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Category Archives: Just For Fun

Bounce Back

Let me say I never intended on being “one of those” parents. I had a plan. I was going to get married my junior year of college, be pregnant during my senior year, and give birth right after graduation. Or so said my seventeen year old self. What did she know?

Saw this inspiration on Facebook a while back.

Instead, my Bible beating self, went off to seminary, met the man of my dreams—well, not really, met the man I knew I was going to marry—fell in love, graduated with my master’s in counseling, moved in with him, got pregnant soon after and the rest, as they say, is history.

The greatest blessing of veering off the road of my life plan, was having my daughter. I think, at times, that it all happened—all the rough stuff, dark times, and detours—so I could be her mom. She is without question the greatest gift God has ever given me. Not only is she fun and funny, intelligent and beautiful, but she challenges me to be more of the real me, and always has.

I will never forget the day I saw her for the first time, on that ultrasound. As I sat waiting in the parking lot of the unemployment office later that day, I wrote her the most heartfelt and sincere letter. The part I remember the most is this, “I will overcome every fear, to ensure that you have none.” As I look back on those words, I realize  I have been on a journey toward fearlessness, or better yet, a journey to “feel the fear and do it anyway” ever since….

So without going into the details, I’ll just say, things didn’t work out between her dad and I. When our relationship ended, I was a stay-at-home mom, with no money of my own. And when I say “no money” I mean NO MONEY. All I had was her, the contents of our apartment, and my family so I gathered those resources, humbled myself and began to rebuild our life….

Most people (I think) would be shocked to know that all my products and my children’s book, I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! were all created during my “bounce back” time. I opened the store with my first product designs two days before the end of my relationship (around this time in 2011). Since then I have designed nearly a hundred products in two online stores. I wrote, illustrated, and self-published my children’s book last year. And I say all this, not to pat myself on the back so much as to let you know that when life knocks you on your… patootie, you don’t have to give up! You make a choice, everyday. You can either lay on the couch depressed or you can choose to bounce back. You can let bitterness consume you, and allow anger to alter your spirit, or you can choose to bounce back. You can destroy your child’s spirit by constantly taking your frustrations out on them, or you can choose to bounce back. We make that choice EVERYDAY to either lay on the mat, or bounce back.

Through tears I sat at my computer night and day, often while she was sleeping on my lap, and created because I believe that this is not the end. I want a better life for my daughter. I want a better life for me. I refuse to allow pain to make this a permanent residence. I want more for us. That’s what drives me. What will drive you?

Find out more about Marlene Dillon by visiting her about.me page, a listing of various ways to support this single mom in her journey to bounce back. http://about.me/marlenedillon 

If you would like to support via a monetary gift (which every single parent can use), please do so via FundRazr at http://fnd.us/c/fXX72

Check out my promo video for my children’s book below. Thank you for your support!

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Inspirational, Just For Fun

 

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Better Than the Lottery

Better Than the Lottery

About two months ago, I had a major epiphany while doing one of my typical late nights at the computer. Usually, I’m up working on new designs for my t-shirts or coffee mugs, or I’m sitting on Facebook liking people’s status updates. But this night, was different. I was just up for no good reason. Then, it happened. Suddenly, I remembered that I had a pocket full of game tickets! While I was in line at the grocery store earlier that night, a lady in front of me asked if I was playing the store’s sweepstakes, and when I said, “yes” she handed me ten game tickets! How did I forget those ten little pieces of possibility were still sitting in my coat pocket, waiting to be opened? 

So, not wanting to wake my little one, I tiptoed over to my coat and quietly sifted through my pockets to find those extra game tickets. When I found them, I pulled out my game board and sat down to see if I had any matches. One by one, I kept matching game tickets on my board. I was having so much fun! (Yes, for a stay-at-home mom, this counts as fun.) Then, I realized that I was one game ticket away from winning the $100 Gift Card Prize! I got excited. I flipped my board over and saw that I was just two tickets away from a $50,000 car of my choice! I looked at the clock, 2:45 am, looked over at my bed and thought, “It’s late, maybe I should go to bed.” Then, I had a second thought, “what if I have that last game ticket?!” My mind was made up. Even though the store was closed, I was gonna stay up and go through all my game tickets to see if I had won!

