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On Frustration, Self-Promotion, and Never Being Good Enough

Please note: this blog is the product of having a really rough day. My stepfather was rushed to the ER by ambulance early this morning, and my daughter had to go to the urgent care because she was showing signs of a UTI. My stepfather turned out to be having vestibular vertigo, and when his tests cleared him of heart attack or stroke, he was sent home to recover. My daughter does have a UTI, but she’s had so many in the past year that the doctor who saw her wants me to contact my daughter’s primary care doctor and have her see a urologist and have an ultrasound of her kidneys, just to make sure there is no underlying condition that is causing her UTIs.  I think she’s having them because she hasn’t mastered the proper way to wipe and doesn’t drink as much fluid as she should, but it’s better to be safe and check things out than to have her develop something worse than recurring UTIs.

And to top it off, I saw something that just poked a HUGE hole in my ego and reminded me just how little my work means to anybody. It hurts a lot.

I really stink at self-promotion. The problem is, no one notices what I do unless I call attention to it, and it seems…I don’t know…wrong somehow, to call attention to what I do. I pour my heart and soul into what I do. If I share something I’ve written or made that I personally feel is important, it’s only after busting my ass and agonizing over making it good enough to be acceptable by my standards, and my standards have always been high and harsh. However, I’ve never been harder on anyone else than I have been to myself. To half-ass something that is supposed to be meaningful or special is just not something I can bring myself to do.

Even then, there are people who hate what I do, and I can’t do a single thing right in their eyes, ever, and their standards make mine look positively lax. To them, I am half-assing it, and I use that as a reminder to be compassionate to others when I feel like they’re half-assing it rather than putting in a genuine effort.

It’s too bad that I’ve never been able to turn that around and be compassionate to myself when my efforts fall short of perfection.

I do put out a daily blog (words.ladycygnet.com, for the uninitiated), but I just do that for fun–it’s not supposed to be profound or beautiful or even good–it’s basically a writing exercise while I attempt to hammer out a way to share word origins with people in the most humorous way possible.

But that’s the trouble with comedy, really. When I try to be funny, I’m not. When other people set out to be funny, they’re usually not. I get more laughs from a pratfall than I do from a cleverly worded turn of phrase.

And there are other things that I do behind the scenes that no one ever notices, and I doubt they ever will notice. I feel like a ghostwriter.

Or a ghost in general.

I’m frustrated. I’m beginning to feel like I have the heart that longs to do something worthwhile, but I lack the talent, and the reason nobody lavishes praise on me like they do on other people is because I’m unworthy of it.  Most of the time, all I think I’m good for is being a cook and housekeeper, and even then, I’m still not good enough, because my own private living quarters are in a state of ever-present encroaching chaos.

Clearly, my ego is getting out of hand, or this wouldn’t be bothering me so much.

Two professors who never agreed on anything else in their time at my alma mater agreed that I was a person with the spark to be a good writer.

Too bad that spark died sometime after I got married for the first time. I think it disappeared around the same time that the flourishing window garden I had in college and took with me to my first apartment with my new husband died.

And it’s my fault. Every bad choice I ever made led to something worse, and I don’t think all of the good choices I’ve made in my life will ever make up for the bad choices, much less give me talent where talent has been lost.

I have my daughter (who was the BEST choice I ever made in my life), and I fight for her, but beyond that, there’s not much left. I’m dating an amazing guy who has been wonderful at helping me sort out the broken bits of myself and reshape them into something that might be beautiful someday…but then I have stressful days like these that just burn the heart out of me and remind me that nothing I do will ever be good enough or make me worthy of anybody’s love–not my boyfriend’s, not my daughter’s, not my muse’s, and certainly not God’s.

If anything I did was worthwhile, it would be remembered.

But since it is not, I have not.

I feel like an utterly useless creation.  What am I good for?

I just don’t know anymore. I can’t even write worth a damn anymore. Every piece of identity I’ve ever had has been ripped from me, and I don’t even know who I am anymore.

And anytime I do get praise, it feels like a form letter, or like someone feels obligated to say something nice, even if they really want to tear me apart and remind me of just what a wretchedly talentless hack I am (as if I could ever forget). It feels hollow, and maybe that has more to do with me than it does with them.

Will this blog be perfect before I post it?

No.

