Category Archives: Life’s Setbacks

“Q” is for Quiet your Mind

 

“Q” is for Quiet your Mind. How often do you do that for yourself?

This is a good one for me this week. I know its good advice, but to that, I say; what happens when you don’t have the time to quiet your mind? Like me. Like this week.

 

Something really important to know is that if you don’t slow yourself down, the Universe, God or your body will. You might catch a cold or the flu and you’ll finally have to lay down, or in my case you could break your cellphone.

 

I had a horacious day the other day, and I just now discovered that is not a word, but it makes the right sound and noise to describe my day. It wasn’t an end of the world kind of day but it was a long-hard-busy-no-end-in-sight kind of day that lived up to its title.

I’ll make a long story a little less long by talking about the things that matter to the story.

Mid-day, I met my ex-sis-in-law and superhero friend for a late lunch because her son was at basketball and my daughter was at dance and we were both in limbo. (Hmmmm…Limbo-Bimbo’s.) During our meal, I went to dig out my phone from my purse, but I couldn’t find it. It was so deep in that she had to call it and the vibration gave me that sense of relief that I needed. You know that feeling when you think you’ve lost your phone, or realize that you’ve left it behind at home? It’s earth-shattering.

I relayed to her in my relief that I felt my phone was more important than my wallet anymore. Everything in my wallet was replaceable, but the phone and its contents were irreplaceable. We laughed but we knew it was true.

Six more stops and three and a half hours later, I was finally putting my key in my front door. More relief came over me. It was after 9:30 p.m., and my daughter was home with homework finished, shower done, and ready to get some sleep. I couldn’t wait to get on the other side of my front door after my day. As my key turned, my phone dropped. I didn’t think anything of it because I drop it all of the time, but I’d forgotten that in order to charge my phone in the car, I had removed the cover. As I picked up my cherished possession, the cracks in the glass might as well have been a deadly spider bite. I was sick instantly.

9:35 p.m. + a friend in the hospital + a really long day + hungry + tired + a few more chores at home + a cracked phone = the straw that broke the camel’s back. Just ask my daughter. I actually cried, probably not entirely over my phone, but because of the weight of the day behind the broken phone. She was stunned. I never cry and I never allow her to see my broken camel back, but truth is better than fiction sometimes.

By morning, I felt better. My sleep had dusted away the dirt of the previous day and I was more clear-headed. We talked again about my phone in the morning, most likely because I had looked at it five times before breakfast as a habit, and even though I would see the cracked glass each time, I really was feeling better about it. I told her what I’d said to my ex-sis about how important my phone was. I’m open to signs. I told my daughter God was reminding me that my phone was NOT important…and He felt the need to drill that fact into my silly little head.

Sooooo….long story, long… :] …quieting our mind is important, to corral us through those days when we are in over our head. You already know how to get your quiet time in. You don’t need a how-to or any new suggestions because you already know what works for you.

You just need to know that you need to do it.
 
 

 

There isn’t always time, so on the days or weeks that you can’t fit your needed time in, plan ahead for it so that it’s on your horizon. Give yourself something to look forward to during those crazy days or weeks. I have a four day weekend on the horizon. I’ll be busy and I’ll be resting both, but I know that I can decompress all of the overload over the course of my cherished long weekend. And I will. It’s Thursday night and I’ve just finished a plate of gouda cheese with Cheez-it crackers (the only cracker in the house) with a glass of wine and next to me is my cracked phone that all weekend will be making me think of God. Amen to that.

 Now, Be Quiet.

And…just in case you DO need a guide on how to quiet your mind, I’ve created a Freebie AND I spent part of my cherished, badly needed weekend creating it for you, so be my guest.  These are ten ways to quiet your mind that don’t take a lot of time and can be done throughout the day.

 
 
Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

 

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose
"G" is for grit
"H" is for higher
"I" is for intelligence preservation
"J" is for just dance
"K" is for kick crap to the curb
"L" is for look for the lesson
"M" is for Making Memories Last
"A" - "M" to Better Choices
"N" is for Nurture
"O" is for optimum
"P" is for moms are pack leader

Get my Newsletter here to keep up with my news and weekly blogs. Share this with friends that could do 2016 with us.

