Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Less is More

Today was a first for me.  I went out to appraise my very first "tiny home".  I've seen them on tv and in the magazines.  And there I was in one!
I'll admit, when I pulled the county records, I thought there was a mis-print.  A house newly built, with just around 400 square feet?  That's a garage size.
Then I got out there . . and I think I could totally do it!  Well, not with a family.  My first house was 716 sq feet and it seemed pretty small.  But some days, as I go from room to room, looking at space to clean and the "stuff" that lives in the space; I want less.  I sometimes daydream back to my little house that was easy to clean and then I was free to go and enjoy life!
I have dreams of having enough time to go thru things in this house again.  I think we did a pretty good job for our garage sale this past summer.  But I didn't even touch the attics or the closets.  I am thoroughly appreciating shedding myself of my pack-rat tendancies.  I do have a long way to go.  I think having four children and all their stuff certainly helps with that!
Tonight I am thankful for the dream of less.  It's a rather liberating feeling, in a society of more, more, more; to realize that a more enjoyable life for me, will have less, less, less.  I should be able to do that . .  after awhile ;)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dropped

This year will mark the first year that I did not walk children in to the school.  My youngest is in third grade now.
I feel fortunate that there was no "Mom, I don't want you to walk me."  That may have killed me.  But no, I asked him this morning if he wanted me to walk me to his classroom.  I told him that I didn't have to, it was up to him.  He thought a minute about it and said, "No, you don't need to."  And that was all.  I like that he thought about it.  There was no instant thought of mom being embarrassing, so that is in my favor.  My 5th grader did say that she didn't care either way; which again was nice knowing I wasn't completely embarrassing.
When my daughter started middle school I went up to check on her.  But I didn't this year for my son.  I know mom showing up to check on a locker in 6th grade would be utter embarrassment.  And he wasn't worried at all.
So . . yup . . .that was my morning.  I dropped my babies off at school for their first day.  I didn't get out of the car.  I didn't even park the car.  I just drove thru and let them out.
I drove back home and got teary eyed. Although I didn't cry!!!  They just keep growing up.  And they are all doing a fine job of it.  I came home and had myself a Smirnoff Raspberry for breakfast . . don't judge!  It was  a rough morning for me!!  I could've grabbed Tequila!
Then I just kind of flitted around here being a horrible worker, not doing my job much at all, and staring at the clock until it was time to go get my kiddos.  The good news is that they all had great first days of school :)  All four had a good day :)  So, I suppose I will allow them to go back again tomorrow ;)
Tonight I am thankful for making it thru the first day of school!  I see the little videos and pictures of parents dancing and kicking their kids out and that's just not me.  I've never been happy that they are leaving; although I'm happy that they are growing and learning.  I balance my emotional side with my rational mom side, don't worry.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tomorrow

I'm late this year.  Usually by now I've gotten all the school stuff ready.  We've had the shopping done.  But tonight I sat here and went thru all the paper stuff.  I combine schedules in to spreadsheets to post on the bulletin board.  I do the same with lunch menus and have a list of who gets to ride in the front of the car on the way to school (I had really hoped to use the bus this year, but a 45 minute ride in the morning for my car-sick prone child isn't worth it when we live 5 minutes from the school).  These schedules go on a bulletin board in the dining room.
I have a binder that organizes the kids important school papers, sports, and extracurricular stuff.  The binder is only for year long stuff.  I don't update that again until this time next year.  Their temporary sports, field trips, upcoming school specials, etc. go on a bulletin board here in my office.  It has to stay different from the dining room bulletin board or papers disappear!
I am actually pretty proud that we have cut back activities this year!  Going in to this fall, between all four children, we have 8 activities.  This is down 5 activities from last year.  Even counting and writing that, no wonder I'm tired!!
Ok, but the biggest deal for me . . the saddest deal for me . . is that my babies leave me again tomorrow.  I am happy for them that they will get to go learn things and spend time with their friends, and grow and find out more who they are in life.  But truth be told, I'd rather have them here with me.  I don't care that I get more headaches when they are here.  I don't care that the house is messier and the cupboards are emptier; I still love it most when they are here.
I'll appreciate the quiet of the house, and being able to concentrate on work, and make phone calls without making silent threats to people waiting to whine at me.  Sure, that'll be ok.  But, once again parts of my heart that walk around in those four other people will be gone, and my heart just won't be the same until they are back home with me.
Tonight I am thankful that we are ready for school, just in the nick of time!  I am thankful that we are prepared and the kids are nervous/excited for tomorrow.  I'm not so thankful that they are leaving.  But I'm thankful that they get to grow.  They can go work on their wings, and I'll hang on to their roots!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

THIS!!!!

Tuesday I jogged, just a little bit, on my toes.  It has been circling thru my brain ever since.  What if I hadn't ran on my toes?  Could I do it with my whole foot?  Would it break me?  Would it hurt all the healing that has taken place?
Well, tonight I decided to find out.  I walked out of my office with my knee brace and running shoes and told the hubster that I was heading to the track!  I didn't want to start off with our uneven yard or hard road.  My cross-country boy came with me.  It was pretty neat to see him lead me thru the warm ups.  Him . . .lead me . . . Me who was running 20 years before he was even born.  It was an ironic and proud moment for sure.
Then we were off.  I warned him that I would be slow.  I needed to concentrate on putting my foot down properly.  My mind was back to the months of physical therapy and the deliberate engagement of my muscles.  It is funny how you have to retrain your brain to have your legs and feet work right!  About half way around the track, I could feel my knee starting to swell.  I walked a little bit.  Then I thought, Why am I walking?  It's going to swell!  It's my first time running in a year!  Of course it's going to swell!
So I jogged some more.  I walked some more.  I jogged some more.  My trainer came and jogged with me for the second lap.  A little more than half way around the second lap, there was a shooting pain.  Crap!!  So I walked a little, and it was ok.  The pain didn't persist.  So right at the end, I tried to run.  And I did!  It wasn't fast.  And it was awkward feeling.  But I did it!!
As we went around, my trainer was trying to encourage me and said to push myself.  I told him that I was!  I was told that it would be a year before running, I'm one month early.  He said that is good and that I'm strong!  I told him no, just stubborn!
Tonight, as I'm laying here with my knee propped up and covered in ice, I am thankful that I jogged and ran on the track today!!  I'll be back soon!  And my trainer said he'd come with me ;)







Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lazy

This morning I made a list of things to get done this weekend.  All I can say is, I hope tomorrow is ridiculously productive!!
Today was what a Saturday should be.  I woke up late.  It was amazing to actually sleep in!  I was woken by loud children . . but I enjoyed sleeping later anyway!  Then I had all these thoughts of things to do.  But then I got side tracked over here and side tracked over there.  Then we decided to run out and get a few things.  You know how that goes?
So here it is, 9:30 and I'm ready for bed!  So that silly list is sitting on my desk.  And it will be there tomorrow too!
Tonight I am thankful for a lazy Saturday with my family.  We even did cereal for dinner.  I'm just not that ambitious today :)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Expectations

I think expectations can be one of the biggest detours to happiness that ever existed.  I actually think about this fairly often in life.  And after seeing Bad Moms, I think about it again.
In life you get hit with other people's expectations pretty soon.  I mean, right as a baby you are expected to develop at a certain rate.  And that's fine I suppose.  But the expectations grow to an oppressive standard in a really quick time. 
As a girl, I learned right away that not all expectations were good.  I was expected to be weaker than the boys.  I was expected to be less physical, back down, sit down, and not work as hard.  In a small town, peoples' expectations of who I was as a person were almost a prison at times.  I remember how excited I was when I left for college.  I went several states a way where no one knew me.  I could be the person that I'd always pictured myself to be, and no one would question that.  No one would remember when I cried in elementary school because there was a bad storm.  No one would think I wasn't courageous or thoughtful or brave.  There were no expectations, and it was wonderful.
When I moved back home and got married, I found that marriages can have many problems with expecations.  His expectations of me and my expectations of him were a good distance from the reality of who we were as people. Enter the children and there was a whole other set of expectations, (from both sides again), that weren't based on anything but the way we thought things should be.
To this day I still try and deal with the expectations that I put on myself.  Although I make a point to remind myself that I am only human, I do seem to keep reverting back to putting the pressure on myself to be everything to everybody in my family.  I know it's an impossible goal.  And I try to remind myself of this.  But there is the natural protective, nurturing side of a person and there is the learned expectations of what a good wife and mother should be.  And then with me, there are the things I know I can be with my business and with my health, and just everything else.
So I have an idea.  Going forward, to help myself combat expectations that may have good intentions but horrible implications, I am going to remember that feeling when I went away to college.  I am going to remember standing on the streets of Tulsa and looking around, seeing nothing but possibilities.  When there are no expectations, there are only possibilities.  And that is quite the freeing feeling.  And every now and then, when I remember that feeling, I'm going to drop the expectations that I hold on to.  That feeling wasn't because of Tulsa.  That feeling, for me, was because I had dropped all expectations.  And expectations hold root inside me, not on a sidewalk in a new town.  So I can drop them now, just like I did then.  A lot of prayer and a lot of forgiveness, faith, understanding, hope, and love can get me there.  When I'm there, I'm going to soar.  I mean really soar.  With no weight holding me down, how could I do anything but soar? 
Tomorrow already holds a lot of expectations for me.  I've made most of them myself.  But in the morning, when I wake up, I'm going to drop them all.  I'm going to brush all the options off my plate, on to the table.  Then, with a clear and thoughtful mind, I'll choose which things I put back on my plate.  I will intentionally chose, with no preemptive expectations, which things will I take on for that day.
Tonight I am thankful that expectations run wild can go back in to place when stared down and confronted.  I had expectations for today with the kids that didn't all happen.  I had expected a whole list (yes, I wrote a list) of magical, end of summer memories to be made.  We didn't even leave the house until after noon.  But in those earlier day hours, when I was lamenting my gone expectations for the pre-lunch hours, I stopped and I heard my children laughing. I heard them joking with each other and having fun.  Granted, they were enjoying each other's company because they were collectively trying hard not to do their chores.  But, even that camaraderie was enough for them to enjoy the moment and each other.  I didn't expect that.  I expected them to do their chores when I asked.  But I think the better outcome was what my children did without expectations of their own!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Simple

Every once in awhile a picture just paints a thousand words.
Tonight (not just because I'm tired), I'm simply thankful for this life.  I'm thankful to be a mom to my awesome kids.  I'm thankful to live in the country where my kids can enjoy sticking their faces out the car window.  And I'm thankful for an evening sun shining bright on my little boy's face!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Momma Pride

This summer has been pretty "instructional" for some of my children!  I have one child that voluntarily decided to learn extra skills and educational theories this summer.  And she pushed herself all summer!  It is quite satisfying to see her set goals and reach them!
Another child set some physical goals for himself this summer.  And he's worked hard too!  He's worked with much older kids even, to keep pushing himself and go beyond his comfort level!  I love it!
I have another child who set a goal that I thought we would need lessons to accomplish.  I told her though, we just couldn't sign up for the lessons.  The times that they were available was not times that we were available.  But, I saw her out practicing on her own!  She wasn't going to let the lack of lessons (and lack of mom expertise) stop her!  Perfect!
And I have one more child who has set a firm educational goal that he is learning (that's with me . . still something I can help with!).  But even more, he has hit some good growing up benchmarks.  His maturity goals weren't really his choice; they were more mandated from me.  But he's been working towards them anyway!  I'm so proud!
Tonight I am thankful that each of my children has made some big accomplishments this summer!!  I plan to congratulate them individually - I have given them encouragement along the way!  But tonight seemed like a good opportunity to acknowledge them publicly!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No Cheer Blood

