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Word of the Year: 2010 Recap

For the past couple of years, I have chosen a word for the year. Where a lot of people make resolutions and often drop them before the end of January, a word brings about a different kind of awareness.

I learned of the idea from Christine Kane’s blog. The idea is to bring more awareness into your life about how you are living and how you want to grow. Rather than say "I will exercise more" and then beat yourself up for not doing that, you choose a word that embodies whatever it is you want more of in the coming year. It could be anything: ease, creativity, self-love, laughter, or clarity, for example. Then throughout the year you hold onto your word and, hopefully, realize that over time you are seeing a shift in your life.

In 2009, I chose the word "focus" to help myself break some nervous habits and to teach myself to devote my attention to the task at hand and not get distracted.

As that year came to a close, I started mulling over new words for 2010 and set…

Reflecting on 2010

The year is drawing to a close very quickly, so I thought I'd look back and acknowledge what I was most thankful for in 2010. Check out my list at WorkingMother.com, then come back here and let me know what you are grateful for in 2010.

Wishcasting: New Year

It's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe and support others' wishes. Today Jamie asks, "What is your wish for the New Year?"

I've been choosing my Word of the Year for 2011 which I will explain in more detail in coming days, so today's question is relatively easy for me to answer. I wish for happiness in the new year. Lots and lots of happiness for me, my family, and you as well. May you find joy and love in unexpected places.

What is your wish for the new year?

Time for a Big Girl URL

It's time to try something new. I've been blogging for nearly four years now. It started with a little Blogger blog called Life After Web. Then I added a Wordpress blog called On a Lighter Note. Then I decided two blogs were too much, so I combined the two into the Wordpress location and retitled it Life After Web.

Two or three years ago I bought the URL lifeafterweb.com. Since then I've used it as a playground to try out a little web code here and there and for the past year it has been sitting there as some sort of odd landing page with no real purpose.

I never bothered to move my blog there because Wordpress.com wouldn't let me redirect my old URL and I was afraid that you, my wonderful friends and readers, might think I got lost. If all goes well, a redirect is now possible and working.

Life is changing a lot for me these days. That being said, it's time to make some changes to my blogging as well, so I am finally putting to good use the URL I purchased so …

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, which to me brings one of the most magical nights of the year. Friends, feasting, and a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas are on our agenda this evening. I hope that this day brings you magic as well.

In the words of SheDaisy in one of their Christmas songs, "the secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through." I wish for us all to remember that now and in the coming year.

May your holiday be warm, merry, and bright.

Wishcasting: Winter Wish

Wishcasting


It's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes and support others' wishes. Today Jamie asks, "What is your winter wish?"

This one didn't take me long actually. With my baby son due near the end of January, I wish for a smooth final month of pregnancy, an easy delivery, and a graceful entrance to motherhood. I wish to embrace our new addition, to continue to support and be supported by my husband and stepson, and to ensure I remember to make time for myself.



What is your winter wish?

Thankful


While wishing it also seems appropriate to take a minute to reflect on what I am thankful for. Today I am thankful for the cheerfulness of Christmas decorations. For lights and trees and stockings and garland and wreaths. I am thankful for the time I will get to spend with my husband and stepson in the coming week and I am thankful to be fortunate enough to have my current big decision be what we will eat on Christm…

Experiment: Will Anyone Get Up for a Pregnant Woman?

I was at the mall this weekend finishing up a little Christmas shopping. My husband and stepson were there also and we split up for a bit because my stepson wanted to shop for me. (So sweet and thoughtful!) We made arrangements to meet up in front of a particular store an hour later, which worked out nicely because there was a row of three couches there.

I got to our meeting spot about 10 minutes early, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to rest my feet. After all, I'm now eight months into this pregnancy and carrying around much more weight than I'm used to. When I got there, however, all of the seats were full.

Now I'm not the type to ask people to get up and I was content to stand while I waited, but I also thought it would be a good opportunity to run a little experiment to see if anyone would offer up a seat to the pregnant woman.

I positioned myself at the end of the row where most everyone sitting would be able to see me and I set my bags on the ground. …

Small Wins and Yummy Treats

I just made Rice Krispy treats for the first time ever. Seriously.

It's probably one of the most cliche desserts and the commercials always spoke of how easy it is to make them. So why have I never made them? I was afraid of working with gooey sticky melty marshmallows. I couldn't envision that going well.

