karma can be good or bad: friendship part 2

God has an amazing way to remind you how rich your life really is…even when you are broke as HE double hockey sticks.

I’m going to preach again…specifically to those going through divorce…so forgive me if my opinions come across abruptly.

Those of us going through this (divorce) feel bad…we feel bad and don’t want to burden anyone with our ‘drama’. And when we do finally open up, I promise you, we don’t tell you more than 1/3 of what is really going on…until you probe…until you ask questions…and then we open up and are so thankful that you’ve asked the questions because we need someone to open up to but don’t want to be ‘that guy’ so we wait until we think someone really cares about what we are going through, to tell our story.

And we forget…we get so lost in our life story, marriage, children time-sharing, separation, and divorce, that we forget who we were before our ‘drama’ began…who we were and the life we lead before our divorce.

Friends remind us what we are made of

Earlier this week I was reminded. I had lunch with a woman that I admire, that I look up to, that I want to be like, who hired me for my career…who ‘found’ me. And something that struck me big time and I never thought about it before, was that she was surprised that I hadn’t shared this with her before she read it in my blog. When I reflected, I understood. I mean, I’ve known this incredible woman that led me to my life-career, for over 20 years…and I didn’t stop to pick up the phone to call her to tell her what was happening in my life. But I didn’t do it purely because I have her on a pedestal and I thought my pedestal was so much lower…reality check – my pedestal isn’t lower, in her eyes.

Another reality check…she sees me as her friend. Plain and simple. She cares about me, she knows me, she has lived life with me, we’ve unfortunately sat through two friends funerals together, and I overlooked this because I was trying to diminish my drama.

What I failed to realize is that my drama is her drama. She’s invested in me. She’s my friend. She loves me and all that I am. I should have picked up the phone.

My life lesson to those going through this – lean on those that have pushed you to where you are now because they are invested. Whether that is family or friends, look for them, reach out to them, private message them. You’ll be surprised how many are invested in your success – in life, not just career.

‘Friendly’ Advice

I read an article the other day about divorce and the importance of having friends during divorce. The one thing that the article didn’t focus on was actually reaching out ourselves to these friends. The article was all about how to help those that were friends of people going through divorce, and how to recognize the warning signs of when the ‘divorcee’ needed friends/attention. As a matter of fact, I’ve even written a blog post about it called ‘friendship‘.

The difference between my first post and this one is that unfortunately, I had only been through one divorce. That sucks to say. Sucks that I’m going through my second divorce.

The first was my choice, the second is not, so I’ve been on both sides of the table. And I’ve reread my previous posts about what my recommendations were to readers about how to handle things and I’ve followed through…and if I do say so myself – I was kind of spot on. I’ve put into practice the lessons that I learned the hard way and I’m coping with this loss a lot better than the first and the first was my choice. So I’d say that I’m ahead of the curve.

The article, though, that I read the other day, giving advice to the divorcee’s friends, was missing a few things:

* we want to be invited…to anything, especially something that is typically a ‘couples’ thing but if you invite us on our own, we read that as ‘you think we’re cool on our own’ and you want us there
* we are kind of ok with being the 3rd wheel or 5th wheel
* we need to get outside of our own head so please include us
* we promise not to bring up our ex if you don’t want us to…but if you do, that’s all on you. (and in all honesty, we don’t really have a lot to say about our ex so don’t be surprised or shocked if we don’t ‘trash’ them, even though we are thinking about how stupid they have been that day.)

Divorcee’s: Listen Up – Accept the help!

To the divorcee…and this is the more important point…REACH OUT if someone has said, call us if you need ______________ (fill in the blank) then take them up on it. Put on your big girl pants and pick up the phone and text them to tell them that you are going to show up and then don’t back out with a lame excuse. I 100% promise, that there is NO downside to showing up to a party or dinner or get together because you’ll have something else to think about other than the drama you dealt with earlier that day. It gives you the chance to get out of your own head.

You’ll leave feeling loved and having enjoyed yourself. And even if you hated every second of it – what’s the worst thing that can happen from it…you hate it but are thankful that you weren’t sitting at home in silence flipping through your wedding album??

One big feeling that I experienced the first go-around that I’ve learned to accept the second time, is help. Whether that be in someone dropping groceries off at your home unexpectedly or someone paying the check at a restaurant or someone offering you a place to live while you get on your feet or someone to pass along your resume, just accept it. You won’t always be in a tough spot financially. You’ll be able to repay them one day, whether it be with kindness, an outstretched hand, or financially. So accept it – your loved ones wouldn’t offer if they couldn’t do it or didn’t want to do it. Just remember this and pay it forward and pay it back. God will give you the opportunity.

And remember – as much as those going through divorce want karma to bite our soon-to-be-ex’s on the butt and can’t wait for that day…karma will also grace our loved one’s lives too.

Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to grab that open hand.

