Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a word - Awesome!

Have you ever had one of those days when things just seem to work out the way they were meant to be?

photo courtesy of Photobucket
I love those days!

This week, while waiting for my friend at the bookstore, I found a book that was just meant to be read by me! I just know it’s going to be a great read and give me some fabulous insight. However, I had not yet purchased it and could not take it into the cafe so I had to put it back. “Hide it somewhere so no one buys it.” My friend suggested to me. I returned it to the section it belonged in, but faced it backward. Ha, I am so sneaky! No I’m not!

As we sipped out iced lattes, she was telling me a story about a recent trip to Minneapolis that she took. While searching for a garden center that could not be found, she stumbled upon a store that her sister had wanted to go to, and so they went in, happy to have accidently come upon it. Low and behold, she ended up finding a dress that she needed to buy for a wedding! One purchase she was not looking forward to making. And she said to me, “it was just like it was meant to be!” I love when things work out that way. There is a reason for everything right?
When we were done with our overdue visit, I went back to grab my book to purchase, and it was gone! I could not remember the title, did not know the author, all I knew was this book spoke to me and I knew it was one I needed to read and now it was gone. Seriously, who would buy this random book? It was a  book written by a mom who had a daughter with a learning disability. You can’t tell me that some other person in the book store in a span of 2 hours came in and bought it up!
We searched and asked the “book straightener” (can you believe they actually have someone who does this) if he had seen it. No, of course he knew nothing about it. I was no help because I couldn’t remember the title. We were about to leave when I said that I just needed to go back, to take one more look. I was being pulled back. Have mercy, there it was, sitting on a desk, right there where I was about to walk by for my last time that night.
In a word, AWESOME! It made my night. I thought of the conversation we had just a while ago, how great it is when some things just work out the way they were supposed to! I know it sounds silly to some, that finding this book would make me walk a little lighter, put a smile on my face, and trust back in my heart, but it did. Some things just turn out the way they should....if you listen.
Photo courtesy of Photobucket
So here is another thing. When we were peaking through the bargain section, I found a book I had heard of, and I had seen the writer on a show, it is his, The Book of Awesome. I don’t know if you have ever heard about it, or read it, but I suggest you check it out. I bought it, because I want to hear what he has to say about all the things in life that are totally awesome. As awesome as me finding my book. So here is one thing that he thinks is awesome, on page 261 of his book The Book of Even More Awsome... The sound of water lapping against a dock. It sounds like the warm and windy of summer. It sounds like the cool and quiet finish to fall. AWESOME. Oh and I wanted to share a few more of his thoughts of what is awesome, because I think we all need a reminder every once in a while that we all have things to smile about.

·         Seeing an old couple holding hands.

·         The moment on vacation when you forget what day of the week it is.

·         Taking your high heels off at the end of the night and walking home bare feet.

·         Letting go of the gas pump perfectly so you end on a round number.

·         When a baby falls asleep on you. (Best feeling ever!)

·         Dancing when you’re home alone.

·         Seeing a really happy dog out for a walk.

·         When the bubbles in your drink go right to the top but not over.

·         When your pet notices you’re in a bad mood and comes to see you.

·         The moment of anticipation before the first kiss (second best feeling ever).

·         That moment at a concert when the crowd figures out what song they’re playing.

·         The sound of snow crunching under your feet.

Ok, so I will stop there, but it really goes on forever! Get the book, read it, and then make a list of your own things you think are awesome! Take that list out and read it when you are having a bad day. I hope in some small way, right now you are smiling, and admit it; you are going to think today, about all the little things you think are awesome.

If you liked this post, please click up top, that little share button, and spread the Awesomeness!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Day of Feeling Full on Gratitude.


I am feeling grateful today to a few people who have helped me, or inspired me along the way.

When I began my blog, I was not sure what all my reasons were in beginning this journey. I knew that it would all come to fruition at some point. What I do know now, is what I love about blogging. Here are a few of those things.


 I have met a whole community of great bloggers, and writers alike. I have made invaluable online friends, and connections, worldwide. That is amazing to me! To think that I have written with and linked up with people from Canada, to the USA to the UK, all in a day’s work! People I admire, people who inspire me, people I enjoy connecting with!  These people have encouraged me, given me invaluable feedback and supported me, at times when it was difficult to find it close to home with friends, family and acquaintances.

