Fairy Tale Mom
Dictionaries
Image by jovike via Flickr

Today, I had an interesting experience at work. (I am leaving out the parts of my day that were awful and I’m not ready to discuss.) A long-time coworker, one that I’ve had a tense relationship with at times, offered me one of the greatest compliments that I have ever received. After steering me towards a great opportunity at work, she said, “I just love the way you use the English language.”

I was floored. First, this person and I don’t really go out of our way to be kind to each other. Second, my grasp on the English language is rudimentary at best. And, finally, I wasn’t saying anything profound or significant at the time.

I don’t believe for a moment that this will be a turning point in our relationship. I also don’t believe that it will negate all of the issues we have had in the past. But, on this horrible, no good, awful, very bad day, this friend/enemy said something to me that lifted my spirits and my ego for a few moments. Being a person that doesn’t accept compliments easily, I cannot begin to describe my joy at accepting this one.

Daily Prayer:
Today, Dear God, I pray for the feeling of security and belonging that I seem to be lacking lately. I pray for answers and guidance. And, I pray that those who are facing difficulties in relationsips to find a way to compromise and forgive. May I also find a way to forgive myself for the negative thoughts that have entered my mind today. Amen

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Selfishly, I pray for patience today. I need patience as I wait for answers and solutions. I need patience to deal with difficult situations in my life and I need patience to continue down this path of many questions. With patience, I could also use wisdom and kindness. Amen.

If ever there was a day that pushed me to the brink it was today. It seems, sometimes, that the most minute of tasks cannot be accomplished without my supervision. But, really, I need to learn to let these things go, the small stuff always comes with a resolution. The emotional currency that I spend on these things sometimes takes time away from the big stuff that is really important.

And, now as I finish typing this, one of the Princess’ friends just told me how she is being bullied at school.  My prayer today is also for her.  May she find strength and courage and wisdom.

(just further proof that my little troubles aren’t that important)

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Today’s Prayer is quite simple. As I think about all of the time that I take my health for granted, I know so many people close to me dealing with real health issues.

Dear God, Please be with MFH tomorrow as she has to get a shot in her eye. If her vision may not be improved, please preserve her vision in her right eye so that she may see her children grow. I pray that she be strong in body and spirit. Amen.

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prayer wall
Image by ratterrell via Flickr

I’ve been having a thought for the past few weeks about security and home and what it means to belong. And, I haven’t gotten very far on my own. So, I’m finally turning this one over to God for help.

Tonight, I ask, Dear Lord, please help me to find the answers that I seek. Help guide my decisions in a way that is best for my family and for my future. As I struggle to determine what is right, remind me that You alone have the answers. Amen

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I’ve decided that as part of my 40×40 list I need to document my daily prayer. This is to hold me more accountable and remind me that gratitude and kindness are better when made public.

Today, Dear God, I pray for the newly divorced woman that I met at work. I pray that she find hope and healing. And, I pray that in this weekend with many activities filling my days, that I find patience. And, that I find a moment to rest and refresh my spirit before the week ahead of me. Amen.

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This is just the list. I’ll blog the progress as I continue. Maybe, I’ll even catch up and post the pics of how I learned to knit..

It should be noted that I totally stole this idea from MFH, but we have fun talking about it, so I assume she’s ok with my theft.

40×40

1. Get Passport
2. Take Etiquette Class
3. Mail Emily’s Birthday Present on time 2 consecutive years
4. go to Ireland – kiss Blarney Stone
5. Learn to speak Spanish
6. Read Wuthering Heights
7. go on a cruise
8. learn to use a semi-colon properly
9. learn to sew
10. author 1 published article
11. take Maddy to Yellowstone
12. Road Trip Route 66
13. See Eiffel Tower
14. Keep a house plant alive for 3 years
15. understand football
16. Solve a cross word puzzle without cheating
17. Vacation with Doug Scott
18. Ride a Gondola
19. Ride a mechanical bull
20. fall in love
21. Learn to knit
22. get nice china
23. buy a house
24. host a wine tasting party
25. Pray Daily
26. Visit Australia
27. go to Vegas
28. Visit Sue Lowther (also Nevada, but not the same trip)
29. go to New York, see a Broadway show
30. go to Maine
31. See Niagara Falls
32. learn to get the videos out of the video camera
33. take yoga class
34. Hot Air Balloon Ride
35. Find PERFECT LBD
36. Kentucky Derby – with the big hat
37. Build a giant sandcastle
38. pay off student loans
39. Organize baby pictures
40. go to Traverse City Film Festival

Today is the eve of my 34th birthday. Generally, I am not the kind of person that requires a lot of fan fare for my birthday. I prefer that the day slips quietly by with those who are closest to me. I don’t want it forgotten exactly, but I don’t want a big deal made of it either.

But, this year something is different. I have been weepy and emotional all day. While tears never fell from my eyes, I could feel them stinging and threatening me as the day wore on.