And yet today, I felt compelled to brave the Rice Krispy treat. I survived melting marshmallows, survived pressing sticky treats into a pan, and they are now cooling in the refrigerator.

Hopefully they'll be delicious. I'm still scared to cut them. Haha!

What silly little fear can you tackle this weekend?

Pause Before Reacting

I've been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which follows her journey through a year of trying various happiness resolutions.

The biggest lesson I'm getting from the book isn't necessarily her particular resolutions, rather it is to stop and think before reacting in a situation.

Throughout the book Gretchen gives some examples of irritating moments in daily family life.Like when her kids are bickering or when she or her husband are in a bad mood. You know those times.

What I've found intriguing is that due to her happiness project, she was sometimes able to pause in that moment before reacting to look at things from a different point of view, then react more creatively.

It's easy to yell or join the bickering or get defensive or say something resolutely to the moody party like, "then just fix it." In her moments of pause, however, Gretchen had the presence of mind to realize how she would normally react and realize that such a reaction …

Firefox Cam

Get ready for some serious cuteness.

The folks at Mozilla are promoting their Firefox web browser with a live feed of firefox cubs. You can watch the cubs play on the jungle gym, enter a contest to name the cubs, and help them earn a new special treat (currently grass flats) by downloading the browser.

The site itself is beautiful and watching baby animals play is always uplifting. What better way to cozy up a crisp, cold Friday?

Thankful to be Healthy Again

You know how after you've been sick, there is one day that you realize you are better? Of course it can be a slow process so you may have a few days where you progressively feel a little better than the day before. But there is one day that you realize you are buzzing around with normal energy and it dawns on you that you feel great. Not just great, but the kind of huge great you can only feel after being sick. You know what I mean?

Today is that day.

I'll spare you the details, but Monday I woke up nauseous, had a really rough 24 hours, then Tuesday started to recover. Wednesday I was really tired and had no energy whatsoever. Even just walking a few steps left me winded.

Today, however, I'm back. I just realized it. I woke up at 7:00 and have been steadily getting things done all morning. I even hauled my Christmas packages to the post office and went on a grocery run. While carrying the groceries in to the house, I realized I'm better. Hallelujah.

These are…

Put the Cell Phone Down

I'm a big fan of the Rose is Rose comic strip. I particularly liked last Sunday's edition. What a poignant reminder to put the technology down and really pay attention to what is around us.

What Ellen Does for Happiness

With the blogging break I took for much of the Fall, I've missed a bunch of Happy Book Fridays. Not this week! Jamie led The Happy Book group to page 96 to an exercise called "What would Joan Jett do?"

The book asks us to think about who our idol is and what we imagine that person does to be happy. I chose Ellen DeGeneres whom I've adored from her early stand-up days, through her TV show and movies, and now to her talk show. She seems happier now than ever, so I think she's a great choice for this exercise.

To be happy, I think Ellen DeGeneres would...


dance

laugh

give a gift

tell a joke

surprise/scare people with silly pranks

play a game

spend time with her wife, Portia

invite friends over for dinner

listen to music




I'm going to see if I can put some of these into practice in my life and pay attention to how my own happiness is affected.

Thankful


In keeping with my daily gratitude practice, today I am thankful for a calm day- free of wind and obligations. I am thankf…

Shining

Yesterday while supporting others wishes, I came across this post at Dashboard Hula by Shari Sherman. There were so many things about this post that resonated with me.

First, her name is Shari. No matter the spelling, I'm always excited to find kindred Sherri's out there. I love my name. It has always felt magical, though I can't pinpoint exactly why.

Moreso though, was her mermaid artwork (click through to her post to see it). She created a beautiful mermaid with lots of green and hints of pink (my two favorite colors) and adorned her with the message "Let your light shine."

Perfect. Just perfect! I've been working on letting my light shine. I decided to make my theme word "shine" earlier this year as a reminder to be myself. Not to try to emulate anyone else, but just to let the real me shine for the world to see. I even got myself a purse and emblazoned it with the word "shine" to keep the message fresh in my mind. (Yes, it…

Wishcasting: Go Slow

Wishcasting


It's Wishcasting Wednesday again where Jamie Ridler invites us to cast our wishes and support others' wishes. Today Jamie asks, "Where do you wish to go slow?"

This question stumped me. Go slow? I have a baby due in 8 weeks, in-laws still living in what is supposed to be the baby's room, baby supply shopping to do, Christmas shopping to finish, gifts to ship across states, and Christmas decorations to put up. Meanwhile I'm getting bigger, slower, and less flexible by the day. Aaaaah!

