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 2)

It’s Time to Put You First

contributed article

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that life would be better if you could take time for yourself a little more? But it’s hard, and caregivers have the hardest time with this. Most people, both parents and adults without children just yet, need to feel needed.  It’s part of life to want to feel useful and vital to someone other than yourself. The ability to help and be compassionate to those who come into your life is one that most people treasure. The trouble with being needed all the time is that it can be extremely difficult to find time for yourself. By the time you’ve tended the needs of family, friends, children, work, and your home, there is very little time in the day that is left to have a moment to remember that you are important, too.

The idea that you must sometimes put yourself first is a difficult one to wrap your head around, especially if you are not used to finding time for your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, though, how can you expect to be there for anyone else? People need strong, happy individuals supporting them, and those who don’t take the time to look after their own needs often succumb to stress, depression, and sometimes, addiction.

If you find yourself being trapped in that cycle, where you feel like there is a lack of control over your life, then you need to start putting yourself before others. Stress and depression can lead to other physical manifestations of illness, and taking the time to rectify this is important. Checking into places like Compass Recovery for those who find themselves in the midst of an addiction as a way out of their stress is an important first step. It is not selfish to look after yourself or put yourself before other people, especially in the cases where you have spent so long looking after other people you’ve forgotten how to be you again.

Finally realizing that you matter enough to be important in your own life can set you on a path to freedom. Often, being relied on by so many other people can leave you feeling trapped. Their need of you can be suffocating and debilitating, and the feelings of guilt that you end up left with if you don’t help out on demand are consuming. The freedom you can feel by simply saying no and allowing yourself to be the priority in your own life is immense. The weight on your shoulders of unwavering obligation can lift, and you can start to see life a little clearer and a little lighter. You can still be there for people and put yourself first.

Start small, with evenings to yourself. A cup of tea in peace and quiet and enjoying the time you spend with your own company can be a refreshing change from being wanted and tugged at all the time. Finding a balance is never easy, but it’s one you have to seek if you feel pulled in different directions. Finding you is good for your health, and your health matters.

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Build a Brighter You

contributed article

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your confidence? Perhaps you have days where nothing seems to be going right; and no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to build up your mood. Well, the good news is that everyone has days like this at one point or another. The better news is that there are lots of ways to build back up your confidence and feel better about yourself.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

If shopping for outfits or accessories builds up your confidence, this doesn’t make you superficial. It makes you completely normal. There’s something about putting on a gorgeous new dress or a stunning piece of jewelry that immediately refreshes confidence. If you’re not one for traipsing around town, diving in and out of stores on the high street, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of places online to shop for what you’re looking for. According to sites like http://yourdiamondguru.com/reviews/james-allen/, James Allen is a great option for buying dazzling, deluxe jewelry that will make you glisten and sparkle. It just depends on the type of budget you’re working with.

You might think that to buy a beautiful outfit or a new selection of jewelry, you need to be going somewhere or attending a party, but you don’t. Dressing up on a day that you’re staying in can be just what you need to build up your confidence and self-esteem.

Night Out

Of course, that doesn’t mean that a night out on the town won’t help. It certainly could, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re married or single. If you’re single, you can head out and have fun with your friends. If it leads to something, great. If not, who cares? You’ll have a blast anyway. If you’re married, you can still head out for a night with the girls and make sure you don’t get too out of control. Even just getting a few looks across the bar from a tall, dark, handsome stranger can be enough to build up your self esteem. Or alternatively, you can head out with your partner and make sure you spend some time building up the foundations of the relationship.

Smile A Little More

Did you know that by smiling you actually make yourself just a little happier? You can learn more about that on http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy.htm.  If you are smiling, you let other people know you’re happy, which leads to positive interactions. Of course, it’s not always easy to grin when you’re feeling blue, but it could help you lead to a brighter day.

Take Some Time With Your Favorite Person

Of course, this is all about you, so why not take a trip, take a drive or even just sit and relax in your home by yourself? A little me time may be just what you need to build back up your confidence because it allows you to get in touch with yourself and find out what’s bothering you. Ask yourself: what’s going wrong and how can you fix it? Whether you’re climbing a mountain or heading on a spa day, you might just come home feeling refreshed and ready to be a brighter better you.

