Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Brings Life

Well, I am back after several days of being very sick. I missed writing and sharing our stories with my readers. I am not 100% but I am so ready to get back to activity. I have pretty much been in bed for three days straight. It is not in my nature. It definitely has not been fun.

Anyway, since I have been down there has not been anything exciting happening. Let me take that back. The SUN is shining! Thank goodness. I know there are many people that are grateful to see the sun and the beautiful things that the spring sunshine brings.

I took this picture in my yard this afternoon. There is just something about yellow that makes me feel better. I hope you slow down this spring to see the trees and flowers come to life. I hope you enjoy today and everyday!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Party Was A Success

Our big celebration turned out very well despite a few glitches. I was reminded of a very important lesson. You should always prepare your technical aspects very early and test them. This is especially important when you are planning an outdoor presentation. Despite the delay and bit of stress, the videos were very well received. I had a video highlighting music, television, movies, and kid's books from the 60's. Also, I created a video giving my mom suggestions for what to do with her time since she is retired.

Anyway, we also played a really fun auction game. I numbered 20 brown lunch bags. I filled the bags with odd items around the house and a few envelopes with a dollar or two in them. I used other items like a bar of soap, pack of pizza crust, package of dog food, and other silly items. I gave each guest a baggie with 30 pennies and started the auction. It was such a blast watching the guests open their bags to see if they spent their money wisely. My favorite buy was when a guest paid their entire 30 pennies for a "souvenir" penny.

As exhausting as putting together a big bash can be, the reward is so worth the effort. I love seeing everyone laughing and enjoying the party. Everyone enjoyed the games, the videos, and the food. Yum!! As the weather gets warmer, I am sure you will be hosting your own parties. It is a great way to slow down life and enjoy your friends and family. I hope you enjoy the special times!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Games & Sunshine

Today is a beautiful day to celebrate with family and friends! We are having a combined birthday party for 4 people, ages 19-62, and a retirement party for my mother. We are having a fantastic menu. It is ribs, BBQ chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, corn on the cob, and cake and ice cream! YUM!!! We are playing some really cool games too! I have a menopause mad-lib, penny auction for great prizes (or not so great LOL), and watching some great video footage from the sixties!

It promises to be a fantastic day! I hope you have plans to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Have a great day and I will post pics later!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Carter Community - Great Place To Live

Zoom in from the planet Earth, to the wonderful United States of America, to the hills of Tennessee and either further in to the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and you will find a small community. That community is centered around Carter Elementary, Middle & High schools. It is sometimes called Four Way In. As a teen growing up in the community, some of us affectionately called it Four Way In - No Way Out.

There is something very special about this area. It is a community where family has true meaning. It is a place where it is likely your elementary teacher will likely teach your children. It is a place where you can't find a store open after midnight. It is a place where it is difficult for your teens to get away with anything because someone will call and tell you what they are up to.

There are so many people who have lived here there entire lives and have so many stories to tell. There are places that serve as icons to the community. Places like Cardin's Drive In, Carter Pool, Carter Mill will forever be in the memories of our children as they are in ours. Playing softball at the original field and having to go swimming in the creek to fish out the softballs. I also remember the old football field past the elementary school where all of the football teams and cheerleaders had to practice on one field. I will always remember being dropped off at Carter Pool during the summer. I would spend a fantastic day with friends at the pool (playing chicken) and watching crazy guys do stunt dives from the high board. Then when my parents would pick us up, we would try to talk them into a soft-serve cone at Cardin's. I can't even count the number of times the ice cream slid right off the cone and onto the pavement as they tried to pass it through the car window.

There is a reason that so many people who grew up here return to raise their families in the same community. It is a great place to call home and some of the best people I have ever met are from this area. I have always had a desire to find a way to preserve the ideas, traditions, and memories of this community. Please share with my readers the places and memories that are near and dear to your heart. Perhaps together, we can take a walk down memory lane.

For those of you who had tried to post comments, I believe I have the issue resolved. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Graduation Idea!

With graduation coming up very soon, I wanted to share the video I made for my daughter's graduation last year. Making this video was very emotional, but it was a great way for me to release all of the emotion I was feeling. Even today, I still cry when I watch the video. I encourage you to do something very special for the graduates in your life. Leaving high school is a major transition period in their life. It is a great time to remind them how much you love them! I suggest if you make a video, start now! LOL It takes some time. That is assuming you were a novice like me! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Aunt Char's Boo-Boo

Do you ever wonder what little kids and babies think about? I think it is easy to assume that they have short attention spans and only focus on what is in front of them. My great niece, 23 months, showed me otherwise.