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Books by Katherine A. Rayne on Amazon.com.
Lost in Thoughts Adult Coloring Book An Adult Coloring Book that interviews you with each illustration.
Back to Being a Woman (Without Changing the Man) Turn relationships into elationships.
#Living Simply #Living Elegantly Your Life Journal Get your head and home in sync.
There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel. You A compilation of my blogs that all women can relate to.
Visit my website at www.backtobeingawoman.com

 

“A” through “M” of Better Choices

                                                                                                   I've written a blog for each letter of the alphabet up to "M" so far about evolving your life into a more creative, focused and fun way of living. And honestly, I don't put all of the suggestions to use every day, but the ones that I have consistently put to use have given me a better outlook, more satisfaction from what I can do in a day and have improved my habits. Read over my brief summaries of each blog here, and see which ones you can gain from.

A – M Highlights of the ABC Blog Series of #BetterChoices2016

A is for Accepting our existence which equals owning our burdens but not staying focused on the derailment that they cause us. Focus on and create positives in your life to offset the negative; start a hobby, call a good friend, plan something unexpected, begin a new tradition.

B is for Be You: Throw away worry (it's only your imagination, after all) so that you can stop squashing the positive thoughts waiting to happen.

C is for Create: We were created to create. The baby won’t go to sleep? Someone created the baby swing. Stuff too heavy to carry? The wheel, wheel-barrows and strollers were invented. It rains? Someone created the umbrella. Problems were fixed because one person chose to go one step further beyond being annoyed. They created a better way.

D is for Do: “Doing” leads to discovery.  We’ve mastered so many things in our life, but continuing to master new things leads us towards a constant renewal and far away from boredom and monotony.

E is for Eat/Exercise: We have something in common with SpongeBob Square Pants besides three names. We are sponges. Our body and organs absorb toxins from food and the environment. When we do strenuous activities like exercise and yoga, the movements squish those toxins out. (Rinse with waterwaterwater.) Exercise every day to keep your body and blood circulating. As for eating? Pretend that you are what you eat, because you are. Be green, strong, healthy and toxin-free.

F is for Free to Choose: The way your day will go is based on what choices you make as it progresses. Even if you are having the kind of day that you’d much rather be doing something else, but can’t, you get to choose the way you will experience it. You don’t have to wait and see how it will end, or let it end the same way that it always does. You're allowed to change it.

G is for Grit: An oyster can’t spit out his gritty grain of sand, which is really good news because it will eventually turn into a pearl. Don’t spit out your own grit. Begin the long process of turning it into something more beautiful than what it began as. Recognize the beauty that it adds to your life, not just the interruption that it makes.

H is for Higher: Don’t get stuck on the same step as your challenges. Go higher than the challenge to see what else is there waiting for you while you deal with it.
 
I is for Intelligence Preservation: Being open to new experiences has been proven to preserve fluid intelligence. Do things differently than how you’ve always done them. Keeping rejuvenation a part of our being is good for us.

J is for Just Dance: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” -G. K. Chesterton   
Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Use laughter as medicine. Increase dosage as needed.

K is for Kick the Crap to the Curb: Keep a Promise Journal. Each morning, write down what promises you are making to yourself that day that will keep you far away from “crap-traps” like the wrong food and bad habits.

L is for Look for the Lesson: When you are having a conversation with yourself about whatever mess or challenge you are dealing with, stop and ask yourself, “what is the lesson I’m supposed to learn here.” There’s always a lesson and there’s always a silver lining.

M is for Make Memories Last: Create a Memory jar (Memory Jar Guide here) or document special moments by writing one sentence down at the end of every day about it and the date that it happened. When the end of the year comes, you can read and relive each moment.

When you wake up each day, remind yourself of the great day ahead and plan how you will make it great. Ask yourself early in the day what it is that will make the day great, and go do it. 

See you next time with "N." Right now it stands for Not sure what it will be about, but that's just me. If you want to read the previous blogs in full, they are below. And please share me with others if you think they could use a jumpstart to creating a life they love. 

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

  

“L” is for Look for the Lesson

"L" is for Look for the Lesson - In anything and everything

PosterLlessons

I'm almost half way through the alphabet already. I'm going to miss doing the ABC Blog Series when I hit Z. And yes, I have an idea for Z already, but I'm not anxious to get there.

