Another “Wild” Friday Night

<a href="https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/g/6/7/Z/T/E/orange-dog-dancing-hi.png"><img src='https://i0.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/g/6/7/Z/T/E/orange-dog-dancing-hi.png' alt='Orange Dog Dancing clip art'/></a>

Dancing dog. Image courtesy of clker.com

I set a work goal for myself this week that was higher than I’d set in a while because I knew I needed to start pushing myself to my full potential again.  As probably anyone who works from home and sets their own hours knows, it can be tricky sticking to a quota of work and a schedule. But when I really apply myself, I get everything done that I need to. There were a couple of days this week that were a bit challenging, but I persevered and accomplished my goal by quitting time Friday evening.

Working from home has certainly had its share of ups and downs, but it’s definitely in an upswing now and I’ve been happier working from home than I ever was working in an outside office. There’s incredible flexibility in working from home, but also a lot more unpredictability in terms of work flow and pay. I imagine it’s not for everyone, but it works for me and I love transcribing for Rev.com on a daily basis.

With my goal accomplished for the week, I felt it was time to celebrate with my usual “wild” Friday night of beading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. I’ve never really been a social butterfly or had very many friends because I value quality over quantity. So truly wild Friday nights partying with friends out somewhere has only happened due to bachelorette parties or birthday parties. Now that all of the people I consider close friends live in other states, going out on the town really isn’t even possible. Not that I really think I’d be up for it anyway.

I’m a homebody, I think I always have been. And well, now that I’ve owned my own home and been living in it as a single woman for seven years now, my body loves my home even more. When it’s just me on a Friday night (which it almost always is because it’s not a night I usually have my girls) I prefer to do what makes me happy and truly revel in that happiness and freedom. I still remember what it was like during relationships where I felt trapped and controlled, where someone was telling me what to do and how to do it. Those feelings of being trapped, unhappy, and in emotional pain are something I will never forget. Nonetheless, I won’t let my past control me or ruin my current happiness and so I just keep moving forward.

One of the things I do when I’m really happy, exuberant, and in a very up mood celebrating my accomplishments and freedom, is dance along to upbeat music. I might dance in my chair at my desk while I’m writing or playing World of Warcraft, or I might just jump right up and dance in my living room. My three cats might give me strange looks for a moment, but they’re used to their “crazy” mommy and so they go back about their business. My pup Jazzmin though is another story.

I taught Jazzmin the “trick” of dancing with me when I’m dancing around and she’s always good for a couple spins on the dance floor. I just say, “Want to dance?” and she wags her tail and offers her paw. I then take both of her front paws in my hands, lift her up onto just her hind feet, and we do a little jive around the dance floor, otherwise known as the kitchen or living room. She’s always really happy to be dancing with her mama and I give her a treat afterwards. She’ll then return to whatever she was doing and I can go back to being happy, weird, dancing me.

My favorite place to find my kind of music nowadays is a place called EpidemicSound.com. According to their website, they provide: “Unlimited music for your YouTube channel. Monetise with no risk of copyright strikes.” I pay a monthly subscription fee to listen to and download as many tracks as I want and their selection of original music is amazing! I’ve yet to use any of their music for a YouTube video, but I hope to eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been downloading songs into playlists of new music on a biweekly or monthly basis, depending on when I feel the need for fresh tracks.

Last night I checked their “Latest Tracks” tab and the very first song I clicked on boosted my already happy mood through the roof. It was a song called “We Should Start Right Now” by Loving Caliber featuring Emmi and it had the exact beat, tempo, lyrics, musicality, you name it that I love in a song. Plus, once I’d listened to it a few times, I found the lyrics very inspirational. Here’s a sample:

“Every change has a reason
Baby, let it come to you.
Every soul, every season,
Lives outside a status quo.

If you start believing
We’re meant to be
Expanding our abilities.
If the passion’s gone
We are doing it wrong.

Baby, you and I
Baby, you and I
Should start living now.”

I lost track of how many times I listened to that song because it just lifted me up so much higher than I already was. I had my house windows open and I was blasting it through my computer speakers for all the neighbors to hear. I wanted to shout to everyone I knew that life is too short to waste being unhappy. That we all need to start living now and not keep waiting for things to get better tomorrow. I’ve learned the hard way that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and that regret is a horrible thing to live with.

