Thought(s) of the Day: Inspirational and/or amusing Nuggets of Wisdom

Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation in our hearts. Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ's birth, Christ is reborn in our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
~Edward Hays

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
~John E. Southard

Thursday, August 26, 2010

See, What Happened Was....

So much for sticking to my one blog entry a week commitment. In retrospect, I probably should have set the bar a little lower, much lower. How about an entry per month? Or perhaps I can squeeze one in each quarter. We'll see. In all seriousness, I really love writing - almost as much as you guys LOVE reading my blog!
Because I owe it to you, my faithful, devoted reader(s), here are all the reasons you haven't heard from me lately....
Top Ten Things I've Been Doing This Summer
Instead of Blogging
10. Three month trip to Europe....I wish! I just thought that sounded good. Although there has been no European traveling this summer, the boys and I have enjoyed a wonderful summer...continue reading list for more exciting details....
9. Swimming with the boys. They have both really progressed in the water. I remember what a chore it was last summer even getting them to go completely under. They are now little fish enjoying the water with confidence and ease.
8. Peddling steel coils. From January through July I was working inside sales for a steel company. They're a middle man with much of their product ending up in automobiles. I had a great boss and co-workers and especially enjoyed earning a paycheck again.
7. Being a human pincushion. In preparation of entering the hospitals this fall, I've had the pleasure of receiving every vaccine ever made. Okay, maybe not every single one, but it sure felt like it.
6. Celebrating our country's independence. We spent the July 4th holiday in Leiper's Fork (south of Nashville) with my amazing family and some dear friends. What a wonderful day of celebration! My kickball team emerged victorious, the boys learned the fine art of cornhole, and we consumed a ton of delicious homemade BBQ and s'mores. A proud moment for me personally was listening to Ethan recite (with a little help from Laura) his section of the Declaration of Independence. The perfect day closed with a breathtaking fireworks display! Hands down the most incredible amateur fireworks display ever!
5. Shopping! Not as exciting as it sounds. I'm talking back to school shopping...for all three of us. The boys' lists included the usual pencils, folders, crayons, etc. My list was a little more unusual with such items as bandage scissors, hemostats, stethoscope, and the ugliest pair of solid white shoes you can find.

4. Catching up on Weeds...the television series, not the activity. I kept hearing how great this show was and decided to watch a few episodes. I was instantly hooked and have managed to watch five seasons in a matter of weeks. Although with school starting back, I know my TV viewing hours are numbered now. Sorry Nancy Botwin, but I'm going to have to put school before my weed addiction.
3. Taking a trip to the E.R for our inaugural sutures. Actually, this accident happened on Daddy's watch so I wasn't there for the initial trauma. Preston and Ethan were goofing off in Ethan's top bunk bed when Preston's head slammed into the railing. Five stitches later I received a phone call from Mr. Ex calming stating, "Now listen, don't freak out but we're leaving Children's Hospital right now..." (Note to all fathers: Never ever begin a sentence with "Don't freak out, but...") After I calmed down and pushed back the images of myself strangling Mr. Ex, I was able to talk to Preston. Here is how our conversation went:
Me: Oh my goodness, P!! Are you okay???!!!
Preston: I'm okay, Mommy...and I didn't even cry!
Me: Holy cow!! You didn't cry??!!
Preston: Well, I cried when I hit my head but not when I got the stitches.
Me: You are so brave!! I'm so sorry this happened to you!
Preston: It's okay. Don't worry, Mommy, chicks dig scars.
2. Survived a trip to Deliverance. No, really. That freaky movie was filmed not too far from the home of my aunt and uncle in Georgia. They live in a beautiful, woodsy, lake community and the boys and I recently spent a weekend there. We were joined by some of our cousins (isn't everyone a cousin in Georgia, though?) and had a wonderful weekend.

