Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

#36 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

Read the pics above. 
Merry Christmas!!

#37 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

Giving up on perfectionism isn't easy. But soooo worth in the long run. I can run myself ragged trying to control everything little detail in my life. Or I can take a deep breath and lighten up and focus on what truly is important. If my efforts to achieve an unnecessary level of perfection are taking away from quality time with myself and family - they aren't worth it. Take this picture. That fitted sheet is on the right is just as clean as the one on the left and will make just as nice of a sheet to sleep on when used. Pretty good metaphor for many things!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#38 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday about holiday traditions that we miss because they just aren't an option anymore.  Looking through a Sears or JCPenney Christmas catalog was something that we both immediately thought of. My mom knew she could keep us distracted for hours whenever it came in. It was so much fun to browse each page of the toy section carefully. I never paid attention to what anything cost. Now that is almost the first thing I look at and if it is not in my price range will not even look at the picture closely or the description. Part of the joy and innocence of youth was simply dreaming my way through the catalog pages without  any worry about what it would take to make those dreams come true.

Later that night my step-daughter brought up the topic of how some Christmas traditions change. Must have been something in the air. It was a neat conversation. She enjoyed telling me things that her family has done over the years. I got to share what my family used to do when I was young and also some of the traditions I have had with my own kids. Both of us have experienced change over the years for various reasons. Some changes were good. Because she is a child of divorce she can relate to how some of life's changes force us to give up traditions we love. Hopefully she is starting to see that new traditions can be created and established. One thing is certain though....change is constant. I wish I knew a magic formula for teaching all my kids how to remember fondly old traditions that no longer exist, but still be open to new ones that may present themselves. For that matter this is a lesson I am still learning myself. One thing I am certain of is that I am very grateful I have such wonderful family - old and new to learn it with.

Friday, December 20, 2013

#39 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I missed getting a post out yesterday. Darn it. This is one part that I dreaded when I decided to do this project. I got very ambitious at first and actually wrote and scheduled several posts ahead of time. And then, as usual, life caught up with me.

Many times in the past I would let something like this be an excuse to just give up altogether. And, this morning I was very tempted to do just that - again. But, thankfully, I am still learning at almost 46-years-of-age. Practicing discipline is not always easy - but it is worth it. A bigger part of the picture for me is also practicing the art of showing myself grace. It is always easier to forgive others - me, not so much. I have all the phrases ready at a moments notice in my head to beat myself up. "You should have known better than to even start." "You should have stayed on top of things and not gotten behind." "This is just one of tens of thousands of little meaningless blogs that no one reads." "It's not like this is anything really important - it's not like you are getting paid for it." And on and on and on. Silencing the negative rant in my head is not always easy. It takes a conscious intentional effort to bring forward the forgiving and encouraging phrases - but I am getting better at it!! Phrases like - "You only missed one post. You can do this. Sit down and write something, ANYTHING, and hit the publish button." "This project is not about one single post. It is about a bigger process and learning to do something better." "Mistakes will happen. You can learn from it and move on." "You can do this, Girl!" "Don't give up - you will be glad you stuck it out!"

I no longer want to let perfectionism keep me immobilized. So, instead of kicking myself I am sitting down and writing this blessed post which will no doubt have several errors in it when I do back and re-read it. And then I am hitting the publish button. And then I am finishing my coffee, getting dressed and getting on with the rest of my day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#41 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

As I mentioned in a previous post - I like Facebook. My personal goal is to post at least SOMETHING everyday....but not get too carried away with so many posts that my friends are tempted to hide everything I put out there. It surprises me sometimes what seems to strike a cord with others.

The other day I shared this picture. I found it on one of my favorite FB pages - A Beautiful Mess Inside.

I still am not always sure just what will get attention and what won't. Sometimes things that I think are particularly funny or meaningful will sit on my wall and go seemingly unnoticed. And then others kind of take on a life of their own. This was one. It got 15 likes (that's a lot for me!), but the biggest surprise was that it was shared 14 times. (I know those are not astronomical numbers, but remember....this is just my own little personal page.) I don't often get stuff shared off my timeline. 

So why did this one strike a chord? Maybe it is because we all have experienced looking silly or feeling foolish and also experienced the unpleasant sensation of knowing that someone else thought we were an idiot because of it. If you are like me then you know that trying NOT to look silly is a fruitless effort. It happens without even trying. I constantly say the wrong the thing, leave the house wearing brown shoes with black pants, forget where I put my keys, have to run to the store at 0-dark-thirty to pick up something last minute my kid needs the next day for school, and so on and so on. I used to get very, very upset when these things would happen. My little inner voice would start repeating all the things I should have/could have done differently or better and what was wrong with me and are you ever going to learn????? 

Learning to put that voice in it's place was (is) not easy.. It took many do-overs to choose to listen to a more forgiving and positive voice. (Thankfully I am NOT out of those do-overs either! Anyone else glad our God is a God of 2nd, 3rd, and 94th chances?) One of my biggest freeing moments is not an exactly poetic one. (I did mention God giving us infinite do-overs, right?) This moment, though, helped me fight back some major negative demons. It may or may not involve being a deep funk after my divorce and may or not involve me sitting alone in my house during one of the weekends my kids were with their dad. I may or may not have been feeling extremely pathetic about myself. I did not resent my kids spending time with their dad - but I was totally lost as to what to do with hours and days all to myself. I felt even more pathetic because I knew that it had to be much harder for the kids' dad. I only had to endure weekends by myself the rest of the time they were with me. On this particular weekend I will neither admit nor deny that I got so fed up with myself that I stood in my living room and screamed "F&CK YOU, WORLD!!" at the top of my lungs. I knew I had to do SOMETHING and that I didn't care what anyone else thought of me at that moment. Then before I could think about it I picked up the phone and called an acquaintance and asked her what time dinner was and if I should bring anything with me. She was completely amused by how I invited myself over and I got to spend a great evening with someone who has become one of my best friends. A much more positive way to spend my time than moping to myself. 