Never give up on your dreams, never resign yourself to a situation you’re miserable in just because you’re trying to keep everyone else happy. I lived like that for many years and I forgot who I really was and it’s taken me years to find who I am again. Embrace your light, your power, and your strength. Seize today and every today given to you and pursue your dreams, even if only in small steps. Small steps are better than no steps and well, dance steps are even better.

 

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October Already?!

October sky

Evening sky during our walk yesterday.

My oldest daughter went through the house last night flipping all the calendars to October because I hadn’t yet. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that October is here already. September went by very fast and while it started out fall-like, there was a lot of summer heat in the middle and end of the month that made everything seasonally confusing. The poor trees that had started to change colors during the first bout of cool weather didn’t know what to do once summer heat returned. A lot of them just seemed to give up and start dropping leaves without much color change and I fear it won’t be a very colorful autumn this year. Nonetheless, leaves are still changing and falling and autumn is tied for spring with my favorite season.

As I wrote in last year’s blog post at the start of October, I’m finally able to welcome October again. Losing my father in October of 2009 made it difficult for me to truly embrace what had until that point been my favorite month and season. On the 21st of this month it will have been eight years since his passing and that doesn’t even seem possible to me. While I still miss him every single day and there will always be a void inside me without him here, I’ve healed enough to understand that his spirit wants me to be happy. I’m sure there will be the usual random bouts of crying and sadness throughout the month, but I know it won’t be as overwhelming as it’s been in the past. Life is about moving forward and not allowing yourself to be stuck in a moment that can’t be changed.

I don’t know what this October will bring, but I’m looking forward to it. I never really know what each day will bring. I have a plan for the day and most of the time it follows a predictable routine. But honestly, every single day is full of amazing new experiences and gifts and I make sure I take the time to notice them and feel grateful for them. I’m sure October will be full of new adventures and of course my favorite holiday of Halloween. Maybe I’ll make it to a Halloween party of some type this year, one never knows! Whatever comes this October and beyond, I know that I’ll get through it just like I always do, with strength, determination, optimism, and hope.

So far, so good!

icy pond

Nearby farmer’s pond starting to freeze at the edges

It’s the second day of my December quest to write, walk, and wing it every day and so far, so good! I walked Jazzmin this morning when it was sunny thinking the sun would combat the cold temperatures and frigid wind. It did to a certain point, but it was the kind of biting cold that made my hands so frozen they hurt halfway through the walk. Even so, Jazzmin and I persevered and even though it was a relatively short walk, it was still a walk!

Completing this blog post will continue my blog streak into another day and keep the momentum going! I’m finally feeling the right kind of inspiration to write in Unbroken Flames, but alas, I haven’t found the time yet. I have a new client on my freelance writing site and they’re giving me steady work. Steady work is always a good thing for a self-employed writer so I’m not going to complain, but my fantasy writing will have to wait for a bit.

As far as winging it, I’m letting my imagination fly on free wings in positive directions. I’m often afraid to think certain thoughts in the fear that if I get my hopes up, I’ll end up crashing painfully to reality. It has happened more than once in my past, but if I keep expecting it to happen again, I may very well doom myself to a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I’m allowing my positive thoughts to go wherever they want and I’m not censoring my dreams to protect myself from disappointment. I always manage to pick myself up when I stumble and staying “safe” from certain feelings isn’t truly living a full life. No one knows what tomorrow brings so it’s best to live today and let the future happen as it happens.

 

Winter writing, walking, and winging it!

winter field

December has arrived with cloudy skies and temperatures dropping into the teens by tonight. One would expect such frigid temperatures this time of year in Upstate NY, but considering that yesterday it was 50 degrees with occasional sun, I’m thinking it wise to expect the unexpected this month.

Along that thought, I’ve already decided something unexpected this month and that is to post a new blog entry every day in December. I was slacking a bit in November with the holidays and having to write my college research paper, but now that the paper is done and I know exactly what I’m getting for gifts for my girls, I can focus on writing for pleasure again! I don’t want my pursuit of a writing career and writing-based college degree to kill my love of writing so it’s best that I continue to express myself with the usual rambling Julie here.

