Positive thoughts

Looking at her profile, I thought, wow, this lady has it all together. World traveler. Expensive clothes. Fine cuisine. Exquisite photos. Professional.

And you know the reporter in me. I recognize that most people who live so grand have some kind of back story. I wondered if she always had life so good. Or is there more to her story? Someday, I hope to know.

It is great to put one’s best foot out there. And honestly, in today’s digital world, sometimes it seems there is no room for the proverbial “real.”

I look at my circle of friends. Overcomers. People who have been through a lot in their lives, having waded (or are still wading) through the tidal wave to peaceful shores.

Some of us are better at masking reality. Others, not so much.

And yet.

Doesn’t every person have the power and ability to have the life they want?

Well, I imagine the answer is both “yes,” and “no.”

Was thinking yesterday about the early days of my marriage to the father of my children. Living in off base housing, most of the young military couples struggled financially. The week before payday found us all bartering, a cup of sugar here. A half cup of coffee there. The leftover ham bone you were going to throw

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away, I can use to make soup.

My life is so far from that now. Like most people who help their families from time to time, I don’t have a lot of money to just throw at the winds. Part of that is I budget everything.

Anyway.

Through the years, from the life of being a stay at home mom and homeschooler, to life as a college student and career woman, to publishing a book and having thousands of articles published, positive thoughts have helped me focus on what can be done with my life.

Positive. I can and will, with God’s help. Dream. Inspire. Be inspired. Live in awe of the sunset. Breathe. Laugh. Dance. Sing.

Sitting.

Yesterday, I found myself in the heat of the day, just sitting in my garden. My wind chimes swayed softly from time to time with a little breeze here and there.

I studied the brick garden path and admired the plumeria blooms, and the black iron gate.

Happiness overtook my being. The sound of the chimes soothed my tired spirit.

Does money buy happiness? Some say it can. Having seen the lifestyle millionaires lead, and experienced the warmth of poverty fun (good old fashioned card games, digging in plants, reading a book, sewing a pillowcase,etc. while visiting with people who love to laugh, priceless!) I have to say happiness and positivity is up to us.

Money. No money. Travel. No travel. Fine food. Beanie weenies. Nice clothes. Thrift shop attire.

A smile is universal. A positive thought or prayer transcends everything.

Happy Monday, all. 🙂

P.S. Remember anything is possible.

There was that roar

To say the hair raised up on the back of my neck was an understatement.

A lovely day, hot as it were, throngs of people took to the paths of Circle B Preserve so they could connect with nature.

Trouble was, nature was busy connecting with itself.

Making gator babies is serious business in the south. The gators have it all down pat. The males roar to let everyone know their territorial intentions.

Eventually, the females comply.

And neither likes to be disturbed.

So there was that.

The bestie and I were out for the day to walk and enjoy the great outdoors. “Take some pictures,” she said.

Treacherously hot, it was. Muggy and buggy all at once.

I love the outdoors.

So off we went towards Alligator Alley. Been there a number of times. Always was fun. But now, serves my memory, it was cold and windy, and the gators were not feeling sociable then.

A growl like roar sent chills up my spine.

Then another growl.

And another growl from a different side. Suddenly it occurred to me that I was in the middle ..

My first thought was the growls sounded like angry dogs. Or mountain lions.

“I am outta here,” I told my friend.

She looked at me and did not move. And smiled.

“Feet, don’t fail me now,” I thought. Having a desire to run like hell, I also remember that if this was not a gator and maybe a cat sort of thing, they kind of enjoy chasing, and there is no way I would outrun a cat.

Swiftly, I walked, alone, back down the path to get to the bench where we were sitting before.

Out of breath, the people sitting there asked me if I needed to sit down.

“Where is the rest of your party?” they said, having passed us as we were on our way down to Alligator Alley.

“She,” I said, pointing behind me, “is back there. She is a country girl and a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office. She can handle herself and run three times as fast as me. She is not afraid of anything.”

I, on the other hand, know that I have never heard a growl quite like that, and though the footage would have been great, was not interested in meeting said owners of growls.

About 5 minutes later, she comes down the path with another group of people, who were telling her what they saw. Their teenage daughter was out of breath and running too.