Yesterday, we had stopped by her house. When I picked her up, she looked at me, crinkled her nose, and said "oooooh." She was kind of grossed out by a sore on my lip from a very slow-healing fever blister. I asked her if she saw my boo-boo. She nodded and I told her it hurt. She kept saying boo-boo hurt. I assured her it would get better and I would be okay.

Today, Ralph went to her house again, but I wasn't with him today. As soon as he walked in, she looked at him and said, "Aunt Char's boo-boo hurt?" Her mom said she had been saying that all day. That tells me she had been thinking about that since yesterday. It also shows her compassion and her ability to be concerned for others.

It amazes me to watch her learn and grow. It amazes me more how she absorbs everything around her. I try to take every opportunity I have to teach her. She is so eager to learn.

Her dad is like our son. We have always thought of him as our own, so we consider his daughter our trial run at being grandparents. I am not ready to be called a grandmother just yet, but I know when the day comes, it will be a wonderful experience.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It Takes A Village

A very special person posted on FaceBook a question about our friends. She asked if we have truly good friends or people we just call acquaintances. Fortunately for me, she was patient enough to read the mini-book I wrote. I am extremely over-analytical and friendship has often been the subject of my self-discovery as well as the way I relate to other people.

Please allow me to share and expand my answer to her.

I feel very fortunate to have several friends that I feel are truly family. They are so very different. Each one has a unique place in my heart. They all know everything about me, good and bad, but each one seems to play a different part in my life. Each relationship changes with time. Each relationship seems to have natural ebb and flow to the depth and intensity. However, there are some things that remain constant and seem to be the cornerstone of each friendship. I have one friend who truly inspires me. Every single time we are together, I walk away bursting with new ideas, excitement, and dreams. I have another couple of friends who allow me to let loose. They show me how to live without inhibitions and how to embrace every moment of life and laughter. I have another friend who I know I can count on to be there in my very darkest hour. They understand me on a level that no one else does. I have another friend who is always caring compassionate and I have no doubt in my mind that they will always be my biggest fan. I have another friend who reminds me that life is so very short and to live every moment to the fullest because you never know when it will be your last. All of these people make up my "network" of people who make me who I am. If you put them all in the same room, it would be difficult to find much of anything they have in common due to different belief systems, different lifestyles, and different upbringings. But they do have one thing that ties them together. It is the fact that I love them all very much. There are natural ups and downs and times when they can drive me crazy. Although not nearly as much as I am POSITIVE that I do them. But at the end of the day, they love me and I do them. I feel so very blessed to have such a great group of people in my life. No single person could ever be all they are to me. And you know what, I am glad there isn't. Because from each person and each background, those people teach me something about the world and most importantly about myself.

I also lucky to have other people in my life that are so much more than acquaintances, but due to "life and time" constraints, those relationships haven't developed as much as I would like. And even though I don't get to spend as much time with them, or even talk to them as much as I like, they also play a huge part in my life. I try to learn something from every single person I meet. I know so many people who amaze me by their faith, their business sense, their compassion, and their dedication. I wish there were more hours in the day to devote to growing a deeper relationship with these people. I most definitely still define these people as friends, just friends that I haven't penciled in a date just yet. And for these people, it would only take a phone call, and I would be there in a heartbeat.

So I guess I would say an acquaintance is simply someone who I meet and pretty much know there is no emotional connection. I am a pretty deep person and for the most part if I feel I can trust you and therefore want to get to know you better, I am pretty much an open book. If I don't see you as someone I could develop a friendship with if given the time, I really just don't bother at all. I am not being mean, I just have so precious little time to spend with the people I know are fantastic people, I don't want to waste time when there is nothing to base a friendship on.

The post is rather long, but it is something that is very important to me. I hope you are blessed to have so many wonderful people in your life. If you don't, let down the walls and let them in. Life is so much fuller when you are surrounded by the souls of amazing, loving people.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

If It Ain't Broke, Break It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As soon as I sat down to write tonight, the very first word that came to mind was change. Not your coins, but the change that occurs in our life. It seems that change is a natural, necessary process in our lives.

