Thankful This Thursday: The Sun

Posted on January 28, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , |

I love the sun.  I am not one of those Midwesterners who would “miss the seasons” if I were to move somewhere warm.  If I were never to see so much as a snowflake again, my life would be PERFECT!

The sun puts me in a good mood.  It gives me a reason to leave the house.  It makes my skin flawless.  A slight tan makes me look slimmer.  Good music sounds so much better when playing loud in the car with the windows down.

Braden and I have loads more fun going for walks, blowing bubbles, playing at the park and going swimming than we do inside.  And I’m not the build-a-snowman-go-sledding-make-hot-cocoa mom.  I’m the just-walked-from-the-driveway-to-the-house-make-hot-cocoa mom.

So while I’m visiting my parents here in Florida, I am soaking up the sun.  It’s not even all that warm here… for Florida.  But I’ll take 68 degrees over 8 degrees any day!  And I may just not make it back.

This Thursday, I am thankful for the sun.

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Thankful This Thursday: Security

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , |

How is it Thursday again already!?

This Thursday I am thankful for shelter, water, food, freedom from injury and disease and knowing that my loved ones are safe and sound. 

Short and sweet this week, but in the wake of Haiti, anything else would seem petty.

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Thankful This Thursday: My Sister

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , |

She’ll probably never even read this post. (!!!!?!????) Half the time I wish she came with a mute button. That’s not very nice to say, I know. But the girl literally speaks every thought that pops into her head. You know how you could be walking down the stairs and think to yourself, “there’s a red string on the stair; I should pick that up…later”? She says it out loud. And the game “20 Questions”? That’s just a warm up for this girl!

But my sister is a part of our family, and by that, I don’t mean she is a part of my family because she is my sibling. I mean that she is a part of Braden and I. Braden expects to see her at our house on Wednesdays. If I haven’t talked to her in a couple days, I wonder what she’s up to. When I’m watching a movie, I want her to be watching it with me. I buy my groceries with her in mind. I want her to read the same books I do so we can talk about them.

We are two incredibly different people who rarely agree on anything, but we would be lost without each other. She drives me nuts, but at least she is in the vehicle with me!

When I found the keepsakes in the garage back in November, I came across a folder full of sweet things my sister wrote to me while we were growing up. To give you an idea of how much my sister has always loved me, here are some titles and some content of the letters, poems, cards and notes I’ve saved from her:

  • “A Birthday Poem from Me to You” (A very sweet poem written when she was 13.)
  • “It’s Your Birthday, Sister – I’m always telling other people how great I think you are. Today I’m telling you. Happy Birthday.” (A Hallmark card.)
  • “You’re the Greatest! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sis!” (A homemade construction paper card.)
  • “Laurie, You Are the Coolest Sister!” (A colorful sign drawn on the computer to hang in my room.)
  • “dEAR LORIE, You are nice, You are nice, You are funny, You are pretty. You are good at nintendo especially california games, I love you. You are good at school. love, your little sister.” (A note she typed and printed on a dot matrix printer.)
  • “My sister is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” (A poem to make amends, written when she was 14.)
  • And my personal favorite: “18 Golden Things About My Sister!!” (A list of 18 things she loved about me, written for my 18th birthday on December 18th.)

After a particularly rough day of third grade, I came home to my mom video taping my sister playing with the dog in the yard. I guess I snapped at her when she tried to greet me, because the video shows her cute little pig-tailed head coming up to the camera, “Mommy! Laurie called me a idiot!”

An idiot, she is not. My inspiration for this post is her natural ability to relate to Braden in ways that I am lacking. She can get him to talk about events and emotions in more detail than he shares with me. She has this way of turning every encounter into a teaching opportunity. For example, we have a list of house rules on the bulletin board. Braden and I read them out loud together most days, and I refer to the list when I need to enforce a rule.
But what does my sister do? First time she sees the list, she reads the beginning of each rule aloud, so that Braden can finish it. Then it’s all high fives every time he gets one right. Amazing!

I actually go to her for advice on how to deal with behavioral problems and discipline challenges because she simply has a knack for it.

When she does have kids of her own, I imagine they’ll either be very smart and well-behaved, or very smart and absolute tyrants in their rebellion. And I’m certain they’ll ask a lot of questions.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my sister. She is my soul mate.

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Energy

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m running out of the physical kind of energy.  Y’know, the kind that your body needs to stay awake and be productive.  But I just have to write this post tonight – the title for which has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks.  How to pull this all together in a meaningful way will be a test of my writing skills…

As any of you who have been hanging around MLI for a while know, I have a real passion for life in general, but writing, making a meaningful contribution, parenting and connecting with others, more specifically. I’m learning that I thrive in life when any combination of those elements is present.  It is when I shine the most, personally and professionally.  I also feel strongly that positive energy welcomes positive things.  It’s a “when it rains, it pours” philosophy — without the negative connotation.

