Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

I love comments March 29, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Blogs,Communication,Football,Lacrosse,Photography,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:03 pm

I shouldn’t open myself up on this topic, but I really do love comments… on my blog, on my photography, on activities… it just makes me smile. It probably shouldn’t matter to me whether anyone reads or sees my photos, but it honestly does.  My goal, when I shoot a sporting event, is to cover the game in photos as if I were writing the game with words.  I know I take too many pictures, but it makes me happy.

Case in point:  Tonight, I posted over 500 pictures of a lacrosse game from Tuesday (3/27) and the most vivid comment I got was from a Hood senior who posted the following on my wall:  “those pictures are AMAZING!!! Your pictures captured what happened better then my own memory!”  Wow…. those words had such a positive impact on what I do.  This young man felt compelled to get a message to me regarding how he enjoyed my photos.  What a wonderful endorsement he offered me for my business.

Knowing that people are checking my website (or even my business Facebook page) to see what I captured with my camera pushes me to do my very best every single time.  I know there are parents who live too far away to attend games.  I like to think that I’m providing pictures for these people… so they have the opportunity to “see” a game, even if they can’t be there in person.  If my child were on that field, playing a sport he loves, and I couldn’t be there in person, I would certainly be grateful for any documentation of that accomplishment.   Our kids are young and athletically active for such a short time in their lives that I feel it’s my honor and privilege to capture these endeavors in whatever way I can.  Having people react in a positive way to the photos I take, and send/post comments along the way, just makes it even better.

If you have a moment and can post a comment for me to read, I would be grateful for the feedback.  While my blog is really my own way of getting those random thoughts out of my head, I appreciate any time taken to read these missives.

Oh, and if you have some time to flip through a few photos, please feel free to visit my website:  http://www.alisportshots.com.  I post thousands of pictures of sporting events for High School, College, and Adult leagues.  It’s my passion and my joy… thanks for letting me share both my photography and my thoughts with you, dear reader.  YOU are very much appreciated!

 

I’m a Yellow Lab March 22, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Parenting,Pets,Photography — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:37 pm
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As weird as it may sound, I’ve been told that I have the personality of a yellow lab puppy and I’m OK with it.  Seriously.  I think it’s a huge compliment that my husband, and a few select friends who understand the analogy, feel that my outlook on life reminds them of a yellow lab.   Happy, ready to play, forgives slights (ok… I’m still working on that one), always seems to look at or for the positive?  Yeah, I’ll take that one.

The first time someone commented on my general outlook on life, I was quick to downplay it.  After all, it’s not “normal” for someone to always look at the positive side of things, is it?  I thought that lots of people looked for the good in others… sought the happy side of things instead of focusing on the negative… but that doesn’t seem to be the case.   It’s easy to see the glass as “half empty” instead of “half full”, but that is definitely not my way of seeing things.  I’ve learned that I actually have to make a concerted effort to see all the negative aspects of a situation instead of making the best of whatever may come my way.   Is that a bad thing?  Is this a character trait or a character flaw?  Why don’t more people automatically lean toward the good in their lives?  Am I really so strange?

I’ll admit that there are times when I actually have to focus my attention on the positive instead of drowning in the negative.  Late at night, when the house is quiet and I’m the only one left awake, my mind starts spinning webs of “bad stuff” that can be pretty negative… dragging me down… keeping me awake and spooked.  It’s only with repeated practice that I can pull myself out of that hole.  I count my blessings… say my prayers… and drag my sorry butt back to the happy side of life.   It’s not always easy, but I much prefer to be happy than sad… to be positive than negative… to be up rather than down.  It’s just in my nature.

This blog has been my way of acknowledging and counting my blessings.  I may look at my life through “rose colored glasses”, but the other option just isn’t palatable to me.   Whining and complaining feel like a slap in the face when I take stock of all that I have in my life.  I have a husband I adore and who makes me strive to be a better person… I have two boys who are happy, healthy, and amazing young men… I am blessed with family and friends who remind me every day that I am loved…  I work with some pretty fabulous and interesting people who I thoroughly enjoy… I really can’t complain about a single thing in my life.   God has blessed me in so many ways… I cannot help but be grateful for every aspect of my life.

It would have been easy to become a whiner when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  My boys were only 3 & 5 years old and I was only 31 years old.  It would have been so easy to complain and gripe, to bitch and moan, but where would that have gotten me?  Would I have infected my sons with my negative attitude and altered who they would become?  I had been blessed with an amazing and supportive husband and family who loved me, no matter what my abilities or limitations.  If these were blessings, couldn’t I also turn this diagnosis into a blessing?

