Brand New Day

I was listening to that kick butt Stevie Wonder harmonica in Sting’s Brand New Day and I felt so inspired. So lucky to have heard this piece of music, these talented artists play it even just once in my life. And in the same moment, I recognize that I don’t even give myself credit for so much of the creating I do. Like a creative somnambulist, I make and then I sleep walk away from ever seeing the measure and quality of what I make.

I do know it makes me happy to make. And that has been enough. Until now. And my hope is that, as my friends and readers bring to my attention the inspiration I provide which they feel and I completely ignore, I will see more me. And you will begin to see you. That’s my purpose. To do this not just for me but for you and all the other people who’ve been ignoring themselves for so long.

Do that one little thing you’ve thought you should do.

Do it, send it, say it, commit to it, walk it, write it, comment on it.

People will thank you.

Yes, they’ll thank you for asking, commenting, and participating. But more importantly, it’s you hearing you, knowing you, recognizing you did that for you. Hearing your whisper of commitment. And letting that be the first stepping stone to do it again. You are the person who needs to hear your whisper. And anyone who matters will hear it too.

“Turn the clock to zero, boss
The river’s wide, we’ll swim across
We’re starting up a brand new day”

From Sting’s Brand New Day

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

It’s OK To Be OK

I was having a happy streak for a couple of days. Maintaining a general state of well-being, feeling more Ease than usual. And suddenly I thought, it’s OK to be OK. Now this may sound absolutely silly but coming from my background and having rewritten a good bit of my story up to now, this is rather a revelation.

Chaos had been my norm. Anxiety my fuel. The term OK was a myth like Tinkerbell’s fairy dust which makes you fly. Nice to imagine but there was no such thing really and you need to just go on about your misery and let it be. I was resigned that my life was just a little more difficult, a life destined to be hard. And then I had a shift.Fiona in the tub with a mirror

I have worked hard hard hard on raising my self-esteem. When I lost my therapist, I worked hard to find another. When she said I was looking for stuff to be upset by, I heard her. I was the one always joking about the making of the multi-layered poo sandwich and there I was still doing it. But it’s my plan and my work that I ask others to help me do. My life, my results, my Ok in the end.

So while I am endeavoring to make things less hard, to feel more at ease, and to have faith that it will always turn out way better than I think, I actually have begun to believe in the OK a little. Baby steps to happiness and less chaos. And I realized there was one last step I needed to take. I need to say and believe that it’s OK to be OK.Fiona in the tub with a hand mirror 2 on

That I no longer have to prove my worth by how hard my life is. Just because I am used to hard, as I’d also come to believe everyone I know is used to hard too, I no longer have to impress everyone with my hard. In fact I think it’s more impressive to truly make do with less. To feel less strife is to have more secure children and live in less chaos in your mind and home. And that is really where I want to be.

So I am granting myself permission to be OK enough to find that sweet Happy spot where things are even easier than I thought they would be. You are always welcome to watch and listen to my progress. I may fall on my face but I don’t think I’ll ever unsee that Happy is my destination and I deserve to feel OK just where I am on that journey.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Our Christmas 2014 Highlights

Gladly, Christmas took it’s time getting here this year. It didn’t sneak attack but rather stealthily aimed itself at my life and I prepared for the onslaught with the small people in mind. It’s easy to be slack about holiday happenings when you’re a swingin’ single gal. You are carefree as it ought to be. Because the next phase of your life involves being responsible for small lives and their happiness forever.

Playing with the Christmas loot on

Littles need lots of selfless consideration, preferably well in advance so you don’t get knocked for a loop when the big present might not arrive in time. But there’s really nothing to be done about the fading sound of the ringing of the belief bell.

Her very own laptop on

Christmas 2014 highlights necessarily include happiness and a little disaster. Of course Eamon woke up the first day of Christmas break sneezing and gifted me his cold for Christmas. My nose was in the holiday mode with red and green nostril discharge at any given time throughout. Festive! And Fiona can now say Ah-choo, so funny.

