Category Archives: laughter

Medals

One of my siblings lives in San Antonio, TX. Every April, the city celebrates Fiesta San Antonio. Each year, new commemorative medals are issued as part of the festival. There are some people who have been collecting commemorative medals for years. Collecting the medals is like collecting pins from different places and events.

I have my own medals – they are known as wrinkles and gray hair. Yesterday, I went to get my hair trimmed. As the stylist was showing me how much she had trimmed off, she showed me the back of my head. I gasped! There, buried under several strands of dirty dishwater blonde hair was a streak of gray hair! I have gray hairs here and there, but I did not know I had such a big streak. I began to laugh!

I have earned every single one of those gray hairs – three terrible two-year-olds, three teenaged drivers, three children away at college, three weddings, one hard-earned Bachelor’s degree, one $%@# ex, four moves in less than two years and four jobs. Those wrinkles around my eyes and mouth? Laughing with my children and friends, smiling at my grand baby, singing in choirs and praise bands, and loving Cycle Dude with my whole heart.

Am I afraid or ashamed of my gray hair and wrinkles? Heck no! They are reminders that the life I have lived thus far has not be easy and has not always been happy. But I am grateful for these visual reminders that I have not stopped living life, that I am not afraid to share that life with others and that I am grateful to God for this amazing life He has given me. (And yes, I do use sunscreen and always wear a hat when I am outside.)

My wrinkles and gray hair remind me that my life has not been perfect, but I would not trade my ‘medals’ for anything in the world! Stay tuned. . . .

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Learning to Walk

I am so excited that I get to see my grandbaby over Easter. I am flying to where my son lives and will spend Easter weekend with him, my daughter-in-law and my grandbaby. My sister also lives in the area, so I will spend time with her and her family as well. The fun thing about having a grandbaby is watching her grow and watching my son and his wife marvel as she reaches her developmental milestones. One of these days, my grandbaby will learn to walk. (Not quite yet, though. She was born in at the end of 2017.)

Learning to walk is a huge milestone for a child. There is so much involved – balance, gross motor skills, muscular and skeletal development, hand-eye coordination, etc. Learning to walk is no small feet (misspelling and pun intended!). Many adults have had to learn to walk again, too. They have had to progress from that infant-like state as well. One must learn to stand before one can walk. And one must learn to walk before one can run. There’s no skipping the proper physiological progression.

Life can  be difficult after a traumatic experience – divorce, an accident, etc. It is tempting to want to curl up in a ball and hide under the covers. We all know that’s not practical. In order to move forward in our lives, to heal and become stronger, we must learn to walk again. What does that look like?

1. Don’t be afraid: When a child is afraid to walk, she will sit down and cry. A child who is eager to walk will pull herself up and walk around the coffee table, then walk as you hold her hands, then she’ll walk to you and then with you. Yes, she will fall, but she keeps trying. Fear kills dreams, adventure and even life. Fear not. Move forward.

2. Don’t look back: The past is the past for a reason – because it’s done and over with. Look forward. Set and achieve goals. Dream big dreams. Laugh at your own silly jokes. Experience the freedom that comes with moving forward.

3. Don’t dwell on it: Whatever “it” is – a divorce, an accident, a death – let it go. We will grieve for that which is lost, but the grief cannot and should not last forever. Grief, despair, depression, anger and bitterness – these are all soul-destroyers. Don’t let the negative emotions and thoughts destroy you. If you are stuck here, seek out professional help.

4. Do stop and take a deep breath: Trauma – whatever it is – saps your energy. From days spent in court to days spent in the hospital or in counseling – you feel drained. Stop. Take a deep breath and know that you will be okay. Give yourself the grace and the time to heal – to renew your energy.

5. Do have a grateful heart: There is always something to be grateful for. Your support group, the medical personnel, your friends – these are all the ‘scaffolding’, if you will, who held you together during the trauma. Be grateful for them. Be grateful for your life.

Sometimes, it hurts to walk. Your muscles may be sore. You may have a misshapen limb. You may have fallen and bruised your knee. Walking is a milestone in your healing journey. It represents months of hard work. Soon, you will be running and will never look back. Life is an adventure! Live it! Stay tuned. . . .

