Eyes of the beholder

When I look into a mirror all I see are the imperfections; the sagging skin, the 20 pounds that still needs loosing, the dark circles with tired eyes, and clogged pours.  I see everything that makes the beauty industry a multi billion dollar industry.  This has been further further exemplified when other share with me how tired I look and how I should take a break.

Here is the thing, my kids do not see me that way.  They see a Momma who comes home from being away at work all day who still plays with them, that is always up for a snuggle, and takes them on adventures when has a day off.  To them I am beautiful.

When I am with them I feel beautiful.

Maybe it is true what they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Maybe it is because when I am with them I am not worried about what others think as long as they are happy.  Whatever the cause, it’s time for a change.

For a very long time I have not been happy with myself.  This goes beyond my skin and weight, though will be addressing that too.  It stems from not being true to myself.  For a long time, way before my kids or husband,  I have made compromises to who I am and what I want in order to “get by” or “what needs to be done for now”. Even writing this blog, sharing stories, getting in the habit of writing  isn’t kept up enough.  If you look at the length of time between posts, it is months!  This post has taken weeks to to write and it’s not even that long.

This thought process has turned into a life style.  A life style that is taking it’s toll.  If I am going to truly be happy with myself it’s time now to make it happen.

What does this mean?

To be specific, not 100% sure.  My first step is to start redirecting my focus.  Recently I was asked to share if I could do anything what would it be? My response: full time momma, part time writer, part time tea sales.  The priority is in that order.

Much of my “free time” is spent on things I do not want to do, but what should be done.  I take on extra clients because I currently feel that its more important to have immediate funds, this is changing. It is taking away from my family and who I am.  My patience with my kids is short because I am not being true to myself.  I read recently a quote that hit home.  “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the BS story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”  I like telling stories, but the one I am telling myself that is keeping me from my dream is over.

I have already started putting more energy into my tea business, Simply Tealightful ( http://www.tealightfultea.net/SIMPLYTEALIGHTFUL/).  I am also thinking of starting a second direct sales business, which also focuses on something I am passionate about, health and wellness.  These are products I already use so would not be a stretch to take the next step, just want to be practical about it since I am currently our primary income and do not want to take away from my true passions, family and writing.

Another step is making time for me.  I started reading again before bed.  I picked up crocheting again and spend a little bit every day on my daughters blanket.  The same blanket I started almost 2 years ago!  I am also going to get into a better workout routine.  Instead of I cant go today,  I am working late, or the kids I am going to start introducing yoga at home.  Amazon Prime has some free videos I am checking out starting today.  The kids can join me if the want!  Weight lifting is back on the table too. Have let that slide the last few months as it was not convenient for the other half to join and train me.  That is over, we will start adding weights  back into the routine 2-3 times a week.

The final step, and the most daunting, is getting back into writing.  This one takes the most time and is easily set aside when the kids start calling or anything distracts me.  I am going to need to re-find my focus and drive to make this happen.  Bring it back to the forefront versus when I have time.  The time will not happen unless I make it a priority, retraining the brain after 6 years of teaching it to push to the back is not going to be easy.  In fact I wrote more today (almost 500 words) than I have wrote all year.

I am asking all of you to help.  Keep me on track, keep me accountable.  Any suggestions on tools to help with planning and scheduling until it becomes a part of me is much appreciated!  Time to find my beauty in myself.

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Wishes for Homes

Have you ever picked a dandelion flower that has gone to seed and made a wish?  My family does almost every day, even my 5 and 2-year-old.  Our wish is always the same, for a place to call home.  We often talk about when we win the lottery starting a foundation to help people in the situation we are in now; people who work 40+ hours a week but cannot seem to get ahead.  People who are doing their best to give their kids a happy and healthy environment, but it seems to be just out of reach.

