I chose to move to this state to be with Hubby and Princess, because there was no other option at the time. I loved Hubby and I loved Princess and it was the best move I ever made, because they, along with Lola are the best things that ever happened to me, and are the center of my world. It’s just sad that moving up here means that my family and friends drift away from me, no matter how hard I tried to keep my connections with everyone, and all the miles I have driven over the last 15 years to be with people…it is what it is. Moving on.
It’s so nice to know that the people closest to me that I have considered the most important in my life since I was a baby, really understand me and when I’m upset, they support me and try to help me feel better, rather than fucking ridiculing me, or making a joke out of my troubles.
This just goes to show, family is not necessarily a blood thing. Sometimes people who come into your life later on who have no other connection than a soul connection can be the pillars in your life.
I’m feeling a bit selfish and childish today. My husband is off work today, and so is my littlest daughter. It is dreadful out. I had this idea in my mind of us spending a quiet snuggly day together. But it is beginning to look like he is going to have to go to his mother’s to do some chores and repair work. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to take care of our parents. However…I just feel like sometimes my hubby gets taken advantage of, he does a lot and it seems like there is always more that is expected and never appreciated.
It’s been a super busy day today. I had a lot of errands to run, directly after dropping Lola off to school. Then, I had to come home and work, and other than breaking to go back and pick Lola up from school, there’s been no time for anything else, including journaling. I’m hoping that once I get this project I’m working on caught up this afternoon, I will have time for a real blog entry. Busy busy busy!!! I guess it’s good that I have this much work to do!
It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
Visiting old cemeteries can be very illuminating. They are so still and silent. So quiet. Old cemeteries remind us that until it is carved in stone, realizing our heart’s desire is possible every day if we recognize what it is that makes us happy.
In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town a deeply poignant scene takes place in a graveyard. Ghosts comfort the young heroine, who has recently died in childbirth. Emily, still longing for the life she has just left, wishes to revisit it one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much the living take for granted.
Eventually her visit is too much for her to bear. “I didn’t realize,” she confesses mournfully, “all that was going on and we never noticed … Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners … Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking … and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths … and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
This is the season of Epiphany, when the renewal of light and revelation are celebrated in the liturgy of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox churches. On our new path we seek everyday epiphanies — occasions on which we can experience the Sacred in the ordinary — and come to the awakening, as Emily finally does, that we cannot longer afford to throw away even one “unimportant” day by not noticing the wonder of it all. We have to be willing to discover and then appreciate the authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day.
[excerpted from the book Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach]
Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
I have had many really good teachers in my life, but the one that comes to the forefront of my mind was my elementary school librarian – Mrs. Rayburn. Our friendship blossomed because of an unusual situation; my elementary school had a lady come in once a week and tell bible stories in class. Because of my unusual biblical education as a Kindergartner, I often ended up in theological disputes with this little old lady. Because of that, she wouldn’t have me in the classroom when she told her bible stories, so from that point on, I spent those days in the Library with Mrs. Rayburn. I could already read in Kindergarten, and she took that ability and turned it into a serious love of literature. We began to meet before school every morning, to review the book I had taken home the night before and to get a new book for that night. I devoured everything she gave me. By the end of that year, I was already reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and other young fiction. That love of reading has never left me. In addition, Mrs. Rayburn became a fixture in my life outside of school, as I would often be invited to spend weekends at her home with her and Mr. Rayburn. You see, Mrs. Rayburn was estranged from her son, because he had embraced the very religion I was raised in. I feel really good because I helped her understand the religion more, and to become reconciled with her son after she realized it wasn’t bad, like she had been predisposed to believe. She had a real affection for me, and the feeling was mutual. She took on the role of a grandparent to me, as all my grandparents were passed on by the time I was 3 or 4 years old. I stayed in touch with her over the years, even after I moved away from Appalachia and to Cincinnati. I loved her dearly and respected what she did.
