Sunday, March 11, 2018

What is one thing you are grateful for today?

 Every evening before bed, I reflect on my day, and pick one thing I am grateful for that specific day. It is simple and takes only a few minutes. My items of gratitude are not big sweeping things that happened usually. My goal this March is to look at life with a lens of gratitude so that my life is framed in positivity and good. I write a weekly blog for ChicagoNow called Looking For The Good if you want to read more.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Everything I own in a box

A year ago, I was working two jobs in order to pay my bills and was just barely able to make my ends meet. I don’t live an extravagant life, but it was difficult to provide a home for my three college age daughters once the child support ended. That could be another article on the challenges of being a single mother though since after my divorce, the four of us lived in two-bedroom apartment for the next eleven years. Today though I want to explore the decision to put everything you own into a storage space and ask another person for help. Eight months ago, I put all of my belonging in a storage unit and moved in with my mother. Before I was able to get a second job, I got into debt simply by charging groceries and miscellaneous other necessities. I was so grateful when I found a part time job to supplement my fulltime job; however it didn’t take much time before I began to spiral into despair, seeing no end in sight to this new life that gave me little time for writing, hiking, painting or even seeing my daughters that my soul desperately needed. I had a decision to make. Do I continue on this path with no end in sight or do I swallow my pride and ask for help? After much prayer and conversations with my mother, I decided to move in with her and figure out how to get out of debt and live within these new “means”. The next step was determining what to keep and what to get rid of. This was almost as hard as asking for help was. How do I get rid of the children’s beds? Although one was in college and the other two had graduated and were making a life for themselves, it was hard not to have a place for them to come home to, but I focused on the idea that I didn’t want to be a burden to them later in life so I needed to get my life and finances in order. I am still on this path, but I am taking steps to increase my income and to get out of debt. It was very difficult to give things away and put most of my belongings into storage. There have been and continue to be many tears, but it has helped me focus on the future. I now have fewer things to hold onto, and have been able to simplify my life. I am more grateful for everything and everyone in my life, and can see blessings in the little things. Having my life in a box is a journey, and I am learning to live it as best as I can. As originally seen at All through my day, no matter where I go, or what I do, I am always looking for the good. I try to find the good in people, in the world, in my life or even just in my day.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Can Harper ride the waves of life?

Riding Waves is a book about learning to navigate the joys and trials of growing up, falling in love and going to college. When Harper's relationship with Dan starts taking her down a path she doesn't like, she will have to make some hard choices.
Can Harper ride the waves of life or will they take her under?

July 2011

    The sun feels warm on my shoulder as Ashley and I play tennis on the street in front of my house. We have been best friends since the sixth grade, and we just graduated from high school this year. I see a car coming so we stop playing for a minute to see if it is coming this way. As the car gets closer, we realize that it is her parent’s car, and that her brother Dan is driving. I wonder why he is here and if Ashley has to go home? Or maybe he is here to see my brother, Jake? Even though, I am seventeen and she’s already eighteen, neither of us have our own cars. We were too lazy to ride our bikes to the tennis courts today so that’s why we were just hitting the ball back and forth on the street in front of my house. I see Dan sometimes when I go to her house, but she likes to hang out at my house since I have my own room, and she shares with her little sister.
   I notice, all of the sudden, that it is one of those impeccable summer days with the sky a beautiful shade of blue dotted with a few puffy white clouds. Dan walks straight towards me as I turn away from the clouds. A bead of sweat runs down my forehead, and I brush it away.
     “Do you want to go out sometime?” Dan stammers.
    I don’t answer for what feels like an eternity until Ashley nudges me.
    “Um, sure. When?” I say as I notice that his eyes match the color of the sky.
   I really don’t know what to say. I have known him since we were in elementary school...

This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Riding Waves. Copyright © 2014 by Susan Marie Schulhof. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wish I had a list of books that I have read

I love the written word for many reasons, and cannot imagine a life without the feel of a book in my hands or deprived of the character's words replaying in my head. as difficult as it was to do, I chose three of my favorite books in order to understand why I like to read and how I can get lost in a book...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Words can be powerful

Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

Words can be powerful, but so can our thoughts. Most of the spiritual books that I have read discuss how powerful one's thoughts and intentions are. We create our experience of the world based on how we think about it. What are you thinking? How are you responding? What are you creating? Is your intention positive or negative?

We all know that hitting someone and calling names can hurt, but intentions and thoughts can hurt others as well as we damage ourselves. When you hate others, you bring that onto yourself. When you are negative, you draw more negativity in your life.

There are countless songs like the one by Sister Hazel that sing, "If you want to be somebody else, change your mind." Not change your circumstance, not change your words and not change someone else. Even movies and books, people constantly focus on trying to change others. When you try to change others, you bring that onto yourself.

I even spent years praying that people I cared about would change, and was constantly disappointed. Relationships can indeed be the catalyst for change, but the decision, the intention and the thought must come from within that own person. The only person that I have the power to change is myself. If I want love and peace in my life, I must give that to others in my thoughts, my words and my actions.

All through my day, no matter where I go, or what I do, I am always looking for the good. I try to find the good in people, in the world, in my life or even just in my day.
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