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Posts Tagged With: what I know now

Reflections

There will come a time when you will catch your reflection in the mirror and  stop to really see yourself.

You will see … you.

at 48, I finally accepted my naturally curly hair.

You will see a person who’s made their way in life, who has caused hurt, been hurt, laughed, cried, stumbled, loved and been loved.

You will see you as you really are and you’ll notice … when you lean in to look closer … that the creases around your eyes and the lines near your mouth …only go where the smiles have been.

You’ll notice the shape of  the body that carries you every day and maybe you’ll take a moment to be amazed at all it does .. and tries to do … when asked.  You’ll feel sorrow for the times you’ve taken it for granted and not rewarded it for hard work.

You’ll contemplate the many thoughts and ideas that cross your mind every day, every hour, every minute and you will realize who’s in the reflection; you’ll finally see your spirit living inside.

This moment may cause you to step back.. but then … you will take inventory of those who occupy the warmest spaces of your heart; those who love and support you and those whom you love and support.  And you will begin the eviction process for those who’ve wounded you and left marks upon your soul.

You will realize that the time has come; the time has come to accept all that you are and to finally see all you bring … to the world.

The time has come to be thankful, to be accepting, and most of all,  to be loving.  For if you cannot do this for that person in the mirror, how can you pretend to do it for anyone else?

We are more than the sum of our parts; join me and give thanks for every step of life’s pathway.

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Patriotic, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Change is hard

The Mighty Mac stands confidently in the Straits; photo from Michigan.gov

 

“You cannot change what you won’t acknowledge.” – Dr. Phil

Boy, do I get that.

Change.  Is.  Hard.

Everyone says it.

And it’s true .. right?

Sometimes what needs our attention is obvious:  exercise more, eat better, get more rest,  blah, blah, blah.

But I don’t think that’s where most of us struggle.

I think we get bogged down before we even start … because .. before you can change anything.. you first have to acknowledge it.  To see it. And for many of us, me included, it’s easier to keep on doing what we’ve always done.

For a lot of us, recognizing an issue is the hardest part of change.

Why?

Because once we see it, and I mean really see it, it’s a bit like stepping out onto your front porch wearing only your underwear: You’re. Completely. Vulnerable.  Unlike in the past, when we’ve strolled through life blissfully unaware that our fly was open or a skirt was tucked into our pantyhose, once you know, and once you get it, it feels like everyone else does, too.

And I think it’s right there that we get stuck.

Isn’t it easier to be who you’ve always been?  C’mon, it’s comfortable to play a familiar role, to be the “go to” gal, the funny guy, the chubby girl, the reliable neighbor.  Why?  Because when we acknowledge what we want to change, we realize that we may actually have to do something about it. And that feels … risky.  Why? Because taking action feels like a threat to all that we know; will it undermine our relationships?  What happens when we don’t do as everyone expects? If we Lysol the toxic people out of our friendship cupboard, who will remain?

I’ve asked myself all those questions and discovered something unexpected in the discomfort:   It’s here that growth lives.

Change. Is. Hard.

Or is it?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

You say it’s your birthday …

This is how old I feel today (that's me in about grade 4); an emjayandthem photo

and it is! It’s my birthday today! Whee!

And, at 48, I still love birthdays.  Mine & everyone else’s!

I know, I know. It seems childish but .. isn’t that the best part?

Last night, our youngest boy asked, “So Mom, when you’re older, do you still get excited about birthdays?” And I thought for a second, laughed and replied, “Of course!”   He countered with “Yeah that phone’s gonna ring all night long!”

And is that a bad thing?

I think not.

We went on to speculate how sad it would be to be all alone, to have no one who remembered, or cared enough to say so. The look on his face told me he couldn’t agree more.

Growing up, birthdays were a time to gather the family, have a wienie roast, a handful of chips, maybe a pop, and a big slab of home-made cake with iced cream on top.  Having a summer birthday meant a party near the end of school (we didn’t finish up until around now at my Canadian school).  It meant longer days and nice weather and Grandma and Grandpa visiting, he in a buttoned down shirt and she in a pretty pantsuit and jewelry. It meant Aunts and Uncles, cousins and friends and a $5 spot in a card. It meant three legged races, running through the sprinkler and opening presents wrapped in tissue paper.

You say it’s your birthday … and it is. 🙂

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, music, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

What guilt can teach us

Being filled with guilt is like continuing to pay rent on a place you no longer live.

photo: snarkerati.com

Guilt can do to you what Hansel and Gretel did to the Gingerbread house.  Little by little, guilt picks away at our core, leaving us defensive and emotionally unavailable.

Did you know you can use guilt as a force for positive change?

It’s too late you say?   The person wronged has long since left – moved, you’re too afraid or .. worse yet .. they’ve passed away?

