Beatitudes of my life

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

Thoughts on Letting Go… December 4, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Friends,Moving,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:04 pm
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I’ve never been very good at “letting go”… of things or of people.  Letting go always seemed to be a version of giving up or giving in, and *that* never sat well with me.  I never thought of myself as a quitter, so why should I willingly let go of something or someone in my life?  I don’t think my thought process changed much until this particular move from RVA to Maryland.  letting-go1

I’m starting to accept that there are times when letting go is actually the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.   Spending countless hours trying to figure out what I can do to maintain friendships with people who don’t seem as concerned seems akin to pounding ones’ head against the wall and then wondering why I have a headache.  I believe that friendship isn’t a one-way street.  It is a living and breathing organism that needs to be fed, on a regular basis, in order to maintain any sort of viability.  The most interesting thing that I am learning about friendship is that some are actually able to withstand less “feeding” than others. It seems that some friendships, especially those with whom you have experienced tremendous growth, seem to continue to thrive even with little to no contact… but only if that growth was experienced by both/all parties involved.

That being said, I’m coming to realize that those people who truly want to be a part of my life will always remain a part of my life.  It’s not a question of letting them go or not caring any longer… those people who remain in my life, in any sort of capacity, are those who actually desire to be a part of my life.  These are the friendships that are meant to be nurtured and fed, in whatever degree most comfortable to both.  Some people find it more comfortable to remain on the fringes, playing games on Facebook and occasionally posting a message or offering a prayer regarding the sale of our home.  Others seem to have made the choice to use the “opportunity” of my move to allow a friendship to pass away, whether by choice or because of distance. While I don’t know that I’ll ever be good at “letting go” of a friendship, I have to learn how to be okay with someone’s choice to do so.  After all, isn’t that what friendship is all about…  wanting the best for the other person, as well as for yourself?

As the posted quote says, “Letting go does not mean you stop caring.  It means you stop trying to force others to…”  I really want to learn not to force others to care about a friendship.  While I will give myself permission to mourn that particular loss, but I will not allow that permission to stop me from moving on and letting go.

So, to those of you who have remained a part of my life through our move these past few months, I say a very heartfelt “Thank you”.  Each message, prayer, or gesture, no matter the size, has been appreciated more than I can ever put into words.  There’s nothing like a friend who actually refuses to leave your side, especially when the parameters of the original friendship are tested.  On the flip side, I plan to work harder to be okay allowing other friends to move on with their own lives.  Letting go works both ways and recognizing that can be painfully bittersweet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to nurture the friendships that are important, but let go of those that aren’t lifting up our souls.   Letting go doesn’t have to be a bad thing… ultimately, I believe that we’ll all be healthier and happier if we surround ourselves with friends who truly care about us.

Wishing each of you the friendships that brighten your day and lighten your soul…especially during this Holiday season.

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A quick “frustration” post August 27, 2014

Filed under: Moving,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:00 pm

We have been dealing with real estate agents over the past five months and if I find that there has been one glaring frustration that absolutely makes me burn… it’s the lack of feedback regarding showings by the agents. Has anyone else experienced this problem?  It’s so frustrating not to know “why/why not” when there’s a showing.  Is it *that* difficult to reply and give owners some sort of answer if it’s just not the right home for someone?

Our house went on the market in April. Our agent has held many Open House events and texts me anytime an agent sets up a showing. We get feedback from her, which is extremely helpful since we now live three hours away and are unable to get back to do anything to assist with the sale of our home, but there are times when things still fall through the cracks.  We do our best to keep in contact with people in the area with regards to the look of the house, but without physically being there, it’s just another point of contention if something needs to be vacuumed or cleaned or “freshened up” and we don’t know.

As of today, we’ve had 50+ official showings of our home in VA.  The only bits of feedback we get comes in the form of things that cannot be changed, mainly that our backyard is “too small” or “not private enough”.  We’ve painted, we’ve repaired, and we’ve gone so far as to find a friend who would bury the figurine of a saint in “the appropriate spot” so the house will sell.  Unfortunately, that has not happened yet and I find myself stuck.  I’m stuck trying to move on in our new life while still having a root left in the old one.  While I believe that this move has been destined for us, I’m not sure how to manage the part over which I have no control… so I cook, or bake, or clean (laughably, but yet I attempt).

