Favorite Quotes

  • You're not too old, and it's never too late

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's Gonna Be a Great Day!

It's 10:30 in the morning where I am, and I'm proud to say that I've already gotten 1,100 words down in my novel-in-progress AND I just walked and did arm exercises for 30 minutes. This is more than I've done (exercise-wise) in a LONG ass time, so I feel really good right now.

What's the secret, you might be asking? I got up early. (Woo hoo!)

This is pretty much what it looked like:

That, and I've been doing more "positive thinking" work lately, and I have to admit...it does make a difference.

I'm not usually an early riser. I get up around 7:30 to help my youngest be out the door for school at 8:15. I start my writing day at 9:00. But I've been finding--especially during this busy holiday season--that my days get waylaid and before I know it, I'm on the phone or answering emails, or running out to do errands. I get home sometime in the afternoon, and my creativity is spent for the day. So this morning, when my husband got up to run at 5:00, my one dog kept scratching at the door to go outside. By the time I let him out and back in again, it was 5:45 and I decided to just get up and get going. I'm so glad I did! I had 1,000 words down by 8:00. Made myself a breakfast of Cream of Wheat and 2 clementines (I love these little guys!) and got my youngest on the bus. Then....came in, caught up with my mom and sister then changed and got on the treadmill for 30 minutes. All of this before 10 a.m.!! I'm so happy, and physically I feel great.

I know this may not sound like much to those who love exercise and get it in every day, but for someone who struggles with this sort of thing, it's major.

And my thinking has a lot to do with it. I've been working on telling myself I'm worth the effort lately. I'm worth taking care of myself. God wants this for me. My family wants it, too, so I feel more motivated to get some sort of exercise in than I have in a while. And I'm trying to take it easy on how hard I hit the exercise button. I'm taking it slowly, and that's fine.

I hope anyone reading this is having as good a day as I am. We'll see what tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. brings, but for now, all is right in my world.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Yes, I'm Still Here and Where My Head is at the Moment

What a month November was! I finished up my "presidential" duties for my daughter's tennis team, co-chaired our church's Holiday Fair and wrote about 22,000 words for NaNoWriMo.  28,000 shy of what I'd hoped for, but 22,000 more than I've written in the past few months, so it wasn't a total loss. Still, I'm going to have to rethink NaNoWriMo next year as I'll still be tennis prez and I'm CHAIRING the whole church fair by myself next year. This is what I imagine I will look like in 11 months from now:

Now I'm in the throes of preparing for Christmas (as I know many people are) but as far as my writing and my eating/weight issues are concerned, here's what I'm thinking and doing at the moment. 

I'm seriously considering taking a pen name. To hide or not to hide, that is the question. 

Part of me feels like I would feel freer to write whatever I want under the guise of another moniker. The other part of me rebels against this need for concealment because I've lied or been half-truthful all my life when it has come to my writing. I've been working at being more open and honest with everyone in my life about a number of things I've been keeping to myself, (writing and eating like a teenager) so taking a pen name feels like a step backwards for me.

Of course, in this day and age what does a pen name really mean or do for me? Anyone with a computer or phone or tablet can find out who I am in a matter of minutes. Is the nom de plume a thing of the past? I know many writers still use pen names but really, what's the point? I'm pretty hung up on what my family (of origin) and my parents think and will think of what I write. I know Anne Lamotte says, "Write like your parents are dead!" but doing so is harder than it sounds. For me, anyway. Isn't my taking a pen name just another way for me to hide so people don't know the "real" me? I admit that considering this option is rooted in fear, so I need to spend some more time thinking about this one, but I already have three names lined up, so I think we all know where I'm headed.

Now for my weight/eating/body image issues. I haven't been exercising and I feel badly about this, so today I grabbed a jump rope and went to my garage (because the jump rope can't touch the ceiling out there). I told myself, "Start slowly and aim for five minutes." How sad is it that five minutes turned out to be like a marathon? I should have aimed for 30 seconds. That would have been more realistic. 

I haven't jumped rope in ages, but I thought it's something I can do inside, by myself and it's supposed to burn a lot of calories. Yep, I bet if I had jumped for five minutes straight I would have burned up some calories. As it was, I think I jumped a total of three minutes and had to come in and sit down. My heart rate was pumping and if I hadn't taken a hit of my inhaler beforehand, I might be in the ER at the moment getting an asthma treatment. 