So that is exactly where I wish to go slow. I know that my in-laws have a couple prospects for moving (this part I hope goes fast), so I am trying to trust that this will happen and the baby's room will soon be vacant for us to clean, paint, assemble furniture, and prepare for our baby's arrival. My husband hopes we can do that during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

I wish to slow down and enjoy the process of the holidays. I love decoratin…

Thankful

With Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas coming quickly, I've been thinking about the things I'm thankful for. Sure we all think about those things on Thanksgiving, but how often do we take time to acknowledge the good stuff on a regular day?

Off and on in the last few years I've written daily gratitudes in my journal- just listing a few things that I was thankful for each day. It helps me focus on the good instead of dwelling on the hard. It's a practice I've fallen out of lately and it feels like it's time to bring it back.

As I blog here, you may see me add a "Thankful" section in my posts to encourage me to give thanks for blessings big and small.

To kick things off, today I am thankful for the "love ya's" and "miss you's" and "love and friendship" that my friends use to close their email messages. I am thankful for the kicks and movements and wiggles that my baby does which let me know he's okay in…

Redecorating, Big and Small

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was rearrange my room. Every time I got bored with status quo, I'd move my furniture around to give the same old stuff a fresh look.

That hasn't stopped. My husband and I usually complete one or two projects per year around the house. Earlier this year we redid our family room by pulling up carpet, laying hardwood, and swapping our living room couch for the leather sectional that was in our basement.

This summer my husband decided he wanted to try growing grapes, which turned into his desire for an arbor for them to grow on. Thanks to his "go big or go home" philosophy he built a huge (as in HUGE- like the size of a large room) arbor in our backyard complete with solar light caps on the top.

With the baby due in just two short months, we're trying to plan the nursery despite the fact that my in-laws still occupy that room. Hopefully they'll be moving on soon, but in the meantime we have a crib in th…

Photo Shoot Fun

When it comes to photography, often my favorite shots are the unexpected ones that present themselves when you're not expecting it.

Yesterday I decided to photograph my Thirty-One bags to share with people who are geographically distant from me as I launch this new business.

I had some time and the sun was casting a bright glow in my home office, so I found a cream colored sheet and make-shifted a photo studio. I played around with various items and groupings and soon I was on a roll getting nice shots like these...

[caption id="attachment_1421" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cinch Sac"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1422" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Demi Purse and Silk Scarf"][/caption]

Not too shabby. So off I went photographing different bags, blankets, purses, and totes and then this happened...

[caption id="attachment_1423" align="aligncenter" width="…

Wishcasting: Enjoy

In today's Wishcasting Wednesday question, Jamie asks "What do you wish to enjoy?"

I wish to enjoy life. To find the joy in any given moment. To enjoy time spent with my family and friends. To notice the beauty in my surroundings. To take pride in what I am doing, even if today I am doing laundry.

Life is not just the spectacular moments or the tragic moments, rather it is all moments. I wish to enjoy life's moments, big and small.

Best Friends

I have several best friends. I suppose that's a contradiction simply because we are told there can only be one "best." Tough! I'm not willing to cut any of my best friends from the "BFF" list.

These particular friends come from different eras of my life - middle school, high school, college, jobs - but they all have some common traits. They are funny. They are smart. They are amazingly supportive of everything I do, big or small. They love to laugh. They read my War and Peace length emails and respond point by point. They share their triumphs, their failures, and the funny thing that happened on their way home from work.

I don't know what I would do without these wonderful women in my life. This morning as I sit in a quiet house while everyone is still asleep (yes, this is a rare time of day for me to be active), I am reading some of my favorite bloggers. Christine Kane has written a post that beautifully captures the best friend relationship…

Wishcasting: Fly Free

It's late as I write this. Before heading to bed though, I wanted write what I've been musing over with today's Wishcasting Wednesday question. Jamie asks "What do you wish to fly free from?"

Constraints. My own preconceived notions. The fear they instill that prevents me from trying something new.

Why do I talk myself out of things? I'll be excited about something then overthink it to death until it's something that I can't do, shouldn't do, or aren't capable of doing. And then I wonder why I find myself in the same place all the time. Who says I can't, shouldn't, or aren't capable? Sadly, the answer is usually me.

