My Calling

fromheaven

The idea that I have a unique calling isn’t new to me.  A calling is what got me to enter a convent.  I was truly convinced that God was calling me to the religious life and for a time, I believe he was.  My calling changed but I didn’t want to let go of what I believed my calling was.  I was angry with God that things hadn’t turned out the way I’d planned.  And, yes, I know how silly that sounds.  Humans are funny that way, especially this one.

It has taken years for me to begin to understand that my calling is my life.  My life only becomes my calling when I open myself up to it, when I accept the path that shows up in front of me and I follow it.  A calling isn’t something exotic or special and while it’s unique to each one of us, it is as simple as opening oneself to the life we were given.

This simplicity doesn’t make it any less powerful or important and it certainly doesn’t make it easy.  For years, I’ve resisted what was before me all the time.  I just didn’t see it.  I stumbled through life with my eyes closed.

Now the pieces are starting to fit.  I look back over the years and I clearly see how some things were meant to be.

I was called to a relationship with my husband in marriage.  Much of my character has been refined because of this relationship.  I have not always liked the lessons but I have no doubts that marrying him was answering my calling.  I love him.  He is blessed to have me and I him.

Nothing has ever felt as natural or as right as being a mother.  Motherhood was a calling, a very important and very special one.  I have been given the privilege of being a mother to both my amazing children.  This too, is often difficult and challenging but it has been my calling and nothing has improved my character more than being a mother.   Every day I struggle to rise to the occasion and every evening I am grateful for the opportunity no matter how trying the day.

I am called to write.  Maybe, not best sellers or even non-selling e-books but this blog.  The reasons don’t matter.  What matters is that I am drawn to do this despite the fact that sharing so much of myself feels uncomfortable and often embarrasses me.   I am my own harshest critic.  Yet, when other critics appear and I question the sanity in continuing, the call remains.  Questioning stops and I continue to write.  If this isn’t a calling than I don’t know what  is.

I am called to be an Independent Mary Kay Beauty consultant.  This isn’t a job or even a career, it is a calling.  I am very aware of the irony here which is precisely why I take this so seriously and continue despite the occasion challenges.  What I learn about this business is helping me in ways I never expected.  It constantly challenges me to push past my reluctance and resistance and show up and meet the women I am called to  meet and to work with the women I am called to work beside.

People are placed in our lives for a reason.  Once I understood this I open myself up to the chance to really learn from all of them.    This is a calling to empowerment, which begins with me and has a ripple effect on everyone in my life.  Great skin care and makeup products are a tool to change lives, to help women feel better about themselves.  I am constantly touched and humbled by the women I meet who need reassurance and affirming acceptance of their looks and who they are.  So many women have yet to be introduced to the beauty that is inside them.  My calling is to open the door to that beauty in a small and gentle way.  I am humbled by this opportunity.

All these things are my calling, yet some times I still resist.  I am often guilty of failing to grasp the importance of my calling.  I try to get out  of it.  I try to find excuses, other things to do, distractions that take me away but none of these things satisfy or feel good.  My heart knows what its work is.   When I avoid it, I do not know peace nor feel a sense of alignment with the God/Universe that has created each of us for a special and beautiful reason.

Every day I am called to wake up and engage in the gift I was given, this particular life with these particular people, challenges, tears and joys.  This is my calling.

 

 

Beep Beep

Driving seems to be a recurring theme this week.  It keeps becoming a topic whether I want it to or not.  So, it’s best to just write it out and let it find its own way across the page.

Lately, the roads have been full of high drama.  It’s been hot.  The A/C in the van and my husband’s 4-Runner are busted so we enjoy the wind whipping in the windows and struggle to rearrange our hair when we arrive at our destination.

Having the windows down in the heat, seems to toss us closer to the drama that occurs in traffic.

Car sound systems vibrating their surroundings like small earthquakes are up close and personal when the windows are down.  The squeal of tires and the sounds of locked brakes can be frightening. Some drivers are busy talking on cell phones or texting.  Some are so deep in conversation, their speed slows in direct proportion to the quality of their in-car conversation.

There are a significant number of people who fail to comprehend the art of the merge.

And, then, the most frightening of all, are the angry ones.  These are the folks that are looking for trouble, find it and then decide that you’re the cause.

Recently, my husband got the finger from a middle-aged woman who looked like she sang in the church choir on Sundays, except for the angry expression on her face.

Sitting beside him, I’m still totally clueless to what he did wrong.  Most of the time, I see fault with realistic clarity (but then again, that’s only my opinion.)

