Make Mistakes in 2017!

My goal is to make a few mistakes in 2017. The need to be perfect is taking a back seat so I can reach to new horizons.  As we all know a cat doesn’t simply jump for the first time and land right where they planned.  Funny cat videos show us that cats have plenty of fails before they succeed.  But the most important thing a cat does is JUMP!

Wishing you a year full of jumps, mistakes and greater accomplishments!

See you on the back end of success!

 

Battle or Blessing?

Waking up at 5 a.m. is my new normal.  I walk a 5k each morning to get my body going.  This morning was a different story.

I believe that the mind is a brilliant piece of equipment that can be tamed and trained to do things unimaginable.  One of my biggest goals is to be free of autoimmune symptoms that I have dealt with for years.  I’m working out, walking almost 20 miles a week, eating lots of vegetables, and taking care of myself.  So this morning, it was very disheartening to wake up with the familiar aches, headache and exhaustion that I experienced in the past.  For a moment I went to a place of self blame and judgment which caused a momentary suffering.

I caught myself in that dark place and decided to change my thoughts.  “No need to suffer with the symptoms”, I told myself.

Will I ever be free of the days that slow me down?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have the opportunity to practice self forgiveness, slowing down and appreciating life, and being grateful for all of the days that I feel great.  If this is my reminder, then I duly note the experience as lesson learned.

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Where’s the Rainbow?

A few weeks back I was speaking to my mom on the phone. The weather was wet and overcast.  I was looking outside and said to mom, “I don’t see any rainbows.  Where are the rainbows mom?”  My mind went to Pops, my stepfather who passed last May.  He was a man who always laughed and seemed to find something funny in every situation.  I was in the process of trying to find the bright spot in a few situations.  Mom, always the wise one, left me to figure it out for myself.  After our conversation, I asked Pops out loud, “Where is the rainbow Pops?”

I kind of expected him to make a rainbow appear to me as a sign that everything would be okay.  I certainly didn’t hold my breath on that wish but I did look into the sky and contemplate the question.

A week later, I was at a store digging in my coin purse to pay for something.  I just needed a quarter to finish the transaction.  I pulled out a quarter and to my great surprise, there was a rainbow sticker on that quarter!  The cashier must have thought I lost my mind as I laughed out loud.

Pops, in real Pop fashion, taught me that rainbows are everywhere.  Sometimes you have to find a different perspective and let go of how things appear.  While I was busy looking everywhere else, the rainbow was right in my purse the whole time!

Thank you Pops for your reminder and thank you mom for giving me the space to figure it out for myself ♥.

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Sometimes I’m the Heroine and Sometimes the Supporting Character

As I sit in a booth alone at a restaurant in South Austin today, I find myself almost in tears.  I’m not sad, actually I am quite overjoyed.  Motherhood can be challenging.  The love and concern that you have for your children never leave you.  My youngest daughter is 18 and she is a very quiet and shy girl.  I’ve worried about her having a social life since her core group of best friends left for college this summer.  She works and comes home, sits on the sofa and watches anime on her computer.  What kind of life is that?  I gave her two homework assignments over the summer (mom’s rules trump her being 18).  She was to look for a career or college that she is interested in and she has to join some sort of social group.  Well here it is October and this is her first anime meetup in Austin.  I knew that if I didn’t go along for the ride she would chicken out.  So I made her drive.  When we got here, she had to find the group and introduce herself.  I am sitting at a table within earshot and I’m watching my daughter come alive.  I haven’t seen her this animated and social in I can’t remember when! My hope is that this is the beginning of an enjoyable time for her.  All parents want their children to be happy and well-adjusted.   She is surrounded by a very diverse group of people who I feel will expand her horizons.  It is beautiful watching my little daisy unfold and bloom in her own special way. Sometimes I am the heroine and others, I’m the supporting character.

Learning to Receive

As a giver, I have not mastered the art of receiving. But this week I decided it was time to practice. I put it out there Tuesday morning that I was ready for the Universe to “gift” me. Once the intention was set, I went about my day with the giddiness of a little girl waiting to open her birthday presents. What would the Universe bring to me?

It was a day filled with adventure, playing tourist and sightseeing. With each place we went I wondered, “Is this the place where the Universe will gift me?” I was thinking that I would get something for free…I’ve been pretty good at manifesting that lately. My mind imagined some cute trinket that would remind me of my trip. That would be a nice gift. The day was coming to an end and we headed back to visit with my daughter-in-law. I began to rewind the day’s events in my head. Did I miss something?

It was evening time and I checked my phone for calls and realized that I had a message online from a friend that I have not seen in ten years. What a surprise! A lot of emotions came up for me. We had briefly talked online this past year but there were still some underlying emotions that were left unresolved. There was still some healing to do. We decided to meet for coffee the next morning. It was a short visit but that hour changed my life on so many levels. We were both allowed the opportunity to speak our minds and put some perspective into our relationship. Seeing life through another person’s eyes can be quite liberating. I acted out of fear back then. I completely own that. I shed that person a long time ago but for some reason I was still carrying the old skin around with me.

We all carry excess baggage from time to time. We simply have to remember to let go!

My mind thought small when it came to receiving. I’m glad that I was not in charge of creating the gift!

Thank you Universe! I’m especially grateful for my friend who gave me the chance to put my heart at peace.

It IS My Pleasure

It IS my pleasure…that is my standard email answer at work when someone sends me a thank you.

You may be thinking that I am over exaggerating my response but I’m speaking the truth. It is nice to be thanked. I’m not saying that every moment of my job is rainbows and glitter but generally speaking I love what I do. No two days are the same. As a matter of fact my job description changes as the needs of the company change. For some, this type of work atmosphere would bring on anxiety. But it is how I like to roll.