As I tried to figure out what had turned me into an emotional mess, I started reflecting on all of the things that I had hoped to do by now and all of the opportunities that I missed. I’ve never been to Europe. I can’t speak more than one language. I’m still single (this makes my mother very happy and the rest of my family very concerned). I’ve never taken a road trip across the country. And the list goes on and on and on…

It wasn’t until late in the day that I started thinking about the things that I have accomplished. I have a beautiful daughter. I’ve traveled a bit (all in the USA). I have great friends that I can rely on. And, I know who I can’t count on (that was a long hard lesson to learn).

What I’m left with as I come to terms with “34” is that I’ve learned a lot and I’ve got a lot more to learn. I have much progress to make on my 40×40 list, but I have a plan. That’s more than I had last year at this time…

Lately, I find myself evaluating some of the decisions I’ve been making.  Now, this is not really a new activity.  I have always been somewhat of a reflective person.  Lately, however, I’m looking at things a little differently.  Some of the things I have been reconsidering are silly, like *another* burrito for lunch with Insurance Girl or what shoes to wear tomorrow.  And, some are all about long term planning like a 529 plan for the Princess or my own 401K.  But, really what I’m evaluating is how I spend my time.  Do my decisions really refelct my priorities?

Can you tell that being a mommy is priority #1 if I spend all my free time with the princess worrying about the projects that I didn’t finish at work?  Or would you know that my friendships mean the world to me if you saw how much I actually get to call them?  I doubt it…  I think that if you monitored my daily activities, you would believe that my biggest priorities are not in line with my ideals.

For example, I spend a lot of time running meaningless errands.  Or, driving in the middle of the night.  Or, playing words with friends.  All the while, I know that I should be doing something else.

Mostly, I have decided that my actions do not refelct my #1 priority of being with the princess.  I need to do a much better job of being engaged when I do get to spend time with her.   Maybe it just doesn’t matter that the laundry isn’t put away.  I’ve decided that playing make believe is much more important.  And, I want her to know it.

I wonder if anyone else faces a similar challenge?

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Recently when my parenting skills were called into question, I took a few minutes to evaluate my parenting style.  I would like to think that I was somewhat objective in my self evaluation, but probably not really..  What I decided is that I am not a helicopter parent.  I do not hover and make decisions for the princess.  I want the princess to grow up to be independent and able to make decisions for herself.  When she goes off to college, I want to know I’ve prepared her to face the world on her own.  I really believe that I’m parenting the best possible way for her and for me. 

There are those out there who believe that I am too hands off, that I am too abrasive and that I should be more involved in all of her projects.  But, that’s not how I do things.  I prefer to help her understand the instructions or guidelines and let her do the work on her own.  We discuss the projects in detail and I make sure that I’m available for questions, but I never do her work.  I also don’t clean her room or do her chores.   She is required to help with the dishes and take care of her dog.  I want her to understand that she is capable of doing all things that she sets her mind to accomplish.  I also want her to understand that she has responsibilities.  She earns an allowance for completing her chores as expected and she does not get paid if the work isn’t finished.

This is not to say that I am not encouraging.  I am her best cheerleader.  I support her in the good decisions and counsel her through the bad.  My expectations are relatively on par for an 8 year old. 

What I determined is that although I choose to be a little more fluid with my parenting than others, my way may not work with all kids.  That being said, it’s the only method that I’ve got.  So, if you are hoping that I will not correct your child for misbehaving when you aren’t watching; do not expect me to be different than I am with my own child.  When you tell me this is harsh and uncaring, I will take offense.   And, that will damage our “relationship”.  I will also, however, take responsibility for my actions.   You do not need to hold my friends accountable.  Nor, do you need to unnecessarily retaliate against a group for my actions.  Although we parent differently, I’m sure we can find a way to co-exist.  What I’m saying is that you don’t need to un-friend me on facebook just because you think I’m a bad mom.

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Time to shed unwanted things in my life. I’m beginning a project today that is all about decluttering. Nothing is sacred, (not even the junk drawer). I want to buy a house, so to prepare for a move; I’m getting rid of all things that get in my way. Realization: I have a lot of stuff.
My intention is to sort through everything that I own and keep only the most precious items. I will simplify! I will reduce the number of items I carry with me.
This process got me thinking of other items I carry with me that aren’t serving me well. I carry emotional baggage that had become far too cumbersome to contend with on a daily basis. So, I’m giving myself permission to let it all go. First thing on the way out are toxic relationships. I’m not talking about the ones that are challenging, but the ones that cost too much to maintain in the way of personal sanity and frustration. Unfortunately, this will mean that some things will be lost. I will miss the history that the relationship has given me. I will miss the conversations. But, I will not miss the continual rejection or the familiarity of unreturned phone calls. I now am choosing to spend time and energy on those who appreciate it most. Those friends and companions that give equally to the relationship and cherish the moments that make it real and who accept me, in spite of my flaws are the people on whom I will concentrate my time and energy. Relationships require cultivation and care, I am deciding to give as good as I get. Gratefully, I have a select few to turn to… To those who are being shifted away from my daily thoughts, thank you for the memories.