Words on a Screen

texting

Words on a screen
Don’t express the real thing.
Misinterpreted
Misunderstood
Not reflecting the true mood.
He said
She said
Words come out wrong.
He wonders
She wonders
Is it time to move on?
Truths not revealed,
Feelings never expressed
Since the only communication
Was based on a text.

~ Patti Crowley

 

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

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

Where is Home?

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I have now been in Arizona for 15 months, and soon will be heading back to Chicago to visit for the first time since I moved. You know the saying… “Home is where the heart is.”  I believe this to be true today more than ever. Although my mailing address is in Arizona, a HUGE part of my heart will always be with those I love back in Chicago. Luckily, I have made so many new friends in my new location which has given me even more reasons to love my life surrounded by the desert mountains.

Those who have not moved around may not completely understand the quote above. I have been given the opportunity to experience the “richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. How lucky am I? 🙂

The only drawback to moving across the country is not truly being able to identify where “home” really is. I love my life in Arizona, but at this particular time, my adult children, family, and many friends are back in Chicago. It is as if I live in the midst of two separate, yet deeply connected worlds. It has recently occurred to me that when I think of a place called home, it really does not exist.

So, I suppose home really is where the heart is. It exists wherever those I love exist. It is really not a physical place, but a feeling. In two weeks, I will go back home to Chicago to visit. Then, when the visit is over, I will return home to Arizona. Isn’t it a beautiful thing?

~ Patti Crowley

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

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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

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

Real Connections Never Disappear

IMG_4595 (1)Throughout our lives, people come and go. You’ve heard the saying, “People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

Everyone has a purpose for entering our lives. Maybe you worked with them, got to know them, and then left that job for another, losing contact altogether. Maybe they were your classmate in college, you were incredibly close, and maintained a friendship long after graduation. Maybe you loved them, and then drifted apart, only to wonder about them often.

When we experience connections which are deep and real, they never really disappear. They may lie under the surface, completely intact. The person with whom you shared the connection remains a real part of who you are. Now, if you are lucky to have the opportunity to reconnect… if that relationship was real, it will be as if no time has ever passed.

I have enjoyed so many seasonal friendships over the years. I hold no regrets about the past, and the people who entered, and then left, my life. Many of those friendships, in retrospect, turned out to be friendships for a reason. Maybe they taught me something about life, or even about myself. Maybe I was the one to add something to their lives. Whatever the reason, I cherish each and every one, because I am who I am today because of every contact, every emotion, and every lesson.

Now the lifetime friendships… well, we never really know which relationships will be of this type… at least at first. Maybe we will never really even realize it. The relationships that are meant for a lifetime are the ones that stem from real, true, honest connection of one soul to another. Usually, you can tell in an instant that the friendships are special. These friendships are effortless, refreshing, and true.

Lifetime friendships can ebb and flow, where you move into and out of each others lives at times. However, with these true connections, each time you reconnect, it is as if no time has passed at all.

All types of relationships are worthwhile, and help us to become who we are. But the lifetime friendships… now those are the ones worth living for. They bring immense joy into our lives, and help us to see meaning in our lives. Hang onto these… cherish them… and enjoy the fact that they will never fade away… if they are really real!

~ 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