Amusing.

Turns out they saw a few of those gators come up out of the water onto the path.

The alligators were singing, they said.

Right.

I say all of this because … it is ok to admit your fears. Baseless or not, they are real to you. I have seen a lot in nature, even heard a panther who was two houses down from me when I lived in West Virginia.

They own the land, you know 🙂

Happy Friday, all.

shallow focus photo of crocodile on body of water
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Reach

A simple word it is, a mantra seen on inspiration boards everywhere. Reach.

The idea of reach is whether or not the intended aim “gets there.” What is the end goal, after all?

Someone would say, well my goal is to be happy.

(Chuckles from the gallery.)

Someone else would say, good luck with that.

Indeed.

Reach is also the process of reaching. Redundant, if you think about it. I reach so I can reach.

Perhaps.

A different phrase is needed.

I am deliberately applying myself to reach my goals.

Clarification.

There. That is reach.

Well, all of the best intentions fall flat.

Like when I proposed a betta fish would be my buddy, then one day, Ralph kicked up.

!

I have a friend I called Betta Betsy because of her ability to keep said fishies alive.

She had this whole routine, because let’s face it, if you have a pet, you maintain.

Reach.

Intentions.

Last night, I said, tomorrow morning I will go to the gym.

Ha.

Well morning came, and I wanted to pray, blog, and goal set.

The gym will have to wait.

Reach.

It has been said that half the time, you never reach your goal because you give up too easy.

So there is that.

But I propose that in addition to setting priorities is that process of looking at all the stuff you must, could, should, might, may or may not, accomplish.

Reach.

The word is found beside other mantras like “dream big,” “reach for the stars,” “aim high,” and so forth.

So.

We have today. And this moment.

What will I do today to reach my goals? To make my dreams come true?

There is a page in my book that some call a bullet journal, freestyle day planner, to do list or whatever.

I wrote several goals down for the month of May.

And yes, I still need to get my car cleaned.

!

But you get the idea. Making lists helps me accomplish more than if I did not make lists.

Now. Will get moving. Much to do today.

The rooster next door was up early, amd I must say it is preferable to hear him than the morning traffic.

A train horn can be heard in the distance, and I imagine that 2 out of every 3 people driving by today have a cup of coffee in their console and their best intentions for the day in their head as they drive wherever.

Happy Friday, all.

reach for the and blue moon neon signages
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Meditation: Organic time for you

Our neighbor’s rooster is crowing this morning as I think to myself, he has way more energy than I do today.

All great things begin with the best of intentions.

For the last few years, I have made a significant effort to have a morning quiet time.

Time before the day begins, to read, contemplate, write, journal, pray, meditate.

Yawn.

Apologies, mine. Today is one of those days where I so wish I felt awake.

Two cups of coffee later, I am like, wow.

I still am so sleepy.

Anyway.

Flipping on the light of my little pink tree on a shelf in the corner of my room, I gather my quiet basket of meditation materials and sit.

Sip coffee. Pray, and yet, I find my prayer has less energy than yesterday.

Dear God. Yep. Some days that is all I can get out.

I thought about the ebb and flow of these early morning times, and how they seem to change with the tide of my life, how much is coming in, how much is going out, and the speed with which the foamy seas change the landscape of my life.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

My cat, Molly is strolling down the hall. Her meow interrupts the flow of my meditation ..

Some mornings, I pray out loud. Others, I am silent. There are days when I research whatever is on my mind at the moment, and days when I pour my soul into my journals. Some days, I just sit in the glow of the pink tree and ponder. Past, present, future.

There is no set formula for this time. And yet in its untethered flight, the mystery of contemplation is fulfilling.

Some folks are very regimented with their morning routine. I am as well. Except for this time.

And that is ok.

Was praying over some things this morning, then wrote much in my journal, and somehow all of it makes sense.

I have always felt like the more time and energy we give to other people and endeavors, the more time we need to refill the watering can we use to pour into the garden of the world around us.

Have a delightful day, all.

Just some thoughts for today.

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A wildflower you will be

Amazing.

