Overcoming Chaos

To say this weekend has been rough is an understatement.

My instinct is to keep things private. To discuss things is to let that wall down. To let people in is to show weakness. It goes against everything that has been bred into me since childhood. Yet sharing can be cathartic, and helps us grow.   There has been a big change in my thinking, that I just noticed over the last few days. This weekend was challenging, but I overcame it.

Photo by Hristo Fidanov

When we went to bed on Thursday, I noticed Maddie, our 10 month old Australian Shepard, was acting strange. She tried to get up and couldn’t. Her body was raked with tremors that quickly developed into full  blown seizures. It was a nightmare with my eyes open. Nothing is worse than not being able to go fast enough as your puppy  shakes uncontrollably in your husbands arms.

We were able to get her to the vet, and thankfully, she is Ok,  The Vet thinks she got into something and it had to work itself through her system.  We got incredibly lucky, and are happy to have her home. Yet it was terrifying. You know it is part of the deal, but it doesn’t make it easier emotionally.

We stayed until they had fully checked her out. We didn’t get home until 3 am Friday morning. Maddie had been given Valium and was sleeping . We had to monitor as she came down, to ensure the seizures had stopped. I was up until 5 am and missed work on Friday because of it.

The rest of the weekend was bumpy as well. My paycheck was two days late, which was a major issue.  We were not able to go out for our special dinner on Friday. I didn’t end up getting bills paid until Saturday. I also managed to get a nasty cold.  Sick and tired, it has been difficult to rest and catch up on that sleep.  The bad things just seemed to keep coming.  It has been a challenging couple of days .

But, it is important to keep moving. And I believe that my focus on positive thinking has been paying off in big ways. In the past, a weekend like this would have brought me right down. I would have stuck in a bad mood, and unable to do anything. This weekend I was able to ride out the challenges, and do it with a positive attitude. I was also able to stay productive. I  finished an entire book, and wrote.  The chores were done, and the bills paid. It was challenging, but I was able to get things despite the challenges.

It was a good weekend, despite the issues. I am learning to rise above the daily challenges, and remain positive.  There is a certain amount of pride that. life hasn’t been easy, but with the right attitude, I can overcome it. This revelation shows me what I am capable of accomplishing. It give me confidence to push into the future.

Till next time’

Colleen

Wildflowers

Tomorrow is Valentines Day, the one day many people take to celebrate love. For me the holiday has almost became too much. I have a major issue with the way holidays are peddled in the United States.  We are bombard by displays in stores, and TV advertisements for jewelry.  The day has become an excuse to sell stuff. yet at the heart of it, I think there is still some good. There are plenty of people who still use small meaningful gestures to express the holiday. It got me thinking about our new lifestyle. What does minimalist Valentines Day look like?

Thus year is our first Valentines day as a married couple. The day is a big milestone for us. It gives us a chance to look back on the wedding, and our relationship. We have come so far, and there are many exciting days ahead for us.  I’m so thankful that I have someone to share all of my adventures with. We plan on taking it pretty easy tomorrow. We may go out for food, and we will spend some time enjoying each others company. Last weekend we went to Wilson Farm in Lexington, Massachusetts. My husband, Ed got me a beautiful bunch of flowers.

It was the perfect gift.  Flowers are a meaningful symbol in my life. I love the way the Lupines, come out and welcome warm days in the mountains. They are followed by the Black-eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace. In 2017 we said goodbye to our Boxer Birdie in a field of Flowers in Sugar Hill.  The year after my Mother passed away, her Lilac Bush that never bloomed burst out with dozens of colorful, fragrant flowers.  At our wedding our first dance song was a cover of Wildflowers, by the Wailin Jennys and My bouquets had wildflowers.  Flowers remind me of good times, and important  time, both good and bad.  We have had a cold dreary winter, and the flowers remind me of warmer weather. They are the perfect addition to the house.

 I know so many people, who would expect so much more. A simple bouquet would be an insult.  much. Often people get wrapped in these holidays. They feel obligated to show how much they care through things. We have been taught that the size of the price tag should match up with how much we care. For me, its more than that. The spirit of the gift is what means the most. Minimalism is perfect for me, because gestures mean more than things. My husband does not need to buy chocolates or gifts to prove his love, he has done that through his actions. All I wanted was a small reminder of the love that we share, and he gave me that.  The simple gesture of love, will carry me through the rest of the cold February days.  For me that is the perfect minimalist Valentines Day.

