Showing posts from March, 2010

Affirmations #2

Setting a stepmom affirmation last week helped me keep a positive attitude, so I wanted to try it again this week. Where The Stepmom's Toolbox has issued a 30 daily affirmations challenge, I am adjusting it to weekly affirmations which gives me extra time to really internalize my selected thought. For this week's affirmation, I have gone back to the list posted on my closet wall. The lesson I chose continues the path I set last week. Today may I trust that all will be well. Last week I learned to breathe and let pass the things that I found bothersome. In doing so, things got done eventually and all turned out well. It seems appropriate this week to start at the end and trust that all will be well. Because ultimately, it will be, whether it was done "my way" or not. What is your affirmation of the week (or day)?

Full Moon Dreamboard: More Than One Thing

From time to time I make dreamboards (collages of inspiring images) as a way to recognize my soul's desires. Plus, it's just plain fun to cut up magazines and assemble a collage like we used to do in school. That urge crept up in my yesterday, so I once again scoured a pile of magazines for the images that resonated within me. From the time I was in high school, I have questioned my purpose in this life. What is the thing (often translated as "job") that I am meant to do? Jamie recently challenged me by asking, "What if your thing isn't a thing? What if it's things plural?" So I've been sitting with that thought for a while now and it feels comfortable. It means I don't have to force myself into one area of expertise. I can love the web and writing and nature photography and anything else I choose. Now rather than stressing out about what I should be focusing on, I can focus on enriching my life in a multitude of ways. No doing o

Affirmation Follow-Up and Happy

Affirmation Follow-Up After the affirmations post last Sunday, I thought it might be a good idea to look back over my week and see if it was affected by my week's affirmation. This week I chose to focus on the phrase, "Today may I breathe and let it pass." I was becoming quite frustrated with the level of housework I felt like I was doing compared with the level of housework I felt like everyone else was doing. I'm obviously too involved in the situation to determine if I am truly doing more than everyone else or if I just wasn't giving enough credit to everyone else. Instead I focused on my affirmation. I started letting things pass rather than nit-picking over things that I thought should be done. I backed off my "parental" side that wanted to keep everyone on schedule and let my husband handle policing my stepson's chore board. In moments where I wondered why the dishwasher hadn't been unloaded yet while other dishes piled on the counter

Happy Post - March 26, 2010

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book , here are the things that are making me happy this week: A quiet house today. I try to reserve Fridays for a mix of finalizing anything for work that needs to be done and spending the rest of the time on things I want to do. Today everyone is out and I have the house to myself- the perfect setup for writing. The Hermit even showed up as my card today signifying turning to my private world and reflecting upon the guidance within myself. Splendid! My muse and I have been working well together this week in blogging, style, and personal discovery. Hooray for us! One of my very best friends, Alina, whose strength and ongoing encouragement inspire me to keep creating. Twitter , through which I've had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with so many people I otherwise would never have known. I'm @lifeafterweb . Come say hello. (If you still don't get Twitter, read this post on Making Twitter Less Scary .

Introducing My Guys to Bobby McFerrin's Music

I am different from my husband and my stepson. When I say that I am referring to my love for seeking good in this world, believing in magic, and embracing whimsy. My husband and my stepson, on the other hand, are guys guys. They like baseball and video games and they laugh when they fart. They are still good people, mind you. We just don't always see things the same way. Where I see wonder, sometimes they don't. So when I took them to see Bobby McFerrin last night in Princeton, I was worried. When I bought the tickets as a Christmas gift, it seemed like a fun idea, but when it came to show time last night, I was beginning to second guess it. Thirty seconds into the show, my husband looked dumbfounded and he whispered to me that my stepson was trying hard to stifle laughing. Ugh. I panicked for a moment and thought ahead to what might potentially be a painful ride home as they chastised me for picking such a "goofy" concert. Aside from that, I really didn'

How Bobby McFerrin Restored My Faith in People

Last night I took my husband and stepson to see Bobby McFerrin at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. I had a feeling it would be a fun show even if I didn't know fully what to expect. What transpired was a mesmerizing exhibit of vocals as McFerrin performed a one man show using only his voice, the tapping of his feet, and patting his hand on his chest to create fully developed music. Things got really fun as he started encouraging audience participation. At one point, he slid his chair to the side of the stage and invited anyone who wanted to join him on stage and dance. One at a time, audience members and McFerrin did some improv together- them through dance, he through sound. Later he invited audience members up to sing with him. They would sing any song they wanted and he would embellish it with his own personal style. At other times he got the entire audience involved, including during a haunting rendition of Ave Maria. I found a video of him doing just such a performance at

Spring Style

Now that Spring is officially here and we seem to have left the blizzards behind us (I hope!), my energy is stirring. Creativity is blossoming during my ever-evolving quest to decide who I am and how to present myself to the world. Today it’s through a super comfy-artsy-whimsical outfit. I treated myself to a new scarf yesterday (ok… two scarves) to cheer up my same ol’ same ol’ clothes. I’m defying the gray skies that threaten to rain throughout the afternoon with my own Spring flowers. How is Spring affecting your style?

