Friday, May 13, 2011

Enough already!

I bought one of those Page-A-Day calendars on clearance in January for like $2.37. How could I pass up daily inspiration for $2? It is appropriately called, "Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much." OK, stop laughing. I know you can't teach an old dog new tricks...or can you?
For the days that seem strikingly profound in their 4x4 inch bit of wisdom, of course, it ends up stuck on my fridge. One of them says, "Every day we complete many tasks, and yet we often see only those left undone. Stop to look at all you have accomplished...a meal prepared, a report finished, a phone call made, an issue resolved... When viewed from this perspective, our lives are filled with completed tasks!"

I should feel that way right now. I've had an extremely productive week. Monday was a lot of here and there (and did I mention I ran - ok walked some and ran some - 4.4 miles? Uh...that's another blog!) Tuesday I had my brakes on the car replaced and got groceries. Wednesday I cleaned out the garage. Thursday I went to the bank, washed the car, cleaned off the front and back porches and got out the patio furniture and painted a bench for the back porch. Today I changed the sheets on all of the kids' beds, redeemed cans and bottles for Kayla's Relay team, did about a zillion loads of laundry, planted flowers and weeded around my front flower bed, and got my oil changed. My awesome neighbor mowed the lawn, so I'm good til the rains that are supposed to start tomorrow pass again. In the midst of all of that each day I got the kids to soccer and baseball and talent show rehearsal and dance. Kids were fed, bathed, and school ready and transported wherever they needed to go.

So why, after all of that, do I still feel like I need something more? What is going on with me. When will I feel satisfied? *sigh* I really do feel like I can accomplish more now that I have done all of this. I am sure some of these projects don't sound that daunting, but when you consider that the porches and garage had become unrecognizable, and the weeds had gone rampant after record rains this spring...yeah, it was a lot of work.

Somehow, all I can see is what is left that I still need to do. I want to slap myself.

I know that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. I'm really only 5 days in. I got so many "big" projects done because every morning I woke up and decided, "THIS is what I am going to do today." Instead of writing a to-do list that covers the front and back of a legal pad sheet of paper, I have been choosing one or two things that I can start and finish in a day. I work them around my other commitments, and at the end of the day, I can actually cross some things OFF my list. It really is amazing. If I can learn to use that process, then I am sure I can learn to give myself credit for what I have done, and allow myself to ENJOY that satisfaction that comes with a job well done.

The to-do list is fine, it helps me to have a starting point to organize my thoughts, but I have put aside thinking that I have to touch EVERYTHING on the list every day, and thinking that I have to get twenty enormous tasks done to feel like I'm worthy.

I also know somewhere in the back of my mind that getting so many things done is only setting me up for future success. Having an organized, comfortable, welcoming home makes so many other things in life easier. I'm more productive when tasks (like a buried back porch or 8 loads of laundry) are kept managable and are addressed in small bits instead of huge chunks. I also know that life flows more smoothly for everyone in my life when I can find what I need when I need it. That goes for the kids as well.

I guess I really am feeling good about where I am headed, and I know I am on a path of change for the better. I just want to be able to sit down at the end of the day satisfied that I have done enough, instead of feeling like I should or could have done more.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Smart guy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When you're down...all that's left is up.

"Sometimes, when you're feeling your lowest, the real you is summoned.

And you understand, maybe for the first time ever, how grand you are, because you discover that vulnerable doesn't mean powerless, scared doesn't mean lacking in beauty, and uncertainty doesn't mean that you're lost. 

These realizations will set you on a journey that will take you far beyond what you used to think of as extraordinary. 

There is always a bright side."

I have had this posted on my fridge for a few years now. I haven't read it, I mean really read it, in a very long time.  Today was the perfect day. 

This was following a friend posting this today as his FB status:  "You may start small, but if you stay faithful, you’re not going to end small. Don't be discouraged in a season of preparation. You’re developing strength, trust and confidence. God's developing a foundation so that He can take you to new heights!"

So many words that keep bouncing around in my head.  The real you.  Vulnerable.  Scared.  Uncertain.  Faith.  Yeah, that last one is the one I am needing most right now.  But we all have to start somewhere, right?

It seems like that I have a million fears and frustrations that are in my way.  It has been a long time since I have felt this vulnerable, scared, and uncertain.  But if I stay faithful, I can get wherever I want to go, right?  Well, I'm determined.

There is so much that I want to get out of my head, but right now, it is enough to admit my fears, and realize that they don't define me.  It is enough to know that every day, in every way, I'm building a new foundation for myself and my family and our future.

I have to stop trying to overcome everything at once, take stock of what I am able to accomplish in a day, and keep focused on the goals I have.  I've been so caught up in the chaos in my mind that I have forgotten that.

Well, that is why I post notes on my fridge, literally, and now through this blog - to remind me of my purpose...and to always look for the bright side.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How to Save A Life

Advance apologies for the ensuing mental vomit - it's chaos in my head, and it has to come out somewhere...

