Tag Archive | gratitude

Reason To Live Friday #24

This annoying dang holiday season. Are you wondering if I’m giving you whiplash? Do I spin a 180 turn each and every post? First complain, then gush? I know. I know. Try living with me.

Last year I wrote about how the holidays suck for some of you if you’ve lost a loved one. Holidays are like a trigger of emotions. They make you ponder on Christmases past and when life has changed permanently, it can be hard.

But then I thought of something. Maybe those little reminders are like the loved ones past speaking to us. Bear with me.

When my friend Reshma lost her daughter to Siona from Leukemia, she woke up one morning with a pressure point on her chest over her heart in the shape of a butterfly. You know when you sleep hard and the pillow case leaves an imprint on your face? Like that. I know, weird. But butterflies were a favorite of 6 year old Siona and this silhoutte of one was perfectly formed. It lasted several hours before it just faded. Reshma cherished her little butterfly form she had over her heart for the few hours it was there. Like Siona had given her a kiss.

Now don’t get all weird on me. I’m not saying that there’s messages from beyond. I’m not going into paranormal stuff here. You can think that or not. I’m cool with it.

I’m saying that the holidays hold so much hope and joy. That I’m going to hold on to the parts that are dear to me. I’m thinking about my dear, dear old friends who are living through their first holiday without their mom, sister and daughter after she took her own life in May. Their grief is palpable. Their grief is ripped open anew with each box of ornaments.

So here’s my list of what to do to get through:

Ready? Take a deep breath and go into downward dog yoga pose. Just kidding.

But breathe deeply anyway.

Hug the ones that are with you. Yep, just do it. Even if they piss you off. Stephen Stills was right with his song, “Love the one you’re with”.

When you see a reminder of a loved one gone- smile at it. Close your eyes and hold it to your heart. Say, “I miss you and I love you and I know you’re still here with me.”

Take last year’s coat or boots that don’t fit anymore or are hardly used and bring them to a charity. Someone needs those more than you.

Write down your feelings. If you blog or not, write that stuff down. You don’t ever have to read it again, but getting it on paper is helpful.

And one more time, love the ones you’re with. Dang it. Hug them, smush them and tell them you are happy they are with you.

Well, I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m not a trained professional. I’m just trying to lend a hug, and let you know I’m here for you. We can do this together.

I’m thankful for vaginas. My kids are too.

So last year when we gathered around the table for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house, Owen did a tear-filled thankful sharing that made my heart burst with gladness. I wrote about it here. It’s pretty damn special.

Well, this year, I got choked up at the dinner table again, but it was my mom talking about my dad and how very grateful we are that all went well last week with his procedure. You can read about THAT here.

I was really hoping for another zinger from my Boy. You know one that REALLY pulled on the heart strings. I mean, I had already had 2 glasses of wine, so I was pretty well greased for some sappy stuff to bring me to tears.

His turn comes. He’s sitting next to me. I’m waiting in anticipation. This is going to be good, I’m thinking in my head, I’m putting this in my journal.
He says, “I’m thankful for my mom.” He touches me on the shoulder…. wait for it….. here it comes….”I’m thankful that she pooped me out.”

Hmmm. That’s not what I was expecting. What? I pooped you out? That’s the best you got?  Well?

So then Emma chimes in, “It wasn’t her butt, it was her VAGINA.”

To this, I think I groan. Loudly. And lay my head in my plate of mashed potatoes. Thank goodness, my father, who is sitting right next to Emma, is pretty much deaf. So he doesn’t hear any of this. And he’s chewing his food, so that probably drowns out some of what we are saying.

My mother let’s out a howl of laughter. James rolls his eyes, like, “who are these people?”

My father chimes in, “what’s so funny?”

To which my mother responds, “Oh nothing, we’re just having some gyno conversation.”
We continue on.

There were no more references to either bodily functions or gyno occurrences. So I had some more wine.

I’m so grateful for pooping you out Owen, and you too Emma! And more grateful you came out of my vagina like you were supposed to.

b POSITIVE PROJECT

Not as in B+ a blood type sillies! But BE POSITIVE. As in, your life. Don’t be a negative.

