#AtoZChallenge V is for Vibes

V

vibes

Have a great day!

-Kat

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Embrace Life

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” -John Lennon

It seems too simple, doesn’t it? I can see you shaking your head. Yeah, Kat, right, all you need is love, love is what makes the world go ’round and all that fun stuff. Maybe loving yourself and acting from a place of self-acceptance won’t solve all the big world problems but think about how many of those problems are most likely the result of people acting out of fear or self-loathing or some other negative place. Too often we are afraid of looking too closely at ourselves.

When my life resembles a roller coaster ride that I prefer not to be on, I try to break it all down into the simplest ideas. I was not raised to be a positive person so looking on the bright side and pushing away the darkness is something I had to learn and practice. I found that by sorting out my feelings, behaviors, opinions and thoughts helped me to see things more clearly. Some of these I could change, others I had to leave behind, and the persistent few I just accepted as part of who I am. I found that when I took the time to really look at myself and where my motivation was coming from, the pieces began to fall into place and I felt better equipped to face the challenges in my life. I also felt a lightness inside me that I don’t remember ever having before.

I realized that I’m not a finished product and probably never will be. My children may be grown ups (or so they think….in my eyes they will always be my babies) and I might not be considered so young anymore (although to a 90 year old, I’m sure I appear quite youthful!) but it’s never to late to learn new things, whether they are about the world and others around you- or yourself!

Being a mom and a person who likes to help others, I found that by looking inward and examining what was going inside me, I was able to offer more to others. What might seem like selfish behavior actually helped me to give those that I love the best that I can be.

This mindset might not solve any of the issues I face but it definitely helps.

path to peace

As I was looking for quotes for the Blogging A to Z Challenge, which begins at the end of the week, I came across these words of John Lennon. Being a big John fan, I was surprised that I hadn’t seen them before, not that I know every single thing he said, right?? I wanted to use the quote as part of the challenge, but was having trouble fitting it in so I when I saw the Daily Post: Elixir today, I knew that this quote fit the bill. 

Have a great day!

-Kat

Where I Am

I’m at a crossroad. I’ve been here for awhile now…..each time I thought I might choose a path, something stopped me. Most recently these were family members with health issues but those have been managed, or as best as they can be. When I saw Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken and Daily Prompt: Ruminate, the two seemed to intersect, leading back to my crossroad again.

I never planned to have a career in retail and it wasn’t what I studied but that’s where I ended up for over 10 years. It proved to be a bad fit while raising three small children. I was blessed enough to have a supportive husband who knew that my heart was at home with our children and by tightening up the purse strings, I was able to stay home with them for their entire childhood.

So much of what I experienced while on the mom road was what I expected. There were school days, some sports and tons of kids activities. Having band kids, I spent as much time driving kids to and from rehearsals and performances as I did chauffeuring them to school. There were endless concerts, shopping for dresses, college visits and finally dorm rooms.

Over the years, the roads took us to some exciting and beautiful places and we created family memories all over the country, complete with all the ups and downs that accompany family vacations.

While I expected grandchildren somewhere along my journey, I did not expect them quite yet. My grandsons have been such an unexpected surprise. They bring me such happiness and joy that I don’t even mind being a young Nonna. To be honest, as I have been camping at this latest crossroad, they have been the reasons that I haven’t moved on. When you become a grandparent, you are able to apply your parenting experience and know what works and what doesn’t. You are able to rock your grandson much longer than you did his daddy because you know how fleeting these moments are and you can fully appreciate every precious experience. You are able to live more fully in that moment because you aren’t caught up in the whirlwind day to dayness of being a mom.

 

desk-solitude 1Another unexpected find on my road has been this blog and returning to writing. I have such admiration for those moms of little ones (and older busy ones) who manage to produce posts. I knew that I wanted to write, but there was never time. As I have been idling at this crossroad,  I realized that there will never be time unless I make a concentrated effort to write. I am learning to acknowledge and work to provide what I need in order to write,whether it is a quiet place, time, or a working laptop and access to Google Docs.

I know that the time to move is approaching and I will be taking steps farther into a new phase of my life. I’m considering classes or a new job or both. I want to spend more time on this blog and writing in general. And I definitely want to have time to enjoy my grown up kids and the cool adults they have become as well as the little guys and all the sunshine they bring.

I’m not sure where this road will take me. I’m a tad bit nervous. But I’m also excited. So much of my life has been spent raising my family- and I don’t regret a single moment of it. I do have to admit that I’m curious to see who I am when I’m not being Mom and where this road is taking me.

mountain path

 

Today and Every Day

Today is the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Our children are taught about his dream, his work, and his words. All of a vital part of our history. But he represents more than just a piece of history- a time of civil unrest and injustice. What he began, along with others, remains a work in progress. A marathon. A 50+ year marathon.

I typed and backspaced and typed and backspaced many times trying to capture meaningful words to express my feelings on this day. Let’s be honest. The things that our children are taught, the quotes we share, the talking points of this day are important every day. They should be represented in our lifestyle, our words, our actions. And the most fitting words that I can find were said by Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.

