Thursday, June 19, 2014

Making Your Insides and Outsides Match

Recently I opened my heart and made myself very vulnerable by sharing my very personal back story.  It is not the whole story, however it is significant to my growth as a person.  There are so many ways to heal the spirit.  Prior to my 50th birthday, I attended a couple of retreats to assist in the finding of myself.   A friend of mine, knowing of my passion for photography,  recommended a retreat/workshop called Inner/Outer Vision hosted by Catherine Anderson and Jennifer Halls.  It was a huge transformative step! I was reminded how to access my intuition and heal myself.   Passionate photographers intuitively know what they wish to create with their images.  Activities provided ways to access our creativity in an intuitive way.  Creativity heals me.  It is a balm to my soul.  As a child I could spend hours creating a home in a mimosa tree or involving myself in any number of whimsical endeavors.  Sometimes, as adults we forget that "knowing" .  I encourage anyone to seek that which feeds their spirit and helps with healing.  Personally, I love to learn and I love to try new ideas on for size!  It is what keeps me sane and assists with the aging process...learning experiences, creative outlets and adventure...that, my friend is the true Fountain of Youth!  Experiment until you find something that makes you feel alive and happy!  

Another way to determine what you may wish to accomplish is to write yourself a note or letter and stash it somewhere, read it later and assess where you are and where you want to be.  I have done this a number of times and it resonates with me.  The following is a note to myself written at the Inner/Outer Vision Retreat, signed, sealed and delivered to Jennifer to be mailed sometime within that year.  Let me mention it is somewhat disconcerting to see a letter from yourself in the mail, particularly when you have my memory!   The  following is the card and the message dated March 2, 2013:
Hi Lovie,
When you get caught up in the craziness of your days, I want you to pause, breathe and remember the beautiful weekend that you gifted yourself.  The time to just BE, the time to explore photography and see this as a re-awakening of your talents, those revealed and those waiting to be revealed.  Remember the silence of the woods, your own breath, the crunch of leaves and the sound of wind in the trees.
Remember to slow down and Be Mindful!  Love ya bunches, C

I am a little tightly wrapped and this reminder was perfect!  The last five years have been a source of amusement, trials and great personal growth.  I have said it before and I will say it again...Life is Beautiful!
Find your Tribe! Hang with the people that make you feel absolutely alive, delicious and beautiful!  Ditch the Drama!  Practice extreme self care!  The journey is one step at a time.  I saw this painted on stairs...You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step!  

This photo is credited to Catherine Anderson and was gifted in the form a card to retreat participants      
Catherine hosts some wonderful events, trips and offers many creative options at the following website:  Catherine Anderson Studio.  Catherine provided the photography instruction and Jennifer of You Know LLC guided us in the use of our intuition.  Jennifer offers personal guidance, workshops, retreats and a monthly meditation.  The meditations can be accessed on the above website for a small fee.  Jennifer is very generous and frequently offers recordings free of charge.  She is also a fabulous artist.

Namaste Y'all!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Girl with the Broken Smile


I was the girl with the broken smile.  I am eighteen or nineteen in the above photo.  I was in an unhealthy relationship with the boy/man who would in the next year or so become my husband.  Turning 55 has catapulted me forward in terms of releasing my old stories and dumping some of the baggage I thought I needed to drag around most of my life.

 I felt very compelled to share this post today  because of a sense that someone "out there" needs to read my words.  I was conceived in violence. My mother,  the age I was in the above photo, was date raped by a man a bit older than her.  Her first plan of action was to attempt an abortion.  I don't know about you, however,  I could have gone my whole life not knowing.  The man I always called my father adopted me when I was almost two years old.  This story was withheld until I was fifteen.  I am certain my parents did what they thought best at the time.  It was shocking news for a teenager.  I needed my birth certificate to get my learner's permit.  My dad  reminded me of his unconditional love when he said,  "I am a lucky man, not everyone gets to pick such a wonderful  daughter."  My mother dealing with rage and hurt, dealt some pretty harsh blows, both verbally and physically.  My dad was the saving grace for both of us.  My mother and I have finally come to terms with our relationship. Her life experiences contributed to her behavior.  Forgiveness has been a wonderful gift.

