Margaret Domnick - The Inside Story...

I'm a woman, mother, friend, sister, daughter, wife and partner in crime. I'm spontaneous, anal, loud, loving, funny (or at least I think I am), and generally honest. Sometimes I get these thoughts... so I've created this blog to share them. Feel free to respond, but be kind...did I mention that I'm sensitive?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blessed to Have Choices

As I sit here warm and safe, full and lazy, healthy and blessed, I think of others who may not be so comfortable. At night, before I go to bed, I check in on my kids. I pull the sheets up around their sweet, sleeping faces, kiss their foreheads and offer a quick prayer of thanksgiving. My children sleep on clean sheets, dream under warm blankets, and are surrounded by love and laughter. I think about the kids who put themselves to bed each night, maybe with a full belly, maybe not; maybe safe and happy, maybe not; maybe sleeping comfortably; maybe not. I always feel a twinge of guilt. My blessings are right in front of me, but I tend to focus my energy on other things, and I allow those things to have control over me.

I complain about unimportant events and make big deals out of little issues. I feel slighted if I pay for a meal, but don’t enjoy it. I get impatient if my TV show gets interrupted. I use sarcasm with my family and friends. I stress over insurance, instead of feeling blessed to have it; I lull over important decisions, instead of feeling blessed to have choices; I wish to take back quick-spoken comments, instead of feeling blessed, knowing that I speak my truth.

So, I’m taking this holiday season to re-focus, to remember what is important to me; what really matters. I will work on patience and acceptance, on being honest with others and with myself, and on being a positive influence on the people I meet. My goal is to begin each day with a more positive, focused perspective. When I’m old and gray (no snickering here, I know I’m already gray), I want to feel peace, knowing that I enjoyed my life the best I could. I want to look back and be pleased with my place in this world. It often comes down to choices, and we control what we choose.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vacation Anyone?

As I was printing up my Christmas cards (that I’ll hopefully get sent out before the New Year), I noticed how happy my kid’s looked. And, I know it’s because they were on vacation when the pictures were taken. Not that they aren’t happy at home and at school and around town, but vacation happy is a different kind of happy. It’s an “I can sleep late and no one cares” kind of happy; it’s an “I don’t have to clean up my room or do laundry for a week” kind of happy; it’s a “take me to the beach” kind of happy, and it’s perfect!

I was happy too, on their vacation; however, I was not on vacation, I was on a trip.

You know how there is a fine line between a fast walk and a slow jog, or between black and navy? Well, that line doesn't exists between a vacation and a trip –they are completely different experiences!

On vacation, you can relax; you can soak up the environment and even forget what time it is. On vacation, you can choose what to do, and it’s perfectly acceptable. You can pamper yourself with visits to the spa, overpriced drinks, amazing show tickets, wine …um… not so much on a trip. On a trip, you are responsible for other people’s vacation. You are planning day trips, keeping time-lines, and driving in crazy traffic. You are packing snacks so you don't get stuck paying for overpriced Pringles; you are hosting hourly sunscreen rub-downs and counting heads at the beach, assuring that no one goes out too far. A trip is a fun adventure complete with compromise.

When I was 10, I remember driving from Kansas to California in an old station wagon named Sunshine. It was yellow, thus the name, and seven of us packed in for the adventure of a lifetime. Now, I don’t remember a lot from my early years, but I remember that vacation. I sat in the tiny space between the “back” (the forward facing middle seat) and the “back-back” (the backward facing, all-the-way-in-the-back seat). My sisters argued the whole way because they kept touching each other as they tried to sleep, and my brother’s feet stunk. We stopped on the side of the road to stretch and run and eat sandwiches from a cooler. We went pee behind trees or in nasty rest-stops. We only reserved one hotel room each night for all seven of us. My dad would check in, and then sneak a couple kids in after he had the keys – we weren’t flush with cash and a buck was a buck. We went to the ocean and saw the Grand Canyon and it was the best vacation ever!

But, the story is a little different told from my parent’s point of view…it was definitely a trip for them. They were the ones making the sandwiches and organizing the sleeping spots. They listened to all of us complain that we were hungry, thirsty, tired, uncomfortable, hot, bored…etc. They kept their patience pretty well as we sung the fiftieth verse of “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall” and played the twentieth game of “Car Bingo”. It’s no wonder why they got us to the hotel pool about a nanosecond after we dropped our bags in the room; we’d play with each other and leave them alone for a few minutes…until we wanted them to “watch me dive mom!” They were ALWAYS with us.