It takes work to always be happy. And actually, it’s impossible to always be happy. I allow myself some sad days too. But I try to keep those few and far between. You can feel sad, down in the dumps or melancholy, but still be positive.

Let me explain.

The kind folks at the b Positive Project  reached out to me. They are an apparel company that encourages the glass half full mantra. A guy quit his full time job to start this organization. They sell t-shirts and products and then send a portion of those profits to charity. But mostly, the employees and company of this gig are all about keeping on the bright side of things and spreading that message to the world.

They said I was their kind of gal who could help spread their message. Well, yeah! Don’t you love nice people who recognize nice people? I do. They sent me a t-shirt and now I wear it with pride and a smile.

Won’t you b Positive too?

I’ve said before that on the outside I must look like I live a charmed life. I brag about my kids on Facebook, I do my charity and volunteer work, I have fabulous meals at great restaurants. Heck, I’ve even been to the Grammys. I have an adorable husband. Parents who are close and dear to me, both physically and emotionally. I swoon over Daniel Craig and my husband doesn’t even flinch. I have a bathroom cabinet full of high-end beauty products, that regardless if they are doing their job, I am somewhat obsessed just by the mere having them.

So yeah- that sounds pretty dang good huh?

Well, here’s what you might not see. The husband and I have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I won’t go into this. It’s personal. What? You talk about your sex life, how can this be personal? I know. But it is. Times were tough, and they are better now. We plug on and keep swimming, doing our part and live within our means as often as we can. Minus a few treats now and then. Yeah, I know- Hawaii. Duh.  But that’s just the truth. We whittle away at the debt as we go. Sometimes life hands you some curve balls. We feel we’re still better off than most, so we just keep on, keepin’ on.

My sister is a disabled adult living with my already aging, and sometimes struggling parents. They struggle financially too. My mom lives with cancer and my dad has rheumatoid arthritis (and has recently overcome his heart episode!) and is also a cancer survivor. But hey- they are strong, fit and amazing, wonderful people. Yes, they get tired. But I remind them that old people are supposed to get tired!

The burden of my sister and her constant medical visits, pharmaceutical needs, paperwork, insurance claims, disability bureaucratic red tape, is a large anvil that weighs on my parents.  Especially my mom who is her appointed guardian. Like an ox’s yoke it can be heavy and restricting.

But our faith, our love and our spirit within, get us through. I’m there for my mom. She’s here for me. She has bailed me out of constant dilemmas. Why, we couldn’t have survived my restricted bed rest while I was on the last trimester pregnant with Emma if it wasn’t for her! My dad has fixed a flat tire on the side of the freeway for me. They are without a doubt, the definition of selfless people.

I know God gave me two healthy children because I’m already destined to be my sister’s guardian when that time comes. I don’t want to think about that time. You understand I’m sure.

So that is where positive thinking comes in my life. If we stack up each and every woe we have, it becomes a staircase of brambles and a giant hurdle no one could fathom.

If we take our problems like pebbles, putting them one by one on a garden path to cross each day as they come- it becomes a foundation, a gateway to walk on and see things laid out before us. Flat and less daunting. Not measured by what we haven’t done, but by how far we’ve come.

I think of my friends who have lost children to cancer. Children I know who have lost their mothers to suicide.

So with each warm cup of tea and dog snuggle I get each day, with each phone call from my mom and lunch out with her, and with each warm smile from the McSweetie when he comes home after an exhausting day of work; I remind myself that I am more positive than negative. I remind my children how blessed and fortunate we are. Not for the earthly comforts we have around us, but for the support and love we give to each other.

I will wear my shirt with the hopes of sharing b Positive’s message to anyone who needs it.

If you would like to order anything from their website for yourself or gifts, go on over and put in “FRUGALISTA” in the promo code box and get 20% off your order! For a limited time, so do it right away!

And also, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter, so you can see all the positive they are accomplishing.

https://www.facebook.com/thebpositiveproject

https://twitter.com/bpositiveprojec

http://www.bpositiveproject.com/

Namaste my friends.

Comfort in the Mundane

Who would have thought I would want a day doing laundry, dishes and PTA activities?