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

This poem is on my fridge.  When I first read it, I was dumbfounded.  I knew that it spoke to me, that it was a message I needed to hear.  In the past few days, I continue to be drawn to it, but the voice is louder now.  It is practically screaming, "Do SOMETHING!" 

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday.  "Why am I stuck?", I asked.  I mean, if my life changes, if things are different - well then, things are just different, so WHAT is stopping me from DOING SOMETHING?? 

Perhaps it is just a giant question of how to define something...well WHAT then?  I have no idea.  Well, I have some idea.  When I have been looking at my life lately, all I see is a big fat "F".  Of the things I dreamed I would have: an education, a loving husband, children, an amazing career, financial security...I have only one - the kids.  But all that keeps weight on me these days is that I NEED all of those other things to give my kids what THEY need so that their dreams can come true. 

Well, that was a fine how do you do.  In just typing that, I figured out what is weighing me down.  It is that enormous pressure that I put on myself to get it right, to not make any more "mistakes", because now, it isn't just about MY dreams.  Their dreams - the dreams of three other human beings - hinge on mine.  It is that crazy ripple effect.  I'm the pebble, but instead of thinking that I'm putting out a tiny flutter across the surface, I feel like any choice I make is going to result in a tsunami.  I have SUCH a mindset of failure that I'm paralyzed by the fear of future failure.  Mental punching bag, anyone?

Well aren't I just an idiot?  We ALL fall down.  We all screw up.  Ups and downs, and around and arounds.  That's life, right?  The roller coaster.  Staying with the water metaphor, it is the ebbs and the flows.  Some of the greatest inventions of our times were accidents.  Some of the greatest people in history failed famously, and publicly.  That's the deal, right?  Try, try, and try again. 

I have to get out of my own stupid way.  I have to DO SOMETHING. I can't just say I want to do something.  I have to listen to that voice, and set out on that journey, because some dreams just WON'T WAIT!

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I've Learned

There is a magnet in the middle of my fridge.  It says, "In raising my children, I have lost my mind, but found my soul." How true this is.

I had no idea that I could love so deeply.  Sometimes, I swear I'm certifiably insane, and all I can find to explain the crazy is the depth of my love for these three little people who call me, "MOM". 

I always dreamed of finding my true love, of truly being able to say "you are the love of my life."  Only today, in this moment, have I realized that THEY ARE!! There it has been, in front of my face for almost 11 years now.  The three loves of my life are my children.

My first child was due on Mother's Day.  She is my little flower, my springtime gift, and with her birth, a mother was born.  She is everything new and beautiful.  She is my inspiration, and when I look at her I want to be a better person.  In her eyes I see compassion, innocence, and pure love for humanity. 

My second child came in the fall.  He is color and light and a reminder that change is good, it is the only constant there is in life.   He is insightful and sensitive and intuitive.  Despite struggling as the middle child to find his way, his emotions run deeper than either of his siblings.  He is love and perseverance embodied.

My third child was an unexpected Christmas gift.  I knew I wanted a third child, but little did I know that I would get this little piece of perfection that made my family complete so soon.  Born in the cold of winter, he is warmth and happiness and joy.  He always has a kind word, a compliment, or a deep thought to share.  He is charming and smart and a sharp dresser.  He completes a trinity of awesome love that makes me who I am...Mommy.

These three amazing children are so different.  They are their own unique, brilliant, beautiful people.  Yes, they share the same eyes, and they share amazing senses of humor, and to my elation, senses of self.  They share a bond as siblings that I cannot explain, because I have no siblings of my own.  They are each other's best friends, and sometimes worst enemies.  In each other, they learn diplomacy, patience, sharing, negotiation, communication, and their own special kind of love.

I LOVE being a mother.  I love being THEIR mother.  I bake cupcakes for all the holidays and we play with play doh and finger paints and I am on the PTG and volunteer with their sports and clubs.  There is a steady stream of kids visiting our house.  There are toys and books in abundance, and poster frames in the stairwell to display their artwork.  There are signs everywhere that this is a home filled with kids.  I hope that it is as obvious that it is a home filled with love.

I wrote in recent days of wondering what I wanted to do and be...but the reality is, that all that I could ever aspire to do pales in comparision to being a mother.  This IS what I was meant to do, and who I am meant to be.  While they inspire me to pursue greater things, I know that as long as I am loving and nurturing them, I am giving the best of myself to this world.

Today is not about flowers or gifts or cards or meals, it is about pure love and gratitude.  There will never be words to express the depth of the love I feel for them, or the appreciation I have for the amazing gift I have been given in being their Mom.

Happy Mother's Day.  I'm off to try to collect the scattered thoughts in my mind, and hug and kiss and squeeze the living, walking, laughing, breathing pieces of my soul...

I love you, Kayla, Tyler, and Ryan!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Been perusing some of my old MS blogs, reflecting a bit.  This one seemed perfect to share, especially with tomorrow being Mother's Day.