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Self-Love: Stop Apologizing For Who You Are

One day, when I was feeling upset, I wrote this Facebook status:

A very wise person said to me: the only thing that is wrong with you is wondering what is wrong with you. I am done apologizing for who I am. There, I said it. Please hold me to this. I’m counting on you. We should all feel this way. I think anyone who has been through big life changes–divorce, parenting, breakups, marriage, job, death–you can lose yourself and wonder what is wrong with you. I am also a people pleaser, so I wonder if I even know who I am…

As soon as something goes wrong in my life, my thinking is: what’s wrong with me or what did I do wrong? This is not helpful thinking. Sure, it’s always good to assess situations and learn from them, and I’m sure that often mistakes are made–by both parties.  But I can really obsess like the best of them over things like:

  • I texted first one too many times.
  • I wore the wrong shoes.
  • I talked to strangers.
  • I wanted to sing karoke.
  • I get up at 5:30 am.
  • I like plans and schedules and calendars.

We can become so obsessed over minor, unimportant details that make up who we are. I do this all the time. Yes, I like to binge watch terrible shows. No, I don’t like to only drink beer. Yes, I can be loud and interrupt people. No, I don’t like to go out without make-up on. We are all made up of wonderful, interesting, annoying, and quirky personality traits that someone won’t like. We find ourselves apologizing for these. (I do anyway.) We wonder why we can’t be perfect, like Friend A or Acquaintance B. And I’m stressing the word, WE, because when I put this Facebook post up, it received a lot of comments, many were from people who were feeling the same.

” I had a friend yesterday tell me that I need to believe in myself more and be confident in my skill. She’s right.”

or

“I had a similar UGH moment a couple weeks ago! https://www.homewithkristen.com/new-blog/2017/6/21/you-do-you ”

or

“Thanks for this. I was at an event last night and started really feeling insecure and self-doubting. Just felt like a total loser compared to the other people there. Self-esteem today was so low, and I texted a friend to try to feel better. She reminded me that everyone else at that event also has demons to battle, scars they hide, and their own problems, even if it didn’t show last night. Sometimes you just need that reminder that NOBODY is perfect, and everyone has issues.”

Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Social media does not help with this issue because most of us share ONLY our glory moments. Sure, I’ll share my cute daughter at the state fair or her first day of school, but not so much sharing when she’s having a major meltdown over an art project. And everyone’s an expert these days with headlines, like: 10 Ways to Get a Guy.   How to Be a Great Friend.  Lose Weight Without Trying. And so on…look at the bio on some of these writers–they might have some good ideas, but they have zero qualifications to be an expert OR to tell you that anything is wrong with you!

I’m not advocating that we don’t self-assess, try to improve or work on making our relationships the best they can possibly be. But while we are doing that, we must also practice self-love and that includes STOPPING the insanity of apologizing for who you are. And I’m going to go one step further and include: stop apologizing for who your kids/family are too. We are who we are. NO ONE is perfect. Everyone has issues. The only thing you really need to apologize for is: if you stop learning, growing, and working towards becoming a better version of the almost-perfect self you are now.

That’s my two cents. I’m going to step off my soap box now.

 

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Getting Rid of the Anger Caused by Ego (Guest Post)

When KJ wrote to me and asked if I was interested in the guest post below, I had been (and still am) thinking a lot about happiness and about how my beliefs and attitudes affect my day-to-day happiness. I posted a link to this article, “10 Ways You Are Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be” on my Editor 911 Facebook page.  In this article, many of the “ways” we make ourselves less happy and give ourselves a harder life concern our ego, as KJ discusses below, such as ascribing intent when none was actually present, making ourselves a star in our own movie, and having unrealistic and uncommunicated expectations (I had an a-ha moment at that one!).

So I invite you to read the short post, written by KJ,  full of examples, which will have you thinking about your own behavior and thoughts on anger and happiness and how you can control so much of it.

Immediate Reduction in Ego
(c) KJ Hannah Greenberg

Soothing anger is one reason folks overeat. So if the behavior of eating to sooth is to be abated, then anger has to be snuffed out. The other day, someone shared an amazing thought with me…anger is about ego.

Normal folks get indignant about all sorts of things: being passed over for a job, not getting invited to a party, receiving fewer hugs from a child than anticipated, flipping an omelet only to find lunch land on the floor, and so on. Our hurts, real and imagined, come in all sorts of kinds and types. Too often, we react to those actual or seeming injustices with the feeling of having been wronged.