Meanwhile, "L" is for look for the lesson, or for lemonade made from lemons, or for Life Lessons, because lessons are what life is made up of – served one right after another.

Lessons never lessen.

I came across another saying the other day and it said,
 

Fall down seven times - get up eight.

 

I wish it was that easy. Some things can really knock you down. But sometimes staying down is the best answer because you have to send your roots further into the ground first before your next bloom happens. I’m couch bound when I’m down. When I was younger, I’d clean my house with the force of a cyclone, but not anymore. Now I just rest and bleed and whimper until I’m finished resting and bleeding and whimpering.
So what else do we do when we’re down? We talk to ourselves in our head, incessantly. We can’t believe we are dealing with this stuff in our life, or we want it to just go away, or we feel sorry for ourselves. But what we say to ourselves while we are down is what’s going to direct us upwards so that we’ll bloom, or it could be what keeps us down in the dirt longer, all depending on how we talk to ourselves. Literally, good conversation should be happening in our heads as if between two people - two very close, supportive friends.

 

When you hit those lessons, how would you tell a good friend to get through them? When we don’t focus on the crappy happenstance of it all and instead concentrate on the hidden lesson, we will recognize the lesson quicker and then move through the happenstance quicker, too.
I’m all for having the “life sucks” conversation first, to get it out of our system, but when the dust settles and you can’t cry/complain/moan one more minute, that’s when you start the conversation with your “good friend.” Ask her what she would do in your shoes. Ask her why she thinks you have to deal with the mess. And ask her what silver lining could there possibly be in it. And she’ll answer every single one of your questions intelligently and with compassion. Because she’s been there, too.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

When you're feeling low on energy or under the weather, I have a Mushroom Soup recipe that is perfect and simple, here.

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.
Find previous ABC Blogs here.

 

G is for Grit - No Grit, No Pearl

“G” is for Grit – No Pearl, No Grit

“G” is for Grit – No Grit, No Pearl

Long ago, I came across the inspiring quote, “a diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.” Of course, that’s supposed to make us feel better when we are going through tough times by telling us that we will shine at the other end of the trauma. I came across a different saying for the first time the other day, long after I decided that G would be for Giving Thanks. “No grit, No pearl.” I decided that I liked this saying better than the diamond one because as well as I might handle my challenges, I still don’t like to feel pressured. So we are making “G” about Grit this week.

Grit is hard and disturbing. It gets in your shoes and in your chips and all over your car after a day at the beach, and who do you know that likes grit in their teeth? Grit doesn’t create pressure, it just sticks out like a sore thumb. Grit is problems and aggravations and life altering occurrences.

No matter who you are or when you were born, your life will be full of grit. Not a little bit or a minimal amount, but lots and lots. We were born to head towards the hard stuff so that we can grow.

And to help us get through it, I think it’s important to own our grit. You know those things in life that don’t feel like they should be happening to us, or the things in life that don’t seem fair. We have to fully embrace those things that rub us the wrong way, that disturb our peaceful way of living, that change the course of our lives, because they are going to happen again and again. The sooner we can accept and embrace those things, the sooner we can turn them into a beautiful part of us.

An oyster can’t spit out this gritty grain of sand and we can’t disown our own grit. He has to work with it and begin a long process of turning it into something completely different than what it began as. It actually increases in size instead of shrinking. We have to learn how to walk with our grit, live with it and be with it, while recognizing the beauty that it can add to our lives and the beauty we can add to our lives because of it.

Pick any grit in your life and ask yourself what the silver lining might be. (There’s always at least one.) Focus on the silver lining instead of the irritation of it and then plan how you’re going to grow the silver lining into gold.

We have to begin putting layer upon layer of shine upon the grit until it no longer rubs us in the wrong way. Whether you’re creating pearls, diamonds or gold, you are living life. Note that it all adds up to shining through it. When you find your shine, it's beautiful.

Start turning your grit into shiny iridescent gems. No pressure, though. 🙂

xo Katherine 

Find my previous ABC Blogs here, or below.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose

Get my Newsletter here. to keep up with my news and weekly blogs. Share this with friends that could do 2016 with us.

