Proving My Worth So Others Will Believe It

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”—     Theodore Roosevelt

When I started this blog, I didn’t know where I was going with it. I just knew that I had things to share. I simply decided that I was going to allow my words in this blog take me wherever they would. I have taken these words of Theodore Roosevelt to heart. I am doing what I can, with what I have, where I am. I am not stressing about it, I am not worried about my next post, I am simply writing what I have to say when I have it to say. I am writing what I know.

All my life I have had it thrown into my face all the reasons that I couldn’t do something. In some ways it made it easy. I couldn’t do something because. . . whatever, and that was that. Life went on mediocre as ever. It was always, someday, maybe, but not now. Those excuses kept me in my place. What I wanted was somewhere out in the future because the excuses were there to protect me from danger. Oh, I have had my moments when I would step out of my shell. Like the time when I was twenty. I quit my boring job and went to California on a bus and arrived in LA at 3 am and didn’t know a soul there. That was an adventure. I stayed there two days and those two days changed my life, for a while, anyway. For the next six months I focused on what I hoped would be a writing career, but my parents said that I needed to get real and get a job. After a few months of hearing that, I got the job. I allowed myself to be pushed back down into that box. I’m certain you know what box I am talking about,  the box was labeled “The Right Thing to Do”. The problem was, I had been outside that box and had a glimpse of what life could be if I allowed myself to do what I could with what I have where I am. I have never liked that box. I’ve never really fit into it.  I do however like what happens to me when I decide to step out of the box to discover what I am capable of doing. Perhaps I should take a page out of the book of our founding fathers and recognize that before others will see who we are, we have to defend where we see ourselves.

Today in History As It Relates to the American Revolution

This day in history in 1783, Spain recognized United States Independence from Great Britain. Although the United States officially declared its independence from Great Britain, other countries didn’t recognize the country until years later. France was the first to recognize it. France officially recognized US Independence on February 6, 1778 and sent ammunition and supplies to the new country in order to help the US secure its right to call itself a free and independent country. Spain recognized the United States when they recognized that the war was over and the United States had won its right to freedom.

Declaration-of-Independence

The official date that the US declared independence from Great Britain was July 4, 1776. Other countries did not officially recognize it until years later.

Two days after Spain recognized the United States as an independent country, Sweden also recognized the US. Great Britain, of course, officially recognized the United States as an independent country on September 3, 1783 when both Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris.

Other countries did not recognize the US until the Americans had decided for several years that they were separate from Great Britain. Perhaps this is a lesson that I also must learn. I must declare my independence and see myself outside of the box that keeps me from being the best that I can be.

Focusing on Finishing What I Start

Now that I am pretty back to health, I have been focusing on catching up with those things that I got behind on last week. Surprisingly, in most activities, I have not only caught up, but I also was able to proactively get ahead in some areas. Last Friday I wrote this week’s This day in History as It Relates to the American Revolution which made this week’s blogs easy to finish. After the success that I had because they were done Friday, I intend to continue to write them on Friday. All this helps me stick to my resolution to focus on finishing what I have started.

I have been making it a point to keep up with household chores by doing a few things every day. Making my bed, picking up any laundry, washing, drying, folding, and putting away a load or two of clothes every day is a lot easier for me than trying to catch up on numerous loads on Saturday morning. Rather than putting off the dishes until this morning, last night I rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher. This morning I did up the breakfast dishes. Because I didn’t need to catch up with last night’s supper dishes, I had the time to clean out the refrigerator. All this before noon. So far so good.

As far as writing goes, last night I worked on a school project that is due today and write several pages in my novel A Coward’s Solace and the articles for this week are done as well. Over the weekend I worked on two nonfiction booklets that I intend to have done by the middle of next month so that I can post them in kindle as well as in print. I haven’t done anything with Dad’s poem book in a few weeks, I put out some requests for other family members to respond to what I have written, but I haven’t heard anything back. Things seem to be moving along according to schedule, though.

This Day in History As It Relates to the American Revolution

On this day in January 29, 1777, Major General William Heath and his army of 6,000 men abandon their siege on Fort Independence, in Bronx County, New York because bitter cold and a surprise counter assault by the British and an approaching snow storm made it impossible for the poor clad colonials to continue the siege.