Yet, truly, those scrambled eggs mixed with vegetables had no moral compass. Likewise, invitations get lost in the mail. What’s more, it’s possible, believe it or not, that the person promoted, “in our stead,” actually better deserved the position.

Regardless of whether the hurts we think we endure are intentional or accidental, good for our fiber or disastrous, it behooves us not to own them. If we can be just a tad less conscious of ourselves, we can experience less anger. If we can experience less anger, we can reach less to food or to other substances for “compensation.”

In my own life, I reflect that it did not really matter that a certain university turned me down for a position; I would not have invested (and BH succeeded) in creative writing, otherwise. It did not matter that a certain caterer served spoiled food at a party where I was a guest; the celebration, which was NOT about me, was as wonderful as it might have been had fresh comestibles decked the tables.

It does not matter than one of my children wears a rainbow of nail polish colors. What other folks think of me, in general, and of my parenting, more specifically, is palpably less important than is my interpersonal communication with that child. It’s up to me, as the mom, to bolster her.

Why should I care that a bus driver slammed close his door just as I was in a position, in the queue, to board the vehicle? My ease was not more important than was the comfort and safety of the hundred or so others folks who had already boarded.

It doesn’t really matter that a lady pushed me to reach in front of me to grab the last pair of discounted socks. It’s not for me to determine the ultimate destiny of a store’s merchandise.

KJ Hannah Greenberg © Yiftach Paltrowitz, 2010

In short, when I reduce my self-importance, it naturally follows that I reduce my anger. That’s quite a project. Fortunately, at present, there’s a lot for me to work with.

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s whimsical writing buds in pastures where gelatinous wildebeests roam and beneath the soil where fey hedgehogs play. She’s been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature, and once for The Best of the Net. Hannah’s essay collections are: Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife Marvels (Seashell Books, 2017), Word Citizen: Uncommon Thoughts on Writing, Motherhood & Life in Jerusalem (Tailwinds Press, 2015), Jerusalem Sunrise (Imago Press, 2015), Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting (French Creek Press, 2010), and Conversations on Communication Ethics (Praeger, 1991). In the next few months, look for others of her essay collections; Tosh: Select Trash and Bosh of Creative Writing (Crooked Cat Books), Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press), and Rhetorical Candy (Seashell Books).  http://www.kjhannahgreenberg. net/

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The Worst Feeling As A Parent

Some things in life are very difficult. I’m sure every adult you know has some kind of difficulty whether it’s a relationship problem, financial concerns or health scares–problems and issues are all around us. I’ve had my share, but they don’t compare to what many of you have experienced or may be experiencing now. But the hardest thing for me is when my daughter has a problem and I can’t solve it.

Disclaimer: Before any of you get up in arms about this–I know I shouldn’t solve all her problems. She is only 6, but she has to learn to work through things and figure it out for herself (in a lot of cases), so she will learn to do this as she grows up. 

The problem my daughter and I are now facing is that the little girl who she considers to be her best friend, her grandparents’ neighbor, her playmate three or more times a week has MOVED TO FLORIDA. Naturally, KT is very upset. She has been crying off and on, and I have been encouraging her to talk about it. I’ve been trying to use skills I’ve learned at Kids in the Middle, where feelings need to be validated and worked through–not ignored and pushed under the rug.

I told her there is nothing she can do about this but feel the sadness and talk about it if she feels like it. I’ve left out the part that she will probably never see this little girl again. She might not even remember her very well in a couple of years because right now, this missing her friend already feels all consuming to KT. I think that “wisdom” would actually make it worse. We’ve talked about the things KT could do at Grandma’s house to pass the time and how sometimes, when you feel sad, it really is okay just to sit and watch TV and relax for a while.  That was the end of my wisdom. My heart breaks for her because she is so sad, and there really is nothing to fix this.

Of course, this made me reflect on my own friendships throughout the years. Social media makes it easy to “keep in touch” with people nowadays, but there are some people who I loved dearly that I am not in touch with anymore (whether it’s because they aren’t on social media or I haven’t found them or they don’t want to be in touch) or who have actually passed away. And there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do but feel the sadness and work through it, maybe write about it, maybe just sit and watch TV and relax for a while.

