I’m Amazing!

These are the words of my very confident and innocent 2 year old. She is just repeating what I say to her when she accomplishes something “amazing” to me. She readily accepts that she is amazing. It’s funny to hear, yet wonderful.

It’s funny because we automatically assume as adults that if someone says that they are amazing that they are being arrogant, but I am not talking about the kind of “amazing” that is arrogant. Not in the entitlement way. I am talking about the kind of amazing that says I actually have some self worth. I am loved. I am accepted. I am ok. This is a healthy kind of amazing…not a delusional one…right? Perhaps. Let’s investigate.

So…the question is…at what age do we stop believing that we are amazing?

Most likely it is as soon as we are aware of not just ourselves but others – how we add up, compare and contrast on a sliding scale of perceived good to bad. Sadly, my oldest daughter already doubts that she is amazing. I saw this happen somewhere between Kindergarten and 1st grade.

And then I think of myself and I know I stopped believing I was amazing at probably 3 or 4 when my mom was having severe mental break downs and calling me terrible names as she shouted out at voices that didn’t really exist and blaming me for things that were not even visible.

We are robbed of our innocence as soon as awareness is conceived that we are a burden, full of flaws, or are not as good as someone else.

It makes me think back to the garden of Eden. If you believe, great, if you don’t then entertain the thought anyway. The idea is this whole concept and awareness of good and evil. Adam and Eve only knew good. Innocence. They didn’t have the burden of even knowing right from wrong – if they were doing good or bad. They had one simple command. Don’t eat that freaking fruit!

Well…any parent knows – don’t tell a kid what they CAN’T do! Forgive me – I am not suggesting that God is not a good parent, but come on…He was a first timer here. Looking back I can just see God thinking…yes…I should have not even mentioned that fruit – then they probably never would have even thought about it!

But this is my limited perspective of God…my silly way of looking at things just for fun. But the truth is that God is all knowing. He knew what He was doing from day one. That is hard to understand in itself. But that is for a different conversation.

What I want to stick with for this post is this idea of awareness. It wasn’t until they finally gave in to that irresistible forbidden fruit – that they were even aware of right and wrong, good and evil. And how harsh was their payment. I mean I think I am being hard on my child for giving her a time out – but banishing them from the garden of Eden forever?! Wow…that is some hard core parenting right there.

Adam and Eve knew at that very moment…they were no longer amazing.

An even deeper question. I wonder if they even felt loved anymore? And is that really the bigger issue at hand? Is what my youngest, innocent daughter saying is that she is loved? Is what my oldest daughter and me and everyone else that doesn’t feel “amazing” is saying is that we don’t feel loved? Maybe…maybe not. Maybe sometimes…

I guess – it is just the natural order of things. I guess we can’t really think of ourselves as amazing. But wouldn’t it be good to think of ourselves as loved and wanted. Are these two concepts tied together?

I mean, isn’t it strange how when you love someone, you want so much for them to feel amazing? Don’t you want your kids or your friends to know how thankful you are they are in your life? Doesn’t it just break your heart to see a beautiful friend or daughter tearing herself apart and down because she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she is NOT amazing.

It’s such a strange phenomenon – how you could desire that for someone else so much, yet at the same time not be able to apply it or accept it for yourself.

Innocence and self worth is strange…It’s like what is acceptable and wonderful for kids is taboo for grown ups. Something as innocent as saying “I’m amazing” is really cute and wonderful to hear from a 2 year old…not so great to hear from a 32 year old. This age/time continuum applies to all kinds of things though, doesn’t it?

For instance…Seeing my two year old walk around the house in nothing but a diaper, cowgirl boots that are too big for her and a cowgirl hat is absolutley adorable and cute. It is picture worthy! It is innocent and sweet.

But me walking around the house in nothing but boots, undies and a hat…that would be down right strange and unacceptable. (well…this would depend on the circumstances perhaps – come on, spank me cowboy…but I am digressing now…) The point is that it is not so innocent and sweet anymore – it has become something very different – just because of age and awareness.

Alrighty then…I want you to go the mirror and say to yourself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and dogonit…people like me!” ~ Stuart Smalley/Al Franken (SNL). Or think about Ron Burgandy and how is “Kind of a big deal”.

See? It becomes funny. How can anyone be serious and say that stuff? Let alone believe it.

Getting back to the taboo thing and how age changes things…When I think of grown adults who actually believe they are amazing…I don’t really find them amazing at all. I find them dull, egocentric, selfish and not amazing. Take Paris Hilton for instance, the poor easy target that she is. Now that is a girl that has some self esteem to the extreme. But she is not doing anything positive with it! I wonder if Paris Hilton really knows “love”?

