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Friday, May 27, 2011

Doing the right thing...

This week, so far, has been great in the sense of seeing some good results. But, as I'm sure most people know, the work required to get good results can sometimes be tedious, painful, or challening to accomplish. It can require us to squirm in discomfort from the heat or backlash we might experience from others. It can require us to give up even more in order to attain something greater. It can cause us to increase in areas. It can cause us to decrease / give up even more in areas. It can cause some relationships to end, others to begin. It can push some away, draw others close. It can require us to be quiet, inwardly and outwardly. 

But, even when it's uncomfortable, coming to the end and seeing the fruits of your labor when you have succeeded makes the uncomfort completely worth it. And more willing to go through the next process.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trying something new...

Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have tried to be aware of what's running in the background noise of our home life. J's first few weeks at home were mostly spent in one of his parent's arms, catching zzz's whenever we could. "Deadliest Catch" (Discovery Channel) was our background noise because they were showing a marathon. Once P returned to work, I found a few tv shows that I liked to watch during J's feedings and naptimes. Mostly old school favorites like "In The Heat of The Night" and some newer shows like "The Closer."

But, once J stopped nursing at 3 months, TV was just noise. It was too difficult to get engaged in a plot and the last thing I wanted was him to become accustomed to it always being on. So, we started to save our TV viewing until after J went to bed around 9pm. This worked in the sense that one or both of us had some uninterrupted time to concentrate on the story line or catch up on the news. But, it also meant that the time P and I had to ourselves was becoming even more limited.

I'm kind of embarassed to say, but we finally realized this about two weeks ago and decided that something had to be done about that. So, 9pm is the new "date" time. Even if it means that we're folding laundry together, cleaning the kitchen together, or getting ready for bed together, it's our time to talk about our day and touch base before the next day is upon us. It's been really  nice to save up things that I want to remember to tell P about and then actually be able to watch his expressions and interact with him face to face instead of sending text messages throughout the day.

The other thing I have decided to do today is to change the background noise during the day. We stopped having the TV on during the day several months ago, so what I would end up doing is loading up my iPod playlist, hit shuffle, and we would listen to whatever popped up. Now, I don't have anything that I consider to be "bad" on my playlist, but I do have quite a bit of music that's from my college era that I work out to when I'm at the gym. And, because I associate that music with a time in my life, I would find myself completely lost in memories or thoughts about the past. I spent HOURS thinking about my life back then and what I would do differently if I had the chance. I reconnected with friends from the past after hearing a song that reminded me of them. While this wasn't "bad" for me, it wasn't the best use of my time with J.

So, today, I found a gift we received from J's baby shower, an audio recording of the Bible. We spent the morning listening to Psalms while we went about our day. We cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the office and guest bathroom, started some laundry, and when it was time for J's nap, we snuggled into the armchair in the living room and listened to Psalms 23 while he fell asleep. He slept for almost 2 hours this morning which is very unusual for my busy little boy. Maybe it's a coincidence, but maybe it's because the atmosphere in our house is much more peaceful than it has been. And as for me...I found myself listening intently and thinking about how that particular passage was applicable to things. And my heart opened up a line of communication to my Father that hasn't been opened on a regular basis for quite some time now. And I found myself praying, asking God to help me focus on what I need to fix in my own life instead of being so consumed with things that I have no power over. The past, other people, other people's problems...but to help me see the things that need cleansing from the inside out in my own heart.

I am hopeful that J and I will both continue to benefit from the changes being made.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It is time...

11 When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways.

I Corinthians 13:11 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Measuring Up

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson

I have been doing some thinking about interacting with others lately. It's so easy to love those who are pleasant and amiable. It's easy to get along with those who behave acceptably. It's easy to be nice to someone when you know you will get something nice in exchange.

But, it's a true labor of love to be good to those who won't be good to you in return. It's a true testament of character to be able to turn the other cheek when someone continually mistreats you on a large scale or small scale. It's choosing to be patient with that person while you allow the experience to smooth out your rough edges.