I don't go around screaming profanities when I am feeling insecure (at least not out loud). I try to remember how empowering it is to truly NOT care what others opinion of me is. Because honestly - I make an idiot of myself almost every day. Another thing that is empowering is this little tidbit - so does EVERYONE else. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Even those of us who may do a better job at hiding it from the rest of the world have those areas in our lives where we know we could/should do better. So F&cking what? Really. I mean REALLY. Knowing that we all fall short and that we all struggle and that we all are in this mess of life together is empowering. And it gives us the opportunity to be kinder and more empathetic and maybe, just maybe make a new friend who will feed you dinner even when you show up with no notice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

#42 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I admit it - I am guilty. I know I shouldn't. And honestly I try very hard not too, but it has been a life-long habit that is difficult to break. I am talking about judging people, of course. It is so instinctual that sometimes I don't even realize it has happened until I have walked away and the thought hits my head that I assumed something that I really have no idea of the truth of because of the way a person acted, was dressed or the color of the their skin or how they sounded when they talked. Now - because I feel like I need to put a positive spin on this not so good habit I want to say that not ALL of my judgments are negative. Sometimes it leads me to assume something about a person that could (in my mind, at least) be a very good thing. That's not so bad, right? ....Right?
The truth is, though, that when we judge others without really taking the time to get to know their story - we are making assumptions based on ignorance. And it is a very bad practice. For instance...take the women wearing not so clean sweats with unwashed hair who screamed at her kid in the grocery store because her little girl kept putting items in the cart when the mom wasn't looking. No child deserves to have that kind of anger shouted at them. It would be easy to say that lady is a bad mom who does not deserve children. They should regulate who can and can't have kids because some people clearly are not meant for parenting. I have been guilty of thinking the worst of such parents...until the woman in the grocery store was ME and the little girl pushing me to my final straw was my darling first-born. Yep. Definitely not my proudest Mom moment. I had stayed home sick that day and was still not feeling well. After picking up my daughter up from preschool I remembered we had almost nothing to fix for dinner. I just wanted to get what we needed for dinner and get home as quickly as possible. I had already asked my daughter several times to stop doing what she was doing. If you are a parent then you have been there. I would give anything to say that I had handled that (and many other situations) with my children with more patience and grace and forgiveness. That day I was immediately humiliated by my outburst when I glanced over and saw another lady glaring at me. She then shook her head and pushed her cart away from me as quickly as she could. 
Tears welled up in my eyes at the shame I felt. Then I heard a kind voice behind me, "It's okay, Sweetie, we all have those days. You'll get through this one." I looked back and an older grandmotherly woman was smiling at me. My tears almost burst loose at her kind words. She then smiled at my daughter and told her, "You be good to your mommy now, you hear?" She took the latest canned item that my little darling had grabbed off the shelf, put it back for her, and walked off. I never saw her again. But she left a lasting impact on me. In my mind she glows a little bit like a guardian angel - and who's to say she wasn't a divine messenger? 

That moment stands out in my mind because I knew that I had a choice to make. Was I going to follow in the path of the woman who made a point of making sure that I saw her disapproving look before she walked away? Or was I going to embrace the example set by the dear lady who chose not to judge me harshly and offered me a kind word when I most desperately need to hear it? I pray every day that I will choose to follow her example. She didn't know a thing about me - except that I had just treated my child very badly in a grocery store. Her decision to be nice to me allowed me the grace to take a deep breath, push down my lingering queasiness, set aside my anxiety and frustration of the day, hug my little girl, and take the 2nd chance I desperately needed to be the good mom that I really am. 

Just as a last note - my "little darling" is now 22-years-old. I consider that fact that she still talks to me on a regular basis a good sign that she has forgiven me for that...and many other not so proud mommy moments. Thank God! (And thank you, Cody, I love you forever!!)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#43 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

You can't be too kind.

Let's face it - the world can be a mean place. If you aren't worn down enough after a long day just watching the nightly news will do you in. The world needs more people willing to do the hard work of just being kind to each other. And, I will be honest, it often is hard work. People can be cranky and mean and downright ornery. Our own loved ones are often the first and best at pushing us over the edge. Ask you want to perpetuate the ugliness and the nastiness? My personal answer is not only "No, but Hell No!!!" Okay - maybe cussing about it seems counterproductive, but remember what I said about the hard work of being kind. It ain't always easy. You won't always FEEL like it. But it is ALWAYS worth it. Be kind. Say something nice. If you can't say something nice keep your mouth shut. Try just smiling and looking folks in the eye when you do. Do know how yard it is NOT to smile at someone who does that to you?

When you have worked on those then start challenging yourself to spread more kindness and joy. Open the door for someone - male or female. Pay for someone's coffee anonymously. I guarantee - the more you practice it, the better you will feel.

