Tag Archive | inspiration

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.

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!!

A urinal. Would you have one in your house?

You know, I really have my children to thank for many things. My loose and flacid bladder. My jiggly tummy riddled with stretch marks. My boobs that hang down to my belly button like deflated water balloons complete with their own set of stretch marks. But also, I have them to thank for so much blogging fodder, it’s ridiculous.

The Boy genius, Owen, said to me today, that what we really need in our house is a urinal. Now I always know to put ‘an’ in front of a vowel, so is it ‘an urinal’? That’s just weird and I can’t do that. So, I will say just- urinal.

Okay, he said this of course, while peeing in the toilet. Let me describe to you the situation. I’m in the kitchen getting my 12th morning cup of tea. (I jest.) I can hear him in our powder room down the hall with the door open, peeing. Like a race horse. Then I hear a no pee sound. You know, when the stream isn’t hitting the water anymore. Yeah, that’s the sound of the stream hitting the seat or the side of the bowl. You would think by now at 9 years old, he has pretty good aim. Think again.

That sound is like nails on a chalk board to me. That sound is why I have a container or Clorox wipes under the sink in the cabinet. Sure he takes a square of toilet paper and ‘wipes’ up his dribbles. Barely. I mean, it’s not like he’s thorough or anything. There’s a reason 9 year old boys aren’t in charge of cleaning homes. When he was little he would sit on the toilet. Yes, sitting. How I miss those days. He was a lot more accurate then. Now he revels in the power of standing to pee.

And then he says, “You know what we need? A urinal. Why are houses not made with them?”

After bursting out laughing, I thought for a moment. He’s right. A household urinal would be really great. I mean, I wouldn’t be sitting on it. I think it would catch all the wee and there wouldn’t be any stray spray on the wall or floor. It would be handy for other male guests that come to visit. I could create a whole line of scented urinal cakes. We could have pumpkin spice, creme brulee, caramel apple.

Sure, it wouldn’t be pretty. But it’s not like a toilet is that pretty either. We are just used to it. We can get used to the urinal too.

I, personally, would love a bidet. I’ve always wanted a little sit and sprinkle on my lady bits to save time. My grandparents in Germany always had one. I would ask as a little kid when I visited, what the extra toilet is for.

So we’ll just get our home replumbed with a urinal in the downstairs bathroom, and a bidet for me upstairs.

Now I just need to find on Pinterest any powder room decorating ideas for urinals.

Speaking of urinals, don’t forget to enter my prize giveaway.

Nope, no fancy bathroom plumbing or deodorizers for prizes. But real cash! And cook books, and aprons and all kinds of things. Perfect for the holidays. You just click on the Rafflecopter link to the side. For reals. Don’t worry, your info isn’t used for anything. But I appreciate you spreading the love and sharing my blog so your friends can enter too. November 12th we’ll announce the winner.

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

Reasons to Live Friday #7

When I started this list it was after a friend took her own life. I couldn’t imagine any reasons bad enough to end living in this world. Obviously pain and depression are powerful things. And I’m always in a quandary as to how those things can overpower the good. To outweigh not being here for the children, my mom, my husband, friends, etc.  So I’m making a conscientious effort to always focus on the good. To always remember that MY BAD is still better than someone ELSE’S bad and that nothing is so much that you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This week my reason for living is- the things you look forward to. You know how kids are forever looking forward to Christmas or their birthdays? Well, I like stuff like that too. I’m always looking forward to SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Whether it’s going to the beautician for my hair did. Ha! I said beautician! I go to a salon with a DJ and there’s an espresso bar and my guy has orange hair and is a fan of Anime. FAR from the beauty parlors of our mother’s or grandmother’s! Which is probably why I love it even more. Who knew how much fun it would be talking to a 25 year old straight guy who loves my take on suburbia, I love his perspective on the club scene and Comic-con crowd. Ooh, I just looked at the calendar and I get to go on Tuesday for a trim and a root touch up! yay!

See! Already- something to look forward to.

I’m freakin’ excited for my daughter’s play that is this weekend. Emma has the theater bug like yours truly. She is in INTO THE WOODS at one of our community theaters for young actors and I know I will just beam with delight when she is on stage. I am truly excited for my kids’ accomplishments. I’m their biggest fan and she always is my favorite entertainer. I mean, we know she brings the funny, right?

