Posts

Showing posts from April, 2010

Guiding Values

I’ve struggled to find my right path for a long time. I’m pretty good at recognizing paths that are laid out for us- first do x, then y, then you’ll get z.

I’m also pretty good at recognizing when something doesn’t feel right or when I don’t enjoy something I’m doing. The piece I’ve been missing is what I want to be doing.

It’s really tough to feel like you’re wandering around without a purpose. How do you know if you are on the right path?

With some help from Jamie, I now know how to recognize if I’m on the right path. She encouraged me to come up with a list of my 10 most important values and even helped get me started by giving me a nice long list of words that were coming to mind as she listened to me.

From there I whittled down the list, added, subtracted, and massaged until I came up with words that felt right. They are:


Life

Genuineness (or authenticity, as some would say)

Ease

Positive energy

Comfort

Creativity

Connection

Understanding

Action

Kindness



I’ve let these values sit with me for a …

Happy Friday - The Thriller Edition

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.

Some of the things making me happy this week are:


Thriller. That song came on while I was at the bookstore last night and I know I was smiling goofily because I was laughing in my head. That song always makes me laugh. I love the guy that talks at the end. “No mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller.” Indeed, this mere mortal can’t resist.

My stepson’s interest in a philanthropy book I was reading the other night. He asked what philanthropy meant, then went on to find a few ideas in the book of things he wanted to do.

Free-writing. I love to free-write. To just open my journal or my computer and write whatever comes to my mind no matter how absurd, minimal, or crazy it might be. I can simply conjecture, make observations, jump from topic to topic, or ramble. It’s freeing.

Strawberry shortcake. My moth…

Happy Post - April 23, 2010

Image
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.

Some of the things making me happy this week are:



Thriller. That song came on while I was at the bookstore last night and I know I was smiling goofily because I was laughing in my head. That song always makes me laugh. I love the guy that talks at the end. “No mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller.” Indeed, this mere mortal can’t resist.


My stepson’s interest in a philanthropy book I was reading the other night. He asked what philanthropy meant, then went on to find a few ideas in the book of things he wanted to do.


Free-writing. I love to free-write. To just open my journal or my computer and write whatever comes to my mind no matter how absurd, minimal, or crazy it might be. I can simply conjecture, make observations, …

Too Young to Have a Kid So Big

I learned a big lesson about myself last week when it comes to taking things personally. I’ve spent my entire life being mistaken as younger than I am. I used to hate it when adults would say, “you’ll appreciate it someday.” As a kid, “someday” doesn’t exist. You just want to grow up now.

And now I am grown up. I’ll be 33 in just a few short weeks and I still get mistaken for being 10 years younger. I know, I know- what a great problem to have. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy with the way I look and I’m sure I’ll continue to appreciate it “someday.”

The thing is I’m at a time in my life where I’m supposed to be somewhat of an authority. You know, look like I’ve been working for a while, act like a parent, etc. I think I’m good at my job and I do my best to be a good stepmom, but I see how some people look at me and I assume they are thinking, “she’s too young.”

As if to confirm my suspicions, a lot of people I’ve encountered lately have commented that I look too young to have a …

Wishcasting Wednesday: Daring

Image
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.

This week Jamie asks: “What do you wish to dare?”

I got such a rush when I read this question because it so perfectly aligned with a message I received loud and clear this morning.

As I made my way out of NY Penn Station this morning, I passed by a section of the station that is always plastered with giant ads for one company. These ads are adhered to the floor, wrapped around columns, and on the faces of the stairs that lead out of the station.

I've often seen ads for an airline or a mattress company. You can't help but notice them because of their large sizes and unusual placements.

Before I say why the ads struck me today, let me back up and say that I had a morning filled with thoughts about humanitarianism- serving the world and those in need. I'm not sure what to do with that just yet, but it's an idea that has …

Affirmations #4: Being Genuine

"Don't take it personally."

Oh, that affirmation last week was a good one. I realized how many things I take personally in my day-to-day life. (Hint: a lot!) One such story coming later this week. Stay tuned.

On a few occasions last week I was able to recognize where I was about to take something personally and was able to change my thought process to instead consider other possible meanings.

In other instances where I wasn't as lucky to catch myself in the act of taking things personally, I was able to reflect later on what happened and how I could respond in the future.

That's a big lesson, don't you think?

This week I feel like I need to focus on another aspect of myself:

I am genuine. My actions and behavior reflect my true self.

I've had something of an identity crisis for the last, oh, 30+ years. I am a people pleaser who has spent most of my life trying to keep (or make) other people happy.

What I'm learning is this: I need to be true t…

Being Genuine

Throughout my life I've wished I were like other people I knew. Sometimes I wanted to be that girl in school who knew how to dress cool, or the one who could find the symbolism in the book from English class.

Later I would want to be the one who could dance gracefully. Then I'd want to be those people who knew exactly what path to follow in college to get to their already selected ideal career.

In the work world I wanted to be the marketing manager I knew, followed by the professional corporate climber, followed by the geeky web guru, and then the online editor who knew how to talk to anyone and everyone and make an impressive job come out of those conversations.

In the blog world, I wanted to be a joy rebel like Brandi, a silly but smart business woman like Havi, an exuberant artist like Connie, or any of the other wonderful bloggesses I've encountered who have a topic and know how to rock it.

The thing is, I've learned that I never actually wanted to be any of these…

Happy Friday - Confetti, Comfy Living Spaces, and Other Magic

Image
Happy Friday, everyone! I don't know about you, but it's been another busy week for me. Now that my stepson's baseball season has begun, we will be busy until the end of June. Spring baseball games sure are a great excuse to spend time outside, though!