The worst to me as an adult is when you have a good friend and you are having a conflict and you are out of touch, whether it’s agreed upon or not. It’s sad. And you miss this person, but what can you do? You just have to work through the sadness and hope one day you both can figure it out.

So for now, that’s what KT and I are going to do. The good thing is KT is busy at cheerleading camp this week, and she told me that she doesn’t even think about it when she is there, and I see that as a positive life lesson she’s learning. And I will follow in her footsteps.

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The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up

Most of us want to change something in our lives–whether we want to be more patient with our kids, not engage with someone abusive in our lives, lose weight, exercise and sleep more, or clean and organize our lives. And we expect these things to happen immediately, and I don’t know about you–but I am very hard on myself when I have a “relapse.”

This past spring, I was in a 6-week book study course called Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa has a great sense of humor and shares all the ways she still can sometimes come unglued–and she is the one leading us in trying to do better! This is why I liked her and her book. It was realistic and practical. The best thing I learned in this course was imperfect progress.

Imperfect progress is what most of us make when we are trying to change. We take three steps forward, and then we take a step back (sometimes a giant leap backwards unfortunately), and this backwards step is the turning point. This moment is when you decide if you are going to make imperfect progress and get back on your plan to the life you want (diet/training program/break from a bad relationship), or you are going to give up with the negative thinking of: What’s the point anyway?

There are a lot of things I need to change. And I am the textbook definition of imperfect progress, but here’s what I realized about myself and my progress after a brief encounter with a difficult person: I am finally starting to realize when I’m falling into the trap of what I usually say when faced with confrontation and also what I usually do. I also noticed I don’t have the same feelings or reactions as I did even if my behavior is the same, and  I am thinking about what to do differently next time.

Do you realize how big this is? It’s big. It’s big because before this year, an encounter with a difficult person like this would have left me for hours or maybe even an entire day upset and blaming myself, wondering why I am the way I am, and a lot of other terribly self-pitying behavior.

How about you? Did you cheat on your diet? Don’t beat yourself up! Did you eat healthy for five days before that? Then focus on those five days because you are making imperfect progress. Did you yell at your kids instead of using love and logic? Okay, you might have been tired or hungry, and next time you will realize that and won’t yell.

This is the thing about change–don’t give up. We all deserve the life we want. 

By the way, I’m currently having an Editor 911 sale and a writing coaching sale. Here are the details: Now through June 30, 2017, I am running a sale on my Editor 911 and writing coaching services. Regular price for a content edit OR proofread is $3.00 a page (250-275 words).SALE price $2.25 a page.FULL edit  (content and proofreading) regular price $5.00 a page, sale price $4.00 a page. If you pay your total bill upfront with Paypal, receive a 10 % discount on top of the sale price. If you don’t have a project ready, but want me to work on it this summer or fall, you can pay a $100 deposit before June 30 to keep the sale price and use it anytime.

For writing coaching, regular price is $25 for 30 min. or $40 for 60 min. If you pay beforeJune 30, 2017, you can get a package deal and use the minutes however you want (including splitting it with a friend)! SALE package price is…300 minutes for $150 (savings of $50). You don’t have to use these minutes this summer; but you must purchase them by 6/30/2017. Writing coaching can be used to complete projects, define goals, discuss plot, etc. and in person (if you live within 15 miles of Margo) or by phone or Skype.

EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS: margolynndill (at) gmail.com

 

 

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Don’t Let Fear Rule You

I typed this title on this blog post, as if I don’t let FEAR rule me. I know sometimes I do. Actually, I have to make a conscious effort to NOT let fear rule everything I do. I first realized this only a couple years ago when a very good friend quoted Dune and said, “Fear is the mind-killer.” Here’s the entire quote if you haven’t heard it before:

Why do I bring it up today?

I’m the type of person who needs to hear the same advice time and again before it sinks in. And I’m still learning. I’m the type of person who probably needs an entire bedroom mirror full of quotes and tips and things I’ve learned from books, so I don’t forget them. BUT…I bring this up today because recently I heard Andrew McCarthy speak (Oh no, not this again, will she ever stop going on about him? you think) and he talked about Fear. He talked about Fear a lot. He talked about how we have to face Fear right in the face.

