Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Life Lessons (page 1 of 4)

3 Communication Tips For Online Dating

I hear complaints about communication failures from friends, see them on Facebook and online dating profiles, read about them in articles, and have made the same kind of complaints myself. What is going on with communication? In a world where communication is currently so easy and can happen quickly and efficiently, why do we have such a hard time connecting with each other and using basic conversation skills? Has it always been this way or is it getting worse?

Well, I’m not Brene Brown, so I’m not here to tell you that I did a lot of research on communication, but I am focusing today on communication as it relates to online dating apps, and “the research” is from my own experiences, my friends’ experiences, and other online dating participants’ (both male and female) comments.  Here are three observations that could possibly help when you are looking for that love connection.

1. For the love of God, please don’t only talk about yourself: This is such a common complaint. I hear it from a lot of females that men don’t ask them any questions. But I’ve also heard men say the same thing: “She must not be interested in getting to know me because she doesn’t ask me anything.” And this doesn’t mean asking: How are you? Or How was your day? (That’s not bad! But reach a little deeper.) People, both men and women, want to be asked basic questions, like: what is your job? What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like to read? If so, what do you read? I mean, we are not talking rocket science here. But if you find that your online dating conversations are falling flat, and you find yourself ALWAYS chatting about yourself, try asking a question now and again. You can also add: And you? to the end of many of your answers, and those two words at least show that you want to know something about the other person.

2. Take 15 minutes and write something in your profile: So many profiles have hardly anything written in them, and so many have WAY too much. Yes, photos are a huge deal because whether you think it’s fair or not, attraction plays a part in online dating. But information in your profile can persuade someone to take a chance or at least start a conversation with you! And if you have some information written there, if you are communicating about your likes and dislikes, you are giving the interested person some material to ask you questions about (see number 1).

3. Don’t make all kinds of assumptions or be rude:  It is easy to be rude online because you don’t really know the person you are talking to. But I’ve seen this advice several places, and again it’s not rocket science: If you wouldn’t say the comment in person to someone, then don’t say it online. (This is true for Facebook and Twitter, too.) So, if someone isn’t interested in you or doesn’t answer you immediately, it’s not necessary to say something nasty–it doesn’t make this guy a jerk or this woman a cold-hearted bitch. It makes him or her–Not For You. That’s it. Don’t assume just because it looks like someone is online, he or she is actually online and ignoring you.  Don’t assume you know someone after exchanging a few messages with them online. Assumptions may be one of the worst things about dating, especially online dating. Recently, I had someone say to me: you are not trusting and you are broken. Ummmm, no. But I didn’t answer rudely. I said: Actually I’m not. I’m not sure what I said to give you that impression. Best of luck to you!

It is true, whoever said it, “Communication is a two-way street.” It’s also true that communication is not easy, and we are not all experts at it. And that’s okay. But I think the Golden Rule can REALLY apply here (and I need to remember this, too): Treat others how you would like to be treated. Anyone got some online communication tips–dating or otherwise? I’m sure we would all love to hear them!


Working Through The Comparison Trap

Recently, I was in a video/book study called The Comparison Trap. This little four-week course is life-changing. Well, I should say: it can be life changing if you put into practice what the book discusses. (Side note: There’s a spiritual element to this book. It quotes Bible verses, and the woman who wrote it is married to a preacher. EVEN IF this usually does not do it for you, I recommend fighting through this and reading the book anyway. Every place she talks about God, can you think of Higher Power or Universe instead? I’m stealing this idea from the book You are a Badass! But I think it is an excellent point to not get hung up the “G-word.” And who knows what can happen in your life if you keep an open mind? ) Onward…

Before week one, I never realized how often I compare myself to other people and how shitty it makes me feel. Sometimes, I compare myself and I don’t measure up. I don’t have a loving husband or boyfriend. I don’t live in “the best school district” (although I love mine and the location of my house). I don’t have as much money as friend A, B or C.  I’m not 25 anymore. I could go on and drive myself crazy. I also do the flip side: Well, at least, I work full time. Well, at least, I have a book published, and so on. All of that thinking and comparing is exhausting and not helpful to anyone, most of all me.

