Guest Poet-Lauri

The following poem is written by one of my tweeps!  You can read Lauri’s blog here and follow her on Twitter here.

Life is Random

By: Lauri Halterman (aka @grnladybug)

The sky is crying,
the whole world’s a mess;
I think I’ll put on
a white frilly dress.

Dance and spin
on the window sill;
sing to the birds
like a whippoorwill.

I scratched my toe
on the curb today,
saw it bleed
then wiped it away.

Added a Band-Aid
to keep it neat;
then peeled it off
to take a peek.

I wonder why
I can’t remember,
the things I did
last December?

Yet May is here
and I can see,
all the things
that used to be.

Gather you up
in a big bear hug;
thanking the stars

that shine up above.

Life is random
and so am I;
some days I laugh
and some I cry.

Happy Song

This week @lesleehorner has been very low key.  It’s actually an interesting story.  For a long time now my intuition has been telling me to spend less time online.  I think you guys know this about me by now.  I’ve written about it before.  When I try to do it on my own, I can’t seem to resist the urge to just “check” my email and pages.  The checking usually turns into chatting, replying, tweeting, and updating.  By the time I am finished my 5 minute check turns into an hour or more of playing.  On Sunday, I had popped onto the blog and thought my Sunday Quote had not published.  I was frantically trying to post a new quote when suddenly the internet just stopped working.  Mark went to troubleshoot and realized the router had just died.  What a coincidence?  I still have internet access but not on my own computer and the set up is complicated.  So my goal for the week has been to spend no more than 30 minutes online per day.  Luckily I had scheduled the entire week’s worth of posts except for today’s before our problem occurred.

So with that in mind, I’m keeping it short.  I went to the gym on Monday and listened to my Ipod while on the elliptical.  It’s when I am working out that I realize just how much music touches me.  I don’t have extremely sophisticated taste in music.  I mostly enjoy what’s popular.  I like a catchy tune and sweet lyrics.  I recently added a few new songs to my collection and one of them is currently my favorite.  It’s odd to say it, but as I listened to it during my work out Monday, I experienced pure bliss.  It was like my entire body was smiling.  I allowed myself to forget about everything else, including where I was and what I was doing, and just get lost in the song.  So for today, in honor of simplicity, I decided to just share my current happy song.  Catchy tune, cheesy lyrics, enjoy!  (And if this is not your happy song, I suggest finding one and letting yourself escape in it for a few minutes!)

Goodbye 34

Today I turn 35.  I can’t believe it.  I feel like the year clock stopped around 29 and when I pick Bella up from school in the afternoons I am still surprised when I see that tall and thin girl walking towards me.  It seems like only yesterday she was an infant and Callee just a twinkle in my eye.  But today I am a 35-year-old mother of two girls ages 6 and 4.  I was talking to my mom the other day and she informed me that my dad wants to buy a motorcycle.

“Can you imagine this 69-year-old man on a motorcycle?”  She asked with a laugh.

When did my father turn 69? Oh yeah, that would be the same year that I have turned 35.  In my mind my parents are in their late 50s.  Maybe it’s because that’s how old they were when I got married and moved away.  Somehow time doesn’t pass and things don’t change if you’re not there everyday to see it happen (you know like the tree falling in the forest thing).

Last year was a big year.  I don’t really need to go into all of it.  But I did start this blog just a few weeks after I turned 34.  I started it with the intention to post everyday.  I wasn’t sure I could keep that promise, but wanted to very much.  With the exception of one very sad week and thanks to a little help from my friends and fellow writers, I have posted daily.  I used to think I wanted a third baby.  This blog has become that baby.  I’ve watched it grow and learned a lot about being a good “mother.”  I have big dreams for this baby, especially since I have a lot more control over what this baby becomes than I will the other two.

So today I am 35-years-old.  It feels huge and yet I’ll probably spend it the same way I do every other day, well except for the fact that my parents should be arriving this evening sometime.  A few years ago, I set goals for myself.  35 was the magic number when X and Y would happen.  I am very hopeful of the goal.  There is a voice in my head screaming or whispering “I declare this the year of personal transformation and professional success.”  I have faith in that voice, but also surrender my idea of what that transformation and success should look like.  This year I want most of all to love, listen, feel joy, and peacefully put one foot in front of the other!

Happy Birthday to me and thank you all for being a part of my life!

