mid-week motivation: 6 things that i’m thankful for this week

My #1 man had a big birthday this week. And I sat, the night before, and boo-hoo’d. Not because it was a reminder that I was getting older and my ‘baby’ wasn’t so much of a baby anymore, but because I’m so incredibly proud of him and feel so fortunate to be his mom.

I also reflected that never in my life could I so clearly say that ‘it takes a village’ to raise kids. I’m surrounded by such incredible people and so much love that I thought I’d pause to take a moment and show some gratitude. I’m hoping that this will give you a mid-week ‘bump’ of encouragement…look outside of what is happening and list out everything that has been amazing, fantastic, or inspiring. You’ll be surprised how big the list is…and you’ll have hope that the next day will be just as amazing as today. Seriously, write down things like, “I didn’t stub my toe again” or “I didn’t lose my cool when the parents in car line cut me off”. Those are things to thank the good lord for – trust me, I’ve been there.

I have a ton of garbage in my life right now that is working its’ way out and I realized that even with all of the garbage (my Irish Idiot) I have TWO TONS of amazing things happening in my life also. So here’s my gratitude list to inspire you:

I’m so Thankful for:

1. The Good Lord.
I’m in no way perfect, but my journey toward having a closer relationship with him starts new each day, and I can honestly say that I feel the daily hug; the daily peace that comes with knowing that even when I’m at my lowest point, that I have someone that won’t judge me, curse at me, loves me regardless of my flaws, and will always be there for me. That is something personal and incredible and I can only hope that each of you reading this will experience this one day.

2. My Kids.
I walked into my kids room tonight and saw beauty…really saw peace, tranquility, love, and perfection. There is nothing like knowing that your kids are safe and sound and together. The love that they share is incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more perfectly imperfect children. They drive me insane some days but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want anything different than the strong-willed, happy, laughing children that I have been blessed with. My life wasn’t complete until they arrived.

3. My Family.
I don’t know how to put into words what my family has done for me. Whether it’s been to help me fix a toilet roll holder, give me moral support during a tough moment, or help me coordinate the who, what, where, when, how, of the kids athletic and school schedules, they are there…always. And when you get a message on Facebook or a text from a cousin just checking on you, life seems not-so-bad. My life is full because they are in my life. I couldn’t do life without them. They are saints!

4. My Friends.
I’ve said this before but my friends are amazing. Simply perfect. They seem to have a way to coordinate who will text me and who will call and who will invite me out and who will stop by at just the perfect time. And even though I know that this isn’t really what is happening, they really do have just the perfect timing. Whether it’s to text me because they care enough to remember that a particular day represented an emotional memory or they invite me to dinner to spend time with just the girls, my friendships couldn’t possibly be stronger. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. They are saints too!

5. YOU!
All of you reading my blog give me encouragement. It’s hard for someone to put their emotions, life, and experiences to words, hit the ‘publish’ button and wait…wait for reactions, not knowing what they will be. Some of you may hate that I’m discussing my divorce(s) so publicly, some of you have reached out and shared incredibly personal stories about your relationships, but all of you have encouraged me to keep ‘talking’ about what is happening in my world. Every day that my ‘viewership’ grows, and even if it doesn’t and I only get one view, I am encouraged to write again. Someone out there is validating that what I’m saying resonates with them or is entertaining them, of which either one is one of my goals. Thank you for your feedback, positive and negative…it’s been an incredible journey so far.

6. The guy that flirted with me.
Man, that felt amazing! Totally unexpected and not reciprocated, but man did that feel good. 🙂

Try it!

To help you get over the mid-week hump, take a moment today to write down five things or three or even one thing that you are thankful for. The memories that you’ll relive will be enough to get you through some of the toughest days.

xoxo Staci Beth

school year goals: hockey sticks and pink bows adventure #7

One thing that I’ve learned from my previous work-life is that until you actually write a goal down, commit to it, create a plan to reach it, verbalize it to someone else, ask them to keep you accountable to it, and take the first step toward reaching it, goals are simply just words. Nothing more.

And it doesn’t matter if this goal is set when you are 5, 15, or 55 years old. So, I’m starting my boys out young and when my little redhead hits Kindergarten or First Grade, she’ll do the same thing.

We needed to set school year goals – otherwise, what is there to look forward to??

I need to rethink that question though, because if you ask my 10 year old he’ll tell you that he goes to school to talk to his friends, play football at recess, and see that one special girl that holds his heart (currently). And my #2 man told me that “all boys are supposed to like a girl by third grade” so I have one year left to help him get a good footing in study habits and basic skill sets (reading and math) before I lose him to the sassy blonde at the front of the class.

Personal Goal Setting

When I started my blog, I ran with it. I jumped in, feet first, body first, no stopping, all in, kind of jumping in. Then I realized that I really loved this, loved writing, loved being honest, enjoyed the therapy, and needed to figure out where this was going.

