Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas Prayer

Dear God,
I thank You for the blessings in my life. I ask that You teach me to sing them to the mountain tops so that the grumbles of day to day circumstance may be drowned by its joyful ringing.
I pray for the gift of forgiveness and the ability to forgive so that my heart will rise up to meet each day and each person I meet with a love and kindness that sets afire the chill of anger and regret in its brilliant glow.
I thank You for the gift of my children. I pray that I will teach them to be wise and caring and kind. I pray they will understand that it is what you give in life that makes it full, not what you get. I ask that You give them the keys to their own souls, so that they own them and nourish them with no expectations or desire for someone else to be the force that fuels their dreams. Therefore may all of their relationships be kindred and true, never one sided.
I thank You for my mistakes and hardships. I pray that I will learn from them and use them for change, not dwell on them and use them as excuses.
I thank You for my tender heart, though easily scarred and broken. I pray that I never harden and forget how to feel. Please always remind me that more of my life scars are from a game played hard and well than from a fall or a break, therefore I can never be afraid to jump up and play the game again. If I quit not only will I lose, I will cease to exist.
I thank You for this time of year, for Your gift, for what it says to us all about love and sacrifice. I pray that I will take it out in the world with me and find ways to sacrifice for others. May my life be fueled by the love that I have to give, not that I expect to receive.

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
  ~Melody Beattie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All I want for Christmas. . .

"Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot."
You know the song, well at least if you listen to the radio anytime between Halloween and Christmas you do. And I hate the song, but I like the list. I mean, who wouldn't right? A diamond, some platinum, a convertible. You can have the fur, I'm not really into furs. Of course then you wake up and your Santa is NOT that guy!
Yet it raises the question, if I were going to ask Santa for my heart's desire what would that really be? Not cars and boats. No, not really. So what? If I stop to think like a responsible, kind, loving citizen of this earth then I'm supposed to ask for world peace and an end to hunger, right? And I want that, I do, but I'm thinking of me at this moment. If you find this selfish and not in the spirit of Christmas you can stop reading now, but this is a me moment.
The problem is I find it hard to make the list. Maybe because I do in fact find some things self indulgent.
I'd like to be financially comfortable enough not to worry anymore. I'd like to know that when the girls are 16 I'll be able to buy them cars. I want to take them to Disney World. So there I said it... if I could ask for WHATEVER I wanted, money would be on the list. Shoot me.
It's also difficult because some of it is so unrealistic I guess. I'd ask for more time. More time for fun things, more time for me, more time for the girls. Time for hobbies even. But then I'd have to ask for a hobby because I have NO idea how to come up with one of those. Trust me, I've tried. Which can lead to another wish. The ability to really look back at my life and figure myself out. To get to know me. Then maybe I would feel like I hadn't wasted so much time. Or if nothing else it would make stepping up and taking control of my life now a little easier. So insight into my own soul, hmmm is that too much to ask?

"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth."
– Benjamin Disraeli

I'll keep my list to four, but the last one is the hardest. The last one makes me feel like I appear weak. I want to be a strong independent woman, but how can I be needy at the same time? And I am needy. I need someone to understand me, to know me. I need someone to appreciate what I have to give in the only ways that I know how. I don't think Santa can deliver that. I don't know that I would know how to accept it if he did, but I would be willing to try.
This is my "Grown up Christmas List". I'd like to say it's simpler than the song, but to be honest I think the tangible things are easier even if grandiose. I will enjoy what I do get for Christmas and even more what I am allowed to give. I will watch my girls beam with excitement and know that I couldn't really want for much more than that. But in my heart I allow myself some personal desires. I have now shared them with you. I hope it will help someone else know that it's okay to want things too and even to say them out loud. Wanting and being disappointed about not receiving are very different things.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die. So, let us all be thankful. ~ the Buddha

Thankfulness, original thought this week right? But it's meant to be the time to remind yourself so I figured I might as well join the crowd. It's been a trying year to say the least. To be honest it's been a trying few years. In early 2009 I lost my job and my dog in the same week and it seems like it was down hill from there for a while. I lost a friendship that I cherished not long after that. And over the past year I've lost my marriage. Yes, trying times.

*In 2010 approximately 1 in 7 households in America didn't have enough to eat.
*More than 16 out of every 100,000 children under the age of 18 in the US were diagnosed with cancer in the year 2005.
*There were 1.6 million homeless people in America in September 2010.

I could pull statistics from the computer all day long, but is it necessary? Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes others' lives are harder. Perspective is always necessary. So yes, I've had a few years of trying times. I've had support through them. I've been loved by my family. I've been clothed, fed, and kept warm. My children are healthy. And these are the basics. There is so much more. I've laughed. . . a lot. I've seen some beautiful sunsets. I felt an earthquake! (I realize some might not find this to be a positive, however the ability to experience nature is an amazing thing!) I've made new friends. I've watched my daughters become smarter and more beautiful daily. I've learned how to deal with adversities that I didn't know I could handle. All days have not been grand, but I have been given all those days! The quote above is simple but true, I didn't die. For this I am thankful. And for so much more. Perspective...I am very thankful for the ability to see life, not just mine but the life around me, and make sense of what is truly good and bad. I do not experience much that is bad compared to many. I will live with trying times and be thankful.

