Sunday, December 15, 2013

Life Loves to Throw You Tests

Img Ref: Business Analyst Mentor
I don't test well and make myself sick thinking about and upcoming test. The butterflies in your stomach, nerves making you want to go insane, and I do this no matter what type of test life is deciding to throw my way. I've always done well in school, but no matter how much I study, the day of and the days leading up to the test I am so crazy scared.

Everyone says just relax, you will do fine. You always do great when you really want something, but all the encouragement in the world doesn't help. It just makes me feel like I now have to definitely pass this next life test to prove again that I can do it, not matter what "it" is.

So I have a test coming up. I am studying like crazy, doing research, reading everything I can get my hands on, writing down ideas and study notes, everything I can do to prepare. I'm just hoping I do well in the end to get the result I desire.

Lesson 7: Keep calm and trust in yourself. I know I can do this. I may stumble, I may balk a little, but I know I have prepared myself, I know the information and I will be able to do this.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Catching Up, Moving Forward and Creating a Plan

This past week has been difficult. A lot has been going on. We finally got things done we have been putting off way too long. We also have started to get back on a schedule and getting things done so we have more free time to do things we love to do. It has definitely been nice.

Chelsea has been my biggest challenge, but after reading a great article on organization for kids with ADHD, I think I can find a more successful way of dealing with everything. This is definitely a website I am going to start following more closely as there is a ton of useful information.

I am starting to realize my full potential and what I am looking for with this next phase of my life. I love my family and friends, but realize that by spending more alone time with myself and finding out who I am is really helping me find my own niche.

I also realized by writing my top to do list for every day is making me feel more accomplished and getting things done at a much smoother rate then my old habits of just flying by the seat of my pants. I've always been organized at work…so organized I can tell you where every piece of paper is and what is on it. At home I can’t find anything and it is such chaos. I honestly don’t know how I go from one extreme to the other in a single day, but I have always done this. Locker at school was perfect. Desk at home was a complete mess.

Lesson 6: Make a plan and then complete it. By the end of the month I plan on finding my “new home”, finishing the book I have been reading including the exercises, get at least a third of the book I’m writing done and spend more quality time with my family. In about 2 weeks I will start planning my New Year and get 2014 off to a great start. I figure I’ll give myself a yearly goal, a monthly goal along with weekly goals and check them off as I go. Seems to be working well at work so let’s be successful at home too.

So now go get a planner and get to figuring it all out. What are some of the things you are planning for the New Year? I’m going to be a photographer (not professionally, but I want to be a good one).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Looking for a Change of Pace and a Change of Scenery

I am born and raised in South Florida and I have to say, for a state everyone seems to want to come to, I would love more than anything to get out of it. It is hot almost all year around (we just got our first decrease in temperature all year and it is still in the 70's). There is no change in seasons, it is always green. And seriously, palm trees are ugly!

I'm sure there are people out there thinking the above statement is crazy, but when you have never really seen the leaves turn, had a Halloween when it actually felt like fall, or been able to cozy by a fireplace during the winter, then not really crazy to want that. Oh, and I forgot to mention the sand...there is so much sand and gets in everything and doesn't grow anything substantial. Bleh.

So I am thinking, why not just move somewhere else? Well that's the next step. I have decided I need to move anywhere but here. So my new quest is to find a place that works for my family and go there. But one can not just pick up an move with no idea of where they are going, at least not one with a family. So I am figuring it out slowly and hoping for some good news in the upcoming weeks that can make my decision final.

And the rest of the family? They are on board. Chelsea is a little hesitant, and I get that, but I think she will do just fine with the change. So it is official, once we get things worked out, we are moving. We are finally going to have a change of scenery.

The change of pace is me coming to realize that I need to just let go and work through things. Instead of worrying about every little thing, just work hard, keep trucking along, and actually rest when it is warranted instead of worrying myself sick about all the "what if's" that may or may not happen.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Successful Thanksgiving and Family Things

We finally had what you would call a successful Thanksgiving this year. It was far from what you see in magazines and whatnot, but there was no fighting, not very many verbal slams, and at the end of the day, when everything was done, it actually turned out pretty good.

Dinner started around 7:30 am and I was thankful to have Ron and Charlie in the kitchen to help me get everything going without making a complete mess. By 10:30, everything was working and it was time to rest for a bit. Did all the final preparations and had dinner on the table only 30 minutes late or so at 2:30ish. All in all, it went well.

