The Reluctant Cheerleader

Once again I have let life stop me from doing something I love, writing!  More specifically getting the stories out that are in my head.  They may not be amazing, but when one takes hold it is difficult to stop from taking over my thoughts.  Unfortunately for me they usually arrive at the most inconvenient times.

Yesterday while cleaning a clients home a memory struck and led to a story idea.  I do not have a great hold on where this one is going yet but the premise has stuck.  First, the back story.

Unless you knew me in high school, you may not recognize me as the same person.  I was a bit reserved, except with my inner circle.  I was not loud by any means and the only class I really put myself forward in was gym.  Unlike many of my peers, I did not care about my clothes often wearing sweat pants or jeans and t shirts.  My hair was usually in a ponytail or braid (oh wait, that hasn’t changed!)  20170930_061658This is me on the last day of school either freshman or sophomore year, really cant remember as my sense of style did not change much!  I do remember we weren’t supposed to sit on the lab tables but for some reason our homeroom teacher never cared when I did it . .

When I was a freshman in high school, my adviser met with me to review my grades, teacher recommendations and my college goals to choose my classes for Sophomore year.   Do not remember speaking much about my classes and goals though she tried really hard to recruit me as a cheerleader!

I remember her speaking several times about how my smile was infectious and I had the build and athleticism to be really good.  All I kept thinking was do you even know me?  I hate being the center of attention.  I was in no way anything like any of the other girls on the squad.  Running spring track and managing the swim team was good for me, not a lot of people came to the events and I was able to stay active.  I didn’t really fit any mold or click.  I was average in grades with A’s and B’s.  I was not popular though I had a decent amount of friends and generally not shunned by others (never last to be picked for a team type thing). I took shop classes as my electives, more because I preferred them to the other options.  Cheering me?  Of course I sad no thank you and she asked me to think about it some more.

Now as an adult I wonder what if, I the misfit who didn’t fit a stereo type in  high school,  would be like if I said yes . . .

Eerily, the adviser was right, I would have been good.  I helped a friend of mine practice/train her freshman year for tryouts and she made the JV squad.  She swore she would not have without my help.

This could be a fun little story to write . . . I may need background to help though.  Would any of you who have experience in the cheer world want to sit down for a cuppa and share stories to make this work?

My day away

Recently I had the opportunity to take a two day one night solo trip for a sneak peek at the new products and catalog for Tealightful launching in September.  It was not something I ever did before and was intrigued by the possibility.  Not just the sneak peak, but meeting other people like myself who are trying to turn a passion into an income.  It defintely helped me confirm I made the correct choice in joining this company.

The others I met while at the retreat where all amazing.  As I never met anyone of them before, nor did I know anyone attending ( I do not have a TEAm) I was nervous I would get the cold shoulder.  The you do not belong to out group, your not welcome.  That was not the case.  In fact it was the opposite!

The ladies I met while in Rochester, NY greeted me like an old friend the minute we met at check in to the hotel.  As soon as they heard I was also there for the Tea Retreat they invited me to dinner.  When I mentioned I needed to see if they could accommodate my dietary needs ( I have Celiacs Disease) one of the group walked over to the restaurant and back again before I even finished checking in to confirm the restaurant was able to accommodate Celiac needs!

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Thursday nights dinner.  Chips made with Truffle oil, bacon and Asiago cheese. Yum!

After a bigger meal than I expected of truffle chips, I went back to my hotel room to settle in and rest.  I made the drive to Rochester, NY immediately after cleaning a home in New Hope, PA.  What started as a scheduled 5,5 hour trip turned into an almost 6.5 hour trip do to traffic and rerouting.  Yet the hardest part of my day was ahead, spending my first night away from the kids; something I had not done since before my now almost 3 year old daughter was born.

As soon as I returned to the room I called home to say sweet dreams to the kids.  I missed them and was afraid C would be frustrated with putting both kids to bed.  Surprisingly everyone was in good spirits.  My 5 year old wanted to know if he would see me in the morning, which he wouldn’t, but told him I would be home in time for good night kisses.