Despite having a really kind, loving father, I still had bucket loads of low self esteem. I sought affection in less than ideal situations.  I embarked on a series of poor choices. I sampled my mother's valium on a regular basis, drank alcohol to the point of illness and explored a few other drugs.  Relationship choices were not  good.  I allowed the young man  I was involved with to make ALL my choices for me.  He loved me and was going to do all the right things, right!   He was an extremely jealous sort and would go into violent rages if someone even looked my way.  Of course I thought that was my fault.  We married. We stumbled through a few years, he started a business...we were broke all the time.  We eventually started a family.  The pregnancy progressed, I was in an automobile accident. Things moved along as they should until one night, still too early for birth, my water broke and blood gushed everywhere.  My obstetrician determined that it was imperative to deliver as the placenta was deteriorating.  I was losing too much blood and our baby was suffering.  I had an emergency c-section. We almost died.  Our daughter was small, had trouble feeding and required a feeding tube, incubator and some assistance breathing.  Miracles do happen...Michelle stayed in the NICU for two weeks and then was able to come home.  She had no delays whatsoever in growth and development.  We were feeling blessed. We were happy parents and soon another daughter was born. Being a mother gave my life purpose and meaning.




The honeymoon period of our lives ended.  I worked full time, cared for our girls and he worked really hard building a business.  Emotionally, we were both miserable.  He sought solace with other women.  I devoted all my time to "my" girls.  I developed an eating disorder and gained weight.  I swallowed my sadness, pain and anger in the form of food.  After, I would attempt to purge.  The long and short of this story is that my husband cheated one more time, finally left me and married the other woman. I was crushed and angry.  After wallowing in self pity for awhile I began the road to recovery and discovery. I wanted Michelle and Heather to experience the example of a strong and independent woman.

  My former husband was/is not a bad person.  We were mismatched and unhappy. Neither of us had the skills to fix the relationship.   That was over 20 years ago...some people will not let things go, last year his sister felt the need in a very public gathering to remind me that her brother and I were not meant to be together and EVERYONE knew that except me.   Sometimes, you just have to walk away from unkind or clueless people. I mention this because people are quirky.  It throws them for a loop when you change patterns and change your story.

We are all broken at one time or another.  Everyone has a story. No one is immune from loss and tragedy.  We all have lies we tell ourselves. We attempt to numb our pain with food, alcohol and other substances.  People who are broken can find redemption and repair their souls. Call on your higher power.  For me, my Heavenly Father answered prayers and carried me when I was weak, tired and devastated.

 I have been married to a wonderful man for the last 17 years.  He thinks I am a beautiful, smart and wonderful human being! He reminds me daily that he is getting the best I have to offer.  The second act of my life is amazing.  We have fun, we laugh and we road trip everywhere!  We disagree about a lot of things and we are as different as night and day...we work through the problems.  Sometimes, we agree to disagree.

Life is beautiful.  Find your tribe.  Walk away from drama.  Put that baggage down once and for all!
You are enough...your existence matters.  You are loved beyond measure.  Learn to love yourself.
Change your story...there is no easy button, things that matter the most are worth the difficulty.   Follow your own path....everyone has their own obstacles and victories along the journey.  Our trials can be stumbling blocks or stepping stones...ultimately you get to choose.




Monday, October 7, 2013

Having a bit of a ramble

Dear Blog,

Sigh, I know I have been in abstentia.  Life just does not allow me to control it.  I only pretend to exist behind the curtain and push the buttons.  I thought about breaking up with you permanently.  Some small part of me said, oh no it is not time to let you go.  How you tolerate the neglect I certainly don't understand. 