George Washington had given Heath orders to assault Fort Independence eleven days earlier on January 18. Washington was under attack in nearby New Jersey and believed that if Heath could defeat the British at Fort Independence, the British would be forced to divert troops from New Jersey to defend the outpost located just outside British-controlled Manhattan.Fort Independence Park Marker

The Patriots had first built Fort Independence in 1776 then burned it when they were forced to evaluate New York. The British partly rebuilt it when they took control later in the year.

A cloudburst on January 25 flooded the Bronx River making it nearly impossible for Patriot troop movement. Teh counter assault and the pending snowstorm forced retreat on January 29, 1777. The fort survived the Patriot’s attack in 1777, but when the British left the fort in 1779, they destroyed the fort.. The British partially rebuilt the fort when they took control later in the year. The fort endured the Patriots’ attack in 1777, but was destroyed again as the British left in 1779 . The city park that now exists on the site memorializes the fort on its front gates, as well as in its name.

Today the location of Fort Independence is a park in Bronx, New York.

Today the location of Fort Independence is a park in Bronx, New York.

What’s Your Hurry?

Have you ever stopped to think about the reason that we Americans are in so much of a hurry? me_on_the_laptopWhy is it that we are always in a rush to get wherever we are going? A few days ago I watched someone pass me seven times while I was on my way home from dropping my husband off at his truck. The person was stopped by the same stop lights that I was stopped at, the person definitely seemed to be in a hurry, but the hurrying wasn’t getting that person to where he or she wanted to go any more quickly than I was going. In addition, the constant passing and cutting bumper riding that the person was doing was not only endangering that individual’s health by the stress he or she was creating for him or herself, it was putting other people in the cars around that person as well. I contrasted this with myself who was in no hurry to get to where I felt no stress getting where I wanted to go, yet, I was getting there as quickly as the stressed out person was getting to wherever he or she was going.

Sometimes you just need to stop fighting the current and simply enjoy the ride.

Sometimes you just need to stop fighting the current and simply enjoy the ride.

How does this relate to either of my resolutions, to finish what I start or loving more?  It relates to how I finish what I start because it reminds me that it is important for me to plan my time properly so that I do not procrastinate and wait until the last minute to finish whatever I want to finish. In addition, it reminds me that I need to allot myself enough time to finish those items. I will get to where I want to go just as quickly and with a lot less pain if I stop to enjoy the journey as I will if I try to rush toward my next goal. It is not that important that I rush to where I want to go. It is more important that I learn to be mindful of where I am and where I want to go. This is why having decided to designate Monday, Wednesday and Friday to post blogs here on The Ugly Duckling, post hubs on Hubpages on Tuesday and Thursdays, why I am limiting my novel writing to 2800 words per week as well as why I am making simple changes in habits related to my health rather than dieting.

      One of the main habits that I want to focus on is being mindful of what I eat and drink. We Americans are so obsessed with rushing around, that we don’t take the time to enjoy what we eat or what we drink. I want to learn to stop and really enjoy the food that I am putting into my mouth. Did you ever notice that the first bite always tastes the best? Part of that has to do with the fact that we salivate in the anticipation of eating and our taste buds and our brain is prepared to set out and enjoy whatever it is that we put into our mouths. I want to be able to take the time actually  to  look at my food. I want to see the symmetry of an apple, the colors of a salad. I want to see all the bright colors of my salad, the green of the lettuce, cucumber and green onion, the creamy whiteness  of the meat, nuts, or dried beans, the redness of the tomatoes , the purpleness of cabbage the orange of carrots, and the bright colors of the fruit that I eat after the salad. I want to listen to the crunch of the vegetables as I chew, feel the tingle of the vinegar in the vinaigrette on my tongue, smell the mixture of smells from the salad, as I load each item onto my fork and put it up under my nose to put it into my mouth. Contrast this wolfing down without really tasting a bland dry fast food hamburger and bun, the same mass produced bun, pickle, catsup, onion, and mustard, and the salty cardboard fries that we have had every other time that we drove up to the drive-through window. Imagine then drinking the overly sweet drink so that we can wash the colorless, flavorless food-replacing substance that would have absolutely no flavor if it were not for the salt and sugar content.