I've read several different places and times the idea that a good leader, or intelligent person, or anything along those lines; knows to surround themselves with people smarter than themselves.  Well almost a year ago now, I signed myself up for just such a situation!
This is not a situation that I would be in if I didn't have children who love a certain sport.  Both of my businesses operate because I have a good base of knowledge about what I'm doing.  I do surround myself with smarter people in both industries.  I ask a lot of questions and I'm continually learning new things.  But I have that good base built to start on!
My latest endeavour of taking over the Cheerleading program for 3rd thru 8th grade at our school is not at all a similar situation.  I was a cheerleader for two football seasons in high school.  And I pretty much decided to join then on a whim.  I've never had cheerleading in my blood or anything.  I am naturally energetic and I like football, so in high school; it seemed like a good fit.  The first year I coached, it had been at least a dozen years since I had cheered myself.
It turns out that both of my girls naturally just love cheerleading.  The first year I coached, it was just so that they could have a squad . . there was no other volunteers.  No one sought me out here.  I had no idea what I was doing!  I had some wonderful parent helpers and we made it thru!
Four years later, here I am with the whole program.  I am in my element at the helm.  I can plan this thing well.  I've got tons of ideas.  I've got some good people to get ideas from.  We've are working well together.  And I can admit, as I have to my wonderful partners here, that actually coaching cheerleading is really not my thing.  I just don't know enough to coach it well.  And right now, with everything else that is on my plate; I don't care to learn enough about it to be an excellent coach.
So tonight I am thankful that I am surrounded by wonderful people who actually do know what they are doing!  You better believe that I am praying about this.  I don't want to let the girls down.  And more and more qualified people just seem to keep falling in my lap!  I love it!  This thing will be a success!  It will be due to the hard work of all these people who know what they are doing!  And due to a God who considers even prayer requests about cheerleading from a mom who doesn't want to let her girls down!
P.S.  If you would have told me, in my senior year of high school, that I would grow up and do this - I would not have believed you for a minute!  I hear other ex-cheerleaders talk about the good old days when they did this awesome stunt or competed at this competition.  My favorite cheer memory was the time I carried an injured football player around on my back at half time because he bet that I couldn't do it ;)




Monday, August 22, 2016

11 Months

It has been 11 months (actually 10 months and 24 days) since I fell and tore my PCL.
After watching the hubster and all his knee stuff over the years, I was as close as I could permit myself to be of a model patient.  I wore my straight brace when I was supposed to.  I wore my adjustable brace when I was supposed to.  I did my exercises at home.  I did every bit of physical therapy I could do.  I pushed and pushed myself.  I elevated it. I  iced it.  I rested it.  And I held on to the glimmer of hope that within a year's time, I'd be running again.
I've had some major improvements.  And I've relaxed a bit on the physical therapy; honestly, mostly because I've gotten frustrated.  I get a good resolve to keep pushing and then it swells up again and I feel like it's two steps forward and one step back.  Or maybe two steps back and one step forward.  I can't really tell yet.
I do know, I'm not close to running yet.  Every time I exercise, my knee swells up.  I've been working so much lately, and not elevating anything, that now I'm swelling from my knee down to my toes.  Now I can't wear my regular shoes half the time.  Grr!
And then I get to where I am tonight.  I've been here before.  I have to calm myself down.  I am very blessed to have two legs to walk around on, this I know!  But I want to run again.  My son is doing Cross Country and I want to go run with him!
I've been here mentally before.  And I'm sure I'll get back here again.  Tonight I've got a little different game plan.  I'm going to focus my leg training on support again, building up the good muscles around the scarred one.  I've bought some compression training socks, to hopefully help with the constant swelling.  And I just got in today (thanks to Amazon Prime) a inflammation formula lotion to massage in to my knee.  It got rave reviews online, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.  My knee is tingling right now as I type.  I was happy to see many natural ingredients!
Tonight I am thankful for not giving up.  I'm sure I'll continue on this roller coaster of resolve for quite awhile; especially with my year deadline coming so quickly.  I won't give up after a year!  I will continue on.  And I will get back to running!!!  And I won't break myself doing it ;)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Low Necklines