Our weather changes with the seasons. Those beautiful little buds that are starting to emerge from the trees are there because our winter has passed (hopefully) and spring is here. Tonight as I listen to the rain, I realize how much I appreciate the rain today. Today was a drastic change from yesterday, but no less important or enjoyable. I will especially enjoy the rain tonight as tired as I am.

We go through changes in our lives as well. We all have changed so much from the person we were five, ten, or twenty years before. Through those changes, we feel we are doing what is right for us at the time. We live our life based on current circumstances. Five years from now, we will most assuredly see things differently. Perspective is ALWAYS different the farther we are from those changes.

So how do you feel about change? Do you welcome change with open arms or do you resist change? Do you see change as opportunity or cringe with fear? I guess the answer for me is both. In some areas of my life, I embrace change. For those of you who know me well, you know that is especially true with my home. I change things simply for the sake of change. Whether it's furniture, arrangement, or even walls, I can only stand things the same for a short time. Hey, I never said I was normal. Now before you feel sorry for my hubby, realize that we are the perfect match for each other. He is Mr. Steady! Together, we make a pretty good pair. But other changes scare me. Financial changes, changes with our children, and health changes all scare me to death. These changes often come in the form of a crisis. John F. Kennedy said, "When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters - one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity." Can you find opportunity in the midst of your crisis?

A great book I am reading offers some great insight on changes. Dan Miller in his book 'No More Mondays' tells a story about a dramatic change in football in 1906. The forward pass was legalized. Most teams resisted the change and continued to play with the running and kicking game they were familiar with. St. Louis University decided to welcome the change and extensively used the forward pass. That first season St. Louis outscored their opponents 402 to 11. Now that is pretty dramatic. Not every change in your life will be. Change can bring restoration and new life. Some one once told me that if you are not growing, you become stagnant. So when I read the passage: If It Ain't Broke, Break It, I could definitely relate. Sometimes we need that fire lit to get us moving and to keep us from becoming stagnant.

Of course, change is scary. Whether it comes from something out of our control or moving our life in a new direction, there is risk. Another quote from the same book is, "Sometimes the greatest risk is not taking one." Are you willing to take a risk? Can you afford not to?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surrounded By Friends & Family

Today was a much better day! The sunshine was absolutely gorgeous! We spent the day working VERY hard but we were surrounded by friends and family. Everyone pitched in and got so much accomplished. We enjoyed the best-tasting hot dogs on the grill. We were so excited to pull the grill out and get her fired up! It has been way too long!

We are so grateful that we have people in our life that show up not only for the fun days, but also for the work days. When everyone is together, it makes even back breaking work enjoyable. We had people working to saw wood, hauling wood, cleaning house, cooking hot dogs, baking cookies, doing laundry, planting flowers, and so very much more. So thank you so very much to everyone who helped today! A special thanks to my sister's boyfriend whom we don't know very well but spent the whole day working like a dog and to Thacker who was so very enthusiastic! Also, a special thanks to Darrell. You had no clue when you came to visit that you would end up working, yet you ran that machine all day! We are so glad you enjoyed it even though we know how much your shoulders are going to hurt tomorrow!!

We know how fortunate we are to have people in our life that are willing to sacrifice their beautiful first day of spring for someone else. Not to mention an hour drive just to help. That is the exact reason that we do our very best to do the same for them. We love you all so very much! Thank you all again! We are very grateful!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Looking Forward To Tomorrow

Today has been frustrating to say the least. I went to the doctor's office again today with my friend. Still no news as to what in the world is wrong with her. She has seen doctors, nurse practioners, three ENT specialists, three radiologists and no one knows. This is after two rounds of blood work, a CT scan, panoramic X-ray, ultrasound, and biopsy. I know she is extremely aggravated. It is not a good thing when no one has a clue what is wrong with you.

Then, I come home to a mess. My hubby rented a mini-backhoe today to do some grading around my house. They moved a bunch of dirt, but, put it all in the wrong place. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! So the five hours they spent was wasted. This is not good when your rental is by the hour. Anyway, I am beat. I am heading to bed and praying for a brighter tomorrow!

Good Night All! Enjoy the beautiful day in store for us in Tennessee!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

He got her softened up!!!

