Thursday, February 25, 2010

A New Day

I have a choice every day. I can choose positive or negative. There are days I feel too overwhelmed to make a choice and let the choice be made for me. The last three days have been like that for me. The pain and depression of being chronically ill cannot always be silenced. Most days I try to get dressed, put on makeup, do my hair, and just go on. I look for the positive all day long, and get through my day. Some days it doesn't even feel like work. I start to feel more positive with each little positive encounter. Then those days start stacking up and it gets easier and easier. But eventually there are little negatives here and there, and then those seem to get closer and closer together. Soon I can no longer even see the positives. So I give in and just wallow. The next day I start again and that leads us to today.

There is a beautiful snow falling outside. It is the kind that doesn't leave us stuck inside. The sun even seems to be trying to come out. It isn't such a dark day. I love snow. I am a bit tired of it by now, but it is still beautiful.

I have a warm cozy house. It is just the right size for us. I am ready for it to be "finished". Several projects going on right now. I am blessed to be able to have those projects going on right now. And it will be beautiful when it is done.

My family supports me whatever kind of day I am having. Okay, honestly, I am not sure the kids are even aware of what kind of day I am having, but they are here. I have them all under one roof still......we won't go there....

I have terrific friends who are patient and kind with me. I bail on them so many times. I shut myself up and don't let them in or near and yet, they don't give up on me. They cry with me and laugh with me and send me words of encouragement even when their own lives are in the toilet.

I have a terrific husband. He listens. He holds me when I cry. He doesn't make light of whatever has gotten me down that day. He is just there. That says a lot. Many people would have tired of this by now.

I have a talent that allows me to make beautiful things. Jack's scarf is really pretty and the sweater I am finishing right now is gorgeous. My hands have knit those things. They bring me such joy.

I am a lucky girl. I have a lot to be thankful for. And I am grateful for the grace that my family and friends allow me to have my bad days. I am thankful that I have also learned to allow myself that same grace. Those days are inevitable, no matter who you are. Do you give yourself the grace to just feel?

What are you dealing with today? Are you giving yourself grace to wallow today, or are you trying to look up?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shitty Day

I will warn you, this is not a feel good post. I am not editing myself at all. So, be forewarned.

I am so tired. I am so tired of being stuck with needles. Tired of swallowing pills. Tired of drinking yucky stuff. Tired of feeling so tired I can't do anything.

All I want to do is sit and watch tv or sleep in my bed. But, kids need to be carted around. Laundry needs to be washed. Groceries need to be bought. Kitchen needs to be cleaned. Baths need to be taken. Doctors need to be gone to. Meetings attended.

Oh, but the energy it takes to do all this. It is impossible some days. Shoot, I am so tired right now, I can't even muster the energy to express how truly awful I feel.

Oh well, off to the doctor, cart the girl around, and think about dinner.

On I go.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Plethora of Thoughts

My brain is so filled with things I want to write about today. It is interesting. Some days I sit here in front of this blank screen and can think of absolutely nothing to say. Other days I wake up in the morning and begin crafting my post in my head, I am focused on the one idea. And then other days I sit down and my mind is just so full I can't even focus on one thing. Most days, when this happens I don't post because I fear it will be too messy. To unfocused. But shoot. This is my blog and it can be what I want. Follow if you dare....

Yesterday there was absolutely nothing in my closet clean. Seriously. All that hung there was a skirt. I looked in my sweats drawer....NOTHING. I looked in the dirty clothes basket and all my bottoms were in the washer....wet!!!! So I wore a skirt. There was a time in my life where all I wore was skirts. I was a teacher and one year, I am not sure why, I wore skirts most every day. I really like wearing skirts, they make me feel so feminine. I don't have many anymore....I think I must change that. I have the one short/mid knee length basic black skirt, a long basic black straight skirt, I have a skort for the summer. But that is it. Yesterday I wore the shorter skirt with my boots and oh my felt so sexy!! I even put on jewelry and full makeup!!! You know, I got a lot done yesterday and felt pretty good all day. Maybe there is something to getting up and getting dressed to make you more productive. Of course today I am still in my pjs. But it is only 9 in the morning....I still have time. Maybe I'll go to Goodwill today and look at skirts.......