When the day comes where I cannot sign my email with, “it is my pleasure”, I will know my job is done.

The Joys of Dinner Conversation with Teenagers

Oh the joys of dinner conversations with teenagers. 

Last night my two youngest teens were conversing about dating.  Here’s how that went down (paraphrasing) –

Daughter: You know that I heard you have a girlfriend.  Are you dating?

Son: What do you consider dating?

Daughter:  You know, going in a car to places together.

Son: Well I guess we’re not yet. 

Daughter:  I have to approve of any girl you like.  I’m the sister and I’m supposed to know these things and you didn’t tell me!

Son:  Well I have to approve of your boyfriends.  Wait….you don’t have a boyfriend.  I have to….approve….of your cats.

Needless to say I about spit my food all over the table.  Comedic relief when least expected. 

The Universe gifts us with moments at just the right time :).

 

What is a Mushball?

What is a mushball?  My definition involves a very emotional person who cries at commercials and feels the highest highs and deepest lows.  They feel too much sometimes.  They love deeply and others have a hard time comprehending that they can love so easily. 

Although I have not seen this as an attribute but rather a weakness in myself, I am learning that it takes courage to be honest about my vulnerabilities.  YES, I Am a Mushball!  There I said it (blushing and feeling like I’ve attended my first AA meeting). 

I’m emotional, vulnerable, empathic…so what?  I guarantee you that I not only experience all of the black and white but the many shades of grey.  As a matter of fact I experience the whole infrared spectrum too.  I’m still working on the self judging and loathing of being so emotional but the first step in recovery is awareness of the situation.  It IS okay to feel so deep.  It is a gift.  It is a strength that can be used to help others. 

As my perception changes, I become more courageous in my own eyes. 

 

Serendipity Happened in My Living Room

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There I was sitting in my living room, minding my own business, typing a text to my niece (or so I thought).  I pushed the send button on my iphone and waited for a response. 

The response I got was definitely not what I expected.  “This is not _____________, sorry.”

Hmmm….I looked at the text and realized that I had all but the last number in the phone number correct.  So one number off, and the adventure begins.  I apologized for the error and told the “wrong” number that I had a blonde moment (which I am notoriously known for).  This is not the end of my story though.   

“Wrong” number texted back as if to reassure me that it was really okay.  We struck up a conversation.  It was so exciting to converse with someone who I knew nothing about.  What can I say, curious is my middle name.  No need to remind me about the curious cat, my mom has preached this to me since I was wee little one.  I found out that the recipient to my erroneous text is a retired teacher with a grandchild that she absolutely adores.  There is a certain camaraderie that I felt with her.  For reasons beyond my rational, we connected at a particular place and time and she really made my day.  I hope that she got as much out of the serendipitous moment as I did.

Who knows, maybe we will have tea at a future time.  She is exactly the kind of person I’d like to get to know…someone who is willing to embrace serendipity wherever it finds her.  Something tells me that we will become friends and have a great story to tell our grandchildren. 

How do such moments happen?  Certainly not by planning them!  Be open to all the “coincidental” and “random” moments in your life…you never know when your journey will take a nice detour.  It’s all of the unexpected side trips that really make the journey memorable.

This is in honor of my new Serendipitous Friend ♥

 

My Secret Life…CASA

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In February of 2011 I started the Advocacy class for CASA of Williamson County.  It was an intensive two month training.  Background checks and self assessments completed, I graduated in March 2011.  I was very excited to be a part of this organization. 

I’ve always been passionate about making a difference especially concerning children.  If you would have asked me back then what this adventure was going to look like, I would have answered very differently.  The idea I had in my head was to help young children or a child to get through adjustments in their family and eventually be reunited.  The case would take one, to one and a half years.  I would wrap everything up nicely and move on to the next case. 

That is not how my case went at all.  As a matter of fact, it’s been almost 3 years and I am still on my first case.  Do I regret it?  Absolutely not!  I have learned so much through this process.  My CASA kid has taught me so much; strength, resiliency, courage to name a few. 

Here’s where the secret life comes in…due to the legality of the situation, I was sworn to protect the identity of my kid.  I cannot share specific details or even a name.  For three years I have kept a piece of my life secret to family and friends, only offering that I am a part of the CASA organization.  That has been hard for me because there are times where I really wanted to share how wonderful this kid is.   Not speaking her name almost seemed disrespectful but it was necessary not to mention. 

I have spent 3-10 hours a month with her depending upon my schedule and hers.  There were many twists and turns in this case.  My deepest wish for her when I began this case is that everything would work out where she could go home.  That was not what happened though.  We were very close to that point and for reasons I cannot mention, it did not happen for her.  It broke my heart. 

When we realized that her options were limited to outside adoption or foster care we began to look for families.  This option did not pan out either.  She continued in a group home that turned out to be the best thing for her.  It certainly was not my first choice for her because I wanted her to have a sense of normalcy in a family setting.  In spite of the obstacles placed in this child’s way, she continued to work through many issues.  She stretched and grew at a very fast rate.  There were ups and downs and it was hard to be the CASA.  I began to develop a deep sense of kinship with this child.  It is not recommended to become so emotionally attached as a CASA because you have a job to do.  This case however was not a normal case and my kid didn’t have anyone to fall back on as far as family.  Her group home, support staff, and legal advocates became her family. 

Three years ago, she never thought she would see the day that she turned 18 where she could make choices for herself.  Not only is that day quickly approaching but she has successfully graduated high school.  I am so very proud of her.  I would love to share so much more about this kid but I made a promise that I must keep.  What I can tell you is that I feel I have learned far more from her than she has from me.  I’ve learned that life can throw some pretty hard punches and some people just get back up, dust off their clothes and do their best to move forward.  That is my CASA kid.  It has been an unexpected ride but the adventure is completely worth it!