As he put his hand on the rail of the bed and started pumping, the bed began to squeak. This bed always squeaks so much………….

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter!! I am trying to tell you a story about Melissa’s trip to the hospital. The “he” that I am referring to is Kris. He was Melissa’s transporter today. The pumping I mentioned and the hand on the rail were from Kris preparing the bed for transport. Just admit it, you thought I was writing some sort of hot, steamy love scene. Well, when the bed was squeaking, of course we all thought the same thing.

Suddenly, Melissa starts saying “squeak, squeak, squeak! We burst into laughter and I said, “I was thinking the same thing, but I wasn’t going to say it! As we all are trying to recover, Melissa says something like “Hey, I am just laying here!" Of course that was just more fuel for the fire. Poor Kris, he couldn’t get her to participate a bit! Oh my goodness! We had a great laugh. Fortunately, Kris is not the type to get embarrassed.He played along fantastically. I will spare you of every little comment, but when Kris brought Melissa to her “destination,” he did remind us that he got her softened up!

Melissa has seen enough doctors and enough needles to last her for quite some time. The fact that we have been unable to get a diagnosis is frustrating. However, we have brought humor to as much of the situation as we can. When you find a sweet, funny guy like Kris, it makes it much easier. Thank you Kris, for making two women have a great afternoon in spite of where we were. You are great with people and I expect that you brighten all of your patient’s days. Of course, I am sure they don’t give you near the grief that we did. As I told you before, every time you hear a squeaking bed, you will think of us! Sorry about that. LOL

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


It appears that a dear friend of mine is a big medical question mark at the moment.  She has been dealing with an enlarged lymph node in her neck since Saturday.  Now when I say enlarged, I mean ENLARGED!  This thing just keeps growing.  The swelling is in her jaw, her neck, and her face.  I know she is so aggravated because the doctors are just saying HMMMMM???????   After two rounds of blood work, three visits to the doctor, and the third antibiotic, she knows no more than she did four days ago.  Not a good thing.  Bless her heart!

But let me tell you about my friend.  She is AMAZING!  She is tough as nails and together we can find humor in just about anything.  So instead of being completely freaked out, we laughed ourselves silly yesterday at her doctor's appointment.  Her nurse was just a bit OCD.  On second thought, that is entirely an understatement!  This nurse was hilarious!  We had the greatest talk about germs!  She shared with us her admitted over-the-top stories about carrying her own bleach to motels and taking 15 minutes before entering Walmart to clean the buggy! She said she just can't help it!  The funny thing was that every time we thought she was gone, she would open the door and tell us more about things that gross her out!  Her facial expressions were priceless!  We had a blast!  She was such an authentic person!  I have the greatest respect for people who just are who they are!  They don't care to admit and laugh at their own faults!  They have a great comfort and confidence about them that makes it so easy to be yourself.  Melissa (my friend) and I both immediately liked this lady!  Those same qualities are what make Melissa so special!  There are never any pretenses! 

When Ralph and I spend time with Melissa and her husband, there is never a dull moment!  We can always count on a great time and more importantly laughter!  We can have different opinions and have heated discussions without fear of judgment!  We are all comfortable enough with each other to tell each other we are full of you know what!  And the cool thing is, we grow and learn from each other! There are things about them that challenge Ralph and I to be better people and I bet they would say the same of us!  And we all know that day or night, good times or bad, we will always be there for each other!

I certainly hope you have people in your life that give you that kind of place!  That place where you are who you are!  That place where not only is being yourself accepted, it is expected! 

I love you Melissa and I hope our trip to the doctor today brings some answers!  I am certainly looking forward to visiting with your nurse again!

I hope you all have a beautiful day!  ~ Charlene

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just Before Dawn

I have made a realization.  My bladder and my brain are partners.  I can no longer sleep late thanks to my bladder.  I usually wake before sunrise to use the bathroom.  Some people, I understand, can go right back to sleep.  But I believe that my bladder has some sort obligation to kick my brain into overdrive.  The moment my bladder wakes me up, my brain goes from 0 to 60 mph in two seconds flat.  So, no matter how hard I try, I can't go back to sleep.  A quote I read recently said that sometimes the best cure for insomnia is the realization it is time to get up.  So that is what I do.