Mother Theresa on the other extreme was one of the most amazing women of our lifetime. And she definitely did not see herself as amazing. in fact, it wasn’t about her at all. She was motivated out of love for others. Her own desires and “self” was completely removed from the picture. I don’t think she really cared what anyone thought about her. But I do think that she knew and felt loved.

SO – maybe this idea of love and “being amazing” ARE tied togther, but not as I originally thought. Maybe we don’t feel loved from being told we are amazing, but maybe we feel amazing when we are actually loved.

Maybe we can do amazing things when we are not focusing on ourselves at all but instead – by focusing on loving others -we can actually do amazing things.

I’m amazed at how amazingly complicated yet simple this is all becoming.

Tell someone they are amazing today – but more importantly – tell them WHY they are amazing. Because I bet cha it has something to do with how they make you or others feel when they are around. The most amazing people in this world are simply the ones that make you feel loved. Even when you are not amazing.

Sigh…it is hard being so amazing.

Trees of December

This is an old song I wrote years ago. It says perfectly how I feel today. Though it is February and not December, the idea applies. Sometimes it feels like all our efforts are in vain. Sometimes we look or feel like dead bare trees. But the reality is that the dormant trees are very much alive, working harder than anyone could ever imagine below the surface, getting ready for a glorius spring and green summer.

Even though some may think they are bare and brown and seemingly boring looking – they are actually exposed, vulnerable and, at least to me, very beautiful. They are complicated, but simple and always reaching up.

I like to think about that image when I am feeling down and overlooked. I have to keep reminding myself that every little step counts – and even though I enjoy all the seasons including this one with a ton of snow – that it won’t be winter forever.

Autumn’s come and gone, all the trees are bare.
They reach their strong arms to the sky
But does anyone really care? Is anyone even there?
But they hold their ground…without a sound.
Just the wind blowing through their arms
And they wave so gracefully. They hold their mystery, for the time…

When the spring arrives and they show the glory of the work they’ve done
In the secrecy of the winter.
Just below the surface, the whole time they’ve been busy getting ready
For the splendor they’ll adorn.

Does anybody ever look at the trees in December?
Does anyone see the beauty they behold?
They hold their complicated branches reaching ever towards the gray dark sky.
Even in the dead of the winter.

So are you and I. More than meets the eye.
Underneath the surface we hold secret mysteries…love and injuries.
And we go down deep. More than what is seen.
Yet we fail to recognize our roots are intertwined. We act as if we’re blind…When we…

We judge other trees by their branches…and we cut the things we fear…
May cause trouble down the road.
We step back to see the damage we caused but it’s much too late
and cannot be undone.

Has anybody ever seen the trees in December?
Does anyone see the wisdom they reveal?
In all of their bare majesty we see their branches so clearly
But still, there’s so much below the surface.

Has anybody ever felt like a tree in December?
Screaming out with arms stretched open, wide?
Feeling so misunderstood, looking like some dead, gray wood
Yet still, so alive beneath the surface.

Hanging by a Silly String

This whole “String” theory is very intriguing to me. I just watched a special on Discovery about the Theory of Everything, Stephen Hawking’s brilliant breakthroughs and how it ties (pun intended) into the string theory. Throw in a little theory of relativity, laws of gravity, electromagnetic radiation and the big bang theory and it’s enough to have this closet geek deep in thought for weeks.

They also said that they may have scientific proof that there are actually 6 dimensions in our world…not just the 3 that we are aware of.

Wow. This is really freaky to think about. It actually scares the heck out of me in some ways. I think I would rather be ignorantly bliss.

When I was about 4 I came to the awareness of forever…eternity. I am not sure how or why this revelation came to me at that time, but it messed me up. I had panic attacks about it. I would sit and ponder about how blissfully unaware my soul was before being born…but now that I had been born, I would forever be aware of being “somewhere” for eternity! And that is a long time to have to be aware!

So…what I am saying is…now that I am aware that there might be 6 dimensions…what if I started to experience them? Before I was blissfully ignorant…but now? Or maybe I have and just didn’t “know” what it was. Ok. I am not 4 anymore and I will not have panic attacks, I promise, however it is very interesting – and it still does freak me out a bit.

Could this explain why you can “feel” tension in the room? Does anger and tension disturb the invisible “strings” that are connecting us altogether? How about the opposite – when you can “feel” the presence of joy or calmness. Does this explain how you can “sense” a place is a good or bad place? These strings, like radiation waves – could hold the keys.

This also gives way to the idea of spirits, or energies from some other dimension and time. Animals can sense disturbances of nature and the presence of other dimensions or something.

What if it all actually worked together instead of against each other? This intersection of science and spirit worlds – all crashing together…there’s a big bang right there.