Me and my 13 year old girl had a talk yesterday about clothes.  *sigh*
There is such a fine line to walk with something as simple and as necessary as clothes.  My girl loves fashion.  But ya know what . . a lot of fashion does not meet school dress codes.  That part is pretty much cut and dry.  I mean the guidelines are spelled out in black and white.
The larger issue gets a lot more personal.  My daughter told me how people at school said this person dressed like a slut.  Or said that person looks trashy.
I've heard comments from my daughter herself - though thankfully not that mean-spirited.  And I'm sure I've made comments myself too; although I wouldn't be proud of it.  I don't believe there is a person on this Earth that has not had thoughts or comments about another person's appearance.  It just seems to be human nature.  We look and we form an opinion.  And we forget that our opinion doesn't matter and shouldn't be given attention.  So we are a work in progress.
And the truth is that we are all a work in progress.  So when I tell my daughter that other's opinions about her appearance say more about them than it does about her; I mean it.  And I hope she sees that.
I explained to her how I have had several people, especially now as a mom, make inferences to the neckline of my shirts.  Not one person making those comments knows or fully understands that I can't stand shirts that are close to my neck.  It makes me feel like I'm choking.  I don't expect people to understand that.  It's just a quirky thing about me.  I rarely wear t-shirts.  And when I do, they are usually very large so that the neck is loose.  So because I have a chest and a generally relaxed neckline, I must be trying to show myself off.  That's what I hear anyway.
I shared this with my daughter.  I told her that those comments don't bother me anymore.  There was a time that they did.  But I realized one day that the people who say those things are the ones with the problem. No one had a conversation with me about it.  They just looked at me and started running their mouths.  All I did was stand there.
I also explained to my daughter that I do understand (and she should also) the flip side of the issue.  I do understand how the way that I dress myself is taken by others.  I do understand that some people interpret the way I dress to mean a variety of things - and some of those interpretations bring unwanted attention.  There are those who think that myself, and others, get up every morning and get dressed to "send a message" or seek attention.  That really isn't the case.  But in this world, you have to be aware of your surroundings.  And on some days the people in my surroundings may be people that think I put my clothes on in the morning with the intent of inviting their attention to me.
The moral of the clothing discussion was: dress how you like, for you and not anyone else, do it with decency, reasonable modesty, (if you wouldn't wear it in front of Grandma, don't wear it . . period) and without care for how the world rates your style.  I think the only people who should really care about how the world interprets their clothes style would be fashion designers . . . and you know, pretty much because that is their job!  Anyone else should be concerned with giving their own stamp of approval to the image in the mirror in the morning; remembering to keep a deaf ear and a watchful eye.
Tonight I am thankful for children with their own sense of style.  I am thankful for this time to remind them to be who they are and dress in what they like; and to keep a hint of reality in their thoughts. It is easy to get very idealistic that they should wear whatever they want all the time.  But they will be adults one day and this world is not an idealistic world.  It is nice to be comfortable in your skin. And sometimes being comfortable in your style can really help with that!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Late Deals

Usually by now I've spent at least a few weeks doing some bargain school shopping.  I haven't hit any of the penny sales at Office Max.  I haven't compared all the ads.  Nope, I just hadn't done it.
I do have a tote that has some back to school clothes that I've grabbed on clearance since spring.  When I opened the tote today, I found that my girls seem to have been in there, as only boy clothes were left!  Clothes-loving girls!
Well the girls and I went out tonight.  They are set now!  And I think I've got everything on the class lists for all four kids.  The boys get to go out tomorrow.  With clearances and sales, we saved close to $400 tonight!  I'd have to sit down and calculate it all out to be certain (and I'm not going to).  I absolutely love buying things dirt cheap!  I think my biggest steal of the evening was a pair of shoes for the boys for $3.  They look like they'll be pretty good running shoes too!
Tonight I am thankful for finding such good deals with my later-in-the-season school shopping!  After the boys stuff tomorrow, a few more boxes of tissues and cleaning wipes and we'll be ready to go!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Good Byes

This has been a week that has made me very happy that it is over!  I've never been a fan of good-bye's.  And I've had to do too many of them this week.
So tonight, I'm tired.  I'm going to bed.  And I will go to bed thankful that this week has come to a close.  I am thankful that I have no more good byes visible in my future.  And I will be thankful that good byes aren't a forever thing.  But it's been hard and we've survived, and now we rest . . for a night at least ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last Little Bit

Dear Child,
  I gave you space inside my own body.  My body gave you my food, my warmth, my blood, and any protection I could offer.
  I gave you diapers, clothes, and blankets.  I gave you my time that I would have been sleeping.  I gave you my time when I would have been eating the warm food on my own plate.  My body gave you food.  My arms gave you support.  I gave you cuddles, hugs, kisses, and songs.
  I gave you a hand to hold as you learned to walk.  I gave you a safe place to land when you fell.  I gave you food cut up in to little pieces.  I gave you my lap to sit on and hear stories.  I gave you the TV remote to watch cartoon animals of all varieties sing songs.
  I gave you my bravest face as you turned and walked away from me, in to a classroom.  I gave you chances to try things that interested you.  I gave you patience as you burned the millionth food in the kitchen.  I gave you encouragement and faith that you could cook something without burning it.  I gave you a smile as I ate food that I didn't want to look at as it came to my mouth.
  I gave you my best effort to become more grown up myself and take care of adult-like things so that you wouldn't have to worry or even be aware of such things until you are older.  I gave you my honest opinion, even when I knew it would upset you . . which upsets me.  I gave you a hand with your hair.  I gave you strong encouragement to brush your teeth one more time.  I gave you rides to the dentist.  I gave you rides to the doctor.
  I gave you my pillow.  I gave you my blanket.  I gave you my sweatshirt.  I gave you my fuzzy slippers.  I gave you my scissors (which then disappeared forever).  I gave you forgiveness when you broke my favorite cup.  I gave you somewhere around 10,000 pencils and pens.  I gave you my editorial comments on your school projects.  I gave you my duct tape.  I gave you my scotch tape.  I gave you more and more and more scotch tape. Seriously, what did you do with all of it?
  And on a day like today, when I am just exhausted.  Exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally.  On a day like today when I cry from being so tired and I dream of spending the next week in bed; on a day like today I gave you what I could find left inside of me to keep going.  You had been looking forward to watching the Lions play for weeks now.  I didn't look at the calendar close enough when I found these tickets to realize the state that I would be in tonight.  But I gave you what I could muster and we drove an hour and a half to fight thru traffic, find our way thru the crowd, and get to our seats.  And when you hugged me so tight with that beautiful, excited, pure child joy smile, you gave me everything I ever needed to make everything I gave seem so inconsequential.  What I gave is nothing in comparison.  What you give me is everything.
  Tonight I am thankful for our first time at Ford Field.  I am thankful for finding $6 tickets.  I am thankful that my boys saw how tired I was and were OK not staying for the whole game.  And I am most thankful that another childhood dream came true tonight for my #1 Lions fan and his brother who had fun, but still prefers to watch the Tigers play!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Again . .