In the middle of the sidewalk, a flower was growing. “It’s a weed,” someone said.

Very well. Looks like a flower to me.

A long drive. Flowers everywhere on both sides of the highway.

“They’re weeds,” I heard.

But the mass of blue was stunning.

Looks like a flower to me.

closeup photography of purple petaled flowers
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how we categorize flowers into weeds versus vase worthy subjects. 

“Basically, a weed is anything you do not want growing where you want your flowers to grow.”

Hmm.

Well they still look like flowers to me.

Growth is a hard subject, and many a book has been written on the matter.

How to grow, how to succeed, how to, how to. Be your best.

Don’t be a weed.

A wildflower is anything but a weed.

A flower that grows with reckless abandon and neglect, usually, it is acclimated to its surroundings.

It is a flower that will grow, as my father says, “ever regardless.”

Trauma.

Many times when I share my story, people cringe away from me as if it is about to leap on them.

Weird.

So I am sure other survivors have found this to be true as well as we all seek our paths to healing.

How do I grow?

Plant yourself. Absorb the amount of water you need from the soil. Lift up your face to the Son. Claim every bit of ground that is available for you to grow. And smile, knowing that though you view yourself a weed, you really are a flower who has learned to grow and even be a blessing to others just because you are you.

Chances are, if you are a survivor of sexual abuse or abuse of any kind, you do not really see yourself as a blessing.

But you are. I am. And it is time we see that beauty.

More on this another day.

In the meantime, I bet you will never see a wildflower the same again.

 

Why do I blog?

Happy Friday, all.

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Thoughts this morning as I read the paper and sip my coffee ..

The smell of coffee and newspaper ink carries me back .. to sitting at a coffee shop with my Dad while he read the paper when I was a little girl.

Coffee and news, they go together.

Likewise, when I went to live with my Grandma and Granddad Ferguson in Florida … every morning, without fail, coffee and news.

Granddad only had an eighth grade education. Yet he was smarter than many I have seen with multiple collegiate titles.

He loved to read. So did Grandma.

Every day, she would read the headlines out loud. And Granddad would comment.

And if my Dad were there, he and Granddad would get into this long debate about history and politics.

Both had superb memories. Both were fantastic debaters.

Dad’s famous words were “ever regardless,” and “anyhow.” Especially if he was about to segway into another point.

Granddad’s famous line, leaning forward, was “bullshit.” With eyebrows raised.

But only one time in a four hour debate. Both were too smart to continuously cuss ..

We read The Miami Herald and The News Tribune.

My favorite pages were the Lifestyle section and the editorial pages.

At age 13, I was writing letters to the editor.

Words.

I come from a family of communicators. Words matter, and so does their absence.

Grandmothers on both sides of the family worked in communications, and my Dad worked intel during the Vietnam War.

Reading.

Always an escape for me. A way to learn and be amazed and shocked all at once.

If you can learn, you can better yourself.

Anyhow, as Dad would say.

Once in a while I ask myself why I blog.

Who really cares, anyway?

I hear snippets of conversation people have about things they have read, and I am like wow, wonder what they think of my writing.

Over the years, I have received many warm thoughts as to my writing. Then there are those who are like, “what?”

Why do I blog, when I already read and write in my career?

One of our family’s fatal flaws is that we are all personable. Real. It is what it is. We share. There is nothing off the table of discussion. And we all share our past experiences and observations in an effort to get closer to others.

My personal thought on this is that the world we live in has glazed over, baked in a basting sauce of technology. I remember a time when you could walk down the street and people actually greeted one another.

Blogging.

Every writer has thoughts they want to express, perhaps some to their own peril, others to the advancement of their careers.

Yet most, I would say, simply write because they love to write. For me, I am not always able to express myself in the unscripted word. Conversations around me swirl, and oft, I wonder, how in the world do these people keep all these facts and figures, political history and history in general, dates and so forth .. in their heads?

I love to write because it gives me a chance to think. Reading and writing, empty pages to be filled, more books, magazines, articles to read .. this is my happy place.

And if perhaps, only one or two people read my blog, then I have made a connection or two with fellow humans, who, like me, are drinking their coffee and reading, getting ready for the new day.