Immediately, I became defensive and thought: Who is he to tell us that we are fearful? Well, after listening to him talk from his heart and realizing how hard he tries at everything in his life now: writing, parenting, directing, AND how he is successful, I decided to listen to his message. He told a story to the audience, which he also wrote for National Geographic, about how he was on a 500-mile walking pilgrimage in Spain when he had a meltdown,  where he says, “I literally shook my fists at the heavens and cursed whatever God it was I half-believed in.”

He goes on to say (to read the whole article, please go here):

I became aware of something I’d in some way known all my life. It disclosed itself with the simplicity of the absolute. There wasn’t something lacking in my character; I had an overabundance of something. It had dictated so many of my actions, been behind so many decisions, obscured so much of my judgment. FEAR, I SAW IN THAT MOMENT, had ruled my life. The vulnerability between my shoulders was the space created when the weight of that domineering, life-directing emotion had been temporarily relieved. It was in this experience of fear’s absence that it began to lose its hold on me.

When he said the same thing in his talk at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, I realized that I have allowed FEAR to rule my life also, and most of us do, in spite of friends and the universe reminding us not to. I felt an overwhelming sadness and disappointment in myself at that moment because I wasn’t in control of my own life or my destiny. Fear was. Fear is.

I could give you a bullet point list of my fears, and many of you reading this would probably nod along; but instead of that, I decided that they can all be boiled down to one little sentence:

I fear that I am never doing enough–in my relationships, in my career, at my home, with my child.

And because of this, I spend a lot of time in chaos and worry and listmaking and pacing around my house, where I am not actually accomplishing anything. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s exhausting.

I want to tell you I’m done with it. I can’t do that yet. I can tell you: I want to be done with it. But we all know patterns and habits are hard to change. What I’m trying very hard to do, in this year where I’m also searching for Peace, is to be aware of when I am feeling Fear and figure out why. Then make a decision based on what I want for me life, and not on what Fear wants for my life.

“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?” ~Soledad O’Brien

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MOPS 28 Day Truth Challenge Days 22 to 28

Well, it has taken me more than 28 days, but I am finally finished with the MOPS 28 Day Truth Challenge, and I have to say–I’m proud to have finished! So let’s get on with it.

Day 22: Banishing Ghosts: What is the best smell in the whole world? What is a nostalgic smell for you?

Answer: I really like the smell of Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Soap. I have no idea why. I did work there for a while one Christmas season, and that was a particularly fun and joyful Christmas season. It also used to be in the bathroom of a close friend of mine. It makes me feel calm. As for a nostalgic smell–I like the smell of leaves burning, which reminds me of my first couple years of teaching when I lived in a small town, and you could burn leaves there. It also reminds me of fall, which is a great time of year.

Day 23: Campfires and Confessionals: When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

Answer:  The first thing that comes to mind is dating. So I guess that is what’s out of my comfort zone–but actually I don’t think it is anymore. It was, it definitely was. But I am lucky to have met someone very nice who is also understanding and seems to get me. So in going with it and going outside of my comfort zone–all actually paid off, which I think happens often when we step outside our comfort zones. I hardly ever hear anyone say: I stepped outside my comfort zone and it was terrible.

Day 24: Hearing God: What distracts you most from being present in  your life?

Answer: My thoughts about what we should be doing or that I’m not doing enough or what could I be doing better or what’s going to happen next? My thoughts keep me from being in the present–and I’ve noticed a couple of times, my phone–or the social media on my phone also distracts me.

Day 25: Forget-Me-Knots: Tell someone five things you love most about them and then hug them for longer than is comfortable. 

Answer: I will have to do this in person–not for the blog. 🙂

Day 26: A Dazzling Unfolding: Write down three things you want to become an expert in.

Answer: Well, I would like to become an expert in. . .practical parenting (you’ll see why in a minute), living within a budget, and living a balanced life (with exercise and healthy eating).

Day 27: The North Star: Describe a reoccurring dream you’ve had. What do you think it is trying to tell you? 

Answer: The most frightening, reoccurring dream that I have ever had is one where I am driving on a Bascule bridge , and just as I get to the middle, it raises up and my car starts to slide down. I have also had a reoccurring dream where I’m sitting on the side of a river, at a cafe, and I watch an airplane crash into a bridge. So I must have something with bridges.  I think these bridge dreams speak for times in my life when I have been crossing over to a new place or going on a new life journey, whether it’s my age, my job, my relationship status, adulthood–and I have had some trouble with change, so the difficulties with the bridges in the dream could symbolize that.

