Archive | December, 2015

Flawsomeness and Juice

31 Dec

Goals. 2.0 better versions of yourself. To-do lists. Bucket lists. Happiness projects.

Yup. I’m one of those people. I didn’t used to be. Lists would burn me out. I’d never get to cross anything out.

I’d come up short all the time. But then something changed and I learned about silver lining playbooks, and finding and keeping those good-times-noodle-salad moments close.

I still fail, lots of times but I get off my beaten ass and try again.

I wanted the 2.0 version of myself, but the 1 1/2  life I’m currently living seems to be pretty badass at the moment, because I realized that I’m always undergoing construction, and humor and gratitude continue to be part of the blueprints that are helping build a better me.

With all the failures this past year, being able to focus on gratitude and what I got right, instead of what went wrong seemed to help minimize the breakdowns and tune into a more positive state of mind. Continually trying to write SNL skits of the not-so-funny moments in my life also seemed to help turn some difficult corners.

I was hoping for  a better year, just like everyone else.  I was hoping for more A-Ha! moments, more Super Soul Sunday moments. But most of all, I was hoping for more turning points, for finding them, for paying attention to them.

That’s what I set out to do at the beginning of the year, just find my turning points, find ways to thrive and I realized that humor and gratitude were gonna make it happen for me. When there was no more chocolate in the house, humor helped the disasters of parenthood and friendships gone bad. When frustration and profanity rose up because nothing seemed to be falling into to place, gratitude helped remember the good times with my kids, my staycations at the beach, my skydiving adventure, my triathlon victories, my message exchanges with WordPress buddies, my 40-year-old celebrations with my comadres, my morning Power-Hours, my Mixed-Tape Mondays, my chocolate cakes, and my cool-side of the pillow ZEN feelings.

I’ve kept my don’t-give-up attitude. I’ve found my turning points and been present within them. I became the stumbler, I didn’t build my life by being better than others, but by being better than I used to be.

I kept my 2015 plan in tact, and I’m better for it.

And so what’s up for 2016? What’s my plan?

I’ve been reminded that I’m Flawsome, and that there’s Big Magic out there for daydreamers that take action, and don’t give into the negativity that surrounds them. They embrace their flaws and live a creative life by “continually and stubbornly” trying to find the pockets of inspiration that give them the juice. Even when negativity surrounds them.

I’m looking to “continually and stubbornly” keep my juice.

 

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One page at a time, one day at a time. Writing this 365 page book with gratitude and humor. And Flawsomeness. And Juice.

Buen Camino.

 

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Flawsome … Pass It On

28 Dec

 

It’s not like I wake up asking for it, just comes with the territory of a dysfunctional family, and for the most part I can Zen my way through it. But sometimes it just hits you late at night and there’s nothing left waiting for you in morning … nothing but an emotional hangover.

That crap can just suck the sunshine out of the sunrise.

It can be a look, a word, a telephone call or a full blown passive aggressive conversation … the results the same. Just a bunch of doubt, questioning what you thought was right, what you believed of yourself, what you knew to be true. You play the possibilities over and over in your head, all the things you could have said and should have said.

Conversations with yourself at 2 a.m. are freaking great, you have the best comebacks and rational of all time … and sometimes they end up being the worst. You end up reaching for your phone, knowing full well you shouldn’t, because you know things are just gonna get worse but you need to get your point across.

And just as you reach for the phone, you see a text that a friend sent you over six hours ago, something you missed, because you were having deep thoughts with yourself over the championship one liner that could have zinged your way into a ‘you-see-what-I’m-saying-you-see-my-point’ victory.

And it read …

FLAWSOME

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An individual who embraces their flaws and knows they’re awesome regardless.

 

And then Holy Crap.

It hits you.

It’s a sign.

A small bright black and white sign in Times Roman font that proves something you’ve known all along, proves your entire point.

You are awesome.

You are and the people in your circle of trust, whether it’s family or friends, need to have that word in their vocabulary and apply it to you, because you apply it to you.

She sent it to me and I thought … yes. She gets me. This whole group of chicks get me. Now I may not have the typical broad spectrum kind of flaws that 40-year chicks have, everyone is different I get it. But I do have some, and I’ve gotten to the point where I know what they are and I embrace them, they’re part of my DNA. Do I love them? No. But I know they’re a part of me and I work on them, Deepak and meditation seem to be helping out. Acceptance is something that comes along the road, some people take longer than others. But I’ve arrived to the station, I’ve been here a long time. I’ve been thinking I’m awesome for a while now, clumsiness, dorkiness TV-loving nerd and all, and those closest to me should think it too.