Quick Update:

(And as a little update…the ridge in my bed is almost gone…I just noticed it as I was typing this. It made me smile and I thought I’d share.)

the art of an apology, in 2017.

Screw up. Say sorry. Don’t do it again.

How hard is that?

I started to research this very tough subject and came across quite a few quotes that ran through about 5 steps each to help people say sorry and ask for forgiveness. And then it dawned on me, why in heaven’s name is it so hard to say sorry and mean it?

Stubbornness. Lack of caring about someone else. Self-centeredness and selfishness. Ego-centric personalities. All pathetic.

When I was little, I was taught, “If I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I was also taught, “If you hurt someone’s feelings or make someone upset, mess up, or say something mean, you say S.O.R.R.Y.” And mean it. and NEVER do it again. It’s as simple as that.

Why is it so hard?

In my humble opinion…

Because our generation (Gen X)got so used to hearing the sound of our own voices resonating over and over that “we are the best, ever, in the world” that we actually began to believe it.

And we’re a generation raising children under this same philosophy. It’s a little scary when you think about it because we’re also the generation that likes to reshare the quote “if you were spanked and survived, share this pic”.

And yet again, we are also the same generation that has parents that were some of the first generation that graduated from college, did better financially than their parents, thus we (my generation) had more financially stable (excessive) lives than our parents and grandparents, and yet we want to claim that we are down-to-earth.

If you call down-to-earth, having a maid visit your house daily to clean it and make dinner while your mom talks on the phone or goes to play golf (just fyi – this was not me – this was both of my ex-husbands), then yes, this is a decent portion of our generation.

Forgive me, because I love politics and am not meaning this to be political, but reality is reality…our parents flourished under Clinton (Bill). The economy did well, our parents did well, our parents bosses’ did well…everyone did well. And the argument will always be “which President did this come off of the heels of??”, yet the reality is simply…they did well, we did well, we had nice lives.

Yet, what are we teaching our kids? That excess is normal? That this is what should be expected and if you can’t provide it then you aren’t normal. That if you can’t provide this to your family, if you can’t minimalize or downsize or live under your means that you aren’t normal, that you aren’t enough…it’s tough and sad and has led to my second divorce.

My husband wanted an easy life ‘handed’ to him and I’m not easy. Not because I live an excessive lifestyle but because I wanted a partner, a guide, a leader, a “repairer”, not an easy-life-finder. I wanted someone that is tough. Someone that can handle life when it is amazing and when it isn’t amazing. Someone that could persevere to see the future and put family first instead of themselves.

And I guess I picked the wrong person.

Marriage isn’t easy. And his parents did a disservice to me and my daughter and my boys by teaching their son that if it isn’t easy to fix, then you run. That you find Mom to fix it for you (because that’s what she’s always done). Then you cut out early and find something else that’s easy.

And my husband did that in the way of finding “an easy” girl with no morals.

Because life was easy…he could demand what he wanted from her, make me feel less than enough and still feel good about himself.

And yet, when faced with the facts that he has screwed up royally, he still can’t say sorry. When I think about it, my soon-to-be-ex-husband has yet to say sorry either for everything he did to screw up our marriage and my life, the boys lives and the little redheads’ life.

I guess I’ve moved on from my ex-husband easier because I was the one to say “enough was enough” and it’s going to be harder because I don’t want to move on from Erik, but I have to face facts sooner than later. He won’t be the grown up and will always be a “peter pan”. Whether the Peter Pan syndrome is from nurture or nature, he’s a grown adult at this point and has to make his decisions on his own and face the consequences on his own.

My relationship with E is contentious right now and it’s purely because he has yet to say sorry for what he has done to ruin our marriage and relationship.

I have no idea what life would be like if he would just ‘own’ what he has done and say sorry. I think I could move on easier.

The one thing I know for sure is that my boys values will be different than their generations’ and even my generations’ values because they will own their mistakes and know how to say sorry…and mean it.

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #3

When I first announced this week’s adventure, all I got were groans, except from me – I was excited! I’ve had a massive shelving unit (covered in a green tarp) sitting in my driveway for the last month or so. The goal has been to paint it and move it into the house to help organize (aka downsize and organize) the kids toys.

My challenge in getting it done was the weather. If you’ve ever visited Florida you know that it’s bound to rain at some point during the day so trying to schedule a day to paint it when it wasn’t supposed to rain and then move it (with help) into the house took longer than expected. I’m sure my neighbors are just as excited as I am to not have this massive green thing sitting in our driveway.

The cutest little redhead played her part too and helped by taking a really long nap that day so that the boys and I could get it done and moved into the house before she woke up. 🙂

I was really proud of myself because I typically plan everything out in my head about how the event will occur and if it veers off course I get upset. After my beach adventure, I learned that there isn’t anything I can do sometimes except roll with the punches.