Day 28: Good Things Run Wild–One Big Thing

My one big thing is two big things: I am taking Katie on the little spring break trip to Kansas City AND I am going to start focusing more on writing posts about Practical Moms. 🙂 I don’t have that clearly fleshed out, but I’ve decided to just start on it instead of waiting–because I generally work better that way!

 

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MOPS 28 Day Truth Challenge Days 14 to 21

Well, even the best laid plans go awry …. If you read my last post, you obviously did not ever read a singular post about a love letter to my own body (as I had planned), and I am going to blame it on the fact that I was 1. Already behind 2. my mom went to the hospital twice last week. She fell on Sunday night, into her bathtub from a standing up position out of her bathtub, and so she has some bruised ribs–and a few other issues. Anyway, she’s been there now four days, and so this entire week has not quite gone as planned. This is the life of the sandwich generation. (If you haven’t read my previous MOPS TRUTH posts, you can find the links in the sidebar!)

But I have been thinking about my ONE BIG THING–and I might actually have two or three big things! 1. My little spring break trip with my daughter  2. Starting a new segment on this blog called Practical Moms Unite  3. a 5K (actually work up to it this summer)  okay, on to the truth challenge. . .

Day 14: Sensuality and Our Skin: Write a love letter to your body.

Answer: Dear Body: This is not easy to do. 1. I’m not great about professing my love 2. Over the years, you and I have had a tumultuous relationship. But I am committed to doing this challenge, so a letter I will write. . .after all these years, I actually do love HOW TALL YOU ARE. You provide me with many benefits that I now hold dear. You have given me long legs to run bigger strides and to look nice with dresses. In my 40s, if I gain 5 pounds around the holidays, it’s not so easy to tell because there are a lot of places in my long body to hide these pounds. I can see above a crowd. There are men who love tall women. (Who knew?) So, I love being tall, and I thank you, body, every day for getting me where I need to be and for healing and allowing me to live this life I am. Love, Margo

Day 15: Feminine Power: When is the last time you did something for the first time? 

Answer: Last week, I went to a bar in St. Louis and listened to some jazz music, and I have never done this before. I know–that sounds crazy and not like a big deal since I have lived here off and on all my life. But it’s on my mind because I actually said to U., “I have never been down here before” , and I called myself a virgin. 🙂 He said: Well I don’t know if we need to use that term. LOL

everything turned out fine

Day 16: Hospitable Hearts: When  were you changed by someone’s kindness?

Answer: I have to go back to the NICU with this question. I didn’t even know what to ask for when KT was in the NICU. But people did things anyway, without being asked, and I have to say that this is something these people taught me that I try to do today. They sent gift cards for restaurants near the NICU, in case her dad and I needed to get out of there for a while. They took days off of work to come sit with me. They made meals for my parents and for us at my parents’ house when we got home. They sent notes about their time in the NICU and how it all worked out. Not to mention the nurses, doctors, Ronald McDonald House volunteers, and March of Dimes staff members–we were showered with kindness. I have been lucky enough to have the kindest people in my life since then also, and it has taught me how the simplest gesture really can mean so much during a difficult time.

Day 17: More than meets the eye: Has your first impression of anyone ever been terribly wrong? Were you pleasantly surprised or disappointed?

Answer: This is a difficult question for me to answer because I tend to see the good in most people until it is too late. But since I am an optimist, I’m going to focus on the pleasantly surprised part of this question. I think the answer to this then would be my MOPS group–isn’t that funny? But it’s not because of them–it’s because of me. My first impression was this is a tight-knit group that I will never want to become a part of–I’m just doing this for KT, so she has something to do apart from me, every other week. HA! What a joke. These women are some of my best friends, once I opened up and became involved (that’s the key), and now I don’t know what I would do without them!

Day 18: Power of Story: What is one of your biggest regrets? What do you need to forgive yourself for?