The class had anywhere from 6 to 8 women in it each week, ranging in age from mid-40s to retirement age. And it was powerful. It was so powerful that we actually met for 5 weeks, instead of the 4 that the author recommends. Let me tell you the two moments that sealed it for me:

  1. The last week, we were asked to think of a time in our lives when we couldn’t celebrate other people’s good news. When we heard good news, did we react with jealousy or did we celebrate with the person? At first, I thought: this is a no-brainer–I celebrate. When I read the daily devotionals about overcoming this “jealousy”, it didn’t fit me, until I started thinking about when I was trying to get pregnant. It was very difficult for me to get pregnant, and I thought it would never happen. During this time, whenever I found out someone was pregnant, I was not celebrating. I was saying: Why me? In class, I even shared that I skipped a few celebrations because it was so heartbreaking to attend baby showers. It was a dark time. I am not proud of myself; and even though you may be thinking, well, I can understand why–that doesn’t excuse it. I was comparing my life to theirs, and my life is nothing like theirs. It’s not healthy, and it takes an extreme amount of faith in the Universe or God or your Higher Power or whatever you believe in to get out of the darkness and move on. I am happy that I did it. I am happy that once I let go, I got pregnant (just like everyone says).  And I think I still do that “jealousy thing” a little bit today now that I am divorced. But I am stopping it! Right now! I realized as I was writing this post: Sometimes, when I’m thinking about my relationship status, I will count up the number of people I know who are also divorced and without a partner. But really, this is terrible. If my friends and family want to be in a relationship, then they should be, and it should be happy and healthy and enriching. And I should celebrate it with them and let go of this notion that makes me compare myself to find my worth. Because frankly, it is exhausting.
  2. The two big messages that are driven home in this book are everyone is unique and special with their own talents. AND if you have a heart of gratitude, you will find contentment. We discussed these philosophies at length and honestly. Because let’s be real, isn’t it hard to take sometimes when you look at your neighbor and she is beautiful, owns a fancy car, and has a successful career,and a loving husband? Why did she get all of this and you didn’t? It can be hard to take when you are looking OUT. So what I learned in this book and this class and even writing this post is–you have to look IN. What are your talents and blessings? What are you grateful for? We also discussed how being content does not mean you can’t have goals or improve your life. But you should create these goals and improvements because you looked IN and it’s what you really want–not because you are looking OUT and trying to be as good as Mrs. Jones.

If I remember nothing else in a month from this study, this phrase, which is now hanging on the bulletin board in my room, will be something I remember: There is NO win in comparison. 



Ready to Be More Organic? It’s More than Just Eating Organic Food

(contributed post)

We all know that eating organic food is much better for our health and the state of the environment. But is that where organic living has to end? You’ll be pleased to hear that there is actually a lot more that can be done in your life, so that you can live a wholesome, naturall,y organic life. It’s not just about food!

Ready to be more organic? Here are some really great tips that can help you get started.

Create An Organic Garden

One of the easiest ways to ensure that all the fruit and vegetables you eat are organic is to start growing it yourself. Growing your own food can be quite difficult, especially if you are completely new to it. But don’t panic; you can start off developing your skills by beginning with the easier produce to grow, such as lettuce, cucumbers, and gherkins. You’ll be able to buy seeds from your local supermarket; but there are also some online stores that sell more exotic fruit and vegetable seeds, if you fancy challenging yourself!

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

Leading a more eco-friendly life is part of living more organically, too. So, it’s important that you try and reduce your household’s energy consumption as much as possible. There are various ways you can do this. First of all, make sure that every electronic device and appliance is turned completely off when it isn’t in use. Next, you should consider switching to a renewable energy source. There are now quite a few energy companies that will install solar panels onto your home’s roof, so that you can use greener energy from a nature-friendly source!

