“August 22, 2011, is the day my life took a huge turn … Here I am sitting in the medical office. I get a call to come in and see my doctor, and as I sit here, it dawns on me that I am the only one in the waiting room. This can’t be good! I’m also holding in my hand a piece of paper that says my divorce is final, and it is stamped with today’s date. This is quite a day!”
In sharing her story, Carol demonstrates how important it is to be surrounded with love, family, and friendship and how “seeing the rightness” can be just as important in the healing process as any medication.
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About the Author
A small town girl, Carol grew up in Central Alberta, Canada, on a farm just west of a small rural community. She is the oldest of three girls. After graduation she moved to Olds with her future husband. They were together for twenty six years and in that time they co-created two marvelous boys and a lot of wonderful memories.
Carol had a variety of jobs, but enjoyed her work as a lifeguard & swimming lesson instructor and her work at the daycare the most.
She has always loved working with children. This inspired her to get her Bachelor of Education in 1995. She is currently an active teacher in her small town.
She was routinely doing her monthly breast exam in July, 2011 when she discovered a lump in her right breast. After going through a mastectomy and chemotherapy, she decided that her body had been through enough and listened to her heart which told her that radiation and drugs were not needed and she should focus on her healing.
She enjoys spending time with her boys, going on adventures, writing, reading, cooking, hiking, biking, living in the moment, loving, laughing, learning, drinking tea, meditating, doing Pilates, Facebooking, eating dark chocolate-covered almonds, spending time in her yard and in nature.
Currently she is teaching part time so she can spend time on her new adventure of writing. She is passionate about expressing herself in words that inspire and bring hope to others who experience the process of cancer or any other learning experience actually. She believes a positive attitude can create miracles, especially if one looks for the rightness in the every day. Keep a look out for future works.
Check out her website at www.smilingsinglemom.ca
Read an Excerpt
Smiling Single Mom
It's All Right!
By Carol Taylor
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Carol Taylor
All rights reserved.
August - FEAR
August was my month of fear. Fear of what had happened in my past and of the mistakes that I had made in my marriage. Fear of future relationships that may go bad. Fear of the unknown as I was tested for cancer and fear while I waited for the test results. Fear of not knowing what the future holds for the boys and me. Fear of the present moment and of the strange way my body was reacting to stress. Fear of the low grade fever that would come and go. Fear of how weak I was feeling. Fear of how this was going to affect the boys.
Then it donned on me that all this negative self-talk was going to drag me slowly and surely to death and then the fear disappeared and I was left with a calm feeling of knowing that all would be okay, that everything was alright. Here it was, a feeling, a beautiful, calm feeling that the road ahead was uncertain but that somehow it was all going to be okay. I surrendered to it and from that moment on I moved myself up the emotional scale one step at a time. What did I have in my life to focus on that was good? That was right? First and the most important was the boys. Second was the roof over our head. Third was my family and friends. I sat down and wrote about all the beauty in my life and of everything that was right about it. My deep fear launched a powerful rocket of desire to feel better. I had asked. Now it was my job to align and allow so that I could achieve what I had asked for.
Reflect - What fear do you want to acknowledge?
September - GRIEF
Here I am at grief. I am grieving the loss of my old life and all that was familiar to me. I feel a grieving that is deep within my soul. Now I take a step up to see the rightness in this situation and from there I see that within each of us is a gorgeous flower garden called the soul. As we grow and learn the garden grows. As we grow and learn with others our collective garden grows too into a captivating and whole garden.
Journal entry (2nd) - I'm looking for the rightness in the day to day things and I'm finding it everywhere. It is the first day of school for my charming boys. Grade three for Zach and grade nine for Jaden. It's going to be a great year. I spent some time on Facebook this morning reading inspirational quotes, messages and posts. There are so many positive, sharing, caring people out there. The positive vibes I received this morning are bringing me out of fear and back into life. My friend, Gabriel, put the boys and me on a prayer list so people literally around the world are praying for us. Everyone needs a team to achieve great things. I can't do this on my own. Thank you Gabriel for your kindness and caring.