So with all the glee and excitement of a child searching the house for hidden Christmas gifts, I tore through my purses and pockets looking for every game ticket I had stowed away over the past few months. I gathered all my findings into a pile on the table and sat down resolved that I would check all of them before I went to bed. I was so excited, matching ticket after ticket. Then, I started to find duplicates. Slowly my stack of possibilities turned into the pile of tickets I had already matched. As that pile grew, my hope for winning dwindled. By the time I got down to the last ticket, I realized that I was a sucker. Each prize section on my board was missing one or two game pieces. I had figured out the game. The store had printed out millions of the random ones, but the one or two tickets everybody needed to complete each section were a rare find. Dang! I was crushed—still a little hopeful, but mostly crushed.

I had stayed up all night, way into the wee hours of the morning, pursuing a one in a million chance. That’s like playing the lottery! And with that realization, it hit me. Epiphanies come to me like this all the time. Right at the moment when I should feel down, or discouraged, I get the lesson. And the lesson of this moment was that I should not be pursuing a one in a million chance more aggressively than I’m pursuing my “sure thing.” My gifts, my calling, my purpose, the things I know God invested in me are my sure things. Inspiring others energizes me; I know that is my sure thing. Designing everything from business cards to wedding gowns, excites me; I know designing is my sure thing. Writing books to empower and entertain children, brings joy to my heart; I know writing is my sure thing. God has placed gifts, interests, and passions in you as well, those are your sure things.

When I sat there holding that last game ticket, I felt a combination of inspiration and sheer stupidity. I just have to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I mean, I shamelessly begged for game tickets in my Facebook status, and I won’t say what I did when I saw some in the trash, lol. Where is that same hunger to stay up all night working on my dream? Where is that same shameless assertiveness for promoting my new children’s book? I should not be more willing to aggressively pursue a one in a million chance, than I am to perfect who God created me to be. And neither should you. As I held that last game ticket, shaking my head at the loss, I really felt as if God was saying, “Why don’t you put that same energy into your sure thing?” And that’s my challenge to you.

Maybe a sweepstakes isn’t your thing, but you turn your phone off so you can watch your favorite TV show, uninterrupted. Maybe you won’t stay up late sticking tickets to a game board, but you’ve painstakingly studied stats and game highlights to perfect your March Madness brackets. Where is that energy for your sure thing? Where is that same level of commitment for the gifts that are inside of you? Look, I’m not your judge. I outed myself first. We’re in this together. We all have something in us that we know we were created to do. Whatever your sure thing is, please know that your odds of succeeding are way better than winning the lottery. Give your purpose the attention, the energy, the hope, and the time that you would a perceived winning lottery ticket. Because with this one, the odds are in your favor. Be blessed.

By the way, If you‘re curious how close I got to winning, here are the pics of my game board. Enjoy!

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No Apologies

The Creator designed each of us with different finger prints for a reason. It’s as if “He” was giving us ten constant reminders to be the individuals He created us to be. But we spend so much time trying to fit into a mold of who our friends want us to be, who our families want us to be, and what we believe society expects us to be. The reality is that self acceptance begins with… you guessed it, yourself. The only way to live a life of true joy and freedom is to be the real you, the person you were created to be, with no apologies.

Today, I created a design for a t-shirt that I have been fighting against creating for some time. I kept thinking to myself, “who am I to say this” and “who am I to think I can just create a word and expect it to become a movement?” People are going to be questioning my intelligence and saying to themselves, “That’s not even a word.” But today, I got up and said to myself “2012 is the year that I am unapologetically me.” I thought to myself as I was posting my design on my facebook page, “Beyonce’ created a word (“bootylicious”), Lil Wayne coined the term “bling bling” and Martin Lawrence has the whole globe saying, ‘You go, girl’, why can’t I say  “unapologetically me?” And with that thought, I decided to stop holding back. If I’m not willing to do me, how can I tell anyone else to do it?

So that’s the story behind this design. Of course, there’s a part of me that’s still a little self conscious about it, but the greater part of me wants to be free to do what’s on my heart regardless of people’s responses. I definitely hope you will like it, but more than that I hope you will embrace the message—that life is not about everyone else (in the sense of fitting in). Life is about being who you really are and sharing that great truth with the world around you.

This is my first big step into my new outlook for 2012. I resolve to make 2012 the year that I am me, with no apologies. How about you?

P.S. Here’s the tee. 🙂

"Unapologetically Me" Tee

Live life authentically, with no apologies.

 

 

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Who are you, mysterious facebook friend?

Today (and yesterday), I was checking my facebook page and came across a thumbnail photo in the friends section of my wall, and thought to myself, “Who the heck is that?”

Am I the only person who’s done this? I mean, when I started out on facebook I was very discriminating about who I accepted a friend request from, then I just got lazy. I was like, “If you think you know me and we have 15 friends in common, alright, I guess we know each other.”

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Just For Fun

 

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