And this is the reason: I’m venting.  This isn’t meant to be beautiful and polished; it’s meant to be an honest and real outpouring of what I’ve been feeling.

Maybe all of those people who told me that I was worthless and would never amount to anything were right.

And perhaps that’s all right after all.

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Triumphs, tragedies, and enduring hope

For those of you who were wondering when this blog would be updated again, wonder no more!

This is it. :p

I’ve been pretty busy with The Root Cellar, my etymology blog.  I’m actually up to 106 posts as of this blog entry, and that translates to roughly a blog a day since I started it!  I’m pretty proud of keeping up with that.

I’ve also been rewriting a couple of manuscripts, one of which is a story I started writing on scrap paper during lulls in my shifts at work over 10 years ago.  It may not be worth anything overall, but I still feel like it’s an intelligent story that needs telling.

My daughter continues to excel, and her teachers and therapists are absolutely amazing. We’ve also recently gotten her a tutu, and she’s having a blast pretending that she’s Katerina Kittycat from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

In addition, I’ve had the great fortune of being in a relationship with one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met. He’s brilliant, funny, patient, gentle, kind, wise, geeky, literate, talented, and loves spending time with me and my family.  My mother, stepfather, and daughter all enjoy having him around.  He believes in me and my career, and The Root Cellar would not exist if it hadn’t been for his loving support and belief. His steadfast heart and love have steadied me in times of turmoil, and I am truly blessed to be a part of his life.

And boy, have I needed it lately.

Now that I’ve talked about the good stuff, it’s time to talk about the bad stuff and how we’re managing to deal with it as a family.

I found a lump, and things were pretty tense until an ultrasound revealed that it was just an infection. Should I develop another lump down the line, though, we have a baseline that will help us determine if it’s anything of concern.  As I age, I worry about these things.  It was utterly terrifying, but I had the love and support I needed, and that gave me the courage to face it head-on and get the testing required to find out what was really going on.

Once that crisis was dealt with, my much-beloved next-door neighbor got the news that she has lung cancer.  She’s still fighting, but the chemo has left her week, and she has more gray days than anything else. We’re close, and she’s like family, so knowing that the days we have her with us are growing fewer make it hard to bear the notion that we may be losing her a lot sooner than we would like.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a blow to cope with, my stepfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a bloodwork screening at his place of employment revealed that his PSA (a blood test that determines prostate function) was elevated and a biopsy is done.  His doctor says that the cancer is aggressive and that my stepfather’s prostate needs to be removed as soon as possible to ensure that the cancer doesn’t spread, but my stepfather is seeking a second opinion, just to see if the surgery is necessary, much less necessary right away.

And then Ferguson happened.  So many people have so many misconceptions about that community and about black people and impoverished communities in general.

And for the longest time, I was one of them. Fortunately, living out here and interacting within the Ferguson community since we moved here has helped a great deal. The best cure for prejudices is keeping your mind and heart open while getting to know people whose life experiences and culture and knowledge are divergent from your own.  I pray for the people of Ferguson, and I pray for the eyes of all people to be opened to what has been going on behind closed doors there. Regardless of what Mike Brown did or didn’t do before he was killed, the case was handled poorly, and the people of Ferguson are suffering because the actions of a few (most of whom were not even part of the community) reinforced old prejudices about black people and those living in poverty.

It burns me that people are so comfortable living behind their walls of prejudice and refrain from questioning authority when it appears that authority may have been abused.  If we allow injustice to continue for the most vulnerable among us, who will stand up against injustices done to us when our time comes?

And after Ferguson happened, a man who was one of my high school youth group’s leaders and whose family showed me and my family great kindness when other families in our church were shunning us and doing their best to drive us away from God with their cruelty was in a horrible accident.  The building where he was working was being remodeled, and as he took the stairs to get up to where he needed to be for his job, they collapsed under him, and when he fell to the ground, the part of the weakened staircase that gave under his weight broke loose and landed on him.  He broke a hand and his pelvis in three places, and because he had internal bleeding and has type one diabetes, they had to wait until he was stable enough for surgery to work on his hand, much less his pelvis.  He’s off the ventilator, at least, so that’s a step in a positive direction after his accident.