Answer: I can never answer this question. And I will tell you why. If I did anything differently than how I did it, I would not have KT. I would not be a writer. I would not have my wonderful friends and family. I would never have met U. So, I am glad I did everything I have ever done because it has made me the person that I am today.  I am pretty happy with her. Sure, sometimes, I will say things like: I should not have majored in English. I should have known better. etc. But really, the only thing I regret or need to forgive myself for is when I have a bad day and I waste time on things that are not important OR allow myself to become negative OR get caught up in the pettiness of social media, drama and gossip.

Day 19: Eyes and Calling: What is the motto for this era of your life?

Answer: I have this hanging on my wall, thanks to MOPS: Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. And today, I’m going to add something to that: or what everyone THINKS I should be doing!

Day 20: Live Like Music: Is there a song that always takes you back to a specific time?

Answer: Is there a song that doesn’t? 🙂 I currently have a two-year free subscription to Sirius XM and I love it! I love the 70s on 7, 80s on 8, and 90s on 9! But if I’m going to think of one specific song that has meant something to me recently, I think I’ll pick: “The Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. If you watch the video below and listen to the lyrics, it will be pretty obvious why this song has meaning to me these past couple years, and it will always take me back to the summer of 2015:

 

Day 21: Failing Gloriously: What are you afraid of? If you weren’t afraid of these things, how would your life be different?

Answer: I am most afraid of putting myself out there and failing. It has been a fear for so long, AND I STILL have failed so many times; and I am finally realizing that this is true. SO…I’m done being scared. I try to be true to myself now with consideration for people that I love. I am trying to STOP worrying about all the bad things that could happen and just live. I am trying to recognize what is in my control and what is not. If I would have stopped being afraid of all my worries years ago, who knows what my life would look like now? I would probably have taken more chances at the very least.

Whew!

Come on–you blog reader–take a look at one of these questions, and answer it in the comments below. (Or if you are here from Facebook, answer me there if you like that better!)

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MOPS 28-Day Truth Challenge Days 11 to 13

I’m back with the MOPS 28-Day Challenge. . .I’m going to do Day 14 in its own post because it is about writing a love letter to your body. I’m going to try not to make this a bigger challenge than I have to. We’ll see. . .but here are days 11 to 13 from the MOPS challenge.

Day 11: Sabbath Like a Sunrise: What do you feel most grateful for? Make a list

Answer: Katie, my parents, current male person in my life :), my friends, technology, flexibility with work, my dog, my job, my house, my car, my writing, freedom, love, and a life full of opportunity.

Day 12: Time in the Light: What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning? 

Answer: Well, that depends on the day. Honestly. How do you answer this question for every single day? For example today, I looked forward to getting to blog for WOW!, seeing my friends at happy hour, and going shopping with a gift card at J. Crew.  Tomorrow, I will look forward to the fact it is FRIDAY.  On Saturday, I will look forward to getting Katie back (she’s with her dad today/tomorrow) and the beautiful weather we are going to have, as well as the fun trivia night for LHS Strolling Strings. So maybe the answer to this question is. . .I look forward to my life every day in spite of the fact that sometimes I feel overwhelmed or I don’t enjoy every single thing about every single day.

Day 13: What is your favorite color and what does it symbolize for you?

Answer: My favorite color is yellow. It is bright, sunny, cheerful. I also like green–reminds me of plants and spring and nature. It turns out, my high school colors (where did you go to high school?) were green and gold (LHS! RAH!); but that’s not why I like those two colors and that’s not what they symbolize for me. They symbolize happiness, brightness, nurturing, outside, spring/summer, beautiful weather, refreshment. . .According to this website: http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-yellow/  , yellow means:

Yellow, the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness, has conflicting associations. On one hand yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy, but on the other, it represents cowardice and deceit. A dull or dingy yellow may represent caution, sickness, and jealousy.

Studies show that the meaning of the color yellow can be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity, increased muscle energy. The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system.

And according to the same website, green means:

Green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and wall street.

The color green has healing power and is understood to be the most restful and relaxing color for the human eye to view. Green can help enhance vision, stability and endurance. Green takes up more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye and it is the dominant color in the natural. It is a natural choice in interior design as an ideal background or backdrop because we as humans are so used to seeing it everywhere.

I probably don’t have to tell you that for both of these, I am looking at the positive traits; but it’s always good to think about whether or not your love for these colors has anything to do with the not-so-positive side. . .

What is your favorite color and why?

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