Tonight is opening night and I couldn’t be a more proud mama! I’ll get a big bouquet of flowers and clap so loudly. I’ll let you know how it goes.

NEXT weekend is McSweetie’s birthday so there’s all kinds of things to look forward to. I don’t have his present yet. Oh, who am I kidding- I’M his present! hee hee

So there’s my slice of Friday gratitude. Maybe things are hard, job, life, kids….any of those things. But there’s always something to look forward to. Always.

Reasons to Live Friday #5

My Reasons To Live Friday is all about taking what you’ve got, and making the best of it.

This week started with a visit from some cousins from Germany that we had never met. Here’s the family tree- try and keep up:

My mom’s mom’s brother’s son is her first cousin. He got married. Had two little boys. Ten years ago, he committed suicide after both boys were diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. His wife Kirsten has raised these boys by herself, with not an ounce of help from his side of the family. Thankfully she has her own friends and parents that can help.

The boys and their mom, Kirsten, and a good friend Ulrika, came all the way from Lubeck, Germany. They rented a van and will drive down to Disneyland to see the coastline. They flew in to Seattle and had just a couple days to visit, so we squished as much time in with them as we could.

Benjamin is 16, his MD is advanced to where he is in his wheelchair all the time and uses a laptop that is voice activated to do his school work. He has limited arm function but can use his hands to hold a knife and fork or his cell phone.

Jonathan is 14, his MD is advanced also to where he is in a wheelchair. On top of that he also has Autism. He can still write, but next year will also get a laptop to help with school work. His arm movement is limited as well. He uses his hands for holding his fork, but his mom cuts his food for him. He insists on using a fork, even for pizza! I don’t think he likes his hands messy.

Their entire days are spent in wheelchairs. They need help to the bathroom, getting dressed, and eating. This will only get worse. Google Muscular Dystrophy- it’s not pretty. Eventually their organs will shut down. Their loss of muscle function decreases exponentially now that they are in wheelchairs. MD is a sonofabitch disease. To suppress symptoms you need to be active. The more active you are, the more you delay the onset of the disease. But eventually it wins, and your activity level decreases, thereby it takes over more aggressively.

Their bodies are starting to atrophy. They seem so little, so skinny. Their shoe sizes must be the same as my kids. Owen would ask, how much does he weigh, or his legs are so skinny. Owen can relate being a skinny guy himself. He’s self conscious of his skinniness (only because kids point it out to him, argh!) and now he can appreciate the fact that he will get stronger and bigger, despite his skinniness. Whereas Benjamin and Jonathan will not.

Within a couple hours of the kids hanging out with each other, you wouldn’t know that they had just met and don’t speak the same language. Benjamin can speak a lot of English. Jonathan does not though. He doesn’t speak much at all. He is quiet and to himself. You could almost forget he is there, he is so quiet. And of course, he is so still. But Owen and Emma didn’t let him go forgotten.

How a 9 year old boy can spaz out, make funny faces and arm farts to complete strangers and feel completely comfortable in doing so, is beyond me. Jonathan was in giggles in no time. Owen brought out his iPod and he and Benjamin took turns playing RocketBird, over and over again while Jonathan watched happily. He never wanted a turn.  The squeels of delight and giggles of camaraderie were  becoming infectious! At every mealtime, the iPod would come out either while waiting for food to be served or waiting for others to finish. When Owen started making silly faces and sounds, Jonathan would make his enjoyment known.

I came to learn that first night when they needed to go back to their hotel, the reason Jonathan wasn’t saying goodbye, wasn’t out of shyness or having his virtual social wall up, but that  he didn’t want to go! He was having so much fun, he didn’t want it to end. His protestations were so quiet and also in German, so I didn’t quite understand until my mom told me later.

I can’t describe to you the feeling that filled my heart watching my children get along with their cousins. Not showing any boundaries, any limitations. Then after our time together, both my children expressing how much they enjoy them, how much they want to see them again.

