Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sitting At The Big Kids Table

By today's standards the family I grew up with is large.  Back in the day it was just an average size family.  I am the youngest of six children.  My parents had a tradition of family dinners for holidays and special occasions.  As our family grew with grandchildren the family table got a little crowded.  So being the youngest child and only eight years older than my oldest nephew I along with my sister just older than me were relegated to the kids table.  I always felt like I was missing out on something really cool.  The big kids table got all the action.  They got the food when it was hot, they got all the condiments first.  They got to be in on all the gossip.  While we, on the little kids table got to babysit.  As soon as the grandchildren were old enough to feed themselves (getting a spoon somewhere in the vicinity of their mouths.) They joined our table.

Unfortunately for me as the number of grandchildren grew there was less room at the little kids table for my older sister.  So she got bumped up to the big kids table and I was still sitting at the little kids table well into my teenage years.

After growing up this way, my experience at the holiday dinner table started to spill into my everyday life.  I always felt I was never good enough.  I was never included with the "cool kids" at school, I never got picked first for anything we did on the playground or on the sports field.  I was never great friends with the really popular kids in high school.  It felt like I was sitting at the little kids table my whole life.  Man I hated the way that felt.

When I was in my mid twenties, I was more confident, I liked myself more, I went out of my way to be kind to others.  I finally started to figure things out.  At least I think I did.  It was then I realized the big kids table wasn't all that great.  I liked being able to be myself and not try to impress anyone.  Now looking back at my family's holiday dining experience I realize I kind of liked being at the little kids table even when I was in my late teen and early twenties, I actually preferred sitting there.  It was much more fun, the people I was sitting with liked me for who I was.  I have great nieces and nephews, they are some of my best friends.  I have discovered being cool is as much a state of mind as anything else.

Being myself and enjoying the company of those around me is what it's all about.  If people who feel they are better than me or above me, or have no use for me don't like me, I'm am totally okay with that.  Who wants to be with snobby people anyway.  Life's much more fun when you like who you really are.

Until next week.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Waxing Philosophical

I went on a twenty mile bicycle ride this morning.  If you're a serious cyclist that is a drop in the bucket.  For me, it was my first twenty miler this season.  This morning I didn't take my head phones so I had a couple of hours to myself to think.  I discovered some things.  First, I need more seat time, because part of me still really hurts when I sit down.  Second, I need to get serious about leg work in the gym if I want to go fifteen mph.  Aside from the obvious physical need for improvement my mind went to the philosophical.

When I first started out the wind was blowing and I was riding into a head wind up a slight slope.  It wasn't extremely difficult just enough to make me work a little bit.  My favorite place to ride is a bike trail about six miles from my home so, I include that mileage in my ride.  Once I get down there it winds through a dedicated wetlands.  I am surrounded by the sounds of nature.  The birds in the the trees and on the river.  The breeze softly blowing through the trees.  It's very peaceful.  The ride itself has flat spots, hills, and bridges, There's even a park along the way.

I decided our trip through life is kind of like my bike ride this morning. Life doesn't have to be difficult but it isn't always easy either.  Like the first part of my ride, life is usually not something that's to difficult to handle.  You have to work a little bit, but you can still make it through.  There is a steep hill on my ride, I have to work hard to get up with out stopping and walking.  Just like this, in our lives there are hills that you have to work hard at to get over.  Once you crest the hill you have a short period of time where you don't have to work at all to get down.  But if you find your hill is taking a long time to crest, you may have to stop and take stock in what you are doing in your life to cause you to be up against this hill.  Once you have looked at your life and maybe changed your course to help you get past this hill, or you have to get off the bike and walk to get to the top.  If you look back you might be able to see where you went wrong.  So when you come up against it again it will be easier for you.

Our way through this life will have some uphill climbs and some straightaways. but if you prepare and strengthen your muscles you will be ready to face what ever challenges come your way.

Until next week.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

What Time Is It?

It's that time of year again.  Time to turn our clocks ahead one hour.  We can honestly say "Where did the time go".  I don't understand all of the reasons we fiddle with time every year.  I know there are a lot of people who don't like doing this.  They also have a list of reasons why it's not a great idea, but bottom line for me is, I love the long summer nights.  Taking walks in the summer evenings, working in my garden first thing in the morning.  I guess the major reason I like daylight savings time is because it means it's spring.  I love the spring and the warmer temps.  I even love spring cleaning. The smell of freshly mown grass, and spring rains.  When I was kid growing up on a farm, it was the season all the new baby animals were born.  

For me it's the season of rebirth, the chance to change things up.  To make your life different, for the better.  I love planting my garden and pruning my fruit trees.  I love breathing in the cool air.  So even though I have one less hour a day, which for me is a big deal, I can't wait.  

