Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Are we there yet?

Sometimes I wonder where "there" is. How do you know when you actual get there either? So often people spend there lives searching for something or somewhere, they miss out on what is right in front of them.

I am truly blessed by an awesome supportive family! And I know it! I have a husband who knows how to work every appliance in my house- and does! I have kids that can cook- and do. I have pets that, well, are pets, but show affection in their own way.

I hear people complain about their jobs, how they "hate" corporate American, how they are so happy to live a life free of it (when they leave it). I also hear them complain about their family and what they don't do... seriously? Be grateful they are here! My husband and I work in the public sector (government work) and have never had the "high paying" crazy outlandish salaries people complain about with government work. Not that I would complain... No, we have done the work. Put in the hours (and then some). But not received that pay everyone just assumes all government employees make.

But more importantly along the way we have helped many people, some we knew, most we don't. Our biggest hope was and is to be an example to our children in the same way our parents have been for us. Rich followed in his Father's footsteps and it has led to a great career (and a retirement already!). As for me, I watched my Father pack a suit case for years and travel all over the country on a moments notice to help out several different companies in need, and my Mom's kindness and empathy always impressed me as she dealt with various people. In the dental field I took that compassion to heart, and in my government position I melded both lessons (leaving the suitcase at home) to learn how I could service my community better.

Are we there... yet? Who knows... But I do know that we are very blessed to have great teachers in life that set a path for us to follow. Our road continues to have all sorts of bumps and turns, and with my awesome husband and family... I thoroughly enjoy the ride!

Friday, December 5, 2014

What I've learned at 6:30 am

I am NOT an early bird. I'm not really a late bird (or night owl) either. No I'm a pillow puff. (Aubrism) Give me a nice comfy relaxing place and soft pillow and Wham! I can sleep. (See other blog for details!) But I have found that since my school schedule ended and I have no true desire to start a Doctorate, my "alternate" work schedule hasn't changed one bit.

Coming in to work at 6:30 am has provided me with several insights. Mostly about myself, but some about people, in general.

For one, no one makes coffee in an empty building. When I arrive, I am the first one here most days. I'm here before security. So I'm on my own, literately. No coffee, and no security. Just me and my key card. Locked doors behind me, and hopes no one "finds" there way in.

Sounds are louder when no one is around. I hear everything when I am alone. Yet have the ability to tune out everything when everyone arrives. Peoples phone conversations, doors opening from comings and goings, and even the occasional ring of my own desk phone when I am working on a project.

My hair looks awesome at 6:30 am! Not so much at 4:30 pm. Who knows if its the Florida weather, or my playing with it during the day when I get frustrated, or taking my sunglasses on and off my head all day. But by the end of the day, it shows. Want a "fancy" picture of me? Schedule it early! That's all I'm saying.

Although I am not a "big breakfast" kind of girl, I do enjoy my complete alone time before people arrive to sit at my desk, work on stuff and eat fruit or whatever without being bugged.

I have also learned that when it comes to getting stuff done- it is the best time for me! But I have to be careful. I have sent emails, only to get phone calls from people surprised I was in and then wanting me to look into more or hoping I could take on more without asking my boss. I have returned voice mails (to their voice mail) only to have them call me right back with the same results. So I do review and answer carefully. There are whole groups of people that know I am here and know they can get a hold of me, in a pinch. But that I am using my early time as catch-up time.

When you come in early- you leave early. But I have learned some people don't understand that concept and get upset when they see you leaving. Even though when they arrived to work (almost two hours later) you had work waiting for them on their desks, and you had emailed (or replied to emails) making it clear you weren't at home sleeping in the comforts of your bed... Nope, even before the sun was up you were hard at work answering the unknown.

The biggest thing I have learned at 6:30 am is that I really do type loudly. No I mean it! I thought that my keystrokes weren't all that bad, but man does my keyboard take a beating.

Okay, seriously, I've learned that one of the best things is that when you are struggling in life, all the prayer warriors are up (well most of them anyway). And they are quick to let you know they are thinking of you and will keep you in their thoughts. (I KNOW NOT WHERE YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS GOING).