Well, when life throws a curve ball at you, the ordinary and dull become comforting.

My dad had an emergency heart procedure on Friday and it freaked the hell out of me. Sitting in the uncomfortable, unfashionable hospital, made me homesick for the cat box.

You probably know already that my parents mean the world to me. They are my favorite people. Other than my spouse and offspring, they are my rock. As Emma said to my mom, “Oma, you are the cup to my tea.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

My father is 81 years old and healthy as a horse. Well, he’s even healthier now that two of his arteries are cleared and working properly! He never complained of pain. We don’t have a history of heart disease. All of a sudden he felt fatigue sooner in the day than normal. Trips to the mail box winded him. The man never sits still and still climbs a ladder to the roof, despite my mother’s protests. But lately, he just didn’t have his zip.

Thank goodness he went to the doctor. My parents are very proactive about their health. They know these things after going through a lot with my sister, who is disabled and in their care. And they know from experience having their own health glitches along the way of life.

Last week I even blogged how thankful I was things were looking well for my folks and their ‘old people’ tests they had. At first, all seemed well with my dad.

Then Thursday, after a battery of tests, my mom called me at 4 in the afternoon as I’m driving Owen to soccer practice. I knew something was wrong. You know these things by your loved one’s voice. Her voice quavered as she told me dad needed to go first thing in the morning to the hospital for a stent procedure and because of the severity, possible bypass.

Whoa.

Hold. the. phone. I did not expect this.

So that night I made arrangements to change my PTA volunteer duties. Delegating is a beautiful thing people. I sent emails and kind souls offered to pitch in for our Book Fair to cover the cash register and supervise the kids.

Friends came to my call for help with Owen after school.

McSweetie had interviews and meetings or I know he would’ve worked from home. Emma came along with me because she wears her heart on her sleeve and couldn’t manage being in school not knowing what was going on. Being near to her Oma was what she needed. And my mom was grateful to have our company.

Hospitals are weird, horrible, wonderful places. Miracles happen in them. Doctors perform acts of God in them. But then, they can be awful, pain-filled places of death and sadness.

When I got off the elevator with Emma and we walked around the corner, I saw my dad and his shiny bald head sitting in one of the waiting room chairs. He was cool as a cucumber. Takes a lot to rattle this guy. Those English have a way of staying calm. We got some good hugs, and then the nurse came in to get him ready.

They moved the procedure back a couple hours to the afternoon. I hate that. You’ve already fasted for a procedure at a certain time, then you have to wait even longer? That is always so messed up.

The doctor came around and talked to us. We went to lunch and then waited.

Several hours later, the doctor returned after he was done and said the words, “everything went well.”

I love those words in a hospital. He explained the severity of the situation, that there were two blockages instead of one and that the angioplasty worked in the first one, and a stent was put in place in the second. Blood flow was back to normal and everything looked fine.

AHHHHH.

Serious sighs of relief and hugs and praises to God between my mom and I.

We started making our Thanksgiving plans and being so happy for the status quo to return.

And that’s when I thought how much I love the ordinary. I don’t like events that rattle my world. That shake up my routine. Routine is good. Creatures of habit we are.

We saw my dad soon after. He was awake and sipping juice. He looked pink and healthy. He was tired, but pleased.

He will, I’m sure, be glad to be home tomorrow to get back in his routine. To do what he does every day. The little things, how grateful we are to just get up in the morning, make the tea and oatmeal and go about our day.

When Emma and I were on our way home, it had been just over 24 hours my mom had called me with the news. How grateful I was for the turn of events.

And then I went home to do what I do. Make tea, dinner and put the load of clothes from the washer to the dryer. And scoop the blessed cat box.

RTLF #23 – So many things!

This week is chock full of things to be grateful for. Remember, this is my list. If it doesn’t coincide with yours, just kindly move along. I’m grateful we can agree to disagree. There.

Big election week. Duh. So I’m grateful for some outcomes. But most in particular is the Washington State referendum that allows same sex couples to marry. It doesn’t redefine marriage. It allows all people to have the same civil rights when it comes to marriage.

