Own Your Truth. Live Your Truth.

My grandmother and their great-grandmother!

In December I lost my strong, slightly eccentric, very colorful and loving grandmother.  I will love her and miss her forever and my world has become just a little bit too quiet with her gone.  Although she lived until she was 93, losing her was not so easy.  Is it ever?  When you lose someone you love?  Is it ever easy?  She lived a long life, but my life was just a little bit better with her on this earth.

If I would have to describe the one lesson my grandmother taught me that stands out the most, it was to simply be yourself.  Don’t apologize for who you are, what you have, what you believe and what you want out of your life.  Own your truth.  She did this every single day and drove many of us crazy in the process.

Own your truth.  Live your truth.

These statements are life changing.  What is your truth?  Are you living your life worried about what other people are thinking?   Do you spend too much time on things that don’t matter?  I really believe that if we all stopped for one minute and really thought about these questions, we would be surprised at our own answers.  Live your life for yourself and for your family, and not according to anyone else’s rules.

In the end, if you are lucky enough to age, memories of today will fade away and the memories and people that will be left, holding your hand, will be your family.   Invest your time and your knowledge on making an impact on your children, your nieces, your nephews and you grandchildren.  Use your time wisely.  Pass your gifts and your lessons to those you love and hold dear.

I’ve said goodbye to my last grandparent, and she was the last in a generation of my elders.  I am better for having known her and for having loved her.  I love and miss them all.  Now it is time to step forward in line.

 

New Year’s Resolution: Be human.

Last night,  on New Year’s Eve, I stayed home with my children.  I ended my year with a typical epic mother fail.  We stayed up to watch the ball drop but I had the wrong channel on.  This resulted in my ten year old having a bit of a melt down and me frantically searching for a do over.  Just so you know, there are no do-overs on New Year’s Eve.   I’m hoping that today we can see a replay of the festivities.

Many of you have made, or may be making New Year resolutions.  Before you do, take your coffee into a quiet room and look back and reflect on the past year.  Only when you briefly look back can you move forward.  I haven’t done this yet.  I’m going to do it right this second as I write to all of you.  Hold on…let me get my coffee!  Shit’s about to get real.

  •  I did many things right in 2016 and many things wrong.  I think it’s called being human.
  • I made many memories with my children but allowed them to be on technology oriented gadgets for too many hours.  When your child gets a new video game for Christmas, boots it up for the very first time and pretends he’s a You Tuber (is that a word), then you know you’ve failed as a parent.  He’s also my little guy who pretends he’s a super hero and runs around the house with light sabers.   I’d rather him to do that than pretend to be a You Tuber.  For those of you who may not know what that is, think Martha Quinn from MTV but on the internet and instead of music, introducing video games.
  • I helped a lot of people and hurt myself in the process.  That one needs explaining.  I put too much time and energy into other people’s life challenges.  I have a save-the-world mentality.  Sometimes you can’t fix things.  Sometimes people need to fix things for themselves.  You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
  • I cleaned too much instead of making my family members clean.  It seemed easier and faster at the time but now I’m pissed.
  • I said Yes too many times instead of saying No.  No way.  NO!  NO NO NO!  (I’m practicing)
  • I took my role as a wife way too seriously.  My husband lost his job and I spent too much time playing a supportive role.  As long as we are financially “OK” for now, he can figure his own shit out.  I have stuff to do.  I think he would also appreciate less nagging.  I need to get involved in more activities that are just “mine.”  I need to figure out what’s next.
  • I loved fiercely.  I knew my grandmother’s days were numbered and I sent her flowers, visited her twice in her final months and sent her a Christmas present.  She has passed and I have no regrets.  She knew she was so very loved.  I will miss her.
  • I worked with my dog and he became a pet visitation/therapy dog.  We rocked it.  Can’t wait to do more of that!
  • I lost my way while blogging.  This is because I was focused on the wrong things.  I’m back.

New Year’s Resolutions

Read and write more and talk less.  Hold my children and husband more accountable around the house.   More quality time with friends.   Continue to love fiercely.  Learn from my mistakes.  Try new things.  Be brave.  Be human.

Have another cup of coffee.