Writing rambling or writing serious work are both easier when it’s cold outside. What isn’t easy when it’s cold outside is working up the motivation to walk Jazzmin. Nonetheless, she and I both benefit from our walks so I vow to walk every day in December! If there are days when it’s -20 with a wind chill we might not make it out, but I’ll do my best to make up for it with more than one walk a day if necessary! Jazzmin could walk forever so I’m certainly not worried about tiring her out and considering how much I love Chex Mix and sweets during this time of year, I could use the beneficial tiring out. 😉

Another thing that tires me out is overthinking. I don’t know if overthinking is just part of being a writer or if it’s just an unrelated malady I have, but it’s an exhausting quirk. I’m constantly thinking of the “what ifs” and “shoulda coulda wouldas” of life and all it does is make me overly anxious and waste my energy. Therefore, for my third W of winter (or at least for December) I’ve decided to wing it. As in go where the wind blows me and not worry so dang much about things I can’t control.

I know two very potent remedies for my overthinking and they’re beading and writing in fantasy books. When I use my overly active mind in my handmade creations, I’m amazed with my own capabilities. Focusing my highly excitable imagination into my writing has helped me come up with plots lines and character developments that astound me. I believe that if I just let go of my worries and allow hope, inspiration, and faith flow freely, I’ll finally be able to break through my writer’s block and create stories the world will love to read. 🙂

A day of surprises

The first surprise today was the amazingly nice weather for November. Yes, the weather forecast had said it was going to be almost 60 and sunny, but anyone who lives here knows not to believe such an optimistic prediction until they actually experience it. Thankfully, the crystal ball-reading forecasters were right today and the sun shined warm and bright.

I shined almost as bright and warm as the sun today when I checked the SNHU connect app and discovered that I’d won the Most-Liked/Commented Halloween Costume contest for my picture as a Swashbuckler Sith. I was shocked! I’ve never won a costume contest (not that I’ve been in many) and I don’t win many things in general so I was ecstatic. The physical prize is some SNHU swag which is very nice, but the real prize is much deeper than that. For a girl who was either not seen in high school or viewed as weird, a witch, or worse, feeling a small taste of popularity was a surprising self-confidence boon!

The announcement of the winner. :)

The announcement of the winner. 🙂

The winning Halloween selfie. Swashbuckler Sith.

The winning Halloween selfie. Swashbuckler Sith 😉

In all honestly, I’m a Jedi Master and not a Sith, but I dressed up as a Sith just to see what it felt like. Apparently, I wear it well, but that I’m still a believer in the positive, perky, and sunny side of the Force.

To partake in the sunny side of the Force, my girls and I headed down to the school playground for some fresh air fun. The playground is rather nice, well-built, and very familiar to all of us as I’ve been taking my girls there since they were little. Jaycie usually spends the entire time on the swings because she loves swinging but eventually Jordan and I were able to convince her to join us exploring the “towers” of the playground. The surprising thing was that once we got Jaycie off the swing, she didn’t want to get back on and she was more than happy to chase around with her older sister. I know how truly blessed I am that my two daughters play so well together, especially since there’s a 4 year age difference between them. It felt wonderful playing around with my girls and pretending I was a kid again!

Sign at the playground. Yes they do!

Sign at the playground. Yes they do!

Jaycie swinging as usual.

Jaycie swinging as usual.

Yay! She's off the swing!

Yay! She’s off the swing!

My girls on the playground bridge.

My girls on the playground bridge.

Jaycie conquering the bridge!

Jaycie conquering the bridge!

Awww! They're playing together. =)

Awww! They’re playing together. =)

I am queen of the sunken half-tire thingies!

I am queen of the sunken half-tire thingies!

Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be even better than today’s and I’ll happily take it considering how awful November was last year. Every nice day is one less icky, winter day and no matter the weather, each dawn brings the potential for miracles, gifts, and surprises.

You Can Call Me Al

I listen to Pandora and lately it’s been adding new songs into my mix that aren’t new to me at all. Songs from my younger years like “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. Even though I’ve heard the song countless times, somehow hearing it now fills me with renewed happiness and fond memories. I remember watching the video for the song and loving how Chevy Chase lip-synced the words while Paul Simon went along with it. That song is just one of many that make me want to dance and I’ve been doing a lot of spontaneous dancing today because I’m HAPPY! 