Anyway, we need to get over the definition of marriage. Over the centuries it has meant many different things. Such as:

In the Old Testament men had many wives. Women were property. Even in the 1800s women couldn’t own property, yet they were married off like it. In the south, first cousins married each other in arranged marriages.

Inter racial marriages were illegal up until the 1960s. Slavery had been outlawed for a hundred years but folks couldn’t marry outside their race. And it’s pretty obvious, you couldn’t marry a slave either, it says so in the Bible.

Let’s include all the non religious people have weddings all the time. Nobody makes a stink about that. So to say it’s a religious, biblical sacrament, just isn’t cutting it for me.

I have many gay friends. Some don’t want to get married. Hey, I get that. But those that do, now can. I think it’s wonderful. They aren’t clamoring for rights to kill puppies people. They are fighting for rights to love openly. How can that be bad?

I’m grateful for my mommy and daddy being well. They are getting old. We all are. But this week they had more Old People tests than normal. Mom had to have a second mammogram to check things out. Dad had some heart tests to confirm a few things.

But the news at the end of the week was good and all their tests came back clear. So I can breathe a little easier. And they can too. Which makes me happy knowing they are happy.

I love that my husband works his butt off for this family. We both do. But his working butt gets a paycheck. You could say my butt spends it. Okay, that was weird. But yeah, I’m so very grateful for the two checks a month we get to pay the bills, buy the food and maybe even a little extra for some treats. Not much extra. But that’s okay.

With the holidays coming it’s always stressful stretching the paycheck out over extra extra stuff. I love the festivity, I love feeling generous and grabbing as many giving tree tags as I can. But then I need to remember to budget myself. I’m grateful for the ability to take some of those giving tree tags to help other people in what little way I can.

So there you go. My list, my gratitude. My cup runneth over not just with tea, but with so much warm fuzzy love. I know, it’s disgusting.

Namaste.

Reason To Live Friday #20

My dad!

Yesterday was my dad’s 81st birthday. I gushed about him all over Facebook and folks were so sweet to share their admiration. It made me all mushy and weepy inside. Even Daniel Craig played second fiddle to him yesterday.

We went out for dinner to the same fancy place Owen and I have had high tea at. It’s the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle and they have this beautiful dining room called The Georgian room. Owen feels like he’s in Hogwarts when we come to this place.

It does kind of play into our Anglo hearts. They have a Jaguar car parked in front of their valet that they use for their guests AND they have an Omega watch store adjacent to their lobby with Daniel Craig’s poster hanging in the window. It really is a win-win situation.

I’m grateful for my dad because he is loving, tidy, respectful, and funny.

My dad didn’t fit the mold of the sappy dad in Father of the Bride, or Ward Cleaver, or Charles Ingalls even. In fact, I would say that he has become softer since becoming a grandfather. I mentioned in last year’s post dedicated to my dad’s birthday, Ode to My Dad, that he would sometimes yell things like ‘bloody hell’, or get cross with me over tracking mud in the house. He came off as brusk to my friends. But honestly, he is the most warm-hearted, no judgement fellow you could meet.

He wears his Church’s shoes from  30 years ago. They look brand new because he polishes them regularly. He has a sport coat from 20 years ago, a watch from 50 years ago. He takes very good care of his things. He never had much as a boy, so he knows to be grateful for something in case he won’t get another one again.

Heck, we live in a disposable society where we know we can just go buy something new if we change our minds. Not my dad. He doesn’t feel the need to have ‘things’ around. It’s me and my mom that shop for shirts, sweater vests and ties any chance we get. He tells us, no more shirts please. But then, for Father’s Day, I’ll find the perfect plaid Faconnable shirt at Nordstrom, and get it for him. And then he puts it on and looks like he could go hunting with Prince Phillip and I smile with pride. Then he gets a twinkle in his eye and knows he looks pretty good, so he keeps the shirt anyway.

When I was a little girl, heck, when I was in college even, if I had a bad day, he would sit me on his lap and wipe my tears with his handkerchief. There’s a soft handkerchief in his pocket at all times. So much has this habit made an impression, that when Owen has a cold, he has his own collection of cotton handkerchiefs to keep in his pocket. Owen admires his grandfather, who we call Odaddy for short, very much. He prides his British heritage, he has a pocket comb and handkerchief just like his Odaddy, and he takes great interest in the car my dad is rebuilding.