Who is "Everyone?"

Seth Godin wrote a post today called I’m mad at everyone . It’s a title that draws you in, isn’t it? What Seth is really upset about is the notion of “everyone.” You know them. Everyone thinks you are a failure, or that you won’t be able to fulfill your dream, or whatever it is your “everyone” tells you. In the book Finding Your Own North Star , Marth Beck challenges us to name our everyone. That’s right. List them. Who are these people that make up your everyone? Maybe a parent or colleague or neighbor? Write their names down. For most of us, it turns out “everyone” is really only 3-5 people. That’s it. The rest of the people in your orbit think you are doing great. Don’t let the few negative folks become everyone.

Ancestral Origins

Last Wednesday was St. Patrick’s Day, which usually can be relied on for at least one person asking, “Are you Irish?” My confusion in answering first begins with the tremendous localness of my ancestors. My grandmother on my dad’s side has done extensive genealogy research on our family and as far back as she has traced, most of my ancestors were born right here in the United States. In the 1780s, one of my ancestors was born in Ireland before coming to America and marrying. That’s it. Just one. Everyone else in that genealogical study was born here, some even fighting in the Revolutionary War. For those, like me, not so great with remembering historic dates, that war began in 1775 and ended in 1783. That’s a long time to have been in this relatively new country. On my mom’s side of the family, we have no history with which to answer this question. She was adopted when she was a baby and we don’t know her background at all. Disconcerting? Yep. If I have to answer the origins q


I used to think affirmations were hokey. It always made me think of people trying to be tough in business. I don’t know why, but that’s what my mind always made it about. Last year, Jenn Gibson at Kind Over Matter collected sets of affirmations from several wonderful women and offered them as free downloads on her site. With options like “Today may I embrace whimsy” and "Today may I let my intuition guide me," I could really get on board with affirmations. I printed them out and taped them to the wall in my closet where I could see them every day while getting dressed. I even added a few little stickies to mark which ones I want to focus on at the moment. I don’t change affirmations daily. I tend to hang on to them for a week or so until I feel ready for something different. Last week Erin talked about affirmations on her blog , following The Stepmom's Toolbox Radio Show where the topic was raised. Erin and crew decided to start The 30 Day Affirmation Challenge

Weekend of Visioning and Creating Space

I’m feeling pretty good this morning. So far the weekend has unfolded in the way I think I needed it to unfold. Friday night my husband and stepson buried themselves in a video game, which gave me the opportunity to sit in my comfy corner reading chair and finish Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star and begin Steering by Starlight . I’m enjoying these books for their novel approach in guiding the reader to hone in on their true selves. Rather than completing exercises to determine your material desires and career achievements, you get to figure out your personal values and envision yourself already having those values to see how your life would look. That last exercise in particular is one of my favorites this weekend. You set a timer for 10 minutes and sit in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Then you picture what your life would look like when you had the quality you desire. On Friday night I envisioned waking up slowly with a fruit smoothie for breakfast (with

Happy Post - March 19, 2010

In honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book , here are the things that are making me happy this week: Trail mix – the kind with the M&M’s, peanut butter chips, raisins, and peanuts. Taylor Swift whose concert I got to see last night. It was an amazingly fun show! Jamie, with whom I shared an enlightening discussion and who I feel will help me learn to shine. Green finger nail polish – the perfect way to get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit without having to dress in green from head to foot. My new tree necklace with interchangeable stones. It can have black, turquoise, or white backgrounds depending on my style and mood that day. [caption id="attachment_1153" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tree necklace"] [/caption] People seem utterly supportive of my crazy idea to get a pink stripe in my hair for my birthday this year (in May- I’ll keep you posted so you know if I chicken out)

Finger Nail Polish

Like Ashley drawn in by spray paint cans , I am mesmerized by a box of new nail polishes. Last weekend I went to a girls’ night at my friend’s apartment in Philadelphia. I didn’t know the other girls there, yet shortly after I walked in, one of them set nine new nail polishes in front of me. A gift from a stranger. So kind! [caption id="attachment_1145" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="So many fun and unusual colors!"] [/caption] Brilliant shades of blue, green, pink, orange, lavender, and the deepest, darkest purple I’ve ever seen. They were glorious. They dared me to let my inner butterfly emerge. We had a heated discussion in my head, those bottles and I. Me: “Blue?” Them: “Yes, blue.” Me: “I couldn’t possibly.” Them: “Oh, but you could.” Me: “What would people think?” Them: “Which people and why do we care what they think?” Me: “Um…” Them: “That’s what we thought. Don’t worry. We’ll be here when you’re ready.” Flash forward to