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses."
~ Alphonse Karr

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I know, I know... it's been a while. Trust me when I tell you I get reminders, OFTEN. It's not that I haven't wanted to write. I've had ideas that fizzled, or chances that I wasted on computer hangman games. I've even just taken turns between staring at my screen saver and the clock when I could have been writing. Obviously focus is a bit of an issue. But today I was thinking that I started this blog with "How I Got Here" so I thought it might be time to address "Where I am".
I cry less often. And in realizing that "not at all" is probably unlikely I find this to be a good thing. By making myself understand that most of my torrential downpours were more from fear, anger, and being overwhelmed than sadness this was easier to take control of than I expected. So one thing down...check.
I exercise more regularly. This is not a huge distinction unfortunately. We are just going to have to call this a baby step with no real promise of giant steps at the moment. I do what I can do. I accept that in myself. I hope you do too. Can I get half a check at least?
The best thing I can say about where I am is where the girls and I are. I'm proud of our routine. We work together, well as much as you can get a 6 and 8 year old to work together. They still bicker a lot, but I am growing more patient. It feels awful to know that you take out your own life issues on your children. I know I'm not the only person that does it, but it still makes me feel bad. I'm getting better. I'm still loud, will always be loud, but I'm having to apologize to them less. I'm glad. The 3 of us are learning together how to deal with what life throws at us. And we are learning not to expect the cookie cutter lives that we expected. They really don't exist and I'm not sure that it's terrible for the girls to figure that out at such a young age. I hate it's taking divorced parents to understand it, but I think they will be better people because they do get that. So kids and I are good. Double check.
My own life is still very much in limbo. This I hate! And much of it is out of my control. Hmmmm, lack of control. THIS I HATE! But I'm learning to let it go some. I'm living in the moment more for now. I have to say for now because I do believe I will reach the point when I have to grab on and regain control, push much harder. But for now, in the limbo state, this is how I keep sanity. I guess this is a wash, no check no minus.
So now we are down to where the minus comes in. I'm still convinced most days that I can't do everything alone. To be honest, I'm doing it. Maybe even better than I did before. I keep all my plates spinning (thanks to a cousin and fellow blogger for that example) but I FEEL like they are all about to drop at any minute. I guess it boils down to not trusting myself or more so not trusting my abilities. Remember when you were a kid? You could do anything and just let someone tell you otherwise! Bulletproof, well I was anyway. And I watch people as they get older, no longer scared to speak their mind, determined not to let anyone help them. Why then, right in the middle of life, when I need that attitude the most am I the least confident? This is, at present, my fail. And it truly isn't my actions, it's only how I feel about it. I want to stand, put my hands in the air, and roar "I am She Ra (remember her?), I can do anything!" But I look at myself and I think I'm a little more Aunt Bee. . "Andy, oh my, what am I going to do? The oven is broken and I have pies to bake." Point being I let silly little things get to me, knock me down, and make me feel alone and inept. But then I do get back up and keep going. I'll keep working on She Ra - the red headed version of course - but until I get there I'll just keep going.
SO. . . a little closer to 40, still overweight, not as close to "legally" single as I would like to be, but still happy and getting better all the time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What words uplift you?

"Here's what my love affair with quotations has taught me; the more you focus on words that uplift you, the more you embody the idea contained in those words" - Oprah.
When asked what words uplift me I couldn't answer right away. I had to think about it, I also asked others for uplifting words. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” - unknown
"Be yourself...everyone else is already taken!" - Oscar Wilde

Of course I could spend time searching out my own favorite quotes, but a copy of other's words doesn't seem like much of my own blog. I think I'd rather consider what types of words and sentiment inspire me. Because to be honest, most inspiring words I find come from the most curious of places. Quiet conversations you may not have even been meant to hear. Or listening to someone else's story of a burden that makes you realize that pain can also be encouraging if you listen to what others do to over come it.
So here we are at words uplift me. Words spoken of courage. I really do like the quote above. Understanding that courage doesn't have to be facing the dragon,  but being willing to slowly sneak up and feed it, making it your friend, is so much harder and takes much longer. Continuing is courage, not fighting and winning.
Words about liking who you are and LEARNING who you are. I spent many years being told to like myself, but it wasn't until I started to dig and read about how to be a happier person that I began to realize I had to figure out who I was before I could decide I liked who I was. And truly I think it's okay not to like all of it. There are things about me that I don't like and that I can change. That being true I'm sure I have an obligation to myself to do so. I guess I would say that I like words that encourage me to like who I am becoming and that push me to keep becoming. Never stop evolving. I think possibly liking who you are at present too much is a bit of a cop out. It allows you to stop growing.
And I am very often uplifted by people's struggles. Probably more than anything else. A famous person can say something brilliant and profound, but when you live in the limelight and have everything in front of you it's easy to say positive things. I am uplifted by those that have been knocked down over and over and stand up to tell you about it. Not for sympathy but to share how they lived and survived and how they want to help you do the same. Or along the same lines of what I said before about courage, the person who's struggles you hear of just rather matter of factly. Not praise that they even made it through, just the way life is and how they plan to continue to live. So truly, I think I am more inspired by actions than I am words at all. Maya Angelou said "you can tall a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights." Sometimes words are just words. Behavior is inspiring.
How I watch someone speak to a child, or pet a dog. How someone speaks to me and when, not what they say. The faithful good morning that I get every morning inspires me to keep going. Watching someone stop to open the door for a women with a baby in a car seat and two in tow, that's inspiring. The person that says hello with a smile to the not so clean man on the street corner, that is inspiring.
I am not saying words don't teach and don't help us get to these places. I just believe how we use these words in everyday life mean so much more.
I can read and research and study. And words about kindness, and learning what contentment should be can help teach me how to live. I appreciate these words being put down on paper. Sometimes I truly need them to remind me of the kind of person I want to be. But to say someone has inspired me it is how they spoke to me, when they noticed that I needed a kind or teaching word, these are the times that I will remember who and what made me try to become the best person I could be. True inspiration comes from our parents, our teacher, preachers, bosses, and friends. Even sometimes just strangers that pass you on the street. I think I am most inspired by these people as I watch the world that is closest around me and can thankfully say that I can still see kindness most everyday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

