Friday, June 28, 2013

Goals Have No Expiration Dates

When I was in high school people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. That's a daunting question for a person of any age, but especially a teenager. You're expected to graduate from high school, pursue a career, hopefully go to college so you'll have a 'better' career, and basically have your life planned out. But guess what? Life sometimes throws you curve balls. Sometimes getting to college is one thing but being able to finish college is something entirely different. Back in the day (OK, now I'm going to show my age) we didn't all have school counselors that explained our multitude of options, we didn't have access to the Internet to search for available scholarships, and many of us didn't have parents that paid for our educations. Back in the day (at least in my day) you worked full time and paid for your classes one semester at a time.
There are many times I regret never having finished my degree. I was working and paying for my education. I knew I wouldn't be able to finish so I made the best use of the resources I had. I was being realistic. I took as many courses related to my major as I could and skipped all the required  ones that wouldn't help me. The upside was that I took quite a few journalism, writing, and literature classes. The downside was that I never completed my degree.
I sit here today, having turned 50 this year, and am proud of where I am. I'm proud of the skills that I have and I'm proud of the choices I've made. I look at my son who is an accomplished chemistry teacher and admire his 3 degrees and the hard work and dedication it took for him to achieve them. I look at my daughter who is about to embark on her college journey and simply glow with pride as I watch her practice and embrace her God-given musical talents.
As I draw closer to becoming an empty-nester for the first time in my life I have to ask myself, 'Is it too late for my dreams and my goals?' ABSOLUTELY NOT! Goals don't have expiration dates. My life will soon change again, as it always does. I will continue to support my children's goals and dreams, but I am also choosing to embrace mine. This blog is more than just a hobby to me ... it's been a lifeline. It's a reminder to me that I have hopes and dreams. It's a reminder that I have skills that may be rusty, but I'm willing to put in the time and sweat to refine them. Whether one person reads my blog or 100 it doesn't matter. Well, it does on one hand, but not on the other. I'm sure you know what I mean. Sure we all want to be successful and we want to be encouraged and supported, but ultimately I need to be happy with my work. That in itself is a journey and a continuing process. I'm taking classes and workshops and talking to people in the business and challenging myself, BUT I'm not giving up and in the end that's what matters. Blogs are a wonderful outlet and trust me when I say - my life has never been boring which ideally gives me a lot of material to write about.
How about you? Do you have a goal you never completed? What's stopping you?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Transitions Aren't Always Easy

Do you ever feel like a sailboat that has a ripped sail? One minute you're smoothly gliding along the water with the sun gleaming down from overhead and then next minute you have a rip in your sail and your boat is forced to switch directions? Whether you have a boat or not, just about everyone experiences that feeling at one time or another. The bigger question is: How do you handle it? Do you go with the flow (pardon the pun) and be adaptable or do you let the obstacle stop you dead in your tracks?

Not all transitions are going to be smooth. Life throws us all kinds of challenges every day. If they were easy and avoidable they wouldn't be called challenges. We're all human and we experience things like separation, sickness, loneliness, debt, stress, and doubt. I like to think that God never gives me more than I can handle. Obstacles and challenges can often be thought of as character tests. Maybe God is testing our faith or maybe we're testing our own strength and character. Maybe we need to dig deep and see just what we're made of.

Whatever your challenge or transition is today how are you coping with it? Are you making progress? Do you need some help or someone to talk with? Maybe your week is going great (and I hope it is); but take a minute and look around you. How is your spouse or your child or your neighbor getting along? Do they seem to be mulling something over? Maybe just asking them how their week is going is all they need to let them know they're not alone.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Give Yourself Permission