So make the most of the time we have, lighten someone else's load and walk outside and breathe in the freshness of spring.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Is It Enough

Recently my daughter tagged me in a facebook post about exhausted moms.  I love her for being there to lift me up and tell me I'm doing a good job as a mom.  Sometimes I think we as women think to little of our selves.  We try everyday to do what we can for whomever we can and wonder if it is enough.

It's amazing to have people in our corner who, like my daughter, remind us we are doing a great job. We need to give ourselves a break.  What would we say to our children friends and loved ones who were constantly tearing themselves down.  We would tell them to stop being negative, that they are wonderful people, they need to give themselves a pat on the back for working so hard.  Look at all their achievements and be proud of a job well done.  Why do we not give ourselves the same pep-talk?

So ladies, lets remember who had a hand in raising such wonderful children, who supports such wonderful men, and who gives their all to everything in their lives!   YOU are doing great, you are a wonderful example of love, kindness and sharing!

Keep up the good work and have an outstanding week!  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hobbits Make Me Smile

Memories are funny things.  Any thing could trigger a memory.  Like whenever I smell cucumber melon lotion I think of Hobbits, and it makes me smile.  Why is that you might ask?  The first time I saw Lord of the Rings in the theater I was wearing cucumber melon lotion.  When I smell fresh cut lumber I think of when my husband and I were first married.  He did a lot of wood working, in fact his major in college was teaching shop.  And unfortunately whenever I smell hia karate after shave I think of my first boyfriend, who by the way was a jerk!  I don't like that smell.

There was a funny thing that happened when I was on a mission for my church, one of the young men I served with wore Polo, quite heavily.  Then after I served my mission, I came home, and got married, my husband and I got a dog.  We took him to the groomers and when they finished grooming him they sprayed him with doggie cologne and you guessed it, it was Polo.  So every time we picked him up it reminded me of my friend.

Smell is the most powerful memory trigger.  It can transport you anywhere.  Every time I smell a coal fire I think of Ireland.  Every time I smell burning hair I think of the time I almost lost my own hair to a gas bar-b-que.  Whenever I smell Old Spice I think of my dad.

Food smells are the best.  Baking bread reminds me of my mom, Popcorn reminds me of the movie theater.  Fresh grown vegetables remind me of my childhood, and raspberry jam reminds me of my grandmother.  

I can hardly wait until I can open my windows and smell spring. The smell of freshly mowed grass and the smell of fire burning the irrigation ditches.  So many things to look forward to.

Have a great week.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Help I've Fallen........

You know that commercial on television for Life Alert that has an elderly woman on the floor who is unable to get her self off the floor?  I have seen it and mocked it many times.  Well this week it became a reality for my family.  My mother will be 87 years old this year.  She has always been a spry octogenarian.  She has always been healthy.  When she was younger in her sixties she walked five miles every day.  Now she's older, she's cut back to just a mile everyday.  My dad passed away about seven years ago and she still lives on her own.  She is stubborn and says she doesn't need any help and refuses to use the life alert chain my sister purchased for her.  Well this week she slipped in the bathroom and hit her head on the vanity.  She required stitches and had many bumps and bruises.

You would think this experience would prove to her the need to wear her life alert chain but no she still refuses.  "I'm not that old." she said. Well tomorrow I am going to visit with her and I am going to let her know the time has come.  Now I don't always have the best track record when it comes to getting my mom to do things.  But I will try and convince her just the same.

This incident has brought into sharp focus for me the need to visit my mom more frequently.  From the time my twenty year old daughter was a week old until the time of my dad's passing seven years ago, I went to my parents house once a week with my children.  After his passing I went down twice a week for a couple of years.  Then I picked up my second job and was unable to visit that often because my schedule.

How often I wonder do we use over scheduling and stuff get in the way of family time.  Now my mother and I haven't always been on the best of terms, and visiting hasn't always been pleasant.  But now I have had a wake up call I will try and schedule a visit with her more often.  Once a month can't kill me right?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wasted Time

I have been burning the candle at both ends for a very long time.  In addition to my normal busy, I have been making list after list of home projects that need to be done.  When will it ever stop.  I need to have at least five more hours in everyday and at least eight days to the week.  My house is now about 24 years old and lots of things need to be fixed.  I am learning how to do many new and different things.  I do this out of necessity but also because I want my brain to keep working.  I don't want to slow down.  But having said all that if I keep this up I am going to burn myself out.  

We need to listen to our bodies, they will tell us what they need.  Like the other day I had an actual day off and I didn't do much of anything.  I mean I did the basic bare minimum of house cleaning.  But other than that I worked on nothing.  At the end of the day I felt like I had wasted my time all day.  Looking back I realize my body and my brain were telling me I needed to slow down for a minute, or a whole day.  

Just because we have down time does not mean it's wasted.  I think the trick is to balance the down time and the time we need to be up and running.  I have also realized burning the candle at both ends only leads to a tired body and brain.  

Until next time, stay busy but take time to breathe every day.

Have a good week.