This is what I pictured when I had the idea of jumping rope:

However...this is a more accurate depiction of my experience this morning:

See how she looks like she's wailing in agony??

It's good that I moved today, and I plan on going out again this afternoon to try again, only I'm honestly going to shoot for 30 seconds of continuous jumping. It's important to set realistic goals, isn't it?

On a happier note, I was listening to a radio program the other day in my car and received a very positive message, which was that "yes" is in my (our) future. We may have to go through a lot of "no's" before we get to the yes, but hang in there, and you will receive the yes. The speaker pointed out that Thomas Edison "failed" at making the light bulb 2,000 times, but got it right on the 2,001 attempt. Edison said he didn't fail 2,000 times, but that he found 2,000 ways that didn't work. This helped my writer-self put things in perspective when it comes to being rejected. If you're doing the work and you persist, you will eventually get your yes. Even if it takes 2,000 tries. :o/

Hang in there, friends!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Aspiring to not be That Parent

My husband and I took our daughter to visit some colleges last week and guess what I learned? Just how self-absorbed I can be.

Sheesh, Aim, I kept thinking to myself. This is not about you!

I’m ashamed to admit how often envy reared its ugly, snarly green head as we ambled around picturesque New England campuses. I found myself belaboring the fact that I didn’t try my hardest in high school, that I could have worked harder and perhaps gone to a better school and been a writer earlier in life. If only, swam through my mind more than once. If only I’d have been a better student. If only I’d have been more disciplined. If only I’d have been more honest with myself and everyone else about how much I loved writing.

But that would have meant that I’d have been open and honest with everyone in my life rather than keeping my writing dreams to myself. It would have meant a whole revision of my personal history. Things happen for a reason, I had to remind myself. Still, it was hard not to imagine how my life would have turned out differently had I not been such a goofball in high school.

Of course these excursions are about our daughter—what schools she likes, where she wants to spend the next four years of her life and what she wants to study. But it was hard not to think about my own college experience and what I would have done differently. It was hard not to fall into the trap of if only.

I hear stories now about how other parents push their kids to go to certain schools. I’ve also seen it in subtle hints parents drop so their kids think they might want a certain school. My husband and I won’t push our daughter towards any one school, but I get it. I think it’s because we parents have lived longer, experienced more of life and because we have regrets—regrets that we didn’t do as well as we could have. Regrets that we didn’t do our best, and now, our kids are doing better than we ever did and we want them to have what we could not. We’re riding along with them, experiencing the highs of good grades and honor rolls, things some of us may not have experienced during our own high school tenures, and it’s exhilarating. Then you think, wow, with these grades we can get into some great schools! (Look at how I’ve already switched into using “we” instead of “she.” God, I’m incorrigible).  I’m not saying it’s right; I’m just saying I get it.

This trip was good for me in that it’s the first step (well, one of the first steps) in my letting go of my baby. I actually feel better now that we’ve gone to see a few schools. It has eased some of the angst I’ve been feeling about her preparing to leave home.

I’m going to try hard to keep this in mind over the next year and a half. I don’t want to be the parent who exerts her influence in order to manipulate her child into making a decision “mom” would have made had she had it to do over. I won’t be the parent who says, “You have to apply here” or “We won’t pay for you to go to that school.”

This is a picture of me and my daughter at the school I would love for her to attend, but I digress....

My daughter has always made sound decisions when it has come to friends and activities, so I trust that she will choose the school that best suits her needs and temperament. It’s part of my letting go of her—trusting that she will make the best decision for herself. She’s already off to a better start than I was at her age, so I’m going to try and sit back and chill out. I’m going to tag along as best I can—be it right beside her, or via Face Time and Skype. It’s bound to be a great ride.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sharing my "Shelfie"

I'd heard recently that people are sharing pictures of their bookshelves, calling them "shelfies." So here's mine:

I'm also going to brag just a little, because my husband built these for me. We're still in the process of renovating this office (note the sub flooring and dismantled crown moulding...) but this is what I have so far. I'm also not finished decorating the shelves. My husband is an insurance exec, but he really should've been an architect. He's a talented woodworker as well. I am blessed to have him in my life for numerous reasons, but his handiness is one of them. I enjoy writing in this space very much. Thank you, honey!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aspiring to Rid the World of Food Shamers!

I stole this from Just Eat Real Food's Facebook page, but it sums up how I feel about life now...

I wish people would stop food shaming.