Subject : My HERO !
Posted Date: : Feb 26, 2009 11:34 AM

I've been battling this cold for almost 2 weeks now. I woke up at about 12:30 this morning after my phone went off. I realized the bedtime meds I had taken had worn off, so I ventured down the stairs to take another dose. Good thing I turned on the kitchen light, as I reached for the faucet to get some water for the pills, I looked down and a black hideous spider the size of a half dollar went scurrying across the bottom of the sink. Without thinking, I screamed. I grabbed the sprayer hose and started dousing it, and rinsed it down the drain. I let the water keep running to ensure its demise, and in the chaos I had created, had not heard the footsteps on the stairs.

"Mommy, are you OK?" a voice from behind me asked. I turned around, and there was my 8 year old daughter. Half laughing, half crying, I replied, "It was a really really really big spider!" "I heard you scream, and I was worried about you!" she said.

Wow, without fear for herself or what prompted the scream, there she was, saving me. I wonder if she knows how often in my moments of weakness, that without words, she does that. She, and her brothers, inspire me. They show me my own strength, and they remind me of what I'm living for.

I hugged her, apologized for waking her, and invited her to snuggle up in my bed - not for her - for ME ! (I couldn't rid my mind of those 8 nasty legs !) We cuddled up together, and as we drifted off to sleep she whispered, "I love you, Mommy, I'll be right here..."

For some reason, the Rascal Flatts tune, "Every Day You Save My Life..." is running through my head.  How those little babies of mine do just that.

How to find Happy

Happy, he's one of the Seven Dwarves, right?  It certainly does seem these days that happy is some elusive part of a fairy tale that I just can't seem to find...

In the very center of my fridge is a clipping from a magazine (Oprah, I think!)  It says, "What would it take to make you happier in the next 10 years...the next 10 months...the next moment?"

The truth is, I'm really not sure these days.  So, here I am, writing again to try to figure it out. 

10 years?  Sounds like a job interview.  "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"  If you asked me that 10 years ago?  The answer wouldn't have been where I am right now.  Single mom of three struggling to get ANYTHING right - yeah...not fairy tale material.  Do I know what the next decade might bring?  I have a hazy vision of what I'd like it to be, but no real concrete answer.  Of course, I want to be fully immersed in my happily ever after.  Happy, healthy, nearly grown kids.  Celebrating anniversaries with a fabulous husband.  Crazy successful, lucrative, gratifying career. A boatload of memories of ten years well spent, and looking forward to another half century of living.  Is that too cliche'?  Too vague?  I know this paragraph has a lot of question marks.

If we manifest our lives, then what is it that I really want ten years from now? How do I place a specific order with the Universe that says, "Life, I want NO MORE wasted years!  I want the happy ending!"?  Maybe I need to narrow things down a bit. 

10 months?  OK, a little less hazy, I mean I can make a laundry list of what I'd like to accomplish.  Healthier lifestyle including weight loss, yoga, running the Boilermaker, and meditating daily.  Keeping a vision board so that the dreams are more tangible.  College leading to Bachelor's degree and aforementioned career.  Financial stability.  Amazing guy in my life.  Travel.  Home improvements. (this list could get ridiculously long!)  QUALITY time with my kids.  Memories made with friends.  Stellar performance in my volunteer roles with the middle school PTG and hockey association.  Wow, as I am typing, I'm finding that this, too, is pretty ambiguous.  What the hell DO I want?

This minute.  What do I want in THIS minute? I want to feel joy.  I keep trying to choose it, but it seems to keep escaping me. I'm sitting in this funk, trying to figure it all out, and the chaotic whirl of what if's in my head just leaves me...stuck.  I want to have a plan.  I want to wake up every morning, put my feet on the ground, and have a purpose, and know I'm getting closer to the life I've always dreamed of.  What would it take to make me happier?  I really don't know...but I am bound and determined to figure it out.  I need focus, and a plan. 

I don't want Happy to be part of a fairy tale. I don't want it to be a place I'm trying to get to, I want it to be the place where I live every day.  I think it's just going to take a little more time to sort out exactly what it is that brings me that feeling, and immerse myself in it.  It's time to shake the funk, and dive into a big vat of happy.  Now...which way do I go? Anyone have a map?

I'm running out of magnets...

Since the MySpace days faded, I really haven't found a place to purge.  Writing is how I let it all hang out, and scatter my thoughts to the winds of cyberspace til they come back making some kind of sense.  I needed to find a place to collect my thoughts again, so here I am.

I named the blog "Notes From My Fridge", because everyone who comes to my house always comments on the inspirational tidbits I have stuck here and there.  Since my kitchen is a pretty popular gathering place, that is a lot of reading going on.

It's true, words inspire me.  I love quotes, poems, magazine articles, news headlines...anything that really makes me stop and think.  When I find something really amazing, I cut it out, and stick it on my fridge.

So, thanks for stopping by...I hope you'll follow along.  Some days you'll find all kinds of fresh insights, and some days it may be a case of "what's that smell?" as I'm trying to identify mystery leftovers, but either way, I promise what you'll get is honest, from the heart Tanya.

Ahhhh, a fresh new blog!  I feel better already!