I finally finished my gift I was knitting for Jack. Now I can tell the story. You will remember that when we were at the beach, I went to the Salty Sheep and bought some "Dream in Color" yarn in the color scheme of "Nightwatch". It is blues, the color of the ocean at night....dark blues, purples...very nice. I googled men's scarves and found a pattern. Not any pattern. Okay let me back up. The first project I ever knitted was for Jack on Valentine's day and it was a scarf knitted out of some god-awful acrylic yarn. It challenged me then. I frogged and started over several times. You see, it was much like my relationship with Jack. Our relationship brings be such joy, but it challenges me at times. I have grown as a person being with him. He encourages me and challenges me to be the best me I can be. So, this new scarf needed to be really special to replace the old one. My husband is an active activist for the LGBT community. This is his passion. So the pattern I found was written in memory of Matthew Shephard. Here is what the website says,

"In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tied to a fence, and left for dead. He was unconscious when his limp body was discovered by a passing cyclist the day after this vicious crime. Five days later Matthew died, never regaining consciousness. At Matthew's funeral his cousin, the Rev. Anne Kitch, asked the world to find in Matthew's life a lesson that transcends the evil of his death.
Following the directive of Rev. Kitch, Myrna Stahman designed two Seamen's scarves in memory of Matthew. Permission is granted to copy these patterns for non-commercial purposes and give them to your knitting friends. Each time you use these patterns please take some action to foster the understanding of people who are different from yourself.

Knit an extra scarf and donate it to a worthy cause.

Enjoy the "Matthew" and "Matt" patterns and the scarves you knit from them, remembering Matthew who, in the words of his father, would have been overwhelmed by what his murder has done to the hearts and souls of people around the world. Matthew was the type of person who,
if this had happened to another, would have been the first on the scene to offer his help, his hope, and his heart. Please offer your help, your hope, and your heart to make the world a better place for all.

Well, it was a big hit. He really like the scarf and appreciated the story behind it. Which leads me to Valentine's Day. We had a nice Valentine's Day breakfast where I made heart shaped pancakes and the kids got their little gift bags. Then that afternoon Jack and I went shopping for a new top for me to wear to dinner that night. I wanted him to pick something out that he liked, it was fun to do that together. Then we shared a snack before going to see "Crazy Heart". Excellent movie!!! We really loved it. Then we went home to change for dinner and went to dinner at Lucky 32. It was a lovely day. Oh! Jack wrote me a poem that just sent me over the edge. I cried and cried. He even took the time to print it on some valentine stationary that he found in my closet!! It was priceless. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Well, I think I have poured out enough from my brain to be able to go on with my day. Hope I didn't bore you too much...

What is on your mind today? Share a comment!!! I love knowing people are reading!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Conscious Shopper

I have found a new blog to read The Conscious Shopper. I can't remember how I found Erin, I think in a search for local food or something like that. ANYWAY, I have been reading her blog for a few weeks now. I was drawn to her blog because she has hit my main problem. How do I make good decisions for the environment without bankrupting my bank account? I love that she is constantly looking for ways to live within her budget while being a good citizen.

She categorizes her challenges with "Baby Steps" "Jogging Steps" and "Marathon Runner". I am almost always on the "baby step" level. But she really challenges me to rethink the status quo. I am considering changes in our home that I never even thought about before.

I wrote about her before because she was having a cool give away. I get the feeling I will be blogging about her a lot because of her give aways. I won the last one and received in the mail some great produce bags. I then went to Joanne's and bought muslin to make more. See...instead of going and buying some...I am going to make my own. I am telling you, Erin is IN MY HEAD.

Today's post has really gotten to me. I thought I was using a pretty good makeup. BUT, as it turns out, it is not rated very highly at Skin Deep Guide. So now I have a problem. I need to start over. I want to use makeup that is good for me and for the earth. Oh good grief. Any of you wear good make up???? What I like about today's post was that she shared her list of personal care products. That is soooo helpful. Okay, have you ever heard of a shampoo bar???? A conditioner bar????? I feel really out of it. I have a lot of research ahead of me.

I am very grateful to Erin for her challenges and her encouragement. I am dedicating this post to her. Go read her blog. See what changes you can make in your life. How green are you?

