Brandyn Blaze

Life Between The Scenes

Month: August 2016

It’s Now Or Never: Step Up To The Challenge

The bills are piling up and the fridge is nearly bare. My computer is currently down, and all our old computers have some kind of issue that makes them unusable. The one I’ve borrowed from my husband is doing strange things and driving me batty. Adjusting to being a one-income family has certainly been rocky…not that things were exactly smooth sailing before. Working on my craft is a challenge with all the stress, not to mention the fact that I have a three year old daughter who feels the need to constantly climb all over me. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made the right decision. With each new obstacle I encounter, it seems that the world is set on telling me to give up.

snail caught between two rocks, overcoming obstacles

Perhaps that would be the smart move. To pack it in and find a job, any job, and stick it out until I can retire, no matter how much I hate said job. To hang up my dreams and ignore the things that make me feel alive, on the slight chance that someday I can buy my freedom and return to my beloved hobbies. To join the ranks of bitter souls spouting such pearls of wisdom as “sometimes life prevails” and “it’s just for now”. People who know that “just for now” is a cop-out and almost always ensures a life of mediocrity. A nightmare from which you awaken just a little too late, only to realize you did nothing with your life.  Sure, that would be the safe bet. But I’ve never been interested in playing it safe.

Instead, I choose to stand tall and have faith in my dreams. I choose to rise to the challenge and find a way to make it work. I choose to make the most of the life I have, because time is not guaranteed. I refuse to believe that we are meant to suffer, and yet I am willing to endure a great amount of sacrifice now to enjoy the rewards later.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that perception is everything. A tighter budget may be a hassle, but it’s taught me to value what we have and to be more creative in utilizing our funds. It’s driven home the difference between wants and needs. It’s forced me to be inventive with my problem solving, with my cooking skills, and in repairing or re-purposing items that have been damaged. It’s also given me the burning desire to get down to business and make my dreams a reality.

And so, I find myself at the computer, cursing as I type each “r” and get “r97”, each “f” that inexplicably adds 5 extra letters to the first paragraph. I could decide that the extra time it takes to delete these unwanted additions to my composition isn’t worth the hassle and go scrub my kitchen sink (god knows it needs it), but that would require me to admit defeat. Instead, I’ll plow ahead. I’ll do my best to avoid those letters when I can and complete this post. Once I’m sure my message has been sufficiently imparted, I’ll go clean that sink.

lady on top of the world, overcoming obstacles

I am not a quitter. I will rise above…and so will you, if you hold on tight and learn to enjoy the ride.

In Search Of Inspiration

Every now and then I find myself in a creative dry spell. Usually it’s because I have too many “real life” things on my mind taking up valuable mental space, but sometimes it just happens for no apparent reason. Those are the times I find my lack of imagination to be the most frustrating.

I was in one of these slumps the other day and I pondered it while I was doing the dishes. It seemed to me that when I was in school I had no shortage of ideas. I was always writing or drawing or crafting or making music. I spent most of my time in a daydream and was generally a happy person. I could ‘t help but wonder what had changed.

My first instinct was to blame it on adult responsibilities and not having enough time, but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Back then I had school for 7 hours, part-time jobs, chores, homework, and something resembling a social life. I didn’t really have any more free time than I do now. There had to be something else.

I thought back to the week before. While I was in Chicago for the Fest For Beatles Fans, I had plenty of fresh ideas. I’d jotted down several concepts for books, blog posts, and various other projects and I’d exchanged some of these with my mother, who then asked, “Why does this always happen at Beatlefest?” Why indeed.

Part of it could be due to being relaxed, but as I compared life at the Fest with various stages of my day-to-day life, it clicked. During that weekend, I’m surrounded by things I find inspiring. It’s the very reason I love attending The Fest each year. It goes beyond the Beatles and their music, which is inspiring in and of itself. It’s the pervasive messages of peace and love. It’s the feeling of unity. It’s the art exhibits and displays, it’s the spontaneous jam sessions, it’s watching the guest speakers and being inspired by their stories and successes.