A little bit more about Inez (that’s her first name): She was a teacher in one-room schoolhouses when my parents were little. She taught my father in the 40’s in one of those schoolhouses, and she had to travel a long way each direction just to teach there. She was head librarian over several schools and often traveled from school to school visiting the libraries.
Now, as an adult and a parent, I have been volunteering in our elementary media center for three years. Every day that I’m there, helping children find literature to light up their imaginations, shelving books, setting up displays to catch their eyes, I feel Mrs. Rayburn with me. She always went above and beyond her simple duties as an educator and loved all the kids she worked with.
In my life’s chain of events nothing was accidental. Everything happened according to an inner need.
Do you have everything you need right now? What about your wants? Few of us have everything we want, and at times our wants can seem positively all-consuming. Our sensibilities become confused and overstimulated by a mass media that glorifies beautiful people and expensive objects. It’s easy to lose clarity about what it is we need to live authentically. Most of us are hungering for something more in our lives. But do you really think the answer can be found in a glossy magazine or on the movie screen?
If we are to live happy, creative, and fulfilled lives, it is crucial to distinguish between our wants and our needs. Unfortunately, many women blur the distinction and then wonder why they feel so diminished.
Make peace with the knowledge that you can’t have everything you want. Why? Because it’s more important for us to get everything we need. Like infants, we feel contentment when our essential needs are met.
Be courageous. Ask yourself: what is it I truly need to make me happy? The deeply personal answers to this vital question will be different for each of us. Trust the loving wisdom of your heart. It is only after we acknowledge our inner needs that we can harness the creative energy necessary to manifest them in our lives. “It is inevitable when one has a great need of something, one finds it,” Gertrude Stein reminds us. “What you need you attract like a lover.”
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.
~Robert Louis Stevenson
Perhaps you think you’ll be happy when you get a bigger kitchen, or a new job, or the perfect someone with whom to share your life. But don’t you want to start making happiness a habit right now? Every morning when we wake up we’ve been given a wonderful gift — another day of life — so let’s make the most of it. No one can do it for us. “Happiness is not a possession to be prized,” Daphne du Maurier wrote in Rebecca. “It is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”
Let’s adopt a new state of mind about happiness. Let’s stop thinking that things outside our control will bring us happiness.
Admittedly, remodeling the kitchen, landing the job we’ve been dreaming of, or finding that special someone can make us feel — at least momentarily — happier. But the magic seeds of contentment are planted deep within us. Happiness that the world cannot take away only flourishes in the secret garden of our souls. By tending to our inner garden and uprooting the weeds of external expectations, we can nurture our authentic happiness the way we would nurture something that’s beautiful and alive. Happiness is a living emotion.
Your happiness is not a frivolous, expendable luxury. The pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. But we have to be willing to pursue it. Ultimately, genuine happiness can only be realized once we commit to making it a personal priority in our lives. This may be new behavior for some of us and a bit intimidating. Be gentle with yourself. It will all unfold. Today you may not be familiar with the happiness habit. But like any new behavior, happiness can be learned.
I like to use this book – Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, when I’m trying to reframe my thought patterns. I often do not stick to the daybook very far into the year or jump in at different times of the year. What I’d really like to do this year is to actually read the day’s passage each day for this year, and take the thoughts into consideration during my day’s activities. I really like the tenor of this book and I think having a morning ritual where I read the passage and let it be in my mind for the day, could be very helpful to me for keeping myself living with intent and not just letting the days go by.
