Wondering what NaBloPoMo is? Read this to learn all about it and why (and how) I'm participating!
What a difference a year makes - #29
2009: The year was...challenging to say the least. I think I've sufficiently expressed the many ways in which it was the worst year we've experienced through my daily NaBloPoMo "snapshots." Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo - time to put this exercise in contrast - and the memories of a really rotten year - behind me.
It's been cathartic putting a difficult year into words. Hopefully I've conveyed not only the depths of our despair but how it's the little things that day by day are changing to make 2010 a better year.
2010: I am acutely aware that we are not the only ones who have had a bad year, are having a bad year or will have a bad year. It unfortunately happens to everyone.
All I can do as a survivor of One Miserable Mother of a Year is offer some encouragement to others: It will end. Things will turn around. Maybe not soon or as quickly as you want or even the way that you hope. But they will get better.
Sometimes it's a matter of really looking hard (under every rock falling from the sky onto your head) for things to improve - but YES, things WILL get better. And someday in the future, you'll be able to look back from better circumstances, smiling for no apparent reason - and think to yourself:
What a difference a year makes.
Entries tagged as inspiration
Tuesday, November 30. 2010
Wondering what NaBloPoMo is? Read this to learn all about it and why (and how) I'm participating!
Sunday, May 9. 2010
No tribute I could write today could capture what I was inspired to compose a couple days later in the funeral home's online guestbook. It poured out of my fingers, straight from my heart. In my mom's honor, I share it with you today:
It is an extraordinary honor to have been born your daughter. By your example, you taught me that women are smart and strong and resourceful. By your example, you taught me that life is a precious gift full of joy and purpose: That it is as important to know how to enjoy life as it is to work hard and utilize my talents. These lessons have served me well throughout my life.
Most importantly, by your example, you taught me the essence of "home." Home is where you are accepted for the individual you are, warmly nurtured and endowed with the freedom to grow into the fullness of your potential. Because I know "home," I can venture forth to create and find that feeling of home in my own life.
Thank you, Mom, for these examples which guide me. They provide a constant source of conviction and direction in my life. These are the qualities I seek to share in the world myself. Through me and those whose lives I touch, your examples will live on forever - as will you in my heart.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I Wish I Could Tell You In Person...
Wednesday, December 2. 2009
With the holidays fast approaching, Scott and I have again turned our thoughts to gifts for the family. Holiday shopping can be stressful, tedious, and time consuming - not to mention expensive. But believe me, gift-giving doesn't have to be unpleasant.
When it comes to gifts, it really is the thought that counts. No one in our circle of family and friends - fortunately - is relying on our gift to fulfill any need - or want - for that matter. In the true spirit of a gift, then, we are free to give of ourselves. It has become our tradition to give non-traditional gifts by thinking "outside the box."
For us, gift-giving is a joy rather than a pain in the neck and pocketbook because each year we challenge ourselves to be thoughtful, creative and budget-conscious. We are always proud of the gifts we give and we feel that the recipients are even more appreciative for the care and thought we put into them. Our approach also alleviates the "obligatory" factor of gifting, because our gifts come from the heart and not from the mall.
Let me share some of our previous gift ideas to illustrate what I mean by "thinking outside the box."
- One year, two family members were diagnosed with diabetes. The subject of health was on our minds, so we made a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation on behalf of each recipient.
- When we noticed that our growing nieces and nephews were leading such independent lives, we thought it would be nice to give the whole family a reason to spend some time together. We created a Family Movie Night basket which included a DVD (The Princess Bride was our excellent choice), homemade flavored popcorn and several blanket throws.
- Then there was Couple's Game Night where we host a night away from the kids each month at our house to play games, enjoy snacks and visit with each other as adults.
- Last year we offered "Aunt and Uncle Day" where we invited the nieces and nephews over to our house (two at a time) for some age-appropriate fun with us, including yoga and spa day for the girls, cooking/guitar lessons and crafts for the boys. It was all about making memories.
Each of these ideas was targeted at the current circumstances and priorities of those we were gifting. Getting to the essence of the recipient is the key to coming up with a great, personalized gift idea. Once you have the "a-ha" moment, you just need to flesh out the concept, making the completed gift as simple or as detailed as you can afford in time, effort and cost.
Brainstorming ideas for people on the gift list creates a wonderful opportunity for teaching children about giving. What a great chance for them to think of others at a time of year that can so often become all about "things." As a bonus, the creation and presentation of the gift can become a satisfying family project incorporating everyone's ideas and talents.
Scott and I want gift-giving to be a meaningful experience, for ourselves and for those to whom we give. We accomplish that by giving a piece of ourselves. One size fits all.
Thursday, October 29. 2009
Click here to read my story.
For a little of the history as to how we arrived at this day, I'll have to turn back the calendar to January 6, 2009. That's when I received an email from Maggie who was starting a new blog. She wrote: "I contacted you because I'm looking for bloggers willing to tell their personal stories of domestic violence. My surface hope is to give domestic violence survivors a voice, and provide them an audience willing to listen. My deeper goal is to eventually eradicate domestic violence by pulling back the curtain over and over and over and over again until the rest of the world finally sees that this is an enormous, collective problem. That it's everywhere around us."
Apparently my post had come to her attention and she was asking me to contribute to her new venture. I was honored and my first inclination was to write something new. Months passed and nothing new materialized on the subject, even though I'd set my 'writer brain' to the task. Finally in July I wrote Maggie, "From time to time I revisit the subject of writing something for Violence Unsilenced but then I realize that I already have - my blog post from 9/27/07 titled "My Survivor Story." It's not new but after much consideration, I've come to the conclusion that I have nothing different or new to add. It stands for itself. I would be honored if you would consider reprinting it in its entirety on Violence Unsilenced when the opportunity arises."
