Monday, October 13, 2014

30 Things: Day 20 of 30

I apologize for the extra long delay in getting back to this blog. Our house was broken into, and several things were taken, including our computer. I guess I wrote that 'things I need to forgive' piece a little too soon...I am still not happy about it, but I can't do anything about what's already been done. What's crazy is that our house had to be a difficult break-in. We have storm windows and doors. Our house faces a super-busy road. And we don't have much that a thief would find valuable at all. It makes no sense why someone would look at our house and think, Yes, I will break into that one. The detective we spoke to seems to think that it's personal, but seeing as how we haven't caused anyone any grief that I'm aware of, I'm just not sure.

Hopefully things have settled down a bit.

Back to the blog...

Day 20 is Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood

1. from the time I was 5 until I was 9, we lived next door to a blind lady named Helen. She lived alone, but her son checked on her at least twice a week. He did her yard work and other things she needed done around the house. She did remarkably well to be living on her own. She'd lived there so long, she had a routine and knew where everything was. She was also very nice. My mother and father would also check on her from time to time. My mom was always a giver, and my dad was always big on respecting your elders. Two things that stick with me to this day. One morning (I was about 8) before my mom drove my sister and I to school/daycare she smelled smoke. She tried to brush it off, but immediately thought of Helen and went next door to investigate. She smelled the smoke strongly at Helen's house and began pounding on the door. There was no sound from Helen, so she made me call 911 while she attempted to get inside the house. I dialed the number and my mom grabbed the phone in a panic while still trying to get Helen's attention. I don't remember what happened until the fire truck came. I'm sure I sat with my sister at home as we worried while my mom attempted to get into the house. I remember several emergency vehicles responding. Finally Helen was evacuated and the source of the smoke smell was located. In the basement of Helen's house, her washer or dryer had caught fire. The part that surprised everyone was that Helen slept through the entire thing. She was thought to have "super" hearing and smell, as so many who have lost one of their senses do, but she didn't even wake up through the sound of knocking and shouting. It was a miracle that my mom (who I always suspected does have some superpowers) smelled that smoke and got Helen some help in time. I remember this when I'm in a situation where I think: "nah, it's fine. I don't need to check this out, I'm just being paranoid. That smell or feeling I get is just my imagination". Nope! Go with your gut. Better safe than sorry.

2. When I was a little younger, maybe 7, I was visiting my grandparents. My grandmother had bought a bicycle from the neighbor and I was riding it up and down the driveway. I don't know what I was thinking, I was a kid so I was probably playing pretend. I remember I had jump ropes tied to my bicycle dragging baseball bats and a golf club up and down the driveway. That was the first time I'd ever seen my grandfather get annoyed with me. He was angry and told me to stop and untie all that junk. I'm sure I could have scratched the newly paved driveway, or destroyed the toys ( my grandparents worked hard and always bought the nicer things), but that wasn't on my 7-year old mind. I was so upset that my grandfather was mad at me, that I ended up crying in the hall closet. My grandmother found me, made me tell her what was wrong, and ended up fussing at my grandfather, which made me feel even worse! I think back and remember that as the day I realized my grandparents were human and felt emotions just like everyone else does. I'd always thought they were storybook perfect, and they were close. They were great. But everyone has a limit!

3. Fighting with my friends. For some reason, I have a hard time recalling good memories and can only conjure up the bad ones. I can remember every silly fight I've had with friends from grade school on. I remember when I was the only girl who didn't get invited to the popular girl's party. She told me the wrong time or place and I begged my mom to take me. but we arrived at the place she said the party wasn't there. That was embarrassing. I remember fighting with the popular smart girl because I was jealous that she was better than me at almost everything. I remember fighting hard to be friends with certain girls and constantly having to prove that I was good enough to be their "friend". I remember in high school I broke up with my first boyfriend and my friends were slow to welcome me back. They never fully did. That was one of the hardest times in my life. My ex followed me around everywhere with his new girlfriend. They stalked me and my house. They threatened me. They got other people to hate me for no real reason. I got through that, then I hit a popular girl's car with mine in the parking lot in high school. It was both our faults, she was parked at way too close to me and I didn't realize it, but I panicked and took the blame, then had to retract it after my parents yelled at me. They couldn't afford to fix her ancient but expensive-to-repair Volvo. There was no real damage, but the girl's father went after my mother with threatening letters and phone calls from the insurance agency, and my mom was not happy. Luckily all that was eventually dropped, I guess because there was no way to prove who was to blame, but my life in school was unpleasant from there on. The girl and I had been friends, but that changed immediately. She and her popular friends took great pleasure in turning people against me and they talked about me in the halls while looking me in the eye, daring me to say/do something, or their daddies would get me this time. I don't know why I remember the petty stuff that doesn't matter now. Stuff like that really bothered me. I took everything that happened and kept it all inside. I try to use it now to keep a thicker skin. One of my biggest fears was, and still is, people not liking me. Some people didn't like me, but I survived.