 "Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level. Each cell is a record of all of it. I’ve felt it in your skin. Being born. Being held. The time you fell off your bike and weren’t that hurt but very scared. That brutal sunburn on your shoulders at 14. The time you fell out of a tree and broke your collarbone. The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago."
-Kate Batolotta
It's funny to think of our physical body as having a memory, but the more I think about it the more I know it must be true. I think our bodies must have a clearer picture of the past than our minds. When we are afraid our bodies react, based on instinct or maybe based on remembrance of the pain something caused before. In our minds we rationalize, we hesitate. Our minds are cloudy with not just actions but thoughts and emotions about actions. Nothing ever comes out exactly the way it went in. Our bodies are just as they appear. What we've given what we've taken from it. It shows the neglect and abuse, it shows the care and love we put in. Our minds twist the good and turn it to bad as well as taking the bad and convincing us it can be good.
When I was growing up Mama had a Christmas ornament that, any time I looked at it, I felt like I would throw up. I'm not exaggerating. It made me physically ill just to see it. I have no idea why this is. My brain has no recollection of anything bad that happened in reference to this ornament, but my body remembered something. I always made Mama put it on the back of the tree. When I became an adult there was finally a Christmas when Mama pulled it out of the box to put on the tree and I took it down and threw it away. Yet another fallacy of the brain. What took me so long to realize I could remove the culprit causing the problem when my body had been telling me it was bad all this time?
I can look at every scar on my body, every mark and tell a story. The lines from where I wore my wedding ring won't go away either. Stretch marks from being pregnant, I wouldn't even want to give those up I don't think. My body tells a story of me that I can't tell. The muscle in my left arm, that is bigger than my right from carrying trays in restaurants years ago, remembers how hard I worked when so much of it seemed like play. The pain that comes and goes almost daily now across the back of my neck and shoulders remembers how much emotion I can handle in my head and in my heart and takes one for the team not allowing the emotion to surface when it's too much. The jiggles, well pretty much everywhere, tell you I'd really much rather give into my vices and enjoy every moment in the moment instead of considering the consequences.
I know that my body remembers my childhood. We lived out in the country and didn't have big tvs or video games or cable. We spent a lot of time outside, we gardened, we hiked through the woods, we played in the creek. We were outdoor kids even when we didn't want to be honestly. Now, while you probably wouldn't expect to see me hiking much and I'm positive I'm not planning on getting in a creek anytime soon without cement shoes, there is nothing that can change my whole outlook on life like a walk in the sun. My body remembers. I like the smell of freshly cut grass, I even like the smell of a skunk spray, when you pick it up through your car window as you are driving by. If that's not an involuntary remembrance, I certainly don't know what is!
My body aches when it's time to ache, cries when it's time to cry, and belly laughs and picks me up when it's time to enjoy life. It's so involuntary, more and more so as I get older.
I think our bodies remember what our mind cannot or possibly what our mind doesn't realize it should. It remembers and reacts, without hesitation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm sitting here trying to think of something to write today and having a hard time putting anything on paper. Wait, I mean on screen. Paper. . . that was funny.
It isn't as if I don't have thoughts floating around in my head. Actually floating isn't an appropriate description. More like squishing around on top of each other like a pound of worms in a half pound container. So issue number one is actually untangling them into any kind of stream of thought that makes sense. Issue two is finding the ones that anyone else would want to read.
I could tell you how weight conscious I feel this week and how I wish that just for once in my life I could be one of those people that was just born the perfect size and never had to worry about it. But what good would that conversation be? It's not what is or what's going to be. Weight is my albatross. I accept it and every other day, or maybe every third day, I work at controlling it.
I could tell you how aggravated I get at myself for letting my past mistakes get me down and that I tend to beat myself up over regret. But then I'd just have to tell myself to get up and move on. "Put your big girl panties on Heather!" There I said it 1st, just in case anyone else wanted to! The only thing saying "regret" out loud does for me is remind me how stupid it is and what a waste of time and energy it is.
Of course I could also tell you what amazing children I have and how proud I am of them! They are so smart and so resilient. I'm amazed by them everyday! Even now as we are going through our family "reorganization" they just take things as they come and are so sweet and understanding to their father and to me. They never look to blame or accuse even when it makes their lives different than they may want them to be. They love us unconditionally. He and I could stand to learn from that.
I could also tell you that I feel good about the progress I am making in my life. It certainly is up and down. I don't think I've allowed my self emotions much at all until now so somedays they certainly get the better of me. But I throw my tantrums and then I calmly put myself back together and try to learn something from it. It's taking time but I may finally be figuring out who I want to be. I'm proud of that.
Then there are all the little tadpoles swimming in between the worms that are just the things I need to get done each day. Homework, laundry, cooking, bills, birthday parties. Oh and I need to go see my Grandmother really badly but haven't quite figured out when to fit that in! But none of this means much to anyone but me because who doesn't have them, nibbling away at your time and even at your brain as the constant thought of needing to get them done steals time from what you are doing, right? So who wants to read about that in someone else's life?
So here I am again without much to say, all evidence to the contrary. There are other thoughts up there too. Thoughts about things I want, about things I'd like to change, about things I'd like to happen. Most that you wouldn't find very interesting. Maybe a couple that you would, but my mother reads this blog so we're gonna have to skip those too.
I guess I'll have to leave it at this today. Just another normal yet crazy day in my head and me hoping that the good vs. bad thought battle stays even enough just to keep it from popping off my shoulders!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I let myself take a major dip in spirit this week. I don't know why I allow it to happen and what's worse I think I push it. It is as if once I start the downward spiral I am not happy until I hit the bottom. Talk about your stupid compulsions!? Couldn't I just be addicted to speed or something instead? Then I'd be thin and maybe my house would be clean? Instead my eyes are just puffy, red, and a little more wrinkled. Nice.
However, I don't ever let my binges last long and I can pull myself out of them generally just as quickly as I push myself in. Self Abuser / Self Healer. I think I'll get a business card. So as I began my healing process today I actually got in some exercise, which I'm very excited about! I know it's just once but I'm saying it's a beginning. I mean really, I'm pretty good at beginnings so go with what you know right? Celebrate your successes, I say! I can DO beginnings. Middles and endings weeeelllll.... not so much. But you see, one cannot have a middle or end without a beginning so I’m still on the right track! I’ve had a couple of other positive things happen this week and I’m feeling confident. Monday I considered writing that I was a fraud and a failure and that I was done with the whole thing, but I cannot give up or give in! I will not be beaten!
So enough of the cheerleader blah blah blah. I have to admit something else and I truly want to say it out loud. I do not love being PTA, Daisy, all around involved Mom. I do it. I will continue to do it. I will smile when I do it. I do not like it. Now seriously ,I love my daughters. I love spending time with them, playing with them, laughing with them. I do not like organized. . . um organized... organized ANYTHING!! Religion, sports, children’s play groups. I don’t like them. They expect me to show up when I say I will, expect me to participate no matter what my mood, and worse, expect me to care. Who came up with this idea. It wasn’t a mother. I am as sure of that as I am sure that a woman did not design high heels. Because teaching our children hygiene, how to clean their rooms, how to load the dishwasher, helping them with their homework, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and for most of us WORKING, all that just wasn’t enough. We needed extra curricular activities and Moms to volunteer! Well I hate it! There I’ve said it. . . now I have to wrap this blog up because I have to be at the school in the morning to lead the class in Math Superstars before I go to work.
Send me motivating thoughts my way at about 5:45am. I’d love to think I could exercise two days in a row, and as the little boy in Angels in the Outfield says “It could happen.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

