The Best Day for Resolution Makers

Today has arrived. December 31. The eve of a better you: a more fit, healthier-eating, spiritually-renewed, organized, and independent you. Or … hear me out – maybe just “you.”

Every year I make these commitments to myself. And every year I fail at more than one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I am still making the commitment to changing these very things about myself. I don’t exercise; I’ve joined a committed fitness group with a committed coach. I will have the support to stay motivated. Plus I have a cute swim-suit I haven’t worn in two years. I’ve already programmed my alarm to get me up early to exercise.

I have been lackluster in my faith. I’ve blamed God, my church, the school, and even friends for that. It’s not on any of them. I own this, so I have to fix it. I will start with what I deem is the core for fixing it—God. My path is to include regular attendance to my church. I am fortunate that my priest has been routinely in touch with my angst without knowing it; so I trust God and the Holy Spirit that this will be true and my anger and hurt can be healed. But it can’t unless I make the effort, too.

I always consider myself unorganized. I have learned in the past year that is not the case; not at all. I am rather pleased that I don’t have to think about that this year. On the heels of that, though, is the sad realization that that resolve has been replaced by this realization: I am sloppy and lazy. I don’t mean that I am not neat and clean. I am. I mean that the pile of papers sitting on my desk, or that stack of mail sitting on my counter, just sits there (sloppy). I mean that those appointments I need to track (and request leave-time for) need to be entered in my calendar and acted on (lazy). My resolve is to actually use follow-through and do these things.

Now for my big reveal: these resolutions are daily/weekly/monthly, every year, all year. These are not reserved as new-year’s resolutions for me. This is who I am, who I want to be, and my constant goal. I am okay with that. In the last few weeks, while I was preparing for The Big Day to better myself, I finally released guilt and angst over being a little “less” than others.* I have decided that constantly wanting to better myself is not a bad thing. My active resolve will be my faith-walk. I have to fix that because for me that is the core of fixing/having will-power/being confident in all my other betterment goals.

Now for the last item mentioned in my first paragraph: independence. Overall, in supporting myself and my daughters, I am independent. I have fully grasped the day-to-day, self- and family-sufficient tasks needed to be independent and a provider. No, my independence for me is to be true to myself.

Therefore, this year I resolve to:

  • put God first and stop being faithfully-stubborn.
  • be true to myself; realize it’s good and healthy for me, and a great example to my daughters, to take care of my needs so I can be strong for myself and others. In that order.
  • forgive myself for not being everything for everybody; for not being who others want me to be, for being a gloriously-failing human, and letting others own their reactions to that.
  • say no. Unequivocally, clearly, and without explanation: No. (I am not going to explain why I want to say no. I don’t have to. No.)
  • to get my funny back. I miss my sense of humor and wit. I don’t even care if that’s arrogant to say. I am a funny person and I miss that about me.

 

* I do not truly think I am less than anyone, but do find myself wishing I had his will-power; her confidence, etc.

 

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Growing Old Gracefully

Hmm, maybe that title should be Growing Old Gracefully Medically?

I did warn you all that I am a middle-aged woman. I would love to say that life’s aches and pains are just a part of life and I try to not complain about them. But I do complain. It hurts. As part of my genetic make-up, I also find the humor in it. Like when my Cancer Friend Traci and I go off on the competitive “Who hurts more?” I do have to swallow my competitiveness because if we compare cancer battles, she wins hands down. I had Cancer Lite—the new and improved version. She had the old fashioned almost died, recovered, relapsed, damn-it-it’s-back, recovered, what-do-you-mean-this-ISN’T-“cancer”-if-she’s-still-so-sick?, relapsed, and (I think), remission. But she still has lots of battles due to all the treatments she has endured. But I digress—I was whining about my aches and pains. Let’s get back to that because this is my blog, I get to be selfish.

As young women, we all know menopause is coming and we can expect to gain weight, get some grey hair, actually lose track of tracking every 28 days, and get crow’s feet. What no one tells you is that it also uncomfortable. I imagine the same is true for men as they age.