I'm not anti-Brittany Spears.  But I'm not really a fan either.  I'm kind of neutral I suppose.  But today I was very close to singing, "Oops, I did it again".
It all started last week.  My daughter really wanted me to not bring any work on our Chicago trip.  I started last week behind in work.  I worked long hours, every day.  I was sleeping 4 hours each night.  I got so close to being caught up, though not at all ahead.
Then we lost our loved one.  It's just hard to keep working sometimes.
I explained that I would need to bring some work with me because we would have the funeral once we got back.  She understood.  But really, there wasn't a ton of extra time to get work done.  Pretty much just the train ride and a couple hours in the hotel in the morning.
After the last few days, I've just been exhausted - physically and emotionally.  I'm behind again.  Quite a bit behind actually, as my mind and concentration have just not been where it needs to be.  It is stressful.
This morning I left for an appointment, after not having done enough at my desk . . . again.  And I could almost physically feel the stress I was carrying.  I was driving and praying.  In my prayers I asked for help.  Then it dawned on me . . again.  I had done it again.  I had tried to take all this life stuff on myself.  And the stress was wearing on me.  I wondered why does it take me getting so dragged down to ask God for help?  Why do I have to be on the verge of exhausted tears before I pray for peace and strength?  I've been here before.  And here I am again.
I am thankful tonight that God is patient and forgiving, because I am stubborn and narrow-visioned at times!  I am thankful that every time I pray for peace, I find peace.  Not always in my time, but always in God's.  I know that it will take a lot of work to unbury myself from this work hole I am in.  This time I am being smarter though.  I have been turning away work, quite a bit of work.  I am not accepting any new work at the moment.  I remembered today that peace does not come from a cleaned and caught up desk, but from God.  And I remembered today that God gave me a mind to make good decisions about my life and myself; like decisions on not working myself out of sleep and a sound mind!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Little Sunshine

I really don't like funerals.  I don't.  I know that some people need them for closure.  I'm just not one of those people.
It isn't the casket.  I've been to memorial services that I don't like just the same.  It is the sadness.  It is the heavy spirit of loss that settles in a room.
Don't get me wrong, as far as services go, today was well done.  It was nice.  There was nice sharing of warm memories and funny stories.  That was all good.
Feeling such love on a day just after a day where I was in a big city, noticing the disconnect amongst people; I mean the love shines even brighter.  It kind of made me think a little more I guess.  Yesterday we saw several homeless people.  The girls wanted to help.  They wanted to help every single homeless person they saw.  Of course, as an adult, I am weary.  And they knew to be slightly that way also.  But they wanted to make a difference and brighten some one's day.
What if we did that?  What if every person that was at that funeral home today to remember a loving woman, went out and found someone who needed a little sunshine?  And what if they smiled at that person, or talked to them for a minute, or gave them a bite to eat?  What if we did that today and made that the way to honor a loved one?  I think that'd be great.  And I think if heaven had a window, that loved ones would be radiant looking thru down to Earth and see us spreading love in their honor as we remembered the good times with them.
Tonight I'm thankful for being on this Earth another day.  I pray to make it a day more filled with love tomorrow; and to spread some sunshine whenever I feel a little blue about today.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Surprised!

These last two days were filled with lots of fun and new things!  I think the biggest surprise, for me anyway, was today at lunch.  The girls and I were hungry!!  We were searching around, looking for some place filling to eat lunch.  Finally, across the way I saw a restaurant!  All I could see, from Pillars and stuff in the way was "Harry".
Thankfully my first thought wasn't something "hairy", because that really isn't a good thought along with food.  My first thought was Lou and Harry's.  I'd eaten there in Lansing.  I could see this wasn't exactly the same name, but it had to be good, right?
The restaurant was actually Harry Caray's.  They had delicious food!  And just for dining there, we got free admission in to their Sports Museum.  I'll admit I wasn't exactly thrilled.  So we'd get to read stats and see maybe a used pair of sneakers, right?  Wrong!
That place was so neat!  It was really designed to drawn a person in to the world of the athlete.  From trying on a concrete pair of big shoes, to seeing if your hand can fit the imprint on a basketball from a famous pro, to a virtual golfing game, and much more; it was pretty awesome!  The girls had fun there.  I had fun there!  We weren't even watching the time.  And all that was for free, just for eating our delicious lunch!
Tonight I am thankful for our surprise yummy lunch and interactive sports museum combo that we stumbled on today!  Chicago has it's big attractions that make the front lines of the tourist sites, and it has it's secret gems that are there just waiting to be discovered!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Not Feeling It

On Friday, we lost my husband's grandma.  It is hard to write about things like that sometimes, because it's hard to find something to be thankful for.
Yes, she isn't in pain anymore.  Yes, she is reunited with her husband again.  But I don't Feel thankful for those things.
But, ya know what?  When I first started this blog, the purpose was to find something to be thankful for; thankful enough to write lots of words about it.  At that point in my life, I knew I had lots of good things, but I didn't Feel thankful for them.  There was so much bad along with the good, that I had a hard time feeling blessed.  I knew I was though.  I knew it.
It's hard when there are things that you know to be true; but you don't feel them.  It would be nice if your mind and your heart lined up with every thing that comes along in life.  But it doesn't happen that way.  In fact, maybe it shouldn't happen that way.  And that is why God gave us these things as separate gifts; because the mind and the heart each have their own strengths, but still shouldn't be given free reign in our lives individually.
So tonight I'm sitting at a desk, in a hotel room, in Chicago with my daughter and her Girl Scout troop.  They'd been planning this trip for over a year.  Grandma would have wanted Elaina to go.  We will be back in time for the funeral.  And although I'm not feeling it, I will be thankful that she is not in pain anymore.  The reality is that she was in pain for a long time, so the relief is good.
And the truth is that she is reunited with her husband again.  She lost him last year.  Decades of marriage and life together, and she was left alone.  The reality is that being reunited is a good thing for her.
Tonight I will be thankful for putting aside feelings and reminding myself of the things to be thankful for with life right now.  I am thankful that we could still do this Chicago trip and be back for the funeral.  I am thankful that Grandma is in peace now.  And I am thankful that we had a good day today exploring the Windy City.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What Did You Do?