I cried for my loss today.
And people all over the world cried for a loss that is beyond a reach I can fathom,
but I cried for my loss today.

Somewhere a child lost a blanket or a bear and cried themselves to sleep for the loss that was more than they could bear,
While others cried out for healing that still won’t come in a world that no longer fosters healing.
And I cried for my loss today.

Someone held the hand of loved one, searching for reason in sickness and death, crying for experiences that will never be, loves that will never be, life that will no longer be
yet still
I cried for my loss today.

I look up to God and I thank him for what I’ve been given and I ask for peace, not only for myself but for those affected in my life. And I pray for guidance and love for those I have hurt and those that have hurt me. I steady fight within my own being to move forward, appreciating life as it is given and I look the past as if it could be a beacon leading me on to a new day, a new life.
And I cried for my loss today.

I remember others’ pain and I try to imagine it, knowing that my life if beautiful and full compared to so many.
I ask a God that I am confused and conflicted by to care for others, heal others, forgive me in hopes that my cries will find their way to a healing ear, knowing that others deserve more than I in this world so filled with despair and anguish, wishing my selfishness could somehow disappear and I could rise to a new daybreak knowing that life is a gift and even the pain that comes with it is a gift of feeling that some have lost along the way.

However I look at myself and I know that I cannot wish my angst away and I cannot drown it in the angst of others. I have to face it dead on and give it the attention that it screams for
So again I stopped
And I cried for my loss today.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's been a different weekend for me. My children spent the first weekend with their father and his girlfriend in their house. Change is such a scary thing, I don't care how much you think you want it or you really know it's the best thing... it scares the hell out of me anyway! Guess I can't speak for anyone but me. I'm sure there are people out there that can truly just flow with whatever life throws their way. They look at it, see the positives, move forward. I HATE THOSE PEOPLE. "People are always telling me that change is good. But all that means is something you didn't want to happen has happened." - Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.
Of course I do recognize my need to embrace it. I also recognize the fact that I am the kind of person who would stay in a bad but comfortable situation rather than move on into a situation that, while difficult, will be better and make me happier in the long run. It's hard to understand how you know something like this about yourself  but continue to operate in the same manner. "Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become." I love that thought. However at my age and in my position it is a little hard to convince myself that there is something else that I can become. Wasn't I supposed to be what I was going to be by now? Or maybe we are always evolving and we are never a finished product. "The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance." - Nathaniel Branden
The truth of my life right now is that I have to accept the change that is happening. And the harder truth is I have to see the good in it, take that and turn it the ability to continue to evolve into a better person daily. "The great thing is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions in ones own or real life. The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one's life." - C.S. Lewis.
So the lesson in change is that every step is just your life as it was meant to be played. Somehow the word change connotes an event that wasn't meant to happen has happened and you now have to adapt. However maybe the truth of the universe is that there isn't really "change" at all, only continuance.
"Life is change, growth is optional. Choose wisely."
So I think I am deciding to say, as of today, my life isn't changing. I am growing. I will work to accept the evolution of my life and the never ending growth that the world forces on me. I cannot promise I will always like it but I will accept it and use it to my advantage somehow.

*** forgive all the quotes today, but I felt they told my story better than I could alone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Comfortable In Your Own Skin

"You know her - She is that friend who always looks fabulous. And it's not only the colors she wears or the mix of patterns that just works or the necklace that no one else you know can pull off. what she really has is something you can't get at the mall - confidence. She's strong, she's sexy, and she buys only what she loves. Simply put, she looks good because she feels good. And you can channel her style with a little help from fall's best new clothes."

This was an add in the Ladies Home Journal. What does it say to you? This is what it says to me: "Look at her, she's perfect. You wish you could be her but you can't. She's better than you will ever be and you know it. But spend some money and we will try to help you look like her because addressing your level of confidence and how you feel about yourself is a waste of time. Let us help you pretend to be someone else so that no one can tell on the inside you are miserable. But whatever you do... don't just try to be yourself!"