  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
  • “Love is the most durable power in the world.”
  • “Some things are right and some things are wrong. Eternally so, absolutely so. It’s wrong to hate. It always will be wrong.”
  • “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

Peace

-Kat

Daily Prompt- Marathon

On Friendship

Friend and love.

These words have taken on a meaning that, in my eyes, has diminished their importance. Everyone is a friend. We love everyone. The words just glide effortlessly through our lips as easily as “hello” or “how are you?” I don’t use those words so lightly. 

I admit to having different levels of friends. Some might be more casual. Some closer. Some might fluctuate. And before you start thinking that I have some elaborate system of classifying my friends, you can stop right there. (I don’t have that much free time on my hands!) 

I am extremely blessed to have a small group of very close friends- my best friends. It’s strange for me to have more than one friend that is that close. For my entire life, I had one best friend and quite frankly, had no need for anyone else. It was a flawed practice. It isn’t fair to put that much on one single person. And if I’m being honest here, I’m not the easiest person to be a best friend to. (just sayin’…)

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I found myself to have these three awesome people in my life. When I think of them, I’m reminded of a scene from the tv show, Roseanne. You don’t really need to be familiar with the show to understand the scene. Darlene’s baby is being taken off all support and has little chance of survival. Darlene and her baby are surrounded by her mother, sister, aunt and grandmother as each gives baby Harris words of hope and encouragement. The part I’m referencing comes at about 35 seconds in when Darlene’s Aunt Jackie shares a story from her childhood.

“If you feel like you’re, like you’re starting to fall away, then you’re not..because we’re gonna pull you back inside.” -Jackie

These three people are the ones how have pulled me back inside time and again when I’ve been in desperate need. They have been solid and true throughout more than just what I’ve gone through with Kris. That might actually be the least of it and you can bet that no one is more surprised than me to admit that. They have stood by me throughout relative drama, numerous family health issues, and currently some pretty big ones with a loved one battling a major illness and another struggling with a mental health illness (both hitting very close to home).

When you have friends like that, you don’t use that word lightly. Not many people want to even be around someone who’s going through so much crap layered one on top of the next.

They are amazing examples of friendship.

They remind me-

  • to be patient when the other is struggling with something, no matter how big or small
  • to listen and hear.
  • to ask questions for the purpose of helping.
  • to check in…. often.
  • to offer to help out, whether it’s errands, listening, whatever – and do it often and over and over again, even if I’m sure I’ll be turned down.
  • to give them a reason to smile.
  • to let them know how much they mean to me.
  • to let them know they are never alone.
  • to give them a gentle or not-so-gentle kick in the butt, when needed.
  • to never judge.
  • to celebrate their joys and successes.
  • to trust them.
  • to encourage them when they need a little push.
  • to be open with them..
  • to be honest
  • to let them know that I will always have their back.
  • to be kind, when one is being a major pain. (I would be the pain.)
  • that life is short and making time for friends is important.
  • to laugh, cry, vent, tease, love, hug, humor, and be with them.
  • to pull them back inside when they are starting to fall away.

What I absolutely love about these friendships is that they didn’t explode into full bloom over night. One happened slow and steady, building as time passed. One was quiet and constant and just there all along. And the last took me by surprise by appearing at a time when I needed it most. These friendships help me to value all of the new friendships I have made through this blog.

My hope is that I offer something to all of you, my new friends (who are at various levels of friendship in my fictitious friend system- and it most definitely does not exist!). I can say with certainty that my interaction with all of you, whether it is daily, intermittent, through comments, likes, texts, e-mails, messages, phone calls, is priceless to me. And I openly admit that looking at my list above, so many of you have hit the mark along the way. I’m not surprised. Bloggers are awesome people!

I hope as you move through your days and celebrate, whether it is a holiday or everyday life, that you take time to cherish your friendships. (Mind you, I’m not saying to ignore your family, unless you really want to, that is….. you know what I mean.)

Happy Day! Stay dry, warm, cool, healthy and safe!

-Kat

Shhhhh

quiet-shy-introvert

That’s me. All three. To the casual outsider, there is no difference between the three. But to those of us who are one, two or all three, there is a definite distinction. I am married to a sometimes quiet but mostly outgoing extrovert. My children are a curious blend. My oldest is the opposite of me- he is much like his dad only more chatty. My middle kid is a shy extrovert- something that is not easy to be. And my youngest is most like me- he is a quiet introvert but he’s not shy in the least. Raising these distinct combinations has given me much insight into dealing with these different personalities in all areas of my life.

I used to think that I was just shy but over time I identified the different components and it gave me a deeper understanding of who I was and why I act and react the way I do. With this understanding came self-acceptance and the realization that I don’t have to change myself to suit anyone else’s needs, including society’s perception of quiet, shy and/or introverted people.

I have spent my life being misread and misunderstood by people who mistook my silence for everything it isn’t. It appears that in recent years it has come even more into question, even by people who have known me for a long time.

I have so many thoughts about this but being me, I prefer to let someone else say it.