So here is the series of events that led me to this post: First, I’ve decided that MLI needs a custom design. In discussing that with a friend at work, I was put in touch with a woman he thought could help.  In one short phone conversation, she and I agreed that she isn’t the person to meet the original need, but that we should meet anyway just to see if she can add value in another way. I had no idea what to expect, but thought eh, what the heck?

Fast forward two weeks to this past Saturday.  I’m in the shower, thinking about the blog and decide I need to develop my personal brand.  I start to envision the platform, the design, the content, the brand.  And suddenly it hits me.  A brilliant book idea.  By the time I finish blow drying my hair, I’ve written an entire book in my head. (Now, I’ve never intended for my blogging adventure to lead to writing a book, but who am I to tell my brain no?)

Sunday, the creator of the Ning group I belong to and write for tells me she’s going to start advertising in the newsletter and share any profits with me.

Monday, I meet with the above-mentioned woman.  We hit it off instantly and spend the evening bouncing ideas around.  The meeting turned out to be mutually beneficial, and rather than me hiring her, we agreed to barter services.  Additionally, she’s interested in hiring me to write a weekly blog post on her website and possibly write her web content as well.  We also discussed other possibilities and opportunities.

She leaves, I check my email and find that my application has been reviewed and I have been offered a gig as Chicago Co-Parenting Examiner at Examiner.com.

What is going on here?

Tuesday I have a conference call with a friend of a friend who is just starting as a freelance writer as well.  We share ideas and discuss possibilities and networking opportunities.  My excitement is rising.

This morning, I check the status of my Suite 101 application and find out I have been accepted there as well.

Why am I telling you about all of this?  Because when I wrote my About page on Day One of My Life, Incomplete, I meant what I said: “I have a dream to write professionally. I am starting here, but hope to one day get published in a magazine and ultimately (don’t laugh) run my own…”  But I added in the “don’t laugh” because I thought I sounded ridiculous.  Today, I can see my magazine out there, in the future, waiting for me to come and get it.  I’m on my way!

The energy created just by getting started launched me into motion.  It seems the more I focus on the elements in my life that I am passionate about, the more those elements multiply.  And to tie it all together – a quote (by unknown) that a friend posted on Facebook today: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.”

What’s in your life plan?  What are you waiting for?

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MLI Discussion: The Ring

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: divorce, MLI Discussions | Tags: , , , , , , |

I was home alone.  I was sitting at the top of the stairs.  And I was bawling — er, whaling like a banshee.  My wedding ring was gone.  I was sure of it; I’d looked everywhere.

It was 2005 and I had been married for almost three years.  We were expecting a baby in just a few months.  I was enjoying a fantastic pregnancy and was a happy mommy-to-be.  My pregnancy was so delightful that I rarely had any “crazy pregnant lady” moments.  But this was one of them.

I retraced my steps a hundred times.  I unscrewed drain pipes, pulled back carpeting – YES!, pulled back carpeting.  I pulled all of my clothes out of all of my drawers.  I dumped my baskets full of toiletries.  If that ring was in that house, I would have found it. 

After hours of frantic searching, I collapsed to the floor and the tears began to fall.  Thinking back on that day, I remember feeling like I had lost an absolutely irreplacable possession.  This wasn’t about the diamond.  My ex purchased the ring when he was waiting tables at Bob Evan’s.  It was a beautiful ring, but the monetary value was minimal. 

My attachment to the ring was in what it symbolized:  It was the day he proposed to me while I was in my pajamas.  It was shopping for my fairy-tale wedding dress.  It was the moment he slid it on my finger before all of our friends and family.  It was our first apartment, our new home, our unborn baby — all captured in that circle that belonged around my bare left ring finger. 

I can clearly remember feeling like I didn’t know how to go on without that ring.  A replacement just wouldn’t do.  I spent the next 24 hours replaying the day before in my head.  When did I last have it on?  Where was I when I took it off?  What did I do with it? 

I could picture myself setting it on the bathroom counter before my shower.  WHY WASN’T IT THERE!?  And then, as though God had decided I’d been tortured enough, it came to me.  I ran up the stairs, pulled my maternity jeans from the upper shelf in my closet, and the ring fell on the floor in front of me.  The jeans had been sitting on the bathroom counter when I took the ring off.  Unknowningly, I had set the ring on the jeans and it slid down into the cuff of the pants. 

All was right with the world.

Two and a half years after splitting with my ex, that ring sits in my jewelry box.  I keep thinking I’ll sell it, but never get around to it. 

I have a new passion for life and I welcome all of the opportunities that await me in this new chapter.  I thank God everyday for leading me to Doug, the perfect partner, best friend and love for me.  Yet, the ring is still symbolic of all the same things it was when I wore it.  Only now, it takes on a new meaning as it serves as a reminder that there was good in my marriage.  My husband, and our union, was important to me.  I do not view those years as a waste, and maintaining this perspective helps me be the best mom I can to our son.

 

Do you still have your wedding ring?  If so, why do you keep it?  What do you plan to do with it? 

If you got rid of it, what was the thinking behind that decision – and if you sold it, was it worth it?

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