Today, I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve denied myself over the years that I really wanted — things I wanted to learn, do or become — and I’ve decided that I’m going to tackle the biggest of my shelved-away dreams this year. I’ve always wanted to play a celtic or concert harp. I’ve wanted this since I was 16 or 17 years old and my desire has never waned. I yearn for it, and I’ve never allowed myself to chase the dream because I felt that any expenditure to pursuing this dream would be frivolous and wasteful when raising a family and having so many other things that always seem to take precedence over such things. However, I think that the cost of pursuing the harp and the lessons would be more than offset by my quality of life improving a great deal. I know that my quality of life will improve because although I have never owned my own harp, I have always adored harp music, and I have quite a few times sat at harps in stores or other locations and I’ve already been able to play simple tunes by ear. And the feeling of contentment and happiness I feel with the soundboard against my heart is a pleasure I cannot describe. It’s one of those things – you know you were meant to do something – and I have resisted this gravitational pull for many years. I’m done resisting, I’m going to follow that dream this year, so help me.
Painting by Vered Fishman
It’s been quite a while since I blogged regularly. I have been feeling the urge to share my thoughts again in a venue where I can get feedback from others; and just really feeling the need to express myself in writing, the way I used to.
I have a lot of things to update regarding this blog, but the past week, I have been considering “New Year’s Resolutions”. I’m not really very good at keeping resolutions, but I want to live this next 12 months with some sort of intention and plan. I haven’t really ever done that before. But I really want 2013 to be SPECIAL. Noteworthy. A time of transformation and a new direction.
So instead of making resolutions, I would like to state intentions. Specifically, I am going to state intentions – ranging from intensely personal, to family-related, to finance, to just-for-fun.
So, here goes:
- I fully intend on cultivating more patience and kindness with my husband and children. Lately, I have let my irritability and impatience color my dealings with them, and my tongue has become quite sharp. I really want to try to be more present in mind when they need something from me or want to ask/tell me something.
- I fully intend on cultivating more patience and kindness with MYSELF. I have become such a cruel critic of myself that I often find myself in the throes of terrible anxiety/panic attacks when I am indulging in leisure activities, or trying to take much-needed naps. There is nothing like having a guilt-induced panic attack just because you’re trying to catch an afternoon nap when your kids are not at home.
- I fully intend to allow myself downtime every day without guilt or “woulda”, “shoulda” or “coulda” statements. If my fibromyalgia, SAD, or anxiety is causing me to need to take it easy for the entire day, I need to allow myself to do this without recrimination.
- I fully intend to continue to work on cultivating multiple streams of income. I have two very good part-time work-from-home gigs going on, and I’m going to encourage those employers to send more work my way, and increase my monetary contribution to the household. I will try to be open to new avenues of income as well.
- I fully intend on continuing to work from home, but not more than 35-40 hours a week. For once in my life, I’m going to do my best to avoid getting burned out, as I have so often done with employment in the past.
- I fully intend to continue the progress I’ve made with my dietary choices. I all but eliminated caffeine from my diet this fall. My hope for this year is to seriously cut down on soda drinks, and to drink more water. I also would like to approach eating healthier by picking one unhealthy food choice at a time and replace it with something healthier. When I feel I have overcome that unhealthy food habit, I will tackle another one. Again, trying hard not to get burned out.
- Become more disciplined and organized with regard to time management. I have always tried to come up with these all-encompassing schedules, to-do lists, calendars, systems, etc., and they never seem to last very long. My goal is to really cut out all the things I have always told myself I HAD to include in a schedule/system, and simplify my schedule, so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed with housework, paying bills, etc. I am going to have a far less stringent approach to expectations with regard to keeping house, and decide what the truly important tasks are each week and do my best to get those few things done. I don’t need to worry about dusting every week, or mopping every other day, etc. It’s just silly. I can go a couple of weeks without doing those things and you can’t even tell, so obviously these are just expectations put in my head by my OCD mother’s upbringing! I hate to have chaos in my home, but picking up clutter is one thing – getting down and hand washing the floors is excessive and I need to stop putting that on myself.