And then Christmas Eve, I walked into our office to see Fiona at the desk on the chair with my open laptop pressing the on button. And then pressed it off. It would seem that the computer has to “repair” itself after such an incident. I thought my brain would explode with worrying. And then, for some unknown reason, I thought it would then be a fabulous idea to make another round of cookies that same day too. But everything is well that ends well.

Waiting for the cookies to bake on

Our new hot water heater, installed last Spring, hadn’t been doing its 80 gallon best and a test of the bottom element found it to be bad. Really? I think I’m officially a grumpy old lady because new appliances are now a dreadful thing to me. Like when you get them and they don’t work or they’re really loud or they aren’t as efficient as the last one. Hate that. I offer my vacuum cleaner picture as proof.

Kenmore vacuums aren't what they used to be on

But Mark went right ahead and called and the part will be here this week. Unfortunately he’ll have to install it and that should prove tricky with his hand healing after a carpal tunnel operation tomorrow. One hand Stan I’ll be calling him.

Princess potty on

Happiness was everywhere. I decorated three beautiful trees without a hitch. There were no complaints about the presents because either the child got what they wanted or didn’t have a clue that such a day existed and was so very happy to have new presents magically appear. And this year I made sure to number the presents on the bottoms with a master list for me so the present shaker was thrown off. It worked!!!

All three children together on

But most of all, my children were happy and healthy and here with us opening presents and stealing candy cane chunks to suck until she spit out the plastic wrapping. And we had food on our table that we shared. More than some others during these holy days. If we could get around our shame and our pride, many people could enjoy their holidays just a little more.

So Happy New Year to All and I hope you have much to be grateful for.

See you in 2015. Otherwise known as Friday.

I Am Enough

We are enough.

I read these words and I want to live this truth so badly. Because, I go in and out of believing this is true. And believing I’m enough is where I, and everyone, needs to be.

Let me give you the excerpt from Kelly Rae Roberts that brought me this thought. She wrote in this post about letting herself off the hook and off the burnout train,

I have a long way to go, but I’ve exhaled, unhooked, and detoxed from the I am not enough gremlins. I don’t want my worthiness attached to what I do and how much I do it. I don’t want it to be attached to anything. We are enough. As is.”

This week was not a happy and contented week for me. One week out of every month needs to be thrown on the fire and sacrificed to the gods of unhappiness. I was accomplishing all the tasks I had deemed necessary. It was all getting done and I wasn’t even stressing about Christmas, but I felt disgruntled. I wanted to feel that liquid chocolate satisfaction of my accomplishments. And to be a super Mommy too. But in the end, I didn’t feel like I got it right. It wasn’t enough happiness the right way. I was detached from all my accomplishments and spinning wheels in my soul.

2014 wrapping paper line up on

I resent not having time to myself to do whatever I want for as long as I want it. I don’t resent the toddler who prevents this, just the lack of me-time. I was irritated at the anticipation of the nap being screwed up. In fact, now, I’m vaguely hostile for that very fact. Because the un-napped baby is nasty later and there’s no true unplug for me…for 12 hours straight.

I perceive that I’m responsible for too many other people’s happinesses. Whether they feel that’s true is of no consequence. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever get that perceived burden out of my head because it’s rooted pretty deeply. I’m not enough to be the best everyone on top of being my best self. Now I hear myself as whiny and that’s not good either.

The poo sandwich just keeps getting bigger on the days where I make it all about poor me. I’ll never and I can’t and nothing. Those are how I hear conversations starting.

And that is in fact enough of that.

Enter gratitude. I have so many people in my life who care dearly for me. They may not be the people I wish cared or in the exact way that I wish they cared but I know there’s care there. My family at the Christmas parade in Denton, MD on

My kids are safe and healthy and none the worse for my outbursts or disgruntlement. And many people in the world aren’t able to say that today.