Go Natural With Skincare

You can also improve your skin care so that it’s a lot more organic. First of all, it’s worth finding some natural skin care products. Lots of beauty companies now have a very good range of natural products, as there is such a high demand for them. These are all made from organic ingredients and are completely cruelty-free, meaning they haven’t been tested on animals. If you want, you might also like the idea of trying to make your own skin care products. There are lots of recipes online that use plenty of ingredients you will already have in the house.

Eat Seasonally

There are some people who complain about the price of organic food. Sure, it can sometimes be expensive, but that is usually the case for ingredients and produce that are on sale when they are out of season. So, as you can probably tell, it’s much better to try and eat seasonally whenever you can. There are a few guides that can help you work out your diet, so that it is more in keeping with the season. But one of the best ways to figure out what is in season is to buy from farmers markets, as they will only be able to sell what they are able to grow at the time.

Enjoy your new organic life!

Do you have anything to add?


You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

Today I have this lovely guest post from B. Lynn Goodwin, who wrote the book, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. A little more about the book and the author is at the bottom of this post!


You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

My husband introduced me to his favorite phrase, “You don’t lose until you quit trying” from the driver’s seat of his Mazda back when we were first dating. He used it to tackle business problems, used it when he was dating a woman before me, and still uses it as a reminder that bolsters my confidence.

The only time it didn’t work was when he was dating a woman who loved him but wasn’t “in love” with him. Come to think of it, maybe he did win, because he wouldn’t have found me if she said, “Yes.” We met each other after I met my husband, and she’s glad we’re together.

How does this philosophy work?

If you can’t open the lid on a glass jar, try again. Try harder.

o Put on more pressure as the left hand goes one way and the right another
o Run the lid under hot water
o Look for a tool to help
o If necessary, ask a neighbor with stronger hands to help.
o Eventually the lid will open, and maybe you’ll make a new friend in the process.

If you can’t turn the key that you’ve put in the lock, try again. Still no luck?

o Move your fingers so the pressure on the key is redistributed.
o Take the key out and spray the lock with WD-40.
o Push in against the door and try again.
o Maybe even ask for help?

Both are real-life scenarios. I’ve used my husband’s hands and my next-door neighbor’s screw-top opener to get a lid off a jar of caramel sauce so I could finish making a dump cake. I’ve twisted a key in the lock of an old sticky door near the bay, and when nothing worked, I knocked on the back door. Trying differently often solves the problem.

“You don’t lose until you quit trying” is meant to inspire people. Make the philosophy work for you and let it help you examine alternate methods for getting what you want. Here’s one more example.

How does a 62-year-old woman who’s never been married use this philosophy with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist?

You’ll know if you read Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in Indie Bookstores, who can order the book through Ingram.

Our best advertisement is word of mouth. If you like the story, please tell your friends and colleagues. Want to do more? One or two sentences on Amazon, telling people why you recommend the book, would be fabulous.

And why am I promoting my book here? Because you don’t lose until you quit trying.

B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, was just released by Koehler Press.

She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, which was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award, won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and many other places. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is an editor, writer and manuscript coach at Writer Advice.


Organizing Your To-Do List and the $10,000 Idea

I love a good to-do list. Who’s with me here? Without my daily/weekly/monthly list, I’m not sure I would get anything done. Actually, I think I may be a little addicted to my lists! I love to finish something and cross it off the list. Not only is it good to finish it, but it’s also rewarding to see all those items crossed off! Plus, as many of you know, in 2016, my word of the year was organization, so this all fits together. But where am I going with this post and what is a $10,000 idea? (It’s not, by the way, an idea that will make you $10,000! But don’t stop reading.)