I mean really! First of all clothes do not make the woman. They may make the man because there isn't much else he can do with himself ( I know, cheap shot) but they do not make the woman. The initial description of the woman is wonderful. She chooses who she is and because she feels good it radiates to others. But why in the world would a women's magazine tell us that we can't be this too?!

Being comfortable in your own skin is something that I don't even think some people understand. It is exactly why these kinds of ads exist. Because there are people out there that don't understand why anyone would just want to be, dress, choose what they like for themselves! We should all want to be someone else. It's infuriating actually.  It's telling us not to like who we are, but to like that girl over there and who she is better, because THAT is the way to make yourself feel good. Are you kidding me?? I personally do have a strong opinion about how I want to look and it does make me feel a certain way when I do or don't accomplish it. But then I see those women that appear not to care at all, they are earthy as can be, for lack of a better description, and the confidence they exude is amazing. And I find them beautiful though I think I could never pull off that look without just looking dirty. So it's obviously not the look at all. Arthur Rubenstein said "I have found that if you love life, it loves you back. It's all about attitude." So how do you love life? Love yourself!

Now I am not saying that I am this person everyday. It's hard to feel strong and confident all the time. I fight it everyday! BUT I will not let a magazine that claims to be the best advice for women tell me that I cannot be strong and confident but it will gladly help me dress like the woman that is!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is your life worth?

I'm watching a news program following people in Appalachia. You know, it absolutely amazes me that people still live as they do there. I look around my world and often times think my life is hard. I don't know hard. Kids raised in a house without a book? Really? Oh the things we take for granted. As I sit here and type on my computer there are children out there who don't even have the opportunity to read. A life without Dr. Suess. Can you even imagine? "Would not could not without a book, I will not do it Sam I am, I will not stay in this tin can."
So it makes me consider my lack of motivation. All the opportunity I have around me, all the things right in my face to push me. What if there was nothing? What if all you saw as a step up was a life in a coal mine instead of staying home on welfare or dealing drugs? Wow. We take so much for granted when we've actually been given things and opportunity. What if my only opportunity was a job in fast food? What would I do then?
I call myself unmotivated of course I spend all day everyday working, taking care of children, volunteering at the school, being a Daisy scout leader, keeping house, doing laundry, and being a mother and hopefully a good friend. So I am busy. Busy is not motivated. I do what I have to do everyday but I am not taking advantage of the options I have all around me. And these people have so few chances. Hmmm. . .makes me think.
Of course it also makes me wonder if I need to be motivated to do for me, or if I should be finding more ways to do for other people. "I will feed hungry children green eggs and ham, I'll help these people Sam I am." Of course I have to be in a better position than I'm in to do much for others. So there is yet another reason to push ahead. I need to do better for me so that I can pay back what's been given to me to help others. Oh the stressful, pay it forward yet at this point can't quite even pay it backward, of it all!! I have to think about what I have, the chances I have, and make sure I appreciate it. And work harder. I think that's truly all I can commit to. And to be more mindful of my surroundings and others surroundings. Some truly unimaginable to me but still here, right in the United States, not some foreign country. And they don't know or care that the stock market isn't doing so well or that the Government is in crisis. They know drugs and poverty and their children learn hopelessness.
Some days I think my life is hard. I don't know hard. "I will do better Sam I am, I will remember who's worse off than I am and appreciate my life outside the tin can."

Monday, August 29, 2011

"You dropped something.... your smile."

Be kind for everyone you meet is facing a great battle ~ Plato
We think about ourselves all day long. What to wear, what to eat, who we would like to see today, who we would rather not see, what we want, what we need. . . how often do you look at someone else and think of what they might need? Some of us may not have much to give others, but we all have kindness. Sure there are days that the kids wake up fighting, the dog pukes, I forget I need gas on the way to work and am late... I do not feel kind at all, but the guy at the gas station who says good morning didn't make all that happen to me. In fact is very possible he walked to work with holes in his socks, has no kids or dogs to love him, and a sick mother at home that he is working to care for. I don't know. I'll never know. But I could smile instead of snarl when he speaks to me. It might make a difference. And he might be nice to the next person who's situation is even worse. . . and so on and so on.

I realize this isn't a new concept. I haven't just told you some profound new idea that could change the world! We know to be nice, we just forget. I suppose I should only be speaking for myself, but I doubt I'm alone here. Life gets to us and we take it out on the world. And in that one moment when the coffee stain on my shirt is so aggravating I forget to look around and see the suffering that others around me may be going through, I miss an amazing opportunity. The opportunity to brighten someones day possibly. It's a simple gift. A gift that costs nothing and can be given readily without really any effort.

My first semester in college, I was away from home and not very happy. While walking down to get my mail one day, probably hoping to find some great gift in that little bitty lock box, I passed a group of people I didn't know. One of the guys in the group looked at me and said "You dropped something." I turned to look behind me, there was nothing there. I looked back at him, confused. He then said "Your smile." I will never forget that as long as I live. And it changed my day, maybe even changed me. And he has no idea, he was just being nice. I hope that at some point in my life I give the same to someone else.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The comic relief

My last 2 posts have been pretty serious so I decided that I had to do something, at the very least, slightly humorous if I were going to post again. And right now I feel kind of funny, unfortunately I don't mean in the humorous sense. It seems that every time I pick myself up, brush myself off, and start to move in a positive direction outwardly, my body takes offense to it. I get this horrible pressure across my shoulders and neck and it makes me dizzy and it is hard for my eyes to focus. So my question here is- why do your body and mind like to battle as opposed to work together? What happened to "all for one and one for all" or if you need a newer more modern and very Disney version, "we're all in this together". (If you don't get this reference please Google those words + High School Musical, however be warned... once the song is in your head it will not soon depart.) I'm just saying that I do not understand why when in my head I make the choice to be happy, motivated and strong, my body doesn't take the chance to embrace it and jump for joy!! I should be doing cartwheels! Well... I couldn't do cartwheels before, but metaphorically speaking.