Not today. Today I'm moving forward with something I've been thinking about. I'm selling the beautiful, functional, so-perfect-for-organizing products at Thirty-One. It's direct sales, a concept that frightens me to no end. It sounds so icky and my inner gremlins question what business I have be…

Best Gremlin Snub Ever

Don't ask questions. Don't argue. Just go read this short and sweet post at joyrebel.com where Brandi tells off her gremlins.

Go. You won't regret it.

Embracing Rain and Myself

For the past nine weeks I haven’t been working. My contract ended and I didn’t take on any new work because I wanted to spend the last few weeks of summer with my stepson. Also, I have a baby on the way so let’s face it, seeking full-time employment seems kind of difficult when in a few more months I plan to stay at home anyway.

Facing a period of unemployment I envisioned all the grand things that would fill my days: adventures, writing, yoga (read more about that in my post at WorkingMother.com). Now I’ve realized that nine weeks have passed and I haven’t done much of any of those things.

It just dawned on me that it was raining outside and I was missing it. I love the rain. Okay, a lot of people I’ve come across don’t necessarily understand that, but it’s true. I love how peaceful the world becomes in the rain. I love how clean everything looks as dirt is washed away. There is something about the rain that makes the world smaller and cozier to me.

We haven’t had much rain th…

Happy Friday: Photo Scavenger Hunt

Look at all the happy I found this week, even amidst my own grumbliness. It makes me want to cheer.

Jamie sent us Happy Book participants on a photo scavenger hunt for things that depict the following words: circle, tree, smile, sparkle, heart, clean, treasure, red, fresh, sky, yum, toes, morning, and home.

These were my finds:



The circles were left behind after I moved potted grape vines to their new in-ground location by an arbor my husband has been building this summer.

The tree is a waist high oak that started a year ago from the tiniest, most pathetic looking stick I've ever seen. We weren't sure it would survive, but it's been growing strong.

Smile felt like a self-portrait was in order. I almost used my growing belly as circle, too!

Sparkle comes from my magic wand, given to me by an old colleague who thought it might help me solve all those "need it yesterday" requests.

Yesterday I opened the windows and let the breeze air out our home, so the blowing cur…

Wishcasting: Less

On this glorious Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie asks, "What do you for less of?"

I have so many answers to this, but they pretty much all condense down to three things: stress, negativity, clutter.

For me clutter is the easiest of these to reduce. I go through waves of massive declutter several times a year. No matter how much I get rid of, it seems I can find more to clear out soon after.

The stress and negativity are a little harder to tackle. It's other people's negativity that causes a lot of my stress, so those two kind of go together. I'd be fooling myself if I thought I was negativity free, though, so I also have to include myself in that.

Since I can't change other people, the best I can do is try to avoid negativity in myself. Where other people's negativity is concerned, I can make a concerted effort to change the subject or walk away.

As for stress, making quiet time to be alone, even for just 15 minutes each morning and night can make a wor…

Happy Book Challenge - Mascot Magic

In the first Happy Book shake-up challenge posed by Jamie about a week ago, we were to choose a mascot and photograph it along our weekly travels.

I chose to use my doll from a set of four doll Christmas ornaments I gave to my closest friends last Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't do too much photographing of her last week, but I did manage to take a couple of photos.

Once at Chick-fil-a with their tasty lemonade...



...and another day at my husband's softball game. Here she sits on the game ball in my bag chair.



What I thought most remarkable, however, was what happened at the end of the week. This weekend we went to the Philadelphia zoo with some friends. I was looking at some animal or other when one of my friends said, "Wow! A butterfly just landed on you! They must really like you." Still trying to process what I just heard, I turned to my husband and caught sight of the butterfly just on the back of my shoulder.

The remarkable thing is that the butterfly is m…

Good Food, Fun Art, and Words of Wisdom (all from a little tex-mex joint)

Finding decent Mexican food has been a challenge since leaving Arizona for New Jersey almost 7 years ago. Today I was excited to stumble across a hole-in-the-wall wonder called Tijuana Flats in the middle of a bland looking shopping center. I'm almost sad I haven't encountered this little franchise before.

My lunch was delicious, but I was even more captivated by the decor. Visit the Tijuana Flats website for a taste of their bright comic book atmosphere.

A manifesto adorned one wall and all of the tables proclaiming their "anything goes approach to food, wall art, hot sauce & life in general." Among their words of wisdom were these little gems (in no particular order)...



