Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome October!

Welcome to October and the beginning of the Holiday Season craziness! I know that some of you are going to give me crap for using "Holiday Season" on October 1, but bring it on.

I love everything about October through January 1. On January 2...I'm ready for Spring. But, for those 93 days preceding, I am All In. I will be cranking up some Christmas Music this month. Probably purchasing more of it on iTunes even though we have enough Christmas Music to drive even Santa insane. Which reminded me that Michael W. Smith's new Christmas album (so old school, that word) was released yesterday. Just scooted over to iTunes and it's downloading now. Check it out when you have a moment:

I love the cooler weather. The fireplace on every morning while I work on my bible study homework and have my Quiet Time. The leaves changing from their summer fullness to their winter bare. Bundling up in sweaters and sweatshirts and hello! Boots! While working on my fitness and health goals, I decided to reward myself with new boots when I reach a major milestone and new Silver Forest Jewelry when I reach a not-so-major-but-just-as-important milestone. More on all of that in a future post. I have become addicted to blogging every day in November, always thinking it will jump-start my writing again from which I will never look back. So far...not so much. But 2014 could be the year!

Mostly what I love about the 93 day Holiday Season is family. Not that I don't love my family the rest of the year, but during this time, I feel like my focus is completely on them; what they like to do and eat; family traditions we repeat every year at this time; and! Big or small, I'm a total gift girl. I love getting them and I love giving them. In hindsight, maybe that is what I love most about this time of year. I refuse to apologize. Gifts are the bomb.

Some things I scribbled in my journal this morning:

I want to be: healthy

I want to write: encouraging words
                          loving words
                          funny words
                          honest words
                          God-given words

I want to love:  without restraint
                         without fear
                         without regret

Talk to me about what y'all love/hate about the Holiday Season (no matter the length you acknowledge as being the Holiday Season).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hanging on for Dear Life.

Another edition of You Asked for it.

So, no secret here. I sent my baby boy off to Radford University last month. It was actually much easier than I expected to leave him there, walk the two miles back to our car (if you have been involved in college move in day, you know what I'm talking about) and drive away.

I think it was easier because I spent the entire previous year mourning that day in advance.

Some thoughts to (maybe) help with the transition:

1. They are going to want to make all their own decisions. Let them think that they are. Continue working your momma magic in the background.

2. I hated the thought of senior year beginning because I knew how quickly it would pass. The Wild Boy was over Senior year in August. The August before senior year began.

3. I purchased every bit of spirit wear and senior related items I could get my hands on. The Wild Boy's response? "Meh." If I had to do it all over again? I would buy every bit of spirit wear and senior related items I could get my hands on. I was determined to Be There and Be Present for every. single. thing. And, I was.

4. Don't be sucked into the crazy that is the emotions of a teenager in his (or her) senior year of high school. Seriously. The Wild Boy was surly, angry, huffy, loving, huggy, smiling all in the span of a nano second. I tried to keep up and respond accordingly at first. Big. Mistake. It made me surly, angry, huffy and hurt my feelings. It took me a few months to let it go. We were all better for it when I did.

5. Grades are important. Perfection is not. I wanted The Wild Boy to go out with a bang. He just wanted to make it through. (See #2 above.) So I kept up with his grades and nudged (and pushed) when needed, but in the end...he really wanted to be successful, also.

*welcome to Susan's fantasy world*

6. Invest in several cases of good quality wine. You're going to need it. Not that I condone self-medicating with a bottle glass of wine, but it just might help you get through the initial months of hearing your Senior mumble, "see ya" (if you're lucky) as they slam the door on the way out and you and your spouse sit in the living room looking at each other and all you hear is the deafening silence. By the time May rolls around, you will finally be accustomed to it (and to the stranger you spent years passing on the stairs as you both dashed off in different directions, with different kids.)

7. Be prepared for your husband to respond quite differently than you do. Case in point. My Man squelched his emotions by purchasing vehicles. And learning to ride a Harley.

8. Focus on getting everything together for the dorm room. If your Senior is a boy, you will have to. If your Senior is a girl, all you will have to do is be prepared to shell out big bucks.

9. Don't expect to hear thank you, I'm sorry, I love you, I'll miss you, you're the best parents ever, etc. If you don't expect to hear them, you will be beyond jubilant when you actually do hear these things (and you will. Eventually.)

