Category: Mental Growth & Hobbies

Honoring my Dad’s birthday

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How lucky am I that my dad published his wisdom in this book!?! Click to order.

Growing up the month of June was all about my dad.  He was the only one in my immediate family with a June birthday and we celebrated Father’s day, too.  Needless to say, I’ve been thinking and talking about him a lot this week.  This August it will be a year since his passing so we have almost made it through all the ‘firsts’ without him.

Mimi & Pipi
Visiting my parent at their dream home in Amelia Island, FL.

We miss him

I know my mom misses him the most.  She is so lonely without him and her life has completely changed since he passed.  Within two weeks of his death, we had packed her up from their Florida condo and moved her into an assisted living six hours away so she could be near me and my three brothers.  So many new changes for my 77 year old mom in one year and she spends a majority of her time all alone which she hasn’t really ever done in her entire lifetime.  She went from her parent’s home, to nursing school, to marriage.  Mom and I talked this week about how we thought dad would want us to feel about Father’s Day and his birthday.  We knew he’d want us to be happy but also remember him.  He loved a bit of a fuss on his special days.  We both recognized that it is OK to miss him, shed a tear or two and then focus on what all we had with him…not what we no longer have.  Falling into a pit of depression definitely won’t bring him back and would just hurt those that we love still living around us.  My dad was too practical and productive to have us sit around in a dark pit. (more…)

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I’m positive that attitude changes everything!

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Your attitude is a choice

Once, when I was going through a difficult time and didn’t know what direction life would take me, I was told by an acquaintance who had been through a similar rough patch that if you worry and then suffer, you suffer twice. But, if you don’t worry (and just believe) and still suffer in some way, you would only suffer once.

Newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck gave similar advice about worrying:

As a person who often measures value based on productivity and how many to-do items I cross off my list and as person who would like to suffer once and ideally not suffer at all, the act of worrying just isn’t for me. Rather, I choose to believe that there is a lesson to be learned or a bigger plan to be followed.  I choose to be positive. (more…)

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Don’t freak out…reach out!

Mothers day with kids andmom

Ask and you shall receive

Guess what I found out recently?  I can’t do it all and I need to ask for help.  I think the key is to ‘ask’ and not ‘expect’ someone to know you need help.  I’ve definitely said to my husband a few times, ‘Why do you wait until I’m spiraling to help?’  His answer is valid when he calmly says ‘I didn’t know you needed help’.  We think as moms we are supposed to do it all and we think other moms are successfully doing it all.  Maybe it’s possible for the short distance but not for the long haul.  I’m one of 6 kids, I watched my mom work non-stop taking care of the house, kids, food, pets, etc.  I also witnessed her burning out.  My siblings and I helped around the house but maybe could have done more and in recent years my dad had admitted that he could have done more to help at home.

Did you know you have a small army of helpers around you?  Below are eight individuals or groups of people that are willing to offer a helping hand and won’t think any less of you for getting their assistance. (more…)

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Quench your thirst to learn and grow

 

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Are you running on empty?  We’ve all seen examples of busy moms who lose their personal identity sacrificing it all to care for the needs and wants of their families, job, or community. Sometimes we tragically see these moms in the news after they have snapped and plummeted off the deep end and hurt people in the process.  Most of these women probably meant well initially and maybe didn’t realize they were losing themselves along life’s journey.

Be a role model

Caring for others in spite of ourselves happens easily since there is always something we can do to help someone else, to make our homes cleaner, or to make our boss happier.  It’s a slippery slope and in my opinion sends the opposite message that most of us want to pass on to our children.  I believe it’s important for kids to see their moms growing and thriving.  They can’t witness our personal growth unless we carve out time for ourselves.  I want my son, and especially my daughter, to see that I am still a person underneath this supermom cape.  I have dreams, I have goals, and I have interests.  We encourage our children and our aging parents to step outside the comfort zone.  Let’s practice what we preach!