Unfortunately I believe that I must come to the resolve that more physical activity is the solution. Oops.. did I say that outloud? Crap. If I tell you I need to do it, that means I know I need to do it, and sort of takes away all my excuses or even smoke and mirrors that I may be possibly doing enough of it now. I'm just not. There I said it. I don't get nearly enough exercise and I need to. Damn. I said it again. I know this is true because I even read it in my 7 year old's health book. It was discussing the use of physical activity to reduce stress. 7 year olds with stress? Shouldn't they maybe be teaching them how not to cause stress in 2nd grade instead of manage it? Of course maybe if I had been taught in 2nd grade how to manage stress we wouldn't be talking about this right now. So here's to better life skills being made available to my children!

So now I have admitted yet another thing that I must do. It is time for me to make my mind and body fight it out on a hike. Or even learn to work together in a Zumba class, because for my hips and feet to do what they do without falling down it WILL take some brain and body cooperation! So feel free to hold me accountable and ask how I'm doing. Just dont judge me!! For I know there will be some failures, I mean small set backs, involved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I just found out that one of my father's oldest and dearest friends died this morning. He had survived severe injuries in Vietnam, had survived a liver transplant, but today his heart said "I'm done". I sit and wonder how my father is feeling right now. Is he sad for his friend or is he scared about his own mortality? Of course my father is the type that will never tell you how he's feeling. He will do all the appropriate things over the next few days, he will laugh politely at stories told by people he probably doesn't even want to be speaking to, he will shed a tear quietly, though in public. But he will never say a word about how he feels. How painful that must be. I cannot say that I always handle my emotions very well, and I often feel as if I shouldn't be having the ones that I do. It is hard to feel bad and then feel bad about feeling bad. I wonder if that is what motivates him. Not believing that you deserve your emotions or that they are valid is an awful punishment to dole out to yourself.

I can't say that I know my father very well or understand him at all. Often I don't even like him that much, but I hate that he punishes himself for whatever reason. While feeling badly isn't something that I think you should wallow in, I know you have to allow yourself to feel what you feel. Of course the key is to then look at it, decide what is causing it, and make it better. But for goodness sakes feel it! Suppression, stoicism, I think they make you old before your time. Sometimes being sad makes me very tired, but I often find after the worst days I am at my best. Feeling very bad can be cleansing to a point. Whether for me it's crying out the toxins or hitting a bottom that forces me to bounce back up. Feeling nothing just makes you cold. And keeping it in makes you gruff and harsh. I will take over emotional, even borderline crazy(which I'm quite sure I am), over no emotion any day and twice on Sunday, as the saying goes. I've watched it and it's sad. And though I am sorry that David died today, he was a wonderful man and will be missed very much, I am glad that it reminded me that feeling what I am feeling right now is okay. And David would be glad to know that he was able to make me feel better today, and he would smile. So I will smile for him, and appreciate my life and push my sadness away for now. Until I feel it again, and it will be okay that I do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I hear this word in my head, but it sounds like the vampire in that old Bugs Bunny cartoon.  Remember how he says "HOCUS POCUS" and turns from a bat to a vampire, and then Bugs says "Abacadabra" (and yes I know I'm missing the r, but that's how he said it) and the vampire turns back to what he was formerly and gets hurt? Okay, well if you don't remember it then I'm just rambling, but if you do you can understand the thundering voice that is pushing me to do something, but with very little success.  I don't understand the human brain I will admit that, I don't understand humans so much for that matter but this is not my point at the moment. It just seems to me, however, that the organ that is supposed to keep you functioning tends to make you dysfunctional just as often.

When things go wrong I tend to shut down. I suppose it's that "fight or flight" instinct. So my question is how do I switch from flight to fight? How do I retrain my brain? I know now that the small bit of unpleasantness is over why it happened and why I shouldn't have let it get to me. I know that I should be in control of my emotions. I also know that people don't make me feel a certain way, I take what they say or do and spin it into how I make myself feel about it. So if I know all this why can't I know it BEFORE the melt down and stop it?? YES  I do have a brain so isn't this how it's supposed to work?

And then there is the recovery period which is where the focus part comes in. I can focus during the meltdown, it's just what I'm focusing on that is the problem. Then I come back to my warped sense of normal and it takes even more time to get back to able to think. I realize my thoughts aren't life changing, but I do still need them to function. The Dalai Lama says "I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." Judge the universe? Hmmm... how do I interpret that? Are my expectations the issue? Is having an expectation of something you can not control the same as judging. You will judge and be disappointed when the expectation is not met, right? You know I think that is it. It's not about how to handle the meltdown or breakdown it's how to avoid it. Knowing what I can control and what I can't may very well be a large path to follow in this journey. If you had asked me a year ago what I could control I would have told you everything. Ask me today I might tell you nothing. But I know there is a balance between the two.

"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." Worth repeating. Searching yourself in dark times for what will bring you out of it, and using the bright times to accomplish what you have learned. A simple lesson really. And by not judging the universe I suppose there is a sense of taking the times as they happen and accepting them. We all search to find blame for all our misfortunes. Sometimes bad days are just bad days I suppose and trying to replace flight with fight isn't really the right answer at all. Acceptance and appreciation of the lesson may be the best path.
I will try to keep this my goal.  Accept and move forward. And I will not blame or judge the universe, however I may blame my hormones on the most random of occasions.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday. . . thank goodness!

