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 yourself...do 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

#CANCERSUCKS

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. And....it 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.

#keepingpositive
#CANCERSTILLSUCKS


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!