Truths not revealed,
~ Patti Crowley
~ Patti Crowley
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
This quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of my all time favorites. However, isn’t it funny that we can hear quotes like this over and over, but we ignore the message. Yesterday, I was on my early evening run, and I noticed some beautiful fall blooms. As this is my first fall here in Arizona, I am constantly seeing new things, and these flowers were so pretty that I had to stop. But unfortunately, I stopped just long enough to snap a quick photo with my iPhone so that I could post on Facebook when I got back.
Did I breathe in their sweet fragrance? Did I linger just long enough to truly appreciate their beauty? Nope! I snapped the photo quick and got right back to my run. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I do not enjoy the views while I run, but the fact that I stopped long enough only to take a photo speaks volumes about the way many of us, myself included, live our lives.
I have to admit that I am getting much better at opening my eyes and seeing, truly seeing, what is around me. Ever since moving here this past June, I marvel at the views of the mountains on my drive into work each day. Last night, I was driving to a girlfriend’s home at sunset. Up north, there was this gorgeous set of isolated cloud formations in view. Within that formation, there was intermittent lightning, and it was spectacular. I found myself smiling at the wheel, loving the light show.
But the beauty does not end with nature. So many of us would rather text each other, skype, or send messages on Facebook than actually get together and spend time with each other. We say that life is busy. Now that may be true, but life should never be so busy that we avoid that personal connection, that face-to-face time with each other. I miss so many of my family and friends back in Illinois, and have no choice but to rely on technology to maintain the connection for now. But how many of us have our family and friends within reach, yet we rely on texting as our main means of communication?
Worse yet… how many of us find that even when we are in the presence of our family and friends, we are still looking at our phones?! I see this every single day! Sitting at a cafe having lunch yesterday, I watched a family sitting together at a table. The father was on his phone, and one of his daughters was also on her phone. The mother looked off to the side, watching others in the cafe. It made me sad.
This video says it all. Please take just a few minutes to watch this. It’s message is invaluable.
So even if just for today… Let’s commit to putting down our phones and looking around!
~ Patti Crowley
Today, my youngest left for college and I wasn’t there to see her off. As I’ve talked about in other posts, I recently moved from Chicago to Arizona. My daughter and I had planned to move together, and she would attend college out here. At the last minute, she decided she would attend her first year in Illinois and then move out here after the school year. As sad as I was about that decision, I completely supported her in it, and only want her to be happy with her choices.
With a new job and the financial strain of having just moved across country, I was unable to manage a trip back to Illinois to see her off to school. I have been devastated about this, and it has caused me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt. What kind of a mother can’t find a way to be there for her daughter at such an exciting and life-changing time in her life?
Although Megan had her father with her for her move, I still feel as though she needed her mom. Here I am in Arizona, with a job I love and a life I love… but I missed out on one of the most important events in my daughter’s life. I told my daughter that I would probably only be able to swing one trip back this fall… so it would have to be either move in day or parent weekend. She said she would prefer that I come for parent weekend. But ugh… the damn guilt is eating me alive.
So proud I am of her. What a beautiful, generous, intelligent, and savvy young woman she has become! She is growing up and making adult choices for herself, and I see her as being smart way beyond her years. When I shared my feelings of guilt at not being there, a good friend offered some terrific advice. These were the words she said to me, which offered tremendous comfort:
“Remember, Patti. Your daughter is capable and brave, and it is an honor for you to witness the new ways she is expanding her life that are fully in line with the natural order of things. You may not be there with her today, but you can find new and meaningful ways to show her love and support.”
So to my beautiful daughter, I say:
“Megan, I love you more than I can ever fully express through words, but of course, I will try! 🙂 You are the light of my life. You inspire me with your passion for life, your love of others, and your compassion for the students you’ve worked with over the last four years. What an amazing special education teacher I know you will be. Lives will be forever changed for the better because of you… trust me on this. You have a sense of self-respect that is admirable. You make me (and everyone you meet) laugh uncontrollably… especially when your chin quivers and your eyes tear up while your gut aches from laughing.