I'm always observing those around me to see how they treat others. I'm especially interested in watching those around me when it comes to their interactions with those poor souls who work in a customer service capacity.

  1. Nothing annoys me more than watching someone treat our waiter / waitress without respect. I cringe when I'm out to dinner with someone and they either act like the waitstaff doesn't exist (ignorning questions, ignoring drink refill offers, not stopping their conversation when it's time to place the order) or they act like the waitstaff are idiots who should have read their mind to know what they needed when they haven't made the request in the first place (EXCUSE ME! I NEED THREE RAMIKANS OF SALAD DRESSING - NOT TWO) Combining the two makes me never want to have lunch with you again. Complaining about having to tip or leaving less than 15% when the food and service was good is also a huge red flag for me.
  2. I think we can all agree that cell phone service in general can be a little pricey and that the companies overall look for ways to make extra money at every turn. However, being rude or condescending to those working the front line for said companies is misplacing your rage. 90% of the time, the person mistreating those at work is the person who would complain about having to pay tax dollars towards TANF, SNAP, and other goverment assisted programs for those who are NOT working. Instead of thinking about how this customer service rep is making an honest day's wage at a highly stressful job with little to no thanks and support from his/her customer base, that person thinks it's perfectly fine to yell and scream and holler and pitch an adult sized hissy fit "because I want the company to know how disgusted I am with their service!" If that's really how you feel, why not write a letter or call their headquarters? I can guarantee you that the person you just yelled at isn't going to take it on a company level and pass that feedback along to their higher ups. They are going to take it personally and eventually, they will either quit their job or they will become calloused and unpleasant, unwilling to do anything above and beyond the bare minimum of their job.
  3. Thinking you're more important that you actually are is another thing that annoys me, but this one amuses me at the same time. If I pull up to a valet restaurant in my 2005 Dodge Neon that's covered in dust and bug guts, I expect the person parking my car to be courteous and prompt and pleasant. But, I don't expect them to roll out the red carpet and gush all over me and make me feel important. They know as well as I do that the tip I'm able to give at the end of the night isn't going to be the same kind of tip I would give if I was driving a Bentley. Expecting people to drop everything and make a fuss over you everytime you exhale is going to cause me to limit my time with you. Especially if you expect me to make a fuss over you everytime I see you. Does this mean I'm not happy to see my friends? Of course not. I just don't make a lot of room in my life for high maintenance folks. I simply don't have enough time to invest in those kinds of relationships. 
So, what brought all this on? I was watching my son today. Watching him watching me. Watching P. And I was reminded that he is a mirror of what he is around everyday. If I want him to be respectful and treat everyone courteously, kindly, consistently....I have to be a good example. I have to provide that standard for him. And it made me realize that if I can be kind to those who will do no good to me, I can be kind to EVERYONE in my life at all times. And that is what I want J to see on a daily basis and that is one of the things I want him to remember about me when he is grown.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretty little things all in a row

Today, I found myself organizing shelves and putting things back in their proper place. Someone before me had taken everything out of the proper place, stacked everything on the floor and top shelf, and pulled things off the wall.

I found it so distracting and so bothersome that I stopped what I was doing, cleaned off the top shelf, restacked all similar items together, and rehung everything that had fallen. All in all, about 20 minutes of my day spent on cleaning up someone else's mess. It looked so much better afterward and I felt so much better afterward. It was much easier to continue on with what I was doing prior to happening upon that mess.

The only problem with the scenario is  that I was a customer. In a store. And it was the scrapbooking section as opposed to my living room.

I should have known to be a little more aware of myself today because earlier I was flipping through some pictures online and instead of focuing on the two beautiful children in the album, I was completely distracted by the mountains of toys, dirty dishes, tv on in the background, and the 3 year old running around in dirty clothes with blue food coloring all over her face. It actually made me uncomfortable to look because I wanted to do a Mary Poppins jump into the picture and help put everything back where it goes. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dr. Pop

Last night, J's "teething" symptoms turned into trouble breathing and coming out of being asleep with uncontrollable screaming. It was about 11:30pm and we debated about calling my dad (who also happens to be J's doctor) or driving to the ER. We ended up trying my mom's phone instead and after no answer, I took it as a sign that we needed to go ahead and go in to the ER.

