Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Change in Attitude

SO...I came home one afternoon after a very long day.  I'd been volunteering and it was a HOT Saturday afternoon.  I opened up the door & found this.  My two dogs decided to get into the trash.  Not anything that anyone wants to come home to but.....shortly after this happened, something changed in me & how I look at things like this.   

I can't tell you exactly what or exactly why, other than this...  I saw a picture online one day.  It was of an older adult.  The picture exuded pure joy.
Something in the picture connected with me in a way I'd never experienced before.  I looked at it & thought, I want that kind of joy in my life every day.  Why don't I have that in my life EVERY day?   Here's why.  I let people & circumstances steal my joy.  I let them drag me down, I focus on the negative instead of moving forward.  I'm 46 years old & I know I will not be here forever.  It's time to just embrace life.  To a adapt, improvise & overcome.  I'm a worrier by nature so this is WORK for me to change my attitude but I am working on it.  I'm trying to roll with whatever life brings me & do my best to minimize the day to day insanity.  

As a full-time working mom, life is full of insanity.  My job is higher stress type of job.  I'm a corporate litigation paralegal.  In the last few years, I did some things to minimize my stress.  I took a job that is literally 7 minutes from my house - 3 miles away after commuting to Kentucky for 5 years (for a job I loved).  My daily commutes alone were incredibly stressful regardless of all I did to mitigate that (like working 7-3 to try to get ahead of rush hour).  My job in KY was stressful but I loved my bosses & my co-workers.   It was a very tough decision to leave that job but it made the most sense to take the job closer to home even if it meant that I would take a cut in pay (which a lot of is made up in the time I gained back, less stress & less gas, wear & tear on my car, etc.).  I have a teenage daughter & there are just not many ways to reduce the stress that brings but I'm doing my best (and praying a lot).  I started running - like, seriously running.  In May, I did my first 1/2 marathon.  Running has become something I love to do, it brings me peace & joy (which is really weird because I always hating running.) 

I spent a few days after seeing that picture of pure joy reflecting on 2017 - on decisions that I made to change my life for the better.  I thought about how we're always changing, evolving and that's a good thing.  So I'm working very hard right now to change my way of thinking, which is not an easy task but I'm up for the challenge.  If I could run a 1/2 marathon at 45, I think I can change my way of thinking to just embrace life -  To find PURE JOY in every day.  

I have read about starting a gratitude journal & think it sounds lovely, except that I don't think I'd actually journal daily.  So instead, I'll try to write down one thing each day in a journal that brought me pure joy. I will be grateful for my life & focus on the positives.  I'll do my best to roll with the negatives.  I'm going to try to do this via my Instagram account.  Follow me @inmylittleworldinoh on Instagram.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pray for Me...I Have a Teenager

Yes, that's right.  I have a teenager.  On Wednesday, my youngest & my only daughter turned 13.  Now, this isn't my first rodeo because I have two adult sons.  This IS my first round of the teens with a daughter.  Admittedly, I find it a bit frightening.  Not necessarily because of her but because of the reputation that teen girls have for being vicious to each other.  This is really the biggest issue I worry about.  My daughter is very sensitive.  She always has been.  This is why I've dreaded when the teen years would hit.  I can't even say that so far, we've had any major issues, but I know that at some point, it's likely we will have to deal with some that will not only break her heart, but mine.  I speak from my own personal experiences and pray that she will not have any of the experiences that I had as a teen.  Horrible things said, things that to this day, I cannot forget & carry with me.  The scars of my teen years are pretty well hidden but they are there.  They have had an impact on my self-esteem for years.  So, I arm myself & my daughter with all I can to combat the negativity that can come with being a teenage girl.  I pray for her, for the other girls she goes to school with & their families.  I pray for us, that we will find the right words to handle any such situation that may arise.  I pray that my fear of what's to come doesn't overshadow the amazing growth that occurs during the teen years. 

Teen years are hard for so many reasons.  We went through struggles with teens testing the waters & spreading their wings to find more independence.  It's a rough ride at time but the end result is worth all of the struggle.  It's years of working hard to reinforce all that you've taught them to this point, reminding them of who they are, what's right & what's wrong and watching them grow into a young adult.  Teen years are a lot like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.  They go from gangly, skinny, awkward (both physically & socially) to a more self-assured young adult. 

I thought that I would be very sad when my daughter turned 13.  I'm not.  I'm excited (and scared) for her.  I see her growing into a beautiful young woman, inside & out.  While I worry about her daily social struggles, I remind myself and her that these are small moments in time.  I talk to her every chance I get -  whenever she opens up to me about anything, I listen.  I make suggestions on how to handle things, laugh, cry, hold her, etc.  I work on keeping the lines of communication open.  I want to know what's going on in her world so I can help give her the tools she needs to grow & move forward. 