I'm afraid I am guilty of wishing my life away. I need to learn to live in the moment. I saw an illustration that said "Be happy for this moment this moment is your life. THIS moment?? Right now? That certainly puts some perspective on the time I just spent on a game of solitaire on the computer that I could have spent reading something meaningful. I can easily sit and think of all the things I would be doing if I could be somewhere else, or all the things I'd like to be doing if I didn't have to work, and how I'd make the world a better place if...
IF. Maybe we should remove that word from our vocabulary. IF is just the beginning of an excuse. It is the set up to an immediate failure. It's just saying "you would but you can't", so why bother saying or thinking whatever that is at all, right? I think that I will try to replace "if" with "will". There shall be no more "if I could" in my language. Before I even get to "I would do ___ if I could", I will turn it around in my head and decide that " ___ is what I can do so I will".

So here I am in my moment. What can I do? Well obviously I've been just working through my own thoughts and I've realized that thinking isn't nearly as overrated as I had decided it was. It's all about WHAT you are thinking. Managing your thoughts instead of letting them manage you, what a unique and amazing concept. I've spent quite a bit of time over the last few months letting myself get worked up and overwhelmed by "being in my head too much" so I felt like I needed something mindless to keep that from happening. I mean let's face it,  it truly can be a scary place up there without a navigator or a guide. But if you enter with a map, a plan, and a destination, the trip can be very pleasant and even productive! I Googled simply "reinventing yourself" not too terribly long ago and read an article about letting go of the past and moving towards your future.  It was short and to the point, but very powerful. First it said to thank your past before you walk away from it. I have to say I love the idea of being thankful for all your experiences good and bad. Then it talked about visualizing your future. Playing out specific scenarios of who you want to be or what you want to happen. What a brilliant way to daydream. Dreaming of things you want and plan to make happen instead of things that you desire but know will never happen!

"Goals in life are great, but aspirations are better. With goals comes expectations of how things should be, a line so fine that we are often disappointed. However, with aspirations comes this understanding that the world is in movement, that things change constantly and that it is okay. Goals are too tangible for a future that does not yet exist, whereas aspiring to be a better person, to learn, to give and to love are all elements of the present. Blind positive thinking is aimed at a future state of being rather than just being." - Veronique Barnes
I add this quote because I have to say that I think the point of aspiring to be a better person as a whole within what life has dealt you is truly important to grasp and work toward, though I can't say that I think goals and positive thinking are negatives by any means.  There is certainly nothing wrong with dreaming big! Just be prepared to do the work that goes with it.

So I've talked a big game today and I cannot tell you that I am this person, but I want to be.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There are how many hours in the day?

Cause 24 sounds like a lot. . . but I do not get nearly that many out of it! I get up at 6:30, get myself and the kids ready, take them to school and go to work, get off work and pick them up, feed them and get us ready for the next day, and go to bed. What am I accomplishing here? Okay fine, so they are getting an education which I understand is vital for them later and I am working so I can feed them and pay SOME of my bills but really??? All that time and that's all I get out of it? I'm truly thinking that life would be much more enjoyable if we moved somewhere that I could make baskets and put them on the streets selling Chiclets. We would only have to do that for about 6 hours of the day and it would take much less preparation. How pretty would they have to look to sell Chiclets?

I don't think my mother or their father would approve of this move, however. So tell me, how do the supermoms do it?  I really need to work on my organizational skills, I guess. And I need to give up some sleep. Seems to me that most men I know require about 5 hours sleep and women need 6-8. There is a definite design flaw here. Maybe it's just that only having to focus on 1 thing at a time is not nearly as exhausting as what women have to focus on in a day? (that's as much bashing as I will do, but am I wrong?)

So here is what I have to find time to fit in:
Exercise - I try to walk at lunch when I can, but really just have to find a way to make myself get up in the morning and do more before the girls are even awake. There goes sleep time. And losing sleep for exercise? That is a hard sell in my head!
House stuff - I mean I clean, do dishes, do laundry... the stuff that has to get done, but there are closets and drawers that need some major tending to! I bet if I cleaned everything out I could open my very own "As seen on TV" store, right in my garage and I'm not even going to talk about what my garage looks like. Uugghh!
And I really need to paint. The walls are just way too dirty to clean, paint is the only thing that will work. I bet when I'm done it will look like some cool textured pattern even, thought it will really just be painted over dirt.
Kid stuff - I am the daisy scout leader, but there are karate classes and acting classes in my near future (because my household needs more drama), and we all know how much time those things take.  And I don't ever read to the kids anymore or push them to do extra projects for school. They are smart girls but they really need to be working on college scholarships, I'm just sayin'.
So there are just 3 facets of life that I need time for. You notice I have nothing in there set aside as trashy TV time or Facebook time. I've got to have that! And then there is what I will merely call "social" time.  In other words beer drinking time, which leads to less sleep and much less motivation the next day. OH, and also leads to need for more exercise. I mean who created this vicious cycle?

So here I am again, searching for motivation.  Trying to find balance. Trying to teach myself to take one step at a time. I have to learn to make time for what I need to do, but to also be okay with myself when things don't happen and aren't perfect. I think focus is an issue for me here as well.  Finding a way to focus on one thing, complete it, then move on to the next.  Instead everything looks like a giant meatball that I need to take apart and devour the ingredients separately but all at the same time! (Ouch that made my stomach hurt just imagining it, maybe it would all go down better with beer?)
So I have to learn how to push myself, sacrifice, and forgive myself when I don't.  That sounds easy on paper, doesn't it?  Wish me luck!!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why can't I just have my turkey leg and eat it too?