I am grateful for all the prayers that are being said for the sale of our home.  It’s an amazing house and will be a fabulous home for someone… first floor master suite, three large bedrooms upstairs, lots of windows and extras, huge two+-car garage, wonderful kitchen and great “open concept” flow to the house. Want to see it? Here’s the link on Trulia.  How could someone *not* want to buy it?

As my friend Joyce said, “I wish I could twitch my nose, like in Bewitched, and have it happen now”.  From her lips to God’s ears… may the right buyer come along and recognize this place for what it is… the right place for them.

Amen.

 

 

Be Kind May 14, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Communication,Life Balance,Moving,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 1:22 pm

I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall recently and it resonated with me so much that I needed to share it with those who read my blog.  While I’m not a fan of the grammatical error, I like the thought.BeKind

 

I met a woman yesterday at the local grocery store and we struck up a conversation. It wasn’t about anything overly significant… I commented on how pretty her top looked and she told me where she got it… but then we got to talking and that little bit of “normalcy” really meant so much.  I hadn’t realized just how much I missed recognizing people in my local grocery store… or seeing a familiar face at the gas station… or waving to a friend across the aisle while shopping.  Being transplanted into a new world can be very exciting, but it can also be very isolating.  She may not have known it, but she was the only real conversation I had that day.  While I didn’t get to thank her for her kindness, I can pay it forward and take the extra effort to be kind to the next person who’s put in my path.

You see, we are in the middle of a move that has taken over our lives.  While we have a million things that are falling into place for us, it’s still a challenge to be positive and stay focused on all the small tasks at hand each day.  For someone who is inherently social, a move of this magnitude can be a bit traumatic.  It’s so much easier to simply stick one’s head in the sand and just “soldier on”, but that’s really not the best way to handle this sort of challenge. Even if the only human interaction happens at the mailroom of the apartment building, the focus should remain… be positive… be friendly… be pleasant.  You never know if the person you meet in the hallway has had a much more difficult day than you.

This journey that we are traveling at the moment is not as difficult as it might have been.  We are blessed with a lovely, quiet place to live… we have our cats with us who provide us with company… and we have access to the internet, which allows us to stay in contact with friends and family throughout the move so we don’t feel so isolated.   It’s difficult to push away from the computer at times… to leave the relative safety of the known friends via the internet and speak to a three-dimensional person who is standing right in front of me.  That’s scary, but that’s also life.

It’s my own private battle… and I am so grateful to those who are kind enough to speak to me when I muster up the courage to say hello.  Just remember that all battles aren’t bloody… all wounds aren’t visible… all injuries aren’t apparent… so to all I ask…

be kind… always.

 

When Someone Truly Cares… May 12, 2014

I had a birthday recently… a “milestone” birthday”.  I had anticipated it and knew that it was going to be mentioned with gentle jokes, happy laughter, and loving joy… what I hadn’t expected were the feelings that hit me as the subsequent days rolled along.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that we recently moved away from our home of 13 years.  Since this was the place where I’d put in the most effort in making, and keeping, friends, I was actually looking forward to this birthday.  I was looking forward to wearing my “It’s my Birthday” pin (which I apparently forgot to pack) and have random people wish me a Happy Birthday.  I was looking forward to scads of emails, texts, and Facebook messages sending a bit of birthday love my way.  I was even looking forward to having some of my “nearest and dearest” complain that I wasn’t close by to visit for coffee or a drink.  Isn’t that what usually happens when someone close to us celebrates a birthday of any age?

Before I go any further, I must say that I was overwhelmed by the kindness and love that were showered on me throughout my birthday weekend. There were texts, calls, emails, and so very many loving FB messages that I truly felt blessed… and I thank each and every one of you for reaching out in any way possible.  My mom called and invited me to meet her for lunch… and  brought a special birthday cake.  My husband planned a special dinner at my college friend’s restaurant so we could celebrate.  Thank God for Facebook (really!) for reminding people about my birthday, because my feed was going crazy (in a delightful way) with wishes of fun, joy, love, etc… I read and appreciated every single one.  I was also touched that so many sent emails or texts… in this age of instant/constant activity, I was grateful for all forms of communication.  The cards that arrived at our new address or forwarded from our old one were especially sweet… when one isn’t “on the clock” or scheduled to  be somewhere, the trip down to the mailroom can sometimes be the brightest spot in an entire day.  I pray that I remember this piece of information in the coming years when friends move, because any and all written correspondence has been a balm to my bruised soul.  FYI:  No… bills do not count as “correspondence”.  😉EffortNotExcuse