So when I got the text … I felt vindicated, because someone else, someone on the other side of town was thinking exactly what I was thinking and passing it on.

Yup.

I’m Flawsome and I have friends that know it and feel it too.

So I stopped having the conversation with myself, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and fell asleep. I could finally do that, because I knew again what I had already known.

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George and JJ And Their Dream Factories

23 Dec

Even though it was right in front of me I hadn’t seen it.

But after watching the most recent chapter on the Big Screen with my son and daughter I knew exactly what to say.

And don’t worry there are no spoilers, just some insights.

Now after all the craziness of opening week you’re either a fan or not. But either way you cannot help but appreciate the freakin depths of the imagination in which this world was created. George Lucas was amazing and JJ Abrams continued that awesomeness with the latest installment of The Star Wars saga.

As I was discussing the amazing film with my son, he just had this look of wow on his face, the same look he had when he watched Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope a while back. So I stopped.

What’s wrong?

Nothing. That movie was awesome! Awesome! How did they know that stuff was gonna happen?

What do you mean?

Like where they’d read it?

They didn’t. They created it. They made this whole world up in their imagination, The Force, light sabers, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Jedis, Princess Leia, and The Dark Side. He didn’t read it anywhere he made it up in his head. If it weren’t for Lucas Star Wars wouldn’t exist, and if it weren’t for JJ this movie wouldn’t have been so great. That’s what writers do, they create these things, these stories, they have dream factories inside their heads.

That’s. Amazing.

And all he could do after that was smile.

And me too.

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Star Wars The Force Awakens

So after our conversation I just got to thinking about these dream factories that writers have in their heads, thinking of the worlds and characters they create and how if it weren’t for Lucas my son would have never known about The Force or light sabers or The Millennium Falcon.

Then it hit me … I have a dream factory. I’ve got ideas that no one else has or thinks about. I got something in me. It may not have Luke Skywalker in it but it does have some pretty interesting characters.

That little Star Wars magic created by Lucas and then amazingly told by JJ Abrams inspired me to get back on the computer and continue creating my little world, funny, sad, exciting, and triumphant with faults and all. I got it in me. I just got to continue getting it on the page.

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40 at 40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness … No. 29 Small Things

19 Dec

Everyone needs a moment of recovery …  everyone, especially the mother of a teenager. A teenage girl that is.

Yeah.

They’re a special bunch, and you see I wasn’t even looking for an opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer, but when a teenager and her diva sass make an appearance the opportunity sort of presents itself.

There I was at the 99 Cent Store buying some festive glitter action for the holiday season. When I began placing my items on the conveyor belt, I saw her walking across the store and stand next to the lady behind me.

Ugh.

The exasperated sigh.

I turned to smile at the lady who had just given me a compliment on one of Christmas centerpieces I was purchasing. She stood there with a giant sky blue CareBear and fuzzy socks.

Sigh. Again.

“Hello? What are you doing! What’s wrong with you? Didn’t you see me over there?” the teenager said waving her arms. “I was next! I was next! Why don’t you ever answer when I call you? I was calling you. Why don’t you ever answer? I was next and here you are standing in line doing nothing. What’s a matter with you?”

The mom didn’t even blink. She held her tongue as the rant continued.

“Ugh! Whatever.” The teenager finally said “Forget this. I’m gonna go wait in the car!”

I stood there while everyone looked on wide-eyed and surprised. I smiled at her and nodded. She looked back at me and grinned. I felt for her, I knew what it was like to be on that end of the teenager wrath as I had met a few of them during my teaching tenure in middle schools and high schools.

I was aware of this emotional and dramatic mood swing beast. I didn’t stand there in judgement. I had a 4-year-old daughter that would eventually be a teenager as well. I knew the beast may be in my future.

So as she stood there having her moment, trying to breathe and just survive the holiday season at a busy store the clerk rang up her purchases.

 

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I dug inside my pocket.

“I got that for you,” I said as she was still a little zoned out.

I paid the clerk for her items and finished bagging mine. After a minute she seemed to realize what had just happened.

“No,no, no. You can’t do that. I got it, I got it.” She said.

“No,” I said. “Looks like you had a tough moment waiting in line, you need a little good. You need a good story today. Merry Christmas.”

As I walked away, she tried catching up in order to give me some money, but I assured her that everything was good. She smiled and thanked me after I turned down her money for the fourth time.