  Some people have absolutely no trouble taking time for themselves, having fun with a hobby, or taking the time to meet a friend for lunch. Gosh! I wish I was that person. I made a decision a long time ago when I became a parent that I would dedicate as much time as I could to helping to raise my kids. I promised myself I'd be involved, I'd coach, I'd volunteer, I'd chaperone, I'd host birthday parties, etc., etc. I can say with a completely clear conscience that I've done that. Some people have accused me of being 'too' involved, but that's o.k. People are entitled to their own opinion, just as I am mine.
   When I was a young girl my mom was a girl scout leader and she did drive me to dance classes, but as I hit my teenage years our family circumstances changed and her availability to be involved changed. I can't blame anyone, but I did miss the involvement. I vowed that when I became a parent I would make the choices I wanted to make, when I could, and it wouldn't matter to me what others thought. As much as my husband and I have been involved with our kids I always thought it was sad to see the kids who were missing out. We became surrogate 'fill-in' role models and mentors whenever we could. My daughter's high school girlfriends still laugh and joke with my husband by talking with him with their finger strategically placed horizontally under their nose to mimmic his mustache.
   This summer (even this past week) marks a turning point for me. My daughter graduated high school and my son was home for a visit to help celebrate with his sister. Today, I left for work, my husband left for work, our son left to drive back to his home out of state, and our daughter worked on projects to get ready for her summer before college and to start her first job later this week. Things are changing in my house and I'm feeling a little bittersweet about it.
   I'm not going to pretend that I won't miss the involvement, the chauffeuring around, the planning of fundraising events, the schedules, and 'yes' sometimes even the chaos of it all. Do you know why? Because it's all part of being a family, being a parent, and caring about your kids. I find it somewhat unsettling when I see some parents turn off being involved like it's a magic switch. Am I looking forward to carving out some ME time? You bet I am. Am I looking forward to not scheduling dinner around the events marked in red on the kitchen calendar? Absolutely.
   But I think it's going to take me a little bit of time. I'm going to need a sort of transitional period. At first, I may even need to give myself permision to do some stuff for me. Have you experienced this transition? Were you able to do it gracefully? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'll Bet You Didn't Know ...

You've heard of David Letterman's Top 10 list, right? Well, here is my twist on his idea. Here is a list of 25 things I'll bet you didn't know about me. You see ... I like to write as if you're sitting across the table from me and we're sharing a cup of tea (or a plate of cookies) and having a conversation. But to have a conversation we need to get to know each other a little better, right?

Here is my plan. I'll break the ice and share 25 things with you. In return, you have to share 3 things with me. Things I might not already know. What do you say? Are you game?

#1 - The only thing I will dip in catsup is a french fry.
#2 - I took dance classes for more than 10 years.
#3 - I think I sing great in the car (with the windows up).
#4 - I like PB&J on toast, but never on squishy bread.
#5 - I love to wear blue and green together. I find it calming.
#6 - I sold my first car as a teenager for $25 more than I paid for it.
#7 - The buyer had to tow the car away (see #6).
#8 - I like to watch movie marathons of 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You've Got Mail' (and recite all the best lines on cue).
#9 - Flower gardens are my peaceful place.
#10 - When I look deep into a horse's eyes I feel like I can tell what it's thinking.
#11 - I once did a backwards figure 8 on ice skates.
#12 - I tend to play the peacekeeper all to well.
#13 - I believe true friendships should be a 2-way street.
#14 - I can play indoor basketball games & miniature golf pretty well.
#15 - If you want me to 'unfriend' you on Facebook all you need to do is invade my computer space by swearing in your posts.
#16 - I love to bring water bottles to my neighbor's dog to play with.
#17 - I used to draw accurate caricatures of my kids' faces on their lunch bags when they went on field trips so they could find their lunch in the bin.
#18 - I met my husband 31 years ago when I was a waitress in college. He gave me a good tip and I gave him my phone number.
#19 - I sometimes laugh uncontrollably until tears run down my face.
#20 - I once lived in England for a year.
#21 - I could probably eat pizza everyday if my family would let me.
#22 - My husband knows me well enough to just pass me the Kleenex box when a Hallmark movie is on.
#23 - I like to push my kids' buttons when I can (metaphorically speaking).
#24 - I weighed 103# on my wedding day.
and ...
#25 - I nearly fell out of a roller coaster ride at Disneyland (on my honeymoon, no less).

Ok ... now it's your turn. Don't let me down.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spontaneous Greenery!

Nothing like a spontaneous green thumb moment. I used a 50th birthday gift card this afternoon to buy a few pots of flowers, then was inspired to run by Home Depot this evening. They have this hidden gem (at least I like to think it's a secret) that comes out Memorial Day weekend and lasts until they're gone ... 88 cent geraniums! That's right only 88 cents. They come in red, white, and two shades of pink. They're the perfect size for adding to porch & patio pots ... not too big and not too small. So what did I do? I knelt down on my green rubber knee cushion and planted patio pots ... in the sprinkles ... in the dark. Yep. That's right. I'm spontaneous and a gardening die hard.

Sometimes when an inspiration comes along you just have to go for it. It didn't matter that it was getting dark or sprinkling. The plants would need watering anyway, right?