 

Shopping Bags

I don’t how old I was when it started, but popular family rumor has it that when I was just a wee lass, I developed an obsession with shopping bags. There was nothing too good that it could not be contained in one of my precious shopping bags. Think about it – this wonderfully shaped container that is flexible, yet strong, has handles and is  often beautifully decorated with store logos, pictures of fruits and vegetable or flowers is just the thing one needs to hold all of one’s most prized possessions. A shopping bag could also be folded up and slipped under your bed or into your underwear drawer! Forget about boxes! By their very nature, boxes can be depressing. Once you put something in a box, it’s ‘outta sight, outta mind’.

I am of the firm belief that one can never have too many shopping bags. I must admit, however, that the looks I get from the grocery store clerk when I pile all 105 of my shopping bags on the conveyor belt with the order, “Fill ’em up!” (with my groceries) can be a bit daunting. But my shopping bags make me happy – not only am I not toasting a tree or clogging a landfill (“paper or plastic?”), but my shopping bags stand up nicely in my trunk and they look very colorful doing so.

So, what do shopping bags have to do with divorce? They bring happiness! Apparently, shopping bags have always made me happy – and they still do! What makes you happy? Is it something as crazy as a shopping bag? Divorce is painful and depressing. It’s time to stop focusing on that and time to start focusing on those things that bring you happiness! Other things that bring me happiness – my children, Cycle Dude, my dogs, my grand- kitties, my friends, the sunrise, flowers, bluebirds, and babies.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative when you go through a divorce. Perhaps the only happy thing is that you’re no longer married to what’s-his-name. But everything else surrounding a divorce is just plain depressing. Wake up! Make a list of things and/or people who make you happy! Rejoice in that happiness! For Cycle Dude, happiness is on the seat of a bike with the wind at his back! Go fill a shopping bag up with happiness! Stay tuned. . . .

Life is Not Pinterest Perfect

Every now and then, I run across articles on the internet about ‘Pinterest fails’. You know the kind. Pinterest makes everything look so nice and easy, all wrapped up in the perfect little bow. However, life is far from Pinterest perfect, as the Pinterest fail photos will attest to. Some folks, try as they might to follow directions and attempt that perfect little clown’s head cupcake, just aren’t fated to be Pinterest success stories.

And that’s okay. Life is not Pinterest Perfect. What you don’t see on Pinterest is the many times Suzy tried that certain thing and failed, until the planets aligned just right and the 103rd time was the charm for that little clown head cupcake. How many times do we hear of success, but not the failure that led to that success?

We ought not be fooled that every success is achieved on the very first try. I would have liked to have met Thomas Edison. His attempt at the incandescent light bulb failed nearly 1,000 times. When asked about his ‘failures’, he stated that they were not failures, but ideas that didn’t work. He had the right attitude. He kept going until he got it right. I’m sure there were times when Thomas Edison was frustrated, but he didn’t let that frustration define him, or thwart his efforts. He had a vision and he kept the goal in sight.

As women who have been divorced mid-life, we may hear of other women’s successes – in marriage, in business, in romance, in life. We may look at their lives as ‘Pinterest perfect’. But they aren’t. No one’s life is perfect. You are on the path you are on for a reason. When I was going through a divorce, I heard of women who had amicable divorces, whose husbands paid alimony on time and who were “still friends” with their ex. I thought, “No way! That’s impossible!!” But did I know all the details? Did I know what their marriage had been like? No. Like Shakespeare said, “Appearances can be deceiving.”

Go ahead and set goals, and put your energy toward achieving them. Don’t put your energy toward the Pinterest Perfect Life – it’s a myth. BTW? The ‘Pinterest Fails’ serve one purpose – to show us that no one is perfect! Stay tuned. . . .

 

On Being a Parent

I found out Friday evening that my oldest son and his wife are expecting at the end of November. This little one is my first grandchild. He or she is also the first great-grandchild for my ex in-laws and the 5th great-grandchild for my mom. I’m sure my ex father-in-law will be over the moon, because if this baby is a boy, he will be carrying on the family name. That is very important in my ex’s family since there is only ex and his brother in his family and his brother never had children.

When I had my oldest, heaven and earth moved for my ex father-in-law. Then when I had my second son, we were assured an heir and a spare. I am so excited for my son and his wife. I texted him the following today:

” I have to tell you two that I believe God gives us children, not for what we can do for them, but what they can do for us. You will find yourselves stretched in ways you never thought possible – and that doesn’t include (my daughter-in-law’s) body! You will experience the deepest fatigue you have ever felt after numerous sleepless nights due to the baby adjusting, teething, not feeling well or just needing to be loved on. You will experience the greatest joy you have ever felt when your child surpasses milestones as a baby, child, teenager or adult. You will experience the greatest heartache you have ever felt when your child experiences it. You will experience the greatest pride you have ever felt when your child receives their first trophy or other accolade announcing their accomplishments. Being a good parent takes teamwork, flexibility and most of all, humor. You are about to embark on the greatest adventure known to mankind. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!”