Notes to self ... I need lemon, cinnamon and honey and a good positive attitude. I need inner strength/love and a belief in myself. This will lead me to growth, beauty and freedom. I will build an exquisite alter with my pile of rocks. I will plant grass and flowers and put a flag on top (maybe a friendship flag). The beauty will flourish, grow and change and butterflies and bugs will come to signify freedom. The soul is like a flower garden and right now I am in the center and there are flower gardens growing all around me. I am protected and loved and one day I will help plant seeds in the next alter. Oh, and a fountain. Water is very soothing for me! I surround myself with beauty and everything that feels good. Accept and then keep moving forward. By letting go of inner resistance, I find that things change for the better which allows me to see the rightness of all things. Optimism got me through the divorce. This can be done too. Exercise. Drink lots of water. Soul journal. Live – Love – Laugh – Let Go. Feel Good – Give Thanks – Trust. Be aware. Look - Listen - Learn –Lead. Just Breath. I love my Boys. I will do this for you. I will do this for us!
How am I doing? GREAT! Thanks for asking. Yes, I'm in the flow again. I will do whatever it takes to FEEL GOOD NOW. Was this a curve ball? Nope, this is a pile of rocks and I will build a beautiful fountain. I love me and I'm perfect exactly where I am. It's time for some lemon and honey and a ride on my exercise bike. I'm in a place of Love & Trust. The boys are off to school and I'm going grocery shopping soon. As I dropped the boys off at the bus I ran into Jeff, who was outside doing bus supervision. He gave me a hug and reminded me that attitude is everything and to keep it positive. Thanks Jeff! I interpret this situation to be one of great growth and growth is good. It is essential to life. I will be keeping busy today. I have yard work, finances, housework and I'm going out to the farm. A busy body doesn't worry.
Now a tired body needs to read Fighting Cancer by Contreras/ Kennedy. Every book is a journey and masterpiece unto itself and all who get something from it. From this book I took away that some good foods are fruits/veggies, whole grains, All bran cereal, garlic, grapes, alfalfa, broccoli, berries, carrots, soy, nuts, artichokes, tomatoes, fruit juices, oranges, beans (zinc), oysters, zinc fortified cereals, fatty acids, cocoa, green tea. After reading that, I'm now hungry. This journey has put me completely in the moment. I guess this is part of the learning experience. I also took from the book that I should focus on what makes me happy. Things like exercise, sing, believe, pray (thank you for my healing), laugh and keep stress down. YES! Reduce stress. That is the big one for me! That is my cause. The next book I am going to read is called, Staying Alive by Brenda Hunter. It looks like it deals a lot with healing body, mind and soul. Thank you to Diane for lending the book to me.
When I'm stronger I'm going to get a tattoo and it will represent: Love + Trust which leads to Growth, Beauty and Freedom. There will be a red heart, a pink, thorn less rose and a butterfly.
Journal entry (4th) - I feel good this morning. I woke in the night at 1:00 am, did some breathing and a relaxation exercise (tighten and release my muscles one at a time) and then fell back asleep until 6:00. Yes to success! Yesterday we spent the evening at the farm with Wendy & Mike, Janet & Perry, Dad & Irene and all those amazing nieces and nephews. I love my family and I am so blessed. Had such a healing evening that we are going back today for more fresh air, love and exercise. I'm looking forward to an awesome day and another good sleep tonight. This was the best day I have had in a month!
I was walking through the grocery store today and BANG it hits me - a huge rush of emotions! Not even sure what song was playing over the speaker but it set me off. I took a deep breath but it didn't work. It was hard to breathe and I felt like I had a huge weight on my chest. My cart was half full of groceries and I had a desperate need to get out of the store to get myself together. Luckily I was close to the office so I asked the girl if she could keep my groceries until I returned. She saw the tears all over my face and said, "Absolutely". Head down, tears flowing, I half walked and half ran out the front door and then sprinted to my car. I cried it out in my car and felt a lot better.
Thursday I'm off to the specialist in Calgary with Irene and today I faced huge feelings of denial. Something is telling me this is an infection. Please God let them find that out and let it just be an infection. Antibiotics and some rest time. Yes, that would be awesome. What is with this low grade fever that comes and goes? I would be soooo happy to tell the boys that I will be healthy in a few days and that all will be back to normal and that this was just a wakeup call to take care of me and love me.
