Two Pretzels

January 15, 2017

On empathy.




Right before my Mom died, about a few months before, I remember looking around and thinking that everything was moving along far too splendidly in my world.  Life was just... good. My kids were fine, my job was fine, my marriage good... something had to give, right?

Ah yes. And give, it did.

While I certainly don't blame the passing of my sweet and funny Mama on my fear of a potential downfall, I am afraid of those moments -- in sheer transparency -- when I look around and I breathe and I'm thankful for what I have. I'm afraid that the other shoe will drop. I'm afraid that something may happen.

Why? It's who I am.

::


Everyone has a story.
Everyone grew up a certain way.
Everyone has something that has shaped them; led them to where they are today.
Me? I had a Dad who died of cancer when I was 10.
I had a single-Mom, who worked full-time, and was chronically ill.
We were on food stamps for a time.
Things weren't easy.

But all of that? Ah yes, it shaped me. It's ALL party of who I am.

In the midst of the not-so-good stuff, though, was REALLY good stuff. There were sweet memories spent at my Grandma's house with my cousins. There were pancake dinners with my Mom. There was that sweet little cherub-baby who lived with us, my little sister, Taryn -- who constantly kept us smiling.

There's always the good and the really difficult. And they co-exist like the winter and the spring. They always will.

::

Right now I'm surrounded by several people in my life who are going through winter.

Someone just lost her Mom. Oh, another one, added to the club.

Someone is losing her Dad.

There are relationship troubles.
And job loss.
And depression.
And... tough, tough things...

And in these times my heart hurts for them; it hurts for anyone who is going through it. And by "it", you know what I mean.



May this be our reminder today that the person ringing up your groceries; the person who sped past you on the highway and didn't let you in; the person who forgot to open the door in front of you; the person who didn't pick up that thing you dropped... that person, oh that sweet, that REAL person -- she may be going through something so big right now. SO big. And he? He may be going through something that is taking all of his energy; all of his might.

Let's be patient, friends.
Let's be kind.
Let's give space.
Let's reach out.
Let's hug.
Let's text.
Let's not judge.
Let's not gossip.
Let's just be.

Let's just be there.
Supporting.

We've all been there. And if we haven't, we all will be.



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January 8, 2017

2017 Golden Globe Fashion Recap

Note: Forgive any errors. It's late and I'm tired. And, I may have inadvertently forgotten someone. Oops. In addition, know that I am offering lively conjecture about clothes -- not the women wearing them. I love fashion and I love art -- and by virtue of being an American, I'm merely expressing my right of free speech to talk about said art.



Before I get started, I have to say that if Goldie Hawn and I were hanging out on a yacht after she got her yacht-closet remodeled by a hard-working carpenter who moonlights as a miniature golf dreamer, and she told me that I had to push two of the following couples into the water on a fast-moving Overboard-style yacht, it would be hard.



Every woman I know needs to read this.



I "went away" for the first two years of college.
I lived in Toledo, Ohio and I learned about a small, liberal arts college that was just an hour south of my home in Bluffton, Ohio.

My Mom wasn't super healthy and going any further than that made me nervous.

So, in the fall of 1997 (I believe I was 17 at orientation?), off I went to the land of peacefulness. Bluffton College, now Bluffton University... what a time it was. The community, the town... my friends.

Back in 1997 I had no idea that I would soon be meeting a group of women that would be my support for the next twenty years.

Sigh... (I love you all.)

That said, one of the members of this core recently posted this on Facebook and I had to share it. I think it speaks for itself.

It moved me.

"I can be a pretty private person, but I believe the journey I've been on will resonate with at least one other person...

It's been 366 days, 1 year since I have weighed myself (except that one time, but I learned a valuable lesson that time).

Weighing myself was an addiction of sorts. I used to wake up many mornings and base my self-worth on what the scale told me.

Up 2 pounds? I am a horrible person who can't make good decisions.
Down .5 pounds? I am a good person worth being around.

Over the past year I struggled. With direction. With purpose. What is the point of eating healthy and working out if I can't judge myself and see results? I struggled with worthiness. You see, the scale was a major deciding factor of whether or not I was worthy that day.