Parenting is truly hard work because those little things don’t come with an owner’s manual! What works for one family may not work for another. What works for one child most likely will not work for the other(s). I have two boys and a girl – all happily married. The boys are as different as night and day. Then along came their little sister and I definitely could not treat her like I did the boys. It think children also prove that God has a sense of humor. He gave me three very different children.

However, one of the fun things about the Parenthood Adventure is discovering your children’s personalities, strengths and talents. I have been amazed to watch my children as they have grown and become such amazing people. With each child, God gave me a vision for their lives. For my oldest, we were told he would be like Aaron of the Old Testament – very good at speaking and expressing himself. My son can speak five languages and his college degrees are in Communications and German. With my second son, I saw a vision of a pair of hands, like those of the disciple Peter – hands rugged and worn. My son is very happy to help and serve – only he does it in the background, not wanting any recognition. He is also a very compassionate soul. For my daughter, I saw a sword piercing a flame. She is my prayer warrior. She is very strong in her faith. I have been awed by each of my children and the lives they are living. I am indeed a blessed woman!

I’m sure I will give updates on my grandbaby from time to time. Stay tuned!

Dreaming Dogs

Sometimes, I tend to get a bit heavy in my blog subjects. Time for a little lightness! I was woken up at 11pm last night by my dogs barking and someone banging on my front door. I finally got up to see that someone had opened the door and was telling me to take the chain off the door. Wait! What??!! Was it the police? A burglar?

No, it was one of the maintenance men from the apartment complex. He rushed into my apartment and turned off the hot water from my hot water heater. From the time I had gone to bed to the time I awoke to someone pounding on my door, my hot water heater had burst and was spewing water onto my neighbors downstairs! Luckily, only the carpet in front if the hot water heater closet was drenched, not the carpet in either of the bedrooms (which are adjacent to the hot water heater closet). So much drama!

Once the maintenance man got things settled and told me he would be back in the morning to replace the hot water heater, and I found some towels to put down on the carpet to sop up some of the water, I finally got to bed. As I was drifting off, I heard another noise. Shirley, my 8-year old Dalmatian/Hound, was dreaming. She was growling and barking in her sleep. I tried hard not to laugh. After all the water heater drama, I needed a little comic relief.

I am grateful for my dogs because as hard as life gets sometimes, I know I can count on them for comic relief. They are my buddies, my warmers on a cold night, my companions, my food tasters, my protectors, my alarm clocks and so much more. My life would be so dull without my dreaming dogs! Stay tuned . . . .

How Often Do You Laugh?

I ran into a friend last night that I had not seen since before I divorced. We chatted and she said she was sorry the divorce happened. I said what I always do, “Thank you, but it was the best decision.” She said I seemed much more peaceful. And I am. Peace was sorely lacking in my marriage.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that I laugh more. There was no reason for laughter in my marriage. I had become an angry bitter person because of the emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of a sociopathic sex addict. That’s nothing to laugh about.

Luckily, I’ve had some great laughter generators in my life during the past five years. My best buddy is always making interesting observations about people and life and she has a humorous way of doing so. My dog, Shirley, is so ditzy, one cannot help but laugh at her antics. And Cycle Dude is so quick-witted, he often catches me off guard and I laugh until I cry!

Laughter is so good for you – not the laughter that comes at the expense of others, or at the punch line to an off-color joke, or the fake, forced laughter that comes from anxiety or impatience, but the laughter that comes from a tickled funny bone. I love to watch the Three Stooges because of their silly schtick. I love to make up jokes that cause my daughter to roll her eyes and groan at me, (sigh) “Really, mom?!” (Like this one – Where do rodents go on vacation? Hamsterdam!!)

If you haven’t laughed in a while, lighten up! I laugh at myself a great deal, too. Go to the library and check out a book of puns or jokes for children. Watch some of the old Three Stooges movies, or I Love Lucy reruns or some of the comedy Jim Gaffigan does. Don’t watch comedians who can’t complete a sentence without using nasty words. That’s not funny. Let go and laugh! Stay tuned . . . . .