As weird as it may sound, my MS has indeed been a blessing to me.  Because of my MS, I was forced to leave the work force but I was given the gift of time to raise my children and be a stay-at-home mom.  Focusing on what I’m unable to do is unproductive… I choose to see what I am able to do and be grateful for every day.  God made me… and He deserves nothing less than my praise, thanks, and gratitude for THIS life he’s given me.

So, yeah, I’ll be the “Pollyanna” any day.  I’ll look on the bright side…. focus on the positive… see the good in everyone… and plan to take pictures in the rain.  Don’t tell me that being compared to a dog is a bad thing… I’ll always be grateful to have a “happy yellow lab” personality.   This outlook in life has gotten me pretty far and I count it as one of my greatest blessings and strengths.

 

Guilt…. what a frustrating emotion March 8, 2012

Filed under: Life Balance,Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:10 am
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I have to get this off my chest before I leave for my Girls Weekend.  I am frustrated by the power guilt has to influence my actions.  After “taking a stand” and “going on record” that I was going to speak with no one except M, it looks as if I will end up placing a call tonight when I arrive in HH for my weekend.  While it’s only a phone call and it’s just one, it still irks me that I feel that I must make this call after a comment made by someone close to me.

Back-track a bit… my mom is having surgery on Friday next week to have a melanoma removed.  I have been asked to spend the weekend (and a few days ahead of time) to help her through this event.  While it took a bit of juggling, I’ll be going up to PA on Wednesday and then coming home on Sunday, barring any complications.  I do this willingly… she’s my mom… she’d be here trying to help if something were happening with me… I can’t let her go through this alone.

However, she threw a slight detour into my “I’m taking 3 days OFF” plan when she found she needed a procedure done today (Thursday).  I have no way of going up to help her and she emphatically said she didn’t need me for this appointment.  She has friends who are willing and able to help her to and from the appointment and she’s completely sure that everything will be fine.  I’m selfishly glad about this because it means that her problem won’t impact my three days off… however, she expects me to call or to allow her to call me to tell me everything tonight when she gets home. I asked her if she could please just send me an email when she got home to tell me anything and everything she wanted to, but that I just couldn’t talk on the phone.  I needed to take three days for myself before I jump into caretaker mode with her next week.

Does this make me so selfish and such a horrible child for wanting this for myself?  I sent my sister a text to let her know what I was doing and got a reply that made me stop and re-evaluate… “I cannot support this, but you do what you need to.  I love you!”  So I guess I’ll be calling my mom tonight and giving her some of my 3 days off to listen to her story about how the procedure went today.  Guilt, especially family guilt, is a powerful motivator.

Wish me luck…

 

Everyone benefits from a Girls Weekend March 7, 2012

I’m headed out of town this weekend for a weekend with my cousin and a girlfriend of mine.  I can hardly wait to get on the road, even though I know I’m going to miss my husband while I’m away.  It’s a rejuvenating experience that will allow me to come home with fun memories, some tasty new wines, and a greater appreciation for my life overall.  I always have a wonderful time when I’m gone, but it’s not something that would make me want to change my life… it allows me to appreciate what others might not.

I went on my first real “girls weekend” when we lived in MI.  Three friends and I went to Dresden, OH to spend the weekend doing “Longaberger basket” things.  We each made an official Longaberger basket, walked around the Longaberger Homestead, had High Tea in their tea room, and shopped/talked/laughed/relaxed to our hearts content.  Two of our companions were vegans, so we tried some vegetarian options for a meal or two.  “Having pie” was a priority for our trip, so we made sure to incorporate that into our plans as well.  We consulted one another throughout the trip and made sure to respect everyone’s “must do” list as we went.   It was a wonderful break from our busy lives as moms and we enjoyed every moment of the weekend… but were all very glad to get back home again.

After our move to VA, it took a while before I felt the need for another “girls weekend”.  Moving and keeping up with the boys activities took much of my time and we did a lot of family traveling for sporting events.   Spending concentrated quality time with a girlfriend or two didn’t seem as important, so the plan got demoted to a “someday” on my list of things to do.

A few years ago, my BFF came up with the idea of going to OBX for a “Taste of the Beach” weekend in March with her sister and a few friends.  Since I’d never been to the Outer Banks of NC, it seemed like a really fun thing to do… we are both foodies and love to cook, so we planned to take a cooking class, make food and drinks at the beach house we were borrowing, and generally be lazy and relax.  Again, we talked out all our expectations and “must do” lists – mine was relatively short, since I had no experience with OBX or what was available in that area.  We drove down, had a fabulous time, and made plans to repeat the experience the following spring.