Maggie was kind enough to place my submission on the waiting list - yes, there's a waiting list of stories of domestic violence waiting to be told!!!).
Today it is my turn to share with a wider audience my personal story of triumphant survival over the disease of violence that afflicted me all those years ago.
My most sincere wish is that my voice, in chorus with all the other unsilenced voices, sing the end to this despicable secret.
Wednesday, July 15. 2009
Tuesday, April 28. 2009
This entry could be considered part deux to my continuing saga of reinventing myself...
(You may want to read part one from earlier this week for some background...)
Although I've always been self-employed as a child care provider, there has always been a writer living inside me, awaiting the opportunity to be realized. In my case, life happened and squashed my ability to pursue writing as a career. In fact, English was my first choice as a college major. Upon considering my choices for careers with that degree, however, I changed my mind as a high school senior and studied human development instead. Through the years the writing urge has survived. People have often told me I had a "way with words" - an ability to clearly and compellingly express ideas. I have always felt I could express myself in writing much better than I could verbally.
Okay, so thanks to our economic climate, I find myself with a nearly non-existent daycare business. For the first time, I actually have the chance to seriously pursue writing...but making a living at it...that's the rub for me. I've proven I can make a living at child care...provided I have actual clients - which I don't at present. It is very scary to step into an untried field after twenty years and truly believe I can make a living at something completely new - even if it would fulfill a lifelong dream. While I am trying to see this as the opportunity (or kick in the pants) I've been waiting for all these years, I feel that I'm literally starting my life over from scratch. This pursuit of my heart's desire will also exercise completely different "working muscles" than I've ever used. While my husband is as supportive as humanly possible, I feel this decision and its consequences are on me. I have no safety net - emotional or financial, no Plan B...this is all I've got.
Thursday, January 15. 2009
It was recently brought to my attention by Jer at upsidedowndogs.com that there weren't enough photos of upside down cats here on upsidedowncats.com. Accepting the comment as a challenge, real or imagined, I scoured through photos today and discovered this gem of our dear Penny.
Could she look more comfy? Absolute bliss...
Personally, I believe there to be an abundance of cats "assuming the position" to see here. Just click on the "cat-a-gory" called "upside down" to view a plethora of upside down feline friends!
I've always considered my blog to be more conceptual than literal. I embrace the upside down cat as a symbol of the peace and contentment I seek in my own life.
Not that the sight of an upside down cat doesn't in and of itself bring a certain sense of contentment...
Friday, December 19. 2008
I am inspired to share a photo I took today of our Winter Wonderland. We are currently situated inside an "ice sandwich" - packed snow on the ground covered in a tasty solid layer of ice from last night's ice storm, topped off with a fresh dusting of today's snow. I am so moved by the weather in fact, that I am finally going to put the finishing touches on the following Holiday post and share it already!
There are several subjects I won't broach here on Upside Down Cats, namely, religion, politics and sports. Simply stated I have nothing good to say about any of them and Mom always told me" If you can't say something nice..." and well, you know the rest.
I do believe, however, that a person's Christmas song preferences are every bit as personally subjective as her opinions on the aforementioned subjects. Yet in the spirit of the season I am perfectly willing to divulge my favorites, knowing full well that they are likely to spark as much controversy as my opinions on those other highly-charged topics of discussion.
Sadly, an appreciation of Christmas songs is not a memory Scott and I can share. Not having been raised celebrating Christmas is a bulletproof excuse though, so I really can't fault him for not waxing nostalgic when it comes to the seasonal tunes. Recently Scott has posted an awesome list of his favorite Non-Traditional Christmas songs on his blog. Although he has developed an appreciation throughout the years for songs about Christmas, Scott would be the first to note that it is different than the songs being ingrained in one's psyche since day one.
It's OK, though...fear not for our shared cultural reference quotient. We'll always have Trilogy of Terror and Caddyshack, so we've got that going for us...
Monday, December 1. 2008
I wasn't planning to participate in NaBloPoMo this year. There was too much reality clogging up my mind, sapping my creativity...or so I thought. At some point mid-October I was reminded of it and quickly dismissed the prospect of it for this year.
Then, on the fateful afternoon of November 1, Scott asked the question, "So, are you going to do NaBloPoMo this year?" To my surprise, my negatory answer did not slide effortlessly past my lips as I was certain it would. Instead, somewhere between his question and my pre-determined answer I managed to play out an entire scenario of guilt and remorse for missing the NaBloPoMopportunity this year. I actually answered, "Maybe...I'll think about it..."
Continue reading "The Official NaBloPoMo Debriefing" »
Tuesday, October 21. 2008
I'll bet it wouldn't take much searching through your friends, family or acquaintances to think of a special someone you would consider a "Woman of Strength."
Let's celebrate these virtuous, strong, incredible women for the inspiration they provide us all. Here's a way you can do just that:
There is a contest being held at the new site for which I am a Featured Contributor, RichWomenSisterhood. The mission of this site is to celebrate, inspire and enrich the lives of women. To that end we are gathering nominations for a "Women of Strength" contest.
The winner will receive an enRICHed Sister membership (the highest level) at RichWomenSisterhood for one year, an Awards Certificate and will be honored at an annual Celebrating Sisterhood event. Most importantly she will receive the recognition she undoubtedly deserves.
Click here to nominate the "Woman Of Strength" who has touched your life by telling us about her at RichWomenSisterhood.com.
Please do hurry and nominate that incredible woman!
Nominations close at midnight, October 25, 2008 (Mountain Time)!