Ladders and Leaning

Many of us have heard of ‘Wednesday Wisdom’- it’s a popular hashtag.

And it always makes me smile, because one of the things that I find myself desiring the most is wisdom. Someone once commented to me in my early thirties, ”Well, my girl, wisdom comes with age”. I found myself denying the ‘laws of womanhood’, and becoming excited about getting older! πŸ˜›
Do I like my laugh lines (wrinkles πŸ˜› )? Not particularly, no.
Do I like that some days I get up and everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t seem to want to work properly? πŸ˜› Gosh, no!
Do I like that my childhood punishment of having to take a nap is something I now find myself thinking of and desperately desiring to do? NOPE!
But if all those things mean that I am growing a little wiser with each passing day? Well then, YES PLEASE!

I KNOW I can’t go wrong with seeking wisdom in all things. Living a life where every minute of every day is spent being sensible and focusing on wise thinking, and being experienced and knowledgeable enough to always practice good judgement? Well then every day would be utterly incredible in the most wonderful ways! And if we could all be like that, not only would we be the very definition of perfection, but this world would be too.
At the same time, I am also fully aware that being this way every minute of every day is probably unachievable.
But if I focus on at least TRYING to be, then surely I’ll get it right more often than not?
Well, that is what I hope anyway πŸ˜‰

Positive encouragement and inspiration are, for me, wisdom nuggets to be added to my memory bank. There are little things along the way that I manage to store, and so when faced with a particular situation, I am able to recall them, and put them into practice in order to make a ‘wise choice’.
I am also a big believer in sharing positive encouragement and inspiration – nugget worthy reminders – because maybe something plants itself in your mind, and perhaps is able to ‘come to your rescue’ when you find yourself having to make a difficult choice, or help somebody else.

So here is a nugget I picked up on this morning. It will probably mean something different to you than what it means to me, because we’re all different, and our circumstances and choices that we are perhaps faced with are unique. But I thought I would share it anyway, because it left me with a lot to think about.
I saw the following quote :
β€œPeople may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

As we all know, the definition of success is a rather personal one, because it comes down to what you think it is. Hence the impact of this quote will have a different meaning to all of us.
But this quote stirred something within me, and so I spent a little time ‘investigating’ it.
And in my ‘investigation’ I found an article that I suppose could be classified as a ‘business point of view’ but there were things in there that spoke to me in a personal way too.
SO… in the spirit of Wednesday Wisdom and imparting nuggets for others to store πŸ˜‰ …..
I will end with a quote from the article – and if you click on it, it will take you to the full article if you wish to read it.
Here’s to being wise πŸ˜‰

Sometimes, we get where we always wanted to go & then realize that what we needed was there at the bottom of the ladder the whole time – and we didn’t bring them along. That may be family, that may be friends, faith, health, whatever speaks to you.”

Sometimes give them a Voluntary WHY

I have made so many mistakes along the way as a mother that there are days I really stop and wonder how it is that I actually have really good kids. Of course, on those days, it’s usually because I am comparing them to someone else’s kids – the ones who are NOT as ‘good’ as mine πŸ˜›
And yet, at the same time, I also know that there is NO comparison – my children are individuals in their own right. And in the same way that I lack perfection as a woman, and a mother, they also have areas that need improving. Such is life!

There are also the days where I find myself shaking my head, and wondering, where did I go wrong?
And no one else’s children feature on those days! It’s all about mine! πŸ˜›
Yesterday was one of those days.

