Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Was Amazing - Part 2

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." ~John Lennon

This is part 2 to the blog I posted in February instead of making a resolution list. If you didn't read part 1, here is the link

I'll bet you're wondering how it turned out. Well, you tell me...

1. No, I'm not famous yet. But I've had almost 4,000 hits to my blog this year. Double what I had in 2010. Going for 8,000 in 2012. I love and appreciate my followers so much! Feel free to share if you love a blog.

2. I did stop wasting my time on guys that weren't worth it.

3. Yes to karate but no to the other sports (for now). I'm up to my purple belt in Tae Kwon Do about to test for blue so not too shabby. Perhaps I'll be more successful next year with the others.

4. The job is still good. We have tripled our business but I'm not doing Sales (yet).

5. The kids are doing great and continue to follow in what they are passionate about. They've even discovered some new talents. We are still trying to balance Jacob's ADHD and will be seeing a new doctor next month. He did go from C's to B's and even an A.

6. The possibility of a house is closer than ever. We'll see what the new year holds.

7. Did I find "The One?". Oh yeah! This prediction didn't even come close to reality. It is soooo much better than I could have dreamed. He is a perfect fit for not only me but my kids as well. As for the new addition, that is a much less likely proposition lol.

So, the year didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. But this is mainly because I was so busy living life (really truly living for once) that I had much less time for planning. I would venture to say that it turned out much better this way.

Happy New Years' to everyone! I hope yours will be as incredible as mine will be! Be watching for my "2012 Was An Amazing Year" coming next week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:New Jersey

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The World Seems Much Smaller Now

"I would rather live in a world where my life was surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it."
~Henry Emerson Fosdick

I didn't used to believe I lived a sheltered life when I was a kid. Maybe not so sheltered but secluded. It was a world of kickball and flag football and summers at the beach. No, not one of those fancy beaches with beach houses and lifeguards but a rocky beach where you never knew what would wash up after a storm. My circle of friends was small but true. The boundaries of my world consisted of the of the pillars at the end of the street and the gate to the lake at the other end.

As I got older, those boundaries stretched a little. A Girl Scout camping trip with an hour long drive felt like we were going to drive off the edge of the Earth. A trip to Fairport Harbor or the West Side brought scenery yet explored at that point of my life. A 20-mile drive for my work permit was a big deal especially considering the lack of a second working car most of the time.

College took me four hours away from home. Five if you count my trombone audition at Miami of Ohio. Road trips took me into West Virginia and even all the way to the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. As my horizons broadened, so did my yearning for travel - my desire to see more of the World and also find myself in it.

I moved to Tennessee and completed college. My career took me to other countries. I learned new cultures and languages. Airline reward miles racked up as our vendor base grew. The World seemed ever so much smaller the more I saw of it. I write this as I am a passenger on our trip to New York for New Years' Eve. Second trip here this year. 10-hour trips seem to fly by as quickly as a 15-minute trip used to.

Since I've moved back home, memories flood back of those early days. Sometimes I hesitate to cross the imagined boundaries of my universe from my childhood. There are no roadblocks stopping me anymore from going to the next county, state or even country. The giants from my past that bullied me have shrunk in size and no longer haunt me. The problems that seemed insurmountable have diminished and no longer hold the power they once did. I don't know if my confidence has helped bring everything into perspective or if my perspective has increased my confidence. Either way, my view of it is so different now.

So, as I sail into 2012, I will continue to broaden my horizons and explore my world as it stands today. I don't pretend to always understand it and I can't say I've conquered all of my demons. I go now, less afraid of what the unknown holds and even less afraid of myself. But I believe I understand me now and isn't that what it is all about anyways?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:New Jersey

Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Gifts

"Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third."
~Marge Piercy 

Have you finished crossing off everyone on your Christmas list?  Do you feel like this month is flying by and you still have so much to complete?  Has the business of the season taken all of the fun out for you?  Then you need to start following the Three Gifts Rule.

Father John at St. John Vianni's gave a sermon to the students the other day.  He told them that "if three gifts were good enough for Baby Jesus, that should be good enough for us."  Hmm...  When is the last time you only got three gifts for Christmas.  I know if there were only three gifts under the tree that my children would be frantically searching the house for the rest of them.  Especially if they were at Mrs. Claus' (I mean Grandma's) house.

My kids get more toys between their birthdays and Christmas than they know what to do with.  That doesn't include hand-me-downs.  We could open up a thrift store and live on the profits for as much as has come through the door.  How would they really react if they only got three gifts each?  I'm sure they would be comparing to the others to make sure I spent the same amount on each of them and they didn't get cheated.  Perhaps pull out the list and check off to make sure they got what they asked for.  Start crawling up the chimney to see if Santa got stuck?

My family is by no means well off.  We have enough to survive plus a little.  The kids' classmates tend to have big houses in expensive subdivisions.  We probably buy their donated clothes at Goodwill.  But they have never really know what true need is.  We have always been blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies with some left over for extras.  Add in grandparents that love to spoil and that makes for some satisfied children.

One of my old co-workers (and yes Terry, I meant old LOL) always asked me "do you need it or do you want it?"  His country drawl winds through my head when I debate on buying something I am probably wasting my money on.  I especially hear it more now when I am going through the stores at this time of year.  Yeah, that outfit is really cute and the girls would love it, but do they need it?  Is there something more necessary that I could be spending that money on?  College for my three kids, pay down a bill or perhaps even put it in savings?