After dinner and most people went home, we made a fire and sat out in the back to rest, have a beer and good conversation. I even got everything to make s'mores and we sat there passing around the graham crackers and marshmallows since we each got our own chocolate bar...yummy.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting since Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? I am thankful for my friends and family, both blood and chosen. I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and food on my table, something not everyone is able to have, even people I know well. I am thankful to all the comforts of my life. But most of all, I am thankful I was able to mend a friendship with my exhusband, build a relationship with my fiance, and get a little closer to my daughter over the past year.

So that is about all I have for today. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

A Personal Fight Against Monsanto

Over the last couple months I have been researching the fight against Monsanto. As a person who works in the renewable energy and green industry I was amazed at how far behind the fight I was. Now, as a parent and a generally good person who tries to look out for those around me, I feel like I am responsible for their lack of healthy foods and health issues caused by GMO. 

My daughter is ADHD and I always thought it was probably genetic. I have always had a short attention span, but I always attested it to be from sheer boredom. When my daughter went from almost all A’s to D’s and F’s I knew something was wrong. I have since put her on medication to help and she is back to mostly A’s. I’m not saying she isn’t ADHD and GMO has everything to do with it, but I would like her to thrive off medications since we still aren’t 100% sure on the side effects of all these medicines.

After learning of all the dangers of GMO foods and how Monsanto doesn’t seem to care about the health and wellbeing of the general population, I have been removing possible GMO foods out of my home and changing over to known non-GMO food sources and healthy alternatives. I went on my first real trip to a Whole Foods Market and Fresh Market in my area to pick up some supplies. I’m happy to say this is completely possible without breaking the bank.

That doesn’t mean I just threw out all the food in my cupboards; I can’t afford to do that. I am using up what I have and introducing the new foods that are being replaced when something runs out to help save costs and make the transition a little easier with my household. I personally was raised vegetarian, so an “odd” diet is easy for me adjust to, but with my daughter being raised on Kraft, General Mills and many other products that aren’t “safe” anymore, this is a little more difficult. Even my significant other is used to Hamburger Helper and tons of boxed foods that is no longer an option in my home. 

To make this transition simpler, I made out a menu list for the next 2 weeks that includes our “normal” eating habits such as taco night, sloppy joes, steaks and veggies on the grill and meatless options such as potato soup and tortellini veggie soup. I went to the new amazing grocery stores and picked up anything needed for the two weeks that was not already in stock at home. I ended up spending about the same as if I would have gone to my local grocery store and feel better since now my family will be provided much healthier foods without all the additives. 

One of the best things about these non-GMO healthy foods is the fact you can read and comprehend every single ingredient on the package. No strange words that you would need to look up online. One of my other favorite things is the ability to purchase local goods over any other brand since Whole Foods Market actually labels their local brands. The only thing I didn’t purchase from them was my produce, which I got from my local farmer’s market just around the corner from my home, and I’ll do that while I set up my own edible landscape at home.

My fight may be a little slower to start than you would expect, and it will take me a little longer to purge my home of all the bad foods, but by summer’s end I hope to be rid of all non-organic, GMO laden foods. I am also going to work with my daughter to get her off her meds through the next school year. I hope Monsanto gets taken down, or at least has to label their foods and inform the public of the side effects of their process.

Updated: My daughter has come off her meds, and with the support of her amazing teachers, we are succeeding. More people need to understand that food can seriously effect your children and making sure to feed them good foods is key to their health and well being. Read more about a great study on the Whole New Mom

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Do Something Scary and Get Uncomfortable

I have been reading a book I have put off for a year now and I am actually going through the motions by doing the exercises and answering all the questions. I have to say, this book really throws reality in your face and makes you finally face the fact that your unhappiness is your own fault and you are the only person who can do something about that. Huh...okay, so I suck at being me. Now what???

Do Something Scary
Img Src: Good
After it shows you why you suck, and I mean really in your face show you, it makes you figure out things you want; material, being, etc. What do you really want from life...what makes you tick...what will make you happy? This list is actually a lot harder for me then I initially thought. I am not used to thinking about what I want. I'm used to putting everyone else in front of my own needs. To be honest, I am still working on this list.

After that, the book tells you to do something scary and get uncomfortable. Yeah, this I'm looking forward to...not! I am so stuck in my "comfortable" zone, but as the book explains, this is why we become unhappy, depressed and all around just suck. Well I have a lot more to go through this book before it's over, and I'll let you know what the book is when I finish it, but for now the main lesson I learned is I suck at making myself happy. Now to work on fixing that.

And it isn't just the book telling me that being stuck in a pattern and making yourself "bored" is why we get so lost. I read a great blog post the other day about How To Find Yourself When You've Lost Yourself and it struck a cord with me. I can totally relate, up to the point when she tells you to do something scary and get uncomfortable. Yikes!

