Gratitude

First of all, I have to give credit where it is due. The good Lord has blessed my life so richly and I am eternally grateful for the family and friends–both human and humane–who have stood by me through thick and thin. Though there are times when I am tempted to give in to despair, I know He will always bring me through whatever crisis that arises. Sometimes I may not always think so because His plan isn’t exactly according to my plans but, no matter what, He always gives me what I need. Lately, those blessings have been pouring in as each lesson is learned. There’s an old saying that when the pupil is ready, the teacher will arrive. I’m probably paraphrasing that one a bit but the intent is there. He has been bringing me teacher after teacher–and I’m not talking college professors either, despite my recent submersion into acadamia, though I am grateful for each of them and what they’ve taught me each term. It is lessons for living that I am talking about, lessons for getting out of this “stuck” place that I’ve been inhabiting for the last several years and, as my favorite REO Speedwagon song says, “Blazin’ My (your) Own Trail” again.

As I begin my third straight week of blogging, I have received so many words of encouragement and support that I am actually feeling a bit humbled. And thrilled. It is a bit gratifying to know that folks are reading what I’ve written, to know that so many are enjoying it. I’ve also had a number of strangers within the Word Press community start following my blog, some of them reaching out with words of encouragement. I want to thank each and every one of you–friend, family, or new acquaintance–for the kind words and support, for the motivation to keep going. I also want to thank you for your patience as I continue finding my feet in this world of blogging. I know where I want to go but it will take a while to get there.

Of course, while I’m feeling the love and at risk of becoming misty-eyed, I would like to take a few moments to thank a few others who have helped start me on my journey. You see, the last few years have been a bit rough. Financial burdens have definitely taken their toll and I’m still taking 3 steps backwards for every half-step I take forward in getting back on my feet. I’m not complaining, really. I’ve been working with some wonderful people via some financial workshops. One was a partnering between The United Way and the Women’s Business Development Council. I worked with a gentleman named Howard Haberern who definitely helped me to get a better handle on my time management–especially my penchant for always being at least 1/2 hour late to everything. He really helped me to look at this penchant in a different light and I will always be grateful for his guidance, though I confess to silently bristling when he first spoke. I still fall off the wagon from time to time but I am definitely making better strides towards punctuality. I also appreciate the words of encouragement he gave regarding finances, his assurance that it wasn’t my inability to manage money but simply being under-employed. Now that I’m not beating up on myself so bad, my focus is shifting towards the positive and I’m learning to go more with the flow; life always comes in waves. And I know, in time, I will be back on top again. Thank you, Howard! (Not sure if Howard is reading this, but the gratitude is definitely heart-felt)

Last December I decided to take a risk. Though things are still tight, I decided to invest in myself. I have been following the Prolific Living blog by Farnoosh Brock for a couple of years now. I have also been on her emailing list. I’ve participated in a number of free programs that she offers, as well as a small investment back in 2014 in her Positive Affirmations for Life program. Farnoosh is a student of author, Louise Hay, who wrote “You Can Change Your Life” and she has developed a wonderful audio program that I have been listening to almost daily. For those of you not familiar with affirmations, they are simply statements that you say to yourself every day to help overcome negative programming, self-esteem issues, and/or to manifest certain goals. You say everything in the positive. as though it is happening right now. Some examples would be, “I use my skills and talents in the best possible way” or “I am always on time to every event”. Having been battling a bit of depression with my under-employment issues, this program has proven to be a sound investment–as has the Smart Exit Blueprint plan, the program I took a leap of faith into in December. This one has been a bit more of an investment but I have no regrets. It has really helped me to prioritize, to commit to my lifelong goals, and of particular benefit to me, to weed out all of the “busy” work so I can focus more clearly on those goals.

I love writing. But, over the last several years, I have done very little of it because a.) I was always too busy with other stuff to sit down and actually write and b.) I didn’t carve out any specific time each day to write–despite being in a degree program with Southern New Hampshire University to receive a BA in Creative Writing with an Emphasis on Fictional Writing. Thanks to this Smart Exit Blueprint program, I am much more focused on those goals. And here I am writing each morning before most of the rest of New England is even thinking about awakening. (Okay…so I am a little OCD but I’m learning to work with it)

And, before I thank Farnoosh for her excellent program, and the SEB community for their encouragement and support, I do want to say that this “plug” I’ve just given for Farnoosh’s programs is being done independently and not as some sort of required endorsement of either program. Having had a private practice in holistic health in recent years, I know how important positive feedback and word-of-mouth is to a business. It is also my way of giving back a little. This program has real value and I want to share that with my friends and family. If you do the work required, it is worth the investment. We all have dreams. Taking the time to invest in them, to invest in yourself, is worth every effort. If the good Lord has put a dream on your heart, maybe it’s His way of telling you where He wants you to go. I firmly believe that.

Incidentally, the Smart Exit Blueprint is about taking those steps towards doing work that you love…and earning a living from it. You become part of a community where everyone is on a similar journey and so you can support each other. And, what’s nice about the program is that Farnoosh is always actively involved. This isn’t a program where the coordinator/creator comes up with some videos and/or literature and says, “Okay…you’re on your own.” Instead, I received a phone call from Farnoosh when I started and she has answered every email, has answered every question herself in her live webinars. For that I am truly grateful so, Farnoosh, thank you very, very much for this excellent program. Since I started–and I took a lot longer than I thought I would to complete it because this program really made me think and to tackle certain “blocks”, something I was avoiding and, thus, procrastinated on some of the modules–but I’ve definitely taken some strides forward, strides I’m not sure I would have taken, not sure I would have had the courage to take before this program. Some of them include starting a crowdfunding campaign to help start a potential business; contacting a career advisor through SNHU, who has helped me to connect with others in the writing industry, especially, those for the environment; I started blogging; I’ve been taking some baby steps towards developing my homestead and, though it has little to do with either writing or goat wrangling, I’ve found a bit of creative genius inside that has had me painting and drawing again. I actually started a mural in my home office that I know will eventually prove to be an effective vision board (it’s a work in process…just like homesteading). Anyway, I’m not sure I would have shifted my focus to art at all if I hadn’t worked on Module 3 and discovered my passions. Again, thank you very much, Farnoosh, and to all the SEB community! I am honored to be part of such a community.

And, at the risk of this looking like the acknowledgements in the inside of a book or CD sleeve, there are some individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping me on my journey: Mom, Shaun & Stef & the girls–my immediate family is always there…they may not always “get” me, but they love me anyway; ditto for extended family; especially Auntie Cheryl for the girls’ days, the holiday dinners and for always being my surrogate big “sister”; to Unc & Cousins, too, for everything; Aunt Sandy and Uncle George–the two of you are so very special to me, I wish we lived closer to each other; Aunt Debbie and Aunt Sandy D. for helping me when I was down and out; Aunt Donna for caring enough to go to therapy with me; to Aunt Judi, I am so happy to have you in my life again, to be in touch again–growing up, you always made learning fun; to Karen, Donna, and Mary–having 3 best friends is wealth, indeed; and I have a wealth of friends everywhere who make my life so special. No, I’m not planning on going anywhere, nor am I near any tragic anniversaries…just expressing my gratitude for each of you. I don’t always express my appreciation. Of course, there are many others who are no longer here physically to thank but the gratitude is no less for the gifts they have given me in life. Of life. And, of course, once I hit “publish”, I will likely remember skeighty-eight hundred more that I would like to thank for their encouragement and support through the years. My apologies to you all; your blessings are just as greatly appreciated and you are loved beyond your ability to comprehend.

May God bless you & keep you!

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