So I rolled with the punches. My boys are a little ‘protected’…I admit it…probably the only time I’ll admit it. I have this guilt that I carry about leaving their dad that I don’t think I will ever shake. I work hard to find a balance between always wanting my house to be fun, a place of rest and comfort and growing men that have to do chores and be responsible for their decisions. It’s probably not that different from the typical mom guilt, I think I’m just hypersensitive about it.

To say that laborious work is something that they aren’t used to, is an understatement. I have chores and chore charts and chore punch cards and chore rewards but it’s hard to create habits when they aren’t here every day. So this ‘adventure’ didn’t sound like a ton of fun to my two boys…until they saw what their hard work produced.

When we started the project, we attempted to use a paint sprayer that didn’t end up working, so we pulled out the paint brushes and went to town. What ended up being the most fun part of this ‘adventure’ was spending one on one time with the boys. Their friends from the neighborhood came over and my boys took turns painting with me and playing street hockey with their friends so I was able to spend 15-20 minutes with each of them at a time. It’s amazing what that can do to a relationship. Sometimes we talked about hockey, sometimes about their friends, sometimes about how long it was taking to paint the shelving, sometimes about how they were feeling about my relationship with their step-dad, and sometimes we didn’t talk. I loved every second of it.

The boys worked hard, got tired and even got some paint on them. I got some quality time and a painted shelving unit. I’d say it was a win/win for all of us.

My dad helped me move it into the house and my #2 little man went to town organizing toys and cleaning out their room. He’s my mini-me when it comes to my need to organize things. My #1 man liked to be able to stand back and admire his hard work. As much as I am a perfectionist, I love the imperfections that I see in each shelf that they painted. And I think that this ‘upcycled’ shelving unit will be one of my most prized possessions.

How I did I do this?

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and then slid them into sheet protectors and hung them on the front door. The day that I announced this was a day that they boys were coming home from their dads so they were quick to see it on the door.

#3: During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

#lovemykids #lovemyboys #lovemyredhead #lovemyfamily

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #1

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to face a few harsh realities happening in my life. One thing that I’ve decided, though, is to really focus on growing my relationship with my three kiddos by just simply having fun.

I watched a TED talk by Shonda Rhimes about a year ago and was inspired. If you haven’t watched it, it’s worth the 15 minutes to listen to every word. {Here’s the link – just copy and paste https://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything) She talks about how she decided to say yes each time her children asked for her time and about how hard it was to do and yet how fulfilling it was to do.

So my ah-ha moment came this week when I was doing some planning for my future and there was a little girl saying “Mom, Mom, Mom” and grabbing my pant-leg. I realized that I want to make sure that whatever career move I make that I make sure to just stop what I’m doing and have fun with them, pay attention to them, create an adventure with them each week.

‘Hockey Sticks and Pink Bows’ will be our adventure each week and my plan is to document and share each adventure with you. Feel free to use any of these ideas for your own adventures. Most will be no more than spending time together as a family, some will be adventures that take us to new places, and some will teach us something new.

This week’s adventure was something simple but so much fun. There’s a new show that will be on TV based off of the popular game app, Candy Crush, and my oldest has been dying to see it. So we went to the dollar store and picked out $9 worth of candy. I know $9 doesn’t sound like much but trust me – it’s a lot and it really hits you how much candy you gave them about 30 minutes after the sugar hits their system. And then we sat down and watched a different game show (because I was wrong about the start date :)) and I asked open ended questions and they answered during the commercials and I even received a “Mom, that was fun.”

That was it…a quick little game show. But it was family time. It was a good time to ask questions and for me to be reminded how smart my kids really are. It was technology free (except the TV). It was peaceful. It was exciting. It was an adventure in being still and just ‘being’.

How did I do it?

This one was a pretty simple. I listened. I listened to what the kids were saying they wanted to do. And I wasn’t directly asking…I was reading between the lines.  Listening for when they got excited or when they mentioned something more than once. And then, like I mentioned earlier, I got excited. I looked forward to fun and to family. And then I got them excited because of my excitement and then they didn’t care that it only cost $9 for this week’s adventure. They were excited because it was something that they wanted and I made a big deal out of what they wanted and communicated to them that I care enough to listen. Even the little redhead joined us and her little giggle was the icing on the cake.

Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and then slid them into sheet protectors and hung them on our fridge. The boys are quick to get the redhead her juice in the morning so they read it before I was even awake and started to get excited right away.

During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our 2nd adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the 2nd adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

Love these kids!

Have an amazing weekend!

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11 things i will teach my daughter

I spent some time at my parents house last week and while I was collecting my thoughts and enjoying some peace and quiet I created this list for the cutest little redhead in the world. My world gets so chaotic sometimes that I forget these things easily so my hope is that she will cling to these when times get challenging (and that I’ll remind myself of these also).

11 Things I will teach my daughter.png