Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Geri Got Her Gratitude Back

My heart is full tonight and I want to share. It will seem like a tiny event to most of you, but today something great happened to me and I just want to tell someone about it!

So my washer broke last week. What I found in my life about broken washers is this: they always break when they are full of water and wet clothes. And they never break when you have money or time to fix or replace them. A broken washer is a huge inconvenience. Huge. Huuuuuuuuuuuge (Say that in your best Donald Trump voice).

As per broken washer rules, mine broke true to form when I was awash in worry about hormonal imbalances that are wreaking havoc with my body, financial issues that make my head hurt, work schedules that do not accommodate my family needs and various other concerns that have me feeling overwhelmed and less than able to cope. So picked the perfect time to break if its goal was to push me over the Cliffs of Insanity.

After a few moments of troubleshooting and a call to two different repair guys, the consensus was that I needed to get a new washer. Great. A $500 hit to our pretty much depleted budget. With that dose of reality came copious amounts of stress and worry, because that's how I roll. Soon I found myself near tears and on my knees, praying for help, relief, strength, anything as I searched for non-existent coping skills that would not kick in. Then we ran out of clean towels and underwear so I started looking at new washers.

There were lots of new, shiny washers to look at, so I should have been excited about finding something awesome that would make my clothes come out cleaned and neatly folded. But I didn't feel excited. I felt anxious and frustrated and out of sorts and worried about making the purchase. And always, every time I started to shop, I kept having this feeling that I should try to fix my old washer. To which I replied, "Ummm, NO! Too hard, too much time, too old (me and the washer), just no." To which the feeling replied, "It will be okay. You can do this. It will save you a lot of money. Seriously. You should just fix it." To which I replied, "But I don't want to fix it, that option seems really hard and time consuming. Plus, I slammed my thumb in the car door three days ago and it still hurts and the cuticle is all mangled and I don't want to hurt it more. So no" To which the feeling replied, "I think you should think about it. It's a good way to go."

So I thought about it for two more days. And while I was thinking another hard, stupid thing happened and the stress and worry about everything that had occurred over the last few weeks came crashing down. My co-workers were awesome and helped me keep it together when I was on the verge of tears at work, but when I got in the car to come home, I broke down and sobbed. I cried all the way home. And while I cried, I prayed. I prayed for peace, for money, for wisdom, for strength, for love, for hope, for insight and understanding, for someone else to cook dinner and for help with that stupid, stupid washing machine that I loved and needed so I could wash clothes. And after I prayed, the feeling said "You should fix it yourself." To which I replied, "You know what? Fine."

Now you probably know this, but something happens when you finally give in to a feeling or a thought that has been bugging you for awhile. Things just start to fall into place. I came home, googled the problem and darned if I didn't find a whole new forum that had every answer I needed to fix the washer. Why do you suppose that answer never came up the first 6 times I scoured the internet for answers? Then I tore into the washer, found a parts store today that had everything I needed and $100 later? My washer is fixed. I'm washing towels in it right now. Okay, so I forgot to check the belt and found out it has a big tear in it, so I will have to replace that tomorrow, but for now, the washer is working. And I am overjoyed! I am also pretty freaking awesome!

While I was watching my handiwork on action, I finally stepped down from my fix-it high for a moment and realized something. That feeling that I had been fighting all week? Was the help I had been asking for. And in my typical child-like fashion, I was too busy having a meltdown to stop and think about where the thoughts and feelings were coming from long enough to calm down and accept the help that was being offered.  Because that's how I roll. I'm all about the brick wall experience.

Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to people. That's okay.  I get it.  Lots of drama over nothing.  But to me?  It's HUUUUUUUUGE (Trump it up)!  Having this one thing off of my plate took just enough weight off of my shoulders that I can think and breathe again. I sooooo needed this break.

So tonight, I sit here at my computer filled to the core with gratitude for the answer to my prayers. Some of you may call what happened intuition or coincidence or something completely different and that's fine with me. I call it divine help from a loving Heavenly Father who heard His daughter's plea for relief. For the first time in weeks, my soul feels peace. How can I not love a Father who extended His hand to lift me up and help me in a way that not only shows me his kindness and concern, but also gives me confidence in my ability to solve problems and overcome challenges? I feel so blessed to be the Child of God. He took this:

 (No idea who this poor little "Snot Baby" is, but I was so feelin' it!)

