Archives

Struggles Lead to Strength

gratitude

Without the struggles I have endured, I would not be able to appreciate the strength I have gained. For that, today I am grateful. I could look at my life and focus on the negatives: Working two jobs to make ends meet… Living across the country from family and friends… Falling into bed at night from pure exhaustion. But if I did that, I would be living my life miserably.

I have to wake up each day in gratitude. When life gets tough, it is SO easy to have a pity party. Those struggles I’ve endured have led me to where I am today. I kinda like who I have become. I appreciate every little minute detail in my life, because I have been through some very challenging times. On some days, I have to remember the hard times of struggle, and realize that today, I am living in the solution.

Today, my life is FAR from struggle-free. However, I choose each day to get into, and remain in, gratitude! It’s a pretty damn good place to be!

~ Patti Crowley

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Where Darkness Loomed

darkness

Where darkness loomed,

now there is light.

Where emptiness existed,

now exists joy.

Where silence deafened,

now music plays.

Just within reach…

only a few more steps…

the light creeps in…

there for the taking.

The ultimate choice –

take another step or turn around.

~ Patti Crowley

Connecting and Reconnecting Souls

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Connections, true and real connections, are what life is all about. Those times in my life when I felt I was at my lowest, were the times in which I was feeling disconnected from the world… spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I believe we have as much of a need to feel connected as we need air to breathe and water to sustain.

In relationships, people talk about the presence or absence of chemistry. I believe what we feel for another person is more of a soul connection rather than some physical phenomenon such as the existence of pheromones and chemistry. Once that true connection is made, it is unbreakable. There is no argument, no distance, and no situation that can tear that connection apart.

What I’ve learned about relationships is that it is not real until both people truly feel that sense of wanting forever. I have had my share of relationships that felt so right at the time, but in looking back, I realize I never felt a true sense of forever with that person. Sure, I wanted to be with them. Sure, we enjoyed each other’s company – otherwise we wouldn’t have been together. However, when I looked down the road five, ten, even twenty years, I did not have a clear vision of life with that person.

Then, one day you find that your soul has been deeply touched by another person, and you can actually close your eyes and see life with that person, side by side, for years to come. Distance may have pulled you apart physically. Circumstances may have gotten in the way of being with that person. Nevertheless, you find that within a piece of your heart exists a piece of their heart. When circumstances change, and you find yourselves brought together once again, you are drawn together like two magnets with a force that cannot be broken. True connection is, quite simply, a most magnificent thing.

~ Patti Crowley

The Dream No One Sees

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Today is my 48th birthday! I celebrate it with a small circle of friends, and sadly, long distance with my family. Birthdays tend to be a time of reflection for me. I look back at all of the things I wish I would have done, things I did that I regret, but more importantly, things for which I am grateful.

I am sure that some would look at my life and see the chaotic twists and turns, the decisions I have made, and also the mistakes. I experience moments when I wonder how I got here… how my life has brought me to where I am today. I have made so many changes in my life over the years, with the biggest probably being the move I made across country to Arizona last year.

I have made choices based on my gut… decisions which to others may appear to be impulsive. But in reality, I have been following a dream that no one can see except me. One important lesson I have learned is that I no longer have to explain myself to anyone. I know what I want… I know in my heart the peace that I seek. Others may question my dreams… they may even call me silly… and that is okay. I have risked quite a bit to get where I am, and I have made so many mistakes along the way. However, I will never apologize or try to explain searching for a dream of which only I know.

I would rather search aimlessly attempting to fulfill a dream, than to spend the rest of my life without a dream for which to search at all!

~ Patti Crowley

Life is God’s Novel… Let Him Write It

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I have spent a lifetime trying to write my own story… to come up with exciting plots full of wonderful twists and turns… and then filling the pages with extraordinary characters.  Somehow, through everything, I thought that maybe I actually had some say in how the story progressed, and then ultimately, how it would all turn out.  The truth is though, that although I may have been the one physically holding the pen, I was not the one doing the writing and putting those words down on paper.

You see, whether you believe in God or not, I tend to believe that most of us would agree that there is some power out there that is greater than each of us, that guides us and determines the courses of our lives. For me, it is in attempting to control my own course and the courses of others where I find true discomfort.