Just be careful that you don't fall into the trap of thinking that you deserve some kind of recognition for others for being kind. Remember this:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

#44 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living


There really isn't any nice way to say it and there really isn't any point in trying to sugar coat it. Chances are almost 100% that each of us has been/is/will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives. If not ourselves, then someone we are related to, go to school with, work with, socialize with will be affected by cancer in some way shape or form. I have known cancer survivors and had distant acquaintances who have had cancer. I am fortunate because I am 45 years old and for the first time in my life I am experiencing someone very close to me fighting cancer. sucks.

Several weeks ago my mother-in-(out?)-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. Just how do you label a former-in-law? She is still my girls' grandmother and someone I have loved for more than 25 years. I know I am extremely fortunate that she and the girls' grandpa were willing and insistent on keeping a relationship with me after her son and I divorced. It is not that way in many families, but Grandma G and Grandpa Ray chose not to take sides and it has been a huge blessing for both me and my girls. They love their grandparents and being divorced hurts enough relationships without taking away ones that your kids truly need and cherish.

I remember getting the call confirming that Grandma G indeed had lung cancer. I sat at my desk at work in shock and cried. It wasn't fair. It was scary. It made me mad and sad all at the same time. I was/am heartbroken for my girls....and I was/am heart-broken for myself. I love Grandma G. She welcomed me openly from the very beginning of my relationship with her son and never stopped. She is not young - but then again she is only 74 years old. She still has so much to look forward to. And we are not ready to let her go. Oh, dear Lord, are we ever really ready to let them go?

To her credit she wants to fight this as best she can.We are all in Wyoming and the whole dang state practically is rural. She lives an hour away from Cheyenne (we can just qualify to be considered a "real city") and because she is stubborn and wants to stay in her home where she is most comfortable she chooses to come to town 5 days a week for radiation treatment and once a week those trips also include chemo.

As fate would have it her daughter came to live with them about a year ago. My dear Sister (yep, still my sis - praise God divorce doesn't take ALL beloved relationships away!!) has shouldered the largest part of the burden of helping to care for her mother during this time. As deep as my worry and fear for Grandma G is I can only imagine what it is like for Rae. This is her MOTHER who is going through this fight. I think God knew that Grandma G was going to need a strong advocate and Rae was just the perfect person for the job. Rae has been there from the beginning going through all the challenges a care-giver faces from wading through treatment options and coordinating doctor visits and getting to know the oxygen guy by name. She also gets the privilege/challenge of discussing/arguing/cajoling with her mother about all the choices to be made and how much she should eat and whether she should wear a face mask to protect from risk of infection. If I haven't said it, Rae, I love you and I admire your strength during this time. It isn't easy and I know all of your steps haven't been graceful....but you are in the trenches and I, for one, am grateful for all you do.

Like so many of us who have loved ones fighting cancer...I feel helpless and a little worthless. There really isn't much I can do....accept be there. I try to go visit Grandma G every time she comes down for chemo. It was a bit intimidating the first time I stepped onto the cancer wing of the hospital and asked for Grandma G's room. I was shown an outpatient chemo room with three chairs each filled with someone hooked up to an IV drip. Different sounds filled the air - whirs and clicks and beeps chiming as each person received his or her treatment. It was very quiet otherwise. I found Grandma G in one chair and her smile reassured me I was in the right place. We don't do much. Just chat. I always give her a hug...she seems so frail now. And I hold her hand sometimes. When she gets tired I let her rest. It is the least I can do. All too soon life tugs me back out into the world to go pick up kids from school. Each time as I leave I am swept with feelings of fear and anger, but then I try to remember what Grandma G told me. She wants us all to stay positive and pray for the best outcome. She is determined to beat this...and who is to say she won't?

The last time I sat with her she apologized ahead of time that she won't be able to do as much as she usually does for the holidays. My heart breaks for her, but I smile and reassure her that we all understand and it will be enough to just be together. The girls and I will try to go help them decorate a bit for Christmas since she doesn't have the energy. Why is that we have to have these kinds of kicks in the butt to make us realize how much we should cherish each and every moment with those we love? We are, after all, only an hour away.

For Grandma G's sake I am going to keep those positive thoughts and prayers for healing going. For my sake and my girls' sake we are going to make the most of the time we have now. It is truly the best thing we can do for Grandma G and for each other.


Friday, December 13, 2013

#45 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I admit it freely - I spend too much time on Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I wonder sometimes just who SHOULD be on my personal friends, because I share a lot of my life there. I love that it allows me the opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family I never would otherwise. But I also despise how it can monopolize my physical and mental time if I allow it. I think it is important to make the people who are physically right here with me a greater priority than any text, post or "like." I hope that I am teaching my children that priority as well.....but I admit that sometimes it is a great temptation to lose myself in my phone and scroll endless wonderfully inspirational quotes or funny or thoughtful posts. Pics of family and friends and baby animals are always good for sucking away time that could be otherwise spent.

I did not grow up in this digital age - it hit me later on in life. I have done the typical roller coaster of friending several folks and then later going through and "cleaning" up my friends list. Finding a good balance on who I am comfortable sharing bits of my life with is a constant effort. But - for better or for worse Facebook is a part of my life that I do not foresee giving up anytime soon. If that is the case...then who do I share it with? Currently I have 498 "friends" on Facebook. I know some folks have thousands...pushing the 5000 friend limit that Facebook allows. Honestly - how can anyone have any kind of real relationship with 498 people...much less 5000? Maybe the term "friend" is used rather loosely in Facebook-ese. In real life I can count on one hand the number of folks I would consider "best friends" and true friends might take digits on both hands and feet. After that they would probably fall into the category of Acquaintances. Most of the people I am friends with on Facebook I have little to no interaction with in the "real" world. I don't discount these relationships, though. I do share quite a bit of my life there and I value the opportunity to interact with them. In my mind, though, a Facebook friend is not the same and never will be the same as the friend whom I can call in person and say "What's for dinner? I am coming over now." 