For more than 10 years my dad has been rebuilding a super fancy, vintage 1960s E-type Jaguar. I’m horrible for not remembering exactly what kind, but it’s from the 60s, they are very rare, and it’s a coupe. In it’s day, it was, The Shit. With a limited budget, and aging hands and a tired worn out back, he has rebuilt every square inch with the most immaculate attention to detail. It was just a metal shell when he first got it.

My dream is that some fancy uber rich, car collector will pay him thousands of dollars for it and take it off his hands. That is the ultimate goal. He can’t afford to keep it or drive it. But someone out there will cherish the craftsmanship he has put into it, and give him what he deserves for it.

Gorgeous, isn’t she?

So back to dinner and his birthday. I know that things don’t last forever. I know that getting in your 80s is reaching a place in your life where you don’t know how many years there might be more of on this earth. 5? 20? The latter I hope. He’s healthy, fit and takes good care of himself. And of course, my mom takes good care of him too.

I always get so sappy and teary writing about him. I know not everyone has a perfect father. Or even a father figure in their life to look up to that they can count on. But I am so very grateful for mine. And for my children to have that in their grandfather, I am even more grateful.

Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.

Me, with mom and dad. Gosh I love these two so HARD!!

Reason To Live Friday #19

Okay, so what if it’s Monday. I was tired. See previous post.

But thank you to those who noticed that Friday’s RTLF was not posted. And you kept me on my toes. So four days late, here it is.

My RTLF gratitude ranges from friendships, James Bond, and brunch.

Friendships come in so many varieties and packages, it’s really very exciting. I realize as I get older that I constantly make new friends. Through Facebook, my blog, other friends, my kids’ activities, there’s people everywhere who will be a friend. When you’re a kid you worry if you are going to make friends. Now, I am excited wondering what people life has in store for me.

I have friends I am still in touch with from 30 years ago. My best friend, Kristi, actually. We met in 5th grade. But then I have a dear friend Jen, who I met not even 2 years ago. And then there’s all my blogging friends, who I haven’t even met in person, but are near and dear to me through the interwebs. Who knows, I might meet someone tomorrow that could end up being an amazing part of my life. I’m open to anything. Thank you people, for being my friend. Even if I do chew loudly.

James Bond. HELLOO!! You don’t have to like all the movies to know that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the franchise. And dang bless it, if I’m not a lucky girl that Daniel Craig just happens to be the Bond of the moment now so he’s everywhere. Saturday Night Live, 60 Minutes, Jimmy Fallon. How fabulous will it be as that release date in November approaches? Swoon.

Look who got to snuggle Daniel. If only!

Brunch. I would watch Sex in the City and be jealous of Carrie and her gal friends and their standing Sunday brunch date. How fun to swap Saturday night date stories, sex romps and career anxieties over eggs and mimosas? Maybe it was because my Sundays were always about packing the gold fish crackers and the coloring books in the church bag for the kids and then swinging by Denny’s on the way home for pancakes.

But this weekend I got to go on a real live grown-up Sunday brunch with friends. My friend Jen had a 40th birthday celebration over the weekend and some friends flew in from Chicago, Alaska and Florida to celebrate with her. I missed the party because I had my show, but she had me join them for brunch in the big city on Sunday to catch up with them. I didn’t know what to be more excited for, the mini French press pot brought to my table, or the grown up chit chat that did involve sex, snow blowers, and organic chemistry. It was a varied group of people! The pommes frites were fabulous. I only had to fight the pregnant gal for them across me at the table. I went easy on her, the rest of the group was imbibing with mimosas and bloody Mary’s and she just got an orange juice.

Once again, I’m full of gratitude, sentiment, and food. Hoping you are too. Namaste.

Frugalistablog turns 1!!!

Confetti cannons and cake for everyone! Pew, pew, pew!! That’s the confetti cannons firing.