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.  It’s an act of survival.  Ignoring internal passions and interests is dangerous as it can build resentment and burnout.  Avoid the burnout by igniting the little bits of kindling inside of you.  We all were individuals before we were married and parents.  What interests did you have then?  In what ways, even if small ways, can you feed those interests and still care for others? (more…)

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Be a GOAL DIGGER!

Be a goal digger

This recent series of blog posts is about making time for yourself and then using your ME time wisely. In the first post in this series, I offered some time management tips that work for me.  If you missed this post, check it out here.  Now we need to hone into where you want this ME time to be spent, but first you need to pause and make a plan.

Make things happen

There are two main buckets of people.  Those that wait for things to happen to them and those that make things happen.  I prefer to surround myself with the people that make things happen.  I find them more interesting to talk to, inspiring, and uplifting.  Perhaps this explains why I have a sick fascination with reading true WW II stories about survivors of the Holocaust.  I can’t get enough of the stories about the strength and perseverance these usually ordinary people had to fight through extreme and unbelievable circumstances.  I love the movie Rudy and any true story about the underdogs setting a goal, believing they can do it, and making it happen. (more…)

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Who knew I would marry my prom date!?!

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19 lessons learned in our 19 years of marriage

You may have missed this random fact that I have shared on my About page:  I married my 1989 prom date.  By choice – not necessity.  Jason and I started dating in my senior year of high school, he was a junior.  Our first date we dined at the Real Mandarin House (I’d hate to see what the fake restaurant looked like since years later rumor was the real one was shut down for serving up felines!).  After Chinese, we went to see a Tom Hanks bomb film called The Burbs.  We went to prom that spring.  I was in a Laura Ashley phase and picked out the fabric and pattern that my sister Susie handmade and Jason’s tux was gray but looked lilac in the pictures.  Enjoy this 80’s prom throwback! 

We dated long distance for several years…on and off.  I started at Penn State that summer and he finished his last year of high school and went to University of Alabama.  We were married on April 27, 1996 – 19 years ago!  The past few years, our pace of life has significantly picked up as our responsibilities to help care for our parents was added to our already full plates.  Our kids also have active lives which has resulted in a jammed packed family calendar. Our days often feel like we are on a moving treadmill that never stops until we crash into the pillows at night.  I know I’m guilty of getting caught up in the day to day routine and sometimes forgetting what’s truly important.  This post is part of my anniversary gift to my husband.  After all, he’s a guy and we all know what he really wants.  It’s been fun to pause for a few moments and reflect on our relationship and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, learnings, and insights after being married to Jason for the past 19 years.

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The lessons and learnings

1.      It turns out that I can still sleep well even when my bed isn’t made before I get in it and that toilet paper still functions even when it’s resting on top of the previous empty cardboard roll. Sense of humor is vital to our marriage.

2.      Traveling as a couple or a family is so much fun but I appreciate how lucky I am to be so happy to return home after any trip.

3.      Sometimes Jason is right and I’m wrong and that’s ok.  Shadow has been a sweet addition to our family home and is a visual example of unconditional love and an example of how father may know best.

4.      We are powerful duo when we work together in small projects and big life changes.  We are actually better at working together on huge life changing problems than the pesky annoying little ones.

5.      I’ve got the best built in accountability partner when it comes to health and fitness.  I stand up straighter with confidence knowing that he always has my back.  But I hate that he has a better metabolism!

6.      Jewish people can like commercialized Christmas more than Christians.  Marrying a Jewish man has perks like I always get to decide what we are going to do for Christmas and Easter.

7.      If I want to be in the know about his life, I have to pay attention to his phone conversations or ask very specific questions about his day.  Communication is a skill that will never be perfected.

8.      Romance is something you always have to work at but cheesy books like 50 Shades of Gray can help.  Men truly get sexier with age.

9.      Trigger words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ are called trigger words for a reason.

10.  Love is not just a gift to be received it has to be given as well.  Love is reciprocal.  When I make deposits in our romance bank, I get nice dividends.