1. Catching up with old friends and making some new ones. I've enjoyed some wonderful company, meals, and laughs with dear friends this summer and was blessed to make some new ones, too. Some great memories were made on a couple summer trips. The first was a girls' trip where I (re)learned why I shouldn't take shots. I also spent a fantastic weekend at the lake where I laughed more than I have in awhile.

All in all, it's been a wonderful summer and I'm looking ahead to a great fall semester! I hope your summer has been filled with as much laughter, happiness, and terrific memories as mine! And just in case I go off the grid again for while (not that it's likely, but just in case), I hope fall brings you much joy, too!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Better Eat Your Wheaties!

Summer, is that you? Already?! But it seems like just yesterday I was losing the battle against my spring allergies. And today I find myself roasting in your 90 degree heat. The speed at which time passes never ceases to amaze me. I can hardly believe we'll be celebrating our country's independence next weekend.
I've been enjoying a week of rest and silence at home as my boys are with their father for a bit. I miss them terribly but have welcomed the relaxing break. I forgot how nice it is to sleep with "both ears closed," so to speak. I've been hearing their Star Wars themed daycamp adventure stories every evening in our nightly phone conversations. Ethan has set some world records this week for lengthiest phone call made by an almost 7 year old. Did I just say 7 year old?! Wait, that can't be right. I'm not old enough to have a 7 year old! Have I mentioned how quickly time passes?!
During one of the evening conversations, Preston made a bold prediction. He asked me if I knew who the 3 greatest athletes in the world were. "No, tell me," I replied. Matter of factly (and with a little frustration because I obviously should have known the answer immediately) he says, "Really? Mommy?" .....brief pause, hoping I'll come to my senses and answer his question correctly..... "You know Peyton Manning is one. And of course, Michael Jordan is one." Of course, Manning and Jordan*. Everyone knows that. So I excitedly ask him who rounds out the top 3 best athletes in the world. Again, candidly and confidently (and with more pride than frustration) he exclaims, "Preston M-----! Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, and Preston M----- are the 3 greatest athletes in the world, Mommy!"
Talk about shooting for the moon. That's okay, though. With his confidence, coordination, and drive, I have no doubt he will be a great athlete if he chooses to be. Whether he'll be one of the greatest in the world- we'll leave that discussion for another day. I'm reminded of an anonymous quote I recently came across, "God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them."
So here's to growing into our dreams! And here's to hoping everyone has a wonderful, summer weekend!

*For the record, I realize Michael Jordan might not be the best role model a kid could have. He's had his share of indiscretions over the years, but hey - the man can fly! I'm just happy he didn't include himself in a group with Tiger Woods!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

I have decided to stop putting so much pressure on myself to come up with interesting, creative, lengthy blog posts. I really enjoy writing and what started off as a creative, therapeutic outlet turned into a chore. Not anymore, though. I've made a promise to myself to blog at least twice weekly. Even if I don't have anything interesting or amusing about which to write. I'm not saying this because I think my huge number of followers (okay, so it's actually just a handful of friends and family members) will be happy to hear it. I'm putting it down in writing so I will stick to it....hopefully. That's the plan, anyway.
I'm off to work now and don't have time to share an uplifting blog post, but I did come across a great quote recently that I want to pass along:
How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and there will never be a time when it is not now (Gerald Jampolsky).
There really isn't much more to say than that. Hope you're all doing well and I look forward to writing, sharing, laughing, and hopefully enlightening and entertaining you again soon. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Runners to Your Mark, .....Set, ..... "

I can't tell you how many times I've heard those words throughout my high school and collegiate running days. And every time, I went through the same routine: I jumped a few times, bringing my knees up to my chest to get my blood pumping; shook out my legs, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to shake out the butterflies swarming in my stomach; adjusted and readjusted my starting blocks; crouched down into the blocks, shook out each leg one last time; and as the starter spoke the word "Set," I raised my hips and for the millionth time I repeated a number in my head. The same number I had been focusing on as I practiced each day that week. The same number I kept repeating to myself as I ran my warm up and stretched less than an hour before I approached the line on which I found myself now. The number of seconds in which I hoped to run the race. My Goal.