So, three presents is more than enough.  We may put Toys"R"Us out of business or cause the Dow Jones to drop a few points but it won't be the end of the world.  There will be some pouting and a bit of huffing and puffing (but not from Santa because his load will be a little lighter this year).  They will survive.  They'll grow a little stronger because they have to "do without" all of the extra stuff they won't play with anyways.  They will learn how to appreciate and perhaps even cherish what they do get.  And at the end of the day I can put my feet up a little less stressed and a little more grateful.  Besides, three gifts were good enough for Jesus...

As a side note, I also propose that there be a price limit to what we ask Santa for.  I told my kids that we need to ask Santa for fewer and smaller items because he has so many more kids to buy for.  It's really difficult to explain to them why Johnny got a four-wheeler and they got a doll.  What do you think?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breathe More

"Fear less, hope more;
Eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Love more, and all good things will be yours."
~Swedish Proverb

It's getting to be that time of year. The holidays are swooping down upon us quickly. It's a time to celebrate, visit with family and for me, reflect on this past twelve months.

What a year it has been! I have to say its probably one of my best ever. No - I think it is THE best ever. Wondering if I won the lottery? No. But the blessings I have been given are far to precious to put a price tag on. There are hundreds of incredible things that happened to me this year but there's not enough room to list them all. So I'm going to try for my top ten.

10. Health - we have been so entirely blessed with health in my family these past few years. There have been some hiccups and hurdles to overcome, but when I hear of other families' troubles, ours seem so minuscule. Check out this amazing family for example. It just continues to show me how lucky we are.

9. Fun - life sure has changed for me. I went almost a decade being holed up in a trailer in the country. Don't get me wrong - it was an awesome town with incredible people. But as I've mentioned, I was in a self-imposed prison of sorts. I've learned how to have fun and what makes me happy. I've visited islands and other states and even travelled out of the country again. I'm learning how to enjoy myself, even with the little things.

8. Strength - I've become stronger - physically, mentally and spiritually. I now have my purple belt in Tae Kwon Do. Pretty cool, huh? Over halfway to Black Belt. Whoohoo! I'm better at dealing with things that come along. My fiery Irish temper doesn't flare up as much because I know what's important. As I become closer to God, I become closer to God. Think about that one. I'm able to recognize even the small gifts around me and I draw even closer to Him which helps me recognize even more blessings.

7. Attitude of Gratitude - this was a tough one for me. A few years ago I had a bible study that required me to write down what I was thankful for. Besides my kids, I had a very difficult time finding anything else to write about. I was so miserable with myself and my life I couldn't see what was around me. I had to start small. I started looking, and the more I recognized it seems the more I was given. It just snowballed from there. I may not have any more than I did, but I know and very much appreciate what I have.

6. Compassion - this is another area I have greatly improved on. I used to watch shows like Extreme Home Makeover with extreme jealousy. Why did those people deserve that awesome place more than I did? What made them more special? I was so mired in misery I couldn't see past that. Now I am starting to do things I've always wanted to do. We are sponsoring a child. My kids see how other people live. They help think of ways we can help. Money that would once have been used for frivololities I being stashed away to help others. We fed the homeless for Thanksgiving and are going to do the same for Christmas. I helped out people that I may have just walked past before. And I promise that I am showered in more blessings than them!

5. Work - yeah, this is a blessing too! I have found a great job that keeps me busy. I have steady income and continuing growth in our business. Is it what I'm going to do for the rest of my life? Probably now. But it's a stepping stone for whatever the future holds for me.

4. Talent - both old and new. Ie been soooo blessed to be able to write this blog. I used to hate what I wrote. I guess it just took a little bit of living and life experiences to help me along. I love touching other people on her and on Facebook. I hope I continue to have a chance to share a little peek at who I am and how my crazy mind works.

3. Friends - wow! Talk about finding out who the real ones are! This past year has really brought the bad out in some and the incredible out in others. I have solidified bonds with the important ones and walked away from a few others. I have made some great new ones too! My friends have taught me how to be a good friend to others. I love you all!

2. Love - this ones' not going to be about what you think. Wait until #1 for that lol. I have found true love - with myself. Not in a vain, conceited way. With a comfortable old pair of jeans that fit like a glove way. I really like the person I am and will become. The reflection in the mirror isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be. And I really can't wait to see what the future holds.

1. Wayne - again, there is simply not enough room on this page to list the million reasons I love this man. A friend of mine told me that God had the perfect person waiting for me if I would just give Him control. I did (finally) and less than two weeks later the perfect man fell into my life and has no intention of leaving. No, he's not any more perfect than me, but he is perfect for me. Jacob summed it up: "he makes you smile.". Constantly. He warms me from the inside. He challenges me to be better but accepts me for who I am now. He not only puts up with my quirks but embraces them. He lives my kids as much as he loves me. He has brought some beautiful children into our lives as well. He gives me promise for a future that becomes brighter each passing day. I love you baby!

Well, there you go! Just few of the many blessings god continues to bestow upon me. What a great way to breeze into the new year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone