything came up, a quick call or text would alert them to hop to action. Otherwise, they could play while I toiled.

I’m in a desperate search in my 40’s to find ways to make money at home, or at the very least, in a more flexible environment. Call it a midlife crisis if you wish, but I call it an awakening to discover freedom from bondage and chains of the employers of the world.  But, with everyone’s wish being the same, how does someone make real money out there?  Especially if you’re not a “sales” lead generating type that has the perfect body to lure the executive to spend millions on your product or concept.

I’ve done a little research. Samantha Hess cuddles strangers in Oregon and charges $60.00/hour. Tyler Phillips is a farmer who rents out chickens. Yes, you read that right! His income is renting out his chickens!  Even kids know how to get in on the game. There is a 13 year old that started a company called “Man Cans.” All because he thought candles were far too feminine smelling and figured the guys needed some candles of their own. Think dirt, bacon, or pizza scents!  There’s always getting paid for YouTube videos or blogs. Though, I can tell you right now, I have yet to make a penny off of mine. Writing can be lucrative creating short eBooks to sell on Amazon. But, only if they sell, and there are millions of authors who pray for the same big break.  Photographers overwhelm stock photo sites with dreams of someone buying their work.  The stories are endless of ways to make money, but none seem to actually report getting that money!  People show you how, but you never see the true results in working that “how” into a “wow”!  And don’t get me started on the direct selling companies and their scams of getting rich!!

With the rise of social media, and the internet dominating the minds of our future generations, wouldn’t money-making boom on sites such as EBay, Etsy, and online stores of those natures?  I’m sending out a call for help to my readers! Help me find a lucrative, decent money-making venture that has little start-up costs, allows for flexible hours, and can be truly profitable. If we can discover a few legitimate avenues that truly do bless us with a little green rain, the second half of our lives won’t be spent hiding in a windowless office praying for even an hour outside in the sunshine. My current employer only allows for a 30 minute lunch.

Where will we find the solution?  What will we need to accomplish, learn, or work at to create our own income?  Will we find it in Real Estate?  Crafts?  Photography?  Writing?  Comment below with your successes and your ideas!  I’m ready to hear them all!

The Light

Not one of us is here by accident. The Bible calls us to be purposeful.  To be the light in the darkness.  Some of us think of that statement and immediately begin to sigh and feel inadequate.  But, please remember, every single one of us is unique in our abilities and talents. Where we find joy may not be (and probably WON’T be) where others we know find their joy.

A story told by Mark Reed (paraphrased):

My wife, Donna, loves to read. In our living room, we have installed a 150 watt light bulb in ONE of the many light sockets in the room. The 150 watt light bulb is on Donna’s side of the sofa where she sits each evening and reads. The others are 70 watt bulbs.  It’s like there’s a spotlight on her.  It is bright, allows her to read, it serves a very important and useful purpose.

In our bathroom, we have a teensy tiny small night light.  It takes a 5 watt bulb.  In the middle of the night, when I must make my way in the darkness into the bathroom, if that 5 watt bulb were not there, I would stub my toe or worse. That 5 watt bulb serves a very important and useful purpose.

The 5 watt bulb is nowhere near as bright as the 150 watt bulb.  Heck you can’t even tell that it’s on in the daytime.  But, when darkness envelopes the home, that night light is a beacon and guide and safety.  [End story.]

Be the light!!  Whatever capacity that may entail for you. Use your talents and gifts!  Don’t think your gifts aren’t as “good” as or as “bright” as the person next to you.  The person next to you has their purpose. You have yours.  Whether you’re the spotlight or the nightlight, know that you’re loved and adored by your Father and being about His business is what matters the most.  Not what the world sees, but what your Father sees in your heart.

Just made me really think about how inadequate I think I am and how I’m not able to give as much as the neighbors that live around me so affluently.  I don’t have a huge education or intellect.  I’m not gifted at public speaking.  I don’t do well around children over the age of 2.  I’m not meant to become a pastor, or children’s minister, or youth Sunday School teacher.  It’s just not my “calling”.

But.. I can type like the wind and enter in church records accurately with virtually zero mistakes!  I can set up and clean up events because I’ve been given the health and muscle to do it.  I can PRAY!  I can DRIVE!  I can mail out cards of encouragement!  I have GIFTS!  It’s all about how I use them and when I use them and IF I use them… to His Glory.

What’re your gifts?  Are you using them?  Do you know what your purpose is?  Where your talents lie?  I encourage you to take some time to ponder on what they might be and challenge you to use them a little bit in the coming weeks.

No one knows when Jesus will return!  So we need to be READY!  And be about the Father’s work!! 😀  Love y’all!  Happy Sunday!!

Cooking Adventures with Laurel

I have begun cooking nightly meals. I know I should have done this when my children were younger but I just never seemed to get around to having more time to prepare more than a hamburger helper or a cookie sheet full of chicken nuggets and french fries!  You all know “that” family.  Where you open the freezer and it’s jammed with bags and boxes.  Open the fridge and there’s a 1/2 drunk gallon of milk and a bottle of ketchup???  Yep.  That was our family for years.  We always ordered pizza. We always went out to eat.  It was easier, faster, and seemingly cheaper back then.

But, now that I’m a bit older, I’ve eaten fast food for so many stinkin’ years that it just tastes miserable most of the time. I’ve consumed more Burger King whoppers than most!  McDonalds?  Don’t even get me started on how much I’ve eaten there.  And I truly should OWN several pizza establishments with the business I’ve forked over their direction!!  (Haha, get it?  Puns!  Yay!)

I started when my coworker purchased a Tamale steamer pot and some corn husks for me to try making my very own tamales.  The first time around was “okay” but the second time I tried it, I got better.  WAY better.  I LIKED my food!  It was luscious!  So, that began a fire within me to COOK MORE!  (HA!  Another pun!  I cannot be stopped!)

THIS WEEK!  I have begun COOKING more!  Yes, REAL cooking!  As in carve it up with a knife, dip it in some sauce, bake it/broil it/cook it!  I am still using “short cuts” such as Pillsbury pizza dough and such, but OVERALL, it’s NOT from the corner fast food joint!  It’s from my KITCHEN!!  I even have an APRON to wear!!  (Thank you, Kim Matthews!)

So, now the quest begins to find proper tools to actually get things done.  I kid you not, I have ONE pot, ONE skillet (with wobbly handle that won’t stay tightened), ONE cake pan, ONE crock pot, etc.  I don’t have the ability to truly create meals in that tiny kitchen with my limited dishes and cookware.  Any suggestions on good cookware?  I was thinking I’d just open up my Fingerhut catalog and have at that Rachael Ray set!!  😛

I’ll try to blog some of my creations.  The one last night was exquisite!  A roll of Jimmy Dean regular sausage, 2 cans of Pillsbury pizza dough, a can of tomato sauce (flavored with basil and oregano), some grated cheddar cheese, and a cookie sheet happened in my kitchen!  I created PIZZA ROLLS!  It was FABULOUS!  It was!  The boys and I devoured every bite!  If you’d like the recipe I can definitely post it, but I just wanted to share what’s new with Laurel! 😀

God bless you and your family!!!