I went to the football meeting tonight. Sharon asked if the team could wear pink ribbons on the October first game in support of breast cancer awareness month and to show support to Jaden and me. I got tears and goose bumps. Jaden said it would be okay with him. I told him that he has the final say in the matter. We are so blessed and surrounded by love. All will be well. All IS well and is just as it was designed to be. The Universe has great surprises in store for the boys and me. We all get knocked down in one way or another at some time in our lives.
Journal entry (8th) - It's early but I couldn't sleep so I decided to get up and journal and exercise rather than just laying here worrying. Going to ride my exercise bike and listen to inspirational stuff on YouTube while I sip my green tea. I made a video for the boys of our adventures from last summer and it just gets me in the zone when I watch it (https://youtu.be/X dg-xuFJSY). It helps me to feel the support of family, friends, community and beyond! Thank you for this amazing feeling! I am wrapped in a blanket of love and I trust everything is fine. Bring it on!
Inspired to write. When an experience comes into your life that knocks you down, you may just need to sit there for as long as you need to, and then try to make friends with it. Heed its call. Let it change your life. Slow down. Pay attention. Prioritize. Pace yourself. Respect your body. Spend time with those whose presence is healing. Notice small miracles that happen daily like birds singing, morning air, sunshine on your skin, the smell of a pink rose, the melody of raindrops, the sweetness of a child's smile and hug, the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset, the presence of those you love and who love you. Let love in. Open your heart. Tell the truth. Ask for help. Accept the profound generosity of family and friends. Let whatever you have given, come back to you. Allow it to remind you of what is actually important in life. Have a relationship with it that fosters new insights. See the uninvited experience as an opportunity for learning and growth. Accept the many gifts and joys which life offers. Don't waste time complaining about things you can't change or which you wish were different. Dance and sing when you can. Weep when you must. Notice what you have instead of what you don't have. Practice thoughtfulness and forgiveness. Do not hide from it or hate it but acknowledge it. Accept what it has to teach you and continue on your journey, one step at a time.
Tired tonight. Everything went so fast and flowy-like at the specialists in Calgary. I have to say that when the medical system in Alberta finds something wrong, they move and fast. I have been booked for a mastectomy next Friday the sixteenth. Now I can focus on my healing and keep moving forward. I have two very handsome and important reasons to get better ASAP. All is well. I'm happy where I am and eager for more. Bring it!
I feel so loved and supported but today was still an off day. Very tired and out of sorts and feeling draggy and yucky. I'm guessing that this is probably because of all the excitement that happened yesterday at the specialist. Then as if answering my call for something right to happen, my friend, Val, showed up for a visit. She brought a plant, a Whole Living magazine, special juice and chips. We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we chatted. So many people love us. I will sleep well. Thanks Val. My beautiful friend!
It's the middle of September and we went to the football game at Sylvan Lake and I truly appreciated the cool, fresh air and supported feeling I got when I was with my football family. I'm still floating on cloud nine. I sat near Sharon and Nancy and we cheered hard for the boys in the pink laces. Pink Power! This was the first game with the boys wearing the pink laces in their cleats. I High-fived the young men as they entered the football field and I even got a few hugs. It was a thirty two to zero win for the team. They kicked butt and so can I!
Went and took Zach to the bus this morning and Nicola's hugs filled my bucket. It seemed to drain me getting groceries and doing some cleaning. Made sure I rested today for fifteen minutes. After school I was feeling energized so I walked over to get Zach off the bus. Val told me that the Deer Meadow School staff will bring us suppers for two weeks starting the nineteenth. What an awesome surprise. I love my community and the people in it! Thanks for making my day, my amazing school family.
Taking the good with the bad - I had a down day. I rode my exercise bike and cried and cried till there were no more tears. It felt good to just let it all go so that I was able to put on a happy face when the boys woke up. I don't want them to worry or they will be the next ones getting sick. I had to give up my vitamins to prepare for surgery, especially missing my B vitamin. I think that is the reason for the down day. On the upside, Trish came and did a Reiki on me. Thanks Trish. The love flows to me every day through my friends and the boys. Those two are my reason for living. Our little family of three is getting stronger day by day. This is the hardest thing I have ever done and as I face it one day at a time, I get stronger and stronger.