One person’s trip is another person's vacation, and either way, they make for great stories and perfect memories. I can’t wait until next summer when we drive the kids to Utah and to visit some of the National Parks. It will be a grand vacation for the family, and a grand trip for me.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well, it’s Sunday evening and we're getting ready to go back to school and work in the morning. This Sunday evening is a little different from just any Sunday evening because this is the last day of my favorite holiday weekend. Oh, how I love Thanksgiving. I love it because I get to spend time with family, eat perfectly prepared dishes, and relish in desserts. I get to see my nieces and nephews who have left for college, play with the newest members of the family, and have wonderful conversations with everyone. And, I get to count my blessings.

On Thanksgiving Day, I really am able to stop and think about what matters to me. I can put pettiness aside and remember that life is precious and friends are few. I can enjoy the day-to-day moments that I usually take for granted. On Thanksgiving Day I smile when I realize the kids have been up playing video games all morning; and am thankful they have eyes to see and hands to work the controllers. I am patient when they argue; enjoying their clear, strong voices. I thank God for my children for I know many people who are not able to conceive. On Thanksgiving Day I grin when I see the paper scattered all over the table, knowing that I am able to read and comprehend. I smile as I sweep the floor, thankful to be able to squat and scoop; some people struggle with those movements. On Thanksgiving Day, I happily cook in my kitchen; I am blessed to have family with whom to enjoy the day. I remember to say “please” and “thank you”. I look forward to giggles and grins. I offer little prayers for simple things like favorite pictures, comfy jeans, long hugs, and funny comments. I appreciate my health, my home, and my hubby.

On Thanksgiving Day, I take nothing for granted. On this day, I am truly happy. I am content with who I am, what I have, and where I'm headed. It is a day for perspective, for clarity, and for thankfulness.

Then comes Christmas…that is a whole other story!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look, Copy, and Learn

I have honestly enjoyed watching my youngest daughter morph into a junior high student. She comes home daily with tales to tell and stories to recount. She speaks of other girls, funny teachers, grumpy moments, silly decisions, sport mishaps, school triumphs, sleepovers, and much, much more. Sometimes I grow impatient by her detailed account of every word, step, breath, and giggle, but I understand that I’m lucky to be “in the know” with what’s happening in her little world. Along with all the info, I also get my share of requests; requests for clothes, tickets, rides, and accessories… She wants to keep up with all her newfound friends in school.

She recently requested some new jeans, not because hers don’t fit, but because they aren’t in style. I questioned her about EXACTLY what she was wanting and she quickly said “Miss Me jeans”. She explained that they are expensive jeans that have embellished pockets and thick stitching, “but”, she added, “I’m sure we can get them on sale, or find something that looks similar”. We had a nice conversation about status and materialism. I was pleased to learn that my daughter did not expect me to spend $100 on a single pair of jeans, nor would she spend it if she were to use her own money. But, she knew what she wanted based on her friend’s choices.

And, that got me thinking…don’t we all “try-on” other personalities and follow other people’s leads to be able to determine our own courses of action? Don’t we have to copy what other people do to figure out if it “fits” us? I mean, how do you know you don’t like to run until you run? I’ve copied friends’ habits, I’ve shopped at "their" stores, tried out "their" laughs, and worn outfits similar to those in "their" closets. I’ve read their books, borrowed their phrases, claimed their recipes, and matched their nail polish (I do wear polish occasionally). Many of my decorating ideas have come from mimicking things I’ve seen in other people’s homes. Sometimes those copies become part of my person and sometimes they just don’t. I remember buying a gorgeous red dress for a holiday party because my friend (who worked elsewhere) bought one and LOVED it…well, I felt uncomfortable all night and never wore that dress again. I also remember buying pajama nighties because my friend beamed about how comfy they were. I ended up taking them all back because they just weren't "me" (I didn’t take back the one I slept in…just so you know). We all copy each other. We start at birth.

Well, I ended up getting my little one a couple great new pairs of jeans, and she is relishing in her new found sense of style!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life Lessons...

I don’t remember what started it. I think it was when Jessica, my oldest, came home from kindergarten crying. I wasn’t expecting the cliques, clubs and cruelty to start so soon, yet, there I was, listening to my 6 year old explain that she couldn’t play on the slide that day because her name didn’t start with an “M”. I listened to her patiently. I held her tightly. I asked her how she felt, what she did, and what she was going to do tomorrow. We talked about strategies and options. We guessed about why those little girls might have acted that way; “Maybe their mommy’s haven’t taught them how to be nice to everyone”, I offered. “Maybe they’re just mean”, she replied. When Jessica was calm, and all was temporarily well, it happened; “remember how this feels honey, and don’t ever make anyone else feel that way”; it was the first of many life lessons.