On a recent ride, I began to ponder the mystery of traffic.  It’s something that I think about often because I spend a lot of time thinking and find it absolutely exhilarating.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.   (Thinking can be great but it’s of little use without some action.  I’m working on the action piece.  Doing both, now that’s ideal.)

Traffic is a microcosm of life.  There is a flow to it that many people don’t seem to understand.  You can’t go faster than the flow allows.  If you go too slow other people will pass you by or run into you.

If you don’t pay attention to others and the space they need, you’ll cause an accident that will slow down every one.  Even people who weren’t in the accident will be affected.  They’ll inch pass the wreck straining to see what happened.   Accidents should be avoided, yet are increasingly common because too many drivers fail to grasp the graceful art of sharing the road.   Sharing is a necessity.

When driving you  don’t always know what others will do or why they do something.  Some times people will be upset with you and you won’t have a clue why.  Some times you do know why but don’t think it’s as big a deal as they do.  Giving others the benefit of the doubt makes driving a lot easier.

Many people don’t drive well around others.  They are impatient.  They know how everyone else should drive but don’t apply the rules to their own driving.  No good can come from taking it out on others.

Yesterday, a friend told us that at a neighborhood convenience store, he saw a young woman on a cell phone talking to the police and crying.  He asked the clerk inside the store,

“What happened here?”

The clerk said , ” The young woman cut the wrong person off.  They followed her to my store and took a baseball bat, smashed all her windows and then drove off.”

Our friend, having some experience of the road, said,  “That young lady probably did cut the guy off.  Maybe didn’t even know it but doing that much damage and traumatizing her, well that’s just awful.”

I felt for the young woman.  We all make mistakes.  We all make a lot of them.  The baseball-bat-wielding man stepped over the line.  His response was extreme, actually, pretty crazy.  It’s a crazy that had nothing to do with the young lady and everything to do with what was in his own head.  We are all trapped in our own heads and when we forget that, we start causing accidents.

So out of my own mind condo, after an interesting several weeks, full of fun, a few painful lessons, disappointments and victories, I’ve come to some tentative conclusions.

It is wise to give others the benefit of the doubt especially as we speed along the road of life.

Some times, we have to take another highway and leave angry drivers behind for our own safety.

Others’ anger is another’s anger, it is often unwarranted and sometimes totally unfounded.

Beware of drivers yelling instructions from other cars.  Drive your own car to the best of your ability and allow others to drive theirs.

You won’t always like what the other drivers are doing.  Give them room to discover the rules of the roadway on their own.

Drive the way you want others to drive but don’t judge.  You don’t know what map they are using and it may be very different from your own.

Share.  Be kind. Let go of anger. Respect others.  Take care.  Drive safely.

Focus

Focusing isn’t one of my strong points.  I have a noisy mind.  Wild and unruly, it gallops here and there and drags me along with it.  This noisy mind is the reason I am very rarely bored.  It’s also the reason that achieving goals are very difficult things for me.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to rework this blog and maximize its potential.  I can’t decide what that means or how to do it.

There is a crafty, practical side that I’d love to express and share with others.

I’m a Mary Kay consultant.  My connection to the people in this company is transforming my life in ways I never expected.  This is something that should not be kept secret.

I love cooking and eating.  Food excites me, soothes me, fascinates and charms me!~

I’m a mom with an amazing daughter.  I learns something new from her every day.  She is a remarkable young woman.

I’m a bipolar mom with a child who is diagnosed as bipolar.  This is no walk in the park.  He makes me laugh and can break my heart all within a matter of minutes.  There is never a dull moment.  He is a remarkable young man.

I’m an older mom which adds a dimension to parenting that is distinctively different than parenting while young.

I’ve managed to stay married for over 17 years to a husband I dearly love.  That hasn’t stopped me from having moments or whole days when I wanted to run away to Canada and assume a new identity and leave him behind.  Staying married isn’t always easy.  I’ve learned a few things (but nothing about emigrating to Canada and taking on a new name.)

How can I take all these odd pieces and make them into something coherent?  Thinking about it all makes my head spin.

This task is precisely what has had me utterly stumped wordless for some time!  And then, I realized that I am the connection between all these weird pieces and that readers want to read about the real things in someone’s life: the successes, the failures, the hopes , the dreams and disappointments.  Keep it short, keep it real.  Don’t set out to inspire to instruct.  Just write.

So that’s my plan.

I recently read a blog post by a woman who had a falling out with her family.  It went on and on about scorpions and frogs and how some people are scorpions and can’t be trusted and will always sting the frog.  I didn’t feel very good inside after I read it.  Scorpions always give me the creeps.  I don’t want to go there.