They whisked us back to a room, put J through all of the unpleasantness of getting your vitals taken when you're less than a year old, and after a brief visit with the doctor, we had to wrap J in a blanket and hold him while his nose and throat were swabbed. 

He finally fell asleep in my arms around 1am. His breathing difficulties had subsided quite a bit by 1:30am. They released us at 2:30am with a negative on strep and RSV test results and instructions to follow up with J's doctor the next day. 

J did not sleep more than 45 min last night. I stayed up with him until 4:30am. P took over until 9:45am. Then we switched out and P took a 2 hour nap before J's doctor appointment. I think J slept about 30 min during this entire timeframe and was so exhausted that every little thing was sending him into complete meltdown mode.

After a brief nap in the car on the way to to doctor's, we were able to see Pop (J's grandpa) and J was diagnosed with Herpangina. The blisters on the back of his throat are very painful and that is most likely why he has not been able to sleep.  The good news is that it's completely treatable with over the counter medication. The bad news is that he's going to feel sick over the next few days until the blisters clear up.

Obviously, we have decided that it's best for J (and all of the other children his age) if we self impose a quarantine until he is completely well. I'm trying to get over being annoyed about this, but if someone else had extended that same courtesy, my sweet baby J might not be suffering at the moment. Sheesh!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Housewife / Business Owner

Yesterday (and several months leading up to yesterday), I was a girl with an idea.

Today, I'm a business owner with a business plan. Very excited about how things are shaping up and can't wait to share the final product when it's ready for unveiling.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letting go (again)

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." - Alexander Graham Bell

Saturday, May 14, 2011


"The kindness I have longest remembered has been of this sort, — the sort unsaid; so far behind the speaker’s lips that almost it already lay in my heart. It did not have far to go to be communicated. " - Thoreau

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not."  - Samuel Johnson (I like SJ. A lot)

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." - George Washington Carver

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's raining

Sweet baby J is asleep.
Iced tea is almost finished brewing.
 My kitchen is sparkling. John Mayer playlist on in the background.
All the lights are off.
And, it's raining.
Today is an almost perfect day.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I have had a job since I was 16...which means that I have been working over half of my life at this point. Prior to working outside of my home, I helped my parents wrangle children, clean house, do laundry, cook (disasterous on many occasions), run errands, etc...

Combining my life up to 16 with all of the things I've learned from working, I have a need for schedules. A need for to do lists. A need for a project list. A need to manage things on Excel spreadsheets. A need to take inventory of things. A need to issue progress reports. And, much to P's chagrin, I have found a way to do all of these things in my new role. He refers to me being in work mode as me being in "doing mode" and there is an entire song that he's made up about it to the tune of "Hey There, Lonely Girl" by Eddie Holman. It's pretty amusing, I must say, even though it's completely at my expense. And he's going to have to stop singing it in front of J before too long unless P wants to take up explaining Freud and a few other things to his 2 year old.

I always have a little giggle on the inside whenever my career minded friends make comments about how nice it must be to stay in bed all day, wander around in my pjs, watch tv all day, or go shopping whenever I feel like it. I'm not sure where they are getting their information on what a housewife's life looks like, but I must have missed out on that "how-to" training session. I feel just as busy as I did when I was working 55-60 hours a week at my last "real job"...the difference being that I'm on call 24/7 and I don't have any sick days or vacation days.