I don’t know if I was trying to find the good in the bad, or just filling the silence and hurt with something more positive, but it caught on. When we moved to a new town the summer before Jessica’s second grade, we had hopes for a new start with a new group of classmates. But the life lessons continued. “Maybe those girls have all been friends for a long time, and just don’t know how to meet new kids”. Followed closely with, “remember how this feels and be sure to sit by the next new student at lunch, and smile at her in the hall”. We shared lessons about the lunchroom, recess, parties, ballgames, clothes, sleepovers, attitudes, and friendships.

When Jack started kindergarten a few years later, I listened as Jessica told him about school “…be nice to everyone because it feels bad when kids are mean”. I was so proud of her! All my kiddos have been privy to listening to my views of what’s important in life. When no one wanted to race Max at recess, we talked about how fun it is to win…for the winner, not necessarily for the loser. I questioned him as to whether he would want to keep racing someone if he lost every single time. Max quit begging kids to race him, and even tripped a time or two and lost. “I wanted my friends to feel good mom.” Now, I don’t advocate losing on purpose, or not trying your best, but his action was about the other boy’s feelings, and self-esteem. You can’t argue with that motive!

I will admit that there have been down-sides to my lesson sharing. Sometimes the kids felt like I didn’t support them “You always stick up for the other kid”, they would say, “Can’t you just listen without adding in a lesson. Can’t you just be mad?” I had to explain that it wasn’t about taking sides, it was about growing and learning and looking at situations from different perspectives. Believe it or not, our world isn’t always about us – it’s about all the people with whom we come in contact, it’s about all the things we think and hear and say; it’s about who we are when making tough decisions, it’s about what we do in the face of pressure; and we have to be prepared. My sharing of life lessons is one way of preparing my kids for taking their place in the world. And, I think it’s turned out pretty well.

I’ll admit that I do get upset about events that affect my children. I don’t like when kids are mean and feelings get hurt. I know that oftentimes things are unfair and kids get targeted. I get mad about coaches decisions, rude comments, and mean girls. I dwell on hurtful words uttered in haste, tearful cries of inequality, and unnecessary hateful glares. I understand that teachers sometimes pick on students and classmates cheat and kids lie, but I choose not to share those feelings with my children. I save my complaints and vent to my husband in the privacy of our bedroom. I believe that negativity breeds negativity, and I don’t want to be part of that. I want my kids to hear the proactive side of frustration. I listen to them, love them and accept them. And share life lessons with them…what more could they ask for?

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Moment of Choice

So, my fourteen year old son, Jack, comes home from school in a playful mood. He tosses his dirty just-ran-five-miles socks at me, keeps ‘accidentally’ bumping into me in the kitchen, shoots water toward me while rinsing his milk glass, and overall exudes a very happy, “let’s play” attitude. He hugs me and refuses to let go, laughing as he pulls me around, trying to make me fall. I know what he wants; he wants me to wrestle around with him, he wants me to pin him down and tickle him, he wants me to be the playful mamma I usually am.

But, today I’m in a “this house is a mess” mood. I’m in a “you were supposed to put your clothes away last night, but didn’t” mood. I’m in a “let’s all pitch in and get this place cleaned up" kind of mood. I know what I want; I want to dust, I want to organize, I want to clean. Needless to say, things weren’t going so great for either of us.

I’ll admit it; I’m a slightly anal, somewhat organized, like-things-in-order type of person. Throw in a type-A personality, a little OCD, and some move-it-over-just-a-tad and you’re got a decent picture of me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to have fun, I can be spontaneous, I like adventure and action, but I just like to be prepared for it. I was prepared to clean.

I had a choice to make. THIS choice stemmed from another choice that happened years ago. I was in the “work” mode preparing dinner for three little kids, unpacking groceries, picking up toys, putting out fires…and my husband (who usually helps) was sitting, watching our 6 month old play. “I enjoy her so much!” he says. “Enjoy her?” I say out loud, “to me she’s a lot of work”. “You have to enjoy her” he says again,” So, I sat and watched my baby play. She made the cutest faces, she made the sweetest sounds, and she was so innocent. She didn’t care if her dinner was late. She didn’t care if she had a bath, she didn’t care if there were toys all over the room. And, for a few moments, neither did I. Of course, with two other little ones, that sit-and-watch time was short, but it was meaningful. The message was clear; enjoy your children while you have the chance. Don’t miss those moments.

So, while Jack was walking down the hall with an armful of towels, I “accidentally” tripped him, then pinned him down and tickled him. He tried to squirm away, but I grabbed his ankle and pulled him back for a second attack. Madeline joined in and we shared a great moment of surprise, fun, and innocence. One day these kids won’t want to play with me. They won’t want for me to hug them, kiss them and tickle them till they pee. They’re getting strong enough that I may not physically be able to keep them down for much longer anyway. Kids love to play and for some reason, parents forget or choose not to do it with them.

The house still got cleaned…thirty minutes later.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Hop...