I have numerous things to be happy about every single day such as my beautiful daughters, my good health, my adorable pup, my career as a freelance writer, the fact that I own a house solo, and so much more! Today I’m especially happy because last night I was finally able to turn off all the “noise” clogging up my energy and listen to what my heart and spirit were telling me. I had one of those amazing moments yesterday evening where something inside me just “shifted” and suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do regarding a certain situation. Once I did what felt right, everything fell back into place and the shadows on my future path cleared revealing a totally new direction.

I know how easy it is to succumb to shadows and fall into negative thinking, especially because losing my father dropped me down into a deeper ravine than I knew existed. Dwelling in those “safe” shadows would have taken absolutely no effort, but fighting my way out of them took every ounce of strength within me. Once I found the light again, I never wanted to lose it!

I’ve always tried to be a very positive person but the death of my father really put that positivity to the test. As much as being without my father hurts my heart, I know that he wants me to continue on my positive journey and to shine my light to benefit the world around me. My father always greeted me with “Hey, beautiful!” and he saw the beauty inside me that no other man I’ve loved has bothered to discover or appreciate yet. My dad has the right one lined up for me I know he does, but the right one hasn’t found me yet.

As the years since my father’s death and my divorce have passed, I’ve realized that everything happens for a reason. I never expected to be still single three years after my divorce, but I am and I’m okay with that. Being single this long has allowed me to discover who I truly am without a man by my side. I know that if I’d gone into another relationship right after being divorced, it would have turned out just as poorly as all my previous relationships. I can’t define who I am by whom I’m with and I don’t think anyone should. 

So today my spirit felt lighter than it has for a while and I wondered why I ever allowed the shadows back in. Somehow, I’d forgotten how much fun it was to dance around in my kitchen, in my chair, and with the dog in the middle of the living room. Yes, Jazzmin thinks I’m nuts when I’m dancing, but she senses my happy energy and wants to join in somehow. Dancing might not be her idea of fun, but she loves her mama and goes along for the ride. I know she won’t mind if I call her Betty and I’m just fine with her calling me Al. 😉

Know Your Own Value (re-post)

Time is valuable, don't waste it!

Time is valuable, don’t waste it!

While I do have ideas for a totally new blog entry tonight, I’m too tired to write it just now so I’m calling upon my past self once again for an older blog entry. I vaguely remember writing the one I’m posting tonight and when I re-read it, I realized I should probably commit it to memory. I admit that I don’t always take my own advice, even when I know it’s good and has been proven right. Ridiculous I know, but it’s the truth.

I experienced great success in my writing career today and while that makes me extremely happy, it’s being almost overshadowed with issues in my personal life. I know things can’t always be perfect but I have experienced times when everything is in a nice, positive sync and it feels like smooth sailing. Despite the rough weather I’m currently enduring in a particular friendship, I know that I’ve survived worse and have come out stronger. The same will be true this time too but at the moment, I’m feeling a little seasick 😉

As I take some advice from my past self I hope it helps other people too. I assure you that I do really believe what I wrote…when my heart isn’t fogging up the clarity of my brain.

***

Know Your Own Value (2/21/2013)

Your time is valuable, never forget that. Those aren’t just words to use as an excuse when you don’t want to do something, those are words that should actually mean something. Time is far too fleeting and precious to waste on frivolous endeavors that do not further you on your path. Know and accept that your time is valuable because YOU are valuable. No matter what anyone else in this world might say or think, you are an important commodity and should never be taken for granted. 

If life has repeatedly shown you that something you say or do makes a difference and is appreciated, open your eyes and see that. Do not dismiss praise and recognition as a one-time thing or feel that if you accept your own importance, you’re not being humble any longer. As long as you work hard and earn that positive recognition then it is truly yours and it is not conceited to acknowledge that.  When that pat on the back happens once, smile and enjoy it, and when it happens consistently accept that what you do comes from who you are as a person.  

Take pride in your work and follow your bliss. Everyone has their own perspective so your efforts will not always be seen as beneficial or praise-worthy. Don’t believe that the opinions of the few are the feelings of the majority though. Stop being your own worst critic and start seeing yourself in the positive light others see around you. The sooner you understand that both you and your time are valuable, the sooner you will be on your way to much better things!