Embrace the strange & unexplained, if at first you don't understand it, maybe you never will

Next time, order a chimichanga just because it's fun to say

Lighten up or leave

Accept all kinds of people, even those that use mild sauce




I'm betting they're right when they say, "…

Wishcasting: Begin

It is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, "What do you wish to begin?"

I wish to begin a daily ritual, either in the morning or at night (or both!). Something quiet and calming to get myself in a good state of mind.

On Monday I started my day with tai chi which left me feeling peaceful, yet energetic- ready to take on the world. I haven't done it since and I'm not sure why. It might be a good way to start each day.

Last night, I spent about 15 minutes washing my face and putting lotion all over. I felt clean, refreshed, and relaxed- ready to ease into bed.

Making one or both of these things a daily ritual seems like it would make my life richer and they're really not that hard to do. Now the challenge becomes finding the dedication to keep these appointments with myself.

What do you wish to begin?

Sunflower

No words today. Just a photograph I took at a friend's house over the weekend. Wishing you a calm, pleasant Tuesday.

Happier Life Dreamboard

It felt like a dreamboard kind of day, so I pulled out a stack of magazines and my craft supplies to put down on paper what was swirling around in my brain. The final board looks like this:

[caption id="attachment_1345" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="My \"Happier Life\" dreamboard"][/caption]

It would seem I was drawn to words more than images this time around. I even included a short article by a nun that talks about how she approaches life. In it she says...

The impulse to hurt someone back is strong, but I don't like how I feel when I do that. So I don't let anyone make me anything less than the most loving and kind person I want to be. ... We have a choice, every single time, about how to respond to whatever crosses our paths.


I admit I've been feeling a little grumbly lately. Chalk it up to raising a teenager, having my in-laws in our guest room for the past 8+ months, or my own pregnancy hormones in full flu…

Hello Again, Big News, and some Friday Happy

Hello everyone! (If you are in fact still out there and I sure hope you are.) As often happens with me in the summer time, I have taken a hiatus from blogging. Actually I've taken a hiatus from my computer in general. No blogging, twittering, Facebooking. No sirree. I've hardly even checked email.

Glorious!

Why a summer hiatus? So many reasons. First, I love life and summer reminds me of all the wonderful things there are to enjoy about life. It also reminds me to slow down. More relaxing, more fresh air, more time with friends and family.

Second, my long running contract work ended rather abruptly in July. As a web project manager, my entire work day revolved around being tied to my computer. When I suddenly found myself not tethered to it, I felt lighter. I've worked with computers heavily for my entire 10 year career. Stepping away was exactly what I needed to reconnect with myself.

Third (and by no means diminished in this last position), I've been nest…

Happy Post - Dancing Flyers Fan

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book, I've been taking some today to reflect on what is making me happy. It's great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.

This week I was lucky enough to attend game 6 of the Stanley Cup. Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks in what turned out to be a really intense back and forth game. In overtime, the Flyers pushed hard, but the Blackhawks made a final play that had the whole arena trying to figure out if the puck actually went in the goal. I've never seen such confusion.

Anyhow, the game was quite exciting, but one of my favorite things about it is a fan I've seen at Flyers games before. His name is Shawny Hill and as far as I know he has gone to every game for years. His seat is at the back of the top level in what some would refer to as the nosebleed section.

Shawny dances by his seat at every game. Usually some time during the third period,…

Wishcasting: Leap

It is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, "What leap do you wish to take?"

I wish to leap into the amazing world of fiction writing. Without fear, without pressure. I wish to leap into the process of crafting a story, arms and heart wide open ready to embrace characters and give them a safe space to grow and share their experiences.

If you missed it yesterday, I posted a little excerpt of something I wrote - A Night at the Pool.

I'm leaping already.

What leap do you wish to take?

Visit Jamie's site to see what other people are wishing to have.

Fiction: A Night at the Pool

After explaining yesterday that I have been working on some fiction lately, I thought it might be fun to share a piece. What follows is a short scene I started based on a writing prompt from Writer's Digest. (Do I need to say that everything here is fictitious and any similarities to real people or places is strictly coincidental?)

This didn't have a title until just now, but it felt like there should be something indicating the end of my commentary and the beginning of the story. I give you...


A Night at the Pool


There’s a reason I try to avoid breaking rules. It seems like whenever I do, something goes wrong. I’ve grown accustomed to the notion that the rules are there to protect me. I realize it’s not like that for everyone. Some people thrive on rebellion. It serves them well. Not me.