This is cool - you can "hop" from one blog to another. enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We're All "...Like That"

You might not believe this, but I’m a talker. I talk a lot, to a lot of people. Last weekend, I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to me at a sporting event; and I’m still thinking about that conversation. She was a nurse. When I told her that I was a speech language pathologist, she commented “Oh, I could never work with ‘kids like that’”. What? “Kids like that”? What did she mean? I think she meant it as a compliment to me, but I must have looked at her funny, because she got up to use the bathroom and didn’t come back. I’ve been thinking about what I wish I would have said to her.

I wish I would have said in an honest, non-judgmental, teaching kind of way, that “kids like that” are just regular kids. They have mothers and fathers who love them. They eat the same kinds of food as their peers. “Kid’s like that” play, cry, smile, laugh, sleep, and love. They learn to roll over, crawl, cruise and walk, as they are able. They learn to communicate their wants and needs and play and interact with those around them. “Kids like that” might learn to do these skills differently than other kids, but they’re just as meaningful.

I think the woman meant to say that she was uncomfortable with people who are different than she is; people who require special needs. But isn’t that every single person? Isn’t each of us different from each other, and require our own set of special needs? I have a child who has a disorder that requires me to make different food for him…I also have a perfectly healthy child who is such a picky eater that I’m often making a PB&J sandwich for him at suppertime. What’s the difference? Don’t we all come from somewhat dysfunctional families with skeletons in our closets? We’re all “…like that”.

“Kids like that” might walk, talk, look or act differently than we do, but so what? Sometimes I walk, talk, look, and act differently than the people surrounding me. Maybe “kids like that” are really intended to teach the rest of us about respect and acceptance. I don't know anyone who has a physical difference that sits and judges others the way that they are judged! Everyone is different. Everyone has special needs. Everyone is worthy of love, acceptance and a fulfilling life. If we can remember that there is a person behind all those differences, and focus on getting to know that person, we might meet someone we like. And, if we aren't able to see that person, then maybe we don't deserve that friendship anyway.

It's simple; everybody needs to be loved for exactly who they are. Let's spread the love.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Enough is Enough is Enough..

Will there ever come a time when “enough” is all I crave? I find that I am always looking, searching, striving, believing, expecting, and desiring more. I want a bigger house, more money, new shoes, and a trip to NYC. I need more time, more counter space, more financial security, and more sleep. I want to learn to play piano, speak Spanish, tend a garden, and pole vault. I’m always looking for more. I want to be content with what I have, but for some reason, I keep striving for more.

I already have a lot to be thankful for. I have a happy, healthy family, a good job, a reliable car, food on the table, a funny husband (but don’t tell him I said that), girlfriends, and great memories. People call me on my birthday, I have friends to eat lunch with, and I always find a smiling, welcoming face in the crowd at ballgames. I get to take little trips, am organized, enjoy other people, can afford to go to the movies, and live in a nice house. I have everything I need and most of the things I want. Yet, I still find opportunities to complain and I’m absolutely inadequate at expressing my thankfulness for what I have.

I know what I have, but I don’t think I really appreciate it. I want to learn to balance what is important for me, to know what matters. I want to learn perspective. I want to continue to grow and to become a stronger, more reliable person, but not with things or with pressures. I just want to “be”, and be content with that.

My goal is to become the kind of person who is perfectly happy with who I am and where I am in life. I want to find joy in whatever I’m doing and with whomever I’m spending time. I want to speak kindly and patiently with others. I want to smile more and grumble less. I want to matter, but especially want others to know that they matter. I want my children to remember a happy, humble, gentle mother. I want my friends to feel appreciated, to know they are important to me. I will make time to touch base with the people in my life. I will mend any broken fences. I will write and send thank you cards, not just think about doing it. I will pray more for other people instead of for myself. I will enjoy what I’m doing when I’m doing it. I will roll with what life throws at me. I will focus on what I need. I will find balance in my life.

These are my goals, I know it will take time to achieve them all, but I’m starting now!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Full of Greatness

Football season is upon us, and although I’m not the biggest fan, I do love a good game. My husband, on the other hand, is a die-hard football guy. He has attended KSU football games every year for the past 30 years; I have attended a handful. Even though our love and knowledge of the game vary, we easily agree that Bill Snyder is a great football coach. He’s great because he created success based on the strengths of his team. He didn’t focus on being a great coach; he focused on coaching his team into playing great football. It wasn’t about Bill Snyder, it was about the game.

I believe all of us are great at something. Like Bill, it can't be about us, it has to be about what we're doing...

Some of us are great parents. We are able to accept our children “as is”. We love them and nurture them and celebrate them for exactly who they are and for what they love to do, period. We don’t worry that our child isn’t fast enough, or smart enough, or exciting enough; we simply love and support who our child is and we’re fascinated to learn who they will become.