 

 

I’m Knot Ready

PosterFree

I'm Knot Ready

My ex taught me to be un-anal without even realizing he’d done it. I was always being too safe about time, about tasks, and about being orderly and polite. The first thing I found intriguing about him was that he always said what he felt. How unusual it was to me at the time.

I would rather bite my tongue, stay the safe route, not hurt anyone’s feelings, sit quiet and worry what someone might think. I was NOT going to be the one to tell you something that you didn't want to hear.

How he said whatever was on his mind without concern of repercussion was the first thing about him that intrigued me into un-analness. The second lesson was how he would pick me up for a date, and then run a quick errand that he didn't get to that day because he had been bogged down with his work.

I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s kind of insulting when a date wants to stop by his architects’ office first before the restaurant.

I’m sure my thoughts were, why didn't he just let me know that he’d be a bit late and then do the errand without me? Or maybe I was thinking: isn't it a bit rude to make a date tag-a-long on an errand? But then it occurred to me…

…he doesn't care what I think. What a wonderful idea!

Still to this day, I’m not sure if I should have been insulted or not, but back then it just made me think: how cool would it be to not care what others think? THAT would be SO cool. So FREEing. I wanted to be just like him. I knew life would have a different feel to it if I didn't worry so much about others’ thoughts and opinions and needs way more than I worried about my own. It’s a habit not easily broken, but suddenly I had a window opened that wasn't there before, letting light in where there had never been light.

I dipped my toe into those waters slowly over the years and now I rarely think about others' feelings until after I've said something. Then I might think, maybe I shouldn't have said that. 

But I've also learned over the years how to just let things go. Which I now do with great success. So there’s less worry, less safeness and less anal-ness in my life.

He helped me get there in other ways, too. I used to be VERY anal about keeping the house neat. I worked five day weeks in banking before I’d had my son and had created the habit of Saturday being cleaning day.

Nothing could interrupt my day of cleaning. It just HAD to get done. Until he had an affair. Then it SO wasn't important. Nothing can compare to importance like the falling apart of a marriage.

I tried hard to keep the marriage intact and it became my focus and the sponge of my energy. My son was barely two and was my biggest focus and happiness in the years that followed, but the marriage suffered. I remember my ex mentioning to me that the house hadn't been its normal organized state for some time. I told him that when our marriage became organized again, I’d focus back on the house. I was okay with a messier house more than I would have been before. I wanted clean, but I wanted something else even more. I realized that the world wouldn't fall apart if the house wasn't in its place. Especially if your world had already fallen apart.

I think he learned from me over the years, too. I DO know he had gotten lots of little reminders from me (smile), but one lesson stands out. When I got back to my anal household standards after my daughter was born years later, he got used to a clean house again. My middle school aged son would come home from school and sit at the counter to have an after school snack with me before doing his homework. We would talk about his day and be silly. While there, often times he’d pull off his socks and they would sit there on the floor after he went to his room. The house spotless, his dad would come home and see the socks sitting amid the neatness. They would bother him so much.

He’d yell about these inside-out dirtied sports socks. He’d discuss them as if they were a disgusting alien and it bothered me how much those socks bothered him. They were his pet peeve.

One day I suggested that he simply tell his son to pick them up instead of having a cow; it would be easier. But nothing worked to soothe his frustrations over the dirty socks. I sure wasn't anal about them. I’d learned so much in the past years that a pair of socks scored a zero on the 1 through 10 difficulties-of-life scale.  One day that I’m guessing he’d had too much coffee, he went WAY off about these socks.

The only response that I had left in me was, “One day you’re gonna’ miss those socks,” and I left him alone in the kitchen with those socks.

He went quiet. He must have had a long talk with the socks and the two of them made peace. I never heard another word for the rest of our marriage about them.

I know we can all look back on past relationships and appreciate the things that we learned from one another while there, no matter how much bitterness or anger remains. My ex taught me to be real with myself and with others. I was able to apply those lessons when it was time to ask for a divorce. I was thinking of me. I had kept things in motion for my kids, but it was time. He cried, but I was more in tune with the tears that I had shed. And that was a big accomplishment that I could thank him for.