When I let go, and let myself be guided by faith, goodness unfolds. Many times, I am tempted to pick up that pen and try to write the next scene the way that I would like for it to happen. But I find that the scene never tends to play out the way I had originally intended. Is it because I did a poor job writing? NO. Instead, I think it is because there is a different, maybe even better plan than anything I, myself, could have dreamed up.

My guess is that I have been saved from many potential disasters that might have eventually occurred if I had gotten the things I thought I wanted, or if things had gone the way I thought they should.

So, for today, I am trying to step aside and hand over the rights to my story to something or someone greater, and most likely MUCH smarter, than me!

“Life is God’s Novel. Let Him write it.”

~ Patti Crowley

No Playing Small… No Settling

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Have you ever felt yourself shrinking? Ever kept your mouth closed for fear of being judged, or worse, for sounding too smart? Ever settled for something less than what you knew in your heart would never be quite enough? I may have… a time or two.

I see students in my class shrink into their seats. I know that they understand and are learning, but they are terrified to raise their hands. I see girls act as if they are clueless, when really, they simply get it! Unfortunately, I tend to expect this type of behavior from middle school students, but why is it so common among many adults… myself included?

Consider this scenario: You are out at a party at a friend’s house. You don’t know many of the guests, so you make idle chitchat with a group of near strangers. You silently gauge their level on intelligence based on the conversation, and then get this… you model your own words based solely on their level. You are careful not to sound too uninformed, and even more careful not to sound too smart. God forbid! They might view you as thinking you are superior, and you just cannot fathom that!

Here is another scenario: Have you ever asked a friend what they were wearing before going out together somewhere? I did that exact thing this past New Year’s Eve. A friend of mine was having a party at her home, and for the entire day, we exchanged texts back and forth trying to figure out what to wear. Should we wear dresses? Should we be casual? Are jeans too casual for New Year’s Eve? We even went as far as sending photos to each other of the outfits that were in the running! I cringe at the thought of it now.

I cannot speak for my friend, but I can speak for myself. I was so worried about being dressed properly, but even more so, concerned about being OVER-dressed. I didn’t want people to look at me and view me as thinking I was better than them if I showed up in a dress, and they were in jeans. Why does it even matter??

This prompted me to consider how so many of us worry too much about what others think. But even more disturbing, this holding back that many of us have a tendency to do has a way of keeping us small.

We can never find passion and happiness if we live our lives trying to be small. If we shrink to fit our surroundings, we are hurting any chances for growth… and even for greatness! Instead, try getting BIG… try speaking out… try dressing up… try voicing your opinions! Great things are in store if you think big. Believe you can do something… trust that you deserve only the best, and NEVER, EVER settle!

~ Patti Crowley

I Got Something Perfectly Right

perfectAfter six long months, my adult children have come to Arizona. It is the first time I’ve seen them since I moved here from Chicago in June of 2014. My daughter has moved here permanently, and my 22 year old son is visiting. Life is good!

My decision to move across the country was met with much judgment and many questions, as I’ve chronicled in previous blog posts. I was looked at as selfish by a few of my closest friends, while others completely supported my decision to better my life and start anew. Regardless, I have held fast to the belief that this move was something I was meant to do, and had been waiting for my entire life.

Now that my children are here, I have this feeling that I’ve done something perfectly right… after a lifelong gnawing voice had been telling me I was not perfect. I now fully realize that I will never be perfect, and I have stopped trying to be. However, when I look at my kids, I realize I did do something perfectly right… right for them and right for me.

If the decisions we make throughout our lives have good intentions, then what we have done has been done perfectly right. It does not matter how others view our decisions. They are not living in our shoes… they have not had our experiences… they simply do not know the whole story. Every lesson I have ever taught my children, every piece of advice I have ever offered, and every word I have ever said was taught, offered, or uttered with love and good intentions. If that is truly the case, then how could I have achieved any result that is even less than perfect?

I choose to look back on my life with pride. I am not saying I never made any mistakes… hell, no!  Instead, I am simply saying that I always hoped for the best and did what I thought was best at the time. You could never ask for more than that.

~ Patti Crowley