Excuse me, while I go enjoy my flowers, and think of Spring.

 

Till next time!

Colleen

 

Cover Photo by Barnes Photography!

 

Waves at Wallis

Today was a rough Monday. I felt tired, and stretched out, and couldn’t really settle. My mood was volatile, and I did only did the least expected of me. My daily life has been boring as of late. Right now, what is getting me through is the thoughts of tomorrow. The trips we are planning for this Summer is helping me through Winter. After work, I decided to look through pictures, to cheer myself up.

A few weeks back , we went out to the ocean on Sunday. We went up to the Hampton Beach. We got caught up doing family stuff, and didn’t get to the beach before sunset. My plan was to be there earlier, and the delay frustrated me. Honestly I was angry that that we didn’t get to the beach earlier. The plan to go to several beaches changed to a quick stop at Wallis sands. My opportunity seemed to have been lost. I rushed out, and began taking pictures.

Despite the challenges, it was a good trip. My pictures came out great, and It brought me peace. I got to thinking about everything on the way home. I tend to get wrapped up in things. My emotions tend to run wild, and cause problems. I get all bent out of shape when things don’t go the way they were planned. But that is life, and I have to learn to breath.

I have to let go and enjoy the twists in the road. That is when the best adventures happen.

Trauma Laundry

As the last of the laundry was folded, I sighed in relief. It feels incredibly good to get things done. It may seem small, but for me it is important to get laundry done. It is something that I am just learning to do. Usually laundry goes like this…… I wait till there is way too much. I put it in, forget about it. Or it is left in the basket unfolded for the entire week. I struggle with it, because I was never taught how to do laundry.

Not taught how to do laundry? For anyone that seems pretty silly. Many of you will find that strange for a 28 year old to say. I was never taught to do laundry properly. The reason was was because of the issues in my childhood home. My Moms alcoholism shaped my entire life.

The reasons for this were two fold. My mom was lost at the bottom of a bottle, and struggled to take care of us. When she was sober, she would do everything for us. I believe it was her way of making up for the bad days. My dad was busy working, trying to support the four of us. There was never a chance for me to learn these important skills. For me, there was a lot of catching up to do.

That is the unseen side of trauma. The focus tends to be on the emotional toll of growing up in a dysfunctional household. Yet there is also an impact on life skills. This tend to be unseen. It is hard to talk about, and a certain amount of humiliation that it brings. As a 23 year old, I couldn’t cook, couldn’t really do laundry, and had no idea how to clean dishes. I had spent so much time just trying to survive I had never really learned to live.

Slowly I had to learn how to do these things. The process has been tedious, but progress has been made. My dishes are much cleaner these days. I can make a mean Shepard’s pie. I have to be methodical with the chores, until habits are formed. Yet slowly, I am gaining ground. As little as it is, it makes me proud. That is why to have, folded laundry is a big milestone. Its means that I am learning how to live.

2018 Goals: Update

Its New Years Eve, and Its hard to believe that another year has flown by. Last January I wrote a small post outlining my goals for 2018. I wanted to circle back on those goals I set. I believe in transparency, so here is an update on my 2018 goals.

Write One Page everyday

I did really well with this. Except for the week of the wedding, I did this for the whole year. This helped improve my writing skills. I plan on bringing this goal into 2019.

Practice Mindfulness

This one went surprisingly well. For the wedding, I wanted to avoid being a Bridezilla. Through it the wedding, I was able to stay calm and keep things in perspective. It showed me that I do have the ability to stay calm under pressure. I have been able to take a deep breath and deal with things as they come along.

Do better managing money

Yeah… lets not even talk about this one.

Plan and execute a garden

I did my best with this one. We had a year with crazy fluctuating temperatures and rain. I planted about 200 annuals, none of which did well. But my tulips came up, so it wasn’t all bad.

Healthy lifestyle

This was a challenge, but Progress was made. I changed jobs in July, and left my desk job for a teachers role. I have been more active.

Commit to updating the blog

I struggled with this. I spent a bunch of time planning my wedding. The wedding was perfect, but my blog suffered due to it. The funny thing is when I didn’t write, my mood suffered. Writing helps improve my mood, and it needs to be prioritized. In 2019 I am planning on spending more time committed to it.

