Tag Archives: truth

Growing Up

My daughter is my only child. When she started preschool it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, Kindergarten was harder. Kindergarten meant she was growing up. Yesterday my little kindergartener graduated from fifth grade. She is no longer an elementary school kid. My heart is heavy.

I am trying to figure out why her moving to middle school is having such an effect on me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that she is doing well in school right now and is able to move up a grade, but at the same time, there is a cloud of profound sadness swirling around this milestone. Is this something every parent feels?

I am proud of my Baby Girl! She is growing into a wonderful young woman. I just wish that time didn’t seem to go so fast. Here is my girl,

One minute she was making goofy faces at me and singing into fake microphones the next minute she is helping with her baby cousin and swinging a sledgehammer during a kitchen demo. Kids grow up so fast! I sometimes wish I could have those little years back, but I know that the middle years will be just as interesting and challenging as the little years.

As much as I wish for those little years, I am just as excited to see what kind of person my Baby Girl grows to be.

Learning to Dance Alone

January 12th, 2011. This was the start of a really horrible year for me and my family. It has been six years since that date and in those years I have never felt more despair, anger and gut wrenching fear. In these past six years I have also felt myself rise from all of the fear and anger to become stronger and have more love and acceptance for those around me. And I would trade it all for one more day with him. Is that selfish or stupid? Possibly, but I would be lying if I said otherwise.

I have learned to dance in this life without my partner. I had to learn the steps by myself. Even as I wrote that sentence I know it isn’t true. I had and still have so many people who have taught me and continue to teach me new steps to this dance. There are many days that I dance alone, though, because sometimes you have to be your own teacher and your own dance partner.

With all of that said, this post isn’t about me and my dance, today it’s about teaching the steps to others.

The last few months and even days of 2016 were gut wrenchingly difficult for some of my friends. They have lost the ones they love. Words have been said to them that, at this time, are hollow and meaningless. I know, I heard those words six years ago and I have said them in the last several months and days to my friends.  They have also heard the words “I’m here if you need anything” and “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you”. These words are worse than the “I’m sorry for your loss” phrase. We say them because we don’t know what else to say, but the truth is the person or people grieving don’t know what they need. Scratch that, they do know what they need, they just can’t have it and there is no way you can give it to them. What they need is their loved one back, but that can’t happen, not in the way that they desire at this very moment.

The words have been said, the services have been completed and now life flows forward. Now you have to find a new way of living this life, you must learn a new dance. The first year is the worst because you have to celebrate all the holidays and surprising life moments without the ones you love. You don’t know how to dance without them because it has been so long since you’ve had to, so you stumble and fall your way through it and the whole time the music keeps playing as if nothing has happened. Remember this, it may feel like you are all alone and that nobody cares that you are hurting, but that is not true, you just cannot see them clearly through the fog that covers the dance floor. They are there and they are helping you when you stumble, listening to your sobs and offering comforting hands and words and they pick you up when you fall. You may not remember them later as the fog begins to clear, but they were there, teaching the new steps that your heart refuses to accept at this moment.

The coming years will be difficult and you will fall many, many times. The steps to this new dance, this new way of living, are difficult to learn. As you learn to dance alone I want you to remember,  you will smile again, laugh again, and even enjoy life again. There is no shame in that, but do it on your own terms. Do not let someone else tell you that you have grieved enough. Do not let you hold yourself in the fog of grief, either. Remember too, that when you feel like you are falling down reach out, because there are people who will hold you up until you can stand again. You are not alone.

The coming years will be difficult and you will have to learn how to dance once more. Until then, just see to your basic needs, these are the primary steps to this new dance. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eat, breathe and put one foot in front of the other. I love you all!

A Budget of $0

Hello, family and friends and readers of my blog. This is just a note to let you know that I am not crazy or in an irrational state of mind :). I am, however, in a mood to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, remodel my kitchen. Here are some pics

I have been watching DIY shows and looking through Pinterest and HGTV magazines for years and I finally have an idea of what I want to do to my kitchen. No, I do not have a budget. I am a single mom with a part time job and the dreams of being a professional writer. My bank account frequently screams in agony and every time I use my debit card I hear alarm bells sounding. This will not stop me and here’s why.

Life is really fucking short! It’s too short to wait until the “perfect moment” and definitely too short to wait for my bank account to always be in the black. Life is too short to sit around and whisper “someday” into the air. My someday is now. To some of you, this might seem foolish, stupid and perhaps a bit absurd. I mean who starts a remodel without having a budget in place!