Katherine A Rayne has a book for your relationships on Amazon.com. Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man) is oxygen for any and all relationships in your life, including with yourself. Begin reading here by clicking on the book image. Put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others with theirs.   xo
www.Facebook.com/BackToBeingAWoman        www.Twitter.com/BeingAWoman    Visit her on her website at www.KatherineARayne.com for tips on how to “I Did It!”

Keeping it Together

We are all in this Together

When summer begins, Orlando comes to mind as one way to celebrate the warm season. The parks there are close enough for a two-day escape without making me delirious with the stress that vacations create. There’s no plane ride or an airport involved and I’ll be home again before you can count to three (days).

But there is backlash when you mention SeaWorld. So much so that when I think of SeaWorld, I think of the backlash. Many opponents are upset about how they contain their sea animals and the cruelty of it, but I admit it remains one of my favorite parks to take my kids to during the wide-open summers. I have years of breezy strolling-through-the-park memories from our visits.

There are few lines in SeaWorld; just crowds moving across the park together and finding seats together and oo-ing and ahhh-ing together and getting soaked together before herding off towards another show together.

It’s never been a place of rushing. The crowd moves in unison in the same direction, simplifying the task of walking alongside strollers and determined two year old's wanting to walk outside of mom’s sweaty arms. It makes what could be a long hot day less rushed and chaotic.

When I am tired from the togetherness and walking, we follow the map to the children’s play area. I’m exhausted but my daughter is bubbling with the excess energy she drank up while sitting still during the shows. Our visit last year went the same as it always does; herds, togetherness, feasting, ice-cold watering holes in the summer-heat temperatures, and then the peaceful relaxing playground. But while in my peaceful whatalovelydaythishasbeen haze last year, out of my focus came a woman wearing a SeaWorld shirt screeching at me as she appeared from the shadows of the slides and bridges’ darkness. First just a distant sound but as she came closer, I heard her desperation asking me to tell my daughter not to run on the playground. Did I fall asleep into a funky heatstroke induced dream? I listened intently as she explained, with her dust of distress coming off of her in sprays, why she didn't want my daughter running. There were young ones on the playground that she was worried about and was asking the bigger children not to run.

I wasn't sure how to answer her so instead I watched the angst of her past few days (or years?) come out of her orifices. Puffs of her dust kept coming from her clothes and pores and out of her ears and I watched it settle around her, never touching my sweaty skin.

My daughter now next to me, taking this image in with me, two against one. We were both quiet and intact while Mrs. SeaWorld opened her vents and spewed on us. I let her. I saw it in her eyes and in her hands and her shoulders and in her dust trail. She was spent. How many hours had she been out in the hot sun with 1.2 million children, and for how many days? Also there beside her, still and invisible, were whatever problems she had going on at home. I waited for the frustration and the anger and the nerves and the worry to settle at her feet in front of me.

Quiet, her sad eyes now looked to me for a response, as did my daughters'. My daughter now thinking she was in quantum trouble because she had caused the playground lady to lose herself.

I simply said, “okay.” Mrs. SeaWorld was expecting my sympathy and rebuttal but I was still in my peaceful slumber looking through her cloud of spent dust and wanting her to feel better. She blinked the fog from her eyes and found herself standing alone in her gloom. She squirmed her explanation of her concern for the little ones one more time before lunging off to monitor a playground full of children at full throttle.

I looked to my confused daughter, who was open-mouthed curious of the next words out of my mouth. “You’re fine, hon. Don’t let her ruin your fun.”

She decompressed after I spoke, then felt safe to judge and convict the playground woman and her silly request. I realized that she didn't see the same woman as I had so I explained that she was probably ready for a break (or a vacation) and that staying on the other end of the playground was a good idea. Its vastness would make that easy and would allow me to go back to my peaceful state.

Mrs. SeaWorld has never left my thoughts completely. She always revisits when thoughts of Sea World and backlash do. Maybe I could have said something to comfort her.  I could have asked her to sit down and talk, or offered to get her some water, but I think she got what she needed. An “okay.”

As she walked away with her own thoughts and feelings about what had happened, she has probably never forgotten that day either. I hope that it’s a moment in time that she can forgive herself of. Life can trip us up sometimes, but if we wait for the dust to settle, we'll see clearly again.