Lesson 5: Do Something Scary and Get Uncomfortable. Okay, fine. I'm doing something scary and getting uncomfortable. I am putting my personal thoughts and feelings out there for people to read. I am starting to work on a new path that I can't quite put online just yet, but it will help me break my "routine". Am I scared yet...not totally. I'm not even totally uncomfortable yet, but I am looking for that "ah hah" moment when I can just break free and jump. My whole life has been so calculated that just taking baby steps out of my comfort zone is making me lose my mind, but in return, I see a small light at then end of this journey and who knows, maybe I finally can exist again.

So what's next? Keep going on different paths till I reach an edge and finally push myself off this ledge and take the jump.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We All Have Scars – How You Show Them Off Varies

I came across this amazing video this morning on Upworthy that made me really thing back to my own scars. We all carry scars, weather physically or emotionally, and what we do with them and how we show them off varies from person to person. I carry more scars than I can count, but since this is revolving around physical scars, let’s cover that first. But before I do, watch the video below!

When I was seven, I decided to go play on my dad’s boat like I had thousands of times before. I would throw my toys on the boat from the dock, pull the boat close and then jump on. Since the boat was docked behind my grandparent’s house, I would spend many hours playing on there while my dad and grandparents worked around the house or did paperwork from the business.

This time didn't go as well as all the other times. Dad had put up these ropes around the whole boat. I threw on my toys, pulled the boat over and jumped. But the ropes confused me and I hesitated midair and fell into the water. Being that I am scared of water, I quickly swam to the surface and proceeded to climb up the side of the dock, not realizing this is covered in barnacles and I’m in shorts, not that I think pants would have helped.

I was completely covered in cuts. I had made it to the top crying for help and saw my dad and grandmother running out the back. I fell again, sliding all the way down the post. Crazy me, I just climbed back up, this time into their arms reaching out for me.

Boat at Oma's
The boat behind my grandparent's house
It’s not that I couldn't swim. We had a pool at home. I was just scared of the water and didn't know how to get out. And now I was completely covered in huge scratches and gouges which in turn formed into ugly scars all over my body. This made a huge impact on my self-esteem and caused me to become the introvert I am today.

You see, I had zebra strips covering my legs. I went from wearing shorts and participating in sports and team activities to being alone and wearing nothing that showed my legs. I even failed physical education year after year just because I didn't want to dress out in shorts and sweat pants were not an option. I was humiliated! And because of how bad I scar, it was visible well into my 20’s. It wasn't till I had my daughter that I looked at my scars in a new light.

I still have scars covering my legs. I have decided to embrace them and not see them as ugly, but as a story of what it was like to grow up. We no longer have the boat, nor my grandparent’s house. The house I practically grew up in. The house where I can still close my eyes and see my grandfather walking around. My grandfather that passed away when I was 14. There’s the emotional scar!

Scars on Legs
The scars have faded, but still there.
I look at my legs now and remember all the good memories that went along with them. I remember my dad and grandmother caringly bringing me inside to help wash off my cuts and making me feel better. I remember my grandfather paying closer attention when I would still wander over to the boat to go play, not learning to stay away from it, but to just be a little more cautious when I made that jump. I remember what it was like to have my family so close. To have their loving embrace when I felt like the world was pushing me up against a wall.

You see, after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother met a new man and moved away when I was 18. When I say she moved away, she moved so very far away. Our family is from Germany and she went “home”. I went from having my family here to turn to, to having them so far away.

I get to go see her every couple years for a week or two, but that isn't enough. I would give anything to move over to Germany just to be with her, to see her smile, to have her loving embrace back. I feel like I’m running out of time, like I did with my grandfather. I hate being so far away! Even making a phone call has to be calculated as to not call her in the middle of the night even though all you want is to say hello.

Scar on ArmLesson 4: Be proud of your scars. No matter what caused the scars, there is a memory or lesson to be remembered. It doesn't mean you have to show them off, but being able to wear shorts again and not care about what people think has given me back a little self-confidence and reminds me about my past.

Lastly, I have this horrible scar on my wrist. It looks worse than it actually is, but I don’t hide it because it reminds me to be patient and watch my temper, something I am still working on doing. I was working after having my daughter and was opening a box. The box cutter was new (we hadn't had new ones for months and the old ones were so dull you couldn't cut tissue with them) and I went ripping at the box cause I was angry and rushing. I didn't even know it, but I sliced my arm wide open barely missing the main veins running through your arm. I hate looking at it because it looks like something it isn't. It was just a careless moment out of anger and frustration. But it reminds me to slow down and pay attention.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day of Nothingness and the Will to Keep Going

Today...nothing happened. Nothing exciting. Nothing to report on. What do you do with days of nothingness?