I hurt. For no reason. Sometimes it feels like I just got done with a monstrous workout at a gym. Other times it is like the stiff muscles you have after a mild to moderate car accident. Sometimes the only time I don’t hurt is when I sleep.

So. There ya go. Whine whine whine.

Here’s the happy part (and no, it’s not the “just grateful I am alive” or “better than the alternative” stuff. Of course I am grateful. I am also a Christian, believing in the after-life, so I am okay with passing, too. I’d just prefer it later, rather than sooner)—the happy is because I think in my case, there might be a reprieve starting next summer.

Again, we women all know the aging is coming, but my not-even-to-Senior-Citizen age is not usually as painful and menopausal as I have been. My family all met for dinner last summer, and afterward three of us four daughters were talking. I complained about aging and feeling poorly, and the other two sisters both said they felt great and didn’t have the aches and pains I had. THEN I remembered—I am on medication that is “aging” me, as well as keeping me alive and cancer-free. Maybe, just maybe I will be given a few months’ or years’ break before all this sets in again.

This is my hope, and I am holding on to it. I am sure I’ll be sharing my post-medication pain-free life with you! Otherwise, grab some cheese—I’ll be whining.

The Gloriousness of Girlfriends, Part One

This is not a “girl power” post. Nor is it a post of how I couldn’t live without my girlfriends getting my back, standing beside me, and generally giving me my props. I feel any friend would do that, even in a small way. I have that over and over again with my all my friends.

Nope. This is a “thank God for the exact friends He put in my path” post. The ladies here are three of those friends for me—my twin, who has been a best friend from conception. Next in line is Natalie. We have been friends longer than Liza and I (last gal in this group, my best friend since Autumn of 1984). Natalie and her sisters would car pool with our family, and two others families, to get back and forth to C.C.D. (For non-Catholics, that’s Sunday school but on a weekday, after school.)

We try to get together at least once a year for dinner and drinks. Many, many of those years  are skipped due to work or family responsibilities that pull us away. Never, ever have we had a slip in conversation; never, ever have we missed out on keeping each other up to speed on our lives. In one way or another, one of the four is almost in constant contact with another. More times than not, it’s Liza and I with each other; Kathy and I with each other; Liza and Natalie with each other; or Natalie and Kathy with each other. I could go into the nitty-gritty of how that plays out, but the bottom line is that we all originate from the same community of small towns. It  just works.

We picked up our conversations from the last time we all got together (which, believe it or not, was within the last twelve months). We shared stories of how our families are doing, we insulted each other, we talked over each other, and we laughed with (or at) each other. We left with tentative plans to do this again in six months. No guarantee that it will work, but that’s fine, too. These ladies exist in my world, and that’s all I need to know – just that they are still here, in my circle of friends.

 

IMG_0698

 

(In this picture, top left is my sister Kathy next to me;
bottom left is Natalie, bottom right is Liza.)

 

Enlightenment Is Just a Word

Another guest blog by my brother, David —

 

Enlightenment is just a word, and words are imperfect. What so many people think is the meaning of enlightenment is in error. They think it is a destination, a level of acquirement. It is not. Enlightenment is something to be discovered about yourself.

“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind
about the world.”

The world is vast and complex. Our experience in the world is but the tiniest of specks in the vastness. Yet we seem compelled to give it meaning. Then we want the world to reflect the meaning we have ascribed to it. When it does not, we suffer (disappointment, frustration, disillusionment). This is when we need to change our minds about the world.

What you think the world means has (virtually) no effect on the world. But it does affect you. It affects how you see the world, and so how you experience it.

“Enlightenment…is a realization. And when you wake up,
everything changes and nothing changes. If a blind man realizes
he can see, has the world changed?”

When you change your mind about the world, you wake up; you let the blind man see. The seeing is the change, not the objects seen. Choose to change your mind about the world and you will see differently.

So what good is enlightenment, you might ask, what good is waking up to see, if not to change the world? It is good because you change your experience. You eliminate (most) of your suffering. You move (mostly) past your excuses, your lamentations, your complaints. If you dare to change your mind about the world, then you will (most likely) find its meaning within yourself, within your own experience.

“Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The
light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a
change at all.”