What does one do to celebrate their one year blogging anniversary? Eat straight out of the Nutella jar, that’s what!

I started blogging one year ago. One year. Holy shizzballs!! It’s been like nothing I imagined. For starters, I imagined Ellen calling me to be on her show. That hasn’t happened yet. So, see what I mean? Nothing like I imagined. I also thought Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman or Melissa Gilbert would come knocking on my door by now. Hmm… still nothing. Well, here’s to another year of imagining.

What did happen that I didn’t imagine was YOU!!! All of YOU people!! Not just my mom, my brother and some of my neighbors, but folks in Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Ukraine, Australia, Malaysia…. crazy places that READ me! Not that where you live is crazy. Just that, for this little suburban American girl, those sound so exotic, and I honestly never imagined someone all the way around the world paying attention to my blog.

But let me also mention my blogging friends I have met. Okay, let me clarify. I haven’t ‘met’ any of them yet. But they are my peeps. My blogging sisters and brothers. Some of them I have made friends  on the ‘real’ side of Facebook. I definitely will be seeing quite a few of them one day in real live person. I truly can’t wait to drink a toast and break bread with these people. Hmm, that’s a lot of bread references right there. But my point being, they are so incredibly supportive. They are good people. They get the whole- build you up, promote you to the readers and know you’ll do it in return- process. They make my day brighter, help me believe in myself, commiserate over laundry and female issues. We laugh, we cry, we plot evil revenge on dickwads that leave awful comments. Just kidding!! You know me, I’m all about the peace! The friendship between other bloggers is definitely something I never imagined with this gig. It’s truly the icing on this wordy cake.

So I won’t name any of them specifically,  I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. So let me just say- you know who you are. You’re there for me, you are the wind beneath my wings. Cue Bette Middler.

My very first post was kind of like a child’s first day of Kindergarten. There were some introductions, nervous peeing, feelings of awkwardness and insecurity. But now I’ve found myself. My ‘voice’ I can call it. I’m not trying to fit in anywhere. Well, okay, I am. But I’m just writing and sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it’s downright heart gripping. And thankfully you all just ride this coaster of crazy and dramatic confessions that I spew onto the screen.

Like my brother says about most of my posts- a lot of effort, not a whole lot of preparation. So true. I literally just developed my blog overnight. I know, hard to believe! (wink, wink) I just jumped in. Like a cold swimming pool. If I stuck my toe in and tested the waters, I bet I would have put on the breaks and backed out of there. But once I hit ‘publish’ there was no turning back. Sometimes I’m scared of a post. Sometimes I’m excited. Sometimes posts are crap. Sometimes they are gold. I never know. Okay, I have a slight inkling. But I’m amazed at what tickles someone’s funny bone or inspires them.

If you’ve stuck around all year  or just found me yesterday through this roller coaster and the complete whiplash that is my blog, then Thank You. I hope you stick around for another year. I think I’m getting the hang of it.

From vaginas, to my kids, to Spanx, there’s been a whole lot of fun going on around here.

I made this clip especially for you-

RTLF #12

There are many things to be thankful for. Like, clean water, coffee and feminine hygiene products that I don’t have to take to the river to wash for the next month. I know, I know.

But today’s RTLF (Reason to Live Friday) list is going to be sense of humor and forgiveness. It goes like this folks.

Forgiveness in a family is key. Not like, oh, “I’m sorry to my mother in law for stealing her lefse recipe” (my mother in law doesn’t really make lefse.) Okay, OR- I’m sorry I forgot my nephew’s birthday and didn’t send a gift. Those types of things are all forgivable. Yes. Especially if EVENTUALLY you send your newphew a birthday gift. OR double up on his Christmas gift. Either one is good.

BUT- what I’m talking about is family’s forgiveness because their mom (that would be me) is losing her shit and you need to talk her off the ledge. Or, say, maybe the daughter doesn’t have clean underwear and the husband doesn’t have clean socks. When it’s YOUR job to you know, take care of the house keeping and shit, it’s kinda lame when you don’t actually get to the house keeping part.

This is because my super human skills as a volunteer have been activated. I am PTA on two boards. Yes, count them. Two. Boards.