Many of my Facebook friends fall into certain categories. I have several "church" friends. These are folks that I either go to church with, have gone to church with, or was in a Bible study with. Another group is family both far and near. I particularly love Facebook for staying in touch with this group. A smaller group is friends that aren't real people but rather are business or organizations. (Facebook would technically say that these folks should create a Facebook "page" rather than use a "personal" page - potAYto - potAHto). 

One group I struggle is with is "friends" I went to high school with. I avoided friending these folks for years. I was very shy in high school and didn't not interact with most of them.  After 25 years they were basically strangers to me. After my divorce I threw caution to the wind and sent friend requests to any and everyone I could find who went to Riverton High School and graduated on or around 1986. I was astonished at how many of them actually accepted those requests. What were they thinking? They didn't really know me. We only had one small connection....but that was all that was necessary. Now some of these folks count among my favorite FB friends. Others have maintained the status quo in that even though we are friends on FB we never actually seem to "cross paths" so to speak. 

Occasionally I still do weed through my list of FB friends. It gets harder and harder to unfriend folks, but it does happen occasionally. I am blessed that with very, very few exceptions I experience little to no drama on Facebook. If I can remember a connection with someone then it is likely I will keep them in my circle. If not then I let them go. I figure if we are really meant to be FB friends it will happen again and in the meantime I can focus on those that are left. 

I have had a crazy idea floating through my head for several months now. I value connection and actually making the effort to reach out to others. The crazy idea was to send a personal FB message to each of my the folks on my Friends list. Not sure what I would say yet....but it is something I feel like I would like to do. Maybe that is a project for AFTER I make it through my 46 Random Posts.

I may always struggle with how much to share on Facebook and who to share it with...but I am grateful for those who ARE in my little circle of influence and who acknowledge and encourage and often challenge me to be a better person. To all 498 of you I say a heartfelt "Thank You - see on Facebook!"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#46 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

#46. There's nothing new under the sun.

(This one has been giving me trouble ever since I decided to put it on this list. Not sure how many revisions it will go through before it's scheduled publish date. One of the things I love/hate about trying to put my ideas in writing is that often what I end up with is nothing at all like what I envisioned when I starting typing.)

Okay, stick with me here. I am not trying to discount the book of Ecclesiastes. Obviously there are new things being invented and created everyday. The internet did not exist when I was born. (Yes - I am older than the internet!!) I, however, am one of those people who is destined to probably NEVER invent something new and world changing - like the safety pin or WD40. I am not talking about material objects - I am talking about life lessons. I used to think that I had nothing worth sharing unless it was something I had figured out that no one else had. Wisdom isn't like that, though. It is meant to be shared and re-learned and ultimately passed on to others. 

If you are reading these "46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living" to find something new and never-thought-of-before I am afraid you will be sorely disappointed. What I can offer is my perspective and the fact that for whatever reason these 46 were the ones that were meant to be passed on to someone else at this point. Maybe for one special person something that I have to offer will be a new revelation. That is one perk that could come from taking the time to share each of these .... the chance to share an Ah-Ha moment with someone. That is a wonderful thing. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Intro-46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

One thing I have learned is that I am not as disciplined as I think I should be. I have been looking for something to motivate me to write more consistently. I do better with a specific goal. It hit me that my 46th birthday is approaching. The rabbit trail of thought that meandered afterwards came across the idea that I should do something different for this birthday. I read another blog where one lady turned 40 and made it a point to do 40 acts of kindness to celebrate that day. I could do something like that. But I was also looking for something that would get me thinking and writing NOW. So I pulled out my calendar and counted back 46 days from the 26th of January. Whew - it wasn't December 11th yet so I still had time to make this happen. If it had been past December 11 my quirky OCD would have tossed out the idea because it JUST WOULDN'T WORK the way I have envisioned. Then I would have argued with myself to figure out how to make it fit the time available. This is totally ironic, I know, because my writing never works out the way I envision. Once my fingers get going it takes on a life of it's own and sometimes what I end up with has nothing to do with where I started. Kind of a metaphor for life, if you think about it.

got wisdom?

After getting started on this project I began having the usual doubts. The voice of insecurity is always ready to jump in when I let my guard down. Who am I to think that I have anything to offer anyone? You are only turning 46 and you definitely don't have your life together. What do you think you really have to offer anyone that is even worth sharing? Blah, blah, blah and so on and so forth. I have also learned that overcoming that negative voice is a life long task and probably not something I will ever completely conquer.
approve of yourself

For now it is enough for me to just get focused and actually start writing something. Whether it serves a greater purpose and actually inspires or touches someone else is a bonus. At its core this blog is for me. I learn something about myself every time I make the leap and hit that publish button on a blog post.

So.....for better or for worse I am going to offer some little tidbit for the next 46 days. As I sit here at the beginning of it - I have no idea where this is going to go or where I am going to find 46 things to write about. Frankly I am kind of excited to see how the whole thing turns out!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being ENOUGH of a mom is just about perfect.