 

Taking a break from the revealing world of blogging!

blogging-cookiesI’m struggling with content for my blog.  It’s not writer’s block or lack of motivation.  I’m wrestling with ethics.  When I started to write posts for my blog, I did so with the intention of reaching peoples’ hearts.  I wanted to make a difference, be relatable and hopefully help someone in the process.  I shared stories of love, marriage, divorce, children and friendship.  Some of my posts were well received.  Life went on and larger topics loomed.  Then I hit a wall.  Blogging is so personal and sometimes it can be almost like walking on a tight rope.

When is writing about a topic hurting someone more than helping them?

My ex-husband reached out to me one day about one of my divorce posts that I had written two years ago.  He didn’t like what I had written.  I was very defensive.  I have always tried to be extremely careful with how I presented our past.  I even sent him some other posts he had not read.  I explained to him that my intent was to inspire and lift up others.

And it got me thinking.   If inspiring followers resulted in embarrassing the father of my first child, regardless of whether that was intentional or not, then I had to question if it was even worth it.  I kept writing but stayed away from topics that were so incredibly personal.  The blog started to feel forced.

Blogging is very personal.  Subject matter and inspiration come from real life.  To be truly successful at blogging you have to open up but in doing so you can risk your personal relationships.  Why?  Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  There are people involved in each and every one of our lives.

My kids struggled but I did not write about it because I didn’t want to embarrass them.  My “village” lost friends to tragedy and I did not write about it because pain is not to be exploited.  Friendship lessons were learned but friendship is about trust so I did not write about it.  We ourselves had a career change and are in the middle of transition and my husband and I want to keep our plans private.

Lots of content that should not be shared.

This leaves me at a crossroads with blogging and a need to reflect on how I want to proceed in the future.  I’ve decided to put it on hold while I think about the impact it has on my own personal integrity and authenticity.

So for now I am silencing the voices in my head.

Until I write again…..

 

Balancing expectations. A visit with the in-laws.

img_5593I’ve been missing in action because I have spent the last two weeks with my in-laws who were visiting us at our home in Virginia.  Yesterday I dropped them off at the airport for their flight home.  To be honest it was both a wonderful visit and a difficult one.  It was wonderful because I truly love my in-laws and am so thankful for all that they do for our family.  It was sometimes challenging because we live such different lives and I personally struggle with meeting their expectations, not because they put many on me, but simply because I am their daughter-in-law.  The difficulty also came from my husband’s hectic work schedule these past two weeks.  He has been working night and day and was not able to take enough time to spend with his parents. Continue reading

Super Mom! Super Wife! Super Tired?

IMG_1026My last blog post was written at the very beginning of summer.  Summer, self-care and boundaries outlined the steps I wanted to take to improve my quality of life.  I am committed to staying on track!

I recently saw a mom with a stroller and her diaper bag had the following words imprinted on it.  Super Mom.  Super Wife.  Super Tired.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

This is why I wrote the blog in the beginning of the summer regarding boundaries.  I still have to ask though, how much of that “super tired,” is a result of each one of us taking on too much?    What kind of resolutions will help you reduce the stress in your life?  Today is August 10th and New Year’s Eve is only three weeks away.

Huh? Continue reading

Summer, self-care and boundaries.

selfcareI’ve noticed something this year.  Many women are simply not taking care of themselves, myself included.  I see it in their eyes.  I hear it in their voices.  They call me with stories of exhaustion, worry and plain old frustration.  I’m there for them.  They are there for me.  There is one thing missing from all of the support they and I give and that is a permanent solution.  That solution is self-care and the inclusion of boundaries in their lives.

My friend Julie sent me this picture just one week ago.  I was sick and instead of just saying “get better” she nailed the real issue right on the head.  “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.”  This quote by Parker J. Palmer stunned me but didn’t really impact me until just today.  Did I mention that Julie is also a healthcare provider?  She has seen me for over twelve years dealing with sicknesses that were definitely brought on by lack of self-care.  Diabetes, viruses that won’t go away and shingles.  These are brought on by a lack of self-care, a lack of stress management and tendency to worry about things that are not even mine to worry about.  OK Julie I think I have finally got the message!  I’m going to print out my own blog post (this one) and put it on my refrigerator! Continue reading

“What do you DO all day?”

