Hope, Contentment, Gratitude

Some days, I feel like I can see my future, and for the most part, I’m content with what I see. Other days I’m not so sure. I suppose we all have our vision of what’s ahead and I’m lucky if I believe my options are good ones.

Yet I can’t help it, I hope for something a little better. I want some things I don’t have now, not material things (although financial security is always a good thing) but some sense of satisfaction with what I’ve accomplished.

My writing, for example. I wrote a novel, but it’s so flawed that I really need to scrap much of what I’ve written and start over. The writing is good but the plot needs some help, and some of the basics such as location need to be fleshed out. There are other flaws I’m acutely aware of but don’t know how to remedy. So I’m a little stuck, and don’t know whether to keep plugging away at this novel or start a new one altogether.

It’s an election year, and I have hope for the outcome in November–and deep fear as well. Enough said.

To be perfectly honest, hope isn’t an overriding feeling in my life. In fact, I’m greatly discouraged by much of my current situation and don’t have a lot of hope for anything changing in the foreseeable future. So I’m trying to grab hold of hope and implement it into my life. Look for the ways things could change and believe in them.

I’m grateful for much of what I have, and if I have any hope at all, it’s that those things I’m grateful for will stay in my life. My job, for example. It’s not a perfect situation–what job is perfect, after all–but I’m so thankful to be working. In the current climate I’m one of the lucky ones.

My mom and dad are both living, in their 80s and healthy, and I have hope they’ll be around for awhile. My mom just lost a close friend, a woman she’d been friends with since they were three years old, who was also healthy but died suddenly of a stroke. Barb had been playing tennis almost literally until the day she died, so losing her was a shock to everyone. I hope I don’t have that kind of shock any time soon.

Hope is a funny thing. It needs to be coupled with gratitude or we’ll get lost in the mire of what we think we’re missing. Contentment is good, and contentment with hope sounds like an ideal situation. I have a little of all of this, including the mire part, and I want more hope in my life.

But if the future rolls out the way I see it now, I’ll be okay.


Image Credit:  ©krissikunterbunt – stock.adobe.com


Tenacity Rewarded

I did it—I have a job.

It’s not an exciting career job, and I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of room for advancement. But I’m working with a well-established, reputable company, the benefits are great and the people are generous.

I admit I have my moments when I say to myself, “I have a college degree yet I’m doing this menial work.” Those moments don’t last very long, especially since this is a job you have to work at to keep up with, so I’m distracted with the task of getting it done. Not just getting it done, but getting it done right. If I don’t do my job well, it has ramifications for a long line of people.

I realize that, at my age, a lot of people are faced with the same situation, that is, a job that doesn’t take full advantage of their skills, experience and talent. Agism becomes an issue and you take whatever job is offered, regardless of how well qualified you are for higher level work. In my case, a major setback eight years ago kept me away from my career path, and that gap is hard to overcome.

One kind of cool thing is the hours. I’m working noon to 8:30, so I have my mornings to run errands, visit the doctor and write. At least, that’s the theory. It seems I can get myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m., but staying out is another story.

So I have my outlets. I love to write and have three blogs to prove it (although admittedly this blog has been neglected as of late). If you’re wondering, take a look to the right of this post and you’ll see the plug for one of my other blogs, Classic for a Reason—Reviews of Films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The third is a knitting blog.

Another writing outlet is my writing group. It’s a great group of ladies who have a tremendous amount of experience. We meet every Saturday to share our work. It provides me with the motivation to get up at 7:00 so I can put in a few hours of writing before I go to work, although, as I mentioned before, I’m having a hard time convincing my body that eight or nine hours of sleep is enough.

So I’m doing better these days, and maybe I’ll get back to writing for this blog on a more regular basis. I hope so, because I miss the interaction with all of my blogging buddies (some of you have been very loyal and I am grateful for your friendship).

See you soon in the blogosphere.


Dive in — The Water’s Fine

My world is changing, once again.

Actually there are lots of changes…the end of a truly difficult time is approaching, and there is hope for a future project. Someone I relied on is out of my life and isn’t coming back, but someone new has stepped in. I’ve been working full-time as a temp at a job that soon may be permanent. What’s more, it’s a job in my field — something I never thought I’d see again.

A few years ago things looked so bleak I couldn’t see my way out. Slowly the wind turned, and a fresh breeze began winding its way through my life.

I am grateful for the good in my life.

Still, I find myself sometimes focusing on my failures and shortcomings. I notice I still don’t have a sofa to replace the aging futon that sits in my living room. I struggle to pay my bills many months. There’s a difference in that struggle now, however. I do get the bills paid, I can buy groceries, and I can even buy the occasional treat for myself.

My makeup is running low and I’m not sure how I’ll afford to replace it, but I believe I’ll figure out a way. For so long I couldn’t afford it and went without. As someone who likes the way she looks better when there’s a little (just a little) war paint on, that was a challenge.