You love and respect your big brother, and I know that the two of you will always have each other’s backs… long after your father and I are gone… I take a great deal of comfort in that. I have not always been the best mother, but you loved and supported me through both the good and the bad times. I have gradually witnessed you grow from the sweet little chubby cheeked child, into a tall, beautiful young woman who carries herself with amazing grace. I love that you have my eyes… they are identical to mine and I love that we share that trait.
And so it begins, my sweet girl. May your college experience be filled with wonderful adventures, many lifelong friends, and a world experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Enjoy every single moment! I will be with you, in your heart and always right here, every step of the way.
I love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)
My silly little boy was such a delight. He made me laugh constantly. Sadly, he had a condition that caused him to faint suddenly with no warning. It started when he was in kindergarten… probably around the same time as this photo was taken. It frightened us, but the doctors told us that he checked out fine, and was just one of those kids that faints from time to time. Young and inexperienced as we were as parents, we accepted this diagnosis.
The fainting went on for years. When he was in sixth grade, we had moved to a new area and had a new physician. He had another fainting spell, so we took him in. The doctor immediately suggested we see a pediatric cardiologist that day. After a number of various tests, Michael was given a stress test. On the treadmill, he went into v-tach (ventricular tachicardia). He was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome… a condition in which the heart goes into a dangerous rhythm. The result is either losing consciousness or full cardiac arrest. We had been lucky up to that point to say the very least.
Michael had to have an internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD) put in, and overnight, had to quit all sports, which he loved. It was devastating to him. The day of his surgery, we were terrified. He had been sent to Children’s Memorial in Chicago to ensure he had the best electrocardiologists. I stayed overnight in his room the night before surgery, and we watched Napoleon Dynamite. He was so oblivious to the magnitude of his condition, which was truly a blessing. His father and I, and most of our family members, waited for news during the procedure. Every time someone walked through those doors, we all nearly jumped out of our seats. Finally, a nurse came in and said, “The implant went well. Now the doctors will stop his heart to make sure the device shocks his heart back.”
At that moment, my own heart stopped. My thoughts were all over the place. “They were stopping my baby’s heart!” I broke down, and for the first time since our divorce, my ex took me in his arms and we held each other. The surgery went well, and our boy was just fine. I walked into the recovery room to the sound of his quiet voice crying, “Mommy”. He hadn’t called me mommy since he was a very little boy and I melted.
Today, my boy is 21 years old. He is the most kind-hearted, genuine, funny, and intelligent young men I have ever known… okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but it is all TRUE! He had surgery last week to replace the ICD device with a newer model, and he is in excellent health. He may be an adult, but he will always be my little boy. I was just as nervous with this surgery as I was the first time around. Things never change, and most certainly, neither does a mother’s love. He is the light of my life, and I am forever grateful for the doctors who discovered his condition and saved his life. I count my blessings every day.
~ Patti Crowley
Acceptance is really the key to happiness. When I accept that things are exactly as they are supposed to be, and the people in my life are exactly who they are supposed to be, all is well in my world.
When things are bothering me, and I am feeling unsettled, the truth is that it is because I am finding some person, place, thing, or situation unacceptable to me. I read that recently and it has stuck with me. It made me realize that those occasional feelings of uneasiness, the trouble sleeping, the anxious thoughts… they are a result of me wishing that some person would act better, or that situation would resolve itself, and so on.
I have to remind myself of one very important truth. That truth is that nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. I believe that to the core of my being. If I am trying to control another person or a situation, I am saying that I know better than God.
So the bottom line is this… I have to accept that things are the way they are supposed to be, whether I like it or not. If I can honestly accept that, only then can I find the peace.
Today, I have that sense of peace. Today, I concentrate on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes, instead of looking at what needs to be changed in my world. When I can accept that I am who I am, and things are as they are supposed to be, then all will be well with my world!
~ Patti Crowley
This cracked me up… It is exactly how I feel today. One year closer to half a century old. Okay, okay, so I have a few years left before I turn the big 5-0. For the past 6-7 years, I have said each year on my birthday that old age is still far better than the alternative. Oh, how true!
Growing older brings about feelings of what we could’ve done, should’ve done, and have yet to do before time runs out. Pretty dismal thoughts, right? But the truth is, I am at a place in my life where I simply do not want to live with regrets. I wake up each day and try to do the next right thing. Sure, there are things I have yet to do. I will get to them, and hopefully sooner rather than later.
So today is my birthday. My children are still in Illinois, and I am here in Arizona. I miss them so very much, but they both called to wish me a happy birthday. Trust me, the fact that my 21 year old son remembered AND actually called me is a miracle in and of itself. Not having them here gives me too much time to think about the actual birthday event, and in thinking of turning 47, I suppose I should be making a bucket list. Then I wonder, “What’s the point?” As things come up that I want to do or accomplish, I can either set my mind to make them happen, like making this move to Arizona, or I can decide they aren’t really all that important after all. I look at people who have made up bucket lists with things like the following:
1. Climb Mt. Everest.
3. Drive a race car.
I mean, seriously, how important are these types of bucket list items? If you want to climb Mt. Everest, start collecting your spare change in a jar marked “mountains”. If you want to drive a race car, post something on facebook. Chances are you have a friend somewhere, who knows someone, who knows someone with a race car hobby.
I say, forget the lists. Start living now. Want something to happen? Damnit, make it happen. Have a dream? Start living it right this very minute. There is no dream worth putting off. If it seems unattainable, figure out a way to make it attainable. Where there is a will, there is a way. Believe me on this!
~ Patti Crowley
Browsing around Barnes and Noble, I saw a plaque with the following saying on it:
Believe it or not, I had never heard that quote before. The funny thing is, when I moved from IL to AZ just under a month ago, many of my friends asked if I was trying to find myself. I laughed it off, and said that I’ve been looking for a long time and haven’t found anything yet!
I suppose that answers the question for me. I will never “find” myself. The only self I will be showing to the world is the self which I create. I don’t want to find myself… Instead, I want to create the me that I want to be.
We have the power to be who we want to be, do what we want to do, and go where we want to go. I proved that to myself by picking up my life, packing it all in a 20 foot U-Haul truck, and moving myself across the country on a leap of faith. I want to create a “me” with whom I could see myself being best friends. Think about it… don’t we all want to be the person that others want to be around.
I am creating, and re-creating, myself each and every day. I am not looking to find out who I am. I will never know that for sure. So here I sit, writing, looking forward to each new day, and praying for the guidance to help me be the best ME I can be!
~ Patti Crowley
Today I was given a gentle reminder to live for today. There are times when I go through my day feeling disconnected. I do not realize the lives I touch and the lives that touch me each and every single day. A perfect example is a man who came to be known as my “car mechanic” back in Illinois. The first time I stopped in to get my oil changed, the owner was extremely kind to me. He did not try to upsell me, or make me feel like a typical clueless woman who knows nothing about cars (which happens to be the truth about me). I remember leaving that day wondering if he was being nice to me because I was a woman, or if he was just a good businessman. The reality is that he was simply kind and genuine.
I continued to go back, and always received the same fair and kind treatment. When my tires were desperately in need of being replaced a few years ago, I was distraught because I was pretty low on cash. He looked at me and said, “Patti, I simply cannot let you continue to drive on those tires. One is bound to blow out at any given time and that would be unsafe. I will get you the best price, and you can pay me whenever you can.” WOW. He did, and I repaid him within a few weeks.
Things like that continued to happen over the years. I will not recount each and every kindness, but this was truly the most kindhearted and gentle man I have ever met.
This morning, a good friend of mine, who also went to my mechanic for all of his car repairs and service at my suggestion, called to tell me that he brought his car in for an oil change. When he saw our mechanic’s door was closed, my friend asked if he was on vacation. With tears welling up in her eyes, Marge, the office manager I suppose, looked at my friend and told him the very sad news. Our mechanic, our good friend, had passed away suddenly of a stroke just a few weeks ago at the tender age of 50. He left behind a beautiful wife and two teenage children.
Fonda… I will always remember your kindness. You were a fair and kind businessman with incredible integrity, but more importantly, a true gentleman and a genuine soul. I will continue to try and live each day to its fullest, knowing that every day is a gift not to be squandered. Our days on this earth are short, so we need to make each and every moment count, as you did. Thank you for the lessons. You will be in my heart always.
~ Patti Crowley