The Year 2019

Everyone has been reflecting over the past few days as 2019 came to an end. I have too in my head and have not known where to start. I even felt at one point, why write about it? My answer? Write about it for me. Write about it for those that will read it. Write about it to document your past. Talk about it, just in case it helps someone else. So here I am and it’s January 1, 2020.

Born in 1982, I have now lived in 5 different decades, 2 centuries and 2 millenniums. I am not certain if I would have thought that deeply about it had it not been floating around Facebook and Instagram. Goodness gracious. I feel like I have seen a lot, however, my grandfather-in-law passed away last week at the age of 92. Think about what he saw! I graduated high school almost 20 years ago. *almost hyperventilating* It doesn’t feel like that as I remember it so clearly. My best friends are still from that time in my life or shortly after. Maybe that helps with that feeling.

Since getting married in 2011 life has had it’s ups and downs. Marriage is not easy. Moving to a new town was not what it was cracked up to be. Being a mom is difficult. Throw those 3 things into a 10 month span, it was a rocky ride. A rocky ride that didn’t settle down. Until 2019 that is.

What happened in 2019? Let me back up a ways. I had a doctor tell me late in 2017 that I was normal. The overwhelming feelings I was having was normal. Nothing was wrong with me. She prescribed me some medication, yet didn’t think I needed it. She was right. I tried it. It made me feel tired and I quickly tucked it away knowing it was not right for me. She referred me to a counselor. This counselor was amazing. She too, said that what I had experienced was normal, that the rocky road I had endeavored would have caused a lot of people to feel the way I was. Sad, overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling heavy, and not knowing what else I could do. I felt alone in this town. I saw her many times and it helped me become aware. This awareness taught me that I was not alone. I had to go with my gut and take time for myself. I had to put distance between me and some people in my life. Without going into too many more details, details that I promised I would not share, I had to make some decisions. I had to speak my mind in a calm and direct manner and make some decisions. 2018 was a long year. A long year of reading books by Rachel Hollis and Jessica Turner. A year of discovering the Enneagram. It was the start to realizing for myself that I am ok to be me. I am ok to know what I am. I am ok to know that I am normal. I am ok to know that I am not asking too much.

2019 happened. Right at the beginning lightbulbs were turned on in our home. It was like the universe shifted. We, or I, but really, we, waited out the storm. I was blessed to attend two courses through my work on leadership. Again, my eyes were opened. I was not alone. There were tools to help me and others through our troubles. We just have to be open to them. We have to be open to change. Not everyone is and that is ok too, but, some changes have to be made to remain healthy. Thanks to Brene Brown, thanks again to Jessica Turner and to Elizabeth Gilbert, I was brought back to life. These authors speak very powerful words!

Now, don’t get me wrong. 2019 still had its downs. It was not peachy keen all the time. However, with hard conversations, keeping an open mind, acknowledging people’s differences, and because of the hard work I put into studying myself, it was less overwhelming. We are still climbing this newer steep hill, or at least, in my mind we still are.

Towards the end of 2019 I took a new job. One that caters to my strengths. I am excited to test how this works out for me in 2020. Now, if someone reads this from my new place of employment, they may have caught the word “test”. I am not going anywhere. Testing my strengths at this job has already proven how it lifts me up. Focusing on my strengths has worked for me. I am not fighting a part of my life like I was. I can’t wait to dive more into this topic and share what I learn. I am fascinated with how others work. How do we help others find their light? I ponder what the world would be like if we all realized how to be our best self, how to acknowledge our wrong doings and lift each other up.

I welcome the new year and all that it will bring. The good and the bad.

Curiosity Leads To More Books

We have all heard about the dog that gets distracted by a squirrel. Or someone gets lost down a rabbit trail. Well, I get distracted by shiny objects. Or, maybe I can call it being curious. I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test this summer. Input and intellection were two of my top five strengths. Both talk about reading to become more knowledgeable about subjects so I can relate (another top five strength) to others. That would explain how I read two totally random books this year. I started them this summer and finished them both just recently. Kennedy Ryan’s writing encouraged me to read White Fragility and Come As You Are.