What I wasn’t expecting was the sadness that I felt in the subsequent days when a few select people in my life chose to ignore my birthday.  I truly cannot fathom the reason for someone “forgetting” the birthday of another.  We are bombarded with information in so many different forms that it ends up feeling intentional when such a slight happens.  While excuses will most likely be made as time goes on, I don’t know that I’ll be able to simply forget this year.  The quote included in this post says it all, in my opinion.

This post isn’t meant to change the past or alter the future.  It’s simply my way of trying to let go of expectations and move on with my life.  I understand that everyone deals with loss in their own ways… some attack it head on while others try and pretend it doesn’t exist… but that doesn’t mean that I have to accept the subsequent feelings of loss that I experience when someone makes the choice to make an excuse instead of making an effort.

I admit to being one of those people who keeps a mental tally of those who slight and those who don’t. I recognize that this is a character flaw, but it has saved me in the past and I’m reluctant to change at this point in my life.  After all, I’m now FIFTY years old… I believe that I am old enough to choose to forgive & forget or to stand up for myself and not allow myself to be used as a doormat.

I’m going to choose me this time.  I believe that my feelings are important… they matter… and if someone in my life doesn’t feel the same way, then I am going to try to let them go.  It’s not easy to leave a life that you worked hard to build, but we each should understand and support the fact that our lives will take us on our own paths.  Changing the course of your life doesn’t mean you have to shed those with whom you have shared your life… it should mean that you do the work to keep those people close.   NOTE: For the most part, my HS friends and my HoodLums understand this in spades… each one of you is a gift more precious than gold in my book and you each have my eternal love and friendship.

As the saying goes, “when someone truly cares about you, they make an effort, not an excuse”.  It would be so sad if this were the end, but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles… right?

 

Never a Dull Moment… especially when sleeping? April 27, 2014

We currently reside in a lovely two-bedroom, fully furnished, corporate apartment in MD while we await the sale of our home in VA.  The company set things up and thought of every possible “basic necessity” that we could need while we’re here, but we have had a little trouble adjusting to the sleeping arrangements that are available.  We have a queen-size bed but, even with all the padding included, it’s just sooo hard.  We’ve tried to adjust and adapt, but after sleeping on a hotel bed this past weekend, we decided that enough was enough and asked for suggestions from our Facebook community.BedDiscussion

The responses ranged from the off-the-cuff-quip “sleep on the floor” or “try drugs and alcohol” to some extremely detailed ideas on specific types of foam pads, thickness preferences, product combinations, and the like that just boggled the mind.  I was so grateful for the response… hearing from so many people really helped us as we left for the store.

Keep in mind, we already have an amazing Sleep Number Bed (currently in storage) that we just love, so we weren’t looking for a long-term solution.  We simply needed to add something to this specific bed that will allow us to sleep more comfortably until we can get our things out of storage and have our own bed back.

We also had some criterion that needed to be met:

  • Whatever we purchased would not end up being used on our personal bed, so we didn’t want to spend a great deal of money.
  • We also needed to be able to purchase a product immediately… waiting for something to be delivered just wasn’t going to cut it at this point.
  • M didn’t like the idea of sleeping on foam, so that cut out a large number of options.
  • I wanted something that would fit under the current mattress pad, so it would have a chance at staying in place.

We could have gone to a number of stores, but we decided that Bed, Bath and Beyond was going to be our best bet at finding a workable solution.  After wandering through the store for awhile to understand the layout of the store, we started looking at our options.  With a goal of “a reasonable price” in mind, we got things down to two possible solutions.  The first was a full four inches shorter than the width of the bed itself, which concerned me, and made of foam, which concerned M.  NOTE: When looking for bedding options, measure the exact size of the bed in question so you have a true number with which to work.  When the second was exactly the correct width and length and a good $100 cheaper than its closest competitor,  number two became our obvious choice.