I am always grateful to all the people in my life that take the time to "follow" what's going, share a laugh, and understand that some things we just have to roll with, some we pray about, the rest we blog about.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kids and "their" legacy

Often I see parents "living the dream" through their kids. The "Monday Morning" quarterback gives new meaning once they become a parent to a child protege. Fights break out (among adults) over the simplest of things, clearly "little Jeter" should have been safe... And no one wants to mess with a parent who is well versed with "the rules". (Well their version of the rules anyway).

I have coached/managed youth sports in the past. I have also sat in the stands during various sports including soccer, softball, baseball, and football learning all along the way- no one is ever really "right". I have learned to walk away. Disagreeing, I might, but arguing, I hold my tongue, saying nothing, and simply nod allowing the other parent (s) to voice their frustrations, and then... walk away...

My hope in the gesture, is that I leave a level headed legacy my children can appreciate. One that my daughter sees as non- confrontational. I don't NEED to be "right", to be "right".  If other parents feel they "won"-okay. But I didn't look like a foul over pettiness. To me, that really is "winning".

As for my kids, I want their legacy to be the same. I want them to hold their heads high. Sure, I don't want them to back away from things, but I also don't want them to fight for the fights sake. I want them to know real compassion. I want them to have honor in the actions they show others. I want their hearts to be a beacon for others to aspire to. At the end of a game, I want others to be encouraged, not because of how many hits or runs my child had, but because of how she lifted her team and encouraged them winning or losing. I want my child's legacy to be one that is talked about for all the positive reasons children should play sports.

I want her ability to laugh at herself and have fun to carry her through her hardest days in life so others see that struggles aren't that bad and do build character. And most importantly, I want people to know, that being close to your family is truly a gift and my kids were stronger because of it. I want people to understand that while my husband and I may not have steamed up the corporate ladder and barreled our way through to the top, we did something even better, we raised an awesome legacy! We are so proud of all our kids and the legacy each one will leave behind.

I LOVE how well rounded she is! One week... Choir concert, softball fields (practices and games), Field Trip, and then Orchestra with me- not to mention school!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who will show up?

Thinking about it, I sometimes wonder. If I were to die today, who would show up? Would it be people wanting to make sure I was really gone? Or would it be a room full of people consumed with grief over the loss from the many ways I have touched their lives?

My hope, the later...

So often we go about our lives collecting business cards, adding Facebook names, putting names in our phone contacts, and boosting our "network". For what? Are we impacting the lives of those people, or hoping those people will answer our call when we need them most for whatever cause we call on them for.

From the kids fundraiser to a too short notice out of town trip with needed pet care, we rely on the contacts in our lives we see flash through our lives, hoping they will respond. Acting annoyed, even, when they have other things on their plates. Seriously?

But then in a flash, it all stops. One day you are gone. It might just be old age, it could be all those sodas you said you didn't drink (when no one was looking). Either way, there's the obituary in the paper that a family member spent hours trying to write. Wanting to honor you, not forgetting anyone, or offending anyone, but also not acting as though you were a patron saint the Vatican has somehow overlooked thus sending the people who really knew you into needless eye-rolling... yes, the end has come... what did your legacy leave for the ones you left behind?

For me, this day will come. I am fully aware of that. It won't come for a billion years, (okay, maybe that's a stretch) but since I live my life like super-mom leaping tall buildings (or at least jogging to the car for an inhaler during a softball try-out) I am sure everyone is stuck with me.

Being stuck with me actually means a few things!
Living your life for others is really not that hard. Its not the "being a mom" living your life type. Sure, picking up the kids and running around seems like fun. Sure! Who doesn't want to live their life in the carpool lane with all the other happy Moms (and Dads)? No, I'm talking about looking around and seeing what can't be done and doing that. There are so many people in your own neighborhood that struggle for some reason (age, health, income, etc) and just need a little help. In some cases, its just knowing you are there. How hard is that?
Remember growing up? Remember how you knew all the people in your neighborhood and they knew you? Name 5 of your neighbors now, and their kids! Not so easy... yet if they came out panicking because they were missing, would you help look? I would.

Each day we wake up and make decisions. We decide what we wear, what we eat, and who we talk to.

Be intentional in your life. Make decisions that say- I showed up. I care. It's not just about me.