Last night, my daughter babysat these two, great kids. They come from a nice family, they're well-behaved and creative. But when they wanted a snack, and my daughter ran through the list of choices--two of which were some candy treats or ice cream (ok'd by the mother) the children refused saying, "They're not healthy choices."

Ok. But what about when you just want a piece of candy or a dish of ice cream? What I took from hearing about this conversation was that these children have already gotten the message: that it's not "right" or "good" to choose candy or ice cream. I mean, if they really wanted an apple or banana, great! More power to 'em. But if they wanted the candy or ice cream, that "should" be fine, too. But they're already reciting the mantra. They're drinking the Kool Aid, certainly with no sugar added.

And what if my daughter had wanted ice cream? Well, I know my daughter. She would've had the ice cream and enjoyed it whether the two kids deemed it a "healthy choice" or not. She's strong like that.

I know there may be people who may read this and give kudos to the kids for making "healthy choices" and I get it. Most kids in the U.S. today don't know about healthy choices. I guess because of where my head is at the moment, I see the food shaming side of this scenario more so than the healthy choice argument. It just kills me that these kids--ages 10 and 6--are already making comments like this.

We humans and our food issues. We start young, don't we?

Friday, September 26, 2014

How I Handle the Negative Nellies of the World

For those of us old enough to remember, this is Nellie Olsen, from Little House on the Prairie. The queen of "Negative Nellies."

How do you handle negativity and negative people?

I received some great advice from my mother when I was younger. She said, "Whenever people vent, or share something negative about someone else, put it out of your mind. Try to forget it." These words of wisdom helped me in two ways: first, I learned that by putting negative thoughts/opinions out of my mind helped me not repeat what I'd heard. Second, I learned not to carry the negativity of others around with me. I have enough baggage of my own; I don't need to take on other peoples' problems.

I've put this advice into practice so much over the years, that I feel I've perfected it. This past week, a a "negative" issue arose where I had forgotten some key pieces of information. One of the people with whom I was speaking about this issue thought I was nuts; at least, that's how I felt when this person reacted to something I'd said. How could you not remember that? I had to explain that when negative information is being bandied about, I listen with half an ear. I don't want to be drawn into the negativity. It's not that I'm being disrespectful or uncaring about a person's upset. It's more a matter of self-preservation.

I know many people who thrive on this kind of emotional interplay. They listen as the "Negative Nellie" goes on and on about something or someone, then the person or people get sucked in. It's like a tornado of negativity. Before you know it, everyone's up in the funnel, being tossed about. One person passes on the negativity to another and so on, and so on.

This isn't the case with my friend who thinks/thought I was nuts this week. Her problem is that the Negative Nellie is impacting my friend's life and she can't seem to get away from the swirling vortex of detriment. The Negative Nellie may have some serious emotional issues, which only makes things worse.

I beat myself up for a few days because I felt stupid for not remembering important bits of information regarding this negative upset, but now I'm comfortable with how I handle this sort of thing. I don't remember because I've put it so far out of my mind, and I'm happier for it. My friend can't help but be impacted by this bad juju. She's closer to the Negative Nellie than I, and has more cause for interaction with her. So I keep everyone in my prayers in hopes that things will get better for them. Meditating helps as well. I'm finding that meditation is the cure for many emotional issues I encounter in life.

This clip sums up what I'm feeling and what I'm trying to say in this post:


Now on to the positive side of my week...

Last weekend, the group of which I'm a member, Women Who Write, held their annual (soon to be bi-annual) conference last Saturday. I met with three agents regarding both of my WIPs, my novel and my memoir. I got good feedback on both! Two of the three agents told me I could submit to them after I make some revisions. I was thrilled! I haven't had positive feedback on my writing in a while (outside of my wonderful critique group) so this was just what I needed. I feel motivated and energized to get some work done. So I should probably stop blogging and get to "real" work.

I hope for anyone reading this that if you're dealing with negativity in any way, you take my mom's advice: listen, then forget it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aspiring to No Longer Procrastinate!



I came across this great article on the Atlantic.com website. It's by Megan Mcardle, and the title grabbed me because it picked on writers as being the worst procrastinators. You can read the article here:


The gist of the article is that writers are procrastinators because we often were the ones who excelled in English class in high school, and while our teachers were busy explaining mundane grammar rules to our fellow students who didn't "get it" as easily as we did, we were learning that we were smart and it came easy and we just understood things like grammar better than other people. In short, we learned that being smart and successful was "easy" and didn't take much work. This translates into our writing careers now as that writing and publishing should be easy. We shouldn't have to work that hard at it or, God forbid, fail at all, because it's always been easy for us. That "success in work depends mostly on natural talent."