I am finding my way and discovering the things that work and the talents that I can value in myself. It’s slow but it’s progress. And I can’t open my eyes any wider than they are. I have to trust the process. I have to show up every day and work hard and know that when I’m ready for whatever needs to happen, it will happen.

And I need to lighten the heck up. Do something silly and fun. Ask for what I need. And tell the soul-suckers there’s not enough of me to go around. Because I owe me something better than spread thin, eye-twitching, unsatisfied Shalagh. I owe me the happy safe little gal who likes to make things pretty and see other people laugh. She is joy and in her moments, she is enough. And she has no care but for herself and her soul satisfaction.

Fulfilling Your Needs As a Mom And Creative

My friend Jane, a fellow blogger in Ireland, wrote recently that she felt a feeling of Unutterable Fulfillment. She pushed through the Winter, writing at all hours of early morning and late night, while still being a mother and caretaker to her loved ones, and wrote the novel she’d always wanted to write. For real. She says she’s now feeling such an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that her life feels really really good. She’s experiencing the joy of fulfilling her needs of being a good mother and an expressed creative.

I know this feeling and it’s the high no drug can recreate. The immense satisfaction and self-esteem resulting from an accomplishment earned. The setting of a goal and then reaching it. For a creative, that means everything. A melding of one’s inspiration and vision with the real world to produce something to share. It’s a truthful and soul satisfying.

Fulfilling Your Needs on

In the same week, another friend of mine and inspirational creative, Sandra, explained that she felt judged and shamed by someone for the way she divides her time between being a creative and a mother. That to focus on one is to shortchange the other. As if there’s a choice. You must do both as best you can. I pointed out that our sensitivity to this subject may be a “thing” causing our knee jerk defensiveness.

From Two Plus Two Equals Happy on

There’s an unspoken societal judgment of mothers that says, to be a good mother, you need to focus solely on mothering. That to attempt to do anything else is selfish or wrong. And, it would seem, in the professional world, the opposite is a pressure point too. That to be a professional, you can’t be distracted with becoming a mother. This must be the Mother wars I’ve heard alluded to but never paid attention to.

I feel it. She felt it. And when I’ve queried other women, they feel it. In my interview with Suzonne Stirling, she suggests that there’s more than a bit of outside help needed to make it all happen at once. I agree that super Moms are such because they know how to delegate to super create and super mother simultaneously. Christine Burke of the Keeper of the Fruit Loops blog published a post yesterday called Selfish Mom. Her cheeky title hides the excellent job she does in calling out the martyr mothers for their lack of permission to take care of themselves. She says, “The worlds will not end if you put yourself first once in a while”. And with creatives, I feel it can be even harder.

Where does this either/or notion come from? What purpose does it serve? Because, in order to feel really good about myself, I need to have creative outlets and expressions and accomplishments. And when I feel good, I’m a better Mom. When I don’t, I’m a crappy Mom. Simple enough. If you have time, read this article I wrote called the Needs of the Many and the Needs of You. There’s a shocking moment in the Giant grocery store bathroom that brought the point home. Don’t recognize your needs and you’ll ooze your unhappiness on everyone around you.

From Two Plus Two Equals Happy on

So I am declaring a war on this theme of thought, although not on the people thinking it. Shades of grey are everywhere and humanity needs to be more tolerant of differences. And I’ll keep talking with other women about what this means
to them and we’ll see what that unearths. Are we fulfilling our needs or waiting for someone to give us permission to be able to even have needs? What are we teaching our children when we stifle the very activities that make us alive and in love with ourselves?

There is a nobility and miraculousness of keeping a house and creatively living the life within. And more and more, I want to live in that place in my soul. My friend Jane lives there in Ireland. I try to do so in America. And I’d venture to say that there are women all over the world trying to live their dual lives as well. If only we all gave ourselves permission to do so.

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