Friends stopped by yesterday, and mom is here today. I get to have breakfast with the boys then hug them off to school. After that, mom and I are going to the city for a sentinel node mapping to prepare for surgery tomorrow. I feel strong. I feel safe. I feel surrounded by a blanket of love. All is well as I take one step at a time and trust. I'm following my impulses and trusting that the path will come to me. Trust + Love = WOW. I know I will not be given more than I can handle.
Surgery went well. Felt great the day of. I vaguely remember the nurses bringing me back to my bed after the surgery and I remember them trying to move me onto the bed. It was uncomfortable as they tried to move me and I remember saying, "I can do it". They stepped back as I wiggled my way from one bed to the other. They were so patient and understanding and as they left with the surgery bed, I heard one of them say, "Yes, she will do it!" and then I focussed on my breathing, 3-4-5. I thought about the boys and I found the place inside where there's joy and I let the joy burn out the pain. Janet, who is my youngest sister, was with me all day and was a great help to me. We laughed, we cried and we hugged and let me tell you laughing is not easy after surgery. We walked around the ward of the hospital with my tall pole buddy and came face to face with another patient who was out for a walk, with his buddy. The halls were not that big and we had to squeeze around each other to continue our walk. Janet looked at me and said "BEEP! BEEP!" I burst out laughing and she had to help balance me so I didn't fall over. Then the nurse came running over and asked Janet if I was alright. Not sure why it was so funny but it was and to this day Janet will text me "BEEP! BEEP!" for no reason but to make me smile and laugh. I also had a nice visit with my friend Tim, who stopped by.
Coming home the next day was good too. I didn't realize how weak I was until I walked into my house and hugged my boys. Wendy, who is my middle sister, drove me home and mom was here too. Mom had spent the night with the boys. I had a grouchy, ouchy day! I think the pain meds had worn off. BEEP! BEEP! didn't work today. I think I was mourning the loss of my right breast. THEN had a nice sleep and am now looking forward to a great day. Some fresh air, a small walk, a shower and this afternoon the gauze bandage comes off. I love my family!
Journal entry (20th) - Mom went home yesterday. The boys and I are doing fine. It is nice to get back to routine. I am inspired by the profound generosity of family, friends and our community. What a beautiful world it is! Jaden has football practice tonight. It will be the first time driving my car since surgery. Also, the drain tubes are almost down to the point where I can have them removed. Maybe tomorrow! Tonight, I am helping Jaden get ready for grade nine camp. He will be gone Thursday and Friday and on Saturday he'll be going to Rocky Mountain House for a football game. Vockeroth's are going to drive him. Zach is happy that things are feeling more normal. I love my boys. Those two amazing young men are my reason for getting healthy. I'll do whatever it takes. They need me and I need them!
Excerpted from Smiling Single Mom by Carol Taylor. Copyright © 2015 Carol Taylor. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
August - FEAR, 1,
September - GRIEF, 2,
October - DEPRESSION, 10,
November - DESPAIR, 15,
December - POWERLESSNESS, 18,
January - INSECURITY, 22,
February - GUILT, 24,
March - UNWORTHINESS, 26,
April - JEALOUSLY, 29,
May - HATRED, 31,
June - REVENGE, 38,
July - ANGER, 39,
August - DISCOURAGEMENT, 42,
September - BLAME, 45,
October - WORRY, 47,
November - DOUBT, 50,
December - DISAPPOINTMENT, 54,
January - OVERWELMENT, 57,
February - FRUSTRATION, 59,
March - IRRITATION, 61,
April - IMPATIENCE, 63,
May - PESSIMISM, 66,
June - BOREDOM, 68,
July - CONTENTMENT, 70,
August - HOPEFULNESS, 72,
September - ACCEPTANCE, 77,
October - OPTIMISM, 80,
November - POSITIVE EXPECTATION, 84,
December - BELIEF, 88,
January - ENTHUSIASM, 91,
February - EAGERNESS, 94,
March - HAPPINESS, 97,
April - PASSION, 99,
May - JOY, 102,
June - EASE, 105,
July - APPRECIATION, 108,
August - EMPOWERMENT, 111,
September - FREEDOM, 114,
October - INSPIRATION, 118,
November - AWE, 120,
December - LOVE, 122,
Thanks for Coming, 125,
For Your Thoughts, 127,
How To Find Me, 133,
Recommended Reading Resources, 135,
About Carol, 137,
About Janice, 139,