We procrastinate because we fear failing, or submitting something that's "bad." We put it off until the last possible second, as a deadline looms, then turn something in. Because turning something in is better than not meeting that deadline.

I guess it's nice to know that I'm not alone, that I'm in good company when I procrastinate. But man, I hate that I do it! In fact, by writing this blog post I'm procrastinating right now. I should be working on my "elevator pitch" that I'm supposed to practice with my writer's group tomorrow. I should be working on a practice query letter for a writing conference I'm attending this Saturday, but I absolutely HATE query letters. I've been working on this letter for the past two days. It's killing me. It's harder to write then the darn book I've been writing! (Why are queries so challenging??).

The truth is, I spend most of my days procrastinating. My dad asks me all the time, "How's your writing coming along?"

"Great!" I lie. And then I think of how I've spent the last week doing things other than writing...

  • researching colleges I think my daughter would like to visit (SHE should be doing this, not I!)
  • Facebooking
  • email, email, email
  • buying mums and pumpkins (things like this can always wait, can't they?)
  • Candy Crush
  • Words With Friends
  • menu planning
So I'm going to stop procrastinating now and get back to work on my "practice" query letter. 

Any writers' thoughts on procrastination and how you deal with it would be greatly appreciated! Let's commiserate! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Blue Life

I've been told by three different people on three separate occasions that I have a "blue" aura. I've never seen an aura, personally, but I'm open to their existence. I'm open to the idea of faith. I have a strong faith in God, so I lean towards believing in things I can't see for myself. Especially spiritual things. 

I imagine this is what I look like to those who can see auras:

The three people who've seen my aura have told me I'm "bathed in blue light." 

Ok. So what does that mean, exactly? I went online and read up on blue aura personalities and I have to say I fit the bill. I'm not going to list everything here, but this is the site that provided me the most information:http://www.whatsmyaura.com.

The "blueness" of my aura has nothing to do with the blueness I've felt this week, but I thought it an interesting juxtaposition, so I mention my blue aura here. 

The sadness of my week has revolved around a number of things:
  • my oldest daughter growing up and away from me
  • my younger daughter's emotional/anxiety issues
  • my evolving yet still tinged-with-strain relationship I have with my sister
  • my rejected ED/memoir essay
Yes, this week has been a sucky one, to say the least. I let all of these issues overwhelm me, then unleashed it on my girls. I've apologized and made amends, but still...when am I going to keep my composure and act like an adult?? I've had to admit to myself that I'm human and let go of unrealistic expectations. It's hard. 

As far as my ED issues go...I did almost give into emotional eating this week. I found myself grabbing the bag of Ruffles and heading towards the couch. I made it there and ate ONE handful of chips when I decided that behavior was no longer serving its purpose in my life. It really doesn't work for me anymore. I folded up the chips and returned them to the pantry. I was proud of myself for that. I was fully aware of what and why I was reaching for the chips, but they didn't satisfy me, so I put them away. Two years ago, the bag would've been demolished and I would have had to hide the evidence from my family. So...there's one bright spot of the week! Also, there's this:

I used to live my life like this, and I no longer do. This cracked me up because I could so relate, but this was another bright spot. I'm no longer doing this to myself. ;o)

The rejection letter is something I've come to accept in my life, although I haven't submitted anything in a few years, so it's been a while since I've received one. Still, I sent out (what I thought was a) great essay about something very personal to me and it was turned down. :o( Rejection is a big part of a writer's life, but it still stings me. Every time. I think because I was already having a bad week this rejection letter hurt just a bit worse. That, and because it was about my ED. Oh well. Time to send it out again. And again. 

I'm happy to say I'm feeling better now. I would be interested to know if anyone else is aware of what color their aura is, or if they can see auras. And for the writers out there, feel free to commiserate about rejection. Ugh!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Aspiring to: Emulate Oracene Price

See this expression here?

And this one?

As a tennis mom, this is what I'm working on at the moment: my Oracene Price face.

Oracene Price is mother to Venus and Serena Williams, arguably two of the best female tennis players in history. When I watch them play on the world stage, in big tournaments for big money, the camera often pans to their mother who sits stoically, yet supportively, in the stands. She appears calm, cool, collected...unfazed by what's going on with her daughters on the court. She's had years of practice and she must be very strong.