Recently, I mentioned something in one of my working moms' Facebook groups about struggling with teen girl issues.  Several moms suggested I read Queen Bees and Wannabees.  I'm reading it now and I can tell you that it certainly provides quite a perspective on girls.  I didn't worry much about a lot of these things with my sons.  Boys are indeed quite different from girls so I'm taking all the help I can get to get us all through this next phase of parenting a daughter.    

So, if you have a teenage daughter or an adult daughter, I'd love to hear how you navigated parenting a teenage girl in this world.   

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Let Yourself Rest

Is it just me or does anyone else have trouble doing this?  I need to rest but I look around & I also think....I NEED to get all of this done!  I can't rest because everything around me is screaming for my time & attention   So I push forward & keep doing.  It catches up with me though.  I wake up exhausted, mentally & physically.  I find myself feeling depressed & defeated because I can't do it all.  I feel overwhelmed & tired but resting only makes me feel more so.  I took some time to rest yesterday after getting up early & getting a few thing done around the house, we picked out daughter up from a sleepover & ran errands - did all the grocery shopping.  Once we got home, I cleaned out the fridge & freezer, then put everything away, made pasta salad for my son's birthday dinner & decided to read for a bit.  Reading made me more tired, so I laid down & napped for about a 1/2 hour.  Next thing I know, it's time to leave for my son's birthday dinner (around 4:30).  We return home around 10 p.m.  I'm exhausted & go to bed around 11.  I wake up this morning feeling so tired.  Feeling overwhelmed by all I need to accomplish today with no drive or energy to do it.  My thought is that if I'd powered through yesterday - I wouldn't have so much to do today.  However - I am fully aware that I needed that time yesterday even though it loaded my plate for today.  So....instead of getting further down on myself, I'll prioritize what NEEDS to be done today vs. what I want to get done today & focus on that.   I'll set a time frame to for myself to get these things done & went that time is up - I'll relax & let myself rest because those things will all still be there tomorrow.  Like it or not.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Working towards balance - Weekdays

It seems I'm always striving (just like any other working mom) to find a good work/life balance.  The image above is truly the best representation of all of the things that we're trying to juggle & find time for.  These are all things that are important to me.  Of course my family is my top priority & sometimes, I know that they do not get the best of me because I stretch myself too thin but I'm getting much better & figuring out how to do a better job of balancing my job & my life outside of work.  

I'm realizing that Sundays MUST be a day to prepare mentally & physically for the week ahead.  Here's my plan for Sundays:

  • check my calendar for the week ahead
  • plan my workouts
  • plan my wardrobe
  • prep food for the week - fruit & veggies washed, cut up & put into containers or baggies for easy access.  I also find that doing this means these things actually get eaten!  
  • menu plan - my husband now does 90% of the cooking since he works from home full time.  It's fantastic because I often walk in the door to the smell of dinner cooking.  We plan the week's menu together
  • make sure the house is as clean as it can be to start the week
  • get ALL laundry put away & done.  Now we all know that laundry & dishes are never really DONE but you get the picture here.

I'm also planning my days out now.  I am on the board for an organization that is my true passion & right now, there's a LOT going on with that organization & it's requiring a lot of my attention.  I'm also training for a 1/2 marathon so making time to run & workout is (and has to be) a priority.   I email my boss my schedule for the week in terms of when I'll be in the office each Monday.  I've done a little re-working with my schedule & reduced my lunches to a 1/2 hour now which I'm finding makes a huge difference!  My days look a lot like this now.

4:40 a.m. - up & get ready for the gym.
5:00-6:00 a.m. - workout - Running Tuesday, Wednesday (long mid-week run), Thursday.  Monday & Friday are off days for running.  Those days I walk on the treadmill then do circuit training)
6:10-6:45/7:15 a.m. - shower & get ready for work, wake up daughter, light cleaning, laundry
7:00/7:30-4:00/4:30 - work (Mon-Thursday) - I am off early every Friday because I bank the extra hours from earlier in the week
4:45 - dinner, homework help, etc.
5:15 - leave for soccer practice - DD has practice until 6:45 two nights a week right now.  While she's at practice I either run errands or walk.

You get the picture --- Usually one night a week I have a meeting for the non-profit I volunteer for, then there are doctor & dentist appointments, etc. Now we're adding soccer games to the evenings.  Planning the day is now pretty much critical to making sure things don't slip through the cracks & it all gets done.  Well, most of it gets done anyway.  I also try to fit in time with my friends & Fridays are date nights.  Since I get off work early on Fridays we often do our weekly trip to Sam's together, have dinner & drinks somewhere & are back home by 7 or so.  This works pretty well for us & our daughter enjoys having the house to herself for a few hours.  Now the weekends --- well, those are sort of a hot mess & sometimes, the days are planned down to the minute which makes me cherish the weekends where we have nothing or one thing scheduled.    This is how I'm trying to find a place for all of those things in that image above.  It is working fairly well but you know, we're at the beginning of the soccer season & things usually get CRAZY during that time & the best laid plans fall to pieces but I'm striving to keep it together this year!