Emma had to spend the next day at rehearsal so it was just me and Owen to go to the EMP (Experience Music Project) in Seattle. For the next few months one of the exhibits is the movie Avatar. With props, costume pieces and documentaries from the movie. When I told Benjamin this, his face lit up. “That’s my favorite movie” he exclaimes. I shared this with James, oblivious to it’s deeper meaning. When he looked at me and said, ‘of course, think about it’. DUH. The main character in Avatar is in a wheelchair! Tears came to my eyes just then as it hit me.

During our outing which included a ride to the top of the Space Needle, I tried so hard to get a little nudge of response from Jonathan. He would smirk and look away. It was hard to take his picture too. But eventually I could catch him in a moment of silliness with Owen.

Jonathan is on the left shying away from the camera, Owen, and then Benjamin

Their mom doesn’t want the pity. She says coming here to the States is so nice because of all our accommodations for wheelchair access and those with disabilities. She told me that people in Germany are of two groups- the type that constantly want to pity you, or the kind that want to ignore you. Americans treat them like anyone else. They don’t feel so ‘different’ here.

Spending the day with wheelchair bound folks really makes you think how easy life is to be WITHOUT wheelchairs. At the Space Needle, the observation deck is separated by doors with a small set of steps. One of these doors had a wheelchair lift. When we got there, it was OUT OF SERVICE! So Kirsten and I did the old stroller method. I was at the bottom of the wheelchair by their feet, she was at the top and we hoisted those suckers down those stairs. Good gracious she needs to be strong and well to look after her boys! This is why she has a friend come along.  It truly takes a village.

Benjamin has hopes to come here often and maybe live here. If I could give them the gift of time, I would. They do not live their lives as if they are set with only a certain number of years. They dream and plan like teenagers do for their future. They don’t complain, they don’t wallow.

As much as I want to see them again, it pains me to think of what they could be like in another year. And then the year after that.

I am so incredibly grateful for the time we had with them this week. My kids are forever changed. They have new cousins they love and want to keep in touch with. They have a new perspective on how easy their lives are. They want to go to Germany soon too. I do too.

My Reasons to Live Friday is pretty simple. Each day is a gift. Open it like a present and make the most of it!

Peace and love.

Yoga gabba gabba

I went to yoga last week and again this week. First time in years. To a class, that is. I do yoga stretches at home all the time. Apparently, not like this instructor does though. She worked me, and worked me good. This must be how taffy feels in Atlantic City getting pulled all over the place while people watch for fun.  The best part-  I didn’t pass any gas. Whew!!

Yoga is such tricky shit. You are trying to get your body to look like Jennifer Aniston, but in the meantime, you know that you really should be there to get your heart and your mind like Ghandi. Then you feel kinda bad thinking to yourself, ‘how many of these sessions will it take to look hot in that LBD I saw at Nordstrom?” Because really, we want to feel good, but we want to look good too. Is that so wrong? Not only do I think of Little Black Dresses, or cute new sandals, my mind trails to all kinds of thinking while in Ohm pose. Like, ‘what’s for dinner, what does Rick Astley look like these days, did Joanie really love Chachi’. You know, important stuff like that.

I carry a lot of tension, pain, hormones, whatever, in my lower back. Carry it like a pack mule down to the Grand Canyon. Geeze, what is the matter down there?? Yogi Nancy really s t r e t c h e d  it out of me. I love it when I’m downward dogging and she comes over and just pulls at my hips a little more to the ceiling. Oh sure- cuz that’s so much easier now!!  I’ve been sore for a couple days, but in a good way. My back felt great the next day. I know now that stretching is probably going to be key to my quality of life even more so than running or strength training. How in the heck do I get so wound up down there? I mean, I’m not doing any heavy lifting, I wonder if it’s my posture, the way I sit when I’m driving in my pimpwagon (minivan)?  Oh wait, I know- it’s this damn couch I’m sinking into while blogging and on Facebook all the time!! Anyway- my hips are tight. Super tight. Like I need Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing With the Stars to Samba the knots out – kinda tight.

At the beginning of class our Yogi said something to us that really stood out to me. She was talking about a term- I have no idea the Indian name for it- but it means ‘non grasping’. She talked about not holding our pain. Not grasping at things in life.  When we grasp, our hands are closed, and they aren’t open and ready for the next thing.

Huh.