The answer to that, perfectly understandable, question is this: someone who doesn’t need near instant gratification, someone who plans on doing most, if not all, the work herself. Yes, I do have big plans. Yes, I do know that not all of those plans will work. After all, I am not a plumber or an electrician. I do know how to hang drywall and swing a sledgehammer, I can use a saw and put down tile. I plan on doing things slowly and scouring places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army for materials. I also plan on using some material from my basement that will no longer be needed down there. I will price and shop around for needed supplies and buy them as money comes available. I am in no hurry. In fact, I want this project to take a little while. Believe it or not, this project is helping me deal with stress as well as satisfy my desire to remodel. I am not perfect and I am sure there will be times when I curse myself for even starting this project. Mostly, though, I am happy. I am adding to my coping skills. In the past, I have used retail therapy and food to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy. Today I am using my writing, the gym, and now home improvement projects to cope.

The last, almost, 6 years has been rough. I have walked that long, lonely road of grief and I have done and said some stupid and crazy things. Through it all, I have had my family and friends standing beside me letting me know that I am safe and loved. These past 2 years or so I have finally decided it is ok to be happy and I am figuring out what that means. I have had to rediscover who I am and who I want to be. Please try not worry, I am ok and I do know what I am doing, for the most part ;).

Just so you know, I will still complain about not having any money. That is a never ending situation no matter what I am or am not doing. Love to all! I will continue to share my Remodel on a Budget of $0. Demoing is kind of fun, the clean up not so much.

No Money, Stressed, But Positive

I have done it quite brilliantly this time! I have managed to put my finances so far into the toilet that there is no way for it to be fixed. Yep, about negative $500 in my account and growing. Went to Walmart with the charge card to get a few things and it was promptly declined. Now I am in panic mode. WHAT IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?  Did I mention that the outlet in my bathroom doesn’t work, my dryer is near death and my stove is acting up? Yeah, I am in one hell of a shit storm right now. Again, what the hell am I going to do?

I am going to take a deep breath, get as many hours as I can at work, have a garage sale and remember that as life goes, mine is actually very good. I have had some craptastic moments but I also have a bunch of wonderful people in my life who are there for me in those moments.

What I am not going to do is sit around feeling sorry for myself or blame other people. It is no one else’s fault that I am not good with money. It is no one else’s fault that I use loans to dig myself out of holes, temporary fixes. Now all of that has caught up with me and I have to do what I should have done in the first place. Pay bills and quit spending money.

Please do not think badly of me, I was, at one time in a more financially stable place. Truth be told I would still be there except I went ahead with the publishing of my book when I should have waited. Shoulda woulda coulda will not get my money back and neither will sitting on my ass crying about it.

The point, my friends, is that when life throws up rough spots you can either boo hoo or you can stand up and take action. You can blame others or you can take responsibility for yourself and your life. I have always believed: You can’t control other people but you can control yourself and how you react.

Living in a constant cloud of negativity makes me feel like crap. I don’t mean feeling bad for a day or even a week, I am talking about constantly complaining about life. I think that if a person continually focuses on the bad things then that is all they will ever see. If instead, a person looks for the good things then the rough stuff becomes easier to work through.

Life is full of big bad stuff that is harder to overcome and takes a lot of people working together to change. Why then would I choose to focus on the little things all the time? Be angry, friends, be sad, shout some curse words, sheds some tears, then take a deep breath and let it go, because life is too short to hang to the little things that anger you. Instead, hang on to the little things that make you smile. Life is much better that way :).

Just a few little things that make me smile. There are much more 🙂

 

Parenting is Rough!!!

Hello, everyone! A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my daughter’s escapades with in-app purchasing and her resulting consequences, I would like to update you on that situation and lay out some thoughts I have on punishments.

A couple of weeks ago my beautiful daughter bought $122.36 worth of in-app purchases for a game called Builder Buddies. She was promptly grounded from her iPad, video games and Youtube for a week, all seven days of the week, much to her great displeasure. I came up with a way for her to work off the money she “stole”. Yes, stole, she did not find it laying around, she did not earn it or ask for it, therefore, she stole the money. I put together a list of chores and designated a minute value to each chore. My daughter earned $8.50 for every hour of work completed. Let me tell you she worked her little behind off to pay that money back before her Spring Break started! She now has her iPad back but no longer has access to the iTunes password, in case she did not learn her lesson. All is right again in our peacefully chaotic home.