The way I have chosen to organize the tasks I need to accomplish each day and week is on my weekly desk calendar, where there is plenty of room to write several items on each day. But last week, even this wasn’t working for me. I felt like some of these tasks I was simply moving from week to week, and they also fit in different categories in my life. There were tasks I needed to do for the house, for my day job, for creative writing, for freelancing, for Katie and Chester, and so on. So I took five blank sheets of 8.5 x 11.5-inch paper and labeled them:

  • Freelancing
  • Cleaning/House/Bills/Paperwork
  • Personal
  • Writing/Blogging
  • Day Job

Then I put the tasks that I needed to accomplish (some new, some left from my calendar) on the sheets in the appropriate category, so I could wrap my head around what I needed to do and what area of my life it would benefit. For some reason, this made my stress level go WAY down, and I felt like I could accomplish many of these things. Some of the items needed to happen immediately (like the laundry, critiquing my writing group’s work, and finishing my day job’s publications), and some of them were things that could be finished at some point (like writing a blog post and cleaning out my email inbox).

And then there were the $10,000 ideas. 

I noticed on each page, there were some ambitious goals, projects like: cleaning out the basement and finishing my novel that weren’t going to be done in a day or a week. They were also items that would make my life better and richer, and so I decided to call those my $10,000 ideas. I drew a spiky circle around each of these and wrote $10,000 idea next to it

This is very similar to making New Year’s goals; with these ideas, I’m saying: these are things I want to do, and they will make my life better, and I will do them eventually. I love how I have them on these lists in categories; and how every time I look at my list, I am reminded of these BIG TICKET items that will improve my life.

So if you see me around, ask me: how are your $10,000 ideas coming this year? And…of course, I must ask…do you have any of these ideas on your to-do lists?


Gambling On Granola: An Inspiring Memoir About Being a Single Mom and Starting a Business

I am happy to tell you about a great book that WOW! Women On Writing is currently hosting as a blog tour. I am a stop on the blog tour, and so below you will find out some information about the memoir, Gambling on Granola. But before you read this info below, I want to highlight a couple points that will be important to many of my practical parent and single parent readers out there.

Everyone of us who is a parent has this desire to make our children’s lives better than our own. We want to give them opportunities and experiences that we didn’t have. We want to love them fiercely and teach them to be great people. This desire led Fiona to create a company called Fiona’s Natural Foods, and her story shows us that determination, perseverance, love, and a fighting spirit can make anything possible.

Her website states that “Fiona took her mother’s recipe from the 1960’s, updated it, and created new flavors and ingredient combinations.  She hoped her new concoctions would be just the solution she had been seeking. “

​”The eponymous Fiona’s Natural Foods became a burgeoning regional natural foods brand, selling granola, quinoa cereal and energy bars to dozens of natural grocers — including Whole Foods and Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage — throughout Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.” –Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado

I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of Gambling On Granola. For those of you who have read some of my personal posts over the last two years, you know that I am also a single mom with a full-time job, a desire to be a successful writer with a part-time freelance editing business. I understand Fiona’s drive and fight, and I hope if you check out her book, you will be inspired by her also.

  About the Book:

In Gambling on Granola: Unexpected Gifts on the Path of Entrepreneurship by Fiona Simon, Simon shares a tale that is uplifting and inspiring but also raw and honest. This is a business memoir but also a love story―the love for her daughter, of a journey in uncharted waters, of the products and company she created, and of the continued challenge to follow her dream.

We see her growth and healing over fifteen years, as mistakes, weaknesses, and naiveté, evolve into resilience, resolve, and inspiration. For Fiona, it started out as all new businesses do―with an idea. But her world quickly became more complex as she established her company, developed new product lines, forged personal relationships in a competitive environment, grew her business, and held onto her deepest values―all while raising her daughter, Natalie, as a single mom.