I do not want to miss out on the simple pleasures in life. I want to enjoy the journey every step of the way and I certainly can’t do that if I am in too much of a hurry. Life is meant to enjoy, not hurry through.

Resolving Changes in the New Year

Many times in the past I have resolved any number of goals only to give up on them a few days into the new year. In the past I have resolved to lose weight, quit smoking (I did quit smoking almost 23 years ago, but it wasn’t because of a New Years Resolution that I had made.), get more organized and exercise but to no avail.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

I resolve to finish what I have already started.

This year, I have decided to do something a little different. This year, I am going to limit myself to changing two very specific underlying habits. I will evaluate on a daily basis the progress that I made in changing both habits. In addition,  I plan to evaluate the progress I have made by the end of each month.

Finishing What I have Started

The first habit I want to change is the idea that I do not finish things as I should. I have a lot of things that I need to finish and if I don’t start anything new,I am almost certain that I could work the whole year and never run out of things to do. In July I am scheduled to finish my liberal arts degree so that will be one huge project that I will finish this year without even stressing about adding it to my resolutions. In addition,  I have several novels that I started in NaNoWriMo that I want to finish. My current project is A Coward’s Solace.  I hope to have the second draft of that book finished by May 1, 2014. I have research that I can create into hubs for Hubpages, and I have several nonfiction books that I can finish as well. I plan to continue to write two Hubpages a week for the entirety of 2014.   I have craft projects that I have started, I have book marketing plans that I still need to implement. I also have a number of books I need to read both on my bookshelf and on my Kindle. I have numerous of files on my computer that I need to do in which I need to finish using, or I will either  delegate the task to someone else to finish, or I will need to determine that the opportunity to use whatever it is has passed and I need to discard the project. In addition, there are a number of projects that I told others that I would help them work on. I need to live up to those things that I agreed to do. As I said, I have things to finish.

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Becoming More Loving

That leads me into my second resolution. I will get into the habit of loving more. I need to learn to love myself more. I’m not saying that I need to “look out for number one” more. That is not to say that I should excuse the things that I have done wrong and sweep them under the rug. What I am saying is that I need to learn not to self-sabotage because of guilt or shame. I need to let go of the past and forgive myself of my past wrongs.  I have used personal unforgiveness as an excuse not to do the things that I know that I should be doing.  I need to recognize that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. After all, doesn’t perfect love cast out fear?

I need to learn to submit myself more to what my creator has destined for me to be doing. Jeff and I were talking this morning about Forest Gump and where at the end of the movie he answered the question of whether we are destined or if we choose what we do in our lives. He said that he thought it was both. I know that God has a destiny for me and I desire more than anything to choose that destiny that I was meant to fulfill. I choose to follow that destiny–the destiny of love.

I have always seen myself as a Christian, but lately I have been rather distressed with how Christians are portrayed in the media. However, I don’t see the the problem as originating from the media I see the problem as originating with Christians ourselves. This reminds me of one of my Dad’s poems called Faults:

When it comes to faults in others,

We use our eyes tis true,

But to the faults which are our own,

We use our eyelids too.

When confronted with a question like do you view homosexuality as sin, I have determined that whether or not another person sinned,  is none of my business. God tells me not to judge another person. My responsibility is to love them and judge my own sin. I have determined that what another person does in the confines of his or her bedroom is not my concern. It is the business of that individual, that individual’s partner, and God. My job is to love that person and to introduce that person to the God of love, nothing more and nothing less. I’ll leave God to deal with that person’s spiritual condition. God is far better at it than I could ever be.

This way of thinking brings me back  to the rubber band bracelets a number of years ago that had  WWJD stamped in them. The WWJD stood for What would Jesus do? So what did Jesus do? He loved people, he didn’t condemn them. That’s what I want to do. I want to love others like Jesus loved them. Today, this first day of 2014, I resolve to begin down the path of love.

If I follow through on just these two things, I know that I will have a Happy, Productive 2014!