For the last five years, I have been a single parent. I have run through the gambit of parenting styles. I have yelled, negotiated, screamed, gave the silent treatment, grounded, spanked, bribed and so on. I wouldn’t say that I was a bad parent, just as I wouldn’t say I am a parent of the year. I am just trying to figure out what works with my head strong nine year old. I make tons of mistakes, but I make a lot of good decisions as well. That being said there is one trend in parenting that I do not understand. Public humiliation, I just don’t agree.

The last several years there have been many Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram pics where parents have their child on the street holding a sign describing their misdeeds. I have even watched some reposted videos where the parent has punished the child and is following them filming his or her reaction to the punishment and making the child tell about what they did wrong. I don’t understand this and here’s why. If I make a mistake at work and my boss decides that everyone in the office should be present while she yells at me I would be pissed! I certainly wouldn’t want to try to do better, I would start looking for another job. Unfortunately, kids can’t just go looking for a new family, so what do you think they will do instead? If it were me, I would hide in my room and speak as little as possible to my parents, I would withdraw from them. I would do this because I would feel like if I make the littlest mistake I might be humiliated again. I would think that the people who were supposed to be my guides in this crazy life have now become my enemy. My parents would cease to be my champions and teachers and now become my humiliators, my punishers. The people who I thought were supposed to love me unconditionally, just showed me that there are conditions to their love. That’s just me, I don’t know how you all feel.

Before any of you go berserk on me let me explain something. I know that children need to have punishments or consequences for their misdeeds. This is how they learn right from wrong. I am a believer that an occasional spanking, usually as a last resort, is ok. I believe in grounding and taking things away from children. I think that sometimes raising your voice lets them know how much you dislike their behavior, but a simple look and shake of the head can do the same thing in certain situations. I do not believe that public humiliation is the answer. I think our children get humiliated enough at school by their peers, by the teachers, and the bullies. Home is supposed to be the safe haven, not a place for more knocks to their self-esteem.

Parenting is hard! We all know this and finding ways to parent effectively in both good times and rough times is no picnic. Parents are deemed awful if they say that corporal punishment is okay. Then the same people who glare at them for that are giving out disgusted looks and nasty comments in the grocery store when a kid is throwing a tantrum because they can’t have the gummy bears they demanded. Bribing children into good behavior is seen as weak parenting, ignoring bad behavior is seen as non-parenting and spanking is seen as abusive. What do we do when everything we try is criticized? the answer to that seems to be public humiliation. Here’s what I say, my fellow parents, let people talk, let them judge you because they don’t matter. Whether you spank your kids or ground them, whether you ignore the bad behavior or yell instead is up to you and what you know works for your child. Raising a kid is a lot like a science experiment, trial and error. We try one thing and if doesn’t work we move on to the next. The one thing that we should never forget, our children depend on us to offer them a safe place where they won’t be embarrassed to make mistakes or be themselves, for this reason, any punishment for mistakes or misdeeds should not humiliate them. Punishments should help them understand and learn from their mistakes, not alienate them or cause a rift between parent and child. Remember, there is always someone out there who is going to say “if that were my kid…”, but she’s not their kid, she’s yours, so do the best you can, and when in doubt ask for advice. There are others going through all of this parenting stuff too and they might be able to help ;).

Well, that’s my two cents! What do you think? Is public humiliation ok? Any thoughts are welcome but please keep it civil, we are all adults and it’s ok to disagree but it’s not ok to be a jerk. Thanks all!

Good Wine, Good Food, Good Friend

Five years ago I felt like my world collapsed. I honestly thought I was only surviving so that my daughter wouldn’t have to lose both parents. I didn’t want her to feel any more pain than she had to feel. Then in April, I was slapped by death again as I lost my grandma. I kept going because I couldn’t do anything else. In June of that year, death beat me down again as my Dad lost his battle with cancer. Keep moving, wall up the heart and close the gates of emotion. Ha! Not easily done. Honestly? It was probably the worst thing I could have done. But let’s fast forward five years, I think I have dwelt enough in the past.

This weekend I spent some time with friends. It was great! It usually is, I have pretty good friends :). We went to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw, Illinois. It was the second time I had been there and it was just as nice as the first. The first time I went with a group of friends to a wine and chocolate tasting, this time, we went and saw a murder mystery. It was so much fun! Dinner was tasty and the company was great! The little murder mystery play was put on by a small company of 2 people, a married couple, with the assistance from audience members. All of this with dinner and dessert in between. The wine you could purchase by the glass or by the bottle from the vineyard. I am partial to the sweet wines and really enjoyed their Edelweiss and Diane’s Desire.