And because life would be positively nice without more accidents, my cousin Mara, my late Aunt Ruth’s only surviving child, fell asleep at the wheel of her car after she got off of work and ended up in a wreck that left her in the hospital in serious condition.  Her cheekbones, nose, left eye socket, jaw, hand, ribs, pelvis, and L3 of her lumbar spine were all broken in the wreck.  Fortunately, no one else was hurt.  Unfortunately, she was not wearing her seat belt.

And again, fortunately, her condition improved enough that they recently decided to discharge her from the hospital.  She’s going to be laid up in braces, casts, and splints for quite a while, but she’ll be home with the people who love her and have assistance. She’s also has to go back to the doctor in two weeks to determine if she’ll need surgery to rebuild her facial bones.  I have no idea why they feel comfortable sending her home so soon after she was in such a precarious state, but I’m sure that the hospital has her best interests in mind. Fortunately, she had no brain injuries from the wreck and remained awake through most of her hospital stay, but she was in considerable pain.  I hope that they at least have her pain under control before they sign off on those discharge papers.

However, my sister’s child Rae was admitted to the same hospital (and the same wing) with pneumonia tonight. My daughter is still recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis, and my brother-in-law has been down with pneumonia for four days now, so it appears to be the season of accidents and respiratory infections for the people I love most in the world.

Hope still holds sway, though.  We are the Oaks family (even those who weren’t born into it). We are stubborn and strong, and we refuse to give in when tragedy gnaws at the roots of our family. We are also believers in God, and our faith has sustained us in times of poverty and despair.  I have no doubt that God will heal my family, either by restoring health or taking them to a place where pain and suffering can no longer reach them.

It will most likely be restoration of health, though.  There’s far too much for all of us to do here to be sidelined for long.  We all have our walks and missions to light the dark corners of the world however we can.  Yes, I’m aware it sounds weird and could well be attributed to sleep deprivation and stress, but I still believe it to be true.  We as a family were meant to spread light and love, and the hardships and trials we face make us stronger and help us to learn to reflect the love of God wherever there is darkness and sorrow.  We can be light and awaken people to hope, if we try.

 

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Grey Street

And now for an update:

“Grey Street” by Dave Matthews Band has long been my theme song because it reflects me so well.

And here’s a video for the canned version.  I wanted to use the official video, but DMB only has the live version posted to their YouTube account:

Grey Street

And here are the lyrics:

“Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey Street
But she thinks hey
How did I come to this
I dreamed myself a thousand times around the world
But I can’t get out of this place

There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together
To grey, and it breaks her heart

Oh how she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears He doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her He might
She says I pray
But oh that they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself
To get out of this place

Oh there’s a loneliness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now,
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together
To grey, and it breaks her heart

There’s a stranger speaks outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
Oh it’d take the work out of courage
But she says please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world

Oh there’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now,
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together
To grey, and it breaks her heart
Oh it breaks her heart
To grey”

While it may not be kicking out the windows and setting fire to this life, things are changing…for the better, I hope.

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Gettin’ Crazy With the Cheez Whiz

No, not really.  I haven’t had any in years.

And by any, I mean Cheez Whiz.  I make much better melty cheese on my own, especially with Hy-Vee’s version of Chipotle Ro-Tel.  Yes, it comes from a can–I am the epitome of good taste.  I am also too poor to be able to smoke my own jalapenos.  (And I’ve never really gotten the hang of smoking them.  Do I use a filter?  Do I light the stem end?)

Anyway, the title is a reference to what passes for a lyric in Beck’s “Loser.”  I’m not 100% clear on the history, but Beck apparently had some sort of bet about writing a song about nothing.  Given the success of Seinfeld, whoever made the bet with Beck should have known that he or she was getting into a sucker bet.

Also, “Beck” is one of my nicknames, but I’m not a successful musician.  I played the trombone anemically for a few years, and I like to pretend I know a little bit more than “Chopsticks” on the piano or “Au Clare De La Luna” on the recorder, but a wealthy musician I am not.

And Beck is a guy.  While I’ve been accused of being mannish (fortunately not by Austin Powers),  I am 100% female and have the offspring to prove it.

And my “Beck” is usually spelled “Bec.”  Why?  Because I believe in conserving letters.  Someone might need that k to use in another word.

Always thinking of others–that’s me!