Even if you’re only just now admitting to a mistake from your past, it is never too late to acknowledge it.  Why?  Because the other people still in your life benefit when you attempt to right your wrongs.  And, surprisingly, so does someone else  – you.

Why? Because past mistakes that are never acknowledged ….  tag along for the ride like a naughty child, undermining the integrity of our current relationships, whispering destructive thoughts into our ears and delighting when bad behavior rises to the surface.

Whenever I find myself feeling guilty… I take a moment and examine it.  The funny thing is, it always ends up being one of two scenarios: 1) I’m actually feeling obligated to what I think someone else wants from me (whether they do or not) OR  2) I did something to feel guilty for.   Maybe I was short, impatient or disrespectful. I’ve learned that the only way I can assuage true guilt is to face it – to stare it down, own up to it – and attempt to fix the damages.

We can stop the cycle.

We can use guilt as our positive force for change.

How?

Repeat after me: “I was wrong.”  

For most of us, this is hard to do because admitting our shortcomings exposes our vulnerabilities.  It’s not ingrained behavior and it goes against everything that may have been modeled for us.  But honestly? Admitting when we’re wrong has as much good in it for us as it does for others.

You might be surprised how much these 3 little words resonate. I was.

There are 3 other important words that are often said prematurely or just simply over used .. to the point that they lose their impact. These are the real deal.  These 3 words will grow you up.

Admitting our mistakes. Correcting the wrongs.  Accepting ourselves and others.  Becoming the person we’d actually want to spend time with.

What comes next?

No more blank checks to absent landlords.

 # # #


Categories: Determination, Forgiveness, Grief, Life Lessons, Love, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Next is not promised

my Lilacs are blooming and they're simply gorgeous!

The latest natural disasters have made me think again about what’s important to me.

It is NOT a tidy house or a clean desk.

It’s my family & friends.

BE mindful.

ENJOY each minute because the next is not promised to you.

Do what you love.

Smile more. Give more. Be more.

Laugh, love … shed only happy tears, dance to what moves you, forgive, let live and for heaven’s sake … BE grateful!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

On saying “No”

I’m a habitual organizer, somewhat of a people-pleaser and writer of daily “to do” lists.  I have often taken on too much and sometimes it’s other people’s “stuff.” Their issues, their fears, their problems.

I’m learning to say “no” to what’s not right for me.

I’ve started stepping back and examining the other person’s intentions … and my own.

Am I really helping them? Or am I just doing their work?

Am I really needed here?  Or do I just like the feeling of being needed?

It’s difficult to do because this contradicts learned behavior.   The word “no” never came out of my mouth without some sort of explanation designed to make the other person feel better. To let them off the hook.

Saying “no” felt foreign at first.

Fears tumbled in my head: What will they think? Will they still be my friend? Will they still love me? Will they ever talk to me again?

Then I asked myself this: Are you saying yes for them or for you?

And I realized that every time I have chosen to say “no” to a situation that wasn’t right for me .. I have made more space in my life for the ones that are.

No.

It’s a sentence.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Friendship, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 25 Comments

When you say nothing at all

A skill I’ve learned from hubbs has been put in play of late.

It’s powerful and one that takes practice, because it goes against my learned methods of communciating.

 But every time I have to pull it out of my bag of tricks, I am reminded again of its power.

What is it?

It’s the art of not engaging.

Example:

When someone is spinning out of control and tries to drag you into their negative vortex … step quietly to the side, and let their momentum take them elsewhere.

When a harsh words beg for commentary … refrain.

Let the ugliness hang in the air; let the person who dealt them watch their poison fall to the ground.  They’re counting on sucking you in.  Don’t. Go. There.

Not engaging.  Powerful stuff.

Sometimes … the most influential words are those left unspoken.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Write what you know

Never gonna be a Spice Girl ... might just as well sit down & write something!

Asked about blogging, it hit me what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. Write as often as you want to but resist the pressure to publish every day.  Remember that you do this because you enjoy writingExample:   At first, I obediently followed the mandate set by my instructor –  to write and publish daily.  I know she meant well because her point was to keep it fresh and avoid too many days between posts.  But now, looking back, I can tell the difference between my “going through the motions-posts” and those that were really me –  at my most authentic.  And if I could tell, I’m pretty sure others could, too.

2. To that end, let your posts breathe.  Not all of your readers are “online” at the same time and when you post something new, older posts get pushed to the bottom.  Give each one its due.

3. Read (and be inspired) by the work of others:  Be moved by the posts, dreams and the designs of the many talented writers here in the blogosphere.  When I feel “stuck,” all I have to do is click & read.   In no time at all, I’m laughing, smiling, crying, nodding my head in agreement and commenting.  In no time at all, I’ve forgotten about my little blog and have subscribed to several more.