All of that was great, but the nicest and scariest part of the night was when a person that I had gotten to know during the horrible year of pain came up to me and said hi! I haven’t really seen much of anyone from that year in person for quite some time. I was a mess that year and not my best me, so when I run into someone from that year in person I have to stop a second and try to remember through the fog. I remembered her right away of course and was happy to see her. I’ll call her K for the purpose of this post. K looked happy and was with her husband. It was really great to see her happy and to get to spend time with her. The scary part, for me, is the question. The question that everyone who hasn’t seen me since that time asks, “How are you?”. My standard answer is I’m good. I found that this time it’s true. I really am doing good. I mean my life isn’t cake or anything, but it’s good :). I have a great daughter, a wonderful family, awesome friends and a life that I didn’t think would be possible 5 years ago.

The second question I hate getting when I meet someone after a long absence is “What are you doing now?”. I hate this question because when I explain my current life to people I get mixed reactions. I was not able to secure a teaching position after I finished my Master’s in Education degree. I know why and it stings horribly. I have been told by several that I would make a good teacher, so why don’t I have a teaching job? Well several reasons possibly, lots of people looking and few jobs in my area are at the top of the list. But I know the real reason and it bothers me tremendously. That, however, is a story for another day. The main reason I hate this question is because there are those who see my lifestyle as lazy or irresponsible. My choices are my own, for the most part, and I weigh each one heavily. Some do not agree and others just nod as if this all they expected of me. While I don’t always like the path that I have been forced to forge on my own, I am ok with my decisions. Yes, even the ones that I later regret.Why? Because I know that life isn’t easy and it so frequently lobs rocks and digs pitfalls and tries to drown a person at every turn. I have a choice, I can constantly bemoan those rocks, pitfalls, and tons of water, or I can see past all of that to the rainbows, the helping hands, the green trees and the blue skies. I can choose to see the smile on my daughters face or hear the laughter of my friends rather than the tears I have cried and the pain that I endure. Life is about choices and I accept the responsibility of all of my choices, the good and the bad.

My lost acquaintance/friend asked this very question and I asked it of her in return. K seems to be doing well and really likes her job. I am so happy for her! When I told her what I am doing now there was no judgment in her face and for once I didn’t feel worried that this knowledge would cost me a potential relationship. This was also the first time that I called myself a writer, so that was a little scary. I am so glad that I ran into K and her husband! It was nice to see someone from that year of hell and not feel awkward or like an utter failure. K is just as nice as I remember her and I look forward to getting to know her again.

As for the other stuff. I think too much! Here is me, my friends, down and dirty! I am a mother, semi-hoarder(I’m getting better at that), an artist, a teacher, a writer, a gym goer, a pescatarian, an art lover, a B-movie watcher, wine drinking, cussing, animal loving, goofy, middle-aged, young at heart, emotional,  thinks too much about herself and not enough about the world around her(working on this too) person. This is me, unapologetically me!

This weekend taught me a little bit more about myself and I am good with what I learned. Also, this weekend rocked! I had good friends surrounding me, good food to eat, good wine to drink and it was amazing!

So here is to you, my friends! May you always have enough of everything! Love to all!

Love

It’s been awhile since I have written on youmakeyourown I’ve been over at my findidngbalanceinacrazyworld.wordpress.com blog. I apologize for that. This blog is what started it all, I began here because I needed an outlet for my emotions when I went through the year of death and fog. Many of you have read other posts here but for those of you who have not, I will give a brief recap of the year of 2011. January, 12th my husband died, April 16th(I think) my grandmother died and on June 25th my Dad died. The first month of that new year was awful, the next five added more grief and I was lost. The only thing that kept me focused was my student teaching though I fear I did not do that well.

Anyway, that is 2011 in a recap, death, fog, depression, determination, anger and fear. Fast forward to 2016 and those have been replaced with more positive emotions. The first 12 days of January still tend to be a bit rough. I love this blog because of what it allowed me to do, so my goal for this year is to write on here a minimum of once a month. I will share all sorts of things that open the emotional floodgates. Some may be light hearted and fun and some may be a bit sad. I am also thinking of adding a page for creative inspiration :). For now here is something I wrote a few days ago. It expresses what I’ve been feeling of late. I need to remember that moving forward with my life does not mean forgetting my life with Justin, it simply means I am ready to open my heart to the possibility of more love.