The fear of not succeeding

Perhaps there is nothing deeper than the great abyss of the What If to occupy one’s sphere of dreams.

What if. What if I am not enough? What if people do not like me? What if I do not have what it takes? What if I am not strong enough, capable enough, knowledgeable enough, outstanding enough?

What if others are better at what I do, and I am seen as lacking? What if the dreams I have built come crashing down? What if the friends I thought I had betray me, or the family I thought I had suddenly evaporate into the thin air as if I no longer exist?

“You really need to get out of your own head,” it has been said.

“Ninety-eight percent of what you fear never happens.”

The What If stands at the door and begs a toll for passage into our inner being.

What If is not always a bad question.

There is another side to it, and that is how new things are discovered, how inventions are created, how highways are built, how advances are made in the world of history and science.

What if I can really do this? Better yet, what if I have a few people who believe in my dream? What if the naysayers are wrong, and it really can be done? What if I turn my failures into opportunities?

What if the sun really always shines above the clouds, what if the ratio of good to evil is better than you think, what if kindness is more frequent and nobody ever talks about it, what if I can be different than people said I would be.

Life prediction at age 16: In the words of someone whose name I will not mention, who died several years ago. “She will never amount to anything.”

The statement made me angry. It is why I work so hard and why I am always trying to be “better.”

I would love for that person to see I graduated from college, wrote a book, shared my deepest secret, continued to learn, encourage, live, laugh and love, in spite of the darkness in my childhood.

Here is the deal. I fight the great What If every day. I imagine there are others who do as well.

Amazing.

Do you have any idea how many immensely successful people I have interviewed over the years for news articles that asked me, “how did I do? Was my speech ok?” Etc.

The more people I meet, the more I realize the world is better than what we oft believe it to be.

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There is life. There is hope. You do not have to be a movie star to be successful, nor do you actually have to be the best.

Have a splendid day, all.

Tuesday is here.

The glitter on the cupcake

“I’m sorry,” I said.

Over the course of a conversation with a pastor and his wife one time, I must have said it several times, and it was not in reference to a sin, an offense, something I neglected to do. They engaged me in conversation because they wanted to know more about “me,” not the journalist, professional me, but the Kathy Leigh who is.

They were really good at asking probing questions without seeming nosy.

I still count them among my friends today.

Ten minutes later, I felt like I told them my life story.

So I apologized. Profusely.

“Someone must have really hurt you at some point in your story,” said the pastor. He and his wife were so kind.

“You don’t need to say you are sorry. We asked you to tell us more about you, and we asked more questions. You did not do anything wrong. There is no need to say you are sorry.” The pastor told me he felt God had a unique journey for me.

A list.

I was at a training held at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office community room for Darkness to Light Stewards of Children to learn how to help prevent child sex abuse. Scheduled to speak on my book, The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing, I was invited to stay for the entire workshop, so I did.

A psychologist who works with survivors of sexual assault and child sex abuse produced a list of things commonly found among survivors.

Saying I’m sorry was on the list.

Blaming yourself for something that was not your fault.

Hypersensitivity of your surroundings. (This has actually been more of a gift than a curse for me, has kept me safe many times.)

cake no person chocolate sugar
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

PTSD.

Anxiety.

Depression.

Self harm.

Substance abuse.

Fear.

Always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Nightmares.

Flashbacks.

Triggers.

OCD. (Obsessive compulsive disorder.)

May have achieved a stack of awards and it is never enough.

And more.

I was furious.

I had no idea that many things I have been dealing with my whole life were a direct result of the abuse.

Glitter.

I love it. Gets everywhere, shines a lot. Makes you go, hmm. That is glitter.

People say they hate glitter. Messy, they say!

Well, yes, and you sure do not want to get it under your contact lense!

I guess science has learned how to produce edible glitter. You can throw it on a cupcake or whatever, to be festive.

I am at the point in my journey of healing where I am realizing that it is a blessing to recognize what generated my self hatred, self blame, and PTSD.

Write this down. “I will make no apologies for things that are not my fault, and I will instead seize these opportunities to grow. And sparkle.”

Meanwhile.