Since it is Friday, I took a few minutes today to think about what is making me happy this week:

The glorious bloggesses I "met" this week in 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party.  I now have some new reading to do in the blogosphere.  I appreciate those that dropped by this blog to toss a little confetti on this party.
The wood floor that my husband and I just finished laying in our living room last night. I’m so excited to start bringing furniture back in. I’m also ecstatic about the faux metal work we did on the step up into the kitchen.
Flowers! The trees along our street were in full bloom for Easter and I took that opportunity to play with my camera. This week the petals are beginning to flutter off like …

Happy Post - April 16, 2010

Image
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.

Today, I'm including a collage of my happy. The things that are making me happy this week are:




The wood floor that my husband and I just finished laying in our living room last night. I'm so excited to start bringing furniture back in. I'm also ecstatic about the faux metal work we did on the step up into the kitchen.

Flowers!  The trees along our street were in full bloom for Easter and I took that opportunity to play with my camera.  This week the petals are beginning to flutter off like snow to make way for fresh, green leaves.

My new Converse sneakers.  This is my very first pair of Converse and I don't know how I've gone this long without them.  I love them.  Their comfy and sparkly and inspired my husband to nick…

Advice for Stepmoms

Today on Working Mother I tackled the big question about what advice to give new or soon-to-be stepmoms. I wasn't entirely sure where the post was going until I was halfway through, but sometimes I know there is something important to say if only I take time to write.

Yes, that's how my muse and I roll.

Check it out here and then let me know what advice you would offer new stepmoms.

Disengagement

Being a stepmom brings with it a number of challenges mainly because there are no clear cut job descriptions.

Take discipline for example. A biological mother would have built a bond with her baby from day one. By the time it comes to setting and enforcing rules, there is already a strong connection between mother and child. The child may not always want to adhere to bedtime and there may be escalating tones, but they know their mother loves them anyway. If they get upset, they tend to get over it quickly.

As a stepmom, that bond hasn’t been set so enforcing bedtime can turn into “my stepmom is so mean!”

There is a lot of talk in stepmom writings about disengaging. Disengaging basically means that as a stepparent, you might decide to fall back and leave the “parenting” to the biological parent(s).

I wonder how this method works for stepmoms whose stepchildren have two biological parents in the picture. My husband has full custody of his son, so there aren’t two parents already…

Wishcasting Wednesday: Gentleness

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

This week Jamie asks: “What do you wish to be gentle with?”

Instantly, I came up with two things.

My stepson - He is in that going-on-13 place where he is stuck between wanting to be a kid yet wanting to be big and strong. There are days when he is so loving and others when his attitude is less than delightful. I wish to be gentle with him as he figures out who he is in this world.

My living room - This week my husband and I are replacing the floor in our living room, which means Sunday we emptied the room and ripped up carpet, Monday night we set down the underlayment, and last night we started laying down wood planks.

During the process we have talked about what we want to do with the living room when it's time to bring everything back in and the answer is we want to be very selective about what comes back. We want the room t…

Blog Parties, Affirmations, and Dreams About Wednesday Martin?

Image
My brain is swirling with a lot of things right now, so I apologize in advance for the somewhat random conglomeration of topics. Deep breaths, everyone. Here we go.

Ultimate Blog Party intro
The lovely ladies at 5 Minutes for Mom are hosting the Ultimate Blog Party this week. It’s a party… on the web. No cups or confetti to clean up when it’s done, but perhaps I’ll find some kindred spirits.

By way of introduction, I’ll say that I’m not a biological mom. I am a full-time stepmom. What I mean by that is my husband has full custody of his son. Where other children of divorce often split their time between their mother’s and father’s homes, my stepson is with us all of the time.

I met my stepson when he was about to turn nine. I wasn’t there for his first laugh, first steps, or first words. I didn’t get to marvel with him while he learned about grass or trees or birds.

When I met my stepson he had already been on baseball and soccer teams. He knew how to read and multiply numbers.…

The Happy Post - April 2, 2010

Image
It's Friday! Hooray! Yippee! Another work week survived. It's also a great time to think about what went right this week.

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book, here are the things that are making me happy this week:



The sunny weather of today and yesterday. It feels like spring and the birds are chirping.

The rain earlier this week. It was dreary for a couple of days, but the rain seemed to wash off all the winter yuck and cleanse my yard, my driveway, and even my car.

The enthusiasm of little kids, namely a sweet little boy who I got to see this morning. He was excited about EVERYTHING, which made me smile uncontrollably.

Chocolate chunk cookies. Need I say more?



What is making you happy this week? Feel free to list your happy in the comments.

107 Days and Counting: In-law Update

I thought it might be time for an in-law update. As you may or may not recall, my husband’s parents moved in to our guest room at the beginning of December due to an unfortunate circumstance.

The overly complicated politics involved in their ability to get a new home have been dragging on interminably, so the living arrangement that we all thought would surely be over by spring is still very much in place.

We are now 107 days in and here is what I know.

We had to throw out the mini-pickles that took up residence in our refrigerator early on. No one seemed to be eating them and the concept of tiny pickles in a pudding cup style container, in general, was a bit unsettling to me.

Despite arriving at our house with an entire case of Cheerios, it would appear my in-laws don’t actually eat Cheerios. In four months, we are down from the original 12 boxes to 11.

Burglars don’t knock, a fact we learned after my father-in-law arrived home after midnight a few times sans house key. My husba…