She was a having a moment, a mom moment, and I knew what those were like and how they felt. I knew the look of defeat, it’s hit me plenty of times in private and in public. And I also knew she needed a little kindness and a little grace. I knew that something small could help turn things around. So I decided to be that something small.

It felt good to surprise her, to see my small act of kindness touch her heart. I might not have changed her life, but I hoped I had changed her story that day. Sometimes all it takes is something small.

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A Standing Ovation

16 Dec

After all the dramatic events that led to our induction into AYSO I’d like to say that it turned out fantastic, that the season was filled with plenty of Rudy-Hoosiers-Miracle-The-Natural type of moments.

But … I can’t. Nope.

My son’s first ever soccer experience involved being part of a Bad News Bears squad where they ended up losing almost every single game of the season. And instead of being one of those crazed parents yelling at their kid after the game or the season, I seemed to take the Kurt Warner approach.

I could see that he felt bad game after game, that he knew they had a losing record but I didn’t want to focus on the losing. But don’t get me wrong I did point out mistakes and what needed to improve, but that wasn’t my focus. I decided to concentrate more on what he did do right and how impressed I was at how he knew nothing about the sport at the beginning of the season and ended up being such a great defender toward the end.

He was voted most improved and I was proud of that, because that’s all we really want for ourselves too. We want to be better than we were yesterday and I was glad he had that in mind.

I mean I knew the losing record was a bummer, but still felt like he deserved a high-five, because he was different from the other players. He gave it his best, 100% effort and that was what mattered. His character in the end mattered. Every week he showed up, hopeful that his efforts and those of his teammates would bring back a win. Every week he gave his heart and every week he got better.

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So instead of pointing out the losses that took place throughout the season I paid attention to the courage it took for him to try something new and his perseverance and sportsmanship when things weren’t easy. I decided he definitely needed his standing ovation because losing is a hard lesson to learn no matter how old you are.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

14 Dec

In retrospect, perhaps this wasn’t the best candy …

 

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Oops!

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

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40 At 40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindness … No. 28

12 Dec

I don’t see it. I just can’t see it.

Where’s the funny?

That’s what I was thinking as I was having an emotional moment over someone passing judgment on me. It burned me out and I was feeling both angry and hurt at the same time. I couldn’t seem to find my way out of it. I couldn’t shake off the nasty taste it left.

And then an opportunity to do something for someone appeared … an accidentally on purpose random act of kindness crossed my path and I smiled.

The thought of doing something good for someone I didn’t even know changed my mood. I had forgotten the stupid words that were said about me, I had forgotten the lack of common sense and sensitivity in which they based their judgement. I had forgotten about them.

And all it took was a Blood Drive to make that happen.

I know, I know most people aren’t fans of needles, on account of the pain they inflict. But I’ve got a pretty high tolerance. Plus I’m more of a fear of roaches and rodents type of person, needles aren’t that bad.

So when I pulled into the parking lot of the Target and saw a lady dressed in blue scrubs standing in front of the blood mobile hesitantly asked me … Would you like to donate blood today?

I enthusiastically replied…YESSSSSSSS! YES I am!

She smiled as she looked for the clipboard.

They’d been out there ever since 10 a.m. so being that it was three o’clock I figured they’d had 50 or 100 people. But as it turns out I was number 12.

Number 12.

I felt both happy and sad. Happy that I was able to contribute something that would help a stranger who really needed something that only I could give, my awesome rare blood. But sad that I was only number 12.

But the nurses inside were so happy and grateful that I had taken the time to do this that they didn’t care that I just was number 12, they cared that I was a mother of two taking time out of her day to help someone, to save a life. They reminded me of gratitude. They reminded me of what was important. They reminded me of the person I was before I had a bad morning.

I was grateful for having remembered. I was grateful for random acts of kindness.

Being number 12 felt pretty good.

 

Mixed Tape Monday

7 Dec

I only got four today. Five would be great … but it’s four. I wasn’t feeling five.

They kind of snuck up on me today … on Country Monday. Each of them had something different that sort of pulled at my strings, and stayed in my pocket until night time. So I thought I’d share. Got some great storytelling out there with this kind of music, the kind of stories I feel, read and like to write. No fluff, just the real deal.

Now I’d heard the Bentley, Rhett and Zac Brown songs before but I had never heard the Keith Urban tune and it just blew me away. I’m not much of an Urban fanatic, but this song was something you look for when trying to find a great partner, someone who’s strong when you just don’t have it in you, this is something you wish you could be for someone you love. I enjoyed the heart and strength of it.