For those of you who don’t know, I need to clarify : they are my children because I gave birth to them and love them unconditionally – but they are no longer ‘children’. My son will be 23 in two months time (he still lives with us, having completed his university degree at the end of last year). My daughter will be 16 next month! (Oh gosh! My baby girl!!!!)
My son is in that stage of life where he seems to have forgotten how ‘argumentative and silly’ he was as a teen – often asking me, ‘Was I like that?’ and then apologising profusely when I confirm that he was indeed! It always makes me smile. These are usually occasions where my daughter is NOT smiling though, because he has just told her how silly she is being, and that she’s ‘not always right’ etc.
Being an adult has also changed my son’s views somewhat, and I have found that in some areas he has suddenly matured – it still shocks me! πŸ˜› Which means that there is also the need for damage control when he assumes the ‘male adult/father figure’ role in the house – it’s usually done in way of protection of me though… things like : ”Don’t be cheeky to Mommy”, ”Your room is a mess, and those dishes need to come to the sink”, ‘Mommy just cleaned the kitchen, come and wipe your mess off the counter”, ”I don’t think you should be watching that, you’d better check with Mom”, ”You may not watch ‘insert You Tuber’s name here’ latest video – it’s really not for you”!
Teenage girls do not take kindly to authoritative big brothers – I know… because it’s how I grew up! Which unfortunately puts me in a rather difficult position – I appreciate and value my son’s input, but completely identify and feel sympathy for my daughter! I so remember what it was like!

Somehow, we make it through every conflict without too much damage. And I am grateful for that. And most days, I am in awe as to how we all still live together like we do!
What completely boggles my mind is their love for each other – although no one had better ever ask them to use ‘the L word’ when it comes to their sibling! πŸ˜›
My jaw ‘drops to the floor’… every day! Because every day there will be some minor infraction from one or the other that causes raised voices and conflict between them. The result is always the same – my daughter will stomp off to her room, muttering under her breath, and I will hear my son exclaiming out loud in the lounge area, ”So freaking dumb”!
And here’s the jaw drop part : within a couple of hours, one of them will approach the other one. Not to apologise though. The approach will be because they have a YouTuber that they both are fond of, and something will have happened, and there is suddenly this need to share.
(Sharing with me is usually a lengthy process, because they first have to remind me why I know the person – what they have told me or shown me in the past etc. πŸ˜› )
And the sharing is often mutual agreement, and some laughter, and it’s like there was no conflict in our house at all prior to ‘this moment’ that they are having. This also always makes me smile.
And every couple of months, there will be a Friday or Saturday night where I find them both in the lounge area, watching movies that they have both seen far too many times from years ago. And my daughter will always say, ”We’re having a sibling bonding night. Don’t get too excited – we still don’t like each other.” To which my son will always have a comedic response, and my daughter will throw a piece of popcorn at him…. and my smile becomes a chuckle as I retreat and allow them to have time ‘alone’. Because I really do feel that, when all jokes are put aside, these occasional evenings matter and are important for the two of them. (Some days there will actually be the threat of murder – I need them to have these moments to hopefully help prevent follow through πŸ˜› )

And now that you have some history about my ‘imperfect children’…. here’s why yesterday had me asking ‘WHERE DID I GO WRONG?’

We all know what ‘positive affirmations’ are, right? They’re pretty much positiveΒ statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. They’re to help you create a positive mental attitude to empower you.
About three years ago, I decided I wanted to help my kids a little more than I already was just by being their mom πŸ˜› , and so I started regularly seeking out, and printing out, selected positive quotes and affirmative statements for them. They each have about ten printed pages – my son’s is a collage on his bedroom cupboard, which he sees when he wakes up in the morning; my daughter chose for hers to be behind her bedroom door so that every time she opens and closes it, she sees them.

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen, and my son was in the lounge (it’s open plan), and my daughter came through and announced, ”We all need to start doing positive affirmations every day.”
I don’t know who had the more ‘horrified and shocked’ expression on their face – me, or my son.
He was the first to reply though.
”What do you think Mommy has been doing by sticking up new pages for us every now and then?”
My daughter shrugged her shoulders and replied, ”I thought it was just stuff she wanted us to have.”

And my first reaction (in my head) was, ”How on earth can she think that? Where did I go wrong? How did I fail at this?” And it hit me! I DID GO WRONG! This WAS on me!