(Yes, I have made myself a schedule. And it is posted on the bulletin board in my kitchen)

But, I wouldn't trade this life for ANYTHING. Aside from the obvious enjoyment of being home with J, I have actually really enjoyed working on house related projects that have been on hold since we moved here in '06. I've learned a lot about our spending patterns, buying habits, and tendencies from taking inventory of what is occupying our house at the moment. I was finally able to get all of my fabric out of storage and start mapping out what sewing projects I want to work on in a few weeks. I have had the time to sort through and scan most of the film negatives from my parents house and get them safely tucked away on my hard drive. I'm learning how to COOK. And it's actually tasting pretty good!

And, I am realizing that while I enjoyed those 15 years of pushing myself and challenging myself and going to bed exhausted because of the long days and multiple problem solving opportunities everyday...I'm finding the same in what I'm doing now and the benefits are so much greater.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Clutter vs Organization

"When I cannot bear outer pressure anymore, I begin to put order to my belongings...As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects." Anais Nin

Had the woman not passed away in 1977, I would wonder if she had been peeking in my windows the past several weeks! Or perhaps, there are many women who seek to bring some semblance of order to things by reorganizing and rearranging their stuff.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I would like to make a case against the old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20" because if that was true, I can think of a handful of things I would have done differently along the way by being able to quickly go back and reverse a decision I made.

I think if the statement is true, it's only true years after the event has passed. Only at the point when you can lay hurt feelings aside, be completely honest with yourself about what caused you to act the way you did about things, and stop questioning what caused the other party's actions to play out the way things did can you truly say that hindsight is 20/20. Otherwise, looking back is being filtered. And usually the filter is already tainted with too many other feelings, emotions, or speculations which makes anything you might take away from the experience invalid.

Directly after the event occurs, the emotions can range from relief to anger to pain to guilt. Maybe you think it was for the best. Maybe you think it's the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Maybe you're too afraid to feel anything about it all so you box it up and put it away on a high shelf where you won't think to look at it again for awhile. Maybe you obsess over every little detail, looking for answers and trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together. Maybe your pride kicks in and you refuse to acknowledge what YOU did that caused things to unravel or come together in such ways.

Then, a few weeks go by. You find that you are no longer remembering every little detail. Maybe you can go through most of the day before something causes you to remember. Maybe you have removed everything or everyone that would make you remember so it's like it never even happened.

Then, a few months or a year goes by. Maybe something triggers a memory like a song or a scent or a taste. And instead of feeling the same way, you feel almost the opposite. Pain is replaced with warmth. Happiness / joy is replaced with regret. Anger replaced with love. Pride replaced with humbleness. Relief replaced with sadness. And instead of shoving everything aside, you find yourself beginning to make peace with each piece as you break it down and look at it section by section. As you resolve one piece, you put it away, most likely to never see it again.

And then, what you have left at the end of the process is either complete resolution of understanding exactly what happened and why. Or, you are left with a few things that don't quite make sense. They haven't exactly been resolved. You're still not sure what happened or why it happened or who initiated the event. And you can't move forward or put it away never to look at again because it still doesn't make any sense.

It's then, only here at this point, can hindsight be 20/20. Only here can you truly say "This is what I should have done," "This is how I wish I had handled things," "Had I done this instead, this is where my life would have taken a different path or direction." The unfortunate thing about reaching this point, most of the time, is that what was once a crossroads has now become an intricate web and if you were to pull on that one loose string, everything you have done since that event would become unraveled in the process.

What this means for someone like me is that instead of having everything in my life neatly resolved and put away, there will have to be things that never receive the level of closure that I would prefer. Instead of getting to go back and get to the bottom of exactly what happened and what I could have, should have, might have, wished I had done...I have to accept that the past is behind me. Whatever lies back there in one way or another has led me to where I am today. And the love, forgiveness, and mercy extended to my life in spite of some very bad decisions are not to be taken for granted.

And the second chances to make things right are not to be squandered by being selfish and only thinking about myself. It's the chance to resolve and grow and be refined. If the chance is misused, it will end up being another crossroads leading to hindsight causing me to wish I had made a better decision when the event was occuring.

I hate repeating things I should have done better/known better in the first place.