Also, please don’t ever call me Becky unless you’re a blood relative.  That nickname reminds me of stuff I’d rather forget, and if you’re a blood relative, you know which stuff I’m talking about.

And does this rambling have a point?

And can I start a new paragraph with a letter other than “A?”

Yes and yes.  The point is that I’m running down the rabbit hole because I’m anxious.

Ah! Another a-word!

Affirmative!  A recent doctor visit uncovered some labs out of whack.  A more recent doctor visit uncovered a goiter. (Basically, my thyroid’s attempting to remodel my neck. It hasn’t gotten far, though.)  My most recent relationship failed because our priorities didn’t  fit together as a couple’s should.  I need to find a new home by August, or I’ll have to move back in with family, tail tucked firmly between my legs.  I need to find a new home for my senior cat because he’s decided that he doesn’t like small children and thinks that my daughter needs a few new piercings.  I need a job that actually pays me a living wage. (I’ve enjoyed following my heart and everything, but I would also enjoy being able to buy printer cartridges when I need them instead of trying to earn enough amazon gift cards to buy them online.)

I am also coated head to foot in a lotion designed by Satan himself to treat a rash on my forearms.  I’m not fully convinced that my new IM doc likes me, but if it works, it works.  Why head to foot?  Because it makes sure that the rash is treated and can’t migrate somewhere else for funsies.  It also forces me to do yoga to ensure my entire body gets covered.  I’ve almost mastered the Pretzel pose, and I’ve been able to do the Oh Dear G_d I Don’t Think It’s Supposed to Move Like That pose for some time now…and I invariably miss parts of my back.  One of the pitfalls of being single again, I suppose.

My daughter turned five and will be heading to Kindergarten in August, complete with her own paraprofessional.  (I would send her to school with her own parachute, paramedic, and paratrooper, too, but she already likes to fill her backpack with random stuff.)

It’s also getting harder to play Wurm, and they’ve upped the premium price, so that kind of sucks all of the joy out of it.  Wurm’s a MMORPG–the only time I run around roaring would be when I’m playing Tyrannosaurus Mom with my daughter…though I think that the spelling in that case would be Wyrm…maybe.

Sooo, I sit here, rambling, taking you with me as a fall down the rabbit hole and unravel everything that’s going on, preparing to like Penelope to weave it again until true love comes home.

Ah, who am I kidding?  Even if I find true love, I would have a better shot at learning to play guitar with my left foot than I would at stopping myself from writing.  Sure, I may not post it all here (and if it’s all like this post, that’s probably a good thing), but I write.  I’ve got something like 60000 words in a file that tell a cohesive story, but I’m afraid to shop it around.  Afraid it isn’t good enough.

Afraid I’m not good enough.

But it’s in my blood, and it’s in my heart.  And there are people who love me and believe in my stories.  They believe that this is what I was born to do.  They have seen what I write, the stories I tell, and how I tell them, and they think it worthy.

Sadly, there’s been a lot of damage to me.  Someone I loved and trusted stripped me to the bone before he tried to remake me in his own image, and I lost myself for a long time.  I know my name, I know my face, and I know every feature of my body, from the roots of my calico hair to the soles of my flat feet.

I know my family stories, the histories spread from mouth to ear down the the generations of children sitting in their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and great aunts and great uncles and cousins’ laps.

I know the stories my mother and father read me, be they from the holy texts that shaped the faith I carry even now, or the mythologies and folk tales that made my eyes light up and  fostered my curiosity about what makes people who and what they are, whether single or in groups.

And as I write this, I draw back a little, startled at the passion that “moves sun and moon” stirring in my heart as I talk about the old stories.  It’s a spark that burns just as bright as when I’m researching something that has ignited my interest.  There’s no thrill quite like running down the rabbit hole of knowledge, seeking, finding, reading, digesting…and understanding at last.

Run from it all we will, but our stories, our histories, our roots…they shape who we are, how we react, and who we become.  The stories of others shape our understanding.

Before there was science, there were stories.

Before there were history books, there was the oral tradition.

And much was lost, since the oral tradition is like the longest game of “Telephone” in the world…but much remains, and it has worth, if only to understand what was.

Is there a point to all of this?

Eh, I imagine so.  There’s a point to everything I write, even if it’s just to point me in the right direction.

And yes, this is a small sliver of how my mind works, when I slow down enough to write things down instead of just sliding down the rabbit hole of thought.