What is also fascinating to me is the fact that Stephen Hawkings was working against time. His own body failing him from a crippling disease – it was a race against a fatal clock for him to figure out the answers. Can you imagine the pressure of trying to define the “Theory of everything” while being aware that you are already on borrowed time? He lived something like 30-40 years beyond what most people with his condition usually live to be.

He basically came to the simple conclusion that everything could have started from nothing by studying black holes. He studied how they sucked up everything and eventually caved in on themselves. Then somehow he figured…what if everything came from an all consuming black hole that imploded and then exploded everything out – all the atoms, strings and everything that make up all the universes. This could help the big bang theory…except there is one glitch. That original black hole had to start from something too…did it not?

There are more questions than answers…all just theories…mathematical, genius, and a whole lot of speculation and creativity.

See how dangerous science can be in the hands of novices like me?

Now if you excuse me, I am going to transport myself upstairs to bed and try to spread happy and positive energy all though my house in hopes that I create happy strings that my girls can feel. And I better do it quick because I’m talking kinda crazy and it feels like my sanity is hanging on by a mere string…a seriously silly string.

New and Improved! Stubble Trouble

I love seeing the same old products continually trying to reinvent themselves to stay “New and Edgy”.

Let’s take the razor for instance. You know, back in the day…you had one single blade. That’s all you really needed as a beginner shaver to remove an ankle and live out the shower scene of psycho. Well, then they came out with double blades. Then triple blades…and now the Quattro.

Is there a razor out there with 5 or 6 blades yet? If not, I am quite sure some monkey brained marketer and new product developer duo is working all hours of the day and night to be the first to release the latest and greatest in limb…I mean hair removal.

I am quite sure that by the time my daughters are old enough to shave their legs that a release form will have to be signed as you make your purchase from a merchant or pharmacist behind the counter. Because the razor will have to be kept under lock and key as it could also be used as weapons of war and destruction. Heck…there might even be a 30 day waiting period and back ground check.

I mean really? 5 and 6 blades? I want to see some REAL marketing come out on these products. Not the cliché pictures of beautiful men and woman caressing their amazingly smooth and attractive bodies and faces. How about people showing off their exposed striated muscles and tendons…that would be a little more realistic.

I want to see Freddy Krueger on one of these commercials. You’d see him come out looking all scary and ominous and then suddenly this 6 blade razor comes out and scares him off as he goes running out of the room screaming like a little girl. Come on! Now, I would buy that razor! In fact if I was a razor company I would create a new sub company called…Krueger blades.

And how about some product responsibility here? Shouldn’t instructions come with these things at this point? I mean a razor with 6 blades is not for everyone. Why use a machine gun when a small pistol could do the job just as effectively. You have to size up your prey here.

They should have razors in clear defined categories so one can gauge where they fall into the hairiness bell curve:

One blade = fine or thin hair, possibly almost bald

Two blades = thin to medium hair, fairly normal

Three blades = thick to course hair, getting into the fringe of pretty hairy

Four blades = Fur

Five blades = Circus star potential

Six blades = You are a freak of nature and should consider NEVER wearing a swim suit in public. Ever. No matter how many blades you shave with. And by the way…did you sign the release form?

You know? Then it would make it fairly easy to figure out the stubble weapon of choice.

It just gets silly I tell you…improving just for the sake of improving. Where does razor technology go from here? Maybe the Laser Razor is next. An in-home answer to laser hair removal…or so they say. Sure…it’s all fun and games until someone disintegrates a limb. I can hear it now “Why me? God…How could this happen?”

Or how about this: The Razonator – the hair and flesh remover…when hair removal is just not enough. It’s the new sensation. The Razonator not only removes the hair follicle, but also the skin containing it, so you can be ASSURED that you will NEVER have to shave again.

Humans. We are seriously ridiculous sometimes. Our antics never fail to entertain.

Watch for a follow up post for New and Improved 2: Cleaning products. Coming soon to my blog near you.

By the way…did I mention that I am working on a new web site. It is going to have my blog on there and a lot more. It will be like my blog…but New and Improved!

The Stalker and the Prey

I guess it’s time to talk about another hard topic. Everywhere I go this week it seems like I am hearing about some kind of stalking incident. So here is my story.

I was stalked in college. It was a crazy, surreal time of life. It ended in him going to jail – and technically my name wasn’t even on the court case title. It was “Ohio Bell” vs. “This guy”. Apparently the huge stack of filed papers documenting countless times that he attacked me or followed me or nearly ran my car off the road just wasn’t enough to put him away. But when I finally had the phone tapped and he called 100+ times in a period of 3 hours or something…that was all she wrote.

At the time it was happening I somehow refused to let myself think about the worst case scenario that happened this week where another woman was shot and killed by her stalker. But I can assure you that I was terrified and lived in a constant state of fear.

