Tag Archives: dreams

Do The Work

All of the 12 step programs have a saying, “the program works if you work it.” This statement is true for many things including your ability to improve the quality of your life or more pointedly to ‘change the game’ for yourself. In my 52 years I have encountered a lot of people that were unhappy in their circumstances, yet when faced with ways out that required actually DOING something I saw that they would much rather stay complacent and keep complaining. This is why so many people are stuck in lives that they aren’t happy with,because they just want a magic solution that absolves them of having to DO ANY WORK. News Flash— there is no way to change without doing the work— anything worthwhile requires effort and change on your part. Period.

As you know the kid moved out a few weeks ago now and that has allowed me to actually pick my head up, take a breath and look around my life for the first time in many years—and what I see is that I created a magnificent life by using and practicing ALL the tools and principles that I talk with you about. I worked those things and made them a habit and I still use them daily.

What I can PROMISE you with absolute certainty is that they WORK if you do the work. When Antonio was 18 months old I had to file for bankruptcy— I was scared and broke, I had no car and I lived in a place that had mice running around it. I had known about all these principles since I was 12 and I practiced a lot of them daily—however after the bankruptcy I decided that I could do better, I decided that I would give it everything I had and I would see, if in fact, I could create a life and an income that I was proud of.

I did just that. It was and still is hard work—although it does get easier in time—the more you train your mind the easier it gets to be non-reactive and the quicker you can demonstrate circumstances that you want.

For those of you that don’t know, I do not make any money from The Working Single Mom project—-in fact it costs me money every month— I do it because I know what it is like to be terrified and broke, I know what it feels like to be afraid that you can’t pay the bills—I lived and worked with those fears most of the last 19 years—- I had no child support—it was just me and whatever I could create and earn. I created The Working Single Mom brand as my public persona to help people, to give back, to coach and teach you that there is a way to create the life that you want. I am living, breathing proof that anything is possible as long as you are willing to do the work.

No matter what is going on for you today, hear me when I say to you that I am PROOF that you can create whatever you want. Believe this and then start to do the work to make it so.

See you Sunday for Coffee Chat.

XO, Noelle

The Pictures In My Mind

  Sometimes I paint pictures. Not real pictures. I am not artistically inclined with drawing or painting. But, I do create images in my head. Images of how I think things should look or be. Some of those images have been instilled in me from childhood, things that should be normal, some are new images, and some are blurry images.
  From childhood, I had these pictures in my head of what my adult years would look like. The  family that I would have, what my home would look like, even small details such as decorations and landscaping. I’m learning, though, that those images I have to let go of. Because those images are not my reality. My reality is very different than the images in my head that I have created so many years ago.
  My reality is that I do things with my children. Alone. I take care of, and raise my children. Alone. I give my children advice, words of encouragement, and discipline. Alone.
  Don’t get me wrong, there are many people that speak truth into my children, offer advice, and words of encouragement. But the primary responsibility falls on my shoulders, and mine alone. That was my choice. I chose to walk this path by myself. And most days, I’m fine. Most days I could not be more thankful for the choice I made to walk this path.
  But today, it was different. I was able to steal away time with my precious kids, who are getting older, more independent, and are beginning to need me less, and I was able to take them individually to do something that they enjoyed. Which is amazing. We normally are so busy doing things together, that the precious moments I am able to connect with them on an individual basis mean so much to me, and I hope to them. Today, it hit me like a ton of bricks that the picture I have in my head of what a family looks like is something that is so very different than what my reality is. And while our time together was so needed and so fun, there was this empty place that took my breath away.
  For whatever reason, today, I wanted a counter part with me while I was taking my kids on our outings. I desperately wanted someone with me to do life with. I know I am capable of raising my kids, providing for them, and making and creating life and memories with them. But there was a void tonight. A void that I don’t think my children felt, but I felt it. I felt it in a big way. For me, while it was great spending time and doing fun activities with my kids, I couldn’t help but wonder, how many more outings will it be just me taking my kids on? How many vacations will it be just my children and I? I know I don’t need a counter part, I am capable of doing things alone with my children and we have a great time. But that pesky image I have in my head of what things should look like, sometimes creeps in and makes me a bit anxious. Sad even at times.
  After the outings that I went on with my kids, we got home, and all I could do was sit in my room and cry. I really don’t even know why I was crying. I was just really feeling the loneliness that has been there for many years. Because even when I did have a partner, I was still alone. It was still my kids and I doing things. I think I felt that sadness because that’s been the norm for our family and it’s not a norm that I wanted or that they wanted. Or maybe it’s just me, in my head. Holding on to that image that I painted so many years ago.
  I know those moments of sadness will creep in every now and again. I know I will feel those moments of sadness. And it’s okay to feel it. It’s okay to acknowledge it. And it’s okay to move on from it. Which, is what I am doing. We are a family, even if it doesn’t match the pictures in my head. Because let’s face it, many of the pictures we create in our head doesn’t match our reality. And it’s okay.
~R~

Eat The Cake

Eat The Cake…

My last couple blogs I have put my heart on a platter. I have done something I am incredibly uncomfortable doing. Shared. Intimate pieces of my life.