LaundryI was at dinner with a friend.  She is a very successful executive, lives in an affluent area, doesn’t have kids and is really fun to be around.  We were having a glass of wine when all of a sudden she said “you are such an outgoing and talented woman, what do you do all day?  I mean I know you stay home for the kids, but what is next for you, what’s next, what makes you feel fulfilled?”

I chose to down the rest of my glass as thoughts raced around my head, trying desperately to formulate a very intelligent answer.  I didn’t succeed.  My very deep ability to reflect and formulate a well thought out response simply abandoned me.  We all have reasons for doing what we do.  When I was a single mom I had to work for financial reasons.  I now have a choice that many women do not have and I currently stay at home.  Some mothers work and juggle their careers and their kids and after school activities. Some mothers work out of their home.   We all have one thing in common.  Sacrifice.

This did not come out in my brilliant answer.  Sorry ladies, I put us all back a couple of decades!

“Laundry.  I do laundry.   I do loads and loads every week.  I put clean clothes in small baskets for the kids to put away and they stay in those baskets until they make it back to the dirty pile.  That’s what I do.  I’m a hamster in a wheel.”

I truly have the chance to redeem myself.  I’ve gone through some emotions thinking about this answer and I’m happy to say that I now understand myself better and the choices ALL moms make, whether they work or stay-at-home.

“I am a mother.  I have made a conscious decision to sacrifice myself for the good of mankind.  I don’t always use my interpersonal skills to sell a company’s product or service.  Sometimes I use those skills to put more good into the world.  Through my children, these three boys, I have the chance to give back..   It’s a ripple effect.  The kindness, the guidance, the character that I instill in them will be magnified and ripple into future generations.  So although sometimes it is difficult and my days can be full of mundane tasks, deep down I know that there is nothing more important than the sacrifice that I am making for future generations.  What do I do all day?  I live a life of love and sacrifice.  I am a mother.”

My dear friend is correct though.  Although I am a mother for life there is an aspect of “what’s next.”  My children are getting older and are more independent.  Am I ready to retire?  Should I commit more time to the blog?  Write a book?  Go back to work?  What is next?  I don’t know, I really don’t, but I will make an effort to enjoy the journey.

I would love to hear your thoughts on motherhood, staying-at-home, working, just all of it.  What makes you happy?  What fulfills you?  What’s next?  If you’re not a mom I would love to hear about that also!  This is YOUR life.  These are your choices!

 

Celebrating Life and the Night I Spent with a Star

imageIt is 4:00 am in the morning. I am wide awake. My husband and I traveled to California to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday. We have an early flight back to our three children, two dogs and suburban house in Virginia in two hours. At this very moment, I am sitting on a small comfy couch in a cottage that used to be the home of a man named Charlie, the former caretaker of Mission Ranch. Walking into his cottage was surreal, as if I had stepped back in time, and I can’t help but think that he would smile at the excitement I felt at just being in his former home. It felt personal.   Being here made me feel like I am now woven into the fabric of the ranch’s history. These past two days have caused me to reflect on how experiences truly make life worth living.

My heart has been affected by my stay here.

The party was a surprise. Her husband picked us up from the airport and took us to the ranch. The land reminded me of Sweden in that it was untouched, frozen in time, and for me, a place where my soul could breathe. Sheep grazed in the valley, flowers and ivy brightened the various shutters and windows. A gentle fog covered the green hills. This was no ordinary place. I will never forget my brief stay.

We came in on a Tuesday and we are leaving on a Thursday. In this short time we have been to Pebble Beach, drove the coast of Carmel, had a luxurious dinner at Casanova, hiked amongst Redwoods and spent the night with a star. That star was not the owner of Mission Ranch although I and others were affected by his attendance, that star was our dear friend Lena. Continue reading

Through the haze; the curse of having a piss-poor memory.

bad-memoryI’ll forget that I wrote this in a couple of months.  A great idea about a blog post will strike and I will have to search my blog to see if I have ever written about my memory or lack thereof.   True story.   Been there done that.   I suffer from what is not clinically known as a piss poor memory. I go through life in a haze. My childhood friends ask me most ridiculous questions. Don’t you remember so and so? Don’t you remember my mom’s foyer table? What did you eat yesterday?   And I look at them with a dumb look on my face.

My memory has always been horrible. Continue reading