And I also wanted to see how far this thread of thought sparked by a goofy song lyric would take me.  So far, it’s given me 1242 words of utter silliness.

I suppose I could say that I was deliberately shooting for a 1500 word blog entry, but that would be a lie, and I detest lying.

Besides, I think I’ve successfully achieved what I was aiming to do…which was to write a blog entry to finish on Monday.  The semi-stream-of-consciousness wasn’t a deliberate effort on my part, but it was just too much fun to stop.

And really, if you start out with a title like, “Gettin’ Crazy With the Cheez Whiz,” where else can you go but insane?

 

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Secrets of the Heart

I’m just the quiet woman in the back, taking notes and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.

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The trouble with inspiration…

Every time something inspires me to write, I am nowhere near a pen and paper, a phone, or any other device that would allow me to record my scrap of a thought for future expansion.

And then when I sit at my computer or notepad or recording device, determined to be inspired, nothing happens.

GAH!

In other words, trying to force myself to be inspired isn’t working out so well. 😉

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For the “Constructive Critic”

This is the one and only time I will address you, and I will give you a piece of advice:

Stop.  Just…stop.

You aren’t doing anything but making yourself look like a bully.  Saying cruel things is not being constructively critical, and putting a smiley face after it doesn’t make it any less mean.  If you think you can do a better job than I have, then by all means, do it. If not, look up the definition of “constructive criticism,” and and learn the difference between “constructive” and “destructive”

Worse yet, with every comment you have posted in the past (which I have screen captured for my records before deleting), you have made yourself look like an unstable fangirl.  Is that really an impression of yourself that you want people to see? Do you really think that creating new accounts to “constructively criticize” me and get around my blocking of your accounts is going to accomplish anything but getting you flagged for harassment if you persist in doing it?

While I do welcome constructive criticism, what you’ve said is anything but.  The artist I have done videos for as contacted me personally to THANK ME for making them.  If he had a problem with my work, he would have said so.  He has a manager and a personal assistant, and we have mutual friends.  If he had a problem with the imagery I used to create those videos, he would have said so himself.

If he doesn’t have a problem with it, and he, in fact, LIKES (gasp!) what I have done, why is it such a problem for you?  Think about it.

The bottom line is that the things you have said about me are a reflection of you, rather than a reflection of me.  They are a reflection of your negativity and prejudices.  What I did, I did out of love and support for the artist…and if you can’t see that, you can’t see me.

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Samantha school progress

I am happy to report that Samantha’s morning teacher and I are communicating more often now (and I didn’t even have to contact the social worker).  Sam came home without her mittens, and she happened to still be at the school (and the mittens were still in Sam’s cubby), and we were able to get a nice chat in about everything (or as nice as could be, given how socially awkward I am when it comes to talking on the phone). She has a new communication notebook, and it’s helped a lot.

In other news, Samantha is wearing panties almost all of the time, so potty training may be close to complete.  We had a goal of her fifth birthday, so even with the autism, we are making progress.  On the bad side, she isn’t good about telling me when she needs to go, but I’ve given her free access to the potty, and she’s been really good about using it and staying dry.

Unfortunately, Samantha has used her newfound free access to all of the house to figure out how to open the exterior doors and open interior doors that she shouldn’t open, so we’ve had to retrieve the cats from the basement more than once and retrieve her from the great outdoors.  I thought doorknob covers were past us, but since she doesn’t seem to get the danger in messing with those doors, I’ve ordered some more.

Fortunately, thanks to Swagbucks giving me Amazon gift cards in exchange for the bucks  I’ve earned from using their search engine, I was able to get the covers I wanted for free.  If you would like to join Swagbucks, you can go to http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/LadyCygnet and it will tell them that I sent you.  🙂

I’m really proud of the progress that Samantha has made so far.  I don’t know if parents of neurotypical children Samantha’s age get this proud over simple things like writing things that resemble letters, staying dry, or even hearing their child say, “Mama,” but I’m not ashamed of my enthusiasm over the little things.

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Well, it’s about time you got back here!

It’s been a ridiculously long time since my last blog.

So, what have I been doing?