I have always been interested in other cultures. Our heritage, our race and our upbringing helps shape us. Whether we embrace it or shy away from it. Often times, Kennedy has her characters intertwined in interracial relationships. I am a Scandinavian woman living in the Midwest. I grew up listening to gangsta rap and watching Boyz n the Hood. I am far from the world 2Pac lived in. So very far away. I came across White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as I tried to find a book that discussed living as a minority. I listened to the audiobook version. It changed the way I tried to prep myself to explain race to my girls. I thought I was going to teach them that they should treat others all the same. I realize I was not preparing myself to say the right words though. They need to acknowledge the differences we all bring to this world. We are all unique. We have our ancestors. We have all struggled in some way or another. We may have different skin colors, speak different languages and maybe have a different God. What we all deserve is love, kindness and respect. That is what I have always prepared myself to say to my kiddos. This book helped me come up with the right words. This book made me feel shame. It made me feel sad and angry. It was not an easy read, however, I hope that it opened up my eyes and my heart. I hope that it helps form me into the loving human God wants me to be.

Come As You Are. Far from any book I have read before. I tell you though, I plan on providing this book to my girls when they near adulthood. It’s “far too much” for a teenage girl to read, but I wish I would have known what a “normal” woman’s sexual health is like. There is no normal. That is the thing. I read about Kennedy Ryan’s strong women characters with sexual confidence and desire. Far from this girl right here. I am not like those girls. I am hardly a rated R version *sigh* all I am going to say is I highly suggest this book. For the hubby’s out there, not a bad one to read to gain some perspective.

To wrap this up, I am amazed at where by brain wonders these days. I am amazed that I go to read a mindless romance novel, which I am so thankful for, and I turn the page wondering what is the best book to educate me on random topics.

Thank you for the many talented authors out there. Ryan’s latest work, The King Maker, is another great piece of art.

The thing I fear most about my kids…

Many of you with kids may have conferences around this time of the year. I am blessed that our girls are doing well academically. I could use this time to talk up my kiddos, and believe me I could, but this post is about the thing I fear the most with my kids. Are they nice? In a world where there is so much hatred, disrespect and bullying I truly want kids that are nice to one another. If they are not doing well academically, I want them to try their hardest. That’s all.

When Stella came home with this piece of homework it made my heart sing. It made me smile. It brought tears to my eyes out of happiness. I got to hear her describe how God wants us to like others, like us, and not like us.

Dear God, please keep this mindset with Stella. Let her welcome people of all different backgrounds into her life. Amen.

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Summer Smiles & Silliness

A couple of months ago while I was reading my Happiness Project book and the Girl, Wash Your Face book I was reminded and challenged to act like a kid and have some more fun. I almost didn’t go out onto the boat with my family and friend who was visiting. Ugh, I reminded myself, go, you will have fun. “Take your book” my hubby said, “you can sit, relax and read”. Yeah right, I thought. My kids are not great swimmers, being on the boat makes me a nervous Nelly, even with their life jackets on. I went. And guess what? I had fun! Stella even said “you are just like a kid today mom”! I was genuinely relaxed and having fun. I swam around and around without a life jacket. Enough to count it as exercise I supposed. And I had a smile on my face the whole time. Practice. Life takes practice. Having fun should not take practice, but relaxing and genuinely having fun does for me. Here is to more practice! It was well worth it! I was happy. Hubby was thankful I went out. The kids loved it.