So I stopped. Everything. Until I figured out my direction.

And I wrote down my goals. My mission statement. My dreams for the blog. My purpose for the blog. And it gave me even more strength and determination to get my voice heard, my mission understood, my knowledge out to those that needed it.

It was empowering. Truly mind-blowing, to type out my reasons behind what I was doing. And it gave me purpose; helped define my goal so that I could speak to others about it; set my goals. I was then a woman on a mission, which was the most powerful thing in the world.

I knew where I was, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. It helped me set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. While I haven’t met each and every one, by having them ‘written’ out, I’ve been able to go back and review, revise, accomplish, and dominate. There have been achievements that I have reached that I didn’t even know were possible while others fell by the wayside. I’ve been able to redefine the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ for each goal. It’s truly been incredible…especially in the midst of a divorce that I don’t want, that could have brought me to new lows…I have been riding new ‘highs’ because of my accomplishments with my blog. And this is all in addition to putting in quite a few hours for a job that I’m really enjoying, working social networks (verbal, in-person, and online) to increase business for a fantastic construction company.

Be proud and define your goals.

My accomplishments may not be mind-blowing to some, but to me, I have built my confidence through my own efforts, words and intelligence that I hadn’t even given myself credit for in the past. BUT, I don’t think that I would be as proud of myself or increased my self-confidence if I hadn’t taken the time to define for myself, where I wanted to be, specifically for each facet of the blogging-world. So simply saying, I want to be able to support myself in 12 months with blogging wasn’t enough because that is truly daunting. That gives me no vision, no marketing plan, no accomplishments to be proud of on the way to the true dream in my head.

Writing these goals down is key and setting up a plan is even more important. Asking someone to keep you accountable is another great step and finally constantly reviewing weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or etc., is critical.

Start ’em young.

So Adventure #7 focused on teaching this life skill to my boys.

I was shocked…this more than any other adventure so far, has been discussed almost on a daily basis since each of us wrote our goals down in our notebooks. My youngest is really the one that keeps asking if we can review our goals to see if we are closer to reaching them…and he’s seven years old. I’ve interpreted this to mean that regardless if you are 7 or 77, written goals hold you accountable and give you a mission, sometimes a purpose, for doing what you do every day.

I review my goals on a weekly basis and sometimes I struggle to find the time, but I force myself, and because I’ve spent the extra time doing this, I’ve reached some goals that I didn’t think that I would reach for another two months. It’s given me purpose.

I loosened the ‘review period’ for the boys so that we had more time to reach their goals because I had no clue what kind of goals they would set. For all I knew, they would tell me that they wanted to get a phone call from Sidney Crosby because he saw a video online that showed their hockey skills. (In reality, their goals were much more realistic, like learning how to write everything in cursive before their teacher asked.)

For this Adventure, we did the following:

1. We only spent 15 minutes on this adventure. Depending on the age of the kids, there are very few that will last longer than this.
2. Resist the urge to ‘hint’ to them what they should write down. They’ll surprise you.
3. They may need help with the ‘how’ to reach the goal. Offer suggestions but let them decide how THEY want to reach the goal.
4. Read through, out loud, each goal that they’ve decided they want to reach. And I would highly recommend that they are the person that reads these out loud. This is the accountability piece. They may be a little embarrassed at first but by the end, you’ll hear how proud they are of themselves. And they’ll see how proud you are too!
5. Set the goals aside. Don’t put daily pressure on them. I promise they’ll bring it back up – my seven year old did within three days.
6. Review at the holiday break in December. It’s likely that they’ll be halfway there anyway but they will feel proud of their accomplishments. If nothing else, you’ll help them realize how critical that it is that they set goals every day for the rest of their lives.
7. Use the second half of the school year to really help them reach their goals. Don’t add extra pressure to ‘homework’ life, but offer opportunities to improve a certain skill that they want to improve when you know there won’t be much homework and you can do it ‘undercover’.
8. Review their accomplishments at the end of the year…and celebrate it in some way, shape or form. Show them how rewarding it is to set a goal, work hard, and achieve it.
9. Sit back and take a picture of the proud grins on their faces and then tag me on Twitter so that I can celebrate with you! @stacielizabeth

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

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

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: During our adventure, I made sure that the paper that they wrote their goals on was saved in a special location, in order to avoid their sister’s apple juice spills, and added them to our scrapbook.
Our next adventure will repeat this process – I printed out a description of the adventure, and a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then added it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.


my war paint is on

Typically, on Saturdays I post about the ‘adventure‘ of the week that I was able to experience with the kids but this week was different.

I had every intention to complete our adventure, which tied to the start of school, but something got in the way.