It is time for you to become enlightened and at ease with yourself in the world. This happens when you admit that already the light is in you. Admit it to yourself and you will see it. Uncover your eyes and you will recognize that the light is in you now. Do no hesitate.

“Everyone is waiting for eternity and the shamans are saying,
‘What about tonight?’”

 

 

 

Lunchtime Stress

My brother, David, has gallantly stepped up to assist me in this blog. It has been one month since my last post. I simply let life get the better of me and retreated in my own little world. Accepting his help in my attempt to emerge from that world, I present his wonderful contribution. This is just one of the many, many reasons I so enjoy my family. I am loved, in spite of my stress and self-exclusion from life. I am pleased to introduce my brother to you (if I am lucky, he’ll contribute again–he’s quite wonderful):

*******

Once upon a time, there were three male college instructors who, day after day, week after week, ate lunch together in the break room.

Once such day, the science instructor opened his lunch and then cried out, “I don’t believe it! Fried chicken and rice…again! Fried chicken and rice, fried chicken and rice. If I see this one more time for lunch, I will crack. I will run and jump off the cliff!”

Just then, the math instructor opened his own lunch. “I don’t believe it,” he cried out. “Fried fish and rice…every day it is fried fish and rice. I cannot take it anymore. If I see fried fish and rice in my lunch one more time, I will race you to the cliff!”

In his turn, the English instructor opened his lunch. “I don’t believe it,” he cried, pulling out some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a hard-boiled egg. “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a hard-boiled egg…one more time for the ten-thousandth time. If I ever again see another such sandwich-egg combination as my lunch offering, I will drive my car off the cliff.”

The next day in the lunchroom, again the three men were gathered.

“Chicken and rice!” burst the science teacher, clapping his hands in fervent exclamation. “I am out of here!” he said, then ran from the building.

“Fried fish and rice!” spat the math instructor, pounding his fist upon the table. “I am done!” he said, then ran from the building.

“Peanut butter and jelly,” yelled the English instructor, standing up so abruptly that his chair almost tipped over backwards, “and one hard-boiled…oh, no wait…ah, there it is…and one hard-boiled egg!”

He went on, holding the egg aloft, as though it was symbolic. “I have had all I can take of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. I am gone!”

With that, the English instructor threw the egg down upon the table and turned toward the doorway—but his attention was drawn back by the sound of the egg breaking on the tabletop. Its sound was unexpected because the egg was not hard-boiled, and now it was seeping out of the mangled shell onto the table.

“Oh…whoops!” said the English instructor. Then he ran from the building, patting his pockets and mumbling, “Where are my car keys?”

Because of the mad ravings of the running instructors, students became alarmed. They call to Security, who were able to catch the instructors easily. Already they were slowing down and breathing heavily (except one, who was juggling three tennis balls as he ran).

Later, in the president’s office, the three husbands sat across from the three wives who had been called in.

“Mr. President,” said the wife of the science instructor. “I had no evidence he was tired of fried chicken and rice. Had I known, I would have prepared something different.”

“Mr. President,” said the wife of the math teacher. “I miscalculated; I thought he loved his fried fish and rice. Had I known I would have prepared something different.”

“Mr. President,” said the wife of the English instructor, rolling her eyes with a tip of her head toward her husband. “I do not know what to tell you. He prepares his own lunch.”

 

One Lovely Blog Award

lovely-blog

Well, I can easily state that in my planning, procrastinating, and general work-avoidance methods, I truly did not plan on having this be my next topic to post, but shoot dang, Merle! I was very happy to read that from the sticks to the bricks and back again has nominated my very new, very young blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. Since I had no idea that there even was an award, I can honestly state I was blown away and pleased. By way of explanation, bloggers are nominated by other bloggers. This is to promote and showcase up and coming, new bloggers, or promote established bloggers who have lovely blogs! I’m very touched and humbled to have my page included!

As I am a fairly good conformist (I fight when/where fighting is needed, otherwise I am a pretty good rule follower) — I will follow the rules set forth in accepting and nominating, and ask if you’re nominated, please also do the same. Here are the easy and fellow-promoting rules:

  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you for the award.
  • List the Rules and Display the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  • Nominate around 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award
  • Follow the blogger who nominated you, unless you’re already a follower.