I have been experiencing overwhelm not in a bad way necessarily...suffering from a bit of post vacation blues.  I miss the ocean.  Specifically, I miss the Pacific Ocean!  The hubster and I took a road trip.  It was EPIC!  We traveled across our beautiful country, enjoyed about ninety percent of the Pacific coast and knocked out some important destinations such as Mt. Rainier.  Some of you are probably thinking here she goes again...I don't want to think of myself as being the person that holds you captive looking at 999 slides and talks about nothing but the EPIC trip.  It was so very meaningful on so many levels.  I am often asked what was the most beautiful or my favorite.  It was all good, really.  There may be a place or two we would not put on the next list.  There may have been a time or two where someone may have threatened to jump ship or car as the case may be and fly home.  And someone may have been overwhelmed by being in a car with an extrovert for that long.  We saw and did everything from the sacred, sublime to the ridiculous.  Many times, I absolutely knew I was standing on Hallowed Ground.  I had the image or thought of everyone and everything that led me to this beautiful country and becoming a citizen at the tender age of six.  I was meant to be here in this day and at this time I have no doubt.  I had glimpses of Heaven.  I imagine my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean was much the same as my first glimpse of a new country as a child open to all possibilities.  I am training my brain to continue to believe in unlimited possibilities. 

How in the world did it get to be October so soon?   I haven't been to the coast of anywhere since August.  I am needing a fix!  The granddarlings and I spent a few days alone at the beach before everyone else arrived.  I realized again just how much energy is required to keep up with a seven year old and an eight year old.  They are precious, sweet and loving and curious and busy!  I was happy to see the reinforcements.  My dear blog, I will have to tell you all about our pirate adventure and Wild Peg another day...it would excite you to no end.  Arrrrrggggggghhhh. 

Let's see what else...oh yeah, yeah...we went on our first ever Porsche Club Road Tour...it was awesome...imagine 40 sportscars tearing through the mountains.  I wasn't as terrified due to previous experience on the coastal highway at Big Sur and northwards.  It was a lovely trip with a beautiful destination and we enjoyed ourselves very much.

Where were we...oh yeah, my absence...this weekend I spent time creating, connecting and sharing.  When you are with a group of women that allow you and each other to be your most authentic true self/selves...magical things happen!  There is a definite shift in your perspective (the theme was perception and connection)  So I still have a ton of warts and bumps...I am pretty self aware of where I fall short (I know it's hard for your to believe however it is true)  We have the same experiences until we look at them a new way and learn the lesson once and for all.  I think it was Einstein and I am paraphrasing (or screwing it up entirely) who said " Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results."  I did have many AHA moments.  The true test is putting what you learn into action...because although your perspective may alter or change...quite frequently a conflict arises when someone has a different perspective or the situation you spent time away from is rearing its ugly head upon return even if you are basking in the afterglow of amazing growth for yourself.  And then there is always the new $#!+ that rears its head.  Fun times.


I have truly missed talking to you and I hope you will forgive me and allow me time and space to come back more often.  Speaking of time and space...I do believe I have my word for 2014...I'll get back with you on that one.  I will probably put that special thought into action since I am such an awfully slow learner.  My word Mindfulness has bitten me on the arse more than once this year.  Silly girl thought it would be any easy one.  Hahhahahahahaha...there is no easy button.

Savoring the moments, living amidst the chaos and trying to keep my sense of humor! Lovingly, Connie
PS Please go hug someone, smile...be a part of making things beautiful...thank you and ttyl!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