Good storytelling always inspires us to be better, whether it’s in a song or in a book.

 

Break on Me — Keith Urban

Riser — Dierks Bentley

Die A Happy Man — Thomas Rhett

Broken Arrows — Avicii Featuring Zac Brown

 

 

 

 

She’s back!

2 Dec

I barely have time to take a shower or comb my hair so the fact that my buddy has written multiple novels since I met her amazes me.

When I first met T.B. her travel stories and 50 Year Project intrigued me. I thought … man this chick’s journey is so cool. What’s on deck? What’s she gonna do next?

That’s when the novels came and I thought holy crap! She’s doing this, she’s really doing this.

And I was just happy to have known her and come along for the ride, because it’s been an inspirational one. As a writer,  you’re always pulling for your fellow buddies to make it, and T.B. has definitely done that.

She’s got this one character … you know the one that just keeps coming back, the one that makes  you wonder at the end of a book … Well what happened? How’d she get there? How’d they meet? What’s gonna happen tomorrow?

She’s got one that’s interesting enough to inspire prequel.

Yup.

T.B. Markinson, my bud, has brought Lizzie back. With A Clueless Woman making its debut this week, I knew I wanted to be part of her promotion team. So here’s a sneak peak for those of you ready to find out more …

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Graduate student Lizzie Petrie feels more comfortable around books than people. Although an expert in the Hitler Youth, she’s a novice in love. Her former lesbian lover is blackmailing her, and not even those closest to Lizzie know the full story of their abusive relationship.

When visiting high school English teacher Sarah crosses Lizzie’s path at the campus, their attraction is instant, but not without complications. As they start to spend more time together, suspicions arise from both women in this sexy piece of LGBT fiction.

Plenty of good-natured teasing takes place between lovers as well as between PhD students in this lesbian contemporary romance. No relationship path ever runs smoothly, and oftentimes, those who can’t keep their mouth shut hasten necessary confrontation.

Lizzie finds herself buried in a mess of lies in this romantic comedy. The harder she tries to keep Sarah and the rest of her friends from finding out the truth about her first girlfriend, the more endearingly clueless she becomes.

You can pick up her novel on Amazon.com or visit her author’s page here in order to check out her other books.

What’s in store for A Clueless Woman

“I feel like a lady of the night.” Meg crammed the wad of twenties I’d just furtively handed over into the pocket of her jeans. “Of course, if things don’t turn around for me soon, that might be my future calling. Do ya think William would pay to sleep with me? He was never shy about his desires.”

I assumed she’d added that juicy detail about my colleague to bait me. No, to remind me of what she was capable of and to keep me in line. Years of falling for her self-pity and emotional blackmail had taught me to steel myself and ignore Meg to the best of my ability, but I still found myself saying, “I can’t keep handing over wads of money.”

“Why? We both know you aren’t even close to draining your trust fund, not even a quarter of it.” Meg leveled her deep-green gaze on my face.

“I’m not responsible for you.”

“Responsible for me?” She laughed, bitterly. “Have you been attending Al-Anon meetings or something?”

I sighed. “I need to go.” I hoisted my book bag over my shoulder. Meg feigned lunging at me, and I jumped back. We were in an alley behind a coffee shop, and Meg was blocking the street exit. The door to the coffee shop didn’t have a handle, and I assumed it could only be opened from the inside. I moved back, against the wall, inching closer to safety.

“Must be nice to have the luxury of being a student.” Her abrasive smile alerted me to tread carefully. My mind flooded with memories of invoking Meg’s wrath. She crossed her arms, revealing she had no intention of budging. “How are William and Janice? It’s been a long time since I was welcome to join the weekly study sessions.” Her eyes lit up. “Hey, I know. I bet William would pay big bucks for me to tell him all about us.” She ran a finger down my face, and I willed myself not to cringe. “The things you used to do to me and what you begged me to do to you.” She reached for my belt buckle, but I backpedaled, much to her delight. “I bet that’d get him off.” She squared her shoulders. “Or you could just meet me next week.” Meg patted the wad in her pocket.

“Fine.”

A car horn blared, and Meg spun to view the commotion, allowing me to sidle past. Once out of harm’s way, on the sidewalk, I turned. “Keep going to your meetings, okay?” I said.

Meg’s eyes softened but then quickly coalesced into anger. “Get off your high horse, Lizzie. You aren’t perfect. And don’t forget”—she stabbed a finger in the air—“next week.”

If you’re interested in finding out what happens next make sure to visit Amazon.com and get your copy.

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