Some of us are great teachers. We are able to reach our students, not through our teaching style, but through their learning styles. We know that our classrooms are full of all different kinds of kids and families and experiences and attitudes and values. We teach to them, we don’t judge them. We appreciate our students and we want the best for all of them, equally.

Some of us are great artists. We draw and create, not what we see, but what we feel. We are true to ourselves and trust our instincts.

Some of us are great listeners. We know the difference between what is said and what is meant. We understand that hearing is not the same as listening.

Some of us are great musicians. We don’t just play the notes, we live the music.

Some of us are great therapists. We are able to build people up from wherever they are, moving forward a little at a time. We help people find themselves, find their confidence, and find their strengths. We believe, even celebrate, their success.

Some of us are great speakers. We are successful at motivating others to step out of their comfort zones and into life. We understand the importance of setting goals and reaching for stars.

Some of us are great students. We know that behavior, attitude, and work-ethic are learned. We are students of everything, constantly studying to better ourselves.

Some of us are great spouses, friends, workers, leaders, organizers, creators, builders, believers…etc. We all are full of greatness. We just have to move out of the way and let it shine through.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back To School Blues

OK, I'm not trying to depress anyone here, just calling it like it is...

Well, here I sit on the last day of my kid’s summer vacation. It’s a day I don’t adore; a day I don’t look forward to, a day I wish would never come. It signifies that another year of adventure and growth has come and gone and a new one is about to start. Not that I don’t look forward to new adventure and growth, I do, I’m just never ready for my kids to “grow up” to that next grade level.

Think about it, kids grow up at the end of summers. They go from old 4th graders to new 5th graders. From Jr. High kids to high-school students, from their bedrooms to their college dorm rooms; it all happens at the end of August. This year is no different and I’m not ready.

When I look at my kid’s pictures, I notice that they aren’t frozen moments taken in early January, with the start of a new calendar year; they are taken in early September with the start of a new school year. I notice the differences in their face shapes and sideways grins and wonder how I missed those subtleties that must have occurred right in front of me. Although I’m excited for my children – new friends, new rules, new academic challenges; I’m sad, just a little, for myself. I think back on the events of the last year and realize that I don’t really remember all that much. I make a mental note to take more pictures, say “yes” more often, give hugs and kisses generously (I think I do this pretty well), and pay attention to everything that happens in the next crazy year.

I really should be prepared for this day; each year, there are tell-tale signs that the end of August is nearing. Back-to-School supply areas begin popping up in stores. Kids become anxious about whether they’ll get a top or bottom locker (most like top, by the way). They compare who has what teacher and start requesting specific notebook themes and colors. They may ask questions about whether they should try out for clubs and sports, or hope out-loud that certain kids are in their classes. They may worry that their clothes aren’t cute enough, their hair isn’t long enough, or their jeans aren’t tight enough. They may decide they are ready to wear make-up or request an Oakley backpack. They may let you know that they will be taking their lunch in a brown paper bag – no more lunch-box, or that they will be buying their lunch this year. They may want to carry a purse, or request to take their i-touch on the bus. They may want you to drive them to school so they don’t have to take the bus at all. Your kids might want to stay up later at night, now that they are in an older grade. They might feel the need to have their own yahoo account or their own car. The list could go on and on…children continue to grow and mature and you continue to wonder how they got there so fast.

So as I sit here on the last day of my kids’ summer vacation, I relish the fact that I am still needed. I have shoes to buy, backpacks to locate and schedules to plan. Before I get started on those tasks, however, I am putting a new memory stick in my camera, so I’m prepared for all those changes my kids are about to make.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Life...It Is What It Is

“Mom, do you like your life?”

I froze for a second. I was caught completely off guard. I was in the middle of emptying the dishwasher and explaining to my children (again) why everyone DOES need to pitch-in with daily chores. I had been talking out-loud about the long list of wait-till-the-very-last-possible-moment-to-get-done items, the cost of braces, the impossibility of our activity schedule, and the necessity of dinner.

I look across the counter at the honest, adorable, intent, questioning face of my 10 year-old son. “Well, do you?” he inquired again.

I flashed back to my wedding day, still the happiest day of my life. I saw the quick births of my children, my first house, and my college graduation. I remembered puking babies, sleep deprived nights, screaming car trips, and petty fighting. I saw medical bills, food bills, daycare fees, and house payments. I saw spilled juice on the carpet, pee on the brand new couch, and food stuck in the crevices of the car. I remembered all the diapers, the wipes, the toys, the bottles, the books, the games and the laundry. I had no time for myself, no time for my husband, and no time for my friends. I remembered pretending to sleep, hoping someone else -anyone else - would go get the crying child. Now the youngest of those crying children is 10, and asking me if I liked my life.