I, on the other hand, feel more like this when watching my daughter play:

Partly, because I played competitive tennis when I was in my teens. I know what it feels like to be down there, gutting it out, playing hard to win. I want my daughter to succeed. She doesn't have to win all of her matches, I'm just saying it's hard for me to sit on the sidelines and...spectate.

When my daughter hits a winner, I want to pump my fist and yell, "Great shot!" But Oracene Price can't do that at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. It would be uncouth. Just as it is at the high school tennis courts.

When my daughter falls behind or misses a shot, I want to scream, "Come on! You can do it!" But again, it would be unseemly.

So...I sit there, my insides twisting in angst, trying to maintain my composure. It's very difficult, as any other sports mom or dad can attest. Oh, if we could only run down there and play the games for them!!

Tennis season is ramping up for us, as is field hockey season for my younger daughter. It's a bit easier to yell my support at a field hockey game. Other parents will be there yelling support, too. It's played on a bigger field and it's all-around noisier, unlike the staid, polite tennis scene (how it's supposed to be, at least). It's all I can do at times to keep my mouth shut. I just get so excited and into the game! I can't help it!

So this fall, this is who I will summon up: Oracene Price, and her serious, patient, calm demeanor. My daughter hits a winner? Nice. She flubs an overhead? Who cares? Just sit and enjoy the game, I'll tell myself. Like the other parents...seem to be doing.

Hopefully, Oracene can be proud of me...almost as proud as she is of her daughters.

For me, keeping it together will take just as much mental toughness as it does to win Wimbledon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Aspiring to Not Be Overwhelmed by Sadness

Here I sit again, writing a humble homage to a great artist who has left us too soon. I wrote on my old blog about Michael Jackson when he died five years ago. Like him or not, he was a magnificent talent, the likes of which we may never see again. I feel the same about Robin Williams.

What is it about great artists that makes them feel so much, too much, then want to escape? I believe we are blessed with the presence of artists so we can learn more about ourselves, gain insight into issues we might not otherwise consider and learn how to be empathetic with those different from us. Artists teach us about beauty, sadness, the plight of the human condition. They make us laugh and cry. They may even irritate us at times, make us feel uncomfortable in our own skin. They teach us. Robin Williams did all of these things for me. What a talent. I've listened to people on TV who knew him and say what a kind soul he was, how down to earth and interested in those around him. Not only was he a gifted comedian and actor. It sounds like he was a great human being as well.

I was in nursing school 22 years ago and the subject of Robin Williams and Bipolar Disorder came up during my psych rotation. I've never forgotten one lecture my nursing psych professor gave in which she said (to paraphrase) that psych professionals believed Robin Williams lived in a constant state of "hypomania" where he was able to be "manic" most of the time and lead a "normal" life. My professor said these professionals (who were published leaders in the field of psychology and psychiatry) were waiting to see what happened when the ball dropped and he fell into a major depressive episode, because no one--not even Robin Williams--could live on such a manic level and maintain their sanity. The ball has dropped, and now we know what happened. 

I realize it has come out in recent years about his depression, manic-depression and substance abuse issues, but this was back in 1992. I don't recall knowing this much about him back then. I'd been interested in his personal journey ever since. I'm so sad to see it end this way. 

On one hand, I (sort of) get it. Depression runs in my family. I've dealt with episodes of depression. I'm on an antidepressant now. I wish I didn't need it, but I do. It helps keep me grounded, on an even keel, and I appreciate that about its effects. When I'm not on it, I'm more sensitive, more irritable, more snarky. I don't pretend to know what Mr. Williams' depression was like for him, and I'm not saying I understand suicide, but I can appreciate feeling things too much. If I allow them, many things in the world can hurt me. If I allowed it, and if I wasn't on medication, I could wallow in sorrow. Sometimes I think my writing is better when I'm not on medication, but the rest of my life would suffer. Relationships would suffer. They're more important to me than my writing, so on the medication I'll stay. But I get it. I get self-medicating and numbing so you don't feel as much. I'm a numb-er (see previous posts re: disordered eating and food issues. ;o)).

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children. I hope in some small way they are able to feel the love and positive energy being sent their way, although I'm sure they're devastated. 