10. Enjoy every single second. Securely store every bit of it in your heart to pull out and remember come September. When it is just you, that stranger you are married to and a big fat glass of wine sitting in the living room watching the Nats play, wondering where all the years went, talking about your aches and pains and lack of sleep and "the good old days."

Bonus hint: Don't follow your son or daughter too closely on The Twitter or you just might read
he or she posted something like, "just signed up for skydiving." Trust. Me. You don't want to have to read that and try to live out the next few months with any semblance of normalcy that might involve sleep or calm or less than a bottle a night of cheap red wine as you await the inevitable Go Pro video on Facebook.

Also. Be prepared to text your freshman child things you never thought you would. Such as, "please stop referring to your RA as a 'commie' on The Twitter." 

P.S. About a month after move-in day, you will discover that you can now spend lots of quality time together with your spouse doing whatever you want to do. I will let you decide if that is a good thing...or not.

Good. Luck.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's Not My Plan.

This is post number two I have started today. Post number one will eventually make it's way back to the forefront and, as a teaser, it is Part Two in my You Asked for It series and has to do with kids. That totally narrows it down for you, I know.

If you are still hanging in there reading, I have, sadly for my family, been in serious reflection and frustration mode. Possibly, those should be reversed in order...frustration and reflection. Something has been tugging at my heart and my brain cells lately and I just could not reach out and bring it into clarity. Until this morning.

For the past 25 years or so I have not been living. I've been surviving; existing; getting by; making do. Any and all of the cliche terms apply here. I've been reactive and not proactive. Defensive and not on the offensive. You get what I'm saying by now, I am sure.

So. What to do about it? My first inclination was to do what I love to do best: Take. Control. Oh to be able to control it wonderful life would be! Or so I convince myself into believing at times. It cracks me up that I am always the first to say to My Man, our Darlings and anyone else who will listen, "it's not our's His plan." *gag me* Don't get me wrong. I one hundred percent believe that it is truly God's Plan;  that He is The One in Control. Then what does that make us? Chopped liver? *I love liver and liverwurst...anyone else?*

We are not mindless, powerless, robots totally controlled by God. Or our circumstances and the acts and mindsets of others, for that matter. We have a brain. We have resources. We have feelings and abilities and can decide for ourselves whether we blindly allow ourselves to be drug along the path our problems and circumstances take us or, whether we ask and seek and learn and decide for ourselves how we will respond, even if we can not physically control how it all plays out.

I totally believe God has been thumping me on the head with this truth lately: I have been more of an audience to my own life than a participant. Absolutely I have been there with my kids, doing what needed to be done, but I always felt like it was all spinning and I was running from plate to plate, giving it a quick touch to keep it spinning and then dashing to the next spinning plate. Ugh. It just hit me: trying to do it all, be all, please all. I just don't think that is what we were created to do.Or, at least not what I was created to do.

And I have to be honest with you hasn't let up. Even with three adult children. I still feel like I am running from thing to thing, never catching up.Which is why I am so certain that this is not the way it is supposed to be.

So. Again. What to do about it all? First things first. I am focusing on me for a bit. No, seriously, this time I really am doing it. Focusing on my health (it's totally out of control); my eating (ditto); and the things I need to be doing. Not necessarily the things I want to be doing. Does that make any sense at all to anyone? Cuz I'm really struggling with what it will look like.

I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thirty-one years of Marriage.

On September 10, My Man and I will celebrate thirty-one years of marriage. Confession: I had to stop after typing that and 1) do the math to make sure I was correct, and 2) have a moment. Here is a list of things thirty-one years of marriage will give you (or us, to be correct):

Three adult children. Only one of whom has moved out. I don't know about you, but when I see the word, "adult" I think old; living under one's own roof and not the roof of one's parent; and taking one's dog with.

Money to burn. Apparently. Case in point: the convertible hot rod sitting in our driveway; granite counter tops in the works; estimates for complete yard redo. Why now? Why not back when we could easily get in and out of said hot rod and actually have the strength to work in the yard?

Dinner, just the two of us, in a fancy schmancy I-talian restaurant. At 4:30 in the afternoon. Also known as The Senior Citizen's hour. By 6:30 we were fed, home, in our jammies and tucked in for the night watching Batman Begins on HBO even though we have it on DVD.