more childhood memories...
-seeing my little sister for the first time. She bopped me on the chin with her tiny fist and to this day, my mom and sister say we fought from day one!
-spending time in the beauty salon where my mom worked. It's where I learned about the ins and outs of daily business life. I learned how to entertain myself. I learned as I got older what a pain in the rump I must have been to my mom. How unfair it was that my sister had to go to daycare while I stayed with my mom. I was older and quieter, and my mom couldn't have afforded two daycare bills, but I still feel guilty.
-my mom took us to church on Sundays and tried to do something fun with us too. That was her only day off to spend the day with us.
-my dad making us "pizza fingers" on Saturday and taking us with him to run errands early in the morning.
-my dad was an alcoholic. He used to frequent bars and my mom would take us to catch him. She made me sit down in the floorboard, she'd lay low, and we'd wait for him to come out. She was trying to catch him cheating on her, I think. I learned as I got older that he did, a lot, especially early in their marriage. Sometimes she would leave and we'd stay the night at my her mother's house but we always came back. Or my dad would leave briefly, but he always came back eventually. Finally when I was 18 they split for good.
-Even though my parents had problems, they were still good to my sister and me. It was the best dysfunctional home I could have grown up in. My mom was my biggest supporter and she always made me feel like I mattered, despite all the crap that was going on in her life. I applaud that and wish I could be as strong as her.

Okay, this has gone on too long and has gotten really personal! That's enough for now.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just a thought...

When we let down our guard by showing weakness and our vulnerability, and the person we show it to mocks us and uses it against it....
I think that's a large part of what is wrong with so many relationships. 
Our relationships with significant others, or family. Friendships. Marriages. Even business relationships. You can't be human in those. 

Don't let those people cause you to shut down and push others away. We need to be strong, but we also need to be vulnerable sometimes. Everyone does. If you feel you can't, you need to examine why and if it's good for you to stay.

I know we have to be strong for our kids, so that's why it is extra important to be able to let your guard down with your significant other. Why you need a friend you can trust. Someone who can be there, and not judge or critique. Just let you be. Sometimes the only person you have is yourself. So be kind to yourself.  

Some can handle seeing you at your worst, because they see the best in you too. They know you can be strong but they can handle your "softer" or dare I say, "weaker" side. 

I genuinely hope you all can find people like those kind people, and that your life is better for it.

I'm here and I don't judge you for being vulnerable.

Love is not Love until Love is Vulnerable ~ Theodore Roosevelt 

30 Things: Day 19 of 30

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

As boring as it sounds, I like where I am now. In rural Appalachia. I have lived in/traveled to many places, and yes they have lots of things that we don't have in the mountains...but it is so beautiful here. It's (usually) peaceful. The school my kids attend is small but has great resources and a good curriculum. Sure, I get bored and wish there were more things to do here, but the beauty of living the way we do is that we learn to be creative and resourceful. In a good way, not a 'cooking meth in the woods' way. Although we have those too...but as long as you stay positive and don't trek too far off the beaten path, you're good. Small towns can be your best friend or worst enemy. Make one mistake and everyone knows about it. Gossip fodder forever. It's really made me toe the line. Not that I try to be perfect, because I am who I am. I'm just saying, it helps you stay on the right path. I would love to travel all over the world, but keep where I am as my home base.

Ask me that again this winter when we're snowed in and I have two bored, crazy kids bouncing off the walls. I'll be like Olaf, dreaming of beaches and blue skies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