Learning and Growth

Trying to build a blog is not an effortless thing to do. Creating a blog, updating it, learning about new buttons, current changes, updates to programs....not really my cup of tea. I am not the savviest person in the world when it comes to technology, I can hardly use my cell phone properly, and I don’t own an IPod, IPad or IPhone! Keeping up with two blogs, learning it all on my own, and with the help of some great blogging sites, I do an ok job of learning something new every day. I love the challenge that blogging offers, and I thrive on the knowledge that it is a never ending growth.

Documenting a Journey

Documenting our life on my blog will be a way for my daughter to know me, and read my thoughts and feelings, when the time is right. In my writing, she will ascertain how I view life, she will know how much I love her, she will learn about me, and my complexity.  I hope all of it will encourage her to be her own person and not conform to anyone’s vision of her, including my own.

I have had the pleasure of participating in writing groups, writing classes, writing challenges and online forums with some amazing people. Here are some links to just some of them. I am grateful to them, and I hope that you will enjoy their stories, their writings, what they have to offer.

Through the Momoir Project, I have shared the trial and error that comes with writing our stories. A few of us have been published here, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites, all though there are many more here if you check out the site.

A funny spin on getting your husband to pick up his own laundry – The Laundry Fairy. Oh, and getting “fancy”, or not! -  Time to get Fancy

A woman who inspires me with anything I have read of hers – A Room of My Own

How do you really answer the questions of lyrics sung by LMFAO – The Battle of LMFAO

The truth about real beauty – Smart and Beautiful

Don’t be in a hurry to let your kids grow up – Rushing Through the Baby Years

Please, come back to this page when you have time, save it to your favorites, click on the links, check out the sites, read the stories, they are really good. Honest, I would not stear you wrong!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but stop trying to be so original. Your genius is hiding in someone else’s ideas, someone else’s project.”

These are the written words I woke up to this morning as part of my writing challenge with Jeff Goins and his The 15 Habits of GreatWriters Challenge.

He encouraged us to steal, to lend our own spin of creativity on someone else’s idea. He told us to give up on our pursuit of originality and genius and just find inspiration.

I’m sure all writers do it, steal a conversation they over heard, and turn it into a topic idea, embellish someone else’s truth.  Maybe they listen to a loved one’s problem and turn it into a blog post. I remember clearly one of the times I stole an idea. I wanted to write a poem, but I was not feeling any particular pain or sadness, or the ethereal knowledge of some kind of love. I looked around the room I was in and saw a Harlequin Novel. I picked it up and flipped it over to read its synopsis. It was about a blind lover or something or other. I just know there was a blind person in the story and that’s all I needed. So I wrote a poem, I still remember...

Blind Lover

He cannot see my beauty

He cannot see the curls in my hair

He feels the softness of my skin,

He tastes the sweetness of my kiss.

He fills my mind, with thoughts, only of him.

Who is he?

He is my beautiful Blind Lover

I was thirteen, what the hell did I know? Stealing right, I think it is.

I have so many ideas for magazine articles swirling around in my head; I even have a list of topics that I keep. One day while having lunch outside with my family, flipping through my magazine, this is what happens. I turn the page; see the title, The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate, and in disgust I throw down my magazine and declare, “This wench stole my idea!” In fact she didn’t, The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate was still floating in my head and hadn’t even made it to a piece of paper yet! So you know what, because it’s my challenge of the day, I’m going to copy and I am going to write my own version of The Best Damn Sandwich I Ever Ate! Right Now, the one that has been dancing in my head for years, yes I said years! Here it goes! I may just leave out the damn though.

The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate

I’m in Phoenix, Arizona, for Spring Break of my 16th year. We flew out here, my friend and I. This is our own little adventure. Her brother and his friend drove us across the U.S border to catch a flight from Fargo to Minneapolis and on to Phoenix. It is my first time on an airplane. We have a male flight attendant. He told us he was the pilot, and when the voice came over the speaker preparing us for take-off, he winked at us, acknowledging his playful little lie. I was scared shitless of crashing, but my friend held my hand!