I have many fond memories of Robin Williams, but I'm posting this one because I'm an avid golfer and I find this very funny. I apologize ahead of time for his language. He uses the F-bomb like 200 hundred times. I hope you can get past that and appreciate the humor of the piece. He said on Inside the Actor's Studio that he hopes there's a lot of laughter up in Heaven. 

There is now.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aspiring to: Not Be So Hard on Myself!

(This is how I feel if brunette me beats up blonde me)

I’m reminded of this fairly often by friends, my mom, my therapist. “You are one of the hardest people on yourself I’ve ever met!”

Isn’t everyone? Aren’t we all hard on ourselves? From my biased perspective, that’s what I believe. There’s a tiny bit of me that thinks everyone thinks like I do when it comes to self-loathing. But then someone says something like this to me, and I realize I’m probably more alone than I realize.

I’ve spent a few years on a few therapists’ couches coming to understand why I am the way I am, and I’m not going to bore you with those reasons. Suffice it to say, the belief that I’m not good enough or don’t measure up is deeply rooted in my early childhood and I’ve forgiven everyone and anyone who nourished these beliefs. 

That being said…

These beliefs still rattle around my head. They’re something I fight against every day. They usually revolve around my weight and food issues, but the incident that prompted this blog post came from my writing life. I had a deadline to meet last Friday. I had to have two pieces of writing (15 pages each) submitted by Friday in order to be critiqued by an agent at a conference in September. These past several weeks have been crazy busy for me. I’ve had no time to sit and write and be creative, but the pieces I submitted had already been worked on and read by my writing group. Still, I wanted to tweak them and strengthen the prose. I could strengthen and tweak and revise until, well, forever. Yep, I could do it forever.

Anyway…I lamented the fact that I’d just submitted the pieces without much revision to one of the members of my writing group. “I’m concerned, because I don’t feel I submitted my best work,” I said in an email. 

She promptly replied that what I’d sent in was just fine. She’s the latest person to utter that, “You’re one of the hardest people” sentences from above.

Two weeks ago it’d come from my therapist, and this was far from the first time she’d said it to me. That time it was due to my lamenting, (yes, more lamenting…) the fact that I’d snapped at my youngest daughter in a restaurant and made her feel bad. Tears commenced, apologies followed and forgiveness was granted, yet I could not shake how horrible I felt. When I worked through it with my therapist we concluded that yes, I made a mistake, but I’m a human mother and we all make mistakes.

This being hard on myself also has to do with the fact that I’m a first born who likes to please other adults and who doesn’t like to make mistakes. But who does? No one chooses to make mistakes, right? 

So then I saw this quip from one of my favorite sites, Just Eat Real Food, and it reminded me of what I need to be reminded of almost every day:

So I'm working on it...today as I did yesterday as I did the day before that. I hope it gets easier, because being hard on yourself is exhausting!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Aspiring to: be Creative!

I’ll admit, as a struggling writer it’s hard to be creative all the time. Especially when you’re a wife and mother. Mostly what I do these days is chauffeur my girls around. I’m trying not to complain about this too much as my oldest is taking her last driving lesson at this very moment. In twelve short months, she’ll be driving everywhere on her own. I will be less needed, and I know I will miss that.

But these past few weeks have just been crazy here in the Simonson household. I’ve had no time to sit and work on my novel or my memoir. I’ve had no time to sit and meditate, something I’ve come to love and something I find I really need to center myself.

Maybe a better title for this post is Aspiring to find more time for myself! It’s something I struggle with, along with my food issues and getting more activity in. How do we moms do it? How do we carve out moments for ourselves in order to maintain our sanity and be better for everyone else in our lives?

I also admit that sometimes creativity hits me at the worst moments. Like, for instance, when I'm sitting in a cooking class and the woman lecturing on wine is a character herself and she says a number of things I want to use in my writing somewhere. But do I have my trusty little notebook where I jot down ideas when they appear on the spur of the moment? No. And how rude would that be, to start compiling notes about the woman when she's standing right in front of me, giving of her time and herself in order to expand my knowledge of wine? Ok, to be honest, I wouldn't care if it'd been rude or not, but I didn't have my notebook. This wanna-be writer knows, when creativity hits, take advantage of it. That's the only honest bit of creativity I've had this past week--in the cooking class I took with my husband last Friday. Here are some pics of us preparing scallops:

Next week I'll have more time to myself and hopefully, more time to be creative and get some writing done. Both girls will be working at our church's Vacation Bible School from 8-1 every day. There is light at the end of this tunnel. I envision hours at my desk, words and ideas flowing freely, and perhaps one or two more creative blog posts. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aspiring to Share Some Positivity

I follow this site on Facebook. It's called Just Eat Real Food. It took me YEARS to learn this:

Thanks to my Dynamic Duo (DD) Jenn and Ani.