A sudden rush of emotion came over me. I remembered all the grins, giggles, laughing, dancing, singing and being silly. I remembered family pictures, Christmas cards, bike rides, campfires, coloring, play-doh, finger-paint, swim lessons, back yard kick-ball, hide-and-seek, and bedtime monsters. I remembered the smells of freshly baked cookies and freshly bathed kids. I relived daily routines, butterfly kisses, bedtime stories, prayers, confessions, and finally silence. I remembered school programs, sports practices, piano lessons, birthday parties, Halloween costumes, Christmas mornings, sleep-overs, zoo trips, and snuggle time.

I remember discussions about what Big Bird might eat for breakfast, why grown-ups got to stay up late, and why cookies aren’t a meal. More recently they include curfew, driving, dating, sexting, parties, cliques, trips, manners, attitude, behavior, grades, and daily chores. It may not be what I had planned it to be, but…

“Yes” I said, “I love my life”.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Ok, So I'm a Dweller

I’ll admit it, I’m a Dweller. I re-think, re-play, re-live, analyze, question, talk about, dissect, etc… a situation before I can be done with it. It can be a happy event, or a disturbing event. It can be funny, messy, personal, relative, realistic, uplifting or upsetting. It can even be something that happened to someone else. In whatever way I am affected, I always find something I wish I had done, said, or thought differently; and I dwell on it. Finally, I accept the fact that I cannot change the outcome, no matter how much energy I spend on it, and I begin to move on to a new dwelling event. I do not know what to do about my habit. I am not open to taking medication to control my thoughts. Whatever thoughts I have, they are truly my thoughts and I like that. But I do not like dwelling.

My husband, on the other hand, is a Roller. He is able to experience any situation, react however he happens to react, accept it, and then let it roll. He rarely re-thinks, re-plays, re-lives, analyzes, questions, talks about or dissects a situation more than once (to tell me about it). His stand is “I can’t do anymore about it now, so what’s the point?” He’s right. I want to be a Roller. I’m working on Rolling. But I am still a Dweller.

I am also a “what if”er and “if only”er. I don’t think I’m the only one to play that game. I think (sometimes out loud) to myself “What if I did THIS?”, Or “If only I’d done THAT”. I convince myself that the story would have a different ending, but actually, it would just have a different set of “what if”s and” if only”s to ponder. Why do I do that? I think I know the answer…

I’m an emotional person. I think with my head and with my heart. If my head and my heart are telling me the same thing, I can usually accept the outcome of my actions. It’s when my head tells me one thing and my heart another that I find myself dwelling about my actions.

When what you know, what you think, and what you feel are different, you have options, and options create opportunities; opportunities create choices, and what you choose is your action. What you don’t choose becomes your “what if” and your “if only”. Dwellers focus on the options they didn’t use. We save them, feed them, and let them enter our minds. Rollers focus on the option they did use, and wad up the leftovers and roll them away.

I want to be a Roller…I will learn to roll.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Flowers and People

Yesterday I set out to buy flowers. I love shopping for flowers. I don’t know much about any variety, but I enjoy the colors of the blooms and the aura of the gardens. I walked up and down every aisle, just looking. I paid attention to the size of the plants and the amount of sun they needed to thrive. I grabbed a cart and headed through again; taking more time to study the particulars for ones I thought I could grow most successfully. I was completely, blissfully overwhelmed. I ended up in the “distressed plants” area, where the flowers had been significantly marked down, in hopes that somebody would buy them. I did. This way, I figured, if they died, I’d not be out a lot of money. I left with a variety of tiny yellow, medium sized pink, and two red (kind of blooming), flowers. I bought green spikes, plants with dark red leaves, and purple somethings, all of which were withering and needed attention. I was relieved and excited to take my new treasures home to create beautiful pots for my back deck.

That’s when I got to thinking…aren’t people like plants? We come in different varieties and sizes and we all have different needs. Some of us are “sunny” and others are not. Some have big, bright, colorful blooms, while others are plush with no color at all. Some of us are healthy, others are withered. Some grab attention without trying, and others exist without notice. Some people need a lot of attention and want everything to be “just right” before blooming, while others bloom with little or no attention at all. Some people are climbers, grabbing whatever is available to help them grow tall and strong, other people are more comfortable staying low, moving and creeping along the ground. Some of us need rich soil to grow, while others can spring up through rocks and sand. Some people take root in our gardens and stay forever, returning year after year without thought; others take root for a season, and then are gone until they are planted again.