- I fully intend on making more time to spend with my husband. We’ve never had the chance to be “just us two”, as he already had a daughter when we got together. We have never had a good support system of people to watch our kids for us so we can go out and be together. That hasn’t changed really, but I am willing to hire some of the college kids that I know well to babysit now that they are grown. I don’t have to just depend on my oldest daughter’s availability to make this happen. My relationship with my husband needs nurturing, and not just once every couple of months. I want to put this to the forefront of my efforts this year.
- I fully intend on taking care of ME: taking more of an interest and pride in my appearance, investing in myself with exercise, spiritual/mental care, and fun and hobbies. I really want to be happy where I am at now, instead of focusing on some far-off time when all will be aligned. I find the most happiness from the simplest pleasures, ones that I have always enjoyed – reading, music, movies, games, etc., and I need to allow myself those things without guilt. Life’s too short not to be happy. And red lipstick and garish eye makeup make me happy too, so I’m going to take more time for myself to vamp it up, even if I’m just gonna be home that day.
- Work on the worrying – I really need to get a handle on my self-talk. My inner dialogue is my own worst enemy. If nothing else happens this year, I have to beat this inner demon that judges me more harshly than all the bully cheerleaders at my high school ever did.
Well, that’s all I’ve got right now. Basically it boils down to: BE NICER TO MYSELF. BE NICER TO MY FAMILY. KEEP IT SIMPLE, SILLY. IF IT FEELS GOOD, LET YOURSELF DO IT. STOP TREATING MY BODY LIKE A TRASH COMPACTOR AND MORE LIKE A TEMPLE.
Have a great week!!
It’s always nice when “unconditional” doesn’t really mean “unconditional”. “Unconditional” unless it’s inconvenient to me. “Unconditional” unless you tell me something I don’t want to hear. “Unconditional” unless you actually want something from me instead of the other way around.
I feel the inactivity of this blog really reflects the inactivity in my life. I have been at a basic standstill since Lola was born. I have gotten out of the writing habit, my home has descended into chaos, and I am at a low point health-wise. Emotionally, I am dealing with feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and am overwhelmed by all I feel I should be doing. Overwhelmed by the thought of digging myself and my home out of this mountain of, well, shit that is burying me. Financially, I have not been doing what I know I should be doing, I have not been a good manager of our household funds and my fear and anxiety related to money have caused me to often procrastinate on paying our bills in a timely manner. I hate to sit down and face it. In fact, that’s what I should be doing right now, but instead I am writing in this blog that I haven’t touched in a year.
I guess this is just my soul’s way of telling me that I want things to be better now. I want it to be more purposeful and I want to do the work necessary to eliminate these feelings of panic, anxiety, overwhelmed-ness, and the only way I can do that is to just GET STARTED. I guess I can come back to this blog as part of the life raft I will need to make the changes I desperately need to make.
I’m scared though. I’m scared I won’t be able to stick with it. Not sure how I should approach the changes. There are so many that ultimately need to be made. I’m screwed up in almost every facet of my life. I guess I just need to start working on what’s bothering me the most.
So, off I go. I will also cling to the life raft of FlyLady to help me not give up. I will go fetch my timer now, and face my fate. Wish me luck. Hopefully I will make some progress and then I can come back and write about all the good things I do have in my life. Until I dig myself out of all this, I can’t really enjoy those things.
Well, there are only a few more days until we go on vacation. I am so looking forward to it; I need time with my sisters, and my husband, and all the kids.
My husband and kids and I are going to be staying in a rental house in Florida, with my sisters L and J, and husbands and kids. My nephew N and his girlfriend will be there also. The house is large, has an inground pool and hot tub, and a billiards/game room as well. It should be very nice for us all to relax and bond. We are bringing our kayak and picking up L’s kayak as well, so there should be some paddling trips down the channel. I am also anticipating time on the beach, watching my precious girl build sand castles and enjoy herself.