11.  For me to be a great wife, I first need to be happy with myself.  Jason doesn’t complete me…he enriches and compliments me!

12.  It’s silly to expect him to read my mind and notice when I need help instead of asking for it.

13.  Sealing the deal before and after a girl’s trip away makes it easier for him to let me go off on my own.

14.  Positive reinforcement of behavior works on husbands, too!  Have you read my Choreplay post?!

15.  Marriage is the ultimate commitment and promise and I’m thankful that he continues to choose this ‘package’.

16.  The small unexpected fun moments can mean more than the huge expected ones.

17.  That we both can alternate being the teacher and the student.  Neither of us will ever be done learning new things about each other.

18.  We both need to be involved in the finances to keep ourselves in check.

19.  There is no place like home. I’m proud of the life we have built and continue to build and there is certainly no place that I’d rather be.

What lessons are you learning in your marriage?  How do you prioritize your relationship with your spouse?  Share what works for you in the comments below.

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To be or not to be an anonymous blogger – that was the question

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Blogging Anonymously

When I first started my blog in the spring of 2015, I was afraid to announce that I was the author.  I primarily wanted to stay behind the curtain because I wanted to feel complete freedom of speech which meant writing without offending anyone.  I really dislike confrontation.

I lasted about a month before coming out.  This secret was kept longer than I lasted when I lived in sin with my husband for now 19 years, Jason.  When I got my first job at Turner Broadcasting and moved into a one bedroom apartment in Vinings, I told my parents I was living solo.  I explained that Jason was giving me most of his furniture from his apartment because he was going to move in with his aunt to save money.  Jason and I moved in together and my soul turned blacker and blacker that week.  I made it to the next weekend and came clean with my parents at their house.  My dad told me the ultimate thing that always got to me: ‘I’m so disappointed in you, Elizabeth’.  My mom said something like ‘Why would he (meaning Jason) buy the cow when he could get the milk for free?’  Really mom?  It didn’t change our situation, we knew we were committed for life but we felt we were too young to get married.  We didn’t want to waste an extra rent when we could be banking that income for future plans.  We had an understood agreement that we would live together no more than a year before something more serious like an engagement would happen.  By the way, it took Jason just about a year to take the next step and then we had a yearlong engagement. (more…)

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I’m unpacking my bags and refusing to take the guilt trip

wisdom-92901_1280I’m tough on myself and I hate to let others down.  Guilt is a common emotion for me – truly probably a daily occurrence.  You see, it’s impossible to make everyone happy in a world with so many competing priorities.  Just like an overstuffed sandwich, some wonderful initially desired ingredient is going to slip out and get left behind on the plate or the wrapper.  We can just fit only so much into our mouths or into our day.

For me, guilt flashes into my head, slithers down the back of my throat and wedges itself in my chest where it pressure cooks for a few minutes.  Sometimes it gets the best of me and I steam out a few tears but lately I’m practicing a lot of self-talk and can get that pesky guilt emotion to dwindle and sometimes even completely dissipate.  Deep down I do know that I’m doing enough – more than enough…probably too much! (more…)

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Medicinal Writing

 

typewriter-671413_1280There are lots of things I love about my 77 year old mother and a few big things I’d love to change.

Once I came back from the hair salon with my haircut shorter than usual.  My husband commented that I was looking more and more like my mom.  I freaked out!  My mom used to say that when she was my age she started gaining weight and falling apart.  This frightened me.  My mom is morbidly obese, has type II diabetes, relies on personal assistance for most everything and her mobility is limited with a walker.  Her mind is still great – thank God!  So you see, hearing that you are looking more and more like your mom…isn’t music to my ears.

This week I’ve been excited about starting this blog.  I’ve been doing research, listening to podcasts, and scratching notes of blog names and topics in a journal.  I haven’t felt like this (about anything other than my family!) since I went to my first scrapbooking party 15 years ago and stayed up so late dreaming of scrapbook layouts and all the memories I could capture on album pages.  It also hit me today that I am a lot like my mom.  The good parts that I love. (more…)

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