The look in his eyes sometimes while he was in the pursuit of stalking me was down right freaky. He would follow me no matter who I was with too. As his antics increased, I made sure I was never alone. But it didn’t matter. And the unlucky people that were with me to see that look in his eyes confirmed that it was like some kind of evil.

I did have a restraining order issued against him but he would constantly ignore it. It did at least give me the right to call 911 at any point that he violated it. The crazy thing was that he wasn’t afraid to get caught. Sometimes he would actually WAIT for the police to arrive to carry him away. Was this a cry for help? Did he want someone to save him? Did he want me to try to save him? What was it?

He was probably mentally unstable. That is all I can figure. But I do hope that he found the help he needed and is fully reformed. He obviously had some kind of underlying unaddressed issues.

He sufficiently messed me up in the head for a significant amount of time. It is a really strange feeling to think you are being watched, listened in on, spied on – at any given moment – for months. I would be so careful to be aware and sneaky and I would think I was in the clear and then suddenly – out of nowhere…he would come flying at me on foot or by car. It was truly bizarre.

And then there was the manipulation. When my stalker would call or see me he would verbally abuse me and say awful things about my appearance, my character, and just mentally and emotionally tear me apart. That was probably the hardest part. The physical part was terrifying in it’s own right, but the verbal and mental abuse gets inside your head like a poison.

To make matters worse his parents got into the scene to defend him because they felt like their family name was becoming tarnished by this whole embarrassing incident. They hired a big shot lawyer to try to attack MY character and claim that I was the one causing the whole mess! In the phone tap I had not only harassing calls from him, but also from his mom! ?? It was more than I could process and take.

Another thing that struck me was a few times when I was being attacked…no one helped. One time in particular he was beating me up and throwing me down some concrete stairs in my apartment complex and a few people actually opened their doors to “see” what was going on, and quietly closed their doors again and pretended they didn’t see anything! This made me feel like I was in a Twilight Zone episode even more. I realize now they may have been afraid for their own safety…but seriously…how do you do that? At least call 911 folks!

My college roommates started fearing the situation…they contemplated moving out. That is when I finally cancelled my enrollment, packed up and headed back home. That sucked. Letting someone win like that, but at that point, I had no life and it was seriously impacting others. I had been reduced to a scared, jittery rabbit, had to be escorted by campus police everywhere, and my roommates were rightly exhausted with the drama.

I do have to say that the investigator that was assigned to my case, was really nice and I give him a lot of credit. Even though Ohio Bell was on legal documents he was my real hero. He provided a lot of detailed supporting evidence that helped Ohio Bell’s case. I wish I remembered his name. I remember thinking I would like to thank him. I don’t remember if I ever did. I was such a mess.

It took some time to stop looking over my shoulder once it ended. Moving to a different city helped quite a bit, but your mind can play tricks on you when you are scared and for awhile anyone that looked remotely like him or had a car like his scared me to death. It was a very strange power that he held over me…that I apparently “allowed” him to hold over me. I would actually start physically shaking so bad sometimes that I could hardly walk right and my teeth would uncontrollably chatter like I was freezing to death when it warm outside. Weird.

I used to be afraid that one day he would just snap and find me again. I thought he might blame for his criminal record or something. I almost hesitated getting a FB account and creating a blog with my real name and all that. But at some point you just have to stop being the prey. And it has been like 17 years now…so I figure I am probably safe.

I mean…people will find you if they really want to find you. No matter how elusive you try to be. I could live the rest of my life in hiding, under some false sense of captivity…of I can choose to live a normal life like everyone else.

I am glad this is so far removed from me now that I rarely even think about it. The emotions are gone. The fear is gone. The only reason I am reflecting about it now is because of the young woman in the news.

They are going to go after the official that didn’t issue a restraining order. She definitely should have been granted a restraining order, but I hope it doesn’t detract from the real issue. The person who didn’t issue the restraining order didn’t kill this girl…the stalker did. A piece of paper doesn’t stop someone with a gun.

My heart goes out to the family members and young husband left behind to pick up the pieces.

Floral Homicide

I can hardly believe what is happening! Again this year – Just the same as last year and the year before.

Massive floral homicides are taking place all across the country. All in the name of this ridiculous, misinterpreted, over sensationalized holiday headed up by cult leader St. Valentines.

Most people see a beautiful bouquet of flowers. For some reason I see pristine beauty cut in it’s prime to sit in a vase to be admired or worse, ignored, as it withers and dies a slow public death.

There are plenty of animal activists…but where are the floral advocates? Who will step in and take action for these poor, voiceless beauties? They are raised in massive greenhouses, many of them never see the real sun or light of day. They just sit there.

Raised from just seedlings, they are just reaching their prime and then – WHACK! Chop, chop and they’re goners! No germinating for these poor souls. No birds and bees coming along to spread along their pollen and legacies.