I love the heat of Arizona, the big old cacti in the desert, the turquoise jewelry at every flea market, the thermal radiation you see when you look at the highway and the heat rises off of the tar. I love my friends Grandparents, who have taken us in for the week or so of Spring Break. I call them my Grandma and Grandpa, because I don’t have my own.

I tell you, this Grandma makes a mean tomato sandwich! I don’t know if tomatoes grow differently out here in Arizona, but they are sweet and succulent and if it’s at all possible, they taste like the lovely bright, hot red that they are! Grandma slathers them with full fat mayonnaise, on white soft bread. The bread is so soft, that when you bite down into this sandwich, the bread sticks to the roof of your mouth. She shakes more salt and pepper on than I know a mom would allow, and she passes the plate with her petite wrinkled hand with long painted nails and offers up a smile. We feast on this sandwiches almost daily for lunch.

I love our nights, spent just my friend and I, in the hot tub, smoking American cigarettes, in the warm, night air. We submerge our heads in the hot water, come up for a drag of our smoke, and belt out the lyrics to Sinead O Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You”, trying to mend our teenage broken hearts.

I dream sometimes of that perfect tomato sandwich, the best sandwich I ever ate, and I am thankful, for the taste in my mouth, the friendship that grew fast and turbulent, the love and adventure in my heart. I think sometimes that the best damn sandwich I ever ate had nothing to do with the sandwich at all.

Surviving the IEP

I sat down today to begin a post all about preparing for your child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. Our end of year meeting is coming up this week, so I thought it would be a good time to share my wisdom. Wisdom? Ok, how about my preparedness? Really? Honestly, my intention was to give you something helpful.
I even considered naming it The 5 Best Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Child’s IEP. I wondered, who would my audience be? Would it be parents whose children have a visible and diagnosed learning disability? Or would it be parents whose kids have a rare diagnosis,  a parent with a kid who looked and acted like everyone else but just learned differently? Is that too much to consider? I thought I would tell you in a really smart fashion, all the right steps you should take, and it would go something like this...
1.       Consider your goals for the upcoming school year and be specific.

2.       Have your questions written down and ready to ask.

3.       Know what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are.

Oh hell, who am I kidding? I do all that, and it all goes to shit the moment we all sit down and the first words come out of someone’s mouth. I have left that school more often than not, feeling like a scorned child myself, who has not been heard, who has not been respected, and whose opinion and knowledge were cast aside because there is a curriculum that should be followed and not enough people who actually care who is learning it. When I say care, I mean really care. I don’t mean people who are doing the basics of their job just to survive the everyday crap that they have to put up with. I don’t mean the people who are putting in their time waiting for retirement. I don’t mean those who want to care, but they are too busy disciplining kids who should be better behaved but are not because they don’t learn anything constructive at home! I want teachers who care about education, learning, equipping our kids with endless amounts of knowledge, inspiration and acceptance. I had those kinds of teachers, did you?
In this post I made up in my head, I really wanted to share my knowledge of what works best at planning for your child’s IEP. I have read other peoples suggestions, talked to other parents, to no avail. Here is the thing; all our kids are so damn different. An IEP should work, because it’s “individual”, so in theory, the meetings happen, people agree to goals set, strengths and weaknesses, adaptations, the whole shebang.
When the time comes, to go to the IEP meetings, I really just want to know how to survive them, leave without crying and not have the overwhelming feeling of wanting to puke and hit someone!
This has been my experience for the last 5 years. Mine alone and I speak for no one else but me. I wonder, would it be any easier if my daughter had a diagnosis that was as common as ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome?  I doubt it, I know some of those parents own frustrations with the school system. Oh how about this, the craziest one yet that qualifies someone for an educational assistant level 2 funding.....wait for it, behavioural issues. You don’t even want to get me started on this. Some of these kids are smart, intelligent, kids, they are capable of learning. They just never learned to be capable, responsible and respectful. There are so many times I wanted to be the bad parent and just say “honey, the next time you get upset, just punch Sally in the face!” Hey, maybe if I did this in grade one, she would have level 2 funding. I am joking of course. Right? I thought school was to teach, to learn, to get an education, not parented and controlled.
As well as I know each kid and their needs are different, I know every school, every group of teachers, and every situation has its own set of circumstances.
So here in lies the best advice I have given myself on attending, and surviving through an IEP meeting.