And so it stands to reason that the one night my friend Charlotte convinced me to go for a late night swim at the community pool, I probably should have declined. Breaking and entering …

Why I've Been So Quiet (My muse had other plans)

I haven't blogged much in the past few weeks and though it's not terribly unusual for me to take breaks, I thought I'd share a little about what I've been working on.

I spent quite a lot of time a few weeks ago thinking about writing. I'd been feeling a little lackluster with it lately despite the huge urge I felt to write. I felt like I had stories trying desperately to escape, but I just couldn't quite hear them. It was frustrating and had me questioning whether writing was what I really wanted.

I took out my journal one day and started listing places I thought I might want to write. It ranged from the generic "book" to specific magazine titles that I liked. In the end it was a very, very short list.

Since magazines always seemed like the easy way to go (I really don't know why it seems that way, it probably isn't), I stared at the few I had written down and couldn't come up with a single spark. I felt bored just looking the list.

At…

Happy Post - Garden Growth

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book, I've been taking some today to reflect on what is making me happy. It's great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.

I've had a bad cold for just over a week now, so unfortunately I won't be saying I'm happy about my health. Hopefully next week I can make that claim.

This week my garden is making me happy. The kiwis completely covered their trellis, so I added two more to give them space to expand. The raspberries seeded themselves to grow three new stalks. The cucumbers, zucchinis, and tomatoes are getting taller and fatter. I can't wait to eat the fresh produce later this summer.

I also introduced a new addition to my garden, a serene little fairy who looks quite comfortable tucked in the green vines of kiwi. Meet Maribel and her little bird friend, Pete.

[caption id="attachment_1304" align="aligncenter" width="477&…

Wishcasting Wednesday: Have

It is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, "What do you wish to have?"

I wish to have the strength, courage, and perseverance to write despite any fears that may try to take over. I wish to have a paid writing gig- maybe a single article to get started. I wish to have the guts to write in my own voice, sharing my own truth.

What do you wish to have?

Visit Jamie's site to see what other people are wishing to have.

Mom/Stepmom Relationship

We had a visit from my stepson’s mother the other day. She lives in another state so we don’t see her very often.

She called on Sunday to say she would be visiting her family on Monday. (Her family lives about an hour away from us.) Before she left town, she wanted to stop by and visit her son.

She arrived at our house that evening with her boyfriend and we all hung out at for a couple of hours, ordering pizza, chatting, and laughing together.

I suppose this may seem a bit strange. I’ve heard how turbulent the mother/stepmother relationship can be. I think our society even expects it to be. There are books and websites and counselors out there offering us all kinds of tools to help manage it.

Maybe my situation is rare- I don’t know, but for whatever reason she and I have chosen to get along fine.

We hug hello (yes, this was a surprise to me the first time, too!) and she often mentions to my husband how much she likes me and how grateful she is that I don’t feel threatened by h…

Wishcasting Wednesday: Experience

It is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, “What do you wish to experience?”

Life. Plain and simple.

I wish to experience raindrops on my cheeks, the high I get from dancing in my room, the way that desperate looking sprouts transform to full sprawling plants in just a few short weeks.

I wish to experience naps in warm sunbeams and the purr of a cat when I scratch its ears. I wish to experience old architecture and the perfect pinot grigio.

I wish to experience the bliss of skipping down a street, not caring what anyone thinks.

I wish to experience an abundance of hugs and smiles and Eskimo kisses (that’s where you rub noses).

I wish to experience writing with reckless abandon, secure in my own skin.

I wish to experience meeting in person some of the fabulous women I’ve met online through blogging.

I wish to experience a time when people argue less and work tog…

Foul Ball!

Baseball is a dangerous sport. The balls fly fast and hard, it’s no wonder the players wear helmets. My stepson loves to play. He has several games a week from April through June, so we’re right in the thick of it now.

Somehow the people who don’t play baseball are the ones who keep getting baseball injuries. Go figure.

After Saturday’s game, my husband, who coaches the team, hobbled out of the dugout severely favoring one ankle. He explained that he had been hit in the ankle with a baseball when warming up one of the pitchers. Due to the large amount of swelling, he spent the next few hours elevating and icing his ankle.

My husband isn’t the only magnet, though. For some reason this year, I’ve had more foul balls fly my way than I can count. It doesn’t matter if I sit by first base, third base, or stand behind home plate. Somehow foul balls adjust their trajectory toward me.