I wonder if I appreciate the people in my life the way I appreciate flowers. Have I paid attention to what they need to grow? Am I watering them often enough? Am I allowing them to bloom when they are ready, or rushing them because I am ready? Am I accepting them for who they are? Do I focus only on what they look like? Do I plant them carefully, and nurture them accordingly? Do I notice their growth and marvel at their blooms? When they begin to wither, do I take the time to help them heal? Do I offer them sunshine as well as rain? Do I love them enough? Do I show that I love them? Do they know that I love them?

Humm… Maybe I should expand my garden and plant it in a corner of my yard. I could tend to it daily, prune it as necessary, nurture a variety of plants and enjoy more than a few withered flowers in pots on my back deck.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Ummm, Truth Please

Sometimes I wonder…in any subjective situation, is it realistic to have just one “truth”? I mean, we all know there are two sides to every story, so how come there is only one truth? Ponder that. I can think of stories where the facts don’t add up to the truth. Does that mean someone lied? What if the final truth doesn’t match your version of the story, but you know you are right? Can you convince someone that “your” truth is “the” truth? I think you can if their perception of the situation is similar to yours. Perception is what matters. I believe that perception is reality, and people’s realities are their truths. So, what is true for one person, based on their perception, may not be true for another, and both people are correct.

So, based on my application of perception, it is realistic to have more than one truth. And to appreciate other people’s truths, you must be willing to look at the situation from their perception, to enter their reality.

Wow, that’s enough thinking for today, I’m tired (and that’s the truth!).


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Little House in the City

Sometimes I wonder…If my house was bigger, more updated, or more unique, would I be more content with it? I wonder this because, as many of you know, I’m not really crazy about my house. I knew I didn’t love it when I signed my name on the purchase agreement, so I have no one to blame but myself. I think my house is “nice”, its “cute”, its “adequate”, its “comfortable”, and its “cozy”; but it isn’t “me”. Will it become “me” with time? Will I grow to love it?

There are things about my house that I do love: I love the kitchen, the wall colors, and the spa tub (in the basement). I love the lake, and the big back deck. But, the house I live in is similar to so many other houses, and I’ve never been similar to others...does living in a cookie-cutter house make me a cookie-cutter person? Does that fact that I settled on a house mean that I’ve settled as a person? What other things will I be willing to settle on?

Why did I buy this house, you might be wondering, and why don’t I just move again? Those are questions I won’t delve into right now, but I will say that my reasons are valid. The fact is that I did buy it and now I have to live with that decision.

So, would I be more content with my house if it were bigger, updated, and more unique? Maybe I would, but I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about it, and that is what has helped me learn a few things. I now know that, for me, a bigger house simply means watching TV in a bigger room. I think I’d be doing the same things regardless of the size of my house, and I’m doing the things I love. Aside from eating in a formal dining room, my house accommodates everything I love to do in it. I feel blessed to have this priority in place. I have also learned that, no matter how updated my house might have been when I bought it, there would still be many things I’d want to change in it. Upgrades would mean nothing if the final product didn’t reflect my personal tastes. I’m lucky to get to decide for myself what upgrades to make, and when. Finally, I have learned that my house might look similar to other houses on the outside, but if I can make it “my” house, the feeling on the inside will be like no other. It’s the way you feel about something that makes it unique.

I know why I bought this little house, even though I didn’t love it. And now, after many hours of reflections, I have even more reasons to like it. I’m over 40, and it’s taken all this time and a special little house to make me really understand that it’s not what you have that matters, it’s how you feel about what you have that matters.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sports Offended

Sometimes I wonder...Why are people allowed to scream rude comments at referees and umpires during sporting events? And equally perplexing, why don’t those of us sitting near these grumbling, complaining, loud, individuals do something about it? Do we secretly wish we had the guts to yell something out too? Are we impressed that the otherwise calm, quiet, friends and neighbors suddenly morph into crazy, unpredictable beings? Personally, I don’t think so. I think people behave as they are allowed to behave, and whether we like it or not, airing personal opinions and name-calling has become part of the culture of many sports. But, I think it’s a culture that can be changed, if enough people want it to change.

I’m a coach’s wife and the mother of four athletic kids. In support of my family, I have perched the bleachers to watch tee-ball, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, football, cheer, dance, cross country, track, and most recently, tennis. For those of you who frequent sporting events, I’m sure you’ve been privy to the outrageous, if not embarrassing behavior of many spectators. I remember a mother harassing a high school referee at my son’s tee ball game, and another parent giving my 12 year old daughter grief for almost 15 minutes over a questionable call as a line judge in a volleyball match. Come on, these are kids! At a recent basketball tournament, parents were given written conduct guidelines to be followed throughout the games. I was offended, somewhat, and taken back that this “reminder” was necessary. Obviously, it was. The problem is evident, now we have to figure out a solution.