The plus side is that just before dawn has become my favorite time of day.  The house is whisper quiet.  Most mornings, even Tundra (our dog) and our cats are walking around in a sleepy kind of daze.  For just a few brief moments, time seems to stand still.  For some reason, it is the only time of day that I can just sit and be okay with doing so.  Jake (one of our cats) will climb on my lap, cuddle up and purr up a storm.  It is a beautiful time.  Of course it doesn't last long.  I am an overachiever so before long, I feel the need to accomplish something.  Most mornings before the sun comes up, I have checked my email, balanced my checkbook, wrote this blog, done a load of laundry, and exercised with the Wii.  I know, kind of neurotic, LOL. 

I am sharing this because I am realizing how important it is to have a few moments a day to be disconnected from the cell phones, the computers, and the rest of your family.  It is important to take a moment to just be.  If you aren't a little weird like me and wake up earlier than you have to, try getting up just 15 minutes earlier than usual. If you don't think you can drag yourself to do it, drink a big glass of something before you go to bed!  Maybe your brain and bladder have an agreement too!  You may find it will make the rest of your day much more peaceful when you don't start the day in a frenzy!  Hope you have a beautiful day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

U-Turns Allowed

Sometimes the very best experiences come from those that are not planned, but instead from those that you just stumble upon.  Over the weekend, Ralph and I stopped for breakfast at McDonalds.  As we were enjoying our morning together, we noticed that Clayton Mobile Homes had a home show display set up in the parking lot at Smokies stadium.  If you have never visited one of these, you don't know what you are missing.

Whether you are a fan of mobile homes or not, there are few places where you can visit 20+ homes in one location.  My guess is that most people visit these homes because they are planning to purchase one.  I, on the otherhand, love to visit because they always are fully decorated with the latest trends in design, art, and colors.  I never leave a show without my mind bursting with ideas for my own home.  One of the coolest things I saw was a new mount for the flat-screen TVs.  This mount allowed the TV to swivel from the living room to the kitchen.  The backside of the TV was encased in a wood panel which allowed the mounting of a picture to that.  So if you had the TV facing the kitchen, a nice picture faced the living room and vice versa.  Cool idea.

We had a great time touring the homes.  When we set out that morning, we planned to go for breakfast and then to the grocery store.  But what a nice little surprise that we stumbled upon.  In the past our life has been so hurried and so purpose driven that we rarely took the time to enjoy those things we stumble upon.  It is a refreshing change that we are now free to make a u-turn once in awhile when something catches our eye.  I kind of look at it as a way of "stopping to smell the roses."

When the kids were little, we used to play a game when we were a bit bored.  We would just get in the car and start driving.  When we came upon an intersection, I would allow the kids to pick which way we would go.  There were no rules, just drive.  It was a fun way to just enjoy the scenery.  We played this game alot.  You would think that our kids would have a great sense of direction, right?  Unfortunately, both of them are directionally challenged.  I don't get it!

Anway, when was the last time you jumped in a car with no idea where you were going?  Sometime in the near future, slow down on the way to your destination.  Pay attention to what is around you.  You might find a beautiful stream, a wild turkey walking through a field, or even an unexpected yard sale.  Either way, I challenge you to be in the car more than five minutes and not see something that will make you smile!  And who of us couldn't use a little more smiles in our life??  Come back and share your u-turns with us!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Worry, Fart, & Laugh

There is a brief moment between moving from caring for your growing children and caring for your aging parents, that is, if you are lucky.  Our primary focus for the last 21 years has been our children.  The kids consume so much of your time but more important your mental focus.  As a parent, I was admittedly overprotective.  As much time as we spent at the ball parks, school programs, libraries, and doing homework, it pales in comparison to the countless hours of worry.  The worries change over the years.  They go from worrying that they are healthy and developing on time to worrying that the siren you just heard isn't your teen driver in a wreck.  It is a constant fear in the back of your mind, at least it has been for me.

That has changed lately.  For our own sanity, we have learned to let go.  We have learned that thanks to the cell phones that we have provided them, they will call if there is a problem.  We have learned that we don't need to talk to them 100 times a day, although we would still like to.  We have learned that we have raised pretty, smart kids who make pretty good decisions, for the most part anyway!  We are so very proud of them.  We trust them to make their own choices without our incessant attempts to control everything.  Even more so, we want them to make their own choices.  We know, as much as we have tried to fight it, that the most valuable lessons in life are ones made from our own mistakes. So finally, we can relax a little and stop worrying, right?  Wrong.