And I always have a ton of toilet paper. As God is my witness, I will never run out of toilet paper again. I think I said that once before.

I’m mindful of what my dad has told me: whether times are good or times are bad, we always think they’re never going to end. I’m enjoying the good times, but I know life, being what it is, will present me with challenges once again.

The good thing about surviving the storm is you feel prepared for the next one. Not that you want it, but it doesn’t scare you.

Jump. The water’s fine.

Photo Credit:  © raduga21 — stock.adobe.com


Time and Tide

Every once in awhile there is a break from the agony of lonely days, the pain of endless nights.

It might be the grumpy baby who looks at you and smiles. The friend who brings over some light bulbs she had in her closet; they don’t fit anything in her home, but would they work for that overhead fan you have? You’ve put off buying anymore of those bulbs because they burn out so quickly, yet these, these work…that room is no longer dark.

Perhaps, if you’re lucky, it’s a major break, something that will change the tide.

I’m ready for the tide to turn.

Photo © Pellini — Bigstock

Better Days

Is there a balance of pain?

Do people with chronic illness, loss of the precious, or injustice in their lives get a break elsewhere?

We all face good times and bad times in life. Some have chronic problems, others have temporary, albeit serious, challenges. It’s hard to view the latter as temporary, however, when the consequences can stay with you for years, decades, a lifetime.

BalanceLife isn’t always fair, and you may be faced with more dark times than others around you. The balance, as I see it, is in part how those times change you and make you a better person.

Yes, I’ll say it, the people who have been refined by fire are better people. More compassionate, more accepting, wiser and perhaps, if they’re lucky, more content, regardless of circumstances.

But in the middle of the storm, it can be difficult to face the day when you know it will be a challenge. The choice to escape, in whatever way is available to you, becomes an overwhelming temptation.

Those escapes sometimes bring their own problems. Watching television instead of taking action might drag out the time you will be facing difficulties. Drugs or alcohol, well, I don’t have to detail what they can do to you, robbing you of everything you hold dear.

Motivation becomes its own challenge. The chipper platitudes don’t always work when times are tough. It takes experience to know there will be an end to the loneliness, fear and sadness. For me, the quotes that acknowledge my pain, yet hint (at the very least) at hope are the most meaningful.

It’s darkest before dawn.

Maybe it looks like you got more than your fair share of bad times. I can’t promise there will be enough good times to offset those days, but I do believe there are better things ahead.


We are told “life is good,”  “make lemonade” and “don’t worry–be happy,” but sometimes we have to acknowledge a sorrowful time in life. If you don’t do so, you likely are compounding the problem.

But once you do, you are free to do two things: address the pain, and truly believe the sun will rise.

It may rise slowly, but one day you will look up and there it will be, high in the sky.

That’s the hope of better days.

Image Credits: (Rainbow) © Pellinni — Fotolia; (Balance) © frender — Fotolia; (Balloons) © Bigstock

To Whom Shall I Turn

Emotionally drained. When will this end?

Unfair is unfair. I’m being treated like less than I am because of the vile ego of others.

I face moments of great stress and fear because others wouldn’t let go when the facts said, “you are wrong.” Make this right.

I’m tired, fragile. I thought it was past me, but it lingers.

God grant me the strength to survive this hell.

And God, rain fire on those who abuse their authority.

And grant me the strength, and desire, to forgive.

Photo Credit: dariazu — Bigstock

Dream a Little, Then Dream Bigger

Life is getting better.

Path through a mysterious dark old forest in fog

A few years ago the future seemed bleak, unpromising and frightening. I tried to believe things would get better, but I couldn’t imagine how that could happen. I just had to believe, though, had to keep my faith in God. He knew the way out.

There was a point, perhaps the lowest, when I was so broke I couldn’t afford toilet paper, and I’d used the last roll. Even if I’d had the money, I didn’t have enough gas in my car to get to the store to buy it. It was December, and it was snowing. I walked two miles to the food bank, where they gave me a roll of toilet paper, and a few other things.

One roll, that was all they could give me. Normally they would have had more, but it was a bad month for many people.

These days you can bet I’m always well-stocked in toilet paper. It’s a thing with me. I get below a back-up supply of four rolls and I panic. I even have a spare “hidden” for emergencies. Thankfully, I have the income to buy as much toilet paper as I need. Which may not sound like much to you, but as God is my witness... (GWTW fans will get that last line).
Beacon in the Storm-1
A year ago, I wrote this post about finding a new home I could afford and getting a part-time job to supplement my current income. Well, yesterday that first part happened. I’ll be moving in two months to a townhome that offers so much more than where I’m living now, for an affordable amount each month. It’s — dare I say it — perfect. I’m holding my breath, it doesn’t seem real.