Wild and Crazy Stepmom

I used to think I was flighty and unfocused. Maybe it’s from growing up with an engineer as a father. I tried hard to be a good student and follow a logical, “stable” path. Now that I’m a grown-up, I have a good job in web project management. I know how to do my job and I think I’m good at it. But there’s this other side to me that I’ve been afraid to acknowledge as more than just a hobby. I’m somewhat of a creative free-spirit. It feels weird to say that because I’ve trained myself to be logical. The point I’m trying to make is I have “wild and crazy” ideas. A few days ago I was given a box of brightly colored nail polishes in blue, green, purple, and orange to name a few. I was delighted, yet terrified. As a grown-up web producer stepmom, can I wear those crazy colors? Bear in mind, I usually keep my finger nails natural. In the summer I like to get pedicures and often go for a simple french pedicure or the occasional magenta to spice it up. Today as I headed out of the of

Wishcasting Wednesday: What do you wish to pay attention to?

It is Wishcasting Wednesday again over at Jamie Ridler Studios, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support all those wishes with positive energy. Today’s question is: “What do you wish to pay attention to?” I wish to pay attention to my inner compass. I’m reading Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star in which she talks about following your inner compass. It will lead me in my right direction, if only I pay attention. 2010 is a year of pushing boundaries for me. The world has shifted around me, causing me to question whether status quo is really enough. This year I’m learning to grow and stretch and question what is possible.

Living in the Moment

I nearly missed some wonderful memories with my stepson simply because I had a plan in my head for how my time would be spent. Do you ever do that? Have you turned down a game or walked away from spontaneous fun because you had something else you "had" to do? Remember, our lives are for building memories, not for checking off to do's. Read more about living in the moment at my Working Mother blog .

Jumping to Conclusions While Reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Story

I just started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage . Gilbert is best known for her memoir Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia , a book I haven't read. When I first heard about Committed I was intrigued. It is a memoir about Gilbert's exploration of marriage, an institution which she and her man had agreed to forego mostly due to both having been through hard divorces in the past. Prior to getting married a second time, I also questioned whether marriage was necessary and what it really means. Given that, I'm curious to read about how Gilbert made peace with marriage and what she learned along the way. The introduction has already captured my attention with her witty voice. She has set the tone for a great story full of insights on marriage in the Western culture (i.e. we Americans). Toward the end of the introduction, she lists women whom she considers to be part of her ci

Infertility and Stress

I’m switching gears a little today to talk about something I haven’t been really public about before. When my husband and I got married almost two years ago, we were surprised and delighted to find out one month later that I was pregnant. It felt like a sign that we were right where we were meant to be. Eleven weeks and two ultrasounds in, I miscarried. To make matters worse, my D+C was scheduled on my husband’s birthday. Needless to say no one was feeling celebratory. It was one of the most horrible times in my life. I slid into depression and cried month after month when my cycle restarted. I tried to stay positive. I kept thinking my body was just purging the first pregnancy as a natural progression to making way for a stronger pregnancy soon after. It’s been 17 months since I miscarried and we’ve yet to get pregnant again. It’s still heartbreaking, especially since I dream of being a stay at home mom. Each passing month is still heartbreaking and still brings depression spel

Wishing for Time to Write

Jamie Ridler , one of my favorite bloggesses, leads this glorious thing called Wishcasting Wednesday. She invites people to answer a new question each week and support each other’s wishes by leaving a comment that says, “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s a beautiful thing. Today's question is, "What do you wish to make time for?" I wish to make time for writing. When my muse is loud, I write. When inspiration strikes, I take pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard and write fast and furious. When my muse is quiet or seemingly gone, I don't. I wish to make time for writing, no matter if my muse is readily apparent that day. Maybe through gentle practice, I'll hear her even if she's whispering in a crowd.

Beautiful World in Photos

Bold by Sherri Martin-Hutchins Have you noticed today's date? 3/2/10. It's like a countdown, but I'll come back to that. The world around us is beautiful. Sometimes we don't notice because we are busy rushing from one thing to the next. Over the past year I've been taking the time to notice. Photography helped me do that. I look at things to find the picture in them. Light will hit a tree in just a way that it appears heavenly. I see these moments and think, "Wow! What a beautiful scene that is." Only lately, when I find myself thinking that, I do my best to capture it in photographs. It's fun to look back at those images and be reminded yet again about the wonders of our world. I didn't have a plan for my photographs. I just started collecting them for myself. Now I'm sharing. I'm not waiting until it's "perfect." I'm not fussing over exactly if and how this will work. Nor am I waiting until I have X number o