That's how I'll be remembered... one day...

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Often I find myself wondering how time flies. It seems like yesterday I was making a huge decision and moving to Florida with a little guy that didn't quite understand. Now 13 years later so much has happened that one little blog post hardly does it justice. Sure there have been moments when I was totally homesick, missing my family, coffee with my Mom. But I wouldn't give up my life for anything in the world.
What and who I gained are so precious to me, I am beyond blessed. So while it may not seem like it enough, I know where I am in this world, where I'm headed, and where I belong. That's a pretty awesome feeling...
Thanks honey for walking this path with me, sometimes leading the way, sometimes letting me take the lead... It's an awesome journey, and I wouldn't want to share it with anyone else!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Carry on

Many years ago I embarked on a journey... Yeah that sounds so cool doesn't it?
Well, motherhood often is. Knowing that during the journey you really aren't driving but merely a passenger along for the best ride of your life let's you have the best views!

 It starts in the beginning with this tiny little life that depends on you for, well as everyone knows, everything. Then at two, they have grown into independent "own-self" little people that find their way into a world of "can do". Around 5 they learn a little help isn't such a bad thing, unless someone is watching. Then come the "years" from 8-12 where each child varies some are drastically dependent on their parents for everything while others couldn't be farther if they lived on their own island. Around 13-14 (if not earlier anymore) comes that first TRUE I mean true heart break and that's when parents (and their reactions) play such a vital role. "Lift your chin, there's other fishes" or "let's take care of you" parents often pave the way for the future... ahhh... 15 not quite there, but not back there either that age when older friends are  leaving and new friends are "too childish" a true sandwich- and parents are clueless. Then comes 16- sorry parents, you're still idiots, but at least now the child has dreams, hopes, and know what they want out of life (even if they believe its super easy for all of it to just happen). I love 17-19! This is where it gets real. Money becomes real, things actually cost something. There is value to things and the tree in the back isn't where money is made. All the years of past lectures finally seem to sink in, (sort of) they may still act like you are a complete moron- but they are starting to see that some of those hard lessons you have been trying to drive home weren't because you enjoyed hearing yourself sound like your parents (wasn't that creepy the first time).

Off to college or moving out... that next phase... independence. I remember it well. No longer under my parents health insurance, a car payment, auto insurance, rent, utilities, gas, food, and everything else, paying for everything with what I made. It's amazing my life wasn't more than just Ramen noodles. I sure did stumble along the way...

But the good news is just like I know my kids will... we carry on. The journey is a great one... carry on...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What! What!

My youngest recently posted a photo on her Facebook page that made me pause for a moment. It wasn't bad, it was her. And she was gorgeous! All grown up! I couldn't believe my little girl was so grown up. But no matter what, she still loves her parents and gives loves, hugs, and respect...

Guess we are doing it right!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Almost grown up, but not yet

Sometimes its hard to remember my kids aren't grown ups. Weird. I know. You look back at when they were born and you struggled to figure out why they were crying- diaper is clean, they were fed, burped, they even slept, you'd hold them, and they still just weren't happy.

Then they would talk... and boy did they. What language was that? I, for one, never believed in "baby talk". It was hard enough to learn "proper" English, let alone a created language that a child would outgrow in time. Besides, nothing like calling out to a 16-17 year old to pick up a "wooby" (blanket) in front of his now girlfriend. AWESOME! Just wasn't going to happen. Not to mention, I didn't have time to teach a made-up language to any hopeful babysitter I might attract when the kids were little.

Seriously, I can't tell you how many babysitting jobs I had as a teen that started off with well intended parents giving me their child's dictionary for communication. I think the parents may have been a little surprised to come home and learn their child knew how to speak real words (and wasn't crying- but laughing).

Now my youngest is 12, my son is 17 (almost 18), and our oldest is 19 (almost 20). While our oldest just recently spread her wings reaching that "grown-up" stage, the phone calls to Dad any time something comes up is that sure sign that while things are moving along... there's still that little wiggle room for need (which is a good thing). Then there are the other two, which brings me to my actual topic!