I almost called this post "The sins of the mother....they don't HAVE to be passed onto their they?" But it never felt quite right. I started to write it several times. Then set it aside in frustration. After my last attempt I seriously considered just throwing it away altogether. Maybe the durned thing just wasn't meant to be. But....I couldn't quite hit the delete button and left it in my drafts. For some reason it just wouldn't go away. That generally means that I am going to have just give in and tough it out because there is something I need to say. Usually I need to say it to ME. After all the biggest reason I write this blessed blog is for myself. The voices in my head can get very loud when I try to ignore them. I have told folks not to under-estimate the depth of my own insecurities. For whatever reason God keeps nagging not to hide them anymore, but to stand up and face them. Or in most cases, sit down and write them out and then......this is the scariest part of the whole process.....hit the "Publish" button. Once I do that I usually enjoy a few days of peace in my head until something else gets my over-thinking nodes going again.

I found this gif when I was looking for some kind of graphic to go with this paragraph. I like it - but I also find it annoying. Makes me want to read faster so that I can scroll down far enough not to have to watch them anymore. Still - I am leaving it in. Just don't read so fast you miss what I am saying here, 'k? Anyway, the thing that won't get out of my head? I am an unworthy mother. You know - not good enough, not patient enough, not involved enough, not organized enough, etc, etc, etc......bottom line - just not enough. My kids deserve so much better. They are amazing. Seriously what was God thinking giving them ME as their mom? 

To add insult to injury - God gave me ALL girls. Don't get me wrong. I adore my daughters. BUT - I have never felt like I was very good at being a girl.  I  have always (and still do) feel CHALLENGED when it comes to girly things. I was always a tom boy. I loved to climb rocks and trees (still do), never could really figure out fashions, (No matter how much I tried I never felt like I could quite get it right. Just look at photos from my high school years), never had any desire to spend hours doing my hair or make-up (still don't - check photos of me from just about anytime). How was I supposed to teach my girls about all this stuff that I was never able to really master myself?

Now my girls are the ages of 21, 16, 15, and 10, and 9. (We have his and hers kids in our household.) The oldest daughter is engaged to a wonderful guy, the 16yo is dating a kid at school and the 9yo is in love with One Direction. Another thing I never really seemed to figure out was dating and boys and relationships. Top it off with the huge blow of becoming a divorced single-mom a couple years ago and I feel I belong at the bottom of the list of folks who should be advising her daughters on boys and relationships.
I am blessed now to have many wonderful folks in my life who are quick to jump on me when I start to list all the reasons I am not enough. They encourage me to step back and take a look to see what I am missing. If I am to trust God to know what He is doing then I have to trust that there MUST be something I have to offer my girls. Maybe it is to teach them to have the ability to laugh at themselves and not take the world too seriously. Maybe it is to appreciate the beauty of mismatched socks. Maybe it is to teach them that is never to late to try again or learn something new. Maybe it is to model being an imperfect, messed up Child of God who is worthy and ENOUGH just as she is. Maybe He gave me five amazing daughters because I needed to realize that if my girls are worthy just as they are - then so is their mother.

I know after being a mom for over 21 years there is a built-in guilt trip that is inherent in parenting. That will never go away. Somehow miraculously my girls have turned out to be pretty darned decent and amazing young women. Thankfully God sent wonderful influences and friends into my girls' lives to teach them about clothes and make-up and just what to do with long gorgeous curly hair. A great side effect of that is they are slowly teaching me as well. (My 16yo is still pretty adamant I should not be allowed to clothes shop unsupervised. Baby steps.) He's also let me pass on the joy of climbing trees and reading books and playing handbells and serving others. I am grateful for every day I get the chance to share life with my girls. What that looks like changes all the time. I have two at home full-time now. Two step-daughters who visit regularly. And my oldest lives at the opposite side of the state. I don't worry about her 24/7 anymore - but she is in my heart 100% of the time. You never stop being a parent. Never.

I came across this video today as I was getting ready to finish this up. It seems the perfect closing for this post.

'Til Next Time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just checking in October 25, 2013

Life is moving ahead full tilt and I have that slightly panicked feeling of things moving too fast and am certain I am forgetting something very important. But I am trying not to put off posting something (ANYTHING) on this blog for too long. Words like discipline and dedication and get off your butt keep echoing in my head. So, here I am. It's not really gonna be great. But then it might help me get some of the jumble in my mind to quiet down for a bit.

My job as the new youth director is going very well. At least it seems to be. There is so much I still have to learn about organizing and logistics and planning ahead. Definitely NOT my strong suits - just what WAS God thinking when He nudged me in this direction? So thankful for terrific support from parents and staff at church. Maybe He meant I need to be sure to reach out for help. There is a reason that it takes a village, after all!!

On a not so high note a family member got that diagnosis we all dread. Trying to focus on the positive and be a good support for her. Still, bottom line is Cancer Sucks. 'Nuff said.

Right now my brain is filled with corn mazes, lock-ins, permission slips, prayers for healing, a Sam's shopping list and more.

Why do some people just simply break off communication without any explanation?

Did I make enough breakfast burritos for tomorrow morning?

Will I ever get back to this and actually explain all these half-thoughts?

Ok. That's all I have time for.

Grace, love, peace and that Sh#*.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things I would write about if I could stop worrying about offending/pissing someone off

I find myself writing this because I want to be more consistent with this blog, but I keep running into excuses for NOT posting something I want to write about because well, what if someone doesn't like what I have to stay? Uggg - it makes me want to kick myself when I read that out-loud. I am, after all, 45-years-old. What are you afraid of, Woman?? (Rejection, ridicule, etc and so forth.)