The intentions behind what I had done were pretty fantastic, I think πŸ˜› – I had created a ‘visual board’ of positivity for them in an effort to empower and inspire them. When I invaded their space with the first page, I had told them to be sure to read it every day. But I had forgotten to fully explain. To give them a WHY.
A lengthy conversation followed and it was beneficial to us all, in many ways. What surprised me was a statement my daughter made when my son commented that she should have asked why I wanted them to read it every day, because clearly she didn’t understand. She replied, quite confidently, ”I didn’t ask because Mommy usually tells us, in great detail, what we need to know.” And she rolled her eyes. πŸ˜›

We all know the infamous ‘Because I said so’. I use it sometimes with my kids, when the situation calls for it and they dare to ask why πŸ˜› (Stop worrying about whether there are vegetables in it, and just eat it! πŸ˜› )
But I remember what that answer was like too.
Eventually, I stopped asking why – and I actually missed out. Because I think I could have learned even more, and saved myself some troubles, if I had just asked the right people ‘why’ growing up.
But I also think that as adults, and as parents, there are times where we should not wait for the why to be asked – perhaps if we would just voluntarily speak out small doses of the wisdom we have, perhaps then our children won’t experience feeling ‘as lost’ as they sometimes do.

I think that like with most things in life, it’s about balance.
We all want our kids to have enquiring minds and look for the answers to the ‘why’s’ and not be afraid to ask – but at the same time, we want them to be informed and equipped enough that in some areas they do not need to ask because the why has already been voluntarily explained ahead of time.

And the parenthood lesson I was forced to learn? I need to stop telling my kids so much in detail, so that they are forced to ask WHY more often πŸ˜›
Off to think a little more about how to balance this particular scale πŸ˜‰

Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. The UK celebrates it on a different day, and I often miss that one – and so, today, I will wish my stepmother, even though it’s ‘not applicable’ in their country for today. She became ‘Mum’ the year I turned eighteen. And unlike some horror stories with stepparents, she truly has been an absolute treasure in my life. I am very grateful for Mum, and her unconditional love. It hasn’t always been easy, but it definitely has been worth it.

I often feel that I fall short as a ‘Mum’. And to be entirely honest, I probably do in some ways. But isn’t that just life? We never get it 100% perfect.
When it comes to being human, and being me, I am always striving to be a ‘better me than I was yesterday’. To do things differently, to be more aware of how I react, to be kinder, to be gentler etc. And all these things apply to my parenting skills too. I just keep trying. Trial and error. What works, and what doesn’t – especially with a teenage girl in the house πŸ˜›

My children and I are not a ‘normal family’. Our relationship is a different dynamic in many ways – for example, we pretty much almost never eat a meal together. This is usually due to different timetables that can’t be changed, but it is what it is.

At the end of the day, even though my children are not really children anymore, my commitment to them remains the same in a lot of ways. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they will always be open and honest with me (even when my teen daughter knows it might get her into trouble, which it sometimes does πŸ˜› ) and that neither one of them will ever have cause to pause and wonder if I love them. And for me, those are the most important things and worthy of celebration!
We certainly are not a perfect family though, and we fail each other – like would you believe that my kids have never made me a cup of coffee or tea? Shocking, I know πŸ˜›
We bicker about little things, and in all honesty, there have been times where those little things have escalated quickly and we’ve almost gone to war. But we always get through it. And although there may be slight injuries, we heal… and we continue to forge forward, together.

And I love that about us.

So here’s to Mother’s Day, and single parenthood, and our ‘not normal/traditional’ little family.

I hope you all have an exceptional day celebrating!

To end off, if you’d like a laugh, please visit this old blog post… the video is for those who suffer from overprotective dad syndrome, which is rather applicable to me since I am both parents πŸ˜‰

Today’s Day

It would be remiss of me to not write a blog post about what day it is today. For it happens to be…

STAR WARS DAY

I was reminded of this by the above picture in a Facebook post that a friend of mine shared.

Star Wars was not a part of my childhood, Star Trek was – when I was able to sneakily watch episodes with my dad. (And oddly enough, as a little girl, I wanted to marry Captain Pickard and not Riker. πŸ˜› )

My father remarried the year I turned eighteen. I gained a British Mum, and four step siblings. I also gained Star Wars.

My stepbrother was in his teens – the only boy of the four – and I somehow doubt he was very amused by yet another female in the house when I went to visit. His amusement turned to horror when he discovered that his stepsister had never watched Star Wars.
”How did you get to be eighteen and you don’t know anything about it?”

He remedied that. Over and over. And over again.