Love

Broken

Scared

Maimed

The heart that beats in my chest

Thump, bump, thump

Full of love

Courage

Strength

The heart that beats in my chest

Bump, thump, thump

Scared

Unsure

Guilty

The heart that beats in my chest

Thump, thump, bump

It stutters at the loss it has felt

It staggers at the possibility of more love

It feels guilt

It feels happiness

Broken

Unsure

It feels Love

Thanks for reading! Love to all!

Odd Holiday Thoughts

I was sitting here thinking about Christmas and everything that goes with it, when all of a sudden a crazy thought popped into my head. “I should get baptized” I thought. Then came the thought “What!? Why!?” If you read this blog and you know me then you will understand why this was a crazy thought, if you don’t know me then the following may help you decipher why I believe this to be such a weird thing.

Most baptisms that I have witnessed require the person getting baptized to state why he/she is doing so, to affirm faith or what not. When I thought about what I might write this what came to mind.

Dear Congregation and Minster,

I only come to your church on Christmas Eve as a guest and after today that probably won’t change. I do believe in God, I may not believe everything that the Bible says, because it was written down by men a very long time ago in a language that people are having trouble translating. I love God! I think She’s great! I am here today to get baptized, not for God, but for my family who believes that this will bring me closer to Him. God knows me, knows what is in my heart, much like Santa knows when kids have been naughty or nice(it’s a joke people lighten up!) Because God knows me so well She doesn’t care what I call my belief in Him, names do not matter. If the name and ways I choose to express my belief in God do not matter to Him then why should dousing myself in water matter to Him?

I do not live my life to please God. That would be like living my life to please my mother. It would make her greatly happy but chances are I would be miserable. If my mother bases her happiness on whether or not I do what she thinks I should then she will be continually disappointed. I do not ask myself everyday “What would God do? or What would Jesus do?” Instead I ask myself “What can I do to be the best person I can be? Will my actions be selfless or selfish?” And sometimes I am selfish and sometimes I am selfless, other times I fall in between. If I lived my life to please God then I would be completely miserable all the time worrying and wondering if I have done enough, been enough. God loves me and does not want me to be miserable. So I live with God in my heart and I am true to myself and so I am happy. I do not feel that I will be shut out of Heaven simply because I do not live to please God, I do not believe that I will be sentenced to a fiery pit in Hell because I do not get baptized. God loves me and accepts me for who I am. So I do this for family and friends who do believe that we won’t be together in Heaven if I am not baptized, to ease their minds, so they will have physical confirmation of a truth I already know .

Sincerely,

Me

This is the letter that I would write for my baptism, if I ever decide to do it. Of course they would probably throw the Bible at my head and tell me to vacate the baptismal area…..but hey! it’s my truth and I haven’t been struck down by lightning. What’s your truth? Are brave enough to share it?

Widow-There I finally said it! ;P

Tomorrow is a hard day, who am I kidding…this whole week has been AWFUL! January 12, 2011 the day my world turned upside down and a new label stuck itself to my back and just won’t go away 😦 I have managed to avoid this label for the last 2 years. I am 34 years old, I should not have to use this label, check this box on forms, or say it out LOUD! It is a label that invokes the…pity face, the OMGs, and the “I’m so sorry”s. And to be quite honest, it is a label that evoked enormous FURY and sadness in me. So I avoided the word and pretended that I didn’t see that little box on forms for the past 2 years. 

Something has changed :/

I don’t know what it is, but that word doesn’t evoke the same feelings anymore. I miss my Justin something terrible! I always will. But the word doesn’t make me as sad or angry as it used to. Maybe I am accepting my fate, maybe I realize its just a word, or maybe I am learning to make it a part of me. It doesn’t have to be the biggest part of me, and it most definitely isn’t the only part of me, but it is there. I cannot escape the life changing events that happened to me that year, but I don’t have to let them define me either. 

So without further ado I will make my declaration now for all to read…

I am a…widow. Yes a widow, my husband has died and now I am a widow.

Hmmm…not so bad. Truth is truth I suppose. It often isn’t wanted(even when we ask for it). I am finding that this is so because Truth often has a sharp blade that cuts deep. But now that I have lived with this gaping wound that life and truth have carved into my heart, I find that the pain is dulling and the wound scarring, and the label of widow doesn’t have as potent effect as it once did.

Perhaps this young widow is growing? Perhaps she still has a future and a life yet to live?

We shall see what the future holds:)