Monday, June 29, 2009

Thank you for the music...

For those who are unaware, my first love in the "arts" was not writing. My heart will always belong to music and singing. I have even recorded 2 traditional country indie cds. Truthfully, my personal music selections have always bounced all over the place. I enjoy singing and listening to many different artists and genres. My kids are also music buffs and have their own favorites. I can't say that I don't enjoy listening to their heroes, the Jonas Brothers, and so far agree that they are the kind of role models I want my boys to have. Of course the breaking of Taylor Swift's heart might have knocked Joe Jonas down on the "hero charts" with my youngest, he has a huge crush on the amazingly talented girl, but beyond that, these boys seem to have it together. Hopefully that doesn't change over the years. As mentioned, we listen to plenty of Taylor Swift as well. Some of my other favorites are Josh Groban, Michael Buble (go see him in concert! WOW!), Rick Nelson, Martina McBride, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Bryan White, Vince Gill, Jesse McCartney, Christina Aguilera, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Usher, Fall Out Boy, The Veronicas, Aly & AJ, and on and on and on... You seriously do NOT want me to keep going or you'll never finish this blog! So the point, I LOVE MUSIC! Heck, my entire family loves music!

I'm one of those people that loves music so much that I make up songs all the time. Silly songs to make my kids laugh, smile, and even about eating their food. lol Yes, I'm a big goofball! I do this so often, that my kids think it's completely normal. They are now into the habit as well. I feel as though I should apologize to their future teachers, however I have also tried to teach them to pay attention. Regardless, this does make our life more entertaining. How many kids are walking into school singing "Mama Mia" or instantly respond to someone saying "uh-huh" with a "honey honey" sung right on cue? Did I mention that they love the Mama Mia soundtrack? Of course, Disney has become a huge factor in my kids desire to live life as a musical. They have created such beautiful kid friendly musicals with High School Musical 1, 2, & 3. I don't believe either of my boys have stopped singing and dancing since HSM has hit the tv screen! Do I even have to say that I couldn't be prouder?

Life is instantly more fun when you add music! Wouldn't you agree? It enhances every emotion and there are so many options to choose from. Music even enhances our movies. Think of your favorite movie... got it? Does a song, or more than one, stick out in your mind when you think of that movie as well? There is so much in life that music enriches. Simply, and mostly, music improves our lives. I know I wouldn't feel like a whole person without it. I believe one of my favorite songs (ABBA) says it best... "thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing, who could live without it, I ask in all honesty, what would life be, without a song or a dance what are we, so I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me..."

What is your favorite song/singer/music type? Do you listen to music more when you are feeling happy or sad or all the time? What is your favorite movie music selection? Do you have a moment in your life that you associate with a special song?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Am Who I Am...

Being yourself isn't always popular. I've known this fact since I was a kid. I think I've always been fairly well liked, but popular? Not really. I grew up being one of those "goody-goodies" that the other kids never seemed to have a problem with. I was well liked, but I never ranked high on the cool factor scale. Did it bother me? No, not really. Why you ask? I have always felt a strong sense of deep rooted conviction that didn't allow me to change who I was for the sake of fitting in. From size & appearance to personality, I enjoy my differences. When I was young, I embraced my petite frame and I believe it helped me to look at others differently too. I'm passionate about treating people equally no matter their size, color, or language. As a rule, however, I believe short people do stand above the rest. Okay, okay, my sense of humor isn't great, but I kind of enjoy it! Who cares if people think I'm corny or a dork? Not me! I love being a nerd! I know people who believe in pulling all nighters, dancing and drinking at the clubs, but me? Nope, an all nighter in my house usually revolves around sick kids, a late night movie, or a good book! How boring you say? I am who I am and I like it just fine. I don't have to meet the standards set by friends, family, or society. It's okay to be unique! Normal is boring.

All this also helps me put things into perspective when it comes to writing. Am I going to write something because it's a popular theme? Of course not! I'm going to write what I know and what I feel! If it never catches the interest of a literary agent or a major publishing company? Fine. If it never goes beyond a few family members or good friends? Okay. If it only helps me feel whole as a person to write it out and never goes beyond that? Wonderful. On the other hand, if what I write becomes something more than I could imagine... would I change? Heck no! I am who I am and I like it just fine!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feeling Twitchy

I'm feeling "twitchy" tonight. It's one of those times in my life when my mind is in overdrive and not due to the creative writing skills I enjoy. Sadly, it's something that plagues my life and leaves me feeling irritated, frustrated, and just plain twitchy. I try to avoid this topic to the best of my ability but it's always there. There are people and situations in this life that tend to be unavoidable. Whether it's family, friends (or former friends), acquaintances, or random people that treat you with disrespect, are completely rude or mean, or just act completely crazy. That's where I'm at tonight... trying to deal with the people in my life that just don't get why I don't want my children to be a part of it. These people go out of their way to be hurtful to those that I love the most and do things that most people would never think of doing all while claiming how much they care. Frankly, they've proven countless times how untrue that is. It's sad, but it's fact. A lifetime of bad decisions by one person can cause a lifetime of therapy for others. No, I'm not in therapy but if I was it wouldn't be shocking after all the things I've dealt with. Normally I leave this deeply personal information out of my public ramblings, but tonight I'm taking a moment to publicly make a statement and say... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Writing Is Fun!