Follow Katherine on her Twitter account @BeingAWoman for her #DailyChallenge that can make life less of a challenge. 🙂  Read an excerpt from her book by following this link and clicking on the book image. ~

Dear Sir…

January 23, 2001

Dear Sir;

My mother has just informed me that she has taken you back. You two seem to have an ongoing thing that I'd like to see come to an end. I recall the troubles of your last visit but I'm unable to convince her to leave you.

She is bringing you and her tender heart with her when she visits with me indefinitely. I can only sit by and watch her age as you intrude upon her life. The dark clouds will gather in her eyes whether we speak of you or not. You're her burden. While here, you will replenish your thirst with my water and your hunger with my food while I'd rather see you leave. She withers away when you're around. She's still the mom that I had as a child and is always able to impose her soft strength onto any challenge, but you make her weak. What hold do you have on her? How does she allow your feeble existence of life back into hers?

Regardless, I'll open my door to you both when you arrive hand-in-hand. I'll watch how you interact. She won't look me in the eyes when she's with you. It tells me that she doesn't want to discuss it. Her attitude towards you is so positive. She is a strong, kind and generous woman, but you have your toxic behavior and disastrous lifestyle. I wish you had more compassion. She doesn't speak of the dark secrets while living with you because she is too proud, but you provide the darkest moments of her 63 years. Your frequent and feverish traveling is important to your life, but it disrupts and limits hers.

If my mother is to rid you from her life, she has to be strong.  When it's time for her to go home, I hope you will have already left without a trace as you have done in the past. It destroys her, but it's for the best.

Please, Mr. Cancer, no more heartache and loss. If you leave, you and your family will no longer be welcomed here.

Sincerely,            Katherine

This is a piece I wrote 13-1/2 years ago when I was caring for my mom during her cancer treatments and surgeries. Unfortunately, my sweet mama had to leave before he did, but she fought hard for the three and a half years he was with her. It's so hard when someone leaves us, but know that it's because they are needed elsewhere. It's their time to shine some place new and beautiful. God gathers us in so many different and difficult ways, but in that brief moment of death and departure, they reach their peace and destiny. Let that idea bring you peace and help you to reach your new and beautiful place here. 

Visit Katherine A. Rayne at www.BackToBeingAWoman.com.

PosterCloud

Mud(dle) Through It

Muddle Through It

June 8, 2014

Sometimes it’s too big of a puddle to go around. You have to walk in it and through it. Even if you’re wearing your favorite shoes and prepared instead for rain with your umbrella.

It’s a messy-life-puddle. There’s good news, though. Once you’re in it, once the shoes have already been dirtied, you have no reason to rush through it. Sometimes if you try to rush through it, you just make it messier. It then splatters on your favorite pair of jeans or your new white shorts. And I’ll be the first to admit that you can get stuck in it. I've come out of it fully covered, unrecognizable, because I didn't know how to rinse it off. It can hold us back and distract us from our journey.

When we are kids, we want to play in the mud. But mom usually says, “No! You’ll get dirty!”

If you have lived even one day on this earth, one of the God given gifts for you is that you will get dirty. Life isn’t one big “let’s stay clean!” challenge.

When we are born, there are already a few gazillion potholes laid out neatly waiting for us. Even as we sit here reading, the universe is cultivating our next big challenge. So put on your big girl panties and your “okay, here we go,” attitude and don’t worry. Just like breakfast and laundry are a part of our lives, so is mud.

The challenge isn't to get to the other side (where ever that might be for each of us) unmarred, clean and utterly happy the whole way through. The challenge is what we will do when we get dirty while we have to hurdle and trek through it. Will we squish it through our fingers and hold it up to the light to see what it’s made of? Will we just keep rinsing it away, as if that will be the end of it? Will we splash it off onto others around us making it an even bigger puddle?

It’s not a place to stay long. We only have to travel through it.

But if we don’t take the lesson from it, we will come across that same mud puddle again and again until we've been able to navigate its murky depths thoroughly.

There’s a reason for it, and even if we don’t figure out its reason, it really is about how we handle ourselves through it. It’s easy to be happy and pleasant when life is leading us through the paved route, but harder to keep a positive mind frame when traversing through the mud.

So imagine yourself sitting in the muck, dirty and upset and with no one close enough to pull you out. What do you do?