What’s more, I got another housesitting gig that will cover the cost of moving. Did I mention my current least is up at the end of August? The timing, for me and my new landlord, is perfect. I have to believe God has something to do with all of this. And yes, credit to my friend Deb, who negotiated the townhome deal for me, on her own initiative. After seeing where I was living, she wanted me to find someplace safe.

Life is a journey, and some stops are better than others. I know if I’m blessed to live long enough I’ll face hard times again, but I also know I’ll have gained wisdom to get through them. Wisdom, faith and God. Thank you, God, for all three, and for friends & family who care.

Image Credits: (forest path) ©denbelitsky — Bigstock.com; (lighthouse) © Sharon B — Bigstock.com

A Grown-Up Fairy Tale or Two, Please

No one had greater belief he could slay dragons than my late cat Montero when he was a mere six weeks old.

Mighty Montero
No one was braver than Mighty Montero — he was pretty mighty, and mighty pretty.

So brave was he I gave him the nickname “Mighty Montero.” It stuck, even when he mellowed with age and stopped facing obstacles seemingly too big to overcome. At some point, his greatest concern was getting prime position on the sofa. No dragons there.

Anyone who’s spent much time with kittens will tell you they’re fearless. Their little tails fly high, until they think all humans are out of sight, when they relax and let down their guard. But they never doubt they’re in charge. And thus they are.

Fearless in the Face of a Dragon
Now, if you think the dragon is going to win this showdown, you don’t know kitties.

Of course harm can come to kittens, and so we protect them. Harm can come to children as well, and we do the same there. In centuries past part of protecting your child included telling stories of danger in the woods such as Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel & Gretel. It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out what those tales were really about.

I still take that kind of danger to heart, but now I’m responsible for protecting myself. I’m cautious, perhaps overly cautious, in some areas. Unfortunately, in other areas, I don’t always know when it’s safe to take risks, when the dragons can be slain without chance of them rising again and quenching me with their fire.

I weary, at times, of getting hurt, of making the same damn mistakes over and over again. I tire of gathering the courage to do what I need to do, only to have it whip me back into solitude. I need an old-fashioned grown-up fairy tale, one that tells me dragons can be vanquished, to believe in happy endings again.

dragon fire extinguisher sm
Well, why didn’t I think of this before?

I need to know I have the power to do it and make it work.

Tomorrow, I know, I’ll be back on my feet again. I’ll get past the pain and I’ll start to see the good.

Damn dragons.

Image Credit: (lady and dragon) © wickerwood — Fotolia (cat and dragon) © ya_mayka – Fotolia


A Quiet Celebration

Every once in awhile, life throws us a curve ball — a really cool, out-of-the-blue,  unexpected, happy curve ball. Now, I’m not really sure that as a sports term, curve ball is the accurate phrase here, but you get what I’m saying. Something we didn’t expect.

Most of the time, it seems, those unexpected events knock you off your feet with their negative consequences. You don’t know what to do at first, you’re floundering until someone or something helps you get it together. In this case, initially I was cautious. If I celebrated, did I break the spell?

Then I thought, if this is good news, it’s going to stick. If it only seems to be good news, if it turns out to be something else, then why not enjoy the momentary sense of relief anyway? I’m certainly well aware things can change. It’s not as if they did, I’d be disillusioned or destroyed.

So I’m going to celebrate. Quietly, and just with the kitties. But I’ll have a good evening. Because when good things happen, we need to mark the moment.

Victory Girl sm

just a phone call away

One day, I woke up to the phone ringing. It was a woman I barely knew, but had talked to not long before about needing a new home.

The place I lived in was no longer adequate. In fact, it never had been adequate, but after my latest fearful call to the police, they’d strongly suggested I move out. Soon.

home sweet home smI think I may have found the perfect place for you,” she said. After a brief description, I knew she was absolutely right. It was perfect. I’d love it. My cats would love it. It was within easy walking or driving distance of…well, everything. Best of all, it had character.

One thing, though. Certainly it would be too expensive. There was no way a place this ideal could fit my teeny-tiny budget. I mentally held my breath and asked, “how much is it?”

She told me the price. Only slightly more than I was paying now. The utilities would definitely be higher, but I’d figure out a way. Not a half hour later, that way came to me via another call.

“I’ve got a job and you were the first person I though of,” my friend Wanda told me. “It’s only part-time, but it could grow to something full-time within a year. It’s yours if you want it.”

I already had a part-time job, and the hours for this one were exceptionally flexible, which I absolutely needed.

I lay there in bed, thinking, I must be dreaming.

I felt some soft paws tapping my forehead. Time to get up, the kitties were saying. The alarm went off. Time to get up, it was telling me. I opened my eyes. My phone was nowhere in sight. I had been dreaming. Damn.

But it could happen, right?

Daily Prompt: Grand Slam

Image credit: © Ekaterina Garyuk – DollarPhotoClub.com

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