So I am hereby proclaiming this National “don’t kill any flowers” day.

Yes…perhaps I am being extreme, but hey…someone has to do it.

And by so doing, that means that everyone would have to find a different way to show their valentine how much they cared about them. Instead of a cliché floral homicide route, people would be forced to do some other jester of kindness instead of escaping so easily with a quick last minute over the counter purchase thinking they have done their yearly Valentine obligatory duty.

Yes…this means people would have to be creative. Do something out of the ordinary. Something really special. Something from the heart instead of a going-through-the-motions check list purchase.

I heard that a few husbands cleaned the house for their wives. Now…THAT is a great Valentines gift. A massage, a new favorite CD, a special date night of choice…all these are so much better than giving the gift of floral death.

Ok. I have a small confession to make. I have two bouquets sitting on my kitchen table. One was from work (a perk of working for a flower/gourmet food company) and one is from a well meaning guy friend, who also took me to a great place for dinner. And guess what? I appreciated the gesture. Darn it.

I guess there is always next year to protest. I have all year to make my dastardly plans. I better start now.

Simply Profound

It’s all about perspective…

Isn’t it though?

Sometimes knowledge, experience, and wisdom gives insight and advantage.

But sometimes it holds you back…or prevents you from seeing things in simplistic terms. Sometimes we get so set in our complicated grown up ways and what we know (or think we know)…it messes up our perspective and prevents us from seeing answers that may be right in front of us.

After I discovered my ex-husband was having an affair and he moved out, I was in a state of shock and devastation. I mean our daughter wasn’t even one yet. I was still a hormonal mess and then to find out that he had been having an affair for a year or more – I was a depressed, rejected, shell of a person for awhile.

I lost all sight of perspective until one day when my oldest daughter says, “Mommy? Why are you so sad? Now we aren’t locked in his high tower anymore.”

Wow. I am still amazed at her insight. That was a turning point for me. Right then and there I realized she was right. What I thought was love, was not love. It was control, manipulation, and conquest.

She was 6 at the time. She didn’t have all the knowledge, experiences, confusion and complication in her head like I did. She could see things as they were. I had been so caught up in the details…trying to piece things together…still working off emotions, that I had lost sight of the bigger issue and reality. Her perspective was simple and profound. It was a wakeup call for me.

Yes. Sometimes too much knowledge can prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.

Sometimes knowledge limits your ability to think outside the box. There is a group leadership activity where you stand in a circle facing inward, cross your hands and hold hands with both people beside you. Then you try to figure out how to get everyone in the circle to face outward while never letting go of each other hands.

A study showed that adults usually take 5 minutes or longer to solve this puzzle…and some groups never actually figure it out. Give this same exercise to kids, ages 5-7 and they figure it out on average in a matter of 30 seconds.

There are a lot of psychological factors that play into that. But the bottom line is that we overcomplicate and over think things as adults. We lose our simplistic perspective that allows us to think and react on the fly. As adults we hesitate, second guess, analyze…ugh!

Sometimes knowledge just makes us boring. We see the same things day after day, year after year and you can run the risk of going through the motions. Nothing seems new. Our perspective is old and worn out. If you’re lucky…someone will come along and wake you up.

My 2 year old did this for me and a group of folks the other day. We were at my BFF’s house for the super bowl, so of course, there was plenty of munchies and stuff all over. My little one starts asking for W’s. “I want a dubbayou, mommy”. (Let’s refrain from past president jokes here). She asked over and over. We were all stumped.

Until she finally lunged across the table towards a bowl of colorful candies…she was asking for M&M’s!
HA! We all cracked up, yet realized…it’s all about perspective. Let’s just say we all have a favorite new candy now. We were all so set in our ways – none of us got it. She had a simpler point of view…which somehow I think is profound.

Mmm…I gotta go. I am craving some W’s.

“Leggo my Ego!”

I had a surprise pity party thrown for me tonight! My old friends Sorrow and Suffering snuck in and surprised me with a bundle of ridiculous thoughts and a bottle of bitterness. They even invited Pride over, who of course, commanded all the attention and thought it was all about him.

But it was for ME. And I sulked around like I deserved something in this world, felt angry about circumstances I cannot change and let myself be miserable for awhile. I dwelled on all the past and current injustices in my life and fretted a bit over the uncertain future.

You know…if I just weren’t so darn witty, beautiful, talented and outstanding…then maybe I wouldn’t feel so let down when I don’t get everything handed to me just the way I think it should be. I mean, it’s real shame I am such an exceptional girl and yet so overlooked sometimes!

Vrrriipp! Wait a minute! Ok…so maybe I am the only self deprecating soul that would actually reveal the pathetic inner workings of such nonsense. But it happens, doesn’t it? To even the best of us. I’m talking about pity parties. These ridiculous little windows of our lives where we just let ourselves go to that stupid place.