  • “Quiet people have the loudest minds.” -Stephen Hawking
  • “Sometimes it feels better not to talk. At all. About anything. To anyone.” -Unknown
  • “I think a lot, but I don’t say much.” -Anne Frank
  • “I stopped explaining myself when I realized people only understand from their level of perception.” -Unknown
  • “Watch out for people who are always bragging about who they are, a lion will never have to tell me it’s a lion.” -Unknown
  • “A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.” -Unknown
  • “We must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth.” -Cheryl A. Esplin
  • “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” -Unknown
  • “Sometimes, not saying anything is the best answer. You see, silence can never be misquoted.” -Unknown
  • “Often the most powerful statement is your dignified silence.” -Unknown
  • “I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity.” -Margaret Donnano
  • “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” -Anne Lamott

And finally from Susan Cain, author of Quiet-

  • “Don’t think about introversion as something that needs to be cured… Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
  • “Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.”

Have a good one!

-Kat

Dear Children of Mine

You are at an age when you can be considered an adult. I remember those ages- 20-25. I remember feeling more like an impostor than anything else. I was working full-time, paying my own bills and on the verge of giving birth to my first child. All of those things could have qualified me for adult status. And yet they just didn’t. I was actually pregnant with my third child and 30 years old before I started feeling like a real grown up and not someone who was playing the part.

It’s not easy being in your 20’s. Especially when you are living with your parents, even temporarily (Michael) or seasonally (Andrew) or intermittently (Kris). You’ve all been out on your own and living your lives as independently as most of you can at this point. Then you come home and it’s like you never left.

It’s only natural for you to feel more like a child than an adult. And it’s only natural for you to blame me for it. That’s what children do. And that’s the sign that you aren’t quite an adult yet.

See, having 3 kids in 5 years meant that every time one of you was at a *certain* phase or age, we would pause……..and then the next one would enter said phase. Potty training. ABC’s. Tying your shoes. Riding a bike.

Your dad and I were new to parenting when we started this journey. I had some experience and what appeared to be some natural ability when it came to mothering. Dad was a newbie from start to finish but he is a quick learner so it was all good.

It wasn’t easy. You all had very distinct temperaments and personalities and required different handling. It was a balancing act to keep everything on an even keel while a few of you were rocking the boat. I lost my temper. A LOT. I feel really bad about the amount of yelling I did. It wasn’t fair to you and in recent years I’ve made a concentrated effort to reach out to you and talk about things, instead of reverting back to old, bad habits. Opening up is not easy for me. I’m a very private person, even with those I love.

I want you to know that I did the best that I could. I love you guys so much. I have always wanted the best for you and for you to be the best you can be. I love you as you are- imperfections and all- because in my eyes you will always be perfect. If I can only get through to you on one level- I would want it to be that I hope you know how much I love you.

Being your mother and raising you was the absolute greatest joy in my life. When asked what I’m most proud of- it’s you. It’s always you.

As you know from experience, that love comes at a price. I have always been fiercely protective of you. I will fight to the death for you. And when someone hurts you, I get crazy scary. My anger (which really can be terrifying, let’s be honest) comes from a place of such deep caring that it physically hurts me to see you in pain. I try to keep that in check, especially as you all are getting older. I truly feel that you are never too old to want your mom. And you are never too old to desperately wish someone would fight like that for you. Like it or not- I will always be that person to you.

As you have reached your 20’s, I’ve tried to back off and give you space to grow up. One day you will look at your own children and realize that it is easier said than done. When you fall these days, the cuts are much deeper and the stakes are much higher. Please know that I feel every scrape as if its my own. Your happiness means the world to me.

I am proud of the people you have become. You are loving, gentle, caring people. You are the best.

And as I come back around to the part where I tell you that I realize that living under my roof again makes you feel like a kid again….. well, in some ways you still are. The immature behavior that sparks up confirms it. I firmly believe that you are not completely an adult until you can act like one in the presence of your parents. 

Having said that, let me tell you that you are so very close. One or two of you might be closer than the other to taking that leap but you are all closer than you think. I’m watching it happen right before my eyes- my babies blossoming into adults and it’s amazing.

I am blessed to have you in my life. You bring me endless joy and happiness.

And I hope someday when you look back at your childhood, you can look past any tears or bruises and remember the love and the laughter and the joy we shared.

Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

The Great Book of Lists: Chapter 2.2- Words That Matter

This week’s topic for the Great Book of Lists: Chapter 2.2- Words That Matter

Words, as simple as they may seem, possess power. Once spoken, you cannot take them back. Once said, it’ll be either white or black.
So today, let’s make a list of those words that has pushed you forward, to do good, to be glad. Words that kept you standing. Words that encouraged you to keep moving. Words that picked you up. Words that lit you up. Words that introduced you to an unknown world. Words that explained you the meaning of life, even beyond earth.
Those words deserve to be shared, so let’s share them today.

For this week’s chapter I chose some of my favorite quotes from past posts. What I love about this challenge is that so many times I’ve looked at the topic and thought- there are so many things I could list! It really makes me think about what matters most. 🙂

 

What are some of your favorite words?