Monday, July 26, 2010

Emotional Draino

This past week, I decided to embrace my inner Smurfette.  A few electric blue streaks graced my hair after the encouragement of my husband, my boys, and my good friend & hairstylist, E.  We were certain my Mom would get a little shock, and possibly a chuckle, out of my bold statement, but she wasn't phased.

Sometimes we feel like taking actions that are not in our typical motions.  Whether it's a blue streak in our blonde hair, stepping out of a shy quiet mode and into the spotlight, writing an amazing novel,  starting a business, or doing just about anything that changes our lives.  Stepping out of that comfort zone and into an extraordinary experience is often a release.

Expression, defined in multiple ways, is gift.  No matter what form it takes, it is a blessing and a freedom that we possess.  Can you imagine how different our lives would be if we didn't seize the opportunity to physically or verbally proclaim who we are or how we feel inside?  We'd all be in desperate need of Emotional Draino.

Emotional Draino, for those days when your life is stuck and your troubles are beginning to overflow due to the emotional backup in the plumbing of your heart.

How do you express yourself?  Everyone has those bad days and needs a little stress relief.  What is your equivalent to Emotional Draino?  Is it exercise, a good cry, a good talk, a distracting book or movie, writing, music, or something completely different?  


A crafty blog post coming soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Crumpled Daily Check List

A scavenger hunt in the woods, hot summer sun, cool pool time, 5 smiling kids and 1 adorable baby, 2 awesome grandmas (and a even a grandpa for part of the time), & 3 happy moms.  That is a pretty simple and accurate description of my last Friday afternoon.  What does it all add up to?  A fun & sweet memory to cherish for years!

Ask most people in my family, and they will tell you that I don't often take time to slow down and relax.  I always have a project to occupy my time and something cooking on the back burner as well.  Lists are required to keep my mind organized as I'm constantly going and doing what I can for those around me.  Type A you ask?  Yeah, you could say that.  This is just how I was made.

In the last 2 weeks I've had a few days that allowed me to just let go.  A handful of family members and friends have helped me to relax and not think about what's next on my to do list.  My kids are probably the most responsible in this area.

When I slow down, I realize how quickly my boys are growing.  The summer days are fading at a rate that make me want to reach for the pause button on life's remote.  There are moments that I want to pull my hair out and have some quiet time, but mostly I just know I'm going to be in for some tears when September rolls around.

Guilt finds me when I'm not attempting to keep up with the daily check list, but I realize that's not always what's most important.  If I don't stop to appreciate the beauty in life, those feelings will find me later in the years.

As I look out past my deck, I notice freshly fallen raindrops, caught by rich green leaves, sparkling like tiny rhinestones in the sunshine.  Before long, this will no longer be visible.  Rain will evaporate or roll off the green foliage to soak into the ground below.  Had I not taken the time to look at what was right in front of me, I would have missed it all.

Don't miss out on all the simple joys in life.  Whether it's board games with the kids, singing silly songs, or dancing around the living room, take a day off and enjoy every second.

What have you done or experienced lately that qualifies as a simple joy?  Do you stop to smell the roses often or struggle with taking the extra time?  Who or what helps you to slow down and relax?


Monday, July 12, 2010

Nostalgia Meets Modern Day

My mind has travelled over various topics for today, but it keeps coming back to the day I spent with my family yesterday.  It was a wonderful day overall and I just feel like sharing some of it with you.  The events really began on Saturday however, so I'll begin there.

We have a finished daylight basement.  Beyond a laundry room, hallway, and "boiler" room, we have a large open room with an attached 3/4 bathroom.  This room has housed out of state visitors and other family guests.  In the past, I've had a scrapbooking day or two in this space as well.  My sewing and craft area has also occupied a small portion of the room at one time.  With the recent changes in our lives, we decided to rearrange and clean up the area once again.  We have a lovely curtain that will section off the smaller side of the room for our visiting guests, and the larger portion of the room will become my Stampin' Up workshop and class space.  Saturday, we began the process of letting go of unused items to make a little extra room.

Sunday afternoon gave us the opportunity to drive to my Aunt D's home and deliver the previously mentioned items for an upcoming barn sale.  Aunt D lives in my great-grandparents old homestead and the barn is perfect for an event like this.  There is also magic surrounding every part of the land and space where two of the most endearing people in my life once lived.  In my childhood days, there weren't many places that I loved more than my great-grandparent's.  

My boys enjoyed giving Aunt D's ducks a shower and then ran wild for a little bit.  Then C, Aunt D, and I unloaded the car before admiring the restored barn. We all marveled at the garden, Uncle R is a green thumb.  Afterwards, M picked raspberries with Aunt D, while O mostly enjoyed running around the wide open spaces.  Seeing my boys enjoying the place that I did as a kid, not to mention the previous generation of my Mom & Aunt D, was such a wonderful feeling.  I can imagine my great-grandparents were smiling down on them and loving them just as much as they did every child that was a part of their lives.  

Our day was not yet over, so we traveled to visit Grandma (my Mom) quickly, before heading over to my older brother's home.  He had been working on a dog haven for his beautiful German Shepard, but took a break to visit with his only nephews and amazing sister & brother-in-law (not to toot our own horns or anything).  The boys had a blast with Uncle M & Aunt S!  They went for a short hike and enjoyed all of the nature that surrounds the home.  Later they moved inside to play a round of Lego Batman while the adults talked on the deck overlooking the river.  We enjoyed good conversation and a lot of laughter.  Then we stopped to see my Mom for hugs and I love you's before we headed home.  The evening ended all too quickly.

Among all the bitter sweetness we face in our lives, moments with family (and true friends) who loves you is priceless.  When others turn away or stomp on your heart, it's these precious people who will be there to pick you up and help put you back together.  Even the memories of loved ones who have gone on before us help to heal our spirits.  

Who in your life has supported you through the rough spots?  Who has given more than they have taken?  Who on this earth can you count on the most?  Who are you grateful for today?

<3 Extra love goes out to my family today!  I appreciate and am grateful for you! <3

Friday, July 9, 2010

Better Than Me and You

In today's society, many of us feel as though we are being judged.  There seems to be an unspoken, although sometimes it's verbalized, competition that surrounds us.  At times it's self inflicted, while in other circumstances, the message is clearly conveyed by another party.  Jealousy and doubt can creep in all too quickly.

What makes a person feel as though they are better (or less) than someone else?  Is it a status held in a high level career or a birthright and namesake?  Could the superiority come from wealth, a fancy car, or towering mansion?  Do we receive special "gold stars" for our extensive education, religious views, or being a famous celebrity?  Maybe you can hold your head high above the rest because you live a lifestyle without children, or maybe because you have one child or multiple children?  Are you simply more handsome than every person you meet or incredibly beautiful?  It's amazing how many reasons you can have for treating others as though they are beneath you.

A person's spirit is fragile.  It can be crushed when any of these instances of snobbery happen in life.  How do we turn this never ending issue around?  To start, I recommend sincere kindness.  A compliment or boost of encouragement goes a long way, especially during a bad day.  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes.  Have compassion for others.  Be a true friend.  Show someone you believe in them.

Everyone is special in their own way.  Each of us has a gift, or more than one.  Embrace yours.  Don't let others get the best of you and bring you down.

"Before God we are all equally wise- and equally foolish." - Albert Einstein

For every reader:  Have you ever made someone feel less than who and what they are?  Have you felt unworthy yourself (self inflicted or otherwise)?  Have you given someone, or has anyone given you, a much needed boost of encouragement?  Give someone a confidence boost over the weekend.    Share you encouragement stories.