These moments where pride whispers in our ear that we deserve something that we somehow believe we should have. When things are out of perspective, wounds are reopened and lonely creeps in to hold our hand. Problems are magnified to impassable mountains and you can’t see or think straight.

Being a single working mother of two girls is an incredibly hard thing. Having too many places to be and not enough time to accomplish it all wears me out. Trying to give my big girl the undivided attention she needs to help her with her homework, while making dinner and attending to my 2 year old who is very busy doing stuff that 2 years olds do…is enough to wear me thin, but doing it night after night after night…

I constantly feel like I am giving…giving…giving myself away and at the end of the day…it is still not enough. I am always busy, but yet still never accomplish half of the things I wish I could. I am worn out and exhausted most of the time and yet need to put on a happy face for the world so I don’t bum them out.

Sometimes I am still just a little girl needing a hug…needing someone to just recognize I have been through a lot…but never getting that. Sometimes I just want someone to acknowledge that I am freaking amazing and it is even more amazing that I am THIS amazing because of all the things I have experienced. I need a little sympathy. And they will tell me all kinds of wonderful things about me and how they love me just for who I am and…blah blah blah. Yes…a pity party built for not just one, but two or more. Can you imagine? Pretty Pathetic.

But what if I actually got my wish? Would I even believe a word they were saying? Do I really want to hear those things at all? What would I even do? Who do I think I am anyway?!

So…suddenly at my very own self pity party…some party crashers come in and MESS everything up! Clarity and Peace show up and put the smack down on the whole thing! They start by running off Pride – which isn’t really hard to do because he is rather cowardice beneath his charming smile.

Then they show Sorrow and Suffering to the door and give them a swift kick in the booty. They remove all the bottles of bitterness and replace it with the spirit of comfort and grace. They start cleaning stuff up, giving me a different perspective and helping me see that things are not really quite as impossible as I momentarily thought.

The truth is this. Yes. Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes it is very, very hard and unfair. Sometimes you have to give way more than you receive…in fact…you should on a regular basis. If you are the one receiving all the time, you are probably very lonely and miserable and should seriously start thinking about how to change that…because we all have the power to change.

Here is the bottom line. Crap happens. Some days are harder than others. Deal with it, and then move on. Just like my last post “Right around the corner” you have to keep moving. Just like Dory said in the movie Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.

If you need to cry or be angry then cry or be angry (preferably not on anyone else) – but don’t dwell on it. Give your emotions the moment they deserve, but don’t indulge them to the point of gluttony.

And if you are lonely it is probably because you are not allowing people to be close to you. Make some adjustments there. And also realize that people are busy! Everyone else is just as self absorbed as you are and people don’t mean to ignore you when you need them the most…they are just busy living their own lives too. It’s not personal. And they can’t read your mind. Get your pride out of the way and wave a white flag when you need help now and then.

The problem with people is that we are driven by our egos. Remember that Eggo waffle commercial back in the…what…I am dating myself here…70’s or 80’s? “Leggo of my Eggo!” Well, I have to remind myself sometimes to chill out and “let go of my ego”.

Ego sneaks up in the weirdest of places and disguises itself as all kinds of emotions. It fills our heads with ridiculous thoughts. Ego and Pride…a match made in misery.

Well. I gotta get to bed. I am exhausted after all this partying and crashing and what not. Glad you decided to drop by and read my mini train wreck and recovery though. Cheers to you and your pity parties and revelations of past, present and future. And remember to chill out, not take yourself so seriously and “Leggo your ego” whenever you start feeling a little self righteous.

Right around the corner…

Life is a lot like cycling…you have to keep moving to stay balanced. ~ Albert Einstein

My little girls are the greatest. They are neat little people. Today we went sledding and I watched them shoot down the hill and crash land at the bottom into the snow embankment that is supposed to prevent them from catapulting right into the parking lot. Well…let’s just say that MOST of the time it worked.

After THAT craziness we drove around the metro park and saw that the hiking trails were open. I am a nature nut and I am doing my best to warp my children into tree hugging whackos too, minus the patchouli. So far it is working. Some of our best memories have been made hiking, camping, exploring, and playing in the mud and water.

But I was admittedly surprised that today, after sledding and climbing up a hill a billion times for a mere 3 seconds of bumpy airborne bliss, that they would even consider hiking. I was a bit leery…I didn’t know if the trail would be plowed or if it would be rough the whole way, but we were right there and I figured what the heck.

I was relieved to see that the rangers had at least drove over the path, so you could walk in the tire tracks fairly easily. So, in their 5 layers of clothing and snow pants that went “schwip schwip” with every step, my two lovies went hiking like troopers onto a great white path unknown.