All Cry No Work

All Cry No Work comes from an Asian lady that used to own a restaurant we frequented often.  She ran that business with an iron fist, a loud voice and  mostly family.  She would literally scream orders to the cooks...it got to the point that we began only getting take out.  One evening as I was waiting for boneless chicken or some such treat, a young lady came in just boo hooing...sobbing.  She apparently worked there and explained why she was crying.  It seems her brand new car was hit in a parking lot with nary a sign of the person that did the damage.   Did I mention it was her first BRAND NEW car?  Anyways, a few moments later after she had gone somewhere else in the establishment...the little  lady starts looking around and yellling to anyone within earshot...ALL CRY NO WORK!  When ever life slings lemons at me I try my level best to flip it to a positive.  My husband and I felt sorry for the young girl, however when either one of us would complain or fuss too much...one of us would look at the other and say ALL CRY NO WORK!  It takes on a different meaning than what the little lady orignally meant...her employee was crying instead of working...for us though, we laugh about it and think yeah all that fussing and complaining is not working. 

I have been in abstentia, simply because life has been crazy...it has thrown its usual twists and turns however I found myself ALL CRY NO WORK...I just didn't feel like writing about anything that I couldn't spin positive.  I miss my blog and I miss the camraderie of my fellow bloggers...I have lots of catching up to do!  Over at The Fifty Factor, my friend posted this interesting and fun getting to know you ABC thingy and I have decided to give it a go. 



Age :  Just had a month long celebration turning 54 requires


Bed Size:  Queen

Chore You Hate:  Mopping floors however I love sparkling floors what are you going to do?

Dogs :  Have always had one or more.  Currently have a rescue Chow/Lab mix with a quirky personality. His name is Duncan

Essential Start To My Day:  Prayer, meditation, a moment or two of watching and listening to the birds at the feeders

Favorite Color:  The entire BLUE family...anything sky or sea colored works for me

Gold or Silver:  Mostly silver...I do like it all

House or Apartment :  House

Instruments Played : Does the stereo count or a kazoo or wax paper over a comb...not the musical one in the family

Job Title:  Goddess of My Universe?  I do every office thing you can possibly think of for our family's business

Kids :  We have lots of children, their spouses and grandchildren

Live :  in a semi rural area near Columbia, South Carolina...although a Villa in Italy would be appreciated

Married :  Yes, 16 years of an interesting and wild ride...gosh I love that man! 

Never Again :  Can I get back to you on that one?  Road trips/vacations with unreasonable people...yes I do have to pee again!

Other Fun Fact :  I love to dance. I  particularly enjoy the tribal aspect sometimes included in NIA

Pet Peeve:  shouldn't that be plural?  I despise overly large trucks or SUVs trying their best to bully past me.

Quote   "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless"  Mother Teresa

Righty or Lefty :  Right handed or is this a sneaky political question :)

Siblings:  Two younger brothers, one is deceased and tons of Sisters whom have nothing to do with birth or blood!

Time You Wake Up:  As late as I can get away with...it really depends usually 6:30 ish

University Attended :  Midlands Technical College, also attended the University of Mrs., MOM and Hard Knocks and Montessori Institute of America

Veggies You Dislike:   Overcooked ones..yuck!  I can't think of one I don't like now that I know how to cook them.

What Makes You Run Late :  My memory and having to go to the bathroom after I am in the car and then leaving my keys in the bathroom and having to come back inside to retrieve them.

X-Rays:  Hmmm...as in airport security or just in general...afraid to see what might be in there!

Yum Food : Chocolate, french fries, macaroni and cheese (shouldn't this be plural as well?)

Zoo Animal Favorite:  I seem to have difficulty having one favorite of anything...Giraffes...I love to watch them move and sit down, rather elegant for such an unusual body type

So I am leaving ALL CRY NO WORK here and getting on with the business of enjoying those moments we are given!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Word of the Year Challenge

 
Six years ago I attended a couple of retreats led by Christine Kane.  I learned a LOT about myself and the power of words and thoughts.  Energy goes where Attention flows!  Christine mentioned the word of the year idea and I absolutely loved it.  I managed to get quite a few friends on board...we have been doing it instead of a resolution for several years now.  Quite simply you choose one word for the direction you wish to go in the New Year.  I have learned that the word you choose may bring up some old stuff that needs resolving!  So give very careful thought to what you choose!  In 2012, my word chose me...it was exploration.  Exploration encompassed many areas...travel, inner travel and being brave.