30 Things: Day 18 of 30

What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I have done many things, and many things have been done to me, that are difficult to forgive. Some I have moved on from, and some still linger and surface at unexpected times. Some wounds don't easily heal. However, for me to keep moving on in life I have to keep in mind that whatever I've been through has served to teach me a lesson. For example, I don't trust people as easily now. Some might say that's a bad thing, but I feel like it's a good thing. I treat others with the respect I'm told to show by God, but that doesn't mean I have to let just anyone in and make myself or my family vulnerable. I haven't always been the best judge of character and I just want to be extra careful, is all. It was something that I had to learn the hard way. It could have ended much worse, and it did end pretty bad, considering the outcome on more than one occasion, but I was able to remove myself from the situation. The consequences stay with me, and I can't forget what was sacrificed for my stupidity. I was young. I was stupid. It cost me, and it cost so much more than just me. I will never forget that. This is heavy, and I don't want to bring anyone down. But I want you to know that I am here and I understand that sometimes we do things that weigh heavily on our soul. That's why forgiveness isn't just for us, to make us feel happy and free. It does that, but it's also to teach us better and to help us move forward on the path we need to take. It's not easy, but you have to find the good and take that with you. I'm sorry. I hope I am forgiven. The Lord says I am. I want to forgive others. I am trying.

So basically, I have had to forgive myself for some pretty shitty things I've done. I can't control what others do, but I can control what I do. Some things haunt me still, but when I look back on my life, I want to see more than the bad things that are blocking my view from the bigger picture. I can't wallow in regret when I have so much more to accomplish on this Earth.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

30 Things: Day 17 of 30

What is the thing you most wish you were most great at?

Hmmm...I would love to be great at so many things. I wish I was better at Math. I wish being patient in especially tough times came easily to me. I wish I were better at being brave and fearless, especially when I need to stand my ground.
I also want to be amazing at art and music. I like being crafty, I love music. I wish I could decorate my home on a shoestring budget and make it look amazing. I'm trying that one now...

There are a lot of things I'd like to be great at. Some of them might never happen. I'd like to be able to sing, but I can barely carry a tune. That doesn't usually stop me from singing alone in the car though. Or the shower. Or when my jam comes on in the grocery store. I might be getting old, but I think some of the stores play great music these days.

Monday, September 15, 2014

30 Things: Day 16 of 30

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

1. Becoming a mother. My girls are my everything, without question. I know that they are their own little persons and they will accomplish things on their own, but being a mother to these two bright, unique, sweet girls is by far the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

2. Getting into shape. I have such a long way to go, but so far I am continuously impressed by what my body is capable of. I was crouched down in the bathroom putting my hair straightener away when I caught a glimpse of some sort of bulge on my thigh. I was alarmed until I felt it and realized....that's a quad muscle. I had never seen that on my own body before! I was amazed. I might be going slow, and I might not ever be able to do some of the things that others can do, but for right now I am pretty pleased with how things are going and hope I can see this fitness thing through. And stick with it.

3. Anytime I spread the word of God or get someone to come to church, I consider that an accomplishment. I don't mean that in a selfish way. I really don't take credit for God's work, of course I don't! I just mean it makes me happy if someone hears the Gospel and I helped them get there. Part of our purpose on Earth is to get people to hear The Good News.

4. Learning to drive a stick shift, change a tire, check the oil. That might sound silly for an accomplishment, but those lessons were earned and I think it is important for men and women both to know how to do these things. The more you know, the less likely you are to be taken advantage of. You should at least know how to operate a lawn mower, cook simple meals, take basic care of a vehicle, etc. I promise you it will come in handy.

5. Learning to step outside my comfort zone. There are so many things I have missed out on because I was afraid to do anything too unfamiliar. I still struggle with this one, but I try to do something that scares me whenever a big opportunity arises. The older I get, the more I realize that amazing opportunities are limited. I can't stand in my own way all the time. One of my biggest fears is to make a fool out of myself, especially in front of others. I still don't enjoy public embarrassment (like many people, I'm sure) but I have started to learn that I will miss out some pretty amazing things if I don't take a risk and put myself out there sometimes. I still struggle with this one, I tend to be overcautious, which isn't always a bad thing, but sometimes you just have to say "the heck with it" and go for something. I have fallen flat on my face and been humiliated, but I have also had fun and been glad I stood up to be counted. Overall, I have to say participating and being present for life's opportunities is worth it. If there is something you want to do, think about what's holding you back. Is it legitimately dangerous? If something is really in the best interest for you or others, it's always good to think twice. Are you just afraid of what others might think? Are you afraid to fail? When I am afraid to fail, I always think "safety net". Like something I have to fall back on, in case this opportunity doesn't work out. As for worrying about other people and what they think, well...Tigers don't lose sleep over the opinions of Sheep.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

30 Things: Day 15 of 30

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

Well, my first choice would most likely be a mama bear. I am protective of my cubs.
I would like to be a fox, because they are quick, sleek, and wild.
Perhaps a treasured family dog. That sounds like the life...I wouldn't even bark at every little noise. I would just chill and eat treats and always be happy to see you.