Friday Favorites: The Magic of Motherhood

I will soon be adding this to my list of books I have read in 2018. I am half ways done and feel I need to add this as one of my Friday Favorites. I picked his book up a couple of months ago and just started to read it a week ago. In the introduction of The Magic of Motherhood Ashlee Gadd says “this is the book I wish I had received as a new mother”. I agree 100%. I am not certain I will have a lot of friends become first time moms from here on out. If I do though, this will be the gift I present to them. I have laughed, I have cried, I have said “oh my goodness, me too”. After having both children breakdown tonight by 6:45, I felt exhausted and like I have failed at raising well behaved kids. Now, I know better. They are well behaved kids. I have not failed. They were the ones exhausted. This book makes me feel human. It makes me feel like there is magic in this world of being a mom.

Smart, Sassy & Six

We celebrated Stella’s 6th birthday yesterday, and my 36th. Yes, we get to celebrate our birthdays together. We spent the morning putting together her new LEGO set. It is rewarding for me to watch her brain work and follow the directions. We make them per the directions once or twice and then I get to see her imaginative side take over and create something of her own. While the girls went down for an early nap T accompanied me to Barnes & Noble. He is not a shopper nor is he much of a reader of books. He researches and reads things online, but it was out of his norm to tag along with me. I found two books on sale, sales are not my norm so this alone was a happy moment, and then I bought a new journal. A journal that gives writing direction as opposed to a blank one. Once the girls woke up we attended a family wedding reception. Another joy to see T’s cousin’s kids run around and play together. It was a long day for a new six year old. She lit up whenever someone found out it was her birthday. Great Aunts chatter her up and her animated stories flew. I went to tuck her into bed last night and she burst into tears. She does this when she leaves people that she gets to have around, family and friends, babysitters and teachers. She clung onto my arm and didn’t want me to leave. Tears came to my eyes. Six years ago she was having a hard time presenting herself to the world, clinging to my insides, this night, she clung to me just a little differently. My cup runneth over. I took my glasses off and laid down beside her careful not to let her hear the happy sobs wanting to burst inside of me. Within two minutes she was in a deep sleep. I escaped from her room and twenty minutes later I was in a deep sleep of my own.

Our star, our Stella, emerged out of her shell this year. She is my Gemini, my mini-me, my twin. I love her to pieces. She is observant, kind, creative and artistic, a reader, a helper. We are blessed with her voice. Happy Birthday sweet Stella!

Six Years Ago

This time six years ago I was having lunch by myself at Applebee’s. I had just left my final doctor appointment with T before Stella arrived. She was a week overdue. That morning the doctor explained they wanted me back at the hospital later that afternoon. They would do something to see if the baby would come on it’s own, if nothing happened overnight they would induce me the next day, June 9th, my 30th birthday. What a bunch of emotions I was having as I sat there by myself. T had to go back to work to wrap things up as it was year end. It was the spring where it was hotter than normal, this made me extra uncomfortable. I was ready to have a baby, we didn’t know if it would be a Stella or an Everette. We were excited to find out, but things were about to change.

That evening we ate licorice, played cribbage and watched the Twins as nurses came and went. I hardly slept. Too excited and nervous. All I remember of the day, my 30th birthday, was showering up, the uncomfortable epidural, and then rolling from side to side. I really don’t remember the contractions, I feel like I was in a fog all day. I do remember just wondering when “it was going to happen”. As we were nearing the end of the night, I remember the nurse saying I had finally dilated enough to get excited…and then they checked again and they realized they were wrong. I distinctly recall the disappointment. I then got sick to my stomach and pretty much ended up in the operating room for a c-section. One of the nurses had really cool shoes on and for some reason I remembered this, even to the point where I recalled her when she came into the clinic where I worked months later. Leave it to me to remember something like that. *smile* They told me it was a girl, she finally arrived and appeared to be healthy. T got to go be with her. I went to recover and felt like I passed out. My birth story was not how I visioned it to be. I don’t know if many are. I didn’t have a birth plan per say, but I wished for the baby to come without being induced, and knew from my research that I would try for no epidural unless I was induced. Ideally, I just wanted us all to be healthy and have God surround us and our medical staff. Recovery was a little longer than expected, a few extra days in the hospital to make sure I was healthy and strong enough to go home. Here we are. Healthy, happy and blessed.