Live life by my own rules

I am slowly learning to do this. I have spent most of my life living by other peoples rules. It has led to me feeling unmoored and miserable. In 2018, I began to live a life true to my values.

I started to do this by putting my needs first. I made choices with my own happiness in mind, even if others didn’t agree. I am happier and plan on continuing this into the new year.

More exploring

Adventures were limited this year due to the wedding. We were able to get some small trips in. In August we spent some a day on Block Island, which was fun. We also spent on Honeymoon on Deer Island in Maine. The trips were brief, but I made vivid memories on both. I wish that we had done more, but I’m thankful for the adventures that we had.

This year was a mixed bag. I had some incredible moments, and some painful failures. I am thankful that I set these goals. They give me a change to strive for more, and better my existence. At the end of the

they give me an opportunity to reflect on the year. I am thankful for the lessons I learned, and the people I spent it with. I look forward excited for what the new year will bring.

What were your 2018 goals? Did you achieve them? I hope that you are able to find some successes, even if the year was challenging. I also hope that you have a safe and happy 2019.

Till next time.

Colleen

Life Lessons

Rejection, we all face it as authors. All the great authors have been there. As a writer there is a fundamental awareness that you will have to take some punches to join the greats. The predominate wisdom is to take this rejection with grace, but is this always the best road? I don’t think so. In 2016 I had interesting experiences with rejection. It was challenging, but I learned important lessons.

A few months back I had a piece that was rejected unexpectedly. The communication wasn’t clear, and the deal that fell through really late. It wasn’t the rejection that hurt, it was the manner in which it handled. They had approached me about writing the piece, and had always given the impression that it was going to be published. They had said the piece was good, and we were going to do some more editing. Our correspondence had been laid back and friendly, even personal at times. Without warning, it changed, The friendly emails ceased and was replaced by formal cold ones. I was upset that the tone of everything had abruptly changed, and I hadn’t really been given a reason why.

Disappointed, I did my best to make the best of the situation. For some time I continued to follow them on social media, and the blog. But to tell you the truth, it was difficult. Every post reminded me of the opportunity I had missed out on. The jumbled mess of anger and resentment and confusion would always emerge. The predominate advice on rejection tells you to take it quietly. Don’t burn bridges, and do all you can to keep that channel open. Rejection is part of this business, but it should be handled in a fair way. I believe in respect, but I also believe that should be reciprocated. There are some times when it is better to walk away.

Slowly I began to distance myself from them, unfollowing blogs and twitter accounts. Distancing myself from them helped me move forward. I was able to focus on new opportunities, not the one I had lost. Now I am focused on my photography and my novel, and am so much happier. Network, but don’t be afraid to sever connections. Some people are here to enhance our time here, others serve as lesson. At this point all I can do is take my lessons and move on.

Post November

Here were are again, at the end of another year. As I get older I feel as if the years go by quicker. That may just be the schedule though. I work full time, and in my free time I am writing or taking pictures. I am happiest when I am creating. For many people this was a terrible year, with so many depressing worls events. While I know why people are struggling, I have been ok. Yet I also feel like that it is all about perspective, 2015 was a terrible year. I lost my Mother, and most of the year was spent grieving. After dealing with something of that levity, most things are easier.

In November I participated in National Novel Writing Month. The piece I was working on was Diramids Choice. It is one piece in a larger work of fiction I have been stuck on for years. The piece was originally for a smaller magazine, but that deal feel through. My hiatus this year has been mainly due to that, I will touch on that later in the blog.

Overall, 2016 was a building year. In 2015 my focus the year before I had been plastering as much content onto the wall as possible. While fun, it wasn’t helping to pushing my platform forward. Then I came to the question, what is my platform?

I had been so busy creating stuff, I hadn’t taken the time to create a platform. I knew what I liked but I hadn’t locked down a concrete idea on things. I had no clear path forward, and I needed to take a break to figure that out. I spent most of 2016 trying to set that foundation up. I have two major fields that I want to work in. I love Americana, and integratingBear Brrok Fall my writing with photography. I also enjoy writing longer stories. I struggled with which medium I should choose. Then right before November, I came to a realization, I could do both.

So onward we go.