It all started at my stepson’s middle school game about a month ago, where at least 4 foul balls found …

Writing, Kindness, and Creativity - Ideas, anyone?

I’m on a mission and I’m calling for fellow brainstormers. 

As you probably know I’ve been thinking a lot about my values lately- the things I want to structure my life to support. Those values have led me to focus more acutely on writing, kindness, and creativity.

Just saying these words – writing, kindness, and creativity – gives me a little rush of energy and excitement. This is where I want to run and play right now.

So the challenge is on. I’m making a list of projects that involve these three things, projects that I may explore or that I may keep on my list to spur new ideas.

Having a list will be great because I can refer to it when I have a few extra minutes and want to try something new or do a little research. When I feel lost and directionless, my list can shine a little light to get me back on my path.

My list so far looks like this:


Book reviews of books about philanthropy, civility, and bettering humanity

Make greeting cards

Get involved with organizations like Special Olympics …

How Was Mother's Day?

How was Mother’s Day? Did you get catered to and adored all day? I certainly hope so.

I got up much too early in the morning to go to my stepson’s baseball game. As we were packing up to leave, my stepson asked what I was going to do for the day. I said I was going to his baseball game. “But it’s Mother’s Day,” he said in a sweet tone that implied I shouldn’t have to go if I didn’t want to. I explained that yes it was Mother’s Day which was precisely why I wanted to go see my kid play.

And yes, I refer to him as my kid. He lives with me and my husband full-time. I go to all his games and do the daily things a mom is “supposed” to do. I believe that makes him partly my kid. I may not have made him, but I am contributing to the person he is becoming.

Just last week for my birthday he gave me a beautiful pot of flowers and a card, both of which I’m told he picked out all on his own. Scrawled on the front of the envelope in giant letters was “To Sherri/Bonus Mom.”

I’m lucky to ha…

Happy Mother's Day

Mothers come in all shapes and all sizes. They are patient, they are kind. They are stern, they are tough. They give hugs, kiss scrapes, and clap the loudest.

Mothers do what needs to be done, often without any thanks. They support, love, work, and provide.

To all mothers - biological, step, adoptive, foster - thank you for everything you do. I wish you a very happy mother's day!

In honor of you, here is author Kelly Corrigan talking about what makes her mother special. This video makes me laugh and it makes me tear up. (If you're viewing this in a reader, you may need to click through to the full post to see the video.)



Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Happy Mother's Day

Mothers come in all shapes and all sizes. They are patient, they are kind. They are stern, they are tough. They give hugs, kiss scrapes, and clap the loudest.

Mothers do what needs to be done, often without any thanks. They support, love, work, and provide.

To all mothers - biological, step, adoptive, foster - thank you for everything you do. I wish you a very happy mother's day!

In honor of you, here is author Kelly Corrigan talking about what makes her mother special. This video makes me laugh and it makes me tear up. (If you're viewing this in a reader, you may need to click through to the full post to see the video.)







Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Happy Post - Perfect Purple Edition

As you probably know, I’ve been taking some time each Friday to reflect on what is making me happy. It’s great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.

Yesterday was my birthday, so it only makes sense that today’s happy post show exactly what made my day so happy.
Because I can do whatever I want for my birthday, I took the day off work and went for a pedicure, shopped my local garden center for this season’s plants, dyed my hair a funky color, and had a fabulous homemade dinner.
At the garden shop, I had two goals in mind: creating a flowery mound in my front yard and planting some fresh vegetables and herbs in my backyard garden. Here is my bounty.


Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted

Over breakfast, my husband and mother-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. My reply was simple. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. They said, “Definitely cake! What do you want for dinner?” My reply was the same. I’m unclear as to…

Happy Post - Perfect Purple Birthday Edition

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book, I've been taking some time each Friday to reflect on what is making me happy. It's great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.

Yesterday was my birthday, so it only makes sense that today's happy post show exactly what made my day so happy.

Because I can do whatever I want for my birthday, I took the day off work and went for a pedicure, shopped my local garden center for this season's plants, dyed my hair a funky color, and had a fabulous homemade dinner.

At the garden shop, I had two goals in mind: creating a flowery mound in my front yard and planting some fresh vegetables and herbs in my backyard garden. Here is my bounty.

[caption id="attachment_1272" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted"][/caption]

Over breakfast, my husband and mother-in-law asked what I wan…