I am always trying to grip so hard on to things to hold them dear to me. I never thought of the idea of ‘not grasping’. She says when you are grasping constantly, you don’t appreciate the ‘now’, what this moment has for you. You are grasping and it traps you in the past. Let me explain. Like a dog that is happy to go on a walk. Dog isn’t thinking on the walk how dog needs to go home and do chores, cook dinner, or write blog, dog is just happy to smell stuff and watch squirrels. Dogs don’t grasp apparently.

I thought of what I’m grasping.

Maybe I am grasping pain. We always reference something to our past. “Gosh, last year when I ran that 5k, my hips didn’t hurt the way they do now.” OR “Last time I went out late with friends and danced on the  bar, I didn’t get so tired so quickly”.

I grasp onto my parent’s aging.

I don’t want them to get older. I don’t like when I hear my mom talk about how she is slowing down, or my dad is slowing down. I’m grasping on to the time in their lives before cancers, before hip replacements, before they were too tired to get on the floor and play with the kids. Thankfully, my kids are older now- we don’t play on the floor- much. Owen likes to hang out with Oma sewing or reading. And both kids always like to sit at the table to enjoy a cup of tea and a jam butty with their Odaddy. So really, no one needs to be moving much. Right?

I grasp on the times when my children were little and sweet and innocent. When their cheeks were pudgy and their knuckles had little fat indents.

I grasp on to the early courting days of my relationship with my husband. He used to bring me flowers every month. We used to go antiquing on weekends.

People say kids today are so busy texting and on Facebook. They are grasping on to the past of when there were no cell phones, no computers, no XBOX, no Kindles, no GPS.

Yeah- that might be true. I make sure my kids ‘unplug’ from time to time.  I am NOT a strict no TV mommy. Don’t give me too much credit.  But here’s what is cool today in the here and now- kids can treasure hunt using satellites, they can text their mom that they will be late for dinner since their coach kept them late at practice, they can strategize through puzzles on Portal 2 in case they work for the CIA when they grow up (okay, I threw that last part in, but I can’t do diddly squat on Portal 2 and my 8 year old has it mastered.) I can’t even fold a map these days- so thank GOD for GPS. Right?? Our state can issue an Amber Alert that can be spread through social media outlets within minutes. Kids have the chance to be found the same day. Not to be lost forever with their picture on a milk carton.

I will try to open my hand and not grasp but think of the following:

  • my parents are here, they are wonderful people that sit and listen and make me feel important, special and loved. I don’t necessarily have to DO anything with them to enjoy them.
  • my children are humorous, independent and growing up to be pleasant people. Actual persons. Just like I intended. They will one day leave the nest, I want them ready to fly. I can’t have them stay sweet and peachy fuzzy chubby forever. Which makes me break down in sobs sometimes and want to climb in their bed when they are off at school and stick my nose in their blankets to just get their sweet smell.
  • maybe my husband doesn’t bring me flowers hardly ever. But I was living in an apartment in those days. We didn’t have our babies yet. The future seemed so vast and daunting. Now I know where I am meant to be.  I wouldn’t change today for anything and where we are now. And we don’t need any more antiques.

Hold your hands open to what is. To the now my friends. Oh SNAP! I am turning into Gandhi. Maybe my enlightened self will just accept my body as it is and go get that dress at Nordstrom anyway….

Namaste.

 

I have it really good.

But that doesn’t mean I have it easy.

Does anyone have it easy? I mean really now. Life is a struggle. There is probably a very small, hmm, can we call them the 1% of people, who have few worries. If you relate your worries to your finances I guess.

I figure, if you are a loving, warm blooded human- you have worries or problems.

Here is why I have it good. And yes, I’m an appreciative type so I will focus on the positive for now. ‘Bout damn time I stop complaining about PMS and cellulite anyway.