And turned me into this: 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My October Dream: 2015 Beaches Social Media on the Sand Conference

I have been blogging since 2008.  When I look back at the difference between my posts when I first started and my posts now, it's obvious that life has certainly changed!  And I am sad to say that some of those life changes have taken me away from things I truly love!  

Writing has always been an outlet for me and blogging came along at a time when I felt lost and confused about my role in my family and my role in the world.  Blogging provided a venue for me to vent, to laugh, to share and to meet other people in the world at a time when I really needed to feel connected. Blogging became a lifeline that gave me hope and that helped me learn more about my strengths and talents.  Blogging gave me a network that allowed me to tap into an amazing and supportive group of women from all walks of life and from all over the globe. I have internet friends that feel like family because of blogging and social media!

Since the day I started blogging, it has been my greatest desire to attend a blog conference. I've had a few opportunities, but have never been able to take advantage of them due to bad timing or bad finances.  It occurred to me a few weeks ago, that had I worked harder to make one of them in particular happen, I think my life would be very different today.  I think the networking, the learning and the friendships I would have made there would have helped me have more confidence in my ability to earn a living pursuing my passion.  I would have had a bigger group of friends and associates to lean on when I was feeling overwhelmed and in need of support. I would have been surrounded by like minded women who find ways to overcome obstacles and make what they love become what they do. I would get to sit at the feet of Social Media Mavens like Maria Bailey to better learn the craft. It makes me sad to think about how much time I have wasted trying to convince myself that what I love has value and worth because circumstances in my tiny world try to make me believe otherwise. 

I know, sitting around and feeling bad does nothing to change my circumstance.  Which is why this year, I am committed to attending at least one conference!  Last year I was invited to attend the
Beaches Social Media on the Sand Conference.  I had to turn it down because it was financially impossible at the time. I regretted not trying harder to find a way to make it happen.  My family was sorely in need of some bonding time and I was sorely in need of being with a group of people who get why blogging is "my thing."  I applied again this year and nothing would make me happier than to have the opportunity to attend the 2015 Beaches Social Media on the Sand Conference!  I heard and read nothing but amazing things about it! From the phenomenal accommodations and staff to the engaging and relevant content, everyone who attended raved about the conference. 

I want to rave about it too!  So I hope I make the list this year.  I pray that the blogging gods will smile kindly upon me and give me and my family a chance to experience the beautiful Turks and Caicos Island together while I learn more about how to be a better blogger. My kids and husband need to see how happy mom is when she's in her element and I need to help them see the world can be so much more than struggling to pay bills in tiny Idaho. 

So I'm just putting this out there for the Universe to hear and see!  I'm ready for some Social Media on the Sand this year! I'm making my plans for October and trusting that you are hearing this, Universe! My family needs to spend some time together this year looking at this:

(photo courtesy of Beaches Resort)

I'm doin' my part, I'm putting out positive thoughts and working hard to make sure we can make it happen on our end, so don't let me down, Universe! You and me, Uni. Working together.  We got this!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Am Boymom...and Mrs. Fix-It

Being a Boymom means learning how to fix things.  Lots of things.  Like broken toys, broken bed frames, broken bikes and sometimes even broken hearts.  I'm super happy that I have to fix broken "things" a lot more often than broken "feelings."  Broken feelings are much harder to fix.  You can't use super glue and duct tape and staple guns to fix broken feelings and broken people.  I'm pretty handy with super glue and duct tape and staple guns and small power tools.  I'm not always as knowledgeable about how to mend feelings. 

But back to my awesome and amazing skills as a repair woman of appliances and toys and electronics!  I'm not bragging.  Okay, kind of I am bragging, because I'm on a high after fixing the baffle on my dryer.  You know, one of those fin things that flip the clothes around while the barrel spins?  Yeah.  That. The thing that no one realizes can come loose until it actually does.  Well, mine did.  And I fixed it.  And okay, it wasn't super hard, but it felt really good to know that I could take my own dryer apart and put it back together and have it work!