4. Commenting on blogs is a wonderful way to connect but there’s a tiny line between being interested and supportive and just being there to promote your stuff.  People will find you if they’re interested and they don’t … then they don’t.     The self-promoting commenter makes me think of that snot-nosed kid who dumps his milk at the dinner table on purpose: Look at me, notice me, see me, I’m here.   Geez I get it already now knock it off!

5.  Mind your manners: respond to comments and acknowledge those who took the time to weigh in.  However, if someone chooses to swear at me, their comments will not see the light of day.  Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no.  My blog – my rules.

6.  Take a challenge:   The topics I care most about are the hardest for me to writeSo when I find myself feeling that pinch, I dig a little deeper and keep at it because I know I’ve hit the good stuff.

7.  Slog through:  Often, what I feel most passionate about can leave me feeling vulnerable and it’s tempting to self-censor…. but then I can easily lose the point of my post.  However, what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites. Maybe not the most read, but.. My. Personal. Favorites.  And that counts for something, too.

8.  Be open to ideas Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and often at random times. Keep a list.  You can email ideas to yourself, record messages on your cell phone or, like me, scribble notes down on the backs of envelopes, post-its and grocery lists.

9. Have fun: If writing starts feeling like a chore, step away and do something else.  Chances are something else in your day will inspire you.   We’re not curing Cancer here, people!  Step away, mix it up, come back & let ‘er buck!

10. Write what you know:  Lastly, lots of blogging “authorities” will tell you to “become the expert,” or to find out what you’re an expert on.  Well, the only thing I am an expert on is me, my life and my experiences … and all of it is a work in progress anyways.

  Your turn: What has blogging taught you?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 39 Comments

The Significance of Date Night

image from israbox.com

It’s “date night!” 

The hubbs & I schedule regular “date nights” and have since we met 20 years ago.  You see, we became an instant family when we married (more here) so we’ve never have had time that was just “ours.” We’ve always been parents and that’s OK – that’s the life we chose and neither of us would change it. Our way to navigate some time together has been to schedule it, as a way to reconnect and reaffirm what we already know.   As mentioned before, many times we didn’t have the money for a sitter or to go out; we still made time for each other.  More here.

I’m glad we have prioritized this because:

  • Date nights mean “I hear you.”
  • Date nights mean “I love you.”
  • Date nights mean “I’m here for you.”
  • Date nights mean wearing something other than “Mom & Dad” clothes, a whiff of cologne, cleavage, a buttoned-down shirt, a swirly skirt and lipstick.
  • Date nights mean “You are still it for me.”
  • Date nights mean singing our songs, telling our work stories, and being in the moment.
  • Date nights mean comfort, warmth, passion and love.
  • Date nights mean “In spite of everything around us – jobs – kids – family – I still choose time with you over everything – and everyone – else.”

I love that he schedules tee times early enough so that he can come home, shower, change and spend the night with me. What girl wouldn’t love that in her man?

He loves that I use my time to do what interests me and, when he returns, he’s greeted by a warm and willing companion who looks nice, feeds him and wants to spend her night with him.  What guy wouldn’t love that in his girl?

At the January “State of the Union” Presidential address, a rather large fuss was made about how “both sides of the aisle” abandoned their polar positions and sat together, effectively inter-mixing the powers that be.

It’s startling that this was news.  Grown-ups acting civilly towards each other. Really?

I can’t speak for Congress but, for us, date nights have always been the buoy we swim to against the undertow of daily living.

How about you?  How do you maintain the state of YOUR union?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, music, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Songs I love to sing with him

Music is a big part of my life. Always has been, always will be.  Lucky for me that the same can be said for the hubbs: he loves and appreciates a wide range of music and we’ve introduced each other to our favorites.

After a long week at work, or just a day at home doing house stuff, we enjoy time together with a tune playing in the background… could be outside, could be inside.  Doesn’t matter. There are many that get us singing along but these are the ones I love to sing with him:

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

To Love Somebody … the Bee Gees. (Not too much beats the harmonic perfection of the Brothers Gibb)

 

I’d really love to see you tonight … England Dan and John Ford Coley (Takes us back to our 8 month engagement with 6 states separating us)

 

And, of course, the song he chose for us to dance to at our wedding…Something in the way she moves .. James Taylor. (He chose it and that’s enough for me).

 

me & the hubbs at our boy's wedding last year

 

me & the hubbs at our wedding

Everyone has that song they love: what’s yours?

 

P.S. – Hubbs and I have known each other 20 years & today’s our 19 year wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary sweetie!


Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Men, music, Personal, Romance, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

What’s in your Relationship Basket?

image from countryliving.com

Lately, several different people have asked me for relationship advice.  Me! (I know, that’s what I thought, too).  The problem with me is that if you ask me my opinion, I assume you really want to know.