“Fiona’s story is both personal and transformative. She lays bare the hopes and anxieties, challenges, betrayals and lessons learned in creating her own business. From the mountaintops of a solar observatory where she was raised, to the struggles and triumphs, her story is like a path of granola crumbs leading the reader to understand how to succeed at any enterprise.”
– Jeff Kline, M.A. Ed., Chairman, Hispanic Communications Network, Washington, DC.

“Fiona Simon is an engaging storyteller and her narrative moves right along. It should inspire and motivate anyone who needs to remember the importance of persistence, belief in oneself, and vision in pursuing a goal. Her granola is good and so is her book.”
– Bob McCormick, Publisher, Editor, Author

Paperback: 200 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1938288920
ISBN-13: 978-1938288920

About the Author:

Fiona Maria Simon is a former journalist, travel writer, editor, and communications director of the Boulder, Colorado, Chamber of Commerce. She is passionate about developing healthy food products, writing, traveling the world, and inspiring and empowering others with her story. Lured by the adventures of entrepreneurship, she launched her own organic granola company and led it to success despite having no business background and simultaneously juggling the demands of being a single mom. Her book is a story of challenges, hardships, and triumphs, both personal and professional.

Find Fiona Online:

Website: http://www.fionamariasimon.com 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gambling-Granola-Unexpected-Gifts-Entrepreneurship/dp/1938288920/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494595882&sr=1-1&keywords=books+about+entrepreneurship

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34552773-gamblingon-granola?from_search=true 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fionamariasimon/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FionaMSimon


The Lessons Kids Won’t Learn In School But Need Teaching At Home

(contributed article)

School is an essential part of a child’s life. For one thing, it teaches children the value of learning and how knowledge is power. Secondly, it helps them mix with other kids and learn how to socialize. Still, parenting never stops, of course, and there are areas teachers don’t cover because they aren’t in the curriculum, and there’s not enough time in the school day. They are life lessons, and they are vital in the later years of a child’s progression.

As they won’t learn them in class, it’s your job to cover the topics at home. Here are the ones to consider:

Relationship Dos and Don’ts

It’s human nature to find a partner and to share life’s journey. But this is not always easy, especially when we are young, and sadly, relationships don’t go to plan all of the time. In fact, many of them won’t end amicably and that is an essential lesson to learn.  You can recover and move on to find new love. Hollywood often promotes the idea that people meet a guy or a girl and live happily ever after. Understanding this isn’t the case will help teenagers prepare emotionally. Also, this knowledge can help them to enjoy life while single instead of feeling the need to always be searching for a partner. Hopefully, it will teach them to be ready for a healthy relationship before committing to someone, too.

Digital Manners

Social media is taking over, and children and teens are the ones who are the most involved. They often don’t understand the dangers or consequences of social media interactions. Obviously, predators exist online, and it’s crucial to teach kids to be safe and secure. However, there is also a social etiquette on the Web, which they should acknowledge. Cyberbullying and nasty comments are not clever and may come back to bite them in the future. For example, employers will check social media accounts before they offer an applicant a job.

Financial Awareness

Money makes the world spin, yet it’s one thing teachers often don’t teach in school. Credit cards and student loans come thick and fast, and children need to understand how these tools work. So, it is important to show kids the value of using a credit card, and paying off the balance is a fantastic life lesson. Also, don’t forget to tell them about the contingency plans if they do make mistakes. Pieces of plastic can ruin finances, but sites like http://repair.credit can help put them back together. Apart from repairing credit, you can focus on how to get out of debt, too.

The Art Of The Deal

Before Donald Trump was president,  he wrote that book. But you can find helpful helpful hints from https://www.entrepreneur.com  if your children are interested in business. Most modern men and women don’t haggle, yet learning how to make deals can be the difference between success and failure. And, that doesn’t just mean in a car dealership either. Learning how to negotiate in the office or with potential contacts can impact everything from careers to wages. The best hagglers know when to speak, when to listen, and when to shake hands on a deal.

These are just four lessons to learn, but can you think of any more?