After the dryer, I sat down and started thinking about all the things I have fixed or replaced with zero assistance.  Among the numerous items I have repaired are BB Guns, Nerf Guns, Hexbugs, Blow Dryers, Matchbox Cars, Sneakers, RC Cars, Radios, a 42" Flat Screen HDTV, 2 different washers, a dryer, 3 broken bed frames, a broken sofa, a Lazy Boy recliner, a broken cable on an electric car window,  a VW carburetor, a toilet, a garbage disposal, bike tires, broken bike chains, a water many things!

Image result for fix things meme

What is the point of all this?  I don't know. It just hit me that I have fixed a lot of things. And that maybe I should take the time to appreciate my ability to dive in and repair something that is not working. It's not a bad skill to have. It certainly comes in handy in a house full of boys. Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me that I need to open a repair shop.

Monday, March 16, 2015

When Good Kicks Go Bad

I am not trying to outdo my friend Megan​​.  She just posted a photo of her own foot on Facebook. Her beautifully painted toenails are much nicer than my chipped paint and flat arches. Just wanted to show everyone what a Boymom's foot looks like after trying to do the Chris d'elia kick thing from the UNDATEABLES commercial. (Have you seen that commercial?!? "Best (kick) Day (kick) in the History (kick) of All (kick) the Days (kick)." Pretty freakinghilarious!) My boys said I couldn't do it. But I did. Cuz I'm awesome. And attractive. 'Cept for the foot. Which is very unattractive. And bruised.  Oh.  Did I forget the part where I kicked the coffee table?  Yeah.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Life Feels Like the Great Llama Escape

I watched this video today and laughed so hard I hurt myself!  The entire time I was watching, I was armchair quarterbacking and telling the people in the video who could not hear me how to catch the llamas. Honestly, it looked like a Keystone Cop movie for a while there! Having been raised with and among cowboys much of my life, I kept wondering where the ropers were!?!  It's Arizona, right?  No shortage of ranch hands and cattlemen and horse trainers there, so surely someone in the area had a rope and could use it!

(video courtesy Fox News 10)

Then, like magic, right at the end of the video the cowboy comes to the rescue!  He didn't ride up on a horse with a big ten gallon hat.  He actually arrived in the back of a work truck wearing a ball cap and a tee shirt. But you could tell by the way he swung his lariat that this wasn't his first rodeo. Just a few turns of the wrist, a quick flick of the rope and the loop landed right over the top of the llama's head.  Cue fist pumps from his buddies (and probably half of the citizenry of the Valley of the Sun) as Dude leaps out of the bed of the truck to hold the rope so the llama doesn't run off.  It was a triumphant, albeit humorous live TV moment that made me and the boys giggle and cheer!

After the boys went to bed tonight, I started to think about the chaotic, traffic stopping scene that had unfolded when the llamas escaped.  I feel like one of those llamas right now - actually, ever since we lost our home in Phoenix and ran helter skelter to a new home in Idaho. I thought it would be a good move for us. I pondered and prayed about the move for 6 months before we left and felt in my gut that this is where we needed to be.  So we took off down the highway like the streaking llamas and landed here in Boise. That was almost 4 years ago.  And I don't feel like we've actually ever settled down to live here since we arrived!

Instead, I feel like I'm the crazy llama in traffic, running full speed while dodging cars, spin moving past people who want to get to know me, and wildly darting from one street to the next, all while looking for a place to rest for a few minutes until I can figure out how to get home. Or at least get to a nice patch of grass where I can relax for a bit.

I don't want to be trapped by someone or something I don't know, but I don't want to run around in traffic any more either. This lost llama needs to find her her family's place in the world.  Running through the streets without a plan isn't fun and it isn't getting my family anywhere! And while it may look like an adventure for some, right now it feels like a freaking circus to me!  I need a good roper to ride up (or drive, or fly, or even appear out of thin air...I really don't care how they arrive or if they are human or angel or an inanimate object!)  and toss the lasso of stability and calm around my big, fat, mama llama waist so I can stand still long enough to figure out where home is and what the hell I'm supposed to be doing right now!  The grandiose escape isn't fun anymore!

disney animated GIF

I hope the llamas go home and laugh about their "Big Day in Town!"  I hope when they get back to their green field that they recognize the blessing of having a nice home where they can chill and eat grass and hang out with their llama buddies.  Because as this Mama Llama is finding out, while adventure and escape adds variety to life, there's a lot to be said for a tranquil life of peace and stability.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog Neglect

So how does one rebound from blog neglect?  Just start blogging again, I guess! I've been gone a little over 6 months.  Mostly because I got a job and working and blogging for me don't mix.  Balancing work life and family/me life is not something I do well.  I can do one or the other fairly well, but not both. 