Getting towards the final weeks of summer now. . .  it seems like I have these moments every year about this time.  The moments of feeling like maybe I didn't do "enough" over the summer for the kids.
We haven't taken a whole week off and skipped town.  We haven't remodeled their bedrooms.  We haven't ran off every weekend on an adventure.  We haven't done lots of things.
I'll be honest, this wasn't a big deal before school.  When the kids were all littler, it didn't matter.  Summer was just like any other time.  Now though, they'll go back to school and they'll be asked, "How was your summer?"  "What did you do this summer?"  And those are very valid questions to ask.  And of course, as a parent, I want them to have a good answer that makes them feel proud and happy to report about.
Which brings about my annual feelings of possible inadequacy, did we "do" enough?
So here's my annual answer to myself, Yes.  Yes, we did do enough.
When I think to my childhood, I remember taking some trips.  And those were fun!  But when I think of summer, I think of being home, sleeping in, reading, playing in the yard, and just enjoying life!  Of course at that time, I didn't know that "enjoying life" was what I was doing, but it was.  I was being a kid.
This summer, we have done quite a few things.  And we have a couple more things planned.  But we've been home a lot too.  The kids have played in the yard.  They've lounged around the house.  They've played.  They've fought.  They've made up.  And they've played again.  Sometimes, the best things in life aren't planned.  And besides the things on the calendar, the best thing we've done this summer is be a family, together, in our home, working on life and love and fun.
Tonight I'm thankful that the best things in life can't be answered in a list of things done.  I'm thankful that we did do some of the list of things done stuff too.  But I'm more thankful for the things that happened unscheduled, the laughter, the pretending, the inventing, the reading, and the growing in love together.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Too Hard

I pushed too hard this week.  I knew I was pushing too hard.  I know if I were to look at my blog posts from a few months ago I would see my goals to get more sleep and be nicer to my body.
But then I made this crazy goal of having all debts paid off in one year.  Right after that I went a little crazy.  I accepted waaayy too much work.  And I've been paying for it.
I laid down for about 20 minutes tonight and then tried to get back up.  My head laughed at me, like a cruel, evil laugh as it made every nerve in the front half of my brain tighten in protest to my relentless pushing.  So I'm here in bed.  And I'm going to go to sleep now, before 7, on a Friday.
Tonight I am thankful that when I ignore my body's little signals, it will eventually slap me around.  I really don't want to do great damage to my health.  My intentions are only to try and clean up the work mess that I created for myself.
Lesson learned.  I will still keep my crazy goal.  But I will include some thoughtful, conscious decisions to getting there . . . 'cause this all or nothing approach is not a good one!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Fruit Salad

I am exhausted.  I have been pushing, pushing, pushing with work.  
But tonight I took a little time off for friends and family.  It was heartwarming to see my children play so well with my dear friend's daughter!  There were all pretty cute!  
And it was so generous of my friend to make us dinner (I forgot to bring my promised fruit salad . . . I need to write EVERYTHING down apparently)  And then she offered her assistance and her expertise.  
Tonight, as I am heading off to bed, I am thankful for a relaxing night away from work spent with loved ones.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

She Made It!

I was up this morning working in the dark.  I thought about getting a flashlight to go check on my sick animal.  I was pretty worried about how she made it thru the night.  But I waited.
When the sun finally decided to get up this morning, I put on my boots and headed out to the barn.  As I walked out, I saw two of the animals in the pen standing there, but I didn't see my sick one.  I got closer and saw her laying on the ground, my heart sank.  I rounded the corner of the barn where I'd have a full view.  And she was alive!  She picked her head up and looked at me :)
I went and got some food to entice her to get up.  She got up, pretty shaky, but she did it!  She walked over to the food too!
Throughout the day we've went out and checked on her.  She's stayed pretty much the same.  She's not super sturdy on her legs.  I guess time will tell if this will improve or not.  Luckily, her pen mates have been her buddies for life.  So they are watching out for her.  They aren't going to beat her up for being sickly.
Tonight I am thankful that the medicine from last night worked!  I was thankful last night, but still cautious.  I just wasn't sure how she'd do over the night.  That just made my entire today by starting out seeing those bright eyes looking at me this morning!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Chance

It's been a long evening.  Much longer than I had anticipated.
We have a sick animal.  And tonight found me running to the farm supply store for medicine.  I got back home and gave the medicine, and things seem to be turning around!  The hubster says I shouldn't get too excited.  But he's more of a doubtful guy.
I do acknowledge the reality that night not be good for a fluffy friend, but I'm hoping!
Tonight I am thankful for medicine in a farm store just ten minutes from here!  Years and years ago, our pet would be dead already.  At least for now there's a chance.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Converted Garage

I know it seems that I may be talking about work a bit lately on here.  But, oh well.  Today I was at a house where the family had converted the two car garage in to an attached apartment / suite for family.
At first the man said, "for parents or children, or whoever".  So I first think of grown children who move back home to live.  Because, that happens.  Well, as I talked with this couple, they told me that both of their parents had utilized this apartment, and the woman's son.  He was a quadriplegic and had been getting progressively worse.
When he couldn't live in his apartment anymore, he moved in with them.  And when he got bad enough that they couldn't move him by themselves anymore, they installed a lift.  He passed away last fall.  The woman's eyes teared up and the man kept talking to steer the conversation away.
We moved thru the house and the woman mentioned that they were going to have a garage sale soon.  They had been going thru their things, and then there were her son's things, she said.  And his things out in the pole barn; a car, a boat, and some other things.  She disappeared in the house shortly after.  It was one of those stupid moments when I just couldn't form any words.  I mean really, what words are there for that.  She was lost in despair.  I put my hand on her arm and offered a small smile.  She smiled back before she left.
Tonight I am thankful for every parent who takes care of their children and loves them with their entire being . . especially when life's road takes a bad turn.  I can't even imagine the grief that this woman has.  And I hope and pray that I never do find out.  Tonight I pray that she finds peace somehow knowing that she took care of her baby when he needed her.  I pray that she finds comfort knowing that he is at peace now.  And if you could, please say a prayer for her too.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