Three Ways You Can Improve Your Life This Year

(contributed article)

The start of the new year means endless possibilities and opportunities- the chance to reflect on the past and then make a change for the better. Often life is “fine”; there’s nothing that’s bad about it, but we can find ourselves in a bit of a rut. If you’re determined to make a change and make 2018 your year, here are just three ways you can achieve that.


The world is a colossal, beautiful place- and when you stay in one spot you miss out on so much. If you get the opportunity, it’s always worth travelling; perhaps you have a bucket list of places you want to go or maybe you’re flexible and happy to go just about anywhere. Travel can be expensive, so it’s worth getting your finances in order before you go. If you have adverse credit, you could look into debt consolidation loans for bad credit and put the money you save each month into an account for your travels. Otherwise you could always look into budget options, such as backpacking and road trips. It might be in your budget to rent an RV, and you get transport and accommodation in one then. Fill a cooler with food from the grocery store, and you save when it comes to eating as well. There are loads of great road trip routes out there, so decide what you want to see on your trip and do what you can to make it happen.

Learn Something New

Maybe you’ve always wanted to go back to school; if you fancy an entire career change, why not go back and study full time? Otherwise you could study part-time evenings and weekends around your job and work towards a degree or diploma. Choose a subject that really interests you or will help you to improve your career; it’s hard work but very fulfilling. However, learning something new doesn’t necessarily have to be formal education like this. You could go to a dance or cooking class, buy some paints and follow painting tutorials on Youtube, or learn a musical instrument. It will keep you productive in your spare time while keeping your brain sharp, plus you will meet like-minded people, too.


It’s easy to take all we have for granted. We have a home, somewhere to sleep, food in our pantries, and luxuries like smartphones, computers and TVs. We have our good health, and our friends and family. Others aren’t so lucky. By volunteering, you get a new perspective on life and have the opportunity to genuinely help those less fortunate. You could volunteer in a soup kitchen, at a hospital, hospice, children’s home, animal shelter, women’s refuge- have a look at what’s local to you. Whether it’s two hours a month, or a whole summer spent building orphanages in a third world country, your time is valuable and you can make a difference.

What will you be doing to make 2018 your year?


Make This the Year You Start Taking Care of Number One

(contributed article)

Most people are incredibly concerned with looking after the people in their lives. This is an amazing thing, and it really is one of the very best things about human beings. However, a lot of people end up taking this too far and spend so much of their time worrying about the other people in their lives that they don’t manage to pay close enough attention to the things that they need. It might be something that you’re not all that used to, but taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of all of the people in your life. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can make this the year that you finally start taking care of number one!

Take care of your health

The first thing that you need to start doing is paying closer attention to your health. It’s crazy just how much people tend to ignore their own health in favor of focusing on other things. People can go years without a doctor or dentist appointment, let alone anything more specific when it comes to their health. Make an appointment for a checkup with your doctor, and then do the same for your more specific health needs. Look up dentists, dermatologists, and ophthalmologists nearby. Think of your body as a car; you need to get each and every part of it checked over if you want to avoid something going wrong.

Understand your emotions

Emotions are a tricky thing at the best of times, but it’s crucial that you’re as tuned in to your emotional health as you are your physical health. There’s a lot of stigma that surrounds mental and emotional health, but it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to your emotional well-being because otherwise, you could end up in some serious trouble. Pay attention to your emotions and think carefully about why you feel the way you do about certain things. Increasing your emotional intelligence is one of the best ways to improve your entire life.

Know what you’re worth

One of the hardest things for people to realize, and also something that makes it incredibly easy to put others needs before their own, is that they have worth. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, or how much money you have in the bank; you have worth because you’re a person and it’s important that you remind yourself of this fact every single day. If you forget your own worth as a person, it’s going to be that much easier for other people to take advantage of you.