In the month that I was with them, he and I had five (if I remember correctly) Star Wars movie marathons, because of course he had the VHS box set. And I loved every minute. This time, I chose Yoda (the little dude pictured above) as my husband πŸ˜›

Star Wars, for me, is not just about the movies. It’s about cherished moments spent with a ‘new sibling’ which gave us a common ground. (Our mutual love for Mr. Bean helped too!)

Now, if you haven’t watched Star Wars (and you’re HOW old?? πŸ˜› ) then you may not be familiar with one of the famous lines : May the Force be with you – now you see why ‘May the Fourth’ works so well πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough though, β€œMay the Fourth be with you” was first used by Margaret Thatcher’s political party to congratulate her on her election on May 4th, 1979.

This morning, I think this was me….

I sure hope my coffee kicks in soon! πŸ˜›

If you want to read some great Star Wars quotes, you can take a gander here.
I’ll end with this quote : β€œMaster Yoda says I should be mindful of the future… but not at the expense of the moment.”
Qui Gon Jinn

May you all see the good in the moments of TODAY… and may the fourth be with you πŸ˜‰

Scrambling For Words

Today is SCRABBLE DAY!

A day I simply had to post about because of the fond memories I have associated with this board game!

Today was chosen as the day to celebrate the game, because it is also the day that the game creator was born! His name was Alfred Mosher Butts and he invented this board game during The Great Depression in the 1930’s.

At the time that he created the game, many were out of work, starving for food, depressed. Including Alfred himself. He was an Architect – an out of work Architect.

I’d like to think that it wasn’t just boredom that caused him to create it. But that’s me and my positive spin on life, I guess πŸ˜› I’d like to think that as he looked around him, and saw people struggling, that he wanted to provide them with something that would not only stimulate their brains, but possibly also distract them from the misery of their circumstances.

The game was originally called LEXICO, later changed to Criss Cross Words, and of course it is now Scrabble, as we know it.

Alfred teaches us a lesson in tenacity – in the reward that comes with never giving up. Because initially his game was rejected by most board game manufacturers. He eventually encountered a man by the name of James Brunot, who purchased the rights to the game, made a few minor adjustments and renamed it…. making Scrabble (and Alfred) a household name.

The fond memories I mentioned? I can still see my Granny and Grampie now, huddled over their Scrabble board, trying to outdo each other and achieve maximum points so as to ultimately be declared the winner. It makes me smile. They played every night – early evening, straight after supper. And I looked forward to sleepovers at their house, so that I could be a part of the action!

As soon as I was able to begin spelling, there was always a ‘pre-game’ game – Grampie would take me on, and Granny was allowed to help me, but only a little bit. For a few years, I found myself scrambling for words! And then I started to get better at it, and Granny no longer needed to assist. I never did beat Grampie though – he remains ‘our champion’, in more ways than one ❀

I found this image on Pinterest, and it made me smile even more, as it is a picture of the original game, and the box looks identical to my grandparents box – well used πŸ˜‰

It was amusing to see my brother (the middle child in our family – nine years my senior) proudly unpack his very own Scrabble game when he was eighteen, and right up until the moment he moved out (when he was about 24, I think it was) I would regularly find him playing against himself, either on his bed, or next to the swimming pool while he was ‘tanning’.

No one in my family has ever participated in any formal Scrabble championships (that I know of) – playing against each other was apparently challenging enough! πŸ˜› The only time I have ever won a game, was when I played against myself πŸ˜› But that has never caused me to turn down the opportunity to play – I have definitely always played for the enjoyment of it πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough, even worldwide Scrabble championships have scandals attached to them! What next?!?! Ha ha ha!

Happy Scrabble Day, everyone! Please go and have some fun with words today πŸ˜‰

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. πŸ˜›

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight πŸ˜› )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it πŸ˜›

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! ❀

no guarantees

I don’t have a whole lot to say today – but every word in this picture rings true…. especially with this pandemic!

And in case you are wondering, I am grateful for all of you in this very large blogging world! ❀

Important side note : not everyone will love you back. Even the people who are related to you, and ‘should’. Keep loving them anyway, even when it hurts. We are not responsible for others, but we are very responsible for ourselves.
And remember that sometimes the people who are acting ‘unloveable’ are sometimes the people who need our love the most ❀

Be safe out there, please, everyone! ❀

Reading IS doing!