·         Be prepared with your goals, yes it’s a must. Make those goals for your child, and adapt them as the years go on to what the abilities of your child are, because they do change.

·         Take someone with you to take notes when you are talking, to hold your hand when you are crying, to speak for you when you are overcome by emotion. I would say here, leave your emotions at home, but we are parents, and this is the only school education they are going to get and it’s important.  Emotions creep in, no matter how strong you are.

·         Consider being as prepared as you would be for an interview. Have a set of questions written down, think about how you will respond to their questions, and be professional.

·         Tell them what has worked and what has not worked in the class for your child this year. As an example, the one thing I will say in my IEP meeting is one day to prepare for a social studies test is unacceptable! Do they not know that it took me a whole year to teach this child how to do two digit multiplications?

·         Learn the following words and their meaning as they relate to your child’s learning challenges; cognitive, input, output, integration, and storage.
I summer home school my daughter, and she sees a tutor. So here is the bottom line for me. Do I really worry so much about this IEP

This guy here is why we don't often summer school at home! We have changing destinations!

I read once that over the summer, kids lose approximately 20% of what they learned. So while my kid is forgetting 20% of what she didn't learn, I am trying to teach her at least 40% of what she should know. So where does that leave us?
One last thing I have learned, is that on the day of my child’s IEP meeting, I am prepared to come home and have a good cry, a glass of wine, and I don’t make any plans for the rest of the day, just so I can recover from the trauma! But hey, at least I know what to expect!
I would love to hear from you, your thoughts and experiences with school IEP’s. Help a girl out and tell me please, that I am not the only one who sits there feeling the need to puke and punch someone!
Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am a Writer!

I believe that if you tell a child they are dumb, they will grow up believing it.

I believe that if you tell your daughter she is beautiful, she will grow up believing it.

I believe that if you tell yourself that you can do it, you can do anything.

I believe that if you listen to that whisper buried deep somewhere, that chirps its words of doubt, you will have fear, and not try, or worse, not give your all.

I believe that if you tell yourself you have limits, you will not see your dreams come true.

I believe that if you tell yourself you are too old, that you become stagnant and dead inside.

I am taking part of a 15 day Challenge, with Jeff Goins, Writer.

 I found it a day late, so I am a day behind, but our first challenge you ask? Declare you’re a writer.        

I declare.....

That I am a writer.

I don’t care what anyone thinks, what they say, what they mumble under their breath, or if their own insecurities cause them to groan at me or spew something negative. I am a writer. You encourage, support and embrace me, or you don’t.

I believe that I am a writer.

I declared it. Challenge number one, complete!

I told my friend the other day, that one of the things that always annoyed me about myself, was that my brain just never seemed to SHUT the hell UP! It still annoys me, but I just realized that this was my way of telling my story. All of the things in my head were my way of writing. I would take every memory I had, conversations, anything of importance that happened in a day, and it would just stay somewhere cluttered in my brain. When I write it all down, in a story, in a journal, in an essay, in a blog post or a writing submission, it makes room, for the real story that needs to be told.

I know the challenges will become increasingly more difficult, but I am up for it!

If you think that you may want to join in on this challenge, you can do it! And this is where you need to go....Have fun with it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I wish I could tell you...

You are beautiful.

You are smart, you are worthy, and you can do anything.

You are kind, sweet, and generous.

You are funny, you are brave, and you are strong.

I wish I could tell you these things, and they could make a difference. I wish when you were a baby, a child, a teenager, a young adult, that you heard these things, and that you knew they were true.

I wish...

 That you were happy.

I wish that you were not in pain, that you were not coming apart inside, that you were healthy.

I wish that the child I knew who had so much potential knew that she had it too.