I have been spending the last week or so preparing for the trip. To me, one of the major things I do to prepare for a vacation is to clean my house thoroughly, so that when I get home, I’m coming home to a clean and uncluttered house. It makes it possible to keep the “vacation glow” just a little bit longer. Coming home to chaos and clutter just makes me quickly lose the buzz! This time, I did more than just the general straightening-up I normally do, I really have been deep cleaning the house. When I get home, I am hoping to start fresh with a set routine for myself and the girls this summer. I also have been reviewing and reworking our budget and think I have come up with some ideas to really help us get our spending in order, and increase our savings.
I know, boring, right? Sorry!
What else is going on…hm…the fact that all I can tell you about is home routines and budgets is pretty sad.
Princess is finishing her last week as a sophomore. Next year, she will be a junior and will be driving! We got her a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it needs a new engine before she can drive it. She and her dad are going to spend this summer repairing the Jeep and getting it up and running. She has to learn a certain list of maintenance tasks for vehicles before her dad will let her get her second level license, and drive on her own. Already, she has changed the oil in my van, along with the air filter. She has to not only do these things, but remember it so she can do it many times. Her dad is making sure she has the practice. The engine building should be excellent bonding time for them and teach her to understand the workings of her car. Then, hopefully, she won’t be easily taken advantage of when she needs repairs on her vehicles when she is an adult.
Lola is gearing up to start kindergarten next fall. I am excited for her, and nervous too. I’m excited because she really needs interaction with kids her own age. I see her loneliness. She has a very active imagination and lives in a pretend world most of the time. She has a LOT of “imaginary” friends. The little kids next door are very antisocial with anyone but their own siblings. It’s quite strange. Lola would love to play with them, but they always seem unavailable. It hurts her feelings. I assure her it is not her fault, but there is this little worry inside me that she is so intense they just don’t like playing with her. I have watched her play with others, and other than a tendency to try to be bossy, I think she is really sweet to other kids. Yesterday, I went to my insurance agent’s office and while I was there, the office assistant took her out to the lobby and was coloring pictures with her, and she was so nice to Lola, and Lola really just opened right up and they were just chattering away. The lady was so good with her, and Lola’s eyes were just sparkling and she was so happy. She didn’t want to leave. I would love for her to have a kindergarten teacher like that. I will not know how she will fare in school until she starts going. I pray that the teacher realizes how loveable and smart she is, and helps us teach her to know when it is appropriate to interject, and not to interrupt and make it all about her. LOL.
Hubby is working really hard lately, lots of overtime, to help me get our finances in order, and to continue to allow me to stay home with the kids. I really want to stay home until Lola is in school all day, which looks to be first grade. When I *do* go back to work, I have absolutely NO idea what I will do. I do not want to go back into an office environment again. It really makes me feel claustrophobic. Right now, I am turning some options around in my mind – either cosmetology school or back to college for another career option. I would like to do something in the health care field, but I have to be careful what I select. I’m not good with seeing injuries, etc. It’s not that I get queasy from blood. I get upset and I get sympathy pains very intensely when I see a wound. I have seen some bad ones and have almost been incapacitated from the pain.
I have been told that I am an “empath” – that I am able to share other’s emotions and feelings, including pain. I believe this is true. I have always been able to tell 99% of the time, when someone is being dishonest to me, even to the point of just withholding information. I can feel when someone is in pain even if they don’t say they are hurting. When someone is angry or upset with me, I get really sick, because I feel my own feelings and I can feel their anger too. I am very sensitive to other people’s feelings and usually, if I really care about them, I try to be very careful about what I say and how I say it. Now, I’m not perfect, and I will sometimes say things that I regret. I have been learning, the hard way, to keep my angry words to myself and give myself time to work through them to see if it is even worth spewing venom at someone else. I have found this to be very effective, I have fewer regrets nowadays than I have for the past actions I took. And it seems that Lola may have inherited this trait from me – she cannot seem to handle seeing other people in pain. She often will look at my mom’s finger, which had been partially amputated but has long-since healed, and she will say, “Oh, it hurts me, mamaw!”