  • I am a stay at home mom. Yep, I said it. Proud of it too. I ADMIRE WOMAN WHO WORK AT PAYING JOBS TOO! so there. I am just happy in MY shoes. Don’t judge me for not ‘working’. That’s bullshit. I work all the time. I volunteer too. Which is working for free. So that means, I do two jobs and don’t get paid. I raise my kids and I volunteer. Bam.
  • My husband is a good man. He really is. I give him crap. He can’t load or unload the dishwasher or put his socks away. But God bless him, he works hard for his family and puts us FIRST. Which in my book, is what makes a man a man. He loves us, even if he has shitty communication skills. He trusts me. He let’s me be me. He lets me have fun with girlfriends, blog about shit, fill our home with beauty products and copious amounts of tea. I love tea. He doesn’t give me a hard time for going vegan-ish. He even secretly is trying it himself.
  • My kids are healthy. Gee whiz. I can’t say enough how this makes me feel warm fuzzy and guilty as hell all at the same time. Yeah, I know. I’m pretty effed up to feel guilty about healthy children. But between the friends I know whose children have suffered through cancer or the families I know with Asperger’s and Autism, I feel like I dodged a bullet somehow. Now, if that cannon were to fire in my direction one day, I would maybe change my tune. But I really appreciate my children and all the milestones they’ve accomplished.
  • I have great friends. I have great ‘real’ friends and great ‘virtual’ friends. I’ll explain. I have girlfriends that I have known for years, have been there for the births of my children, my wedding, my ugly shoe phase in college, my bed rest during pregnancies, my children’s baptisms, at the bus stop to be there when I couldn’t, for carpooling, for birthdays, coffee dates, dinner dates… the list goes on. I also have friends who I have never met in my life. They see me only through my blog and my Facebook blog page. They give me accolades and validation that I feel I don’t deserve sometimes. But I always appreciate it and drink it in. Because it feels so damn good to get appreciated!
  • I have complete use of my faculties. Okay, this might not last forever, and except for the slight tinkle when I laugh, sneeze or jump on a trampoline- I am so grateful to be upright and functioning!! I am not 600 pounds lying in a bed for a forklift to take me to the doctor. I do not need a wheelchair or a speak n spell device like Stephen Hawking to communicate. I can go for a run. Play with my kids. Dance a spaz dance to LMFAO. Cuz you know I do!
  • I don’t have to go to a well for water. Gosh darn if I don’t complain about chores on a daily basis. And wouldn’t it be grand if the cat would just poop in the toilet instead of the litter box? But really? I have machines that do most of the work. Water comes magically out of a faucet. The washing machine beats and spins my clothes until they are clean. All I have to do is fold them. Although, by the length of time they sit in laundry baskets in the hall way, you would think that was the hardest task in the world.
  • I have freakin’ Amazon Fresh delivering groceries to my door! Yes- people. I can sit in my $100 Lululemon yoga pants and buy organic kale at my computer and it comes the next morning. The beauty of the USA people!

Now let’s not get all mistaken by this sunshine and unicorn post. There’s shitty shit going on in the world. Even in my neighborhood. I buy supplies for needy kids at my son’s school. There’s a frickin’ SWAT team in my city today, actually because some asshole shot at someone in a home. This ain’t Beverly Hills folks!

But I’m going to smell the roses, AND the freshly ground espresso. I’m going to try and be happy that I CAN cook dinner for my family because I have the food and the appliances to do so. (although sometimes that shit gets so old…)

Yep. That’s my Mr. Rogers post for you today. Won’t you be my neighbor? Remember, he always sang- “It’s such a good feeling, to know you’re alive…” Sing it my friends!

The present. I keep waiting for it to be gift wrapped.

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. -Lao Tzu

I usually post with frivolity or rants. I’m not one to wane all philosophical. And can I just say, those Easterners have a corner stone on the inspirational posts. Must be all the zen-ness. Ghandi, the Dali Lama, Confucius…

This quote made me think of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. A beloved book of mine growing up. When I would read it to my kids, I would cry at the end. As much as you like it as a child, you never realize it’s importance until you are a grown up. You need to live  the years of maybe some regret, some lack of perspective. Some selfishness. To realize opportunities that passed you by. To realize people maybe you didn’t appreciate as much as you should have.

So today, I will enjoy the present. I’m going to enjoy it even if it comes in a Target plastic bag or a paper lunch sack. Not all presents come wrapped like Martha Stewart demonstrating the beauty of paper made from pressed wild flowers. Maybe the present is wrapped in the Sunday Comics section. I like to imagine it in a Cartier ring box. But that’s okay. Sometimes it’s just a ratty old gift bag Aunt Edna has re-gifted many times over.

However your present comes to you today, make the most of it.

“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” ~Alice Morse Earl