Jealousy

I think that there are two kinds of jealousy.  There is the kind that causes you to react.  This is the jealousy that was illustrated in last Monday night’s episode of How I Met Your Mother.  It’s a fearful jealousy that comes out of a belief that you are going to lose something.  It often causes you to behave detrimentally.  In that episode of my favorite sitcom, Jenkins tells Lilly that she has kissed Marshall and is very sorry.  Lilly reacts with a jealous rage and clobbers her.  This kind of jealousy (as illustrated) fuels revenge and rage and keeps you completely tuned out from your true self.

But there is another kind of jealousy that causes you to connect with your true self and take action (or at least plant the seeds for action).  I have to thank my friend Kelly for inspiring this post.  I decided to write it after a conversation I had with her a couple of weeks ago.  About four and a half years ago I was at a playgroup.  At the time Bella was still in diapers, still nursing and I was pregnant with Callee.  I was totally and completely in the Mommy Zone.  I would get together a few times a week with my friends and their babies and we would talk about motherhood.  During this particular playdate we were discussing how many kids we all wanted to have.  At the time I wanted three, maybe four.  One of the moms in the group said “Well, if I could write a best seller than I would definitely have four children.”  I got so jealous when she said this, but not because she wanted four kids but because she mentioned writing a book.  All of a sudden, I remembered how much I had loved writing and I was jealous.  I believe that that was the moment where the writer in me woke up and the seed was planted.  It didn’t happen right away but obviously over the next few years I started writing again.  It is yet to be determined as to whether or not I will crank out a best-seller.  (I have had several moments of jealousy while reading or thinking about Stephenie Meyer.)

The conclusion Kelly came to during our conversation is that if you get jealous of something someone else is doing, maybe it is because you are meant to do it too.  These days, every once in a while I’ll find myself feeling envious while reading a blog.  I have attracted into my life so many charismatic and talented writers that I can’t help but be in awe at the response they illicit from their readers.  Before I talked with Kelly about the topic of jealousy, I’d give myself a hard time for feeling the way I felt.  Now I realize that it is a seed to inspire me to take action, practice, and improve my abilities.

The next time you find yourself feeling envious, first figure out which kind of jealousy you’re feeling.  Is it the kind that makes you angry?  Is it the kind that makes you want to react (in a not so positive manner)? OR is it the kind that makes you excited and inspired?  Does it make you want to act in a manner that will improve your standing in the world?  Start paying attention to these feelings and asking the questions.  It may just guide you toward a new hobby, talent, or career!

Naked

I have mentioned before that I am in a writing group.  Since I started this blog, it has become something we discuss from time to time in our meetings.  There is one member who is very open about her dislike for the art form of the blog.  She has on more than one occasion said “I don’t understand why you do it.  Why do you want to put yourself out there like that?”  To me though, it is becoming normal.  My generation and younger seem to not have a problem with baring their souls to the world.  In comparison to most blogs, I’d go as far as to say I hold back.  There is stuff about me that will never make it to this blog.

The internet allows us to be “naked” and sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow.  Last week a Twitter friend was killed by a train.  Her fiance directed me to the article about the accident.  I was shocked to see that of the 40 comments, 20 of them had to be removed because they were offensive.  A man lost the love of his life, 4 children lost their mother, a family that was being built has now crumbled and all of this just 2 weeks before Christmas and people had the audacity to post to a public newspaper forum comments so rude that they had to be removed.  It broke my heart.  The lack of compassion was difficult to comprehend.  In reading a different article about another train accident people were commenting more about their annoyance for being held up than the lives that were lost.

People complain about the state of our society.  They ask what is wrong here and where will it end.  The truth is, this is nothing new.  I don’t believe things are any worse now than they have ever been.  The only difference is we’re all exposed, the good and the bad.  Celebrities and politicians can’t get away with negative behavior.  With the technology of today and the general interests of the public, it’s very hard for them to have secret lives.  Regular people no longer make derogatory remarks to their friends and families, they do it online so everyone can read.  The good souls among us no longer just encourage and teach their children, but they go out and start websites (like Owning Pink) and spread their wisdom across the world.

There was a time when pedophiles could molest their children and grandchildren right under their own roofs and no one would speak of it.  It never crossed the minds of people that something like this could happen, unless of course it was their family.  I am not so blind to believe this doesn’t still happen, but thanks to the media and people’s willingness to bring it to light, I’m sure it doesn’t happen as often.  People are less afraid these days to tell the truth.  They have a stage for better or worse where they can release the skeletons and find support.  There are many dark corners of the internet, but there are also countless bright places.

