Sunday, November 5, 2017

Success or Failure?

What constitutes success and what constitutes failure? 

If someone does their best effort and produces a superior product but it does not do well in the marketplace despite giving it the best marketing and advertising possible, is that person a failure?

How about a writer who writes an incredible story, edits it until it is as close to perfect as they can get it, but no publisher will take a chance at their work. So they indie publish, do all they can to sell it, give it an excellent cover, but it also does not fare well. Is that writer a failure?

How about a woman who battles to get out of bed each morning and is suffering depression, but each morning gets up and begins the day. She cannot bring herself to leave her house but she is up and keeps herself busy with what she can do. She works hard even though no one knows. As much as she can she keeps her life bright and she doesn't give up even when she most wants to, but she is not able to work or even socialize. Is she a failure?

I believe each of these people are  successful. Success is not based on the ultimate outcome but on the daily fight to do more than you thought you could.

How about the mother that has the child that throws the tantrum in the middle of the store and she quietly calms her child and holds him, pouring her love on him just for him to begin screaming a moment later. Finally she picks him up and leaves the place.  In her car she hugs him, cuddles him, and swallows her tears. This is the toddlerhood and young childhood she deals with for her child but despite the exhaustion she keeps going and gives all she can even as everyone challenges her and tells her she isn't a good mother because her child throws tantrums.
Has she truly failed as a mother?

The last scenario was me 27 years ago. My daughter was born screaming and threw tantrums especially in public and people would roll their eyes or tell me what I needed to do, which little did they know, I had tried and it had not worked. This continued into older childhood and turned into rages where I had to hold her against her will to protect her and my younger children. The last one she had was around 16. We found out when she was 5 they are a form of a seizure. She and I worked hard to stop her seizure disorder, and as an adult she is one of the most gentle parents I know and yet I often call her 'our family bull dog' because any sticky situation this family has she is the person not afraid to tackle it. Was I a failure as a parent? No. Honestly I think I succeeded at getting my daughter to adulthood as whole as possible. Was I accused of failing? Yes. At the time I would have agreed... What was wrong with my parenting that my child couldn't be 'normal'? Her teen years really made me wonder too. Then she grew into a woman that I am very proud to be the mother of. But she is different. As she has been since she was born. She lives by a beat that is all her own.  When I ask her about what I could have done different she tells me, "Mom I don't think I would have made it if I had a different mother."

Success starts inside. It begins with believing you can. Then taking the risk to do something. Finally it is not giving up even though the odds are against you. It is that stubborn will that does not give up or give in.  To outsiders it does not look like much sometimes. What do you think of the person that chooses to smile even though the effort takes all the energy they have?  What about yourself? What something have you done that still gives you a smile though the results may have been less than you were hoping? These are successes and you can count yourself successful. Success is not about the outcome as much as the tenacity to keep going and keep getting up even when we have been knocked down. People who are successful never give in, never let fear stop them, overcome obsticles even when it is not recognized, and in the end their good work is seen. Though, honestly it may not be noticed in their lifetime. 

People who are failures let fear lead them. They give up when it gets hard. They do not stand by those that love them. They are looking for a fast fix to get their time in the limelight. These are the people I would consider at risk for failure. But anyone can change. I won't count anyone out. Even someone who has always lived in fear may one day look up and realize they want to do things different.

So keep working at it. Do your best and know you are succeeding even though the world does not see. There is One much higher that does and that One's opinion counts a hell of a lot more than this world. You are not a failure no matter how bad it seems.

This is Cat out with a little bit of encouragement for you and also myself.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November! Hooray!

October was crazy!  Some of it fun, some of it not so much. 

Two of my daughter's got married last month...  That was wonderful but very time consuming especially because one wedding was 4 hours away and the other 2 hours.  The other thing that took up time was my teenage son's legal issues.  I told someone on September 30th, when they were hoping my life would get calmer...  "Nope there are two weddings and a court date in my October."  Their eyes went wide.  And so it was, but now we have November.

So November...  The golden month.  It is the tad bit of peace before the Christmas season.  This is the few weeks to get my house decent and ready to decorate...  It never happens quite the way I want it to, but it gets closer.  This is my and my husband's birthday month, and I like our birthdays.  So of all months... my favorite. It is not freezing nor boiling.  Just a little bit of peaceful, slower, and at the end one of my favorite holidays...

Thanksgiving.  Not just because of the food, but because it is born of a thankful heart.  It is a time to gather with family and friends and be grateful for what you have and those in your life.  It is so fitting that it comes right before Christmas.  It is not a give me, give me, give me time, but a day set aside to reflect and smile at the blessings that have been given.  I love that about Thanksgiving.  I also love spending the days before making my family's favorite dishes to please and awe them. 

For whatever reason creating good foods for them gives me immense pleasure.  So everything I place on that long table is homemade, and suited to all the allergy problems my kiddos and I have.  I love seeing my 6 year old be able to eat stuffing and pie even though she has Celiacs and is allergic to
dairy.  At Thanksgiving she comes to the food table and she has as many options as I can give her.  She doesn't have to feel her battle with food and that makes me happy. 

This year I have a new challenge.  My best friend has changed her dietary needs by doctor's orders.  She cannot have starch or sugar.  So I am going to find a way to make stuffing that she can have.  I am looking forward to the challenge.    I might even work on some kind of pie... Just because I know I can and because it will give her a smile.

There is something else about November...  It is the month that writers try to write 50k words.  Though my goal is not that high, I would like to finish writing Her Hidden Thorn then my editor will have two to edit, and hopefully with finishing both, we can go on to publishing both-- who knows, at this rate, both at the same time.  I am looking forward to finishing Anna and Patrick's story and going on to writing Grace and Alex's story. 

Grace and Alex are like night and day when compared to Anna or Patrick...  Both are feisty and impulsive, and have regrets that are larger than life.  Grace has a huge secret that she hides from everyone just to make sure Alex doesn't find out, but what happens when it gets out?  By the time that happens there might be another secret just as big.  Then there is Lizzie...  She is Grace's little daughter.  Alex is determined that Lizzie needs a father, and that father should be him much to Grace's chagrin.  It is a fun story and I am itching to finish writing it!  But first I have to finish Her Hidden Thorn...  So to November!  And to being a writer! 

I really love November!  Hope you have a wonderful month.
  This is Cat out.