Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Ten: Happy Birthday

I love birthdays. I really, really love my own birthdays. I don't understand why people fuss about the numbers, or try to forget their birthdays even exist.

Here are ten reasons why:

1. Birthdays mean you are still alive! How many people would love to have that chance?!

2. Birthdays are one time when it is considered okay for you to celebrate YOURSELF. Heck, it's even encouraged!

3. Chocolate cake and/or ice cream. No further explanation needed.

4. It's a chance to be a little retrospective. Was last year less than you had hoped for? Think of birthdays as another chance to make lasting resolutions. But this time, it's all about you. No one else needs to know unless you tell them.

5. Celebrate what you've learned, what you've accomplished, and...

6. Look ahead to where you'd like to be.

7. Gifts. :) Even if you don't receive anything tied up with pretty bows, you can take this day to do something nice for YOURSELF. It doesn't have to cost anything. Get creative with this one-- anything from using that pretty new pen you were saving, to taking the last piece of chocolate.

8. Those years? They are not a burden. They are a gift. Think back to when you were a kid and you not only celebrated years, but half-years as well. Be proud of those numbers! (None of that "over the hill" crap, thankyouverymuch.)

9. Birthdays are also a chance to think about your health. Not as fit as you used to be, or as you'd like to be? Take a few steps on your birthday to treat your body like the gift it is.

10. From my Little G-- birthdays are like when you're playing Smurfs and you level up. It unlocks a whole new series of skills and abilities and lots of new things you can do. (Love this kid.)

So, happy birthday week to me! I intend to make it a good one. Next time it's your day? I hope you'll celebrate like crazy.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thanks, Shannon

My friend writes a blog, Cole-Lateral Damage.  She's been through a hellacious few years, but she is strong, and thoughtful, and wise.  Cute blog name, lots of amazing and visually satisfying photos, some sweet stories.

And this:

Dear Valentine,

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for releasing me from your grasp.  This is a day to remember those sweet times and there were a few. But, it also a day to celebrate the future good times and happinesses we will all enjoy now and in the future.  We can and will prevail.  We are strong and determined.  

We don’t need tempestuous behavior and spoiled adults to placate. We need maturity and co-parenting.  We all have our own stories and woes.  We support and love each and every one of our friends.  We celebrate today the absence of your drama, even if we are in the midst of some of that drama but realize it is not in our home with us any longer. 

We celebrate the martyrs today.  And that we are not among them.  We appreciate Geoffrey Chaucer and his courtly love that has tainted the hearts of women waiting for that white knight and of women searching for their princess. 

We don’t need candy, flowers, dinners, and jewels. We need love and in its simplicity with the honor and commitments, respect, adoration and generosity of spirit that should accompany love.

With all the anger, drama, bitternesses we feel, we all want the same things: Happiness and security for ourselves and our children today and every day hereafter.  

We are not sad today. We are jubilant with the what-ifs and the gorgeous day that is today. We are pleasantly surprised by the gentle touches from our friends and families. 

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together,
Brighter than a lucky penny,
When you're near
The rain goes and
I know, that it’s
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for me.
(mostly by Gore Lesley)

Mostly, we breathe a sigh of relief that we can breathe and smiles and laugh and cry and that these actions are our own. We love what love stands for and that it is good. We relish those moments of pleasant peace and gentle moods. 

Thank you, my friends for supporting me when I want to bash their heads, kick their shins or simply vent and shriek. You are my TRUE VALENTINE’S, I love you.

Tuesday's Ten: Things I'd Rather Not Talk About

I don't buy into the whole flowers/chocolate/romance/undying passion stuff, but a simple hug and a chance to lay next to my husband would be most welcome.  There are so many of us in the same boat, however, that it's sort of a non-issue.  We're even holding a Non-Romantic Valentine's Day outing so at least we can have some human interaction today.  Not bad.

That being said, I'd really rather not talk about certain things today.  It's supposed to be a day to touch base with the person or people who are closest to our hearts.    However, Murphina has other plans.

Topics I'd like to avoid:

1.  Hairballs/cat puke.  In the dark.

2.  Moving violations.  (To include driving school, tickets, payment of fines, and young drivers.)

3.  Bankruptcy.  (Not mine, but still not pleasant.)

4.  Taxes.  For any reason.

5.  Any of a myriad of things they list as side effects of advertised medications.

6.  PMS.

7.  Calories.  I intend to eat pizza and chocolate today.  :)

8.  Family communication issues.

9.  Any kind of kid issue.

10.  Valentine's Day.
(I threw that in as a joke, but Bah Humbug.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's Ten-- Things Worth Being Busy Doing

One of my favorite bloggers wrote this about people being busy doing (what seems like) a whole lot of nothing.