It starts with a smile. The first image you may have conjured up was of you sitting in the mud with a furrowed brow and muddy clothes. Now try looking at yourself sitting there in the same clothes, in the same spot, but this time smiling. Could it actually be turned into fun?

We first have to let go of how it has just interrupted our day (and our life). We have to change our plan right there and then while sitting in it. We can’t waste time and worry mourning about what we were supposed to be doing. That plan no longer exists. It went POOF went we went kerPLUNK! Make a new one. Take extra time if you need it. Laugh through it somehow. Take photos!

“Remember that deep, dark mud puddle I fell into? I never experienced a mud puddle so deep and wide, but here I am, weathered but clean and refreshed, and smiling.”

There are mud puddles that I've been through and looking back on them now, their memories still don’t bring any traces of a smile to my face when thinking about them. Yesterday's date marked the 17th anniversary of my miscarriage. I keep the date because I always want to remember there was a baby. It doesn't make me smile but it doesn't make me sad, either. It makes me wonder about the possibility of having a sixteen year old in my life right now and how different life would be. It's not something to forget. But while I traveled that muddy road 17 years ago, I know that I smiled often.

We’ll get through our mud puddles but it’s up to us how we do it. There WILL be an end to it. Find the faith that it’s there for a reason and that there is a silver lining to it. Label your mud and yourself while there. Become a pro-mud wrestler in your Life Swamp, or a silver lining detective in your Murky Mystery. And guess what? You get to stomp through it sometimes, too. (Be a soldier on the Aha-Team.)

So the next time your little one wants to stomp through a rain or mud puddle, don't tell him no. Tell him to be careful of the snakes in his river!

~Katherine A. Rayne~ (not quite Master of Mud)

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This Is Me (“My Messy Beautiful”)

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Is Me  ("My Messy Beautiful")

How is it that the people with the cleanest homes are always the ones that say,

“Please excuse my messy house…I haven’t had a chance to clean.”? They say it without embarrassment but I’m thinking with a bit of smugness hiding in their words. “Trust me,” I say, “I know messy. There’s no messy here.”

I am writing this essay-blog for the Messy, Beautiful Glennon Lloyd-Melton Project. (She wrote, Carry On Warrior.) And when you mention “messy” to me, the first thing I think of is my home. Shouldn't it be a warm safe harbor, our home? I have days, a few days of the year, where it feels that way. But there’s soooo many days where it is the enemy. A battle waiting to be won. Laundry should be called “laun” because then it would be a four-letter word. And the kitchen “sink” already is one.

When my family and I aren't home making a mess, I have a dog, a hamster (their urine really stinks…don’t get one...no one ever told me that) and a beta fish who continue to do that while I’m gone.

I love coming home to a pretty home. When everything is in order and there is NOTHING FOR ME TO WORK ON THE MINUTE I WALK IN THE DOOR. I LOVE pretty. I even put on some pretty text to sit down and write.

I've been through the real messy stuff, too. A miscarriage, a divorce, the loss of my mom and then my dad a month later, (cancers...how cruel) but I tend to not think of those things as messy. I don’t write too much about them. They are all dear to my heart and so very sacred. But they don’t make me different or lonely or in need of sympathy. They don’t even make me messy. They make me normal. When I had the miscarriage, I felt awful. But on the same day as my D&C, I learned that one in three pregnancies end in a miscarriage. I suddenly felt normal. I had team members in large numbers by my side.

I like to keep things private to keep them less messy. When I had the miscarriage, no one even knew we were pregnant until the miscarriage. So no one else had the opportunity to mourn with me. A family friend dropped by after I came home from the procedure and wanted to say Hi.

I said, “I’m sorry…I’m not really up for company. I just had a D&C due to a miscarriage.” That was a messy moment. And REALLLLY awkward. Only because I REALLLY didn’t feel like talking.

My messy is me. I’m way too private. (Except for when I’m behind my keyboard.) I don’t share enough about myself to really close friends. (“Oh, by the way, four years ago my husband had an affair and I’m still not dealing with it very well. Can we talk? Yes…that IS my secret diet and the reason why I’m way thin.”)