I struggled with a word for this year...my thinking has been so scattered and I procrastinate on everything.  However, all the words that I was choosing all came back to one word....Mindfulness.
Mindfulness covers a multitude of areas...I have a BEAUTIFUL life and I want to SAVOR it!  I get caught up in the busies, the go, go, go of errands and responsibilities...much of that won't go away, however I get to choose the quality of what I am doing and I can slow down...smell the roses. 

My friends and I, we begin to question each other about our words slightly before Christmas...just to get the idea rolling.  My dear friend, Jayne wrote a great blog post last year about the word of the year and she re-posted it with a bit of an add on...I have also linked to Christine Kane, who was the source of the inspiration for me.  Christine has helped change the world and many people's lives for the better...finding their own best potential...you can click on the highlighted names and that will direct you to these very interesting, wonderful people!  Thanks Christine for the impact on my life!

So my challenge to you is this...toss those resolutions...choose one word...embrace it...let it unfold in your life...you will NEVER make and break a New Year's Resolution again!  Let me know which word you choose (no pressure there)  Wishing each of you a New Year filled with joy, prosperity, love and all the wonderful blessings we all stand to receive if we are willing!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kindness begins with Me!



Someone recently asked me, "What is your purpose in life"  There are so many ways you can answer this question.  Some days, my first thought would be, I dunno?  I have many roles in my life so the purpose varies depending on the role.
I recently taught a lesson on kindness.  I mentioned that I was waging a war on ingratitude and the lack of kind in the world.  I may fumble on the skirmishes or the small battles however for the most part I am victorious.  So many take the month of November to express gratitude each day...I think this is lovely...I make it a point to express gratitude for something EVERY day of the year.  I want to experience and share goodwill and kindness towards my fellow humans (and four legged non humans) ALL year not just in December.  Life is Good but not Easy...none of us knows what is in the person's heart standing in front or behind us in line, sitting next to us or cutting us off in traffic (where I might just occasionally lose my goodwill) Surely everyone has some good in them and is deserving of our consideration.   Each of us must stamp out the rampant rudeness we encounter by being part of the solution.  It is never easy to be kind when someone treats us poorly or unfairly.  As we hustle about our business getting busier and busier...Please let us take the time to be kind one to another.  I am not sharing anything "new" here and these only serve as a reminder to myself to be a better person tomorrow than I was today.  As the holidays are approaching know that I hold you in my thoughts and my heart as we all charge forth into the fray!  May it be a time of peace, joy, love and kindness!



"No act of Kindness however small is ever wasted" Aesop

"You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important"  The Help

"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses"

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Stephen Grellet

“Be kind to unkind people - they need it the most”  Ashleigh Brilliant


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”   Leo Buscaglia


"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless"  Mother Teresa


I love Mother Teresa...she made a huge impact on the world...a humble, loving and faithful servant of God....

If you are looking for some teaching moments for your little ones or yourself or just some inspiration I have found Random Acts of Kindness Foundations website to be wonderful!  The site offers stories, ideas and free printables.  You can also like them on Facebook and a daily message or two will appear on your newsfeed...always worthwhile. I leave you with a children's song:

I want to be Kind to Everyone
For that is right you see
So I say to myself
Remember this...Kindess begins with Me!

 Peace, Love and Hugs Y'all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Compilation of Letters In Which I Have A WEE Bit of a RANT

WARNING:  DISCLAIMER:  We will resume normal sunny thoughts shortly!!!

During the last few days, weeks and months I have been presented with a few annoyances.  I did promise to write lovely letters, notes and cards.  I have done and will continue to do so.  Here are a few notes that will not be sent but do allow me to release a bit of steam to my captive audience...let the ranting begin...