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Day as a Chauffer

Today I am off to drive for Raleigh Charter High School's Flex Days. The kids spend all morning in one activity and the afternoon in a different one. The activities have something to do with what they are studying. They are assigned these groups and are not given choices, I believe. I really don't know a lot about it being a freshman parent. There was too much information to take in at Orientation. Any way, they need drivers and I signed up. I will not have my daughter, they make sure of that. That is nice....but not. I would like to see her, but I know she appreciates not seeing me. In fact, my outfit must be approved by her and I am not to speak to anyone in my car. Won't I come across as mean and rude? Oh well. I think I will use my OWN judgement, a novel idea!!!

This is the second time I have done something for her school. On one hand it makes me miss teaching terribly, but on the other hand I feel grateful to be home and be able to do this. I like being a part of my daughter's school. I never got involved in Stephen's. So, off I go. Hope I don't make too many mistakes!!! ~smile~

What are you doing today?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Living Consciously

I WON! I WON! I just found out that I won some eco-friendly produce bags from The Conscious Shopper. I am very excited, not just because I won, but because I have been concerned about not having cloth bags for produce. I hate using the plastic bags at the now I don't have too.

I found the Conscious Shopper blog in my search for help in "eating local". I feel the need to switch to this way of eating and living. I have read several books lately that have confirmed this for me. The problem always comes down to how to do it on one salary. Especially now that that one salary is, well, shall we say "up in the air". So how do you follow your heart when your pocketbook can't support it? I am comforted in finding Erin. She sounds much like myself, well, much younger, but in the same situation. She is living in my area, another bonus, and is eager to live more consciously but on a budget. She has challenges each month for you to take baby steps up to Marathon runner actions. I like the real approach she has. We cannot all just give up our ways and change all at once. We must take steps to this new way of life. She even admits that in some areas she is still taking baby steps.

Besides money, the biggest obstacle for me is my health. There are just days when going out to eat or getting take out is the only way I can feed my family. Eating local and trying to do away with processed foods is a challenge. I am going to continue to look for answers, and not beat myself up as I work toward my goal.

What steps are you taking in your life to live more consciously? What ways are you helping the environment? Let me hear from you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love snow. It is so gorgeous. I especially love the morning after a significant snow. The world is so quiet and peaceful. I love watching the big fluffy flakes fall to the ground. But I have to say I liked the snow more when we lived in Maryland. Why? Because, you might have to stay home one day, but then it was business as usual. Here in the South, snow stops everything for days. Which mind you is nice, but with teens in the house...not so much. I have had to endure the entire viewing of the second, third, and fourth seasons of "The Office". Now I love the show. It is hilarious. But hours of it? Not so much. Luckily, Allie, the teen daughter, got to get out of the house yesterday and spent the night with someone last night. We both needed a break from each other. She was getting bored and had cabin fever pretty bad. I am just ready for everyone to go back to school and work, and let me get on with MY schedule!!!! You know, that busy schedule I have!!! :-)

Just heard, more snow predicted for Friday.........

Monday, February 1, 2010

What Makes a Writer?

I have been writing for some time. Oh, it takes different forms, sometimes a poem, a journal entry, a short story or just ramblings. I have never thought of myself as a writer though. I have never been published, therefore, I am not a writer. Or so I thought.

Yesterday in the midst of a huge snow storm (well, for the south) our heat stopped working. When the technician arrived, because I am a preferred customer, which I think has nothing to do with the fact that I pay a premium every month but because of how friendly I am, yeah, right. Anyway, as I was paying him we were chatting. He asked what I did for a living. I usually just say that I am a stay at home mom. But yesterday, before I even thought about it, out popped, "I'm a writer." I quickly looked around to see if one of my family members would "out" me, but luckily no one was around! I thought about that moment all day. "I am a writer."

This did not occur just yesterday. I did not wake up and decide I am going to be a writer. This has been a long process. I don't really remember writing much as a youth. Yes, I tried to keep a diary when I was young, but I grew tired myself of reading my daily "doings". It wasn't until I became a Whole Language teacher that I really began to give myself permission to write. I believed strongly in modeling what I wanted my students to do. So, during silent reading, I read my current novel. I would laugh out loud when appropriate, and I would cry when appropriate. Modeling what reading looked and felt like for my students. This was natural and easy for me. So, during Writer's Workshop, I would write. I told my kids they just needed to write. If they couldn't think of a story, just write anything. Many of my journals were filled with nonsense. But occasionally, a story would appear. I never felt shame in sharing my "writing" with my students, again I was modeling that a writer simply means to write. But I must admit and apologize to all my students. I never learned that lesson. I did not hear myself until much later in life.