As outspoken as I can sometimes be, this is one of the most difficult things ever spoken about.  My family is losing our home.  It has been a long battle and we are admitting defeat.  Or maybe tactical retreat? It has in truth been a little overwhelming; feels like this is my test in letting the universe steer the ship and letting go of control, not something very easy for me.

In early March, we found out we need to move, specifically being forced to move.  You would think having two months notice it is not a big deal, unfortunately, it is.  With two kids, a fledgling business, and starting a second business this is the last change we needed now.  At first, we applied for an apartment, unsuccessfully.  Then we tried renting a private property, again unsuccessfully.   The hold up? My credit took a huge hit between claiming bankruptcy 4.5 years ago and losing my job 2 years ago. I now work for myself cleaning homes and most private renters do not like my proof of income.  This is leaving us in limbo.

My family have generously offered to help us buy a home; they do not want to see us homeless.  Their generosity has given us renewed hope.

We will pay them back 100%, though I am hoping with the generosity of others we can make this faster than normal; easing the stress for all of us. Despite my family telling me do not stoop to charity, I will not let my pride hold me back from asking others for help.  If you wish to help support what will be our first Wishes for Home purchase I have created a gofundme page (wishes-for-home) to help make our dream of a home come true.   I, and my kids, are truly thankful for every penny that is donated to help us get back on our feet and start the process of helping others!

Never Stop

I never put much value into names.  Mostly because my name is so common, often having two or three other people in a class with the same name.  My name is very simple. It’s not fancy or romantic, nor the least bit unique as the meaning of my name implies; and that is OK, it works for me.  It suits me.

Then, one day, a little boy looked at me and called me Momma.

My life changed, my identity changed, a part of me said finally that is my name, this is me.

Now that my son is almost 5 and he trying out different versions (Mom, Mommy, etc) of Momma it hurts my heart a little.  Every cell screams out, that is not me! He is an empathetic little boy, which is a source of great pride, and knows I prefer Momma most of all.  If I could with out taking away his creativity and need to explore these new possibilities of growing up I would make him never stop calling me Momma.  That sweet little word is one of my greatest joys, and someday way to soon will only be a precious memory.

 

 

Beyond the Id and Ego

When we first discovered we were becoming parents not only were we super excited as we had been trying for a while, but I pitied my unborn child.  Between my years spent as a teacher in the Juvenile Justice System and my course work with child and adolescent development and psychology this kid had little chance to get over on us.

Was my ego wrong!

The first few years appeared like we had this parenting thing down!  Our son slept through the night at 4 months of age; going to bed by 7 PM and waking up around 5 AM for food and a diaper change going back to sleep till 7 AM. He took one two hour nap every day.  He was eating solids by 5 months and ate everything we put in front of him. Everyone commented on how well he listened once he became mobile.  He never tried butting strange objects in his mouth or eating random food bits he would find without checking with us first.  He always stayed next to us when we would go for walks but have no fear with playing with others.  Our parenting ego inflated!

Around our son’s second birthday we found out we were expecting again, yay!  Then our son’s Id and ego started to show. Many people call this the terrible twos, horrible threes and the horrendous fours as these two Freudian developments battle for control.  The Id are the emotional melt downs when they don’t get their way, the crying, screaming, running away all emotional and instinctive responses to life that revolves around them but not really . . . and it drains every rational molecule from your body.

Gone is the ability to offer Montessori life lessons of choices, this is what I (the parent) want and this is what you (the child) don’t want.  Gone was the ability to follow simple directions. Gone was the ability to have a bad day because they think it is because of them. Though it is not all bad.

With help of the ego comes the cuddles and kisses, funny jokes and silly antics.  We welcomed the ability that if I do good, good things happen and I get what I want.

For us, going through this stage and having a new born all while  I lost my job and began the search for a new one was a bit much.  We weathered it well but it took it’s toll.Now that our son is turning 5 in a few short months we are starting to see his superego emerge and I love it!