My family thinks I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy. Don’t hate me with your PTA stereotypes. I’ve got this. I’m the cool chick who brings a flask to meetings and shows up in pajama pants. JUST KIDDING! First, I’m too much of a square to actually bring the flask I have. (It has a honey badger on it and it reads, “Honey Badger don’t give a shit”. Thanks Molly!) I would die if someone got the wrong idea and thought I was some lush of a mom and called CPS. Second, I don’t leave the house in pajama pants. Yoga pants. Of course. But I did go without make up these last three days to our registration/orientation. I figure that I will lower their expectations. If I show up all fancy dancy, sporting false eyelashes and contoured features, they aren’t going to know what hit them when I have a bad morning and show up all naked faced to drop off flyers some random day of the school year. You follow?

Next PTA event, I’ll just throw on some concealer and gloss. By the end of the year, I’ll be full faced in make up and it won’t be such a big deal.  I’ll look like a Before and After makeover photo from Ladies’ Home Journal. Whatever, I’m rambling.

The point is, I left the house early three mornings in a row this week. I came back mid afternoon and I was exhausted. My mind was numb from all the chatting, smiling and making-nice. I didn’t have anything left for the basic house stuff. How do you working mom’s do it? (future post <=== right there)

Okay- Sense of Humor– Remember two weeks ago when we were in the plush accommodations of the Grand Wailea resort in Maui? When we did all kinds of wonderful umbrella drinks, dinners, luaus…. ah yeah. This week, we are practically dirt poor. Not to make fun of poor people. Emma says, ‘mom- we are not poor. The man that wears that same coat all year and goes up and down the street talking to himself, he’s poor’. She has a point.

What I mean is, we pretty much spent any extra dollars on vacation, and then little ol’ me- the mastermind of this house (Remember, I’m the ‘house KEEPER’?) paid too many bills this pay period. Yeah. You heard me. Paid too much. Last year, about this time- I paid our mortgage twice in one month. How? Hmm, not sure. Was I drinking while on bill payer? Sure, maybe my 3rd cup of tea. But maybe it’s just the end of summer mush brain. Like the kids are needing flash cards and reading assignments to exercise their brain- maybe I need routine, like getting up early to make lunches, drive to the bus stop, wash soccer gear and PE uniforms to sharpen my mom brain. It seems late August brings out the ditz in me. Paying the mortgage TWICE is dumb people. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra money for the other bills. Kinda like what I did again this month.

So the reason my family needs a sense of humor, is because we kinda, sorta have no money for the next 8 days. No biggy. We’ll be fine. There’s bread and peanut butter in the pantry. The kids have their school supplies. I think we have enough toilet paper and pet food. See? Ha ha!! Isn’t that funny everyone? Hey family- don’t you just LOVE mama’s sense of humor? Too bad I’m not Snooki, and can’t just book a red carpet appearance for $50,000 when I’m short on cash.

Glass half full people. Glass half full.

Okay- well, I’m off to do laundry and collect cans on the side of the road if you need me.

RTLF #11 Affirmation

I remember an exercise I did at a church youth retreat in 9th grade. We broke up into groups and were assigned names of people from the other groups. We had to come up with a list of things we liked about that person, you know- thought were funny, kind, described them. Anything. And then share them with the big group all together for them to hear.

What I didn’t expect was how I would feel hearing the affirming things that the group said about ME. I was floored. People think THAT about me?? I mean, so often, we know our friends hang out with us, like us, or maybe we don’t know if someone likes us. Hearing things like, “she always makes us laugh”, “she makes these funny facial expressions that crack us up” (hmm, we know about this don’t we?) was a total game changer for me. I always felt awkward, unattractive, klutzy. Now, I realized, people liked those silly qualities!

I came away from that feeling so full. What a great exercise. We need affirmation all the time. Some people are shy of compliments. Some people are compliment whores (ahem, I don’t know what you are talking about!). But whether it is a spoken word, a written note, or an action, affirmation is what gives us that feeling of, “yep, I’m worth it”. Not in a L’Oreal kind of way folks.