I can remember my weight going back to my freshman year of high school, and at major crossroads in my life. I have it all tracked.

What I have learned this past year is the scale is a fickle judge. What I have learned is I am worthy. Period.

It took many hours of journaling, support of good friends, a husband willing to hide the scale, tears, frustration, reflection. And letting go.
And I can confidently say now that I feel free. The scale no longer lurks daily in my subconscious. It no longer haunts me, looming over my head and in my soul as the end all of worth and measurement.

Do I still struggle with my perception of my body? Yes. I am working on that, and it may be a lifelong struggle. But at least my external judge, the scale, is gone.

Oh, and what did I learn "that one time" when I weighed myself? That after 7 months of worrying, just "knowing" I was gaining weight, still letting the (now unknown) number on the scale rule me, I weighed the same. To the tenth of a pound. The exact same as 7 months prior. All of that focus and worrying was wasted energy.

And that moment is when I let go and accepted freedom from fickle judgement.

My hope for you all is that you can embrace yourself and find freedom this year and beyond."

In light of this, I'm going to follow the lead of my dear friend. Starting tomorrow, no scale. It's going away. For 30 days.

I relate to this.

Can you?

We're so much more than the number on that scale.

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January 4, 2017

See ya later baby monitor, hello full-on surveillance

The subject of this post.

When do you get rid of your kids' baby monitor(s)? Assumedly when they're no longer babies?

So nearly eight years ago (gasp), when my first child was born, we decided to forgo the standard baby monitors of the era -- you know, the ones that only allowed you to listen in.

Instead, we bought a little hand-held Summer Infant video monitor that allowed us to listen in and see what our baby was doing. (See above.)

I'll tell you what Lila was doing: nothing. Nothing but looking cute.

Baby Lila.

Still, we'd check that teeny 1.5" wide screen and make sure our baby was ok.

How was the resolution of the video? Sketchy, but effective.

January 3, 2017

Sisters. Pocahontas boots. Target wedges.



Things I love about this picture.
1. The sunset.
2. Vivi's well-worn Pocahontas boots.
3. Lila's favorite Target wedges.
4. Teeny skinny jeans on Vivi. Size 4T. (She'll be 6 in 21 days.)
5. My niece Aubrey's jeans on Lila. (She loves hand-me downs.)
6. Vivi in that scarf and tiny sweater (that once belonged to Lila). (It was windy.)
7. Lila, refusing to wear a jacket, always. Because fashion is more important.
8. They're wearing their "fit bits."
9. They're leaning on one another... looking in different directions.

I hope they grow up and always go their own way, but rely on one another. I hope they're forever unique, creative and kind and I hope that whenever they're with one another, wherever they are, it feels like home.

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January 1, 2017

Happy New Year from Lionel & I.


Kylee, did you seriously order New Year cards with you and Lionel on them.

Um, you can bet your bottom dollar I did.

I shall share the back of the card with you soon, as well. I have just a few in the mail and I want the recipients to receive 'em and be surprised.

::

Happy Day, dear friends. Happy year.

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December 31, 2016

Resolutions for some, goals for another.

Ferg's goal for the year is to really take time out to relax more.

Oh, how I love a new beginning.

I like a new page in a journal; ahhh... the smell of paper.

I like a new pen.

I like burning a new candle. (I don't buy 'em to save 'em.)

I like taking the first scoop out of the jar of peanut butter. (You people who leave the foil lid on the peanut butter and don't rip it completely off SLAY ME. Take.it.off. It doesn't belong there beyond the initial opening. It is not going to protect your peanut butter from getting stale.) JUST COMMIT.

I digress.

With 2017 around the corner, I figured I'd share with you some of my goals for the new year.

I prefer goals to resolutions. New Year's Resolutions sound so... formal. Resolutions seem very serious with hardcore consequences if the resolution is not kept. "I resolve to give up sugar or else I will go before a judge and a jury of my peers and be convicted for not having followed through on my resolution.