I am totally one for teaching independence. As soon as each of my kids could reach the buttons on the washing machine they now could be responsible for completely doing their own laundry (they have days of the week for that so no one is on top of each other). Folding and putting away has been their job since they could open and close their drawers. Why? I don't wear their clothes! If it is important to them, they will take care of it, and for the most part they do.
Dishes are pretty much the same story. I am crazy when it comes to having a clean kitchen. If they can reach the sink, they can help with dishes. Loading/unloading the dishwasher or hand-washing dishes has always been one of the biggest "tasks" that seems to be a labor of love.
Their rooms are no different (cleaning, vacuuming, etc).

Then came cooking... I was raised in a house as the oldest of four girls and on my Mom's side of the family the oldest of six granddaughters. It was never said that "females shall learn to cook", but it was certainly taught. Both my Mom and Grandma included me and my sisters as soon as we were tall enough to help (with anything). So when it came to my kids I took the same approach, if they came into the kitchen during prep time- it was because they wanted to help!

The great part of cooking is it involves reading. It involves measurements, calculations (math), and it involves critical thinking. If the meat dish takes 40 minutes, the veggies only take 10 minutes, what time should I start them so they'll be hot and not over cooked? But cooking also involves patients, and most importantly, it involves attention without distractions.

It's that last part that adults sometimes forget doesn't always mix well with kids (and some adults). With today's distractions I find myself thinking of the movie "UP" and hearing the dog talking interrupting himself frequently with the distracted "SQUIRREL!".  Is it any wonder there aren't more house fires as kids start their favorite snack only to hear the theme song to their favorite tv show and 20 minutes later remember "oh yeah, I'm cooking!".  Luckily, most kids think cooking is microwave only, and most kids only know how to cook using the number system rather than some of the fancy pre-set systems. But I am sure many kids have lost bags of popcorn, or over cooked that "Easy Mac" and just sucked it up.

But the stove! Oh the Stove! Some parents would say- YOU SERIOUSLY LET THEM GO NEAR IT WHEN YOU AREN'T AROUND? Ah yeah! And I let them cross the street too! I do NOT plan on moving WITH them or going to college WITH them. They have to learn. Do I want a house fire? Oh, HELL NO! But I also want them to grow up. Which means making some mistakes along the way.
While I won't throw any one person under the bus... I know some adults that have had the fire alarm go off a few times letting their kids know "dinner is ready". So to say distractions only happen to teenagers, well, that's silly... BUT one would hope that this learning moment helps in that growing up process.

Because after all... they're almost grown up, but not yet!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Life's blink

It's always amazing how things change in a blink on an eye. You can be having the greatest day of your life, having spent it doing wonderful things, but receive news about a love one and everything changes.

Bright eyes...
Years ago, longer than I can even remember, my Dad gave us nicknames that would be unique to him. I became his "bright eyes". He said they always smiled, they always were happy, and they always shined- they were just bright! He could count on me to provide a sense of happiness with just a look. Wow! Now that's powerful! Powerful to tell a child that they can make them smile because of the inner brightness. On some of my hardest days in life, I have always wanted at the very least, for my eyes to shine bright, his bright eyes.

Last years loss of my Grandmother was hard, crushing, but also timely. It was my Dad who at one point needed a hug, and as I was hugging him, stopped and looked at me right in the eyes... Teary, he said, "thank you my bright eyes, I really needed that." 

During that time, I tried to hold it together for the family. My mom had lost her Mom, my Dad had lost what had become one of his best friends, and my sisters were all grieving in various ways. For me, the oldest, I was in solutions mode, fix it all, grieve later. Keep my chin up, and my eyes bright...

The last couple of weeks have seen a new struggle. My Dad has had various surgeries, a hip replacement, some other health stuff. But then came his heart. Nothing can prepare you for issues with your parents and their heart. Everyone knows how the body works, heart-good, no heart.... You get it...  

For those that follow here and there, or those that barely know me, some wonder- why the two names? Well... I have two men in my life that earned and won my heart. I married one, the other one I let adopt me and be my Dad... Yeah, I said "let". But the truth is he chose to be my Dad, that was what was in his heart, for me to be his. Not a "step" anything... But his. So I'm not quite ready for any "blink of the eye" changes just yet... 
No, I still enjoy being his "Bright Eyes".