I wish my tears for you would turn into magical words that could make the difference between saving you, and watching you fade away.
Photo courtesy of Photobucket

Someone I love so much has had a horrible thing happen, is in a terrible place, has had a life, set for failure from the beginning, and she is broken. My heart is aching for her and I love her so much. I know, from being broken myself, that nothing can repair you except yourself. I can’t help but wish that I could call in a favor, hand in a “free pass” card, and make it all better, take it all away, pass on some strength, some perspective, some hope.
I am reminded that our words and our actions have power. So much power that they can destroy a life, take away a childhood, cripple an emotion, wound a heart, darken a soul. I am reminded that this blessing of being a parent is so much more than feeding and clothing and providing warmth on a cold night. It is about telling your daughter that she has worth, that her voice is beautiful when she sings, even if she cannot carry a tune. It is about teaching your son that baseball can be fun and it is not always about hitting a home run. I am reminded that parenting is about lifting your children up and not putting them down, not caring if the books and the experts tell you not to rock your babies to sleep, you just do it because it works. I am reminded that being a parent is about being their mentor, and most importantly, living a life that shows them, you respect yourself, you respect them, and you respect the people you love.

This blessing of being a parent means that above all, your child needs to be loved, to be nurtured. It doesn’t mean we always get it right, that we are perfect, or that we are untouchable.  It simply means that we are here, to lead the way, to encourage them to have dreams, and ask them, how can I help make your dreams come true? It is the absolute power we hold; in making them aware that they are precious. No matter what, they are precious.

Friday, June 1, 2012

So In Love...

Today, the sun is shining, the breeze is perfect, the temperature is just so right.

I am so in love right now.....

A Peony bud, Lily of the Valley, Pansy growing amongst my strawberry plants and Gout weed

 I love how random pieces of junk that I sometimes find, in secret stashes in the shed, or forgotten areas of an overgrown garden, turn into something beautiful.....

 I love the fresh, pleasantly light scent of the lily of the valley, wafting through my kitchen in front of the open window.

 I love the delicate beauty of my bleeding hearts, and I love their name so much!

I love the tranquil sound of the trickle of water, falling down the levels of my water fountain, as I drink my morning coffee...

The morning I came out to my backyard, after two days of straight rain, and saw the sprouts on my sunflowers, sure did make me smile!

My favorite without a doubt is my ferns. In this yard, I don't have that many.....yet. I can close my eyes, and see the towering native ferns, in the front flower beds of my old house. They were at least three feet tall. When the wind blew, I could hear the ferns swaying. When the rain fell, the drops could be heard, pounding onto the seemingly delicate leaves. I could sit out on my front stoop in a rain storm, because it was covered over top, and I felt like I was in a tropical rain storm, being witness to the wind whooping the fern leaves back and forth, catching the rain, hard and heavy, before releasing them to the base of the root.

We all know too well what this is.....


Do you remember as I kid, holding them under your chin, and if your chin appeared yellow, it meant that you would have good luck? Another myth was that if your chin turned yellow, you liked butter. I have also heard that if you hold a dandelion under your chin and it appears yellow, you will wet the bed!  Funny how our chins always appeared yellow, and yet it took forever before we figured out that is just what happens when you put a yellow flower that close to your chin-it reflects it's color!

Don't you miss the childish naivete of believing in the simple things?

And what about when a dandelion turned from its thick yellow flower, into spindly soft fluff of seeds. Picking one of those babies and blowing it, meant you had a chance to make a wish. I wonder how many of those wishes came true? I don't even remember what kind of things I wished for. What would I wish for now? What would you wish for?

Another myth I heard was, blow the seeds, and it would determine your wealth, it would tell you if your lover was faithful, it would be an insight to how long you would live. Now I see them blow across my lawn and I curse them, thinking of how many more will be popping up in the next few days!

I am so in love with spring days! I am in love with the sound of my wind chimes as I sit under my gazebo typing this up, I love the smell of the fresh cut grass. I look to my right, and my eye catches the small strawberry patch, perky and pretty with white flowers. I look to my left and I see my potted flowers, butterfly candle and my new magazine, bright and crisp, waiting for it's pages to be turned and dog- eared.

Another thing I am in love with this spring, is homemade sauces, marinades and salad dressings! Like this one here, lemon feta dressing and marinade!

If you would like the recipe for this, please check out my other blog, A Pinch of Creativity!

So, this is just some of what I am in love with this spring, how about you?

Have a lovely weekend!