Someone very dear to me reminded me yesterday that ‘nature abhors a vacuum, and something will fill it and it’s not always the best stuff’.

And I know this.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes weΒ know something and yet still become its prey?Β 

The vacuum was there, created by frustration, I’m guessing. And then along came the proverbial cherry to top it all off. When I have these cherry experiences, they usually reduce me to tears…

But then the healing begins.

And I come back stronger – because I choose to force myself to empty out the bad stuff and fill the vacuum with the good. It really can go either way though – but it’s about choice.
When you have come through the things I have, there is no way that you want to choose the latter. I have learned through some very difficult and painful experiences that I truly WANT the good…always. That growth is not always easy… but it’s necessary to become the best version of me that I can be. And perhaps all of this is part of that journey?

So… moving on…

The UK truly is one of my favourite places in the world. Of course, the fact that my daddy lives there probably plays a big part in that πŸ˜‰
But I also had the opportunity to visit the UK for a few months, and Dad did it proud as far as being my tour guide was concerned. We didn’t see many shopping centres… instead, I sat on steps in his little town and fed the swans – I seldom see swans here. I took in the most amazing scenery, and had long walks in forests. I finally got to see real castles… and walk in their ruins πŸ™‚Β  And we visited almost every charity shop we could find… for books!

Today (or rather later today) is World Book Night.

Apparently it started in the UK (told you it’s a great place πŸ˜› ) and Ireland in 2011 – World Book Day existed for children, and so World Book Night was created as a ‘day’ for adults to read more books.
In 2012 and 2013, the holiday was celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day.

They talk about celebrating it by giving books away to others, or reading a book late into the night to relax. That we should share our favourite books with one another, in an effort to encourage reading.

As an adult, I completely understand when someone tells me that they just don’t seem to find the time to read. Life gets busy, and there is always something else that needs doing.
My problem is that no matter how much still needs to be done, I will still squeeze in an hour to read. But, you see, I am something of a book worm πŸ˜‰

I was ‘quite offended’ (not really offended as such, just a little bit amazed at the thought) when someone asked me the other day what I was doing. So I replied with, ‘Reading πŸ™‚ ‘
And the response was, ‘So you’re not actually doing anything.’ This person felt the same way about me with my writing.
But this person is not a person who reads or writes – for them, ‘doing’ is physically doing/working with their hands. In their eyes, reading and writing makes me a very lazy person.
We’re still friends πŸ˜‰
Because this world is made up of a variety of people with so many different strengths and talents and abilities… and that’s what makes the world work. This person repairs motorcycles locally, and without him, our local bikers would be in a fix and paying way too much for ‘out of town’ services. He has value. So do I.
But the things people value about us are different πŸ˜‰

So if you enjoy reading, and struggle to find the time, then today is a good day to put everything else aside and curl up with your book. You have an excuse πŸ˜‰

And if you’ve read anything really good lately, feel free to share it in the comments. It may not be my preferred genre, but someone else may decide it’s for them πŸ˜‰
And knowing me, I will probably give it a read anyway πŸ˜‰

This week I read Have You Seen Her, by Karen Rose.

have
Photo credit : bookdepository.com

”Special Agent Steven Thatcher has sworn to find the serial killer preying on this small town.Β  As the investigation pulls him one way, his family pulls him in another.Β A widower haunted by loss, he now worries about his son Brad slipping away.Β 

I was actually very surprised by this book! It was ‘full’ of everything. The fear and intrigue of the serial killer as we go on the hunt; the emotion and pain of a family being torn apart (there were parts there that made me cry!); and adult desires that carry you into a romance.
When I say full – it’s like it was three different stories that could have each been books on their own… but were edited to make the ‘story’ shorter… without losing your emotional connection to every aspect. Interwoven to make for a heck of a read.

This type of book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… but it ‘had something’ and I’m really glad I read it. When I finished it, I was filled with a lot of admiration for this author, because for me it truly was skillfully brought together. A little predictable in parts? Sure. But I’m a book lover and not a very good book critic πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

Happy World Book Night, adults πŸ˜‰