A Facebook friend commented that he wished she had mentioned "what is actually important to be busy doing".

Good idea.

So for Tuesday, I give you ten things that would be worth saying "I'm so busy".  Well, worth it to me.  :)

1.  I spent 45 minutes on Facebook chat with  my husband.   

2.  I made four deliveries to Avon customers, and got to see their smiles.  (And get paid, which is no small thing.)  

3.  I spent an hour talking with my younger daughter about racism and fairness and the way things are, the way things used to be, and the way things could be.

4.  I spent an hour reading a book.

5.  I then spent quite a bit of time cleaning out the office and making it ready for tax season and bill-paying.  The poor shredder may never forgive me.

6.  I murdered some weeds, making our home look like someone cares about it.

7.  I fed, cleaned up after, and petted my cats.

8.  I bought a slightly used, awesome steal, little microwave for my older daughter.  I'm beginning to think of her collection of items as "apartment in a box".

9.  I gathered small gifts for care packages, and this week I will be making post office runs.

10.  Not that I usually put this last, nor is it always first, but I prayed.  For my husband, my children, my friends, my family, my home and for anything else that popped into my mind.  

May I always have time to fill, and the wisdom to know how to fill it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Old Spice

Scents can take you back again.
I’ve heard it said,
I know it’s true.
I’m walking along in my own little world
Then suddenly I’m back again with you.

There is the sweet shampoo my best friend used,
And I hear her voice and see her smile.
The joy, the passion, so sure was she
Where she was going,
Where she would be.

Then citrus, spice and something else
I don’t remember what, but I remember who.
The boy you were, the friend I needed,
The scent recalls uncertainty, humor, shyness and smarts.

Then a brief little tease of mint, of sage
Almost clinically clean
And I feel my Grandpa’s hands in mine,
They’re soft and smooth and worn from years
Of working, working…yet so gentle to me.

Baby powder, chalk dust, gym sweat – they all
Bring me back to myself, the younger me.
And I’m with you, and I’m with them.
Our potential unrealized,
Or our histories yet unshared.
And I smile, just a little, at the stranger sitting there
Who wore that perfume
Or uses that shampoo.
And is wondering why I love them so, this day.

                                                                                    February 6, 2012
                                                                                    Casey Fogle

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Day, New School

Last week was the first class of Financial Peace University.  I am debating doing a Money Monday theme for a while, using the information we're learning.

But that's not what this post is about.

Last week, I went to the class excited about learning new things and looking forward to meeting new people.  As my friend Kim has said, I like people.  I love meeting new people.

Well, they weren't all that friendly.  They all knew each other, and they all seemed to attend the church where the class was held (which I chose because it was so close to our house).  They even seemed to view me with...well...suspicion.

Suspicion?  Me?

So, all week long it has bothered me a little bit.  I couldn't tell if it was my perception or if it was reality that they were chilly towards this new member.

I couldn't put my finger on it.  Until today.

I happened to mention to Little G that the class seemed a little distant.  They all seemed to know each other.  They didn't seem all that interested in this new person in their class.

She piped up, "Oh, like the first day at a new school."

Oh. My. God.

I get it now.  I, who only changed schools when everyone else I knew also changed them, suddenly get it.  I was an adult before I ever really had a "new school"-- and college is a totally different situation.

I really get it.

People talk about how resilient military kids are.  People talk about how brave they are, how strong, how everything.  I definitely agree.

But I didn't really, truly get it.  That chilly sensation?  That "everyone knows each other and they don't care about me" feeling?   That is what my Big G has gone through countless times.  That is what these kids go through every.single.move.

Some kids are really good at this, and they find their way very easily.  Some kids have it harder.  But do we really realize, do we really appreciate and understand what this does?

My class is a group of friendly, open adults.  Tonight's class was much better. I think it's because I am sitting back a little more and trying to ease my way into their group instead of jumping in with both feet.

I can imagine, though, how it would be if these were middle school kids.  Or high school teenagers.  And now that I know how that "New Kid" feeling really is, I have a deeper appreciation for what our kids go through.

I hope you do, too.

Kids are resilient.  Kids are strong.  But we must (absolutely must) recognize and appreciate what it takes to make them that way, and give them the resources and support they need.  I don't mean money, or special programs-- I mean a friendly smile when we see a new person.  I mean talking with our kids and really listening.  I mean understanding that chilly-new-kid feeling, and talking with them about it.

Thank you, Little G for summing up why the class felt awkward.  And thank you, Big G for turning into such an amazing strong person despite our lack of true understanding.

This can be a lonely place.
Need suggestions?  Look here-- New Kid in School