And I’m about to share some more…

This time it’s the other side of me.

Because, the next time I sit down to write one of these. I will officially be a year older.

I will be forty eight in fact. Two more years and I hit the big fifty.

I get teased because I don’t hate Birthdays. I relish them actually, not that I really do anything over the top to celebrate. I think maybe a few years ago I did. It’s usually pretty peaceful. Something involving yummy food and my daughter. If I’m lucky cake. If I’m really lucky an adult beverage.

To me, each year is my reminder that I accomplished something I was told I couldn’t. I was a preemie and have a congenital heart condition.  My whole life I have been told “someone with your condition won’t.” Then I do.

There is a fantastic quote and I’m paraphrasing “when someone tells you no. Do it twice and take pictures.”

As scary as it can be. I have been working really hard at living my life that way.

From little things like  changing my hair. Getting my nose pierced.

Going to concerts for bands I would normally never go to. I’ll explain… I’m a punk, pop lady who found herself not too long ago with a bunch of her favorites at a metal concert. By the way, I had a blast.

To big things. Who I spend my time with.  Rebuilding my financial future.

Life is precious, it’s ok to push boundaries and sometimes step outside of your box.

I have also strongly started embracing who I am.

Painting, reading, embroidery. Yup… I love embroidery. I joke with my person that  I am a Golden Girl in training .

I have an unhealthy obsession with tacos. I am on a quest for the perfect mascara. At almost 48 I’ve started goofing with fake eyelashes and winged eyeliner because I’ve always wanted to.

That’s my point…

Embrace those things that make you – YOU, but don’t be afraid to do something that maybe you wouldn’t normally.

Eat the cake

Wear those fabulous earrings

Stay in

Go out

By the special creamer for your coffee

In the infamous words of my favorite rockstar “ I’m learnin’ to walk again. I believe I’ve waited long enough.”

My dream for my future is a beautiful velour track suit, a pair of gorgeous prescription sunglasses driving a golf cart around a senior home by the ocean with my grandchildren giggling  by my side. It’s a future at one point I was told I couldn’t have.

Mommas we are allowed to be more or stay exactly as we are. That’s the wonderful gift that each birthday gives us. A yearly celebration of who we are.

Amazing Mommas

 

<3 Caprise

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams..

“We’ve buried dreams, laid them deep into the earth behind us. Said our goodbyes at the grave, yet everything reminds us. God knows we ache, but he asks us to go on… how do we go on?”

~Ellie Holcomb

I’d been wandering through the same leaves, the same graves… struggling to remember exactly where he was. It had been years since I’d placed my hands on the earth that held what remained of a brother I never got the chance to know.

The caretaker must have seen my wandering. He gently approached me and asked who I was looking for. I couldn’t help but notice the kindness in his eyes… his voice. He didn’t ask me what grave I was looking for, he asked me who I was looking for. I told him my brother’s name and he gently led me over to his grave… mere feet away from where I was standing. And isn’t that the thing… so often when we feel utterly lost, we’re closer than we know to finding what we need?

I traced his name with my fingers, brushed leaves off his grave. Funny how we want to tend and take care of things for people we love who are gone. I think sometimes these small, tender acts simply remind us of what once existed, remind us of what’s been lost.

I never used to visit the cemetery. When they put up a memorial for children who’d died in a local park and my brother’s name was etched into the stone, I didn’t want to attend the ceremony. Who wants to feel the weight of that loss again and again? For many years, I’d it pushed down, held it at bay, the pain and grief of loss. I thought that maybe if I held it down, swallowed it deep, maybe I could avoid the crushing ache of it.

And for many years… that worked. Or it worked as well as it can when your body is holding onto an aching sadness. Because the thing is, you don’t just lose a person, you lose the way it feels like your life should have gone. You lose what you thought would be your life. And you can only hold that for so long until it comes busting out.

25 years after losing my first brother, I lost the only other brother I’d known. And his loss was sudden, traumatic, and crushing. What was the last thing I said to him? Did he know how deeply I loved him? Was there something, anything I could have done to save him? That loss sent me reeling, and yet I quietly pushed it down. How do you put words to grief that shakes the foundation of what you thought you knew?

Three weeks after losing him, two surgeons took out my womb, and my hope for carrying more children ended more abruptly than I was ready for.

Although, who is ever really ready to bury a dream?

And in the months that followed, it felt like I dug a grave of loss so deep I’d never climb out.
I buried a brother, then the dream for more babies, a job I loved, a place I loved, a marriage, the life I’d known for the last decade of my life. All buried in quick succession. And in burying those dreams you bury other things. You bury relationships, spaces, and places that you once fit, things you used to be sure of, your sense of worth and belonging.

And again, I pushed it down, held it at bay… Until I couldn’t anymore. One morning several months later, I woke up and the tears came and wouldn’t stop. They bubbled over until my body trembled at the weight of what they meant. I was fully feeling the loss. And they’ve been coming ever since.