And then I will be flogged because I ate some nutella. And dark chocolate. And cookies."

Who needs that?

So here are a few of my goals.

1. Use my Nikon DSLR more often.
No kidding, you guys. I went to take pictures of this past Christmas (2016) on my little red Nikon and the last time I used my "nice" camera was Christmas 2015. Yep. Our Christmas 2015 and our Christmas 2016 photos were back to back on my photo card.

Um...

Get off the iphone, get on the Nikon.

2. Read (and complete) at least one book a month.
I LOVE to read. The girls are older; I can spend less time on netflix and more time on my kindle. (Find me on goodreads.)

3. Blog 2-3 times a week. And, finally switch this blog over to wordpress.
I miss this space so much. Sure, people's attention spans have shrunk to just second-long messages (snapchat), but I'm confident that there are still people out there who like to read blogs AND use snapchat filters. Right?

No matter what. I've been writing this blog since May 17, 2016 (um, more than a decade) and I shant think I should stop now.

4. Communicate with my inner circle and closer friends more frequently.  Be present with them. 
They're the ones who matter. I feel like last year I let some relationships go. I stuffed my life full of other stuff and I'd like to go back and re-engage.
"Imagine a circle. 
In that circle draw the people who matter the most: your husband, your partner, your children.Then draw another circle around that inner circle and in that circle add your parents, your siblings, your close family. The people you turn to in an emergency. 
Then draw another circle and these are your besties, your peeps, your crew, your squad, if you're Taylor Swift. 
Then draw another circle around that. These are your co-workers, your clients, your customers, the people you're trying to expand your business to, the other moms in the "mom" group, the "friends" who always seem to need something from you. There are the people you're on boards and committees with. These are the people you wouldn't invite to your house for Thanksgiving. 
Next, evaluate who is getting most of your attention...  
In my world, it was my outer bands, not my inner circle. I was kind of ignoring my sweet little circle that makes me the happiest. And it's easy to do this! Why? Because I know they'll still love me, even if I ignore them. But it's time to reverse my behavior; it's time to focus on the people who MATTER FIRST, and then... with my leftover time, work on those other relationships. 
See, the ones who matter should get the best of us, not the worst.Am I right?"
(See the rest of that post here.)

5. Listen to music more often.
Do I really need to be listening to NPR and podcasts all the time? No. I need more music. We're pretty good about limiting our TV time and really limiting the girls' screen time. ("Go outside. Go play. You're bored? Come here, I'll give you something to clean / organize."), but we need to incorporate more music. When the music is on, we're all more calm. So, more music it shall be.

Just last week I was introducing the girls to Dolly Parton. They loved her. (Who doesn't?) It's my responsibility to ensure that they love the classics. Lionel, done. Dolly, next.

6. Learn to do a handstand.
I want to work on my crow and handstand. I will not, I repeat, will not attempt a cartwheel.

7. Write in the girls' journals more frequently.
I started journals for the girls when I found out I was pregnant. I've hardly written in them at all for the past couple of years. I need to be jotting down the funny things; the little things I want to remember.

8. Play with girls.
Yep, play with them. When I was reading the 5 Love Languages of Kids I realized that I wasn't showing my love to them in the ways that they need. And PLAYING with them BEFORE I need to get my stuff done makes them happy, shows 'em that I love 'em, and then I can get what I need to finished without any anger. Boom.

9. Keep dating Craig.
I love that man and he needs to be a priority. Even though he's #9 on this list, he's #1 in my heart.

Lol.
Craig, you know I'm serious.

10. Learn to do a proper and good looking smoky eye.
My current smoky eye attempts are sad and unfortunate. I need help.

And... that's about it.

I'm a huge believer that habits can be formed and intentional living is possible. I want to continue making my health and fitness priorities. The exercise thing? It's part of who I am now. It's my therapy. I do need to clean up my nutrition a bit; but at the same time, I'm going to continue practicing mindful, GUILT FREE eating. A chocolate bar is not a sin. It's delicious. I will eat one (not four) and enjoy it.

So, how about you?

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