Seven facts about me:

  1. Humor is what drives me. I try to be funny. I enjoy being around people who are funny. I enjoy funny movies. Absolutely everything I’ve dealt with in my life, at some point, has had a moment of humor. I take it as a gift from God and how He’s helped me to deal with tragedies and stress.
  2. I am a Catholic mom. I have a deep love for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. That being said, I certainly struggle often with all that. I am a stubborn woman who can be passive-aggressive. Okay, it’s not so much that I can be passive-aggressive, but more that I am passive-aggressive. That kind of goes in the opposite direction of living a faith-filled life. God and I are working on that. Still. And again. But mostly still.
  3. I come from a large family. It didn’t seem that big when I was growing up because that’s all I knew. We have four boys and four girls. Well, since I am one of the youngest and I am clearly “middle aged” I guess we could say four men and four women. And two brothers-in-law. My parents still live in the same home we grew up in.
  4. I have a twin sister who is five minutes younger than I am. She and I do not look like, act alike, like the same things, nor have the same life-goals. I am outgoing; she is more shy. I am loud; and so is she. Wait—with people she already knows she’ll be loud. Otherwise, she is not very loud at all.
  5. I have a boatload of nieces and nephews, step-nieces and step-nephews, and a handful of greats thrown in–some greats already here, and one on the way. ❤ This is a happy Aunt Juwie. Or, as the niece who will be having my newest great niece would say, Aunt Ju.
  6. I have worked in state politics for just over 17 years. All but nine months of that time has been spent in a non-partisan office, serving both parties equally. Well, I guess all parties because we have an Independent a time or two. Lonely for them, I’m sure.
  7. I love the color purple–absolutely my favorite.

I would like to recommend and nominate these folks:

Hope, Fireflies and Fairytales

Young & Twenty

Grasshopper Girls

mylifeat40startsnow

badge415

Just Ponderin’

hoosiersunshine13

Out of the Dungeon

bountifulplate

I know I should have more that I follow, but I am truly such a novice and am still finding new blogs to follow. Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. I would love to add blogs to my library!

 

Halloween Candy and Resolutions

This is about the time of year that I begin my new year’s resolution planning. Mind you, not because I plan ahead–I think you can see from the theme of a few of my blogs that procrastination and distractedness run strong and true in these veins.

October. The obvious needs to be said: It’s breast cancer awareness month. Be aware. Do your part, check ’em out and get a mammogram. It hurts. But only for about six seconds. Three times on each side. Okay, so 36 seconds. That’s doable. Do it.

Again: October. Halloween is in the air. Candy is in my pockets, my purse, my desk drawer, my car. I am a slave to three types of candy. Milk Duds–available year-round. Candy corn–available year-round (but for some reason, even more delicious after October 1). And peanut butter kisses–a Halloween delicacy. The only other person I am aware of who enjoys them as I do is my sister Susie. We’ve been known to hock a few away on the off-chance that we may see each other and can give the other the yummy surprise. We haven’t lately because she’s hours away from me, and with my children still in school leisure travel during the school months is hard to do. And she is in the glorious stage of no children at home, a great marriage that both she and my brother-in-law enjoy so they do things together and often, and are grandparents so they get to enjoy their sweet little grandbabies. Methinks that my great-niece and great-nephew may be enjoying my peanut butter kisses these days.

On the heels of the candy-fest comes Thanksgiving. We have a large family reunion every year, with a LOT of food. This is year is our 50th Anniversary, and we are hoping for a large turn-out. A large turn-out indicates a large amount of food.

Then comes the month of December with Christmas parties, holiday parties, birthday parties, more Christmas parties. You know what ALL these have in common? Food. Lots and lots of food.

You can see where this is all going, can’t you? There is nothing but socializing and over-indulgence in my near future! My new year’s resolution seems pretty plain to figure out–lose weight and exercise. There is really no good reason to start now, with this slippery slope of food starting already. BUT WAIT! January is hard to start being healthy–it’s my Birthday Month. Hmm … “Autumn Resolutions” sounds about right again.