But anyway, like I was saying, I would like to do something in the health care field where I would see less injury and still be able to help others. Possibly as an ultrasound technician, or even an x-ray technician. I do know that sometimes I will see some injuries as an x-ray tech, but maybe they won’t be as gory. And even if they are, it’s not like I throw up or anything. I just get those sympathy pains. Maybe with time I would have them less?
But cosmetology is a big contender. I love doing hair and makeup. I love making someone look beautiful. Especially working with Princess’s friends, I have been able to give some makeup help to a couple of them and really helped them be able to put their best foot forward in the world. I love seeing the boost of confidence they have gotten from what I taught them. I just feel at peace when I am styling someone’s hair. I wanted to take cosmetology in vocational school when I was in high school, but the class was filled, and so I took secretarial courses instead. It was my first inclination, and I still like the thought of doing it. So maybe I should give it a chance!
Well, my little Lola just woke up. We have some errands to run this morning. Gotta get those done before Princess gets home. She’s bringing her boyfriend home to study for the physics exam tomorrow, and they need babysitting! hee hee
Well, everyone, if anyone, who might be reading this, I hope you have a wonderful day!
P.S. “By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.” – Winston Churchill
Songs to blog by:
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
We’re In This Love Together – Al Jarreau
Girls – Beastie Boys
No Sleep Til Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
The Longest Time – Billy Joel
Beautiful – Gordon Lightfoot
Hi there. I know, I know, I haven’t written in a while. I look back on my past writings, years where I wrote two, three, sometimes four entries in a day. I suppose that has to do with being the mother of a small child. My time really isn’t my own? No, that doesn’t ring true. I think I have lost my voice. Having a stalker on the internet kind of sucks. You can’t say what you really think or feel for fear this person will find out your information and spread it around like today’s hottest news. When I came to wordpress I found that I could password protect entries, and hide myself from internet searches, which is great for keeping the stalker from reading my entries; however, with moving so much, and the reduction in my journal entries, I have lost a lot of my readers and now, blogging seems pointless. Especially since I am not searchable on the internet, and no one can find my blog “by accident” unless they are surfing through wordpress blogs.
I guess even if I were to make my blog available through public searches, and the stalker found the blog, she still couldn’t access my deepest thoughts because of the password protection. However, other new blog visitors will miss out on the good stuff as well, as most of my entries have to be password protected for some reason or another.
My daughter, Princess, has started a new blog. I suggested it to her for a venue to practice her writing skills. She really loves to write, and we are considering it as a possibility for her to pursue journalism in college. So far, she is doing well. If I decide to go public, I will add her to my blogroll.
I am definitely going to try to come and blog more often. If you are a new reader, message me here for the password for the protected entries and I may give it to you. Make sure to leave a valid email address.
I will spend more time writing entries about what is going on in my life these days, but at a later date. Right now, I wanted to comment on the fact that a few months ago, I signed up on Twitter, just to see what it was like. I really didn’t find it all that interesting, and never used it once I signed up. So for months, my Twitter account has been inactive, yet almost every day, I receive an email notification that someone else is “following” me on Twitter. I’m like, did you look at my past tweets and say, this person is witty and fun, so I will follow her for future tweets? I think not. Since I have not “tweeted” once. What was the protocol you used to decide I was someone to follow? These are complete strangers, mind you. Weirdos, I’m thinking. Usually that’s a compliment in my book, but in this current scenario…it’s definitely not!!
I think I will toy around with my layout and my widgets this afternoon. I am going to try to put a new daily quote or thought (the “P.S.” section) at the end of each of my entries, along with a playlist of songs I listened to while I blogged.
P.S. If there were no one to watch them drive by, how many people would buy a Mercedes?
Songs to Blog by:
Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
Get on the Floor – Michael Jackson
I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Rod Stewart
By The Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Parachutes – Coldplay
I mean, really?