We always tried to instill the concept of thinking of others,  doing for others without thought of the return. He came with me to volunteer events and to make donations at shelters and food banks.  We have a box in our home to set aside toys for kids who don’t have any and began running races raising money for charity. But during the ego and id stage everything is about them!

Before If I was getting frustrated that it was taking 5 minutes just to exit to the main road from our development my son would start to cry because he thought he did something wrong, now after months of explaining that Momma is frustrated with the traffic not him he starting to get it!

The other day i was working on a project for an upcoming event while he played in the same room.  I become frustrated that I could not get my project right and let out a little growl of frustration.  Previously he would have started crying loudly thinking I was mad at him.  This time he stopped playing looked at me with a serious face and said, “Are you mad at me?” When I said no I was having a difficult time with something I was doing and needed to let the frustration out he said OK and went back to playing.  It made me so proud of him I stopped what I was doing and played with him . . . causing our 2 year old daughter come on and see what is going on.

Looks like we have one entering the Superego stage and another fully mired in the id.  Here is to hoping I learned enough coping skills to get through the next 2-ish years!

To Poo or not to Poo

Anyone who knows me understands I am all about a good deal.  I have blogged about couponing before.  It is an addiction.  If I can get something for pennies or free I am all over it; if it is something a company is paying me to take home, watch out! Case in point, I currently have 16 bottles of shampoo and conditioner on my storage shelves.  Don’t even get me started on the amount of toilet paper I have!

Why you ask?  Because the companies paid me to take them home! Makes sense right!

Wrong!

Not the answer you were expecting?  Let me explain.

Just before Thanksgiving I started using the no poo method (not using conventional shampoo and conditioner).  I have researched this method for almost a year, including speaking with people I know personally who also don’t poo.

Let me guess the next question . . .why?

Since the birth of my daughter my hair and skin have been a total mess.  I cut it pixie short to help cut off the damage and for convenience. 14955863_10208897981460571_3397250252467152364_n This was taken on Halloween, with the culprit of my hair dilemma.  Not horrible but not great either.Even with taking into account I already worked a few hours that morning, my hair was not doing well. Though a lot less frizzy then it was the year before, it still does not have the look at me shine and glow of healthy hair. Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially since I decided to start growing my hair back out.  As a Leo, my mane is all important!

About the time of my 40th, I started experimenting with my skin care. Lack of sleep and stress made me feel like my skin was haggard looking.  That does not work for the forty and fabulous club I was to joining! This experiment involved vinegar as a toner.  After a few weeks I noticed a difference in my pores and less breakouts too. For someone who breaks out at the slightest temperature change, this was pretty cool and got me considering the no poo method even more.

In general, I already did not “wash” my hair every day.  Lets face it, I am a mom of two young children; I am lucky when I get to pee in peace. Taking a shower is an absolute luxury!

Like most major changes, the decision was not made quickly.  It was after talking to a friend just before Thanksgiving that I decided to take the plunge! After just one washing I could see and feel a difference. This picture was taken a day or two after my first attempt at the no poo method.  The volume and shine alone made it completely worth the experiment.  The only time I blow dry my hair is when I am at the salon.  My idea of styling is combing or brushing it as it dries and hope it stays somewhat like that.  I tend to run my hands through my hair a lot so it is not likely.  This picture was also taken on a chilly day at the zoo, so this is even wind tossed!15252534_10157775388915585_5668195309581824085_o

It has now been over a month since I switched.  I am now even using baking soda as a facial scrub once a week and vinegar as a toner after each face washing.  I still use my Noxzema as a general cleanser, but adding these in has added even more clarity and tone to my skin, at least I think so.  If you were to ask my man, he says no one sees themselves accurately. How about you decide.

This is a picture taken after this weeks washing and facial.  I made sure to take the “beauty face” setting off on this one too.

20170108_164412My hair is not styled and just air dried.  I am not wearing makeup in any of the pictures.  What do you think?  Me I am going to keep up the no poo, so far I am pleased with the results!