I choose to take a positive stance on this and believe that this window and all the people who stand in front of it will ultimately make us better.  I know some of it looks very grim.  The worst and best out there gain momentum with each click by someone who believes in them.  But I’ll hold onto the idea that God has got this all under control and at the end of the day…good will prevail!

Grateful Kim’s Click

I met Grateful Kim through Twitter and the blogosphere.  She wrote a comment in reply to one of @Whyisdaddycryin’s posts that had me cracking up.  I immediately knew I had to check her blog out.  Her message is extremely positive and uplifting.  In a conversation this weekend with my husband I even quoted Kim as an “expert” when we were discussing raising our girls and dealing with the differences and disagreements we may have with them as they grow up.  You can read her blog here and follow her on Twitter here.  She was also recently a guest blogger on Owning Pink.

When God Winks…

Nearly five years ago, about the time I began really believing in the power of my thoughts and divine ”coincidences”, I was led to a book called “When God Winks” – How the Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life”. The author writes to the reader, saying “This book will validate your feelings that there’s more to coincidence than meets the eye. It also fosters hope for the dreams of your future by unveiling the wondrous map that has quietly guided you along the paths of your past. God has been winking at you.” –SQuire Rushnell (yes, the Q is supposed to be capitalized). This book was only the beginning of learning to accept the unfolding pages of my life and becoming acutely aware that there are no coincidences.

I am a realtor and have been so for a decade. That’s 10 years of my life people. It is not my dream job….and yet I can tell you with absolute conviction that this is where I am supposed to be for now. The people I have met, ”experts” I have followed (or read their book), the experiences I have had, the tears I have shed, the  difficult choices I’ve had to make, the families I have helped, even the ones who disliked me in the end, have all been part of a journey. Who I am today is barely recognizable to even myself from the person I was 10 years ago. The real issue I have is that I don’t understand my destination. And truly, I’m okay with that most of the time. They says it’s all in the journey anyway.

Yesterday I woke up feeling completely insignificant to humanity. Once again I found myself crying to my husband about life now, and in the future. In these times, my real estate career has suffered a bit and my commitment and enthusiasm have been tested. When I’m not making money, I begin to question my value. I’ve been a working girl since I was 12 years old, and independence may as well be my middle name. And yet, over the last year or so I’ve become somewhat DEpendent and have also began to have an interest in other things – acknowledgement, gratitude, joy, inspiration, hope…love. Expressing it, experiencing it and passing it along to whoever will listen and play along. It’s simply amazing to me how people, women in particular, are hurting, feeling under-valued, questioning their validity and purpose and so much more. Speaking of which – I’d like to interject a little comment about “purpose”. I’m not entirely convinced that we have a single purpose in our life. My experience and attention to life is demonstrating to me that our purpose changes with the seasons of our life. So don’t get too hung up if you haven’t yet found your purpose. Just ask yourself what your purpose is in the moment and act on that. Otherwise I promise you a mental breakdown is forthcoming. Annnnywaaaay…..

Yesterday I sat in our monthly PTA meeting for the high school. We are preparing for Red Ribbon Week – a week-long event which promotes kids staying away from drugs. Many highschoolers are planning a pledge activity to avoid drugs and in return being given a raffle ticket to win a red Ipod, for which the PTA will pay for. I decided to reach out to the world of Facebook and Twitter to see if I could find a donor to pay for the Ipod for the cause. Within an hour of my post, I was asked by a friend of mine where to mail the check. I was astounded and grateful and actually questioned whether or not she was sure about that. Her comment to me was ”You do good work, and anything I can do to support.”  This morning, completely unrelated, a friend of mine called and said she needed a pep talk and told me she knew I was the one who could help. And yet another person wrote to me today thanking me for my positivity and inspiration. And to think yesterday morning I was feeling unnecessary and worthless.

God winked at me in the last 24 hours, letting me know I am on the right path. And this path I’m on includes my desire to serve, inspire, get involved, encourage, cheer from the sidelines, motivate, and love….. and the reason I know this is because it literally lights me up! Which finally brings me to my point. My message to you is not to preach about how great I am. That is never my intention AT ALL. My intention is to serve as an example, and to remind you (and myself) to follow that inner voice, the one that keeps encouraging you to do the things you love, even though you have no idea how it will pay the bills or serve anyone. Sometimes the breakdowns we experience and the resulting questions that arise are the catalyst to where we should be headed. Appreciate your past, embrace the now, and try your best not to worry too much about the future (note to self). Hold on tightly to the belief and knowing that God is winking at us and there are no coincidences. And sometimes, often, the winks come to us not a single minute before they’re supposed to….and those fleeting moments of certainty help keep us going.