This blog is fairly random and just because I'm a bit excited about being productive! It's almost 11pm and I'm sitting in front of my laptop to blog instead of grabbing that late dinner, which is now a really really late dinner. Besides the usual distractions, such as the final soccer game of this season and unruly children, I have been too busy to think about dinner yet (yes, the kids were fed). Well, maybe the thought has crossed my mind, but I wasn't ready just yet. I had something to do! I pulled out my lasso of truth... Okay, it was just my Wonder Woman notebook, but it has the lasso on it! Anyway... I grabbed my notebook, sat down, and wrote! I have a good intro started to my little book. I'm anxious to write more, but I'm not sure if I will see my notebook again until Sunday. I would love to pick it up tomorrow, but I have some unexpected errands to run. Errands to run with children in tow always take 10 times longer than normal don't they? I was requested to sing for a funeral on Thursday, Friday plans were set in stone at the beginning of the week, and Saturday we have family plans that will keep us very busy! Sunday is Father's Day, but I'm sure my husband won't mind me sneaking in some writing time. In fact, he's the one encouraging me to do so. If I find time over the next few days, I will pick up my notebook and write. I'm rather enjoying myself! I've taken the comments, regarding my last blog, to heart and am just writing. If I finish and I feel the need to take something out, I will. I will not "pre-edit" my book and remove things before I even write them down! I will not, I will not, I will not Sam I Am! There, there, there I said it because I can.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holding Back

Last night, my husband and I had an interesting conversation. We talked about a number of things, but the portion that sticks out in my mind was about my writing. The discussion revolved around my initial excitement about a project and where I'm at now with that same project. This topic is not entirely new for me, but it's continuing to bog me down. I find it easy to push my personal goals to the side in favor of other things. Sometimes these things are important, such as the items on my "to do list" or time spent with my kids and husband. At other times, not so much. Am I uncommited, lazy, or uninspired? Am I afraid, nervous, or overwhelmed? Maybe it's the subject matter? Maybe it's the constant interruptions from kids? To set the record straight, I am not uncommited, lazy, or uninspired... but maybe a little bit of everything else. The truth is that what I have started to write sometimes treads on very personal ground. I have a hard time trying to decide how much is too much. How much of myself do I pour into my writing? What happens when people who know me see my personal struggles through the fiction? How do those people react? Should I care what their reactions are? Do I let all these feelings hold me back? Do I ignore them? Do I use them to deepen my writing? All of these questions have also impacted my indecision regarding long term writing goals. Today I have let all these thoughts run through the fun house of my mind. I have attempted to answer some of my own questions and left others untouched. I keep coming back to the fact that there was a reason I began this process in the first place. Something that drew me to begin writing again. That thought is what I'm going to remember when these questions come up again. Thankfully, I have my wonderful supportive husband to remind me when I forget.

All of these thoughts have placed a song in my head. A couple of lines in the song seem to jump out at me, so I am ending today's blog with those lyrics...

Where is your heart at?

Nobody knows that...

(Meet The Robinsons soundtrack, Jamie Cullum, Where Is Your Heart At?)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Crafty Kids Father's Day Gifts

I'm a firm believer in the giving of thoughtful gifts! No matter how much or little money is spent, if it's not from the heart it just doesn't mean as much. Don't get me wrong, I love gift cards, cash, and expensive gifts like anyone else! When it comes down to it though, I'd rather have a homemade card from my boys than a pricey gift they didn't come up with on their own. That is why I always go out of my way to involve the kids in Christmas, birthday, and father's day gifts, etc. For Father's Day this year, we have a great idea to purchase an inexpensive gift that their Dad will LOVE along with a crafty fun gift and cards! I cannot obviously give this idea away on my blog as my husband is sure to read it and spoil the surprise for himself. He's such a snoop! However, I wanted to post a few fun ideas, and great crafty websites, for moms to do with their kids. Don't forget the dads, grandpas, & uncles in your lives!

A few easy ideas:

1. Make & frame a scrapbook page! Involve the kids in every way possible or simply let them do this themselves.
2. Spell out DAD with wooden letters. Then paint, decoupage, and personalize each letter. You could also do this with first names, last names, initials, etc.