Breaking the Box

Most of my life I dealt with issues by compartmentalizing them.  Work and personal life were mostly kept separate.  There are always work friends and non work friends; they may hear about work but they were separate in my world.  I was different in both of them.

As I grew and expanded my world, more compartments or boxes developed.  Volunteering, work, family, working out, writing; these worlds were all kept separate.  Rarely would I mix the boxes together. This is how I was able to keep balance in my life, or so I thought.  I created separate personas on social media; despite often posting similar stories. I thought this was the best way to keep things organized.

By keeping the parts of my life separate I thought I would have more control.  How foolish.

By keeping these parts of me separate I was never able to fully become who I am. By keeping life “simple” and “organized”, as I told myself I was doing, was actually making life more difficult and complicated.  My life is not made of parts, but of all of it.  The entire jumbled mess of it!

I am a mother, an entrepreneur, a writer, a volunteer, an overachiever, and occasionally a hot mess.  My emotions are all over the place, I become distracted and have a difficult time focusing (hoping is is due to trying to keep everything separate and my kids!)  Because  I am all of these things my life is amazing!

Embracing all of these parts of me is making me a happier person. Expect to see more of a blend in the future.  My tea business will be shown more on my personal, author, and Celiac pages.  My day to day emotions are going to seep into my writing.  My quest to loose weight will be more prevalent.  I am not perfect, and that is OK.  The more I allow me to be me the happier and more productive I will be!

Bring it New Year!

2016 is coming to a close.  It has been a year of change, for me and the world.  Many of these changes are leaving ripples yet to be determined if they are for the better.  On the personal side,  some great strides were made.

Last year I made a task list of sorts.  Some of it was done or made progress, other items were pushed down on priority due to life. Last years list:

2016 Task List

Ongoing:

Strengthen and get in shape (Mind, Body, Emotion, and Spiritual)

Spend more time in real time in the here and now, keep focused on the future and stop dwelling on the past.

Provide the best life for G & H emotionally, physically, financially

Spend more time with family

Look to self for events unfolding instead of blaming others

Write more

Read more

More supportive of C

 

This year:

Do things a little differently, step out of comfort zone.

Get a grant to turn Karen’s Cleaning into a reality

Finish school for Medical coding and billing

Complete H’s blanket

Complete family blanket

Home repairs

Home organization

Start savings account

Pay off debt

-Credit cards

-H’s hospital bills

-Sisters

– Parents

Take a vacation

 

The ongoing is just that, better than in the past, but not as good as could be.  In truth, will it ever be? Isn’t that why it is ongoing?

The tasks for they year I had some hits and misses.  Lots of changes this year that I could not account for in January.  The cleaning business took off even with out a grant and am now working on starting the next level of getting insured and bonded, hiring part time help and getting into cleaning new builds, construction and real estate homes.

Paying off my debt and fixing our home are difficult to do at the same time, but progress is being made on both.   This might be a more on going task.

We took a vacation!  Hoping this becomes a yearly expectation versus a task or goal to reach.

2017 will have some similar tasks/goals but further along in progress.

2017 Task List

Ongoing:

Strengthen and get in shape (Mind, Body, Emotion, and Spiritual)

Spend more time in real time in the here and now, keep focused on the future and stop dwelling on the past.

Provide the best life for G & H emotionally, physically, financially

Spend more time with family

Look to self for events unfolding instead of blaming others

Write more

Read more

More supportive of C

 

This year:

Do things a little differently, step out of comfort zone.

Take Karen’s Cleaning to the next step

Build my Tealightful ( http://www.tealightfultea.net/SIMPLYTEALIGHTFUL/ ) business

Complete H’s blanket

Complete family blanket

Home repairs

Home organization

Start savings account

Pay off debt

-Credit cards

-H’s hospital bills

-Sisters

– Parents

Take a vacation

 

I am not sure how much of this will happen in 2017 but giving it my best shot!  No matter what :

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