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The Tea Ladies at dinner Thursday night

After such a long day it was easy to fall asleep in a strange bed, and I still woke up at my regular time thanks to my internal alarm clock.  I do have to say the sound of my daughters morning siren wale for a diaper change and milk was not missed one bit!

Once I made my way to the breakfast area where I met another solo attendee we met up with the rest of the group from the night before, and we got to meet Tealightful’s founder and CEO Charlene Phillips.  She is even nicer in person!  She greeted us all by name and it was not rehearsed.  She truly was amazed that we were all there and was even a little flustered by it!

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In the gift bag from Tealightful waiting for me at the hotel

After some pictures of the group we walked to the Mansion where the tasting was taking place .  Again, the details Charlene took were impressive, she personally spoke with the kitchen and main chef to assure all my food would be safe and had me and one other guest with a food sensitivity go first to get our food to make sure we were able to eat before the others could take or cross contaminate.

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Ohhh the food!

Then there was the tea . . . oh the tea!  We were able to taste 4 of the new teas coming out this season.  The one I am most excited for is the Eggnog Butter Rum!  The Pumpkin Creme Torte was also vert tasty and will be featured at the Fall Open house I am hosting on October 7th.  There was also a Holiday Berry, which was very good.  It is not my personal taste with the licorice flavor from the star Anise, but I know others will love it! The forth tea we tried was Apricot Sunrise, which I plan on featuring at a vendor event in December, it is also very tasty white tea which means the leaves can be used up to 4 times making it a great value as well!

Ironically what I am most excited about this season are the accessories!  There is a beautiful stone gray tea pot I have my eye on with matching tea mugs.  There are “teaspoon” mugs that I not only want for myself but think will

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“Teaspoon” Mug

make great teacher gifts with some tea and honey samples.  Definitely going to watch my spending this season with all these wonderful additions!

After the tea finished, we took a tour of the mansion that houses a wonderful collection of Women’s suffrage memorabilia.  Then it was time for goodbyes . . . or more appropriately until the next retreat!

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Political cartoons of the Women’s suffrage movement 
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“Swag” worn by the Women during movement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drive home was a little easier and only took 5.5 hours.  Though there was a brief time when I got nervous when I GPS rerouted me avoid some traffic and took my through some mountain back roads and I was on empty.  Thankfully I was able to fill up just before getting back on the highway and made it home just in time to get the kids ready for bed.

It was an adventure for sure, and one I will make again.

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The Ladies at the ROC Retreat
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Saying good buy to our leader and CEO of Tealightful

Setting Intentions

My entire life I have been told, work hard, keep your head down and do what is expected.  I heard how we are the worker bees of the world and as long as I do my job well, no matter what it is I will get by.

I am tired of just getting by. It is not what I am built for in reality.

The number of books I have read, the people have talked to and my own gut all the say the same thing; we are what we believe we are.  By telling myself I am only meant for scrapping by and working hard, that is all I will ever achieve.  That time is over.

Since I last posted about my intention of becoming a full time Momma, part time writer and part time tea sales I have booked 4 more tea events with 2 more in the works!   I am writing this just a few days after my last post.  I feel more involved with my kids and have a much calmer clearer mind when it comes to their behaviors and needs.

Sure it helps that I started taking medication for my congestion and that always makes you feel good.

But really its my mind and body are working as one, they are not at war with each other as the intention of both are now aligned.   It’s not that I do not have worries and fears, it’s the focus of my intentions are shifting to what my heart and instinct have wanted but my brain and training has guided me away from.

We tell our kids the most important part is trying and giving it your best.  Thought the outcome may not be what you want, the fact you are trying with everything you have is the win.  More importantly, just because the outcome was not what you wanted, does not mean you give up, you get back up and find another way to make it happen.  If it is something you truly want, you will figure it out. Now to set the example, figure it out and make it happen.

Intentions are set, follow through and go for it!

 

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!