Self-care might seem like a fairly new phenomenon, but the reality is that it’s been around for an incredibly long time and most people simply aren’t going to be able to function properly without it. It might seem selfish, and to a degree it kind of is. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, if you can’t look after yourself, how can you look after the other people in your life?



My One Word for 2018 and a Look Back at 2017

Each year, I pick one word to focus on, instead of making a bunch of resolutions I won’t keep. Sure, I plan to continue to do the things I’ve already been doing (somewhat imperfectly) in 2017: exercise, write and read more, eat healthy, spend time with Katie, sleep enough, enjoy life–but if I make too many goals, I’m really hard on myself when I don’t complete them, and that doesn’t do anyone any good.

So, in this post, I’m revealing my word of the year for 2018 and looking back at the words for 2016 and 2017 and how I’ve been doing.  No more suspense, my word for 2018 is CALM. (This is not that much different than peace from 2017, but read on to see what CALM means to me.)

As always, in December, I start thinking of what I really need to work on the next year. I don’t think you should just wait and start improving your life magically on January 1, but it’s a placeholder for reflection since it happens at the same time every single year. (Yay! for order and routine from the universe). I was going to pick LOVE, not necessarily because of being back in the dating game, but because I found myself being hard on people whom I love, and wondering why I do that to them (and myself). Love could also focus on doing the activities you enjoy and getting rid of the ones you don’t. And making sure to spend time with the people whom you love that bring joy to your life, and finally, even finding glass-half-full moments in activities you don’t LOVE doing, but you have to.

WOW! Why didn’t I pick love for 2018? Well, I feel like I’ve already been doing many of those things (or trying to) with the word PEACE, so I decided CALM was a better choice.

I’m not very calm. I don’t know if I seem calm to the outside world, but to my inner circle–my daughter, my parents, my best friends–calm is not a word they would ever use to describe me. I often hear, “Margo, do you ever sit still?”  “Chillax.”  “Everything is fine, calm down.” You get the picture. So one night recently, when KT (7 years old) was in the middle of another week of constipation (there’s a practical parenting post coming about that, trust me), I was at my wit’s end. I felt like I was saying the same things to her over and over each week, and she wasn’t listening. She was crying and yelling because her stomach hurt, and then I started yelling, and then I stopped and looked at her and said, “We both need to calm down. This is not that big of a deal.” So we did. We both calmed down, and then I told her about the Word of the Year, and how maybe both of us needed to work on being calm. She agreed. We shook hands.

The other evening, when we were at my parents’ house, I had given them (my parents and KT) some instructions (drink a full water bottle and eat a fiber cookie) that I wanted them to follow during the day.  When I arrived, I discovered these instructions were not followed. Now all of you who are lucky enough to have doting grandparents for your children know this is very common. My mom said, “Well, I didn’t want to harp on her all day.” I get it. I do. But I started to get that lecture-y tone I can get, and Katie looked at me and said, “Calm, Mommy. Calm.” (insert ROFL emoji here). But you know what? It worked. I took a deep breath and said, “Well, I wish these things would have happened, but we’ll work on this for the next time.” And then we went on with eating the delicious vegetable beef soup my mom made.

So, CALM it is…in 2018, I want to work on thinking before reacting. I want to work on taking deep breaths. I want to think about my tone and the words that come out of my mouth (or on to a computer screen) before I act.

Now, how are Peace and Organization doing? Well…I would say for 10 months of 2017, I didn’t do a great job with peace. But then something happened in November (I don’t know what–I guess everything just started clicking), and Peace was actually a reality. There are many times during the week, where I can now say I truly feel peaceful with my life, in spite of there being just as much chaos as there has always been. I really am learning (imperfect progress) that it is how you react to life and not what happens to you.

And this has been the second year of organization, well, I guess it’s better…I am kind of learning that organization also has to do with prioritizing and making sure you can find things when you need them. Also, don’t let paperwork and deadlines hang over your head–face them and tackle them.

How about you? Are you choosing a word of the year? What do you want to work on in 2018? 



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