A whole lot of memories. Only some of which we actually remember. Apparently, we have arrived at the age where we argue over who's memory is the best. Or, the worst. In any case, we rarely agree on how said past event went down. I only see this getting worse. It's kind of fun, really...adds a whole new set of memories that never actually happened because he has them all wrong.

Lots of new things to talk about. All medically related. New aches; new pains; bowel and respiratory ailments; who had surgery; who refuses to have surgery, but should.

Expertise. On everything. Just ask...we will tell you.

Thinking we might actually get to retire. Some day. Up until now, retirement has only been a Disney fantasy to dream about, sing about, laugh about. Now? Could actually happen.

Talking about selling the home we have lived in for 20 years. In front of the children. And making it sound like it could happen any day now. Can you say, "panic?" *see the first item on this list for reference*

Lest you think I've forgotten, the most important thing thirty-one years has gotten us is A Best Friend Forever. The original BFF. Someone you decided a long, long time ago to love unconditionally; to stick around and make it work; and when you don't feel like sticking around and making it work you go to your separate corners, regroup, and come back out with a smile.

Because you have totally forgotten what it was that so irritated you in the first place.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around with us these last thirty plus years. We could not have done it without you.

Friday, August 29, 2014

You Asked for it...Part 1.

Welcome to my You Asked for it Series. Today's post is the first in this series. Future ramblings will possibly include: Surviving Your Child's Senior Year or as I like to call it: The Year I Consumed Mass Quantities of Black Dog and Cried...a lot.

Okay, so maybe not, but today, whilst I enjoy my morning sitting in my second favorite place in the world, The Back Porch, I'm going to reflect on the following post idea suggested by my friend and neighbor, Mrs. D:

If I could change one thing in my life, what would it be? 

My vain and flippant side immediately reached straight for the impossible to attain: my current age. I quickly tossed that aside, however. Not because it is unattainable. Because I actually don't mind my current age of 45 53. It is true, however, that I am definitely not happy with the current state of my health, weight and stress level at this ripe age of 53. And while that is definitely something I want to change, and I am in the process of changing, that still is not the topic of today's post. Buckle up. It's going to get bumpy.

Regret. Not for things I did do. For things I didn't do and should have, could have done. With each thing I regret not doing, it all came back to one thing: fear. I was, and still am, a big sissy when it comes to new things; to stepping out of my comfort zone. And, trust me on this, my comfort zone is the size of a postage stamp...anything outside of that...forget about it.

There have been periods of my life where I allowed...yes, I...allowed the fear to Consume. Me. Going off to a huge university (pre-med at the University of South Florida) after spending the previous two years in a very tiny DoD school overseas, I was completely overwhelmed by fear. So much so that most days I struggled to leave my dorm room. Obviously, I didn't last long there. But worse than that, I had no idea what was wrong with me. And clearly, I thought, something was seriously wrong with me, which only compounded the problem. I didn't know who to talk to about it...couldn't talk to anyone about it. I mean, it was so obvious to me that I was mentally one else I knew vomited at just the thought of trying to make her way across a campus of 23,000 students to sit in a classroom of 600 to listen to a lecture. No one else I knew never went to a single lab class because they got lost finding it the first day of classes and were too afraid to ask anyone for help.

Since then, I have missed out on so many jobs, trips, and even relationships, due to that one thing I wish I could change. Because I still struggle with it. I still fear new situations, meeting new people, and even hanging with people I do know. For example, I went to a neighborhood end of summer party last night. I felt the old familiar apprehension creeping in all day and I chose to ignore it. Periodically throughout the evening I could feel it rise up and I would push it back down again. I caught up with ladies I've known for 20 years, but haven't spent much time with, face to face. I truly enjoyed myself and am so happy I went. Was I completely comfortable while I was there? Nope. Not in the least. But, I did it.

Reading back over this, it all seems so silly...this fear thing. The worst part is that it is so stinking real. Some days I feel like it is an old friend that, initially, wraps comfort around me to warm me and keep me safe, before quickly tightening to strangle me and cut me off from life.

Today, I am choosing to fight back. And, as Mrs. D. admonished me a few days ago: to live...abundantly.

Keep those suggestions coming cuz this one was so very easy to write about...not...

And, oh yes, you can bet it took me quite a long while to get past my fear and push the publish button on this one.