It’s being surrounded by inspiration. Just as I was when I was a kid.

Inspirational Quote Grace Coddington, rainbow, inspiration

Back then, I didn’t waste my time with things that didn’t make me happy or inspire me in some way. I spent all my free time, even if it was just 5 minutes between classes, listening to music that moved me. I read a ton of books, usually biographies about people I admired. I read a lot of self-help type books and philosophy books that expanded my mind. I watched a lot of documentaries and movies that were in line with my goals and interests. I watched a lot of music videos and shows that made me laugh. My room was a shrine to things that brought me joy.

Now, I’m lucky if I finish one book each month. I tend to watch whatever kids show my daughter has on or something mindless that I can tune out while I do housework. I don’t have music on as much as I used to, generally sticking to a once-a-week marathon of the same music videos every weekend or whatever comes on in the car. Most of the posters, knickknacks, and collectibles that once made me smile are packed away in tubs and boxes. I’ve stopped looking for inspiration; no wonder I can’t find it!

As soon as I made this connection, I made a decision to get back into the habits that make inspiration possible. I cleaned up my office and decorated it with things that make me smile. I’ve started reading everyday and made a goal to work through the stack of books I’ve acquired over the years and not read. I’ve started watching documentaries and inspiring movies again instead of junk. I’ve started a new Pandora station to discover some new music and have started listening to Podcasts when I want something different for background noise.  I’ve begun to seek out inspiration again, and it feels marvelous.

 

How Time Flies

I opened up my computer this morning with a bit of trepidation. Over the last few months I had let this blog and its related social media accounts become dormant as life dragged my attention to other matters. Every day I’d promise myself that I would get back to it “tomorrow”…and then tomorrow brought more distractions. The longer this went on, the more unsure I became about what to say. For awhile, I thought about giving it all up completely. All work on the next novel in my series ground to a halt. The house work piled up. My performance at my day job suffered. In short, shit got real.

Part of it was probably due to my ongoing battles with anxiety and depression, but the majority of it fell squarely on the shoulders of stress. Between a job I wasn’t happy with, the wedding planning, and all the day-to-day hoopla that comes with being a mother, I was wiped out. I knew something had to change.

When I started my first blog, I was a stay-at-home mom who was striving for perfection, both at home and with my writing. Without the skill of setting boundaries, I quickly burnt out and found myself performing at half my capacity in each arena. I then added a job to the mix. I set myself a schedule to keep everything flowing and that worked for awhile. Then, as they say, life prevailed. Suddenly I was doing a half-assed job at work and at home, and all work related to my writing went by the way-side.

After careful consideration, I realized that I needed to restructure my priorities. I decided that after the wedding, I would return to staying home with my little one and focus my energies on making my writing career successful. Armed with new knowledge regarding time management, I feel I can now juggle work and home much more efficiently.

I’ll never forget the relief I felt when I walked out of my job for the last time. I new I was moving on to bigger and better things, and that my wedding day would signify a fresh start for our family.

The wedding turned out beautifully, but let me tell you something I’ve learned about big events like this. All the work and stress that goes into it is really silly compared to how quickly it goes by! Thank god for my amazing photographer, Mindy from MRB Photography, or I wouldn’t be able to remember half of it!

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Our rings!

Our rings!

First dance, kiss

So much love!

wedding picture mother and child

My daughter and I

We left the morning after the wedding to drive to New Orleans so we could board our cruise ship and start our honeymoon. The trip was amazing and gave me some time to really think about what kind of life I want to create. Having that time to relax and let go of the idea that life has to be a struggle was amazing and allowed me to return to the real world with a much better attitude. Honestly, I think all the pretty drinks helped!

fruity drinks are the best

Of course, the views at each of our stops (Cozumel and Progreso) were inspiring as well.

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Beach in Cozumel

Mayan ruins Progreso Mexico

Mayan Ruins, Progreso

We had such a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to do it again!

That said, it is my goal to create a life I don’t need a vacation from and it starts with this post. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life and a renewed focus on my dreams. It’s time to make those dreams a reality and I can’t wait to share this journey with you all!

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