3. A homemade book! Give the kids paper, crayons, colored pencils, glitter... the works! Have them write about their dad, grandpa, uncle, or God-father. They can't write yet? Let them tell a story with pictures or write it out for them. You can even type & print out what they want to say and let them paste it to each page. For an easy binding solution, get a small 3 ring binder, with an open space to insert on the front and back cover, and have the kids add their own personal artwork & title!

4. Not super crafty? Use a photo site such a shutterfly or go to the photo department of your local Target, Walmart, etc! Bring a photo that dad is sure to love (on the digital camera, cd, etc) and take a look at the great photo gifts they offer!

5. Get a blank t-shirt, BBQ apron, etc for the man of the house and some fabric paint or markers. Using paint/markers, write a quote such as, "Giving you a hand for being one super Dad!" or "#1 Dad Hands Down!" Then have everyone paint up their hands and place them on the fabric, or trace their hands with a marker. Make sure everyone writes their names by their handprints (along with a date).

I often look at craft sites for great ideas! Sometimes I see a project posted and I like the idea but need to slightly change it. Often times it's to make the craft more personal or easier for my own kids to do. Either way, it's a nice way to get creative! I hope you find something fun to do with your kids and possibly a great Father's Day gift! If none of the sites below offer ideas that you are interested in, go to and search "Father's Day crafts." Have fun & get crafty!

Great Crafty Websites (some very kid friendly with Father's Day themes):

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rain Therapy

Today I looked out into the world, well mostly just out the window and glass slider to our deck, and saw the petite puddles indicating we had experienced a light rain. The sky was still dark and gloomy, but I couldn't get over how relaxed it made me feel. Sometimes overcast skies and rain make us feel depressed, and even anxious when we desperately want to see the sunshine. Today however, I felt so at ease and grateful for the gray skies overhead. I patiently waited for the sky to release it's next bout of heavenly teardrops and hear the soothing sounds created by those drops. When the rain finally began to fall, I began to feel it's gentle form of therapy and started to breathe a little easier. It put me in a state of calm that I cannot fully explain, although I will do my best to try. You see, stress has a way of finding me no matter how hard I push it away. It comes from various sources of course. There is the typical day to day stresses as a stay-at-home mom; dishes in the sink, laundry piled up and unfolded, and keeping busy kids occupied. When you add in other elements (big or small), you really feel the need for someone to pick you up and take you out of that overwhelming place for at least 15 peaceful minutes. Well, I've had "one of those days" off and on for a while now. You place those days back to back and it doesn't take long before you are in desperate need of a quiet day. As if on cue, one gentle almost silent rainfall begins. It takes you out of your current frame of mind and places you right where you need to be.

Rain is nature's way of replenishing the earth and helping the trees and flowers to grow. Today it replenished me as well. It helped wash away my frustrations, that are better left unsaid, and gave me a sense of inner peace I was unable to ignore. The rain stopped and started at various points, as if it was keeping me on a rinse cycle until the things that were bothering me were washed away. While I let the rain melt my stubborn stresses, I realized how nice it would feel to cry in the rain. It was not something I needed to do, but if I felt the need to cry today, I would have simply stepped out into the rain, tipped my head to the sky, and let my teardrops fall along with those heavenly drops. The beauty of it, is that nobody would have noticed the difference between the teardrops and the raindrops cascading lightly down my face. That thought alone was comforting somehow.

At this moment, I feel so relaxed and at ease. I have no desire to deal with stressful situations or people. I just want to continue to enjoy the serenity I have developed after a day with rain therapy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer Days & Summer Plans

These glorious days of Summer are upon us... in our home at least! We started our first weekend of Summer with a game of soccer and a birthday party. The upcoming weeks seem to be the busiest planned days of the entire season! I'm certain that this Summer will fly by quicker than I'd like it to, so I'm hoping to cherish every moment of it! Of course, that also means cramming as much fun, and as many projects, as possible into the 3 month time span!

I'm known by many of my friends & family as a "crafty mama." In fact, they have given me a "Queen of Crafting" mug & "Crafty Mama" apron so I can wear my title proudly. This being said, my kids know that our days will always be filled with projects. There are so many options in the wonderful world of "arts & crafts" that we can always find something fun to do! Maybe I'll even blog about a few of our favorite past & upcoming projects in a future blog.

The other sides of our Summer will include a lot of reading and writing! Of course there will be trips to the drive-in movies, beach days, bubble blowing, mini golfing, and board games too. The possibilities are endless! Here's the big question... Who is going to have more fun this Summer? Me or my kids?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Little Piece of Heaven In A Store

That's right! This is the blogtastic blog you've been waiting for, well at least I know Marybeth has been. It's all about that little piece of heaven in a store... Target! However, this isn't just any Target store... It's a SUPER Target!!! Amazing isn't it! Personally, I believe that every Target should have "SUPER" as part of it's name and the current SUPER Targets should be known as SPLENDIFOROUS Target or better yet, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Target! Regardless, I have waited all my life to enter the blessed red & white surroundings of a SUPER Target. I would not feel complete in my life had I not been able to experience such a magnificent event as shopping at a SUPER Target!