My biggest problem - I am a recovering people-pleaser (I hope that's okay with you.) I don't like conflict especially with those I am closest to. I have been guilty of running myself absolutely ragged trying to do everything I could to please everyone around me. If you have ever tried to do this yourself, then you know what a futile effort this is. If you are blessed not to be a compulsive people-pleaser then consider yourself lucky - unless you have let your ability to not what care what others think make you a complete jerk. In that case - knock it the heck off. The world needs more folks willing to stand up for what they believe - while at the same time acknowledging that there is not always one right answer for everyone. It is called practicing compassion - and kindness - and tolerance. Those are NOT bad words, People!!

So - what are some things I would blog about if I wasn't such an insecure coward?

1. I would write about coffee. I love coffee. But, here's my confession - I love to joke and talk about it a lot more that I actually drink it. Forgive me,  Fellow Coffee Addicts!! Will you hate me if I admit that I drink pop occasionally? Or, (gasp) tea? And, wine and beer? (Although, you gotta admit beer is pretty cool, too.) That my all-time-most-favorite-drink-EVER is a tall, cool glass of   .........  water???? I know, I know, it is shocking and shameful. My fingers tremble as I admit that I do, at times, stoop to drinking decaf. I used to be able to drink caffeine all day long and it did nothing to me. Once I hit 40, though, that all changed. Too much caffeine after dinner means I do not sleep at night. And, since I am no longer 20 I can handle very few sleepless nights in a row before I am an utter wreck. Getting older is not always fun.

2. I would admit that I am a registered Republican. The problem is that I have discovered that once I let a certain label be attached to me folks stop listening to anything else that I might have to share. Yes, I am a Republican. No - I do not agree with everything the Republican Party touts. Nor do I hate everything that Democrats push for. I have never voted a straight party ticket. I may not be the most informed voter - but I do try to learn what I can about candidates and issues brought up in an election and make my choice accordingly. I find those who spout extreme party lines on either side of the spectrum to be utterly offensive. It is unrealistic to say that ALL Republicans or ALL Democrats or ALL Liberals feel the same about everything their chosen Party pitches. I particularly dislike making others appear less worthy because they do not agree with you. You are not an idiot for disagreeing with me. (Well - probably not.) So - come at me all you crazy liberal Obama-loving, military-hating, big tax spending rabid Democrats!! You know who you are!!

3. I would write more about God or Jesus or church and how much I love (and am driven stark-raving crazy by) all of the above. I would also write about how much I don't understand and how sometimes I think we should all be pew-hoppers in church. Seriously - get up and move to the other side of the sanctuary and get a new perspective. Most of us who are regulars in church are FAR TOO COMFORTABLE!!! I would tell you that I do not have all the answers, but I believe we are all searching. And what's more - I would sincerely love to listen to what you believe. Yes - I am a Christian. But I do not believe you are going to hell if you do not believe everything exactly the same way that I do. Another way of saying that is "You don't have to sin the same way that I do." I don't care if you are black, white, democrat, republican, gay, straight, or have naturally curly hair, Gosh Darn It!!! God loves you!! Have you found God in your life? Where? How? Because there is no way someone can experience God without it being an amazing life-transforming experience. I would really love to know what excites you and intrigues and motivates you spiritually. You know that saying, "We all have a God-shaped hole in us." Those holes are not all the same shape for each of us. But I believe God is infinite and is the only one who can fit each and everyone of those holes. Ok - fellow Believers - come at me for this one.

4.  I would write about being divorced and how much I hate being a single-mom. This one is tough because it hurts A LOT. My most sincere prayer from the very beginning of our separation was that I not become bitter. Bitterness is so ugly and damaging. I was married for 23-years and we had three amazing daughters together.  My divorce is without question the toughest, most heart-breaking experience I have endured in my life so far. I have grown more in the last three years than I could have ever imagined. I have been given the chance to learn more about who I am and what I truly believe. And I have been given a second chance to find love. It still seems surreal to be a single-mom with three children who is engaged to another man. There was a time when I would never have even conceived of any of those things being a reality in my life. Let's be clear. What I want to talk about here is the experience of BEING divorced. I have no desire to go into WHY my marriage ended. Anyone want to take a jab at how or why my first marriage failed? Go ahead....bring it. Guaranteed no matter how close to me you think you are - NO ONE has any idea what truly happened or why it ended. And, what's more's none of your business.

5. I would write about getting a tattoo. Yes - I HAVE A TATTOO. Yes, I am seriously thinking about getting another one. It took me 44 years to get my first one, so it might take awhile to decide on the 2nd one. No - I have never been to prison...yet. No - I don't own a motorcycle....yet.  No - I am not part of any kind of gang....that I know of. I LOVE my tattoo. It simply makes me happy when I see it. I have always liked them and I wanted one for years and now I have one and it is AWESOME!! Ok, all you tattoo-haters out there - it is your turn.