I think having goals is crucial to being successful. Goals are how we turn our dreams into reality. I like the quote by Diana S. Hunt, "Goals are dreams with deadlines." I couldn't agree more. I believe there are a lot of dreamers in life and dreaming is great. But achieving success requires more than just dreaming. It requires dreaming- and doing. I have found the best way for me turn my dreams into reality is by having goals and making lists. Yes, I'm a List Person. Chances are, if it's not on a list, it's not going to be completed. So in the spirit of lists, setting goals, and achieving success, I'm sharing a handful of my own personal goals for 2010 with you.
Goal #1 I want to be a better mother to my sons. I know this sounds cliche and vague, but let me explain. My goal is to be more present in my interactions with my boys. There's a huge difference between being in the same room as your child, and being Present. I want to focus on being alert and really listening to what they're telling me. Too often my communication with my boys is evaluative or demanding - "Have you brushed your teeth?" "Go straighten up your room." "Have you done this?" "Stop doing that." I'm always focused on the next task needing completion instead of just relaxing and enjoying the moment. I want to start slowing down when I'm spending time with my children. I want to really listen to them, to be alert and responsive to them.
I also want to be a more intentional and consistent disciplinarian with them. Being a single mother means shouldering most of the rule enforcement burdens. Sadly, I tend to let my frustration or exhaustion dictate my response to a rule infraction at any given moment. Whether I completely over react in a moment of anger, or exhausted, I completely ignore a behavior that shouldn't be tolerated, neither scenario is beneficial nor constructive to my boys. My goal is to strive to discipline them more consistently and deliberately so they'll grow into respectful, kind, honorable, productive young men.
Goal #2 Continue practicing forgiveness and resentment free living. I am undoubtedly convinced this is the only path to a happy, fulfilled life. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the perpetrator or the wrong act and everything to do with not identifying or limiting yourself with this event from the past. Life's just too short to carry resentment and pain- let it go. I love the story of the two Zen monks who were walking to a neighboring village. The country path had become muddy from rain. They came upon a woman trying to cross the road but was unable to cross it without ruining the silk robe she was wearing. One of the monks picked her up and carried her to the other side. Over five hours later, as they reached their destination, the other monk couldn't restrain his anger any longer and asked, "Why did you carry that girl across the road? We are monks and are not supposed to do things like that." The other monk simply replied, "I put that girl down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

Goal #3 Wipe out all of my debts and begin saving for a home of our own. This goal is clearly more quantitative than the previous two. Working full-time again has been a big adjustment for all three of us, but our eyes are definitely set on the big picture. Fortunately my debts aren't too outrageous and I hope to erase them by mid-year. Then I can finally start saving funds for our first home as a family of three!

Goal #4 I will run at least two road races this year. I am slowly but surely getting back into running. Actually I wouldn't really call it running yet- it's more of a jog these days, but that's okay. And whether it ever turns into "running" again or continues being a jog, I welcome the challenge and health benefits I'm gaining from my legs finally moving again. Two 5K's, here I come! I'll narrow this goal to specific (and hopefully attainable) finishing times as my body and I become reacquainted.

Goal #5 I will learn to handle and discharge a firearm. I'm sure this goal seems out of place with the others, but it's something I really want to learn. Not that I've ever been around them much, but just the thought of guns has always made me uneasy. This year, I really want to face that fear and become more comfortable around them. The past 18 months of my life have shown me more strength and determination than I ever knew I had. Might as well tackle a big fear of mine while I'm still feeling brave and confident! Wish me luck- and accuracy!

I wish you all the best in 2010! May we all use our determination, talents, and hard work to turn our dreams into realities. Happy New Year!