*Wink*

Blog Award

So I have actually received two of these blog awards before and failed to do the assignment because I was too lazy!  But my friend, Karen, over at “Modern Day Storyteller” gave me this one and I have decided to participate.

*Realized that in writing this post yesterday I spent so much brain power on thinking of 7 things and 7 blogs that I failed to express the huge amount of gratitude I feel for receiving this award from Karen.  Karen is one of those I place in the “brilliant writer” category, so it is truly an honor for her to acknowledge my blog in this way.  Thank you sooo much Karen!!!

The requirement here is for me to tell 7 things about myself that you do not know and choose 7 blogs to pass the honor onto. So here goes:

1.  I have been the proud dog mommy to Oscar and Lilly (2 mini Dachshunds) for 10 years and somehow have managed to allow them to become MONSTERS!  As they are entering their golden years they seem to be more spastic and wild then ever before and I am at a loss as to how to control them.

2.  I met my husband at a cheesy night club and was attracted to him because he had long hair (and subsequently months later I was the one who encouraged him to cut it all off).

3.  I am about 6 credit hours short of having a history degree, but probably couldn’t beat a fifth grader in a history quiz contest.

4.  The very first time I attended my Unity Church and listened to the female minister speak the thought (via the still small voice) that went through my head was “That’s what I want to do.”   (Now whether or not I ever do it is a whole other story…)

5.  Two of my all time favorite movies are “Fight Club” and “American History X” both of which star Edward Norton and have some intense violence.

6.  When I was in Junior High I was a bit delusional and wanted to be a model…so instead of going with my family on a trip to Hawaii, I chose to attend  John Casablanca’s Modeling School.

7.  I taught for two years in an inner-city school, where my second graders threw chairs, flipped desks, and cursed when they got upset… But all that being said, I loved them and always seemed to connect the most with the kids the other teachers warned me about.

Now who to pass the award on to….

1.  My friend Stacia has started blogging fairly recently.  After only a handful of posts she has managed to stir my emotions more than any other blogger I’ve read.  I have laughed out loud, cried, and shared in her annoyance! It is a treat to stop by “Ribbon Off My Eyes.”

2.  Kasey happens to be one of the most positive and genuinely sweet people I know.  I’ve been following her blog from day 1 and it is always a joy to read.  She shares her love for music, movies, family, friends, and God with her readers.  Her blog is titled “Midnite Monologues.”

3.  I know I have mentioned “Why Is Daddy Crying” before and must give him another shout-out for being funny and entertaining.  Currently he is dealing with what a lot of other Americans are dealing with…job loss.  His blog of course now has a new twist.  We are all meeting a whole new side of Daddy as he takes on more responsibility with the kids as his “wifey” goes off to work.  I wish him much luck in his job search!

4. The first time I ever visited @OpinionatedGift’s blog the post was exactly what I needed to read at the moment.  After that, I sort of made a point to become his friend.  That was 5 or so months ago and now I think I can officially call him “friend.”  His blog is called “Gifts of Thought” and reading his opinions is quite a gift!

5.  Carlene was the very first tweeter that I started following.  She is a survivor of abuse and refuses to cling to a victim mindset.  She is amazingly strong and talented.  You can read her writing and see her photography (which mostly stars her adorable Yorkie, Cooper) at “An Unrelenting Optimist.”

6.  Kelli’s (AKA: Mountain Mama) was the first blog I ever started reading regularly.  What struck me immediately was her beautiful writing.  I am so often inspired by her posts.  She reminds me to be in the moment, take care of my family lovingly, and most of all nourish my soul.  She writes quite a bit about raising a family in the mountains of Kentucky and it is all fascinating to this “city girl.”  Take the time to visit “A Mountain Mama’s Blog.”

7.  Renee started blogging shortly after I did.  Like Kelli, she is an amazingly talented writer!  She is blunt and honest as she writes about her life and observations.  Renee is also very interactive and rarely lets a comment go without a response.  You can read her posts at “An Unexplored Wilderness.”

8.  Okay, I’m cheating now but I can’t end this post without mentioning the lovely and inspiring Grateful Kim!  Her blog is a joyful and uplifting must-read! You can visit it here…”Gratefulkim’s Blog.”

*If you got a nod from me here, you are supposed to pass it on and of course mention my blog when you do, but I’ll forgive you if you don’t.  Trust me, I understand!