6. I would write PUBLICILY about drinking beer and wine and how I got divorced, got a tattoo and started hanging out at bars and drinking beer and wine. Ok - to be honest I have never been a fan of the bar scene. But I do like beer. Can you hear all of my German ancestors cheering with a loud, "Noch ein Beer, bitte!!"? And as far as hanging out at the spirit of disclosure I started attending a Bible Study held in a bar. This study is called Bibles and Beer and it is a wonderful group. I actually would LOVE to argue with folks about this one. Think Bibles don't belong in bars? Think Bible-readers/believers don't belong in bars? Think Bible-readers/believers shouldn't drink beer or wine or any alcohol? Go ahead - ARGUE WITH ME HERE!! Trust me God is in that bar right alongside everyone else sitting and drinking in there. And I think that those of us who love people and love God need to be in there right alongside them as well. Now - if you do not believe in drinking alcohol - fine. Drink soda or coffee or water (I love water!!). And because I work for lawyers I feel I must add that I am NOT promoting alcoholism, driving while intoxicated, under-age drinking or Coors Lite.

7. I would write about Facebook. And how being friends on Facebook in no way, shape or form means that you really have any clue about me and vice versa. I do try to be very honest about what I post on Facebook. It is a challenge to keep a healthy balance. No one is happy ALL the time, but none of us wants to read posts from someone whining about every single detail of their day. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with others. I LOVE that. But really it is only glimpses of what is going on in our lives. If you are not sure what someone means by something they post - then ask them!!!! Vague-booking (those annoying posts that intentionally leave others hanging) is ridiculously popular. And, yes, I have been guilty. But chances are that the poster is dying for someone to ask them what they meant so that they can explain. It would be easier to start off with an explanation.....but, that would be too easy.  Okay - now go ahead and tell me about how you have great insight to my psyche from what I post on Facebook. I might actually learn something about myself.

Well, there you have it. Time to wrap this up even though I did not get around to telling you how I find "Let's keep Christ in Christmas" posts annoying. Along with people-pleasing I am also a recovering Over-thinker. Guess that means I ought be able to come up with something else to write about another time. Now I just have to take a deep breath and hit the "Publish" button. Bring it on, Internet!!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Worst Threat

I got unfriended on Facebook sometime ago. I am not exactly sure when it happened because I was still seeing this person's posts on my timeline. I did not realize anything was different until I went to comment on one of his posts and could not. That seemed weird, so I went to his page to look and it said I was just "Following" him. I had learned in the past that Facebook has a policy where if you allow Followers and unfriend someone they will be "down-graded" to Follower status.

What surprised me most was my reaction to this discovery. Frankly...I was hurt. Not because this was someone that I was personally close to, but because this was someone I looked up to in my online running community.  It felt like I had been rejected and deemed somehow "not good enough" either personally or as a runner. And then I felt more than a little foolish because this was just FACEBOOK for crying out loud. And I am supposed to be a grown-up. This should NOT be such a big deal. hurt and I even cried a little which only increased my own feeling of ridiculousness in seriously over-reacting to something that should not be such a big deal. Basically - rejection sucks...even online.

Remember when you were a kid? What was the scariest thing you could hear from a friend? For me it was, "You're not my friend anymore!!!" That was the worst threat. Generally any break-up did not last very long. Maybe an entire recess.....or if it was really serious - an entire day. Still that feeling of rejection and loss of relationship was devastating. And I was (am) the type who would try very hard to keep her friends happy to avoid hearing those awful words.

Now, as a grown-up....I have been unfriended on Facebook before. And also Blocked by someone I went to highschool with. It hurt those times, too. I am not sure why the one former FB friend blocked me. If I ever get the chance and am brave enough I will ask in person. I have even been unfriended by a family member who got upset with me. What is the saying, "If you aren't offending anyone you aren't trying hard enough?" That is not quite right, but hopefully it gets the gist across. Still...I don't TRY to offend people or make them angry. In fact, I try to be nice. And I value kindness VERY highly. I am a recovering people-pleaser. I am happiest when everyone in my life is happy and getting along and butterflies are flittering and there is laughter in the air. But, of course, reality intervenes all too regularly. Apparently I am still learning that you can't please everyone - whether you are trying to or not.

I've spent several days praying about just what the lesson is that I am supposed to be learning through all of this. I believe God always has a way of giving us something of value out of everything we experience. (No, I do NOT believe He plans for us to hurt or suffer. Those are built into the broken world we live in. But I do believe we have the choice to find the good in everything we go through. And, I will stop there with that train of thought because it could go on indefinitely.) Anyway...back to the lesson in this. Does this mean I spend too much time on Facebook? Probably. Does it mean that I need to remember to value true relationships with the people I blessed to share to personal physical (not virtual) space with? Yeah, probably that, too. Does it mean I should toughen up and get a thicker skin? Well.....maybe......but then again, I hope not. I love people. And I value being in relationship with them in whatever form that may take. I do not accept or make Facebook friend requests lightly. I share a lot of my personal life there. That means that I am making the choice to let myself be vulnerable to anyone in my little Facebook world. It involves risk - and that is downright scary.

I think for me the lesson is that I want the relationships I have to matter. I know that different people view Facebook differently. That is their choice. On my personal Facebook page that means that I WILL care if you choose to end that friendship. And, yes, it will hurt. No, my life won't end. And no, I won't start hating you. I am not that kind of a person. I will still care. And I will miss getting to share little glimpses of your life. I will respect your choice to unfriend me. And while it might be pathetic in the World's eyes,  I pray it is God's plan that I will always be a little sad at the loss of a relationship.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Hate Change

Feel overwhelmed and unable to put coherent sentences together. My "perfectionist" curse is in full swing because I have started this post several times and kept deleting because it just is NOT going the way I want it to.


So, finally just settling for getting SOMETHING out there. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me clear my head.

My girls and I are going through a big season of change.

Not all are bad. But they all bring a certain amount of stress and the transitions are not always easy.

School ended for the summer. They are now going to be in the 11th and 4th grades. Nice to have a break, but also stressful as a working single mom to keep them busy - and not in a meaningless way - while I work.

The girls' dad moved out of the country for a few months. They miss him. It is hard. Even when it is the  right decision being divorced simply sucks sometimes.

My 16yo is mad at me more than she is happy with me. She dislikes change even more than I do.

My boyfriend had to say goodbye to the cat he has cared for and loved for 14-years. She is no longer suffering, but he misses her every day.

Long-time family friends lost their granddaughter in a tragic accident. I can't even begin to grasp their grief.

Another old friend is losing the battle against cancer.

I started a new part-time position as the Youth director at our church. All I can say is...pray for me!

I find myself mourning the changes in some of the relationships I have with friends and family. I know that these changes are natural and people move on....but I miss what we had.

In a moment of insanity I signed me, my sister, my boyfriend, and my 16yo up to do a Warrior Dash. Check out this link: I can't decide from one day to the next if that was a good thing or not.

My oldest daughter and her fiance' bought a house...and adopted a puppy. So happy for them and more than a tad melancholy that my baby is so grown-up.

Other changes are coming and they present the hope of something better...but again, that means something different and transitions can be tough.

And now...I am off to find some coffee and a cookie.

'Til Next Time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Curbing Mom's Potty Mouth

Something I am NOT proud of is how my language has deteriorated over the last several years. I can point to lots of excuses.....but really that is all they are excuses. I am not shocked by "bad" language and I do not think that using "bad" words automatically makes the speaker a bad person. I know for me, though, that I know better and I want to speak better and I want to BE better. I really do want to be the better person that I believe God calls me to be. I asked my girls to help me be more accountable with my words. And I love finding articles like the following to encourage me to make better choices in my speech. This paragraph really got to me:
All language is a kind of social contract. We agree—as heirs of centuries of etymological development—to call the pointy thing in our arm an elbow, just like we agree to label things we find despicable with words we identify as profane. The words themselves hold only the power we give them. But curse words tend to be powerful indeed, because to linguistically reduce something or someone to the level of biological functions (and their resultant products) is almost always an act of contempt. And contempt is toxic.

Our world is toxic enough. If possible I hope to reduce the level of toxicity in my little korner even the slightest bit.

Here is the link to article:  The Trouble with Cussing Christians. I need to remember to go back and review it on a regular basis.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 30

Three random shots from today. Tori waiting for gymnastics class with a couple of other girls. Me - this morning after running 8 miles. And finally a shot out of my car window this evening. Crazy spring weather we are having!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 29

After my divorce I didn't wear any rings for awhile. I had worn the same one for 23 years and kind of needed to get used to not having anything on my fingers. Then I decided I was ready for rings again and bought a couple. This is one I really love - but an unforeseen consequence of starting to run and being more healthy is that I lost weight - even in my fingers. It doesn't fit anymore and keeps falling off - especially when my hands get cold. I wasn't ready to just put it in a drawer or sell it yet - so this was my next best solution. My 16yo says she likes it on the chain. So - for now this is where it goes.

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 28

My daughter's boyfriend is very skilled at painting nails. A talent much appreciated in a household of all females!! Here he painted hers with penguins. I was very impressed. I am thinking of asking him to do mine sometime!!

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 27


I had an interview not too long ago. My girls knew I was more than a little nervous even though I try to be upbeat and confident. They got together and surprised me with these signs of encouragement.

I love my kids soooo much.

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 26


I have been trying to be better about "rounding" out my workouts. My girls' dad picked up these exercise balls at a garage sale and offered them to us. I thought sure - why not? Could be fun. I also try to take advantage of anything I can use at home since my budget does not have room for a gym membership - not that I would use one if it did. But that is another story..... Anyway - my 8yo has the most fun with these of all of us. "See, Mom, it's easy!!"

She sets the bar kinda high.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 25

I knew this was bound to happen sooner or later. I love my Crocs. I bought these probably close to 1- years ago. I remember that is was right around the time they first were being sold. I like them because I can slip in and out of them easily. I don't like slippers because my feet get so hot in them. And these have a good like sole on them which gives my feet plenty of support. I often wear them around the house and have joked about forgetting to change out of them when I have to go someplace "proper" .... like my office. Which is where this picture was taken when I got here this morning and looked down and there they were.

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 24

My 8yo set this up as a surprise for me. She loves to do special litte things for people. And we got to enjoy a nice cup of tea together. Remembering just makes me happy. 

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 23

This was the view down my street this morning. Snow and cold (about 15 degrees) this morning - but I still thought it looked kinda pretty. Like the sky and the snow is still clean.

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 22

Got these from my bosses for Administrative' Assistant's Day - a couple days early, but I am not complaining!!

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 21

Saw these alongside the road where the mile markers posts are while driving home from Cody, WY. Had never seen them before and have no idea what the heck they signify. Still need to ask what the heck they mean.

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.

PPS - Note to self: Remember Rule #5 - Don't overthink!!!!!!

30 Days of Random Pics - Day 20

My youngest daughter - entertaining herself with Mom's cellphone camera. I never know what I will find when she gets a hold of it. It is usually always interesting and entertaining - so I enjoy  letting her borrow it on  occasion.

PS - if you want to know why I am doing 30 Days of Random Pics - click here.