When I started this blog, I was hungry for affirmation. I wanted to be told all the time- good job, ooh funny, you are so talented…. blah blah blah. And I did get this. From my mom. From a few friends. It was great.

Now folks are reading that I never imagined would read. I have been mentioned on the Huffington Post for gosh sakes! I’ve been given kudos from a blogger I so greatly admire, People I Want To Punch In The Throat, listed me as one of her top 10 funny bloggers on Babble.com. And even sometimes on Twitter, I’ll get a compliment from someone in the biz, or whatever, that makes me gush.

There’s several blogs and writers out there I admire. Kind of, look up to, like the cool kids on campus. When they share my work, I am overjoyed. Like when my son says something sweet to me. My heart takes wings and soars.

Affirmation feels good when I’m given a Blogger Award from another blogger out there. These aren’t like ones that come with plaques and statues at award ceremonies, non blogging folks, they are like chain letters of the Internets, but in a good way. My first award came from Heather at B(itch)log. I was stunned! She’s all snarky and bitchy, and is a WRITER, that likes little ol’ me. ME? It felt good, let me tell you.

And then when others came along, I couldn’t believe it.

It feels good to be told someone likes you. Likes what you do. Or what you write. That they were moved, or changed by it in some way.

I want my children to feel affirmation every day. I want to smile to them when I walk in the room. Or they come home from school, I want them to see me happy to see them. I want my husband to walk in the door after a long day at work, and know that I appreciate him.

I want bloggers to know how much I like their stuff. How much I revere their writing and their talents. How so many of them help shape me in my posts. It’s like they unlock a little treasure chest in my brain for what is possible. All those things floating around in there that were suppressed with yoga pant wearing Gymboree runs, or serious, studious college days. ( I was such a square.) Now I get goofy ideas, and I think, ‘hey that would make a great blog’. And usually you guys embrace the goofy with me and it makes me super happy.

So my point is, share affirmation whenever you get the chance. Tell your children, your spouse, your mom, what you appreciate them for.

Share writers that you love. Pieces of work that touch you. If you think they are ‘too popular’, ‘too big’ to care- not true. I look at pages with thousands more fans than me, and I know that they too, enjoy compliments.

What I love about blogging, and people who don’t blog seem to always ask me WHY I blog if I’m not getting paid, is that it opens up my world and relationships to people out there dealing with things I may never have been exposed to otherwise. Getting my news and updates from Yahoo or CNN or EOnline is fine. But reading what people have lived, struggled through, overcome; that is what sticks with me throughout the day and shapes me. Not only that, but reading about other people’s episiotomy horror stories or embarrassing things their kids say at Starbucks, can be incredibly entertaining!

So with that, I will mention some big blogs and little blogs that inspire me, entertain me, and make me want to keep writing.

I Want a Dumpster Baby

This girl gets the Miss Congeniality award. Everyone loves Katy! AMIRIGHT? She is pregnant with twins, but her road from addiction and depression, to her struggles with infertility, inspire me every day to be a better me. She chooses happiness and is the most furkin’ positive, hilarious creature. I’m amazed by her.

Craughing

The horrors this woman has come back from and kicked ass through, amaze me. Her perspective and truth about dealing with an abusive ex, will compel you to make a choice each day to be who YOU want to be, and never give up.

Mary Tyler Mom

MTM will grab your heart and change it forever. She has lost her daughter Donna, to pediatric brain cancer, and now, she is chronicling her story of trying to adopt a baby. Her writing weaves in and out of your psyche and doesn’t let go. You will wonder how she gets up in the morning with all she’s been through. But like so many out there, she faces the day with purpose and intellect and soul.

These are just a FEW, I mean, there are SO MANY others. People write of their failure, their fears, their triumphs. I am moved, humbled and enlightened every time I open up one of their posts to read. I hope you will be too. You’ll notice the trend in their writing is their gratitude. Not in a sappy, drippy, make you sick way, but in a ‘wow, if they can find it, so can I’ way.

Remember to smile, give a compliment, tell someone how great they are. It can make a HUGE difference. Just think of what our world would be like if more people felt their worth, their affirmation from those around them. It would be AMAZING.

Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level. ~Alexander Haig