I know that makes me seem lame.  Whatever.  Some people are great at doing both.  Just not me. Being a good mom is hard for me on my best day.  Add a job into the mix and things like blogs, laundry, groceries, social engagements, important dates and parent/teacher meetings start to fall by the wayside. Hoping I can become an expert juggler in 2015!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

MIsadventures of a Parenting Yogi - Book Review

I appreciate people who can talk honestly about life, especially when it comes to subjects like childbirth and parenting.  I also appreciate funny people.  I really adore people who can talk honestly about life and make me laugh while they do it, which is why I am happy to share a book I just read!  The book is titled Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi.  The title had me at “Misadventures”.  Any book with a title containing that word has got to be filled with some hilarious stuff, right?  Add to that the words parent and Yogi?  Yeah…I’m in.

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is all that it purports to be.  It is, just like I surmised, a candid and humorous look at parenting from the viewpoint of Brian Leaf, a yoga instructor (one of his many titles) from Massachusetts.   Brian has managed to create a memoir/parenting book combo that is neither preachy or self-indulgent.  The glimpses into his family life and his attempts at conscious parenting are both funny and poignant and although I did not agree with all of Brian's parenting choices, I could totally relate to his struggle to find his "happy spot" as a dad.  I love that rather than offering advice, he simply shares his experiences and the lessons he has learned while raising his own children.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters: 
It’s 5:00 AM. I have to pee very badly. 
And I’d like to go meditate.
Someone else would simply get out of bed, pee, and blithely head off to their cushion.Not me.
To do this, I must pull off a CIA operation.
I must remove the covers, inch by inch — in the dead of night our comforter sounds like a crinkly bag of potato chips. I must crawl to the edge of the bed (our bed is pinned against the wall to make room for Benji’s changing table). I must step off, and in the pitch-black, follow the border of the bed frame.
I must round the corner of the bed, where someone who designed our bed has very cruelly placed a jutting protuberance at exactly shin height. At five in the morning I forget this every time. I must stifle my cries. Power through the pain. Eyes tearing, I round the corner and toe the balance-beam width between Benji’s changing table and our bed, ever careful, ninja-like, to step lightly.
I am almost out. But now I face my greatest challenge. The small distance between me and the door, maybe five feet, is a minefield of creaky floorboards. Gwen has them memorized. For some reason I do not. At first I pause to consider my options, and then I panic, sprinting the short distance to the door.
My feet land extra heavy, and the floorboards creak like mad...yet no one awakens. Hashtag grateful.On the way out, I shut the door in one motion, careful that it does not squeak, promising to myself that today is the day I will remember to oil the hinges.
Failure in this operation is not an option. Benji is not sleeping more than two hours at a stretch. Neither, therefore, is Gwen. She is grumpy. I must not wake her or Benji.
So totally relatable, right?  Every parent can picture themselves in this exact same predicament!  And here's one of the answers I liked best from his Q and A session:

Q and A with author Brian Leaf

The subtitle of your book is Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting. What do you mean by Conscious Parenting?
Conscious Parenting is really no different from conscious anything else. It could be conscious Monopoly playing, conscious eating, conscious hiking, or conscious Texas Hold’em. It simply means being aware of whatever is happening – the challenges, the joys, the anxieties, as well as our reactions to all of this. When we are aware of something we are separate from it. So, instead of acting from frustration, elation, or fear, we act from our deeper selves. We see more clearly and are more free to behave as we choose.

And finally, a glimpse of the author in action:

YesWhat he said! You can find Brian's books on sale at both Amazon and on his website. Perfect Father's Day gift!!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Brian's book from publisher New World Library to help facilitate this review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are my own!