The best part of a Girls Weekend, I think, is simply sharing the event with girlfriends… as any woman knows, dishing about personal history and sharing likes/dislikes are things that guys just don’t like to do.   Women like to share with their friends… we like to know that we’re not alone in how we approach things in our lives and we enjoy bouncing ideas off one another without asking for a solution.  We may already have the solution in our heads, but talking things out with a girlfriend can help to clarify the situation for us.   I could drive M crazy by running every little thing by him, or I could chat about things with my girlfriends and then talk with him about the “important stuff”… the stuff that really matters for us.

M likes to say that I’m distracted easily… and he’s absolutely right.  I have so many plans, ideas, and general thoughts running around in my head that as soon as something “shiny” draws my attention, I’ve lost the task at hand.  This wonderful man puts up with so much from me – he even does the laundry because I can’t seem to complete a single load of dark clothes within a reasonable time frame.  Thankfully, he understands my need to talk… to communicate… to simply be heard by a friend.  Don’t get me wrong…. I talk plenty to M.  It’s just that I feel more able to be quiet after a Girls Weekend.  Spending time with my friends allows me to release all those random ideas and thoughts into the universe, without judgment or follow-up plans.  I can allow myself to save the important stuff for M and let the small stuff go… because I’ve talked it over with my girlfriends.

So I’m off to a Girls Weekend.  I’ll be combining two of my favorite pastimes and enjoying the Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival with my cousin (whom I haven’t seen since 1980!) and one of my dearest friends (whom I rarely get to see even though we live less than a mile apart).  I’ll have an 8-hour drive each way to talk and chat and clear my head and I’ll be able to relax, knowing that M will be able to handle whatever may come up at home.  The best part is that I’ll come home on Sunday and be totally focused on seeing my beloved M again… rejuvenated and refreshed from spending time with my girlfriends.

See?  Everyone really DOES benefit from a Girls Weekend…

 

A quick commentary on parental travel March 3, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Communication,Lacrosse,Parenting,Photography,Sports,Uncategorized,Volunteering — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:15 am

It’s a Saturday in March and we are getting ready to drive 3 hours to MD to watch my son’s lacrosse team play.  Mind you, our son D isn’t playing… he’s got an Avulsion Fracture on his ankle and is on “complete rest” for 5 days before he can even start rehab.  It’s just “what we do” when our kids’ teams are playing and we have any possible opportunity to watch and attend the game.  Is this craziness or just parenting?

We’ve always been this way.  If our boys were on a sports team, we were in the stands (or tramping out onto the opposite sideline) to support their efforts.  It’s never really been an issue of whether or not our son gets his moment on the field… it’d be nice to see him play, but that’s really not my focus.  The primary reason for being there is to show our support in the most tangible way… we’re THERE.

No matter the level of sport played, there’s always a component of dedication that must be present in the player.  Youth leagues, High School, Travel programs, College… they all require participation on the part of each student-athlete.  In my humble opinion (IMHO), I believe the part we play as parents is simply to be present at any venue in which our kids participate.  It’s not an issue of how many minutes they play…. it’s not whether they’re even physically able to be on the field.  It’s the idea that our kids have made this choice… this commitment… to get up each day, get out on that field, and be a part of a team so we need to support them.

My younger son has had many more years of parental participation with regards to his sporting choices, simply because D came to lacrosse much later in his HS career.  M and I were on athletic boards, M has done websites for most, I have volunteered to be the team mom or “Athletic Director”, depending on the needs of each program in which our boys belonged.  I am still the Athletic Director (scheduler) for Richmond Shock Lacrosse, simply because I’ve been doing the job for the past 5 years and just can’t seem to (want to) hand it off.  Sports can be a business, but they can also be a saving grace that allow parents to do the “behind the scenes” work and still remain supportive of their childrens’ efforts.

We may gripe and whine about all the travel we have done, and have yet to do, but I would never trade it for an extra hour of sleep.  I know this hectic chaos has a lifespan and will all-too-soon become a memory.  Being on the sidelines of our boys games is a privilege.  It’s a gift to be able to see our boys do something they love, even if they don’t ever make it to the field on any given day.  Seeing D on the sidelines, bolstering his friends and helping to coach them in their efforts, is worth the lack of sleep.  He’s going to graduate in a few short weeks and this too will be  part of his past.  I just can’t imagine being anywhere else but AT THE GAME.

I’ll sleep in next week… for now, it’s off to the lacrosse game of the moment!  Go Hood Blazers… we believe in you and WE SUPPORT YOU!

 

 
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