I’ve had to adjust to a move back to Kirksville from Columbia. Interestingly enough, the landlord who manages this property also manages the first property I called home when I moved up to Kirksville back in 2002.  We haven’t got much in the way of furniture or shelving, so that makes keeping things tidy and organized a challenge, but we make do.

Unfortunately, we had a bad situation with our housemate, and the landlord had to intervene and move him to another property.  He evidently lied to my boyfriend about me and my daughter being welcome here, and when we arrived, he went out of his way to make us feel unwelcome.  He lives elsewhere now.

We also got a puppy for Samantha.  He was an adorable black lab mix named Buddha, and he was a very sweet, mellow pup.  Unfortunately, that pup had Parvo, and I had the horror of witnessing it taking his life, helpless to do anything to ease his suffering, other than soothing him as best I could.  We only had him for five days, but we loved him as much as we could in that short time.  I still love dogs, but every time I see a black dog, regardless of the age, I feel a little pang in my heart.  It’s going to take me a while to get past that.

Two days after Buddha died, a dear friend of mine, Hunter, lost his battle with end-stage lung cancer.  He left behind his children, who had lost their mother a few years prior to a different cancer.  His picture pops up on Facebook every once in a while, and when it does, I cry all over again.  He was only 46, and he had quit smoking, but it was too little, too late by the time he got his diagnosis.  He fought bravely and aggressively, but in the end, the cancer was just too strong.

On February 22, shortly after midnight, my Uncle Bill, who had overcome stage four throat cancer, died of organ failure.  Unfortunately, prior to that, my sister and I had a falling out with Aunt Pam, my mother’s sister and Bill’s wife, because of someone my sister and I had previously disowned over something pretty close to unforgivable.  She had forgiven him and still considered him family; we had forgiven him and forgotten him, disowning him and denying his existence as a blood relative–forgiveness is one thing, but being family is another.  (If you knew what he had done, you would understand why my sister and I disowned him.)  We’re both here for her, though, regardless of whether we’ll ever see eye-to-eye about things.

And yes, my computer is up and running again.  The problem was my hard drive.  Fortunately, we were able to back up the bulk of the files I wanted to keep before the hard drive decided to move on to its next life as a too-light paperweight.  For my next trick, I need to scrape together enough money to get a replacement keyboard for my laptop.  I’m relegated to using a USB keyboard at the moment, and it really cuts down on my ability to be mobile with full use of my laptop.  Alas, money is stupidly tight, so I may have to wait yet another month to get that done.

Should you feel the need to get some artwork and/or contribute to my ability to pay my bills, I have a CafePress store at http://www.cafepress.com/rivsaikmanstudio

In other news, Samantha is going to school full-time Monday-Thursday and a half-day on Friday.  Her afternoon teacher has been good about staying in touch with me, but her morning teacher hasn’t been, and that bothers me.  Talking to the school social worker is on my to-do list, because I need everybody to be on the same page regarding Sam’s education and progress.

Speaking of school, I’ve been taking some free courses through https://www.coursera.org/

I’ve also been spending some of my time playing Wurm.  I fell in with a great community called the Serendipity Alliance, and I’ve really enjoyed being able to help shape the world.  If only real life was so easy!

I have several ideas that I would love to share, but putting them into words is just evading me.  Give me time, though, and I’ll show you what I’ve been dreaming up!

 

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The Real Power of Positive Thinking, Law of Attraction, Etc.

I’m not sure how long this is going to be, and I may tweak it later, but I wanted to write this down to give some encouragement to folks who may be looking at positive thinking, the law of attraction, and all of those other concepts that try to get people to use faith and belief and optimism to move toward their goals.

None of the genuine programs want you to stop with just thinking.  Wishing really hard isn’t going to get you what you want.  Positive thinking isn’t going to make whatever you want land in your lap.

What it will do, however, is open your mind up to possibilities you may have never seriously considered, if you considered them at all.  When you think positively and expect good things to come into your life (and it’s not enough to say it–you have to genuinely believe that good things are coming), your subconscious will start keeping a lookout for those good things or paths to those good things.

And what happens when those ideas start to appear and those pathways start to open up?  You have to take action, of course.  It’s not enough to want and wish.  You have to seize the opportunities as they come, not wait for them to fall in your lap.  Sometimes they will, because life is full of surprises and sometimes you start out in a good position full of opportunities, but 99.9% of the time, you have to take action.