I was served. With divorce papers. On a Friday. Somehow my soon-to-be-cheating-abusive-scum-of-a-soon-to-be-ex-husband found the money that should have helped me pay bills, since he deserted us, to pay for an attorney instead. I shouldn’t be surprised but I was for some reason.

I’ve started my process to cope with the loss of my marriage, which is truly like dying inside…experiencing a death of an immediate family member but I guess I wasn’t as far into the grieving/acceptance process as I had thought.

My scummy-ex is lazy. Ask anyone he works with or his customers – he is never on time for appointments or work. He didn’t get the pay increase he thought he should…because he’s late all of the time and has an attitude…irresponsibility is his middle name. And unfortunately, I’m just now realizing what I’ve always known about how sleazy of a person he really is.

As an example, my father is fixing sooo many things that he said he would fix around the house, or that he had broken, for literally years, but he just didn’t ever do it because he had other things to do, like drink or work on trucks or Jeeps that are now sitting in MY garage.

So my guess was that he thought he would continue to ‘cheat’ on me with the soul-less Bethany D. and not take the time or money to actually follow through with the divorce…always knowing that he could try later to be a ‘MAN’ and own up for what he’s done and apologize. BUT…he has decided to act as immature as the trash that he is with and bail…and bail in a BIG way, without remorse.

I’m not ready to go into what he’s asking for, but I can tell you that he’s a disgusting human being and whoever his attorney is, is disgusting too, and shockingly is a woman – I have no idea how she sleeps at night because it’s insane what he’s asking for.

Pathetic is who he has become. And the sad thing is, is that I can only guess that his mom is the one paying for his issues. His mistakes. Literally the one paying for the bed that he has made and she continues to ‘threaten’ to pull back the money but yet pays for everything…all so that ultimately, she gets her way…which is to see her granddaughter, even though she lies like he does. I’m going to get punished for his mistakes, all so that SHE gets her way…all because SHE has more money. Or so they think.

Good luck. State of Florida – Grandparents have NO rights. And I can fight grandparent money with grandparent money. And guess who has no issue doing it because their kid didn’t do anything to cause this. NOT his mom! At least my parents know that they’ll get their money back because they taught their child to be able to keep a GREAT job and do well financially! It must suck to know that three of your four kids have massive issues. And the funny thing is that the three with the issues speak SOO badly of the one child that doesn’t have the ‘mommy-dependency’ issues that they have.

And then I get this text today after he knows that I’ve been served: “We can solve this outside of court by being civil with each other.” Civil??? He wants to be civil??? He wants me to compromise with him when he wouldn’t even try at our marriage?? Shocker – not happening! Another one of the examples that I was apparently married to a ‘Peter Pan’.

Grow up Erik. Grow up McDonnell family. I’ve been through this before (and maybe I should thank my ex-husband (jk)) but I know more than he does and I’m ready for this. My war paint is on.

That sucks to say. That I’m ready for battle. But in reality, that’s what will be happening soon.

I never took marriage as a joke, especially the second time around, and it’s obvious my scummy-soon-to-be-ex did. Like it’s that easy to walk away from when they realize that they have to actually be responsible…to try…to put effort into someone else other than themselves.

God help the woman that marries into this family after me. They will hate life. That’s all I have to say.

BUT after all of the emotion that I went through, God sent two things my way to shake me out of a dark moment…my dad and one of my best friends. My dad happened to be there, ironically fixing Erik’s ‘repairs’ to my house, when I was served and one of my best friends, K, texted me in the middle of my emotions asking if I wanted company, not knowing what had happened to me. God quickly saved me from melting down. I did have a moment that may have lasted 30 minutes (if that) BUT, if you have been through divorce, you know that 30 minutes to deal with the end of something that you thought would last the rest of your life is an incredible feat.

So, while the kids and I haven’t finished our ‘adventure’ for the week, I know we will tomorrow, and I know that it will be worthwhile and it makes me realize that I do have a good head on my shoulders and I really do know what I’m doing in this crazy parenting thing.

So when ‘life’ gets in the way roll with the punches and live it. Life will smile back and show you a better way, another day.

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.)

mid-week motivation: laughter…10 relationship meme’s to make you laugh

I love to laugh and I would have to say that it’s my favorite hobby. I’m the one that laughs when no one else laughs (and sometimes in awkward situations). I really love corny jokes. And I laugh at my own laugh sometimes and when I’m around friends that snort, I laugh even harder. You’d think that I would have amazing abs as much as I love to laugh.

I’ve always said that sometimes you only have two choices in life – to laugh or cry…and it’s so much more fun to laugh!

So this week’s mid-week motivation is pure laughter…especially aimed at those of us that are going through relationship challenges. I found some funny memes online and it was just what the doctor ordered. So I had to share so that you could enjoy some laughter too. Read these over and over or share, because everyone needs to smile. 🙂

Relationship Funnies…

Wishing you love and laughter!

Staci Beth