It has also taken me years to learn this, but I'm glad I finally learned it. And maybe it just takes years to learn these things because that's what life is: living and learning. Anyway, from Joel Osteen:

And finally this one:

I've been meditating regularly for over a year now and it has done wonders for my soul. It has opened me up creatively, it has helped calmed me and provided keen insight. If you're put off by the idea of meditating, it doesn't need to be anything "New Agey" or done with chanting...just sit quietly and stop thinking consciously. See what comes to you. See how you feel afterwards. I love it. It's become my favorite 20-30 minutes of (almost) every day. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aspiring to be: A Stronger Mom

These past two weeks have seen my husband and I thrust into semi Empty Nest Syndrome, and I don't like it. Not one bit.

Our eldest has been away for the past couple of weeks. Last week she went to visit family friends in Ohio. I brought her home last Saturday and at 6:15 the following morning, she was down at our church, loading into a van and heading to North Carolina on a high school mission trip. When she was in Ohio she was running around, having lots of fun and rarely texted me. :o( I had to text her first and she would reply. Ok, I know...at least she answered me. This week, we were advised by the mission trip chaperones that the kids would not be allowed to have their phones with them while working, and that the focus of the trip was fellowship and helping others, so we should not expect to hear from them. I get it. But I hate not hearing from my daughter. It's killing me.

This daughter, who turns 16 next week, is heading into her junior year of high school and as anyone who's gone before me knows, this means more challenging academics, ACTs, SATs and college visits. It means preparing our baby to leave us.

Let's get the cliches out of the way.

  • She has grown up too fast!
  • We blinked and she's 16!
  • It seems like she was toddling around just yesterday!
Cliches and stereotypes exist for a reason, you know...

So I want to say this to the Universe: I hear you!

She's growing up and out and...away from me.

It's normal. It's natural. It's the way it "should" be. Everything is going according to the Universe's plan. 

I just didn't realize it would hurt this much. 

I guess I should provide a little background. When I was younger, in fact all the way up until I was 29, I swore I'd never have children. I didn't like kids when I was a teenager and a young woman in her 20s. I thought they were a pain in the neck. I found them loud and obnoxious and I wanted none of it.

Things changed when I was 30. I gave birth to said daughter was I was 31 and here comes another cliche: I fell head over heels in love with her. I had no idea how happy motherhood would make me. I was oblivious to the idea of experiencing love on that/this level. Any mother reading this understands what I'm saying. It's a crazy-powerful, all-consuming love. And this love has only deepened over the last 16 years (and 13 years for my younger one). Not only do I love my daughters, I like them. I truly enjoy being around them, (when they're not squabbling) listening to the goings-on of their daily lives. I'm fully invested in everything they do. Probably more so than some moms, probably less than others. 

It feels strange to not have Daughter #1 in the house right now. There's been a huge energy shift. I miss seeing her beautiful face every morning. I'm grateful to have another beautiful face to look at every day. God only knows how I'm going to react when my younger one leaves. 

These past few weeks have shown that I need to accept the realities of my life and comes to grips with the fact that my baby is separating from me. Are moms the only ones who experience this sensation? Is is because our children are actually a part of us--that they physically come from our bodies--that we feel this separation so strongly? My husband misses our daughter, but he seems to be handling her growing up and out better than I. 

These short trips are the Universe's way of preparing me for two years from now, when she heads off to college. I know she'll return on breaks and during the summers, but in twenty-four short months, (yes, I've done the math) my first-born will transition away from being a live-at-home child into a young, woman of the world. And "woman of the world" is what she longs to be. 

"I want to get out of here," she has said more than once. "I want to see the world!"

That's what we get for taking them abroad and teaching them about other cultures when they were younger. What were we thinking??

So today I aspire to be stronger, to accept what is and what's coming. I want to be stalwart and supportive for both of my girls. 

People tell me, "She's doing what she's supposed to be doing. You've done a great job raising an independent young lady." And I think, Great. I should have tempered my over-achieving ways on this one.

I'm 47 years old and still learning that growing up is hard.