I feel as though I'm progressing quite well with my goals for the new year.  Here's why:

  • Running 10 minute miles
  • Not smoking & not craving it at all
  • Training (and registered) for my first 1/2 marathon on May 7.  Flying Pig
  • Saying yes to things I want to do & no to things I don't
  • Continuing to work on mental clutter
  • Continuing family dinners

Oh...still plenty to work on.  I clearly am not hitting the mark on all my goals but I'm working on it!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year - New Me??

A new year is always full of promise & often resolutions that aren't kept.  I've made plenty of resolutions & most fall to the wayside before too long.  So this year I decided to take a long hard look at what I want for this next year of my life (and my family's lives).  

Resolution #1 - take better care of myself, mentally & physically.  This last year brought a lot of changes for me, most of them for the better but there's always room for improvement.  So I have set some goals for myself for this year:

  • Run 9-10 minute miles.
  • Stop smoking all together - I love to smoke when I drink or get stressed.  I made a bet with my son- $100 to him if I smoke this year, if I don't smoke, he has to run the DAV5K with me in November.  
  • Tone up - I spent most of 2016 working to lose close to 30 pounds.  I've achieved that goal but it's not enough for me.  I now want to tone up which may result in more weight loss but that's not the goal - the goal is not to jiggle anymore.  
  • Stop saying "yes" to things I don't really want to do.  I've struggled with this for years.  I've gotten better this past year but I've still got work to do.
  • Eat healthy!  This is something I've gotten pretty good at after doing Weight Watchers but there's still room for improvement!
  • Let go of the mental trash that drags me down & stop worrying about things I can't change!
Resolution #2 - Make family a priority - I've done more of this over the past year but again, there's always room for improvement.  Goals for this year:

  • Family game night
  • Family movie night
  • Family outings several times a month - hopefully these will include hiking once spring & summer roll around
  • Continue family dinners on Sundays & add games after dinner

There are always little things that I want to change along with some big things but these are two big priorities for me over this next year.  I also think that these are resolutions I can keep!  I'm contemplating running a 1/2 marathon which would be an amazing accomplishment for someone who swore they'd never run for exercise & stress relief.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Passion

Packages from our Third Annual JF Burns Loves the Troops Care Package Drive

See that?  That's my passion...helping to support our troops.  Why? I have two sons who are brave enough to serve our country, protect & defend our freedom.  They are not the only reason but they are certainly the driving force.  You see, once you are part of a military family, you realize that all branches of the military are part of your family.  The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, etc. they are all your family.  You feel a special connect to members of a military family that you don't with others because you share the same types of experiences. Separation, unknown, unrest, deployments, struggles, government cuts, etc.  A kinship that is different from all others.  We are in this together - we look out for, love & support each other.  You celebrate with them, you cry with them, you worry with them.  You understand what they are going through in a way that only a military family can.  Our lives revolve around leaves, deployments and promotions.  We watch the news differently than most.  We pay attention to what cuts are being made where & why when it comes to the government budgets.

A military mom is a different breed.  It didn't take me long to find out that there is a special sisterhood among military moms.  We will take care of each other and each other's families in a second.  Swiftly, without hesitation.  An encouraging card or letter to military family member who is lonely, homesick or in need of encouragement, care packages, special keepsakes for siblings struggling with separation and the list goes on.  

These boxes represent so much more to me than I could ever explain.  An idea that started three years ago when my son was deployed.  The thought that our deployed service members receive all kinds of letters and packages during the holidays but after that, it's back to what's their version of normal.  I thought it would be nice for them to know we were still thinking about them.  It began with a conversation with our PTO president, who is also a friend. She loved the idea, so we pitched it to our principal, who is a big military supporter.  

The first year we shipped off 27 packages to loved ones of the kids at the school.  The second year, 34 boxes went to a Kings High School graduate who had attended my daughter's elementary school.  His former teachers wrote letters to  go in the packages. His mom & sister came to help and we overwhelmed.  Typing this now, my eyes tear up because I could feel her pain and joy at the same time.  I found a new friend because of that project.  She happens to live in my neighborhood as well.  

This year, I had to look a little further for our package recipients.  Not too far though. We found 3 Kings High School graduates through my contact at the high school and a close family friend of a family at the school.  This year, 46 boxes were packed and shipped.  46!  I didn't have time to process that until after the packages were at the post office.  As I drove off from the post office that afternoon, I sobbed.  I sobbed because I am so thankful to live in this community that is so supportive of our military and their families.  Many are not as fortunate as we are to have this type of support.  This is my passion - supported by my community. I hope to do more & more of this, to see these projects grow and grow.  



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