I mean I got up, went to work, came home for lunch, went back to work, dinner, groceries, and now I am staring at a blank page trying to figure out what to write about.

Work was work. I did work. I wrote articles for work. I answered phones and did my filing. It was the same thing just like all other days.

Dinner was fun. My crazy family and I went to a place call Shakra's for subs. OMG YUMMY! Once we were nice and full I thought then would be a safe time to go to the supermarket and do shopping for the week.

I'm sure you can relate what it is like to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You get way too much food and still have nothing to eat the next day.

Other than that, nothing has been going on. At times like this I am grateful there is nothing earth shattering happening, my world isn't completely falling down around me, but it also makes me sad that nothing is actually happening.

I have realized that I cannot blog every day. I need time between posts to think; therefore, I will go to posting twice a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays. That seems perfect. So until Saturday, I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday Drive, Country Music and a Funeral

Its another typical weekend. We are blasting Pandora country pop music singing along driving the grade out to Okeechobee. This isn't a typical visit though. We are on our way for a funeral. I don't know the person but I'm going for Charlie. It will be nice to hang with the family too for a bit.

We just dropped the kid off for the weekend to play with a friend. I miss being a kid and just being able to play my days away...hahaha...who am I kidding. I didn't play at her age. I worked either at home or for my dad at the dry cleaners. But to me that was fun too.

So we are driving as back of country roads as south Florida has to offer. Crazy Town just came on. We went to Nashville over the summer so charlie can finally see what this song is all about.

Part of me feels bad for having so much fun on the way to a funeral, but that's life. You can't just stop living just cause others stopped. I need to realize that too. I need to start living and not just sitting in a hole.
I love being out here too. What I would give to live out here. So quiet and peaceful.

The funeral was hard. I haven't cried at a funeral since I was a kid. I don't see death the same as a lot of people and I'm usually the least emotional person there. But today I cried. Seeing all these people hurting. Seeing all the sadness mixed with a little anger and happiness. I think the depression was trying to push its way up to the surface. I choked it down as much as I could.

I want to cry! I do a lot lately. Maybe it is me dealing. Maybe I haven't gotten over losses that have happened in the past. Maybe something more. I just know I'm not done crying just yet.

After the stress of the day we went out for a bit. Listening to music and people watching, one of my favorite things to do, at this little corner of the earth called Terre Fermata. It is a nice ending to the day.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Keep Calm and Don't Worry About It

I’m just sitting outside enjoying the cooler weather, sipping a frappuccino from Starbucks waiting for a group of women for a band meeting. I decided to do some pondering and looking back on the past few weeks and wonder about where I am going from here.

I have been thrown into this and the PTSA group mostly by accident. I say that because I totally don't fit in with these women. I feel like the farthest thing from what you would imagine a PTA mom to be. My parenting skills are far off the beaten path and I had Chelsea very young so I’m not in the age group of most of the women.

But I’m here. I’m here cause I get websites and they can use someone. That’s fine. I enjoy doing websites and social media. I enjoy communications and reaching out to people...well as long as I’m behind a computer screen and keyboard. I’m not good with large groups outside my circle of friends. I feel very out of place with them.

Img Src: The Keep Calm -o-Matic
One mom stated her kid does tae kwon do at the last meeting I attended. I though wow...something in common. Chelsea is a red belt black tip. Then came the kicker. They do it at a local Christian church. Well that got shut down fast. I am open about not being Christian.  I’m actually against most organized religion. Not that it isn’t good for some...maybe for most, but not for me.

I'm open minded enough not to go against their beliefs, just most of the Christians I come across aren’t open minded enough to accept me for me. They want to convert or change me. No thank you. So now I'm in this group of women feeling like a total freak of nature. They talk and it all sounds Greek to me. I wish I could connect. Maybe one day. I think I'll have to open myself up a bit more before that can happen.

Lesson 3: Keep calm and don't worry about it. I may find a connection with them. Maybe not. Who knows? I'll still do my job as best as possible. This is what I always wanted right. To be more involved in Chelsea's school and to help improve the school somehow. Well the website is my ticket in to the group. Now let’s see how the rest flows together. 

If I make connections with the mothers, great. If not, my life won’t really change all that much. I will still be me trying to do the best I can for Chelsea in the end. Instead I am just going to focus my energy on building the best damn website this school has ever seen, well at least the pages I can control and the lack of anything decent for tools, but I’ll make the best of it and kick its butt all around. At least I can have some fun with the school’s PTA Facebook page.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Be Yourself and Let You Shine Through

There is much to be said about you. You are one of a kind. You are unique. You are different from not only the way you look, but how you talk, think and interact with others. Does that mean there is something wrong with you? No, you are no different than anyone else except for the fact that you are completely different. That is the only similarity between you and everyone around you.