And at first that scared me. I felt ashamed. Was I falling apart? Was I weak? Why couldn’t I keep it together? Why couldn’t I just put my chin up and move on? Life is hard for everyone, and my trauma is small in comparison to other people’s. So why was it a struggle just to get out of bed and face the day?

The caretaker told me there was someone with the same name as my brother and asked who he was to me. I told him that was my grandfather. I thanked him for helping me find my way and watched him go about the care of a place that holds many buried dreams. My eyes scanned the sea of graves and I wondered… How much care and compassion must he have to know the names on gravestones? My breath caught at the nature of his work. But more than that my eyes welled at his kindness.

I knelt next to the grave, raked my fingers through the ground, rolled up my sleeve and laid the tattooed ashes of one brother alongside the grave of another. And my heart broke at the beauty and devastation of that moment.

It had taken 27 years… but I was fully feeling the loss. I was acknowledging that it mattered. Sometimes we need to say their names. We need to speak about the broken places. We need to dig our hands in the earth where our dreams have been buried. We need to allow grief to be part of our story instead of trying to move forward as if we are the same. Because we aren’t.

I ran into a dear acquaintance at the grocery store recently who looked into my eyes and genuinely asked me how I was. The care and compassion on her face was evident. And as we embraced she said something I will never forget “I’m on your side… no, there are no sides… I’m in your corner.” I looked at her and nodded “No, there are no sides…” I repeated. She told me how she’d read an article recently about how no one brings casseroles to people going through divorce. And she reminded me that it’s okay to gather up your people and weather the storm with them, without explaining where you went. She reminded me that sometimes the places and spaces we so desperately wish were a safe place for our pain, simply aren’t. And that maybe the beauty in all of this is that we can be a safe place for someone else walking a similar road someday. Because there is nothing quite as healing as knowing you aren’t alone.

So how do we go on…? How do we put one foot in front of the other in this life that now feels new and unfamiliar? How do we make sense of the loss, acknowledge it, feel it, and yet still move forward? How do we live it and not lose ourselves in it? My deeply insightful answer is this: I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this well. Maybe none of us do. There is no manual for this. No one can tell you how to bury dreams and carry loss well. We just find our way, wrack our hands through the dirt that carries our loss, and attempt to wrap our arms around people walking a similar road… letting them know they aren’t alone.

And cemetery caretakers and women in grocery stores may just be balm to our wounds, if we let them. What I find deeply beautiful about pain… is the way it brings out compassion.

So might I say something? Today, be the cemetery caretaker and help someone who is a little lost find their way…. Be the woman in the grocery store and stand in someone’s corner without needing to know the story. Be the balm to someone’s wounds. Err on the side of compassion and write the note, send the flowers, make the casserole, pay for the coffee of the person behind you, wrap your arms around someone. Give them the balm of your kindness, help them find their way. Or, kneel next to them in the dirt, ask them how they really are, and trace the pain of their losses. It’s what will help them go on.

Death, loss, divorce, the estranged family member, illness, childlessness, financial crisis… the list goes on. We’ve all buried dreams. We’ve all racked our hands in some kind of dirt and whispered “this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.”

I sat there for awhile, arm stretched out, brother next to brother, fingers etching a grave, hands feeling the dirt. And then I looked up to see the caretaker tenderly digging in the earth. I don’t know why. I do know it felt an awful lot like love watching a man carefully shovel dirt and tending to loss in such a profoundly intimate way. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the caretaker who spends his days carrying losses and helping people find their way.

-Michaela

A Time For Me To Believe In Myself

A time for me…

At the newly age of fifty and fabulous (which is a story all in itself) with one kid on his own, and my youngest soon to be a Senior in High School, I unexpectedly find myself unemployed, yet unnerved for the first time, which is both soothing and strange for me.

Being a single mother, twenty four years and counting, I have never been afforded the same luxuries in life as some women, by either given the choice to walk away from an underpaid or overworked job in search of a better one, or the really far fetched dream of staying at home!

Is it though, that far fetched? That I could stay at home, doing what I love, and still support my family?! Perhaps not. Perhaps this is a time for me. A time to get my shit together, a time to face my fears, and a time to just jump in, hold my breath (if I have to), and believe, believe in me!

Believing is the difficult part of the equation that most people, especially women, struggle with. The feeling of being unworthy, believing you deserve such a far fetched life seems almost ridiculous from everything we’ve ever been taught as young girls. But is it?

I am blessed to have a mother, who taught me through her own strength and wisdom, to always believe in myself, in my own strength. That people (mainly men) come and go, so plant your own roots, water your own garden and never settle for anything that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat.

I haven’t always listened to my mother, as I stumbled along my own path of poor choices, and settled a time or two along the way, whether in the arms of the wrong man or working on someone else’s dream instead of my own.

So yes, this is a time for me!
A time to remember.
A time to dream.
A time to ask, believe, & receive because I am worthy!

Chase that crazy dream girl, spread your wings, believe in yourself and fly! This is your time! A time for me to take pen to paper and write, my story. A story I do believe will inspire others to take the time for you, to chase your own (crazy) dreams and fly!!

With Light & Love,
Angel A