Now, once again, the worries change.  Now we worry about our aging parents.  We have relied on their advice and wisdom (just since we were about 25, until then we knew it all, lol).  More and more we have learned to appreciate the fact that whenever you need someone, mom and dad are ALWAYS there.  I personally have learned that no matter how much you think you are holding it together when your life is fallling apart, just hearing your mom's voice somehow magically opens the tear faucet.

The last few years I have started to see a decline in my parent's health.  My mom has developed a head tremor.  Her doctor says it is stress.  I am so worried it is more.  My mom just turned 62.  My grandmother died at 65.  I know that is no indication that my mom will too, but is always in the back of my head.  My dad is starting to forget things.  Alot of people don't notice, but I do.  I try to talk to him several times a week.  I notice he forgets things and he has a harder time understanding what I am trying to tell him.  I'll just tell you, it will devastate me if I lose my parents.  My dad is my step dad.  I hate that title, because he is the ONLY father I have ever known.  I am watching a friend go through losing her dad as we speak.  She tries to hold it together, but I can see the pain and fear in her eyes.  I am praying for her.  We will all be there someday, if you haven't already.  I am going to try to enjoy as much time as I can with my parents.  I know there will be sadness when they are gone.  Heck, I can't even write about it without these tears.  So I want to create as many fun memories as I can while I still have the chance.

One of my mom's (and mine) favorite memories is of a trip to Clingman's Dome.  I don't know what in the world my papaw had eaten, but he had gas like you would not believe.  Every single step up the side of that mountain was paired with a fart!  Not a silent one, but one of those squeaky ones!  What made the memory so vivid was not the gas, but the laughter that went with it.  My papaw was an easy going guy that didn't care which way the wind blew.  Oh and how he loved to laugh!  He thought those farts was the funniest thing ever.  He absolutely cried from laughing so hard all the way up that mountain.  As you know, laughter is contaigous, so my grandmother, my parents, my sister & I, and complete strangers had a fabulous day laughing at my papaw's farts.  It was fantastic!!!! It was also something I will never forget.  I already have some of those crazy memories with my parents.  I will share with you later.  My parents are a whoot!

Each life has a cycle.  As we travel through this life, we know that soon it will be us being the grandparents, hopefully I can continue to love life and laugh like my papaw did.  It will be our children worrying about our health.  There has been so many times to worry and be afraid for the people you love.  But that is not all that life has to offer.  So in the middle of the worries, take time to laugh!  It will make the tough times easier.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Courtesy of our recent trip to the library, I am reading a great book written by Jeff Yeager.  He defines the enoughasaurus as follows: The beast within each of, he/she that must be satisfied.  Slaying or at least satisfying your Enoughasaurus is a matter of deciding what's enough for you and then disigning your priorities and life around it.

What is enough???  I don't know.  But what I do know is that it has definitely changed for us over the years.  When we were younger and our yearly income was not much more than $10,000 we knew we didn't have enough.  We wanted a nice home, nice cars, money to vacation, etc.  Then after I was smart enough to know to pursue the education opportunity that I was lucky enough to receive, all of that changed.  Our income increased dramatically.  Instead of just enjoying that for a time, we ran out and purchased the "stuff" we THOUGHT  we wanted.  Life should be good, right?  WRONG.  I remember our son, then just 16, said he wanted to move back to our doublewide.  I asked him why.  He said because all we do is fight here.  WOW!  What an eye opener.  He saw what the "stuff" was doing to us.  We were stupid enough to buy our new house before our old house sold.  It took seven months by the way.  Trying to raise two teenagers in a new home, with two mortgages, an unexpected $400/month utility bill was a bit more stress than I could handle.  However, even though we knew it, we weren't ready to let go.