The only thing I really know anything about is being me.  While I don’t always enjoy being trapped inside this particular body with this particular mind, it is what I know and it is what my focus will be.  Let the writing begin again.

Perfect Timing

The older I get the less I believe in coincidence.  Ideas, people, things do appear at the right time, the time when we can open our eyes and see them.

Recently, I reconnected with a friend.  She inspired me with her ideas, her passion for life, her drive to find her purpose and to develop that purpose in to a life work.  How can you not love that?  Yesterday, she referred me to a book which I immediately placed on order:  Lean-In Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.  Find it at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Lean-In-Women-Work-Will/dp/0385349947/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367086380&sr=8-1&keywords=Lean+In
The author, Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook.  She is also a woman. Continue reading

No Complaining

It’s Wednesday.  Woe day and Carol finds time to write.  Some how I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  Wednesday and woe are such a natural pairing in my brain.  How I want to change that channel.  It isn’t easy.

To this end, I picked up yet another book at the library.  This one is called,  A Complaint Free World: Take the 21-Day Challenge by Will Bowen.  The book came home with me on Saturday.  I’ve read up to page 12.  Despite how little I’ve read, I’ve been captivated by the main action idea that the book proposes.  It is this:  Wear a bracelet, watch, or rubber band on your wrist or put a coin or doodad in a pocket.  Every time you catch yourself complaining, gossiping or criticizing out loud, you switch the item to the other wrist or pocket.

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Marvelous Make Over Mondays

thisweek

 

Monday’s child is fair of face.”  Translated into modern lingo:  Monday’s children are good looking!.

Since this Monday is the last of the year, the new year lies before us.  Besides the pressing need to slim down, (I want to lose 40 lbs.,) I am going to be more organized and more consistent.   An easy make-it-myself to-do list is going to help.  Pinterest gave me the idea to make a dry erase board out of a glass covered picture frame.  The frame cost only $.25 cents at the thrift store.  The rest I found for free online.  Not the penguin.  We have a running joke at home about mom building a penguin.  During Christmas break, I did just that.  Since he is kind of cute and sort of Christmasy, I put him in my little happy snap.  (This year, I will learn how to take better pictures and do a better job of coherent and concise writing.  Have you noticed how I can ramble?)

Monday and 2013 are both dedicated to makeovers.  Money, makeup (inner and outer) are all going to be Marvelous Makeover Monday themes!

Mondays are great days for makeovers.

Mondays are also the current day for the weekly Mary Kay meetings.  I’ve discovered that I love the skin care and makeup and that I love the people even more.  They’ve given me a head start on the makeover of Carol, not in that scary Stepford wife kind of way but in that delightful transformative way.  I didn’t know what was missing until I found it.  Thank you, to all my consultant friends and to my fabulous director, Leslie!

I’m excited about Marvelous Makeover Mondays.  What a great way to start a week and a new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taste of Freedom

“A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment- he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”
― Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

I awake longing for a greater understanding of freedom. I know I am free even when I don’t feel free.   Thoughts of breakfast and hot coffee push out the cerebral and philosophic this Sunday morning.  Comfort anchors me in the now.  It tethers me to the ordinary.  The kitchen floor needs sweeping.

My mind pushes freedom over a cliff.  I don’t  know what to do with freedom.  My identity is rooted in captivity.  There, I see it.  I am a prisoner of myself, of the past and the future all at once.  This will never do.  Now that I have caught this glimpse of truth, there is no going back.

The last few weeks flew by in a flurry of hurried moments full of every emotion.  I have had the feeling that I was standing upon a ledge contemplating a leap into a new way of being, something greater than before, something new and unknown and frightening.  The familiar, no matter how uncomfortable is at least known.  Fear and dread wrap themselves around an eager excitement.    Letting go does not come easily.

It is so easy to forget how freedom tastes.

 

 

History Lessons

Part I: The Century: Boom to Bust.

As I stagger into my Friday morning, my sleepy mind tries to begin a game of Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda.

Fortunately, the smarter me wakes up in time to put a stop to such nonsense.  Focusing on the past and the choices I did or not not make is the easiest way to punish myself.  No, this morning, in between a bowl of cereal and a cup of hot creamed coffee, I make the decision to start again.  Over thinking life often gets in the way of living it.  I try not thinking but am not successful.

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I am the person behind the words printed here. I write because my heart will not allow me the option of NOT writing. It has taken me half a life time to discover this basic truth, but now that I have, writing is as natural as breathing. This is where my breath takes the form of words.

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The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
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