We were all happy. I was thankful to be back in my favorite element, and they were thinking about how much untouched white snow they could consume all along the way. My oldest role plays that she is a snow dog and my little one walks so bravely ahead blazing the trail, stopping only to reload her mittens full of snow to munch along the way.

This is where I have learned to listen to the wise parents of the past and merely instruct her to not eat yellow snow. Honestly, I cringe at the thought of how many pollutants she is consuming with the whole acid rain and whatnot, but she is a kid. Kids love to eat snow. It comes down to picking the battle on this one…and yellow or dirty snow is where I draw the line (Thank you wise forefathers).

I had no idea how long they would last. They were both working on overtime. My big girl had a sleep(less) over the night before and it was right around little one’s nap time. I was thankful no complaining or major drama had ensued yet and had mentally prepared myself that it could happen at any given moment.

I didn’t want to overdo it, but I did want to at least get far enough from the parking lot area to feel like we were really in the woods. I love that feeling…and we achieved it! We actually got probably a quarter of a mile into the trail. How beautiful it was.

It had just snowed about 6 inches a few days before. The snow clung to every horizontal and diagonal surface, outlining every branch. The further we went along, the underbrush became thicker with smaller trees and shrubs with millions of tiny branches pointing every direction – a tangled mass of confusion. The snow outlining every one of the otherwise mess of ordinary branches transformed them into something surreal to behold.

This is my favorite contrast in life…beautiful chaos.

It was our own little Narnia. It was magical. The crazy thing was that it was like all this beauty was totally hidden until you rounded a corner – and suddenly this unbelievable landscape just appeared. To add to it, the sun shone through and made the ice and snow clinging on the branches sparkle like diamonds and gems. It was just so wonderful…and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we had nixed the idea from the get go or turned back any sooner.

I took a few pictures and knew that we had to turn back soon – it was that internal mommy sensory perception power. I felt fulfilled enough and knew that they wouldn’t last much longer. It was a good compromise point.

On the way back to the car it struck me, how plain and ordinary the trail became as we got closer to the parking lot. Even my eight year old noticed and asked why. I said that it was because there was less underbrush and smaller twigs for the snow to rest on. Near the parking lot the park service had cleared the underbrush and there were just larger vertical tree trunks.

Then I asked, “Wasn’t that cool? How the further along we went into the woods, the more beautiful it got? Now…how do you think that this lesson might apply to life?” She looked right at me and said with a matter of fact smile, “You have to keep going”.

She knew what I was getting at. This idea and theme is not new to her. It was just a new way of seeing the same concept through. Unfortunately we have had to talk about some of the harder things in life already…about how sometimes in life you just have to keep going. Love never gives up.

This is because just two years ago I was a devastated shell of a person that wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going. After discovering that the man I thought was the love of my life had been having an affair and that everything I thought I knew was just a lie…it unraveled me. I was pulled apart at the seams.

I spent the next six months to a year trying to retrace steps, re-live conversations, trying to put the puzzle together and figure out how I could have been so blind and naive. I tried to figure out how I could have done things better, blaming myself, pleading for second chances, broken hearted, and depressed.

While on the other hand I would have crazy swings of anger, lashing out and blaming him and her for being capable of such a devious scheme. So many sleepless nights spent obsessing over things I couldn’t change. I was an honest to goodness mess…and anyone could see it, including my girls.

As hard as I tried to put on my strong face for them, they could still see my pain. But at some point, I realized I had to stop. I had to let it go. I forced myself to grab hold of some shred of self esteem, and most importantly, I had to accept things just as they were.

I had to do for myself what I would hope my girls would do when loves break their hearts too. I realized I had to show them what it looks like to pick yourself up…and with that I had to start moving on…moving forward…I had to keep going.

I still had a life to live…it was just going to be a little different than I had planned.

My girls saved me. Unfortunately they had seen what devastation looked like. I needed for them to know what restoration looked like too. I needed them to see that even when people mess up and fail, that love doesn’t give up. At this time, I didn’t even know what love was. I just knew I wanted to know. Honestly…I am still learning.

I didn’t know what was around the corner. And for the first time in my life I realized…I don’t always HAVE to know what is around the corner. In fact…I don’t even WANT to know. For the first time I can remember, I am enjoying the present. Those ever fleeting little moments of the here and now that make up my very chaotic beautiful life – just like that tangled mass of branches.

The real surprise that I am finding is that the further I go along my new path…the more beautiful it becomes. And I can honestly say I have hit that “corner” or turning point where all of a sudden…the view is more beautiful than possibly ever. But it is merely a perspective – and can change at any given moment or angle. That is why it is so important to keep moving.

So…my very wise eight-year old and Einstein said it best. “You just have to keep going – gotta keep moving”. Isn’t that interesting…that Einstein and my eight year old had similar revelations?