I find that if I talk about those messy matters, then I feel them way more often than I care to…or want to. They won’t go away, just because I’m feeling them more. I will still have to deal with them. But if I keep them private, I won’t have to hear people say: “how are you doing…are you okay?” Because that’s a reminder. A reminder of something that I would rather put aside until I’m alone and have the quiet space I need to try to figure out how I am going to embrace my new life. My life without that baby. A life as a single woman. That life without parents…without M.O.M.

O.M.G. Without Mom. Moms are everything. You won’t know that until yours is gone. They are your foundation to every single living cell in your being. Literally and figuratively.

So what is my messy-beautiful? I use this to pay a tribute to my messy, beautiful mom. She was a pack-rat, so she knows about a messy house. I’m sure that’s where my messy house comes from. So it’s not so messy, then. When you find those reminders of a Love that is gone, you inhale anything that reminds you of them. My sense of direction. I LOVE getting lost on road trips. It reminds me of my mom and her bad sense of direction. My thighs, as much as they aren't so pretty, they remind me of my mom each time I look down and there she is. Those funky words that she would use and I would giggle over them. They escape the crevices of my mouth on occasion as I get older. I would have cringed at them if she were alive, but now I smile. Mom lives on in me. And it’s messy, but I will never find myself apologizing for it. I will embrace it. Because I can no longer embrace her. Mom…you were Messy. But God you were Beautiful. I Miss You.

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Katherine A. Rayne is author of, Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing the Man), a book on relationship replenishment. Contact Katherine at ItsHappening@BackToBeingAWoman.com

pro-choice but anti-abortion

Monday, March 24, 2014

 

pro-choice but anti-abortion

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that was supportive of anti-abortion. I always find these stickers bordering on the quite-offensive. To anybody. Too many graphic images and successful efforts of inducing disturbing thoughts. I know this is on purpose. We want to save another sweet life. (There is no question as to WHEN it becomes a child. That happens at conception…we shouldn’t try to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.)

But. If we are sending messages out to the world for good, shouldn’t we be making sure that it’s conducive to spreading Knowledge, Truth AND Peace? I know the authors of these stickers are diligently trying to make a difference in our world by saving one more baby. I give thanks for that. But no one says that they have to be mean about it.

The bumper sticker I saw the other day was KindThoughtful. And Decent. And of course I can’t remember it, but it said something to the effect of,

"Don't let me go. Hold my hand instead,"

with an image of a tiny newborn. These are words a sweet soul might whisper into her mother’s ear during that difficult time of decision making. That made sense. I didn’t take offense.

I could not choose abortion, but I've never been in a position to have to choose. I also feel very strongly that the government has no business deciding a woman’s extremely personal decision for her.

If abortion was illegal, we know that women all over the world would still find a way to abort it if she really wanted to. It wouldn't stop it from happening.

I don’t think it’s up to us to make her feel bad about her decision, either. I’m pretty sure she feels bad already. Remember the “no judging” clause? So I refuse to judge a woman on her decisions. (I would definitely feel like judging whoever invented the idea of abortion. I can only imagine the public outcry when it first emerged.)

An unwanted pregnancy can definitely be a negative, for many. But adoption would make so much more sense out of it, for everyone. It could be turned into a positive. First by not aborting and second by giving a family a child they’ve been waiting on for more than the brief nine months that it takes to carry one. Either way, this decision is going to be so hard for any woman, but something very good can come out of it if the baby is saved.

1)   Someone will gain a cute little family member.

2)  The biological mom will have the opportunity in about 18 years, to meet their kindred little one, all grown up and wondering about her, too.

3)  You get to keep your Choice; yours. Will I one day see my child, or won’t I?

When a baby is adopted out, the birth mother has more and more say-so over how they want to hand over their child.

"I want contact. I don’t want contact. I want to know their name. I want to know where they live.  I don’t. I want to be able to get in touch with them when they are of age. I don’t."

Don’t sever choices. If a child is aborted, all of those future choices will disappear with the baby.

Yes, we want fewer abortions in the world. But keep the government and the cruel thoughts out of it. Keep the Kindness in all of our decisions. Kindness towards girls and woman with difficult decisions that lay ahead. Kindness towards a child that was meant to be. Kindness to spread the word. And the Love. Share the LOVE.

~~~Katherine A. Rayne~~~

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