Slept in this morning, and it was marvelous. Time to read, pray, study, blog. And have some coffee.

Happy Friday, all.

The rooster is crowing louder than the traffic today.

One word

The word of the year for me is delight.

What does that word mean to me?

When I think of delight, I think of joy and happiness, twirled together with hope and belief that there are things to be happy about.

Short blog today, as I slept in a bit.

Slowly, am putting together what that word means for me, delight.

I think of the Peanuts character, Snoopy, and his happy dance when something went well. Actually, most of the time he was happy 🙂

Anyway. I think delight begins with a choice. Once our thoughts are trained to look on the Brighter Side of things, it helps us to really believe that there are things to be happy about, things that bring joy, and that life is not always as dark as we may think it is.

More on that another day.

Meanwhile. Know you are not alone on this journey.

We get by with the help of our friends.

Happy Thursday all 🙂

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The un-blog

Yesterday, I had the chance to read a blog published by younique.org, which spoke to survivors of sexual abuse, supporters of survivors, and those who wish to join the cause.

Have to say that prior to 2013, I had no idea the depth of resources that are out there .. right now .. for survivors who do not really want to join a small group, whether because of time or privacy needed in healing.

The blog was so beautifully done, and immediately, I thought of mine, and was like wow.

Mine is the un-blog.

What I mean is that writing is very familiar territory.

However, writing about something so close to my heart and my own healing journey .. is a work in progress.

But that is not a bad thing, is it?

“Stop comparing yourself.”

My inner child is stern with me. With long blonde hair secured in braids, she shakes her head and wrinkles her freckled nose.

“When will you just do you?” she asks.

“Well, you don’t have to be so miffed about it,” I said. “After all, we all get ideas about how to do things better.”

Truth is, I silence my Inner Child a lot.

She has a basket full of great ideas, probably the best of which is to stop comparing myself.

Coffee and fries.

Cardiologists will likely shake their heads, but it is a good combination for a day when something like that is needed.

Conversation.

Had a conversation with someone, and we found that we speak frequently on this matter of comparing one’s self to another.

Self, this is not allowed.

Self is always looking to do and be better and better, the bestest of the best, superb, outstanding.

“Yet I fail,” Self says.

Inner Child again furrows her eyebrows.

“Stop. Just stop.”

Self has a way of making life a living hell for the Inner Child.

Inner Child holds up a poster she has painted. Fields of flowers, dancing fireflies, sunshine, and hearts.

Hello Kitty.

A copy desk editor I knew years ago was fond of Hello Kitty. “Well, that’s real mature,” some said.

This girl was fully woman and loved child like things. Who cares?

She was one of the best copy editors I knew.

If anyone had taken the time to get to know her, they might have understood why she decided to surround herself with fun stuff.

Comparison is for apples and bananas you put in your lunch box. Will I have one or the other, or both?

Who do you think you are?

Normally a statement spewed in a disagreement, the actual premise is an interesting study.

Who .. do you .. think .. you .. are?

I write about this because I, of all people, struggle with comparing myself and wondering if I measure up.

My close friend circle is small because I have been told I am eccentric. (What image does that conjure up??? I love the word “creative,” thank you.)

Today, I will choose to un-blog this particular post, and instead, choose to appreciate my Self.

Inner Child agrees.

Who am I? What makes me happy?

A simple person. I love to laugh, enjoy the outdoors, adore God and yet wonder what on earth He sees in me. I love to create art .. whether paint, paste, scrapbook, sewing, crocheting, writing, music. I am a loyal friend. I do not like being a burden. I love conversation, but also enjoy some silence every day. I know no strangers, and yet am very comfortable in my own company.

I worry about people I love. Always fear the worst. Wish I could give them the world. Wish I could make things better.

Pet peeves, seeing people hurt one another with reckless words and actions. Wondering why there are so many people in this life that actually live alone, and never get a call from their families. And more.

Anyway.

The un-blog for today 🙂

I hear both our neighbor’s rooster crowing

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

and the morning traffic building up outside. Baby birds are chirping, and our cats are asleep, for the moment.

Happy Wednesday, all.

Be kind to yourself today.