$6 Tickets

It dawned on me while I was taking Sammy to the Tiger's game the other day that this was our fourth year in a row going together to take in a game.  I think that is a good start to our tradition!
That also means that the boy was 8 years old when I took him to his first game.  Last year we took Cody with us.  This year he said he didn't really want to go.  Cody has lost a lot of interest in baseball, which is fine.  It's just not his sport.  That's ok.  Cody does absolutely love the Lions.
I have problems with the idea of going to sit and watch a football game in the snow.  And really I wouldn't want to try and go during kiddo football season.  So the snowy games would be pretty much all that would be open for us.
I got on their website to look around and thought, Hey, we don't have to go a season game.  The boy won't care!  So I started looking at pre-season games.  Then I hopped off the Lion's site and got on a discount ticket site.  $6/seat!  Not horrible seats either.  Not the best seats, but certainly not the worst!  I told Cody and he was so excited!  He wanted to invite Sammy too.  So the three of us will be going to watch the Lions and I'm paying more for parking than I am for the tickets.  That's not bad!
Tonight I am excited to find something to share with my Lions fan!  I've never been to Ford Field before, so that will be fun for all three of us!  The girls' special outing is being planned too.  And soon everyone's special outing will be complete!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Judgment

Ok, we've all see them right?  That parent who is there at some fun place, like the park or the zoo, and is on their phone.  And I'm sure we've all passed judgments; like, they should be more present.  They should be paying attention.  They should put the phone down and interact.  I've really tried, especially lately, to keep those judgments to a minimum.
I've been to those places with my kids and been on my phone.  Not for long, but my work follows me.  There are times that I ignore that ridiculous electronic square that tries to control my life.  But there are other times that I can't.  "Well, you always have a choice".  Yes, I do.  And I choose to keep my business going.  I choose to be present with my kids and explain to them that I may have to take a call or answer an email so I don't lose clients; which equals losing business; which equals losing income; which equals well, a lot of negative stuff.
Anyway, today was a first for me.  We have had plans for over a week to go to the lake today.  We were going to go last weekend, but the weather wasn't the best.  So there it was on the calendar.Saturday August 6th, "LAKE" in big letters.  But I am quite behind with work.  I had several orders that were on hold waiting for a variety of things that all came present this week.  Well, I already had a full week planned, and then all these extras on top was simply not possible.
Last night at dinner, I told the family how behind I was and one of the kids said "just bring your laptop".  Of course, my answer was "no".  I mean how could I bring work to the lake?
Well let me tell you, it really wasn't a bad idea.  There was no way I was going to miss a family day at the lake.  And I really would have stressed myself in to a migraine going to the lake while trying to forget all that was here at my desk.  I mean, these two days, today and tomorrow - this is my chance to catch up and not have a horribly stressful week again next week.  I need these days.  So I did it, I brought the work to the lake.
Without gloating too much, I will say that I have become quite a multi-tasker over the years.  There really wasn't any choice with building a business at home while having babies.  I have even, on occasion, carried on two different conversations with two different children, at the same time.  I wouldn't have thought that was possible, but I've found that it is most certainly is.
Anyway, we were there, at the lake.  I had my batteries charged up in my phone and laptop.  I had my phone's mobile hot spot on.  I swam in the lake.  I played that bean bag game that you throw in the board with the hole (I think that game has about a dozen different names depending on who you talk to).  I ate lunch.  I listed to my kids laugh.  I listened to their stories.  And I got some work done too.
I will tell you that I got very snooty looks from others at the beach.  But I felt to accomplished.  I was there for my family.  I wasn't stressing about not getting work done.  I even laid out on the folding lawn chair in the sun for a few.
Tonight I am thankful for an understanding family!  I am thankful for work that travels.  I am thankful that I don't give a flying fig about the judgments of those cocked eyebrow people at the beach!  And I am thankful to have had a fun in the sun day with my family while getting work done!
P.S. If anyone finds a beach ball floating around a lake in Jackson County, that was us.  Turns out I can't swim very fast with a healing knee.  My knee is swollen now from trying.  Hopefully someone finds it and can have fun with it!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday

For awhile I wasn't getting excited about Fridays anymore.  I work weekends, even if just for a few hours.  I can't remember the last weekend that I didn't work.  So Fridays were just another day.
The last several Fridays I've gotten a little more excited.  Only about a third of my appraisal clients work weekends.  So weekends are a time to do more fun realtor work and try to catch up on appraisal work.
This week just started out so bad.  I don't remember having a day as bad as this Monday was in a long, long time.  Tuesday got a little better.  Wednesday got a little better, especially ending with fun family time at the fair.  Thursday was better with the fun ballgame with my son.  But even with that, I had to keep the mindset not to stress about the work I left at home.  Believe me, I kept that mindset and we had fun!  And we walked out of the ballpark and I saw all the voicemails on my phone, I intentionally did not check a single one until we were back home.  Today was the best day yet.
And I'm excited it's Friday.  I have a lot to get done this weekend!  But, there is a whole lot of possibilities to kick some butt for two whole days without constant phone and email distractions!
Tonight I am thankful for Friday.  I am thankful for a weekend without impatient people.  And I am thankful for sleep . . . 'cause I'm going to bed right now.  I am excited to go to bed at 8:10 on a Friday!  Seriously excited!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Our Thing"