What if a “No Negativity” campaign was initiated in gymnasiums and stadiums? Seriously, it could work. Yelling at games would be acceptable, but only positive and supportive statements would be allowed. Cheering on your favorite players and chanting with the crowd would be fine; yelling “you suck” would not be tolerated. Bouncers would simply escort offenders out of the gym when they yelled a negative comment. The program would need to be well organized and executed consistently, but I think it would be a huge step in the right direction for the world of competitive sports. I imagine large banners with the word NEGATIVITY having a big, red line drawn through it. I can see people wearing tee shirts boasting the fact that negativity isn’t present in their stadium. The atmosphere surrounding sports would lean toward respect, rather than rudeness. It would be a safe, fun place to bring the family. Just as negativity breeds negativity, positive energy is catching too.

I’ll admit, it sounds a little idealistic, but it would be a nice change. I’ve shared my opinion with others, some people love it, and others don’t. “It will never happen”; “people simply can’t control their impulses”; “Yelling is part of sports” are some of the comments I hear. But, I know, for a fact, that people will behave according to the expectations set for them. Take tennis, for example. Tennis is an etiquette sport and people keep their mouths shut. At my son’s match last week, right in front of me and about 6 others watching, a ball clearly bounced “in” and was called “out”. I glanced around to see who would make a comment, but no one said anything. No one stood up, no one grumbled, no one even whispered to themselves. The ball was “out” and that was that; it was a non-issue. The players continued the game, the losers didn’t blame the line judge for their loss, and I fell in love with tennis.

Could basketball, tee-ball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and football become etiquette sports? I think “yes", what do you think?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Friendship Revisited

Sometimes I wonder…what kind of relationship needs to be established before two people become “friends”? Is a friend someone you’ve met for lunch a few times? Someone you’ve sat with for coffee? Is a friend someone with whom you’ve run errands or seen a movie? What if you meet people easily and feel comfortable around people quickly, are all those new people your friends? I think a friend can be any person that you enjoy, who also enjoys you. But, I don’t think that every friend is the same. I find that friendships fall on a continuum ranging from “Seed” to “Gut”, as follows:

A “Seed” friend is a new person you’ve met that you like. You have something in common with this person and want to get together with them again for a play date or latte’. You are hopeful your Seed friendship will continue to grow.

A “Fun” friend is someone you know pretty well. You see this person around town and at community events. You look for them in a crowd. You occasionally get together for drinks or dinner and will call them if your child needs a ride to baseball or tennis. Your kids spend time at each other’s houses. You open up a little to the Fun friend, about likes and dislikes, opinions, and ideas about shared interests. You feel good about your Fun friendships.

A “Safe” friend is someone you trust. You’re less careful about what you say with this friend. You run errands, see movies, shop, laugh, giggle, cry, and complain together. You hang out on weekends, cook out, and have drinks frequently; sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneously. You begin to share more personal thoughts and stories. You ask more questions and make a real effort to get to know your Safe friends.

A “Deep” friend is the friend who is there for you when you need them. This is the person who magically appears when your grandmother passes away, your child gets hurt, or you get sick. This friend makes you meals, helps you heal, and helps you grow. You do all the fun stuff with this friend, but also share your soul with them. They encourage you to follow your dreams and seek out what you need. They support you and are honest with you. The Deep friend knows how you think and what you like. They know the good side of you…and the bad, and they love you anyway. You have a history with this friend, and it binds you forever. Sometimes you go for months – or even years – without talking to this friend, and when you do touch base with them, it’s the same comfortable relationship it has always been.

A “Gut” friend is the friend of all friends. Some of us will never know this kind of friendship. The Gut friend is able to put aside their own venue in support of yours. They are not only there to love and support you when you need it, when things are hard for you, but they’re also there when everything is perfect in your life. This is the friend who can honestly be happy for you whenever you are happy. When you lose weight, win big at the casino, get a brand new car, achieve a promotion, find a great deal on shoes…etc, they are able to put aside feeling of competition, judgment, and comparison and genuinely celebrate in your successes. Even if your child beats out their child for class president, the Gut friends shares your joy. You don’t worry about anything you say or do with a Gut friend because they love and cherish you for exactly who you are, and accept where you are in your life journey. You can never brag to a Gut friend because no matter what you say, they would never perceive your comments in that way. Gut friends are unique. I think all of us strive to be, as well as to have, a gut friend, and a lucky few of us will achieve it.

I believe that all friendships change over time. Some friends come into our lives and stay forever, while others, equal in value, wither and die. Well, I don’t know if I can really say “die”, because the lessons they teach may remain with us, even as their friendship wanders. And, as our friendships change, they move along the continuum, down and up and down again. I also believe that all of our friends will support us, in some capacity, when things go wrong; but only the Gut friend will be there – really be there – when things go right!