Come on, what are you waiting for? To your mark...........get GO!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Lighthouse

Have you seen the movie Dan in Real Life? It is one of my absolute favorites! It's a heartwarming story about a father of 3 girls navigating the ups and downs of parenthood, love, and life after losing his wife. This movie makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me hopeful, makes me sing along - it's just a really great flick!
The movie is set in New England and begins with Dan's family (his parents, several siblings, nieces, and nephews) coming together to the family lake house to close it up for the winter. In one scene Dan takes his youngest daughter and 2 of her cousins on an outing. They end up in front of an old lighthouse and the following conversation ensues:

Dan: You know why we have lighthouses?

Child: Because they're neat?

Dan: That's right, yes. And also because they help when it's dark out. They help keep boats safe, and they help us from crashing into rocks. Because, when you're out there, and you're being tossed back and forth by those big dark waves, and you think that you'll never feel land again, and that you could just split into a million pieces, and just sink down all the way down into the deep, it's the light that keeps us on course. It's the light.

Whenever I watch this scene (and I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie!) I can't help but think about my father. He is undoubtedly the lighthouse in my life. Throughout my life, and especially these past 18 months, whenever I have felt close to crashing into the rocks, splitting into a million pieces, and sinking, it's been my father's love, support, and guidance that have kept me on course. From making a tutu of which I was so proud as a child to his sincere wisdom and advice, he has never let me down. He always seems to know what to say while also knowing that sometimes, there just aren't any words at all.
Dad, you'll never know how much you mean to me and I how much I appreciate your love, support, and guidance. I am, by far the luckiest daughter in the world. So thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being My Lighthouse.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Apologies to Susan & Betty

On the drive to school this morning, I was explaining to my 4 year old how Mommy was going to start working soon.

(Sidebar: A couple with which my parents golf knew I was looking for a job and asked for my resume. The husband passed my resume along to his boss. Last Wednesday I interviewed; received an offer on Thursday, and took the job on Friday. I'm going to start my training a handful of days this month and will hit the ground running, working full time January 4th. It's a sales assistant position for a steel processing company. I'm eager to get back into the working world and especially eager to earn a paycheck again!)

Back to the car ride: I finish telling my son that in a few weeks, Mommy will be going to work everyday while he and older brother are at school. Without missing a beat, he giggles and blurts out, "You're silly, Mommy. Girls don't work!" I'm positive I heard Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan rolling over in their graves. I reminded him that his teacher was a girl and she was working everyday. He responded, "She's not working, she's at school." I haven't yet decided if I pity or envy my little boy's future wife. In my sweet son's defense, I have been a stay-at-home mother since he was born. And now I'm about to shatter his sheltered view of the world.

I'm pretty sure my going back to work won't be that upsetting for him, especially when he realizes we're finally able to see movies at "the real movies" (as the boys like to call it) instead the dollar theatre.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What a "Sweet" Afternoon

My oldest son had some classmates over to play this weekend. We couldn't have had better weather, or a better group of children. Including my youngest son, we had a party of six. My Pops threw some wood on the fire pit and we roasted hot dogs for lunch. The kids had a great time running and playing and eating outside. After lunch, we let everyone toast their own marshmallows for some yummy, gooey S'mores. They were a big (messy) hit! Every cheek and smile in the backyard was covered with melted chocolate and marshmallow goo. But the S'mores sure were delicious! The play date was a big success and everyone had a wonderful time.

In the middle of lunch, one of my son's female classmates leaned toward his ear and whispered. They were both smiling ear to ear and let out some cute, squeaky giggles. His eyes lit up and he responded, "Sure! That's sounds really great to me!"

He later tells me that she asked if they could be boyfriend and girlfriend.....and they're kindergartners! He then goes on to tell me, completely serious and with a straight face, "You know, Mom. You might have just met your future daughter-in-law today." It took everything within me not to laugh but I didn't want to hurt his feelings so I kept it together. The moment was so precious and sincere.

I hope everyone's weekend was as carefree, laughter-filled, and gooey as ours was!