It's been several weeks since I bought tickets for me and my boy to go see the Tigers.  I kind of don't like buying tickets in advance because you never know what the weather will be like.  But, oh well.
I had no idea at the time that I would be quite behind with work.  There was no way that would want to not go to this.  So today I ignored everything besides my kids.  Ok, well I did a little work first thing in the morning and more tonight.  But during the day, the kids and I went to their lessons.  Then my boy and I took off for our game.  I ignored my phone pretty well.
I have a lot to catch up on now.  Oh well.
We had a great time!  This is our fourth year in a row going.  And I really want to make it an annual thing.  I want each of them to have an "our thing" that we do special just them and I.  And Tigers is it for this boy!  I searched online until I found some awesome seats for a great price!  He brought his mitt, hoping he might catch a foul ball.  Three foul balls went to the section next to us!  I'm plugging a note in to my calendar on where to get seats at next year! :)
Tonight I am thankful for some time with my boy.  One year he took friends with us.  Last year I took both boys - the other son didn't want to come this year.  And that was fine.  He and I will find our own special thing too.
Oh, and I am thankful that we found parking after driving around for awhile!  And I'm thankful our walk to and from our car (several blocks) was safe and divinely guided :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Better than Fair

Tonight was our family fun night at the fair.
First of all, once again I am thankful for our Dave Ramsey lifestyle and budgeting.  Normally I feel horrible for the amount of money we spend at the fair for 6 people.  This year, it was budgeted for.  The only thing I should do differently next year is inform the hubster ahead of time that it is budgeted for.  I guess I forgot to tell him it was planned for, 'cause he started feeling bad for how much we were spending.  I told him "It's ok".  But that's not the same as "It's in the budget!".  We're all cleared up on that matter now!
I have to share my absolute favorite moment from the fair tonight.  Cody wanted to go on an elephant ride (I know the picture is of a dragon ride - that's because that's where I could take a good picture of the two of them!).  Ok, so Cody wanted to go on the elephant ride.  Gracie wanted to go also.  They both went on and then Gracie came back off.  She realized how high the elephants  went and she changed her mind.  That left Cody on there by himself.  That made me a little nervous.
He is only recently getting big enough to not be on the "kiddie" rides.  So, by himself, up high, might not end well.  Big brother was to the rescue!  He heard me trying to get the ride attendant's attention and helped me call for him.  The attendant said that big brother could come on and take his sister's place on the ride.  Then the boys couldn't get the bar up so he could sit down.  He very responsibly and politely went and got help again.  Then the ride started.
Then I saw big brother's face.  Then I remembered that he is a tad afraid of heights.  I think that's about when he remembered it too!  So here's what I love, he selflessly came to his little brother's aid without any concern for himself.  Watching his face, even after he got nervous, he tried to laugh and hide it so his little brother wouldn't get scared.  You'd never guess that earlier in the day, the two had each other in headlocks.
Tonight I am thankful for brotherly, selfless love!  There are times when these two are out for blood with each other.  But when there is ever a need, they are there for each other with love and nothing else!



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sanity

Yesterday about got to me.
I think I do pretty well with stress honestly.  That isn't my ego talking.  That is years and years of NOT dealing well with stress.  That is times of letting the stress get to me and hurting ones that I love.  That is slowing down, intentionally, to figure out how to handle things and how to keep a good perspective.
Yesterday I wasn't doing well with all that though.  Some days I wish I had a job I could take a few days off from and have someone cover for me.  This whole work for yourself and work from home thing gets old when home = office with family in it.  But that's on me.  It really is.
It's my perspective.  Today I reminded myself of the blessings of this job; the biggest of all to be able to be here for my kids. This has been the summer of dentist and orthodontist appointments (two more tomorrow!).  And I have been able to take the kids to all the appointments.  I have to leave for appointments, and this bums them out.  But, sometimes they get to come with me.
Today I did better.  I ignored my emails for hours on end.  I sent pretty much every phone call to voicemail.  I just ignored the world while I did my work.  It was nice.
Ok, so that isn't the model of customer service.  But the real estate lending market is on fire right now.  Which means I have appraisal clients thinking the world will end tomorrow if an appraisal isn't done yesterday.  And somehow they think being a pain in my a*$ will get them their report faster (PS, it just slows me down to deal with correspondance when I should be concentrating on properties).  They're just wrong.  The world will keep on turning.
Tonight I am thankful for taking some steps to preserve my sanity.  Tomorrow I will probably do the same thing.  And the next, and the next.  I work very hard.  I work pretty quickly.  And asking me to do anything beyond that is asking too much.  I will grant myself permission to ignore things that aren't necessary, to be thankful for the the opportunity to have this job, and to remember the blessings above the irritations.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Splish Splash . . Dentist

I am surprised my phone didn't burst in to flames today.  Phone calls, texts, emails, all day long, *ding*  *ring*  *buzz*.  I was at one house appointment for under 20 minutes and my phone went off 15 times.  I was getting fairly annoyed.  (To any of my friends or family who contacted me, you are ok!  It was my needy appraisal clients that were picking away at my sanity today.)
After that ridiculously interrupted house appointment, I went back to my car and was playing my voicemails rather crankily.  Then one sounded different.  The lady was from the kids' dentist office.  Strange, since I had just been there with kids last week.  They had to call because one of my children won their give-away!  Passes to a water park!
When I told my child that she had won, she was so excited!!  As was I :)
What is funny about this, is that my son won water park passes and a hotel stay from the orthodontist office a few years back!
Now, if this isn't incentive enough to keep your children going to the dentist, I don't know what is!
Tonight I am thankful for some free passes to a water park!  And I am thankful for the child who won them!  She's been having a bit of a rough time lately.  This was good timing for something extraordinarily wonderful to happen for her :)