Tag Archive | faith

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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The Dream No One Sees

dream

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

life-is-gods-novel-let-him-write-it-3

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

Don’t Look Back… You’re Not Going That Way

don't look back

If I drove my car while looking back… I would surely crash. So why is it that I have lived my life looking back? Every decision I have made, seems to be rooted in the past. Failures or mistakes of the past have colored these decisions. Every new experience causes me to wonder if I will make the same mistakes, or will result in the same failures.

I may be a slow learner, but at least I am learning! I am coming to believe that if I focus on today, knowing that I am a different (maybe even better) person than I was in the past, it is not necessary to repeat the past. How many times have we failed to hear our friend’s laughter, the sound of the birds chirping, the smell of honeysuckle flowers which came into bloom recently? We were never able to lay claim to them because we were so lost in our own thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow.

Staying in today, staying in the NOW…. this is the only way to grow. Looking back and living in the past will keep you stuck, not allowing you to grow and change into the person you were meant to be.

This instant is the only time there is. ~ Gerald Jampolsky

Turn your head around… stop looking over your shoulder… stop judging yourself so harshly for mistakes you’ve made. Today is a new day. It may very well be the start of your new life. Go forward, and don’t look back!

~ Patti Crowley

Practicing Patience for the Things That Matter Most

patience

Impulsivity. This can be seen as a positive quality to possess… but impulsivity is NOT the same as spontaneity. If you look up the definition of each in the dictionary, the actual definitions are quite similar, yet they have different connotations. Spontaneity tends to refer to being flexible and willing to try new things without having to plan it out, whereas impulsivity seems to be a bit more negative. I think of impulsiveness when I consider a person who is a bit reckless… making decisions on a whim with no regard for the consequences. But all of this is just semantics!

I used to act incredibly impulsive… making unnecessary purchases, making decisions about relationships, and making sudden career decisions. Were some of those decisions reckless? Hell, yes! But more and more, I am learning to practice patience. It can be brutal sometimes. It seems, however, that when I learn to be patient, the right things tend to come along. The things I rush into having are usually things that will not last too long. If I buy a shirt on a whim, typically I end up not really liking it too much… sometimes I may even return that impulse buy.

On the other hand, the things about which I think long and hard… the things for which I truly plan and wait, are usually the things that I am meant to have, or the people with whom I am supposed to be. Patience is a virtue, or so they say. If we wait, and have faith that it will all work out, then we will probably end up with what is best for us in the long run.

If you want something really special, and you hope to have it in your life for a long time or even forever, then wait. Have patience and faith that if it is truly meant to be, and more importantly, if it is RIGHT for YOU, it will be yours. The waiting will most certainly be worth it!

~ Patti Crowley

A Stranger on the Corner

This morning I was on my way to work when I saw a man with a sign looking for help. I have always wondered how anyone could stand on a corner in 100 degree heat begging for money, when instead, they could be out looking for a job. But this morning, something inside of me changed. I sat at the light and looked at that man. He had kind eyes. For what felt like an eternity, I thought about my own situation. Money has been so tight, and I barely make it between paychecks. I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses, make more money, and find a way to get ahead.

Then I looked at this gentle soul standing there in the brutal heat, while I am sitting in my air-conditioned car. As low as I am on funds this particular week, I reached in my purse and found only three dollars. I pulled the money out and held it in my hand. I watched as he walked back toward the intersection with a defeated look on his face as driver after driver looked away from him in avoidance. I opened my window and called out to him.

As he approached my car, I felt this overwhelming compassion for this man about whom I knew nothing. As I handed him the money, I made a weak apology for only having a few bucks. He said, “Every dollar helps. God bless you.” Tears welled up in my eyes, and I quietly said to him, “This Too Shall Pass”.

giving

Why I felt so much emotion at this small gesture, I am unsure. What I do know is that it gave me the most incredible feeling of joy and peace. This may seem like such a trite thing to some reading this, but I assure you, this little act of kindness did way more for me than it probably did for him.

I remember my mother always saying to me that it is better to give than receive. Honestly, those words never meant much to me. I do, however, remember the feeling I got when someone opened a present from me that I was so excited to give. But giving is so much more than picking out the perfect pair of earrings for your mother or getting those concert tickets that your daughter has been wanting so desperately. It is about the feelings the act of giving evokes within.

It is embarrassing to admit that when I held the three dollars in my hand, I momentarily thought that I needed the cash to buy a Coke Zero later. Handing that money to someone in need touched my soul, and only made me want more of that feeling.

As Maya Angelou says in the quote above, “No one has ever become poor from giving”. Today, I am simply inspired!

~ Patti Crowley

 

History Starts Now…

What kind of world do you wanthistory starts now
Think Anything
Let’s start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now…

– Five for Fighting

The lyrics above are from a song entitled, World.  I heard it while listening to my Pandora app in the car and it nearly made me pull over.  I remembered something that happened when my now-18 year old daughter was in three year old preschool.  One day when I was picking her up, her teacher pulled me aside and told me that Megan had handed in her artwork and proudly exclaimed, “Here is my masterpiece!”  We laughed at how funny that word sounded coming from a three year old.  But I digress….

The song brought that adorable memory back, and made me smile.  However, there is so much more significance for me to the lyrics from the song.  It made me think of how so few of us live in the moment. Many of us wake up each morning dreading the day ahead, worried about the future, and feeling regret from the past.

What if we looked at this moment as the start of our lives?  We have the ability to live for right now.  So why not make a decision to stop whatever it is we are doing at this moment, and think about what kind of world we want?  We can “think anything”, “start at the start”, and “build a masterpiece”.  We can do anything we want with our lives (within reason I suppose!), live anywhere we choose to live, and be whoever it is we want to be.

So, be careful what you wish for…  Your History Starts Now!

~ Patti Crowley