I woke up this morning with a determination to start being healthier.  Which I have to first tell you was difficult because it was Wednesday. I believe you have to start things at a beginning. The beginning of the week, beginning of the month, the year, just a beginning. It's one of my favorite neurotic behaviors (there are many by the way). So today is just Wednesday. I mean how can I start on Wednesday knowing that I usually quit by the weekend? This doesn't even give me time to start!
SO. . . I'm changing a pattern right? You can only expect different results by doing things differently or you're crazy, doesn't the saying go something like that?

The next step in this healthy thing is how to work on my expectations of myself. I would really rather become an alfalfa sprout and tofu eating mountain climber or do nothing at all. I hate sprouts! So this also does not work. Baby steps. Baby steps do not lead to instant gratification. So again, a pattern and thought process has to change. As of 2:40 pm today I have taken those baby steps. I've gotten some exercise already today.  I have eaten healthier than most days.  It's only 2:40pm.  BUT I started so I am going to accept this and try to continue to forgive my failures, accept my imperfections, and push myself to continue.

I think it's important for me to admit why health is a part of this journey.  Of course it is above all things to "live long and prosper".  Did you know thin people make more money on average than fat people???  Now who's thought processes are warped, I ask you?? Also, bigger clothes are more expensive and I like clothes (and am generally broke, so cheaper fashion is better)!! But I truly want to live long and enjoy my time on earth to its fullest and I can't do that if I don't consider my health. But it factors into the happiness aspect as well. How I feel and think about myself affects my happiness. Unfortunately what other people think of me affects my happiness too.  So as I said yesterday I think I'm pretty, but I must admit I fall into the body image trap created by our society. What I look and see makes me feel one way, but then I cannot help myself from thinking of what others look and see. It is an evil practice, that of judging people by their appearance. And body image issues do not discriminate I might add.  It's not just us fat chicks that are made to feel bad about how they look.  I have a good friend who is a size 1... A SIZE ONE... and she has much worse body image issues than I've ever dreamed of! But I cannot fix the world and how it pushes us to be something we are not.  I can only fix me.  And to fix me I can truly only meet somewhere in the middle.  Work a little harder, try to focus on health and not weight or looks, and fight to look inward for my happiness and not in the mirror OR on the front of a magazine.

Now all that being said I will add this. . and please don't judge my lack of historical knowledge... but I do remember many pictures of 18th or 19th century England I'm guessing where they just sat around eating bread and chewing on turkey legs, drinking wine and mead, and were perfectly happy until they died.  Why couldn't I have been born then???

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How I Got Here

Midlife.  That's where I am. Or close to it anyway.  My Grandmother is 92 and her mother was 91 when she died so I suppose with a little luck maybe I not quite there yet but I'm close.  And when we discuss my vices later you'll probably decide I'm closer than I want to admit!  The connotations that go with midlife can be unpleasant, but as "40 is the new 30" it becomes less unappealing. . . well atleast in the media.  But then there is real life. MY real life. I look at my back and see all my mistakes and how I got from there to here is at the very least no mystery! I played. I had fun. I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it without much regard to the consequences.  So again. . . midlife, do I consider mine bad?  I can say that I have not accomplished as much as most people probably thought I would, but I'm not sure I know what I ever expected to accomplish. I do have 2 amazing children that will forever make my life worth living, even if somedays I truly want to go hang them upside down by their toenails in the backyard!  My mother says her 40s were better than her 30s, 50s better than 40s, and so on.  Can I hold her responsible if my life isn't the same?  Well, probably not.  So I guess I am going to have to embrace this midlife thing and move forward.

Overweight.  Luckily for me at this dreaded midlife point this is not new.  I think I've been officially here since I was about 7.  Of course what was overweight when I was in high school is now perfectly normal and I'd be more than thrilled to be that size again! But I'm not.  And most days you know what? I like me! Crazy right? I don't spend all day everyday wishing I looked like someone else.  I have my moments in the mirror, like all woman and girls, thinking about what I'd like to look better but still?  I even think I'm pretty.  Again, crazy right?  However here is the ugly catch.  I do want to live long and watch my kids and even their kids grow up.  Therefore the healthiness incorporated in my present body shape may be suspect.  So in this journey I am beginning to reinvent myself I cannot ignore this issue.  Pizza and beer can no longer be my best friends (sob... I will miss them however I'm sure they will visit).

Single again, at midlife. This one is tricky.  And scary.  And scarier still that I'm not upset about losing my husband.  Just about being without a safety net.  I do not like this about myself. I don't like that I got to that point with him nor that my feelings about it all are superficial.  And about me.  I have a cold side, this is part of it.  I don't really like it, but it is my shield.  THIS will be what I have to work on.  THIS will be the no fun part of midlife.  I can't even make talking about it the least bit funny.  So let's move on!

Happy.  My guidance counselor in elementary school was named Happy.  Can you imagine having to live up to that name?  I think Beavis and Butthead were more nicely named.  I mean who expects something from them?  Nobody, right?  But Happy has an attitude to live up to. 
My present question in life is where does my happiness come from?  Media, religion, career, social status, they all create ideas in our head of what happiness should be but do they really have anything to do with what happiness is? While me mind tells me that they shouldn't, I know they do for me.  This is yet another thing to work at and change.  Finding happiness from within instead of the outside world is my destination in this journey.  While most days I feel happy I don't think I possess complete happiness.  I have to find where it should come from.

So here is the first post in my blog.  As simple explanation of what or why I'm writing.  I hope to work at many things in life and journal them here.  Who knows if anyone will follow it, but if they do I should warn to expect it all to be rather random.  And if no one follows it will atleast be an exercise in bettering my writing skills as well as a way to entertain my own thoughts. And when I decide I've written all I can and there is no need for this anymore, I hope that motivationally challenged will be a thing of the past.  Possibly, however my expectations are lower, overweight will no longer be as much of a necessary title, and 40 and Happy will be the name of my next blog!