Yep. She nailed it. When you are tired, and when it seems like life is gray and dull and you are headed nowhere…you still have to keep going. When it seems like your heart has been thrashed into a million pieces and you have nothing left inside…you have to keep going. When nothing makes sense and you have no idea why you are even still alive…you have to keep going.

Why? Because if you hesitate, or live life without taking any risks, or give up too easily when things get rough…you may miss out. Because you just never know what kind of beauty awaits…right around the corner.

From the Mouths of Babes

It’s really true – kids say the darnedest things…some really funny things. Mine are no different. Here are some of the funnier things that I can remember my oldest saying so far.

• One of the earliest “talking” memories I have is when she was just learning to talk. At the time her SP sound came out as F, her O sounded like a short U and her T sound came out as K. Her favorite cartoon for a small window of time was SPOT. Well…take the time to figure out what four letter word that turns out to be. The most horrifying time was when I had a sitter coming over and I used Spot to distract her while I was leaving. She quickly figured out my tactic and she started screaming at the top of her lungs…SPOT OFF, over and over. Only it didn’t sound like Spot. It was a Jerry Springer or Dr. Drew moment for sure.

• We were walking around at Krogers one day. She was about 5 at the time and wanted to carry the little hand basket around herself. It was pretty big and awkward for her, but she was determined. So I gave her a helpful tip to bend her elbow and make her arm like a “hook”. Near the end of our shopping experience after she had gotten the hang of it, she proudly declares in front of a busy line of shoppers, “Look mommy, I’m a hooker!”.

• In preschool one day the kids had bananas and some of the kids were pretending they were phones and had them up to their ears. The teacher said that my daughter was not participating and she asked her why and Autumn said, “No thank you…my mommy told me to never put fruit in my ear.” Now I cannot recall ever saying that to her, or ever having a reason to say it. Who knows what she was thinking, but it was silly I tell you.

• We were talking one day and for some reason I said to her, “Always follow your heart”. A few days later she got real serious all of a sudden and came close to whisper a secret in my ear and said, “Mommy, remember…always SWAllow your heart”. The ironic thing is I’m not sure whose advice is actually better.

• One night I was rocking her before bed time and the rocking chair is old and falling apart and it makes noise. She was probably 3ish at the time. She gave out a loud sigh of exasperation and said, “Ugh! I gotta get you a new chair”.

• She was grasping the concept that we have bones inside and it happen to be around Halloween time. So one night she was knocking on her chest bone and asked if there was a “Bone guy” inside of her. I said no, there was not a bone guy, but there are bones inside of her. She said, “I know that, but that bone guy is kind of scary”. And she made her hands into pretend spiders to accentuate the scariness.

• While she was in her Winn the Pooh stage whenever she saw a Robin outside, she say “there’s a Christopher Robin!!”

• “Christmas is right around the middle”

• “Deck the halls with Bob and Holly, Fa la la la la…”

• I poured her a glass of egg nog to taste and she said, “MMmm…I love hedgehog!”

• “I can hear my heart beeping!”

• I was taking a vitamin one day and I said “This is a mommy sized vitamin…a horse pill”. She looked thoughtfully at her own vitamin and said, “I have foal vitamins”.

• We were driving one evening and she noticed that that the light in the “M” at our local McDonalds had burned out. Later that night during her prayers she said, “Dear God, thank you for our wonderful day, for food, and please help the people to be able to fix that M sign. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

• I was reading her a bed time story and suddenly she says “Mommy, I see dead people”. No…I am not kidding, those were her exact words. I am trying not to react and luckily she pointed out quickly that she was referring to the skull and bones in the illustration of the Jungle Book that we were reading.

Even my little one is chiming in with some funny stuff now. The other day my big girl was trying to teach the little one some manners. She says to Evie…”Now, say the magic words”. Evie says, “Magic Woods”. Just as she was instructed to, but it ended up more like a Laurel and Hardy skit before it was all said and done.

She will say something like “I lub this book” and then I will say that I love it too. She then says I lub it three. Again…it is like a Laurel and Hardy skit, but yet, profound at the same time. She is intuitively picking up on the concept of counting, but it comes out kind of funny.

Oh…so much silliness. As my big girl grows, these funny mix ups and misunderstandings sadly start fading away. It was fun to go back and review some of these things. She is such a big girl now. I’m so glad I have journaled these moments, otherwise I would have forgotten them completely. There are so many other moments that I have failed to write down or remember.

Though my oldest still comes up with some funny stuff still, I look forward to my 2 year old providing us some comedy relief for the next few years.

The other thing that struck me from the journal was the profound statements too, but I’ll save that for a different blog. I want to keep it light tonight.

I’ll end with one of the phrases she learned to say with hand motions and all when she was about 4. “Peace out”