Dear Dish Network,
It has come to my attention that you have discontinued a few channels I enjoy watching.  How can I possibly know how to defend myself during a zombie attack if I cannot watch "The Walking Dead"  This may be critical to my survival.  I will have to visit somebody with that channel and I am kinda sure they don't want me showing up in my pjs and robe.  Please for the survival of my family, restore the critical channels...thank you and bye.

Dear Lady in the Big Ole SUV,
Those giant white lines mean PEDESTRIAN CROSSING...Throwing up your arms and glaring at me doesn't make you right.  I was in the GIANT CROSSING first, get over it already!  My family would be mightily upset if you hurt me or we got into a brawl in the middle of the GIANT PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK!  Thank you, have a nice day...Watch Out for Pedestrians.

Dear Man in the Big Ole Truck,
I have a middle finger too...I try not to use it because it is rude.  I may be in a small car but I bet mine is faster than yours...
you can't bully me out of the way...I know I am not driving slow because I have a tendency towards speeding myself.  Oh yeah and merging traffic means move the heck over someone wants in to share the highway with you.  Sorry about your penis.

Dear I Am Always a Victim,
Get over yourself already and get a new story.  Everyone that has ever lived and will ever live will have  problems some of them downright tragic.   If you are creating your own personal drama...I don't do drama.  AND I have had my share of problems, tragedy and just plain life...I put a smile on and move FORWARD!

Dear You Only Call When You Need Something,
I am pretty sure if the only time you call is when you need something I am going to be an unwilling participant.  My phone number and address are in fact the same...you can call and say "How are you"  or "Is there anything I can do for you" or how about "I was thinking of you today"   I mention this just in case no one ever taught you the give and take of friendship, family etc., etc. Oh yeah, see above when you are ranting about no offers of help!  Thank you I cannot help you right now because I am watching paint dry.

Dear Job Applicant,
I am fairly certain you are unemployed because you are rude, arrogant and belligerent.  You are not entitled to a job just because you have a) tons of education  b) loads of experience  c) all the credentials that ever were.  Use your manners when talking to the person who will decide whether you even get your foot in the door.  You may wish to consider a bureaucratic job where such characteristics may be valued.  Don't call us we will call you (NOT).

Dear Cell Phone User,
REALLY???  Please for all that is holy, put your phone down when backing out of a parking space.  I really do not want to hear your very personal drama or business while I am shopping or dining.  I really do not want to hear it when I am using the toilet in a public office building etc.  that is just gross! 

Dear Salesman/especially AFLAC,
Please do not stop by on a cold call...I will not be available for five minutes (your 5 and my 5 are completely different)  Three different salespeople in the same week will not make me change my mind it will make me more determined to shut the door permanently!  Get your AFLAC ducks in a row.  Thank you, bye, I will call you if I need anything.  P.S.  Don't hold your breath.

Dear Survey takers/telemarketers
The Answer is still NO!  I appreciate that you are working however if I say I am not interested you will not talk me into changing my mind.  This also applies to all the people calling about the copy machine...don't lie to me...go bother someone else. 

Dear Facebook
I have a love/hate relationship with you.  Sometimes you are a big train wreck...I am repulsed but cannot look away.  Face book users the political ranting and raving is not likely to change any one's opinion or reflect their decision at the polls.  Vote wisely and keep it to yourself! 

Dear Judgmental Person,
You may be at church every time the doors open however I am fairly certain that the Lord would not appreciate your preachy, judgmental, petty attitude (oops, that was me being judgmental nay truthful?)  Your opinion is/was not asked for nor valued.   Every single person is on a different path...your path may not be their path...their progress on that path will not be the same as your progress on the same and/or different path.  Stop it already!  AND I can say crap if I want to... your attitude reminds me of the tattle tellers in grade school....I'M TELLING ON YOU...jeez, grow up already.  When and if you get to Heaven...you may be surprised...

Whew, I feel much better...Back to our regularly scheduled programming of turning sour lemons into sweet lemonade!