Life had something else in store for us.  Five years and a lot of spent money later, we both lost our jobs, (within a week of each other), we had no choice but to reevaluate our priorities.  To give ourselves a little credit, we had started realizing several months prior that our life was ridiculous, at least by our "true" standards.  So now, even though our home and cars are "valued" (I use that term loosely) at less than 1/5th of what they were just a year ago, we are so much happier.  Our home does not own us.  Our utility bills are amazing.  We are actually happy to pay them!  And the funny thing is, we still want to clear out more "stuff."  We are trying to make a fundamental shift in our value system.  We want to choose life and experiences over stuff.  One of my favorite quotes of all time is:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."  Ellen Goodman

Sometimes I really miss an AWESOME car I once owned.  It was a hot little Toyota Celica.  It looked amazing and I felt so young driving it.  As good as it looked, it didn't suit our needs and I was tied to a car payment.  So finally I sold the car.  It was a good thing because I stressed so much over something happening to the car.  I didn't want it to get scratched, I didn't want anyone else to drive it.  It controlled me.  Thank God we are in a different place now.  I am not saying we are where we want to be.  Sure, we still look at those fancy cars and drool just a little.  I guess we always will.  But, now we try to visualize the chains that they drag behind them.  We also ask ourselves why we want them?  That helps. 

Have you slayed your "Enoughasaurus?"  Did you even know he existed?  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Your Public Library

Ralph and I went to the library yesterday.  It has been quite some time since we have visited the library.  We went with the intention of doing some research on small business management.  We ended up leaving the library with two huge bags of books.  I have forgotten how intoxicating the library can be.  I love sitting on the floor and looking through random books from the shelves.  I could have stayed in the library for hours.  Ralph, on the other hand, would have preferred being ANYWHERE but the library.  But thank God for my husband who supports me in whatever I do.

As we left, I realized that I rely on the internet for nearly all the things that used to take me to the library.  It is a great convenience, but it is kind of sad.  Will my future grandchildren ever visit the local library?  I sure hope so.  A computer, MP3 player, or an electronic reader will never feel as good as sitting in the floor at your local library.  I know that I found lots of very interesting books that I can't wait to read!

My Second Post - Reprinted "An Epiphany"

For years I have known that I would never be happy working for someone else.  I have always known that I should work for myself.  The problem is what kind of business would be right for me.  See here’s the thing, I would call myself a “Big Idea” person.  Coming up with ideas and solutions is where I thrive.  However, I am not so good at sticking with something long-term. I think short attentions spans run in my family. :-)
So I have finally discovered that maybe I should try to make my career fit me instead of trying to turn myself into someone I am not.  So yesterday when this finally sunk in, the ideas started flowing easily.  It was sort of an ephiphany.  Every single person is unique.  We each have our own limitations.  But more importantly, we each have our own talents and gifts.  How neat would the world be if we each could realize all of those things about ourselves?  What kind of world would it be if every person was utilizing their own special gifts and loved the work they do?  Do you love the work you have chosen?  Do you wake up each and every day excited about what the day has to bring?  I want that kind of life.  Can I overcome any fears or self-doubt that would keep me from achieving just that?
I choose to believe that I can have that life.  I choose to accept my personality and my gifts.  I chose to create a life where I can thrive.  I choose to believe……in myself.

My Very First Blog - Reprinted on this site

I am about to turn 40 and find myself standing at the proverbial fork in the road.  My children, now 20 and 18, are living their own lives.  For the last 20 years, every decision I have made has been about them and their futures.  Now, I have the time to focus on reinventing my life and deciding to do what matters.  That brings me to this fork in the road. 
Down one fork is “normal.”  Normal is what I have been doing my entire life.  I obtained my degree in Business Admistration so I could work in accounting.  I worked really hard to prove myself to my employers and make a good living.  With a good paycheck, we bought a nice home, nice cars, and lots of toys.  Now I find myself unemployed due to the economy.  We are going to lose all of the “stuff” that we worked for.  The normal thing to do would be search for another job in accounting so I could still have a good paycheck.  Then we could get that “stuff” again. 
But what about the other fork?  The other fork has endless possibilities.  Down the other fork, I can be the entreprenuer I have always dreamed of being.  Down the other fork, I can balance my work and my personal life on my terms.  Down the other fork, I can do what matters.  Down that fork, I can be “crazy” and decide that a fancy house, fancy cars, and “stuff” doesn’t matter.  I can choose experiences over material possessions.  I can decide that “enough money” is enough to put a roof over our heads and food in our tummies.  And I can decide that my freedom is more important.  I can decide that spending time with our aging parents is worth more than all the “stuff ” in the world.  But all of that would be “crazy.”  What about the American Dream?  I say with this fork, I decide what the American Dream means to me.  I decide what matters.
This blog is to document my journey in discovering who I am and what matters.  I hope you will join me.