Ever since the day that I knew SUPER Target existed, I knew I would someday walk through those glorious automatic doors. I longed for the day when someone would build such a magnificent place within driving distance. Then one day my husband declared that we would be taking a vacation to Florida. He added that a SUPER Target would be a short distance away from our hotel. My husband, although not obsessed, enjoys Target like any other sane person would. Knowing that I would walk to SUPER Target if I had to, he promised to take me the day that we arrived!

This past April, we left our home in Michigan to start our long awaited vacation. The drive to Florida was of course full of the usual vacation excitement, but I also had visions of SUPER Target dancing through my head. We had packed lunches for the first day of driving and when lunch time rolled around, my husband took an exit that held more than a parking lot and a public restroom. It seemed like fate that we would end up taking an exit that held a little piece of Heaven in a store. We did not have time to shop or browse, however everybody needed to take a bathroom break. What better place to stop than a SUPER Target! I entered and looked around distractedly as my husband pointed in the direction of the restrooms a short distance from the entrance. This would have been the only time I had wished it was in the back of the store! I felt like I was hungry and someone was eating in front of me, unwilling to share. At least I caught a small glimpse of what I was hoping to explore the next evening!

The rest of our road trip was full of boring traffic and listening to the occassional unentertaining voice of our GPS, dubbed Veronica. We stayed in Georgia overnight, before continuing to Florida the next day. There was one interesting stop in Floriday involving a 13' gator, but other than that it was your usual road trip. Then we arrived... at our hotel that is! I was anxious to get settled as my husband took a trip to the Orlando airport to pick up my father-in-law and his wonderful girlfriend. Once they returned, I knew we'll be letting our kids enjoy the company of their grandparents while we took a short drive to enjoy the SUPER Target experience.

When everyone was settled, we were off! My husband laughed at my giddy school girl excitement, but I knew he too was looking forward to this major event. When we pulled in, I was in awe. The palm trees accented the big red target so beautifully. I forced my husband to take a few pictures before entering my favorite store in the world. He again thought I was a little goofy, but he obliged. Once in the store, we ignored our "to get" list in favor of exploring first. The biggest difference from a normal Target were #1 size, #2 a garden center, #3 an entire food & grocery department, and #4 more cool stuff! This particular SUPER Target was the closest to Walt Disney World, so it also held an entire section devoted to the "happiest place on earth!"

While in the garden center, I instantly made myself comfortable on a nearby patio couch. With a chandelier lit gazebo above me, I assumed this would be a very comfortable place to sleep. I instantly considered the thought of moving in. Anyone who has read the book or watched the movie "Where The Heart Is" knows this is a real possibility. My husband burst that bubble quite quickly however and insisted that we got on to our shopping. Along the way to the grocery section of the store, I continuously paused and drooled at all of the pretty things. Then I realized I was walking down aisle upon aisle of real food in Target! I stopped to admire the wine display, of course I don't drink it but I certainly loved the display, and all of the different delicious items that I wouldn't normally see in a Target store.

All in all, my SUPER Target experience was excellent! I could only have wished for 2 more things to really make it even better... #1 that I had more time to enjoy it and #2 that it was down the road or across the street from home!

SUPER Target... truly a little piece of Heaven in a store!

Overactive Brain Seeks Lazy Summer Days

I have overactive brain disorder... No, that is not a real disorder. However, my mind has been swirling for days! Somewhere over the past week, someone pressed the "random" button on my mental music player as well as the one for my thoughts. I've been bouncing from one thought to the next with no "pause" or "stop" button in sight. I'm also randomly singing songs that were buried deep in my memory, while having no idea why these melodies were popping into my brain. My dreams have followed along with this theme. I awake with such a strong sense of chaotic reality that I have to take a few moments to determine what is real and what is not. I believe that I've been trying to absorb, accomplish, and admire so much lately, that I temporarily lost my sense of focus and exhausted myself in the process! I'm very grateful for the fast approaching lazy days of Summer! Just thinking of how much less stressful my mornings will be is enough to slow my overactive mind and just breathe. As this change in seasons occurs I'm also wondering if my kids will turn into Phineas & Ferb. The ideas that start with "I know what we're going to do today!" followed by projects their mom would never allow. My boys are all for that kind of activity. Hmmm.... maybe my Summer will be busier than I thought. Either way, I'm looking forward to it!