My husband is a writer. He is an excellent writer. He does not really like commercial greeting cards. He prefers to make his own. Now by this, I do not mean the current fad of "Stamping", or ribbons. He would write his feelings. Instead of looking for a card that said what he wanted to say, he would simply write it himself. (I strongly sense that his frugality had a part in this as well....) Of course, he wanted such cards in return. This was never said out loud. I just sensed this, and the joy and exuberance he showed when he received one confirmed this. So I began writing for my husband. He loved my writing and was always very complimentary. But you know, he was my husband. He is supposed to be complimentary.

Later on I started getting into scrapbooking and even became a consultant with Creative Memories. Again writing came up. A huge part of keeping a scrap book is not just the photos, but the stories to go along with the photos. So I taught this to all my customers. I was in essence holding Writing Workshops again. And as before, I must model this behavior if I expected my "students" to follow.

When we moved to North Carolina, my eyes were opened to many social issues that I hadn't truly "seen" before. The biggest one were the issues facing the LGBT community (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender). Most of my close friends in our church were homosexuals. I became educated on the discriminations that occured on a daily basis for them. And it stirred great emotion in me. I started writing about these injustices in the form of poetry.

One day I decided I wanted to learn to knit. So I bought a book, some yarn and needles, and started knitting. I was having trouble understanding the book, so I googled knitting and found a video tutorial by Heather. I followed a link on the video and found Heather's blog. I had never heard of blogs at that time. I started reading her blog and linking to other blogs she had listed and soon I was hooked. I decided I could do this and it would be a great record of my growth as a knitter. What happened was that I was writing every day, and was beginning to write of life and knitting. I began to get a following on my blog and received many compliments. These were people who didn't even know me. They had no reason to comment, much less compliment.

For my husband's fortieth birthday, he asked for a compilation of all my writings. I was embarrassed by this. I still did not see myself as a writer and this seemed too much like a "book". I was not worthy of that!! But I did it for him.

I went to a local book store and listened to several authors talk about their craft. Inevitably the question is asked about how they write. This is by far the most interesting question to me. I was blown away by the different answers. But the common thread was they just write. They did not have big offices they went to, many of them wrote in the pjs at the kitchen table. Much like me.

At times over the last three years, stories would start in my head and I couldn't think of much else until I wrote them down. Sometimes they were complete stories, but mostly they were just beginnings. I even started a novel. It consumed me. I could actually hear the main character's voice. But then it died away.

I started this blog because I felt such a pressure to write and no outlet. Plus I will admit, I like the feedback. My friend Joy taught me it is okay to just come out and admit it, I like praise! Thanks, Joy! So I have been writing here my thoughts, my stories and I have gotten amazing feedback. My younger brother, Kade wrote, "I had no idea of your writing skills. VERY impressed!!!" He is a man of few words, which makes these words priceless to me. The other day as we were passing kids off at carpool, my friend Debbie called out, "I didn't know you were an author." Those words resounded with me for days. An author.

Jack gave me the book, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a book of essays. Jack and I love to read books out loud together. But it is hard to do with our schedules. So Jack had been looking for a book for us and found this and the book Outliers by Gladwell as well. They are perfect in that they are essays and we can let several days or weeks pass between readings and it doesn't matter. Plus these articles give us so much to discuss beside the regular mundane issues. I highly recommend this for couples! Okay, back to me! :-)

So the other night Jack read the essay, "Late Bloomers" "Why do we equate genius with precocity?" This essay is fascinating on many levels, but I want to talk about what struck me. The essay begins by telling the story of Ben Fountain. After only three years as a lawyer, he decides to quit his job and write full time. In the first year he published two stories. But then it would be eighteen years until he published his best seller. Eighteen years he worked at his craft. For every story he published, he had thirty rejections. Wow, that is a lot of writing. So, it dawned on me. I have not submitted even one story yet. I have not even written thirty stories yet. Yet.

You have just read my journey. This is what has brought me to this day. It is time to live into my calling. Or dare I say destiny? Gosh this sounds serious. I have made a decision which I wish to make public.

I am a writer.