So what does this mean in the end? It means that you should never be ashamed of who you are and never worry about what others think of you. That isn't the easiest for some people. With all the criticism going around today, a lot of people are really concerned on how others portray them. I have always tried not to let what others think judge how I act, but there are times where their judgments, actions or words just cut like a knife and you can't help but let it bother you.

Since depression has set in this seems to be happening more and more recently. I know to live by the statement in the picture, but when you can't seem to get through one more day listening to all the people around you tell you how great they are and how awful you are, it makes living by the "Just Be Yourself" code very difficult. And if you are not the one feeling like this, please make sure you are not making someone feel like this. Everyone should be loved for who they are, not anything else. 

Lesson 2: You cannot change those around you, only yourself, and words that express anything else (you are too fat, you are too skinny, you need to wear more makeup, you don't make enough money, etc) cut deeper than any knife could ever. It cuts deep into the persons soul, creating more scars. Instead, say something nice and be sincere. Sincerity is key here. If you are sincere, you may just make the other person's day. And if you are the depressed person, remember to thank whoever says something nice and remember to live by "Just Be Yourself" no matter what.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Anger Management and Being Critical

What the hell am I doing? I ask myself this all the time. Not out loud, but quietly to myself as I feel myself starting to spin out of control. Ever feel like that? I do a lot.

My significant other calls or text me every morning just to say hi and good morning. Sometimes I actually get it and respond back nicely. Other days I want to tear him apart for the interruption. Then there are days I actually do tear him apart. I hate those days.

I know he is just being sweet, but something else has got me upset and I go off. You didn't put the laundry away right, you didn't finish this project, why can't you put down the unimportant stuff and pay attention to what I think is important, etc...but in the back of my mind I hear myself screaming "what the hell are you doing?"

You hurt those you love most is what I've heard before, but it shouldn't be that way. Why is it easier to yell at those close to you than a complete stranger or the acquaintance that is really making you upset? Is it because you think they will stick around no matter what? Divorce rates today say the opposite. Hell, my first divorce should have at least taught me that.

I am the same way with my daughter. I am too critical and pay attention to the negative over focusing on the positive. I remember growing up with my critical mother. Bring home all A's and B's but one D and it is all about the D. Maybe I just needed help with that class? No, just get the grade up and maybe next time they will be happy. But that never happened. If it wasn't my grades it was something else. In the end you just stop trying since there is no point.

One thing I try to do is at lease tell my daughter I am proud of her. I am critical of a lot , but I want her to know I am proud of her accomplishments. I never heard that once from my dad, the person I stick on the proverbial pedestal, and my mom may have said it once or twice in between critiquing me for being overweight or not being with the right person, but I don't want her to ever feel like I do with my parents when she grows up.

So lesson 1: stop being so critical! Either to those around me, but more importantly, to myself. I need to lose weight, I need to watch my temper, but I also need to realize that it isn't going to happen overnight. Instead I just need to take it one step at a time and maybe one day I can stop asking myself "what the hell are you doing?" and start saying "good job, I'm proud of how you handled that" to myself.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Starting Out and Learning To Love Yourself

Ever look in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back at you? Or maybe you know that person, but just don't like them very much. I am right there at this point in my life.

I don't like how I am with my family. I am overweight and feel tired all the time. I am depressed and my job makes me even more depressed. Most mornings I don't want to even get out of bed. This is starting to really suck!

I see inspirational quotes and videos online day after day and just cry. I want to be happy, but can't figure out how to move out of this depression and get there. How do I look at myself in the mirror and love what is staring back at me? How do I find love for myself?

Its not that I am a weak person. I am actually quite strong emotionally. I am typically the backbone to those around me; leaning on me for support. However, I have found that I am at my breaking point. I want to just crawl under a rock and stay there, hiding from the world around me. I need to work on getting past this and find the love I had for myself at one point. I need to get back to that place in my head where the world around me isn't crashing down, where I can stand tall once more.

That is the basis of this blog. As a marketer who reads day in and day out to just be honest and connect with your audience, be transparent, be genuine and people will connect with you, maybe I can find others to connect with that feel the same way I do and we can all journey to find love for ourselves.

Sometimes the best support and advice you will ever receive is from someone you don't even know. So this is my starting point. Let's see what happens next. Talk to you tomorrow.
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