I’m no therapist, but I’m a fairly good listener and I have a good amount of life experiences.  I’ve also been lucky to have witnessed two very strong marriages: my paternal grandparents, Ausser and Pearl, who were married over 70 years, and my parents, who were sweethearts for more than 52.   The hubbs & I are celebrating year 19 next month. But, unlike them, when we met, we’d both been married & divorced.  He grew up in a traditional household and later became a child of divorce;  I grew up watching my parents go on date nights and speak softly to each other.  He witnessed fights and stress and matured too soon; I saw dancing and kindness and hand holding.    When we met, we brought our own unique basket of experiences to the relationship, but it’s what’s IN our baskets that has been so vastly different.

We’ve had our share of joys and our share of sorrows.  We’ve had regrettable moments when we were sharp and unkind with each other … but we’ve worked through them and moved on.  Asked recently what’s your secret, I replied that “there is no secret” – follow the Golden Rule http://www.teachingvalues.com/goldenrule.html and you’ll be just fine.   But, thinking about it further, I’ve assembled what’s worked for us:

1.     Remember that you chose each other.  Don’t save your best manners for strangers. Please and Thank you go a long way; speak kindly, and give credit where it’s due.

2.     Don’t keep score.  Well if he got to do ___ then I should get to do ____.  This is a relationship, not a video game.  It’s not always going to be equal; someone is always going to carry more than their share and who that someone is changes. 

3.     Embrace each other’s friends & family.  When you make it easier for them to be in your lives, everyone’s happier. Learn to laugh at their stories because you’ll hear them many times.

4.     Be honest.  When you’re tired, say so. When you’re lonesome, speak up and ask for more time together. Never assume your partner can read your mind. I don’t have that superpower, although it’d sure be handy on occasion! When you’re wrong, remember these three important words, “I was wrong.”  

5.     Try not to go to bed angry but, if necessary, agree to disagree.    That old saying “pick the hill you want to die on?” It’s true.  Many issues are just not worth fighting about, in my opinion.  But if I believe in something? Oh yeah, you better believe it will be discussed.

6.    Find a way to pursue your passions and feed your soul. The hubbs and I enjoy our time together because we  give each other time to ourselves. He loves to compete and is an avid sports fan and team player. I like to read, write and play with music and technology.  The point is that we don’t need to be alike nor together all the time to get along. And when we are together, we’re interested in each other because we’ve both had the time and space necessary to pursue what intrigues us. 

7.    Forgive mistakes and move on. Don’t keep a list of false starts.  No one’s perfect, including you.

8.     Listen: try to do so without interrupting.  When you give someone your undivided attention, that in itself is a wonderful gift.  The hubbs is an attentive listener, and that’s really good for me because I love to talk!   He’s taught me to be a better listener and I’ve taught him it’s ok to open up.

9.  Laugh. Often. At each other. At yourselves. At life.   We can’t always control what goes on in our lives but we can control how we react to it.

10. Do nice things for each other. I know he likes casseroles (and he knows that I don’t) but I make them because he works out of the house and these are easy for him to warm up at lunch.  He does sweet things for me, like filling my car up with gas on wintry days and making extra trips back to the grocery store for items or brands I prefer.

11.  Be each other’s biggest cheerleader.  Applaud successes and be kind with failures.  Support each other’s interests. An appreciated spouse makes a joyful partner.

12.  Make regular time together a priority by scheduling it.  When our boys were little, we didn’t have much extra money or trusty babysitters.  We’d bathe the boys & tuck them into bed, and spend our evenings together out on the patio. Singing. Talking. Listening. Laughing. We still do this today.   Our boys have grown up seeing us prioritize our time together, guard that time together and relish our time together. Date nights are scheduled regularly and they don’t always require that we leave the house.  As a result, we’ve given our children a wonderful gift; knowing what a loving, supportive and fun relationship looks like.

How about you? What are your tried & true relationship rules?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , | 35 Comments

Where’s the beef?

photo courtesy ocregister.com

A California lawsuit claims that fast food giant Taco Bell is NOT serving 100% beef and that instead they use a meat mixture containing “binders” and “extenders.” The suit claims that this combination doesn’t meet requirements set up by the USDA to be called beef.

“What’s for dinner, Mom?” 

“NearlyBeefaroni!”  

   Huh?

“Beef-kinda-sortanoff”

 Come again?

“Beef…almost-fredo”

Sigh.

Taco Bell countersued saying their seasoned beef contains “88 percent USDA-inspected beef and the rest is water, spices and a mixture of oats, starch and other ingredients that contribute to the “quality” its product.” The company said it uses no extenders. (for more see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41311073/ns/business-consumer_news/)

Um … I don’t even know what an “extender” is, do you?  I do know this: I don’t want to know. 

Let’s not even discuss the makings of a chicken nugget.

Categories: Animals, Family, Food, Home, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Share, Thoughts, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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