We then had a minor discussion on the merits of FiberFill vs Feather Bed… I honestly didn’t care enough at this point, so we went with the FiberFill.  I’m not a fan of random things poking at me in the middle of the night (ok, get your minds out of the gutter, folks) so when M preferred the FiberFill, I was absolutely on board.   Using the 20% discount card that I had randomly remembered to pack two weeks ago made this item totally within our budget (click the link on “number two” above to see more info) and we went home with our new acquisition.

After stripping the bed down to the bare mattress, we laid the topper on and covered it with the “original” mattress pad… it was feeling softer already!  We finished making the bed and had our first night’s sleep on it last night.  I think it’s going to take a little time to get used to the softer bed, but I am definitely a fan.  Even if it only lasts a few months, this purchase is already worth it to me.  My back isn’t quite as sore this morning and I actually feel a bit more relaxed.  My FitBit feedback tells me that I had a more restful night, which means that I wasn’t flopping back and forth all night.  Anything that can do that, on the first night, gets high marks in my book.

For those of you who are wondering about our Sleep Number Bed… let me say first that we love it.  We bought ours almost 10 years ago and we wouldn’t trade it (as evidenced by the need for a post such as this) for any other bed.  NOTE: We purchased the middle cost option of the queen sleep number bed and got two wired remotes, one for each side.  The remotes have begun to fail, so we’ll replace them when we move, but the bed itself is awesome.  M likes to sleep on a more firm mattress, so his sleep number is somewhere around 50-65, depending on his nightly preference.  I like to sleep in a “valley”, so my sleep number typically ranges between 35 and 45.  I can adapt to sleeping on a more firm mattress, and probably should be sleeping on something closer to M’s number, but the surface of the apartment’s bed was just way too firm for either of us.

That’s the end of our sleeping saga.  Our move has been accented with bursts of challenge here and there, but hopefully we’ll go back to having more dull moments… as long as our cats don’t get into the act anymore!

 

 

 

The Challenge of Being a “Duck” April 21, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Cooking,Life Balance,Moving,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:29 pm
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There’s a quote that’s stuck with me over the past few years and the analogy has helped me a lot with this move:

“Always behave like a duck – keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like the devil underneath”

— Jacob Morton BraudeDuck analogy

At no point in the past year has that been more true or more important than in the last month.  Moving, traveling, unpacking, continuing to work in a remote capacity, and staying positive throughout it all has truly tested my ability to behave like a duck.  Each turn has thrown things in my path that might have derailed me, had I allowed that to happen.  Staying focused on the positive aspect of each challenge has taken a conscious effort.  My “happy yellow lab” side has been pushed to its teary limits from time to time, but being able to take comfort in the firm belief that this move is our destiny has made all the difference.

Please allow me to share a few examples with you:

  • We were sent two amazing movers… a Marine (Irvin) and his aide (Billy) who walked with me all four days of our packing/moving.  The challenge came when their “reinforcements” arrived in the form of two guys, one of whom was both allergic to dust and cat hair. Both of these were especially plentiful in our bedroom, which was his only focus for a day and a half, so when the choice came between laughing and crying, I had to choose the former.
  • I had to resign from the most amazing job I’ve ever had and leave coworkers who were some of the most incredible, loving, and wonderful people in my life.  Rather than turning my resignation into a difficult and uncomfortable situation, they have continued to allow me to work from my MD apartment and allowed me the ability to help in the transition for my replacement.  While it’s a challenge to be so far from a business and people that are so dear to me, they’ve given me the gift of time… time to get used to not being on property… time to allow someone else to learn how to respond to event requests… time to cook and write, which I’ve come to love.  How many people can say that about a job?  How many people love their job so much that they’d rather do it for free (or nearly free) than not do it at all?  That, my friends, is how much I loved my job at the winery… yet, I know that it was time for me to move on to other challenges…
  • We chose to bring our two cats along on this journey to MD.  They’ve handled the situation as admirably as we could expect… especially since the only time either had ever been in the car was to go to the vet.  Thankfully, M took our girl-kitty, who voiced her frustrations during the entire trip while our boy-kitty chose to bravely travel without whining (much).  It’s taken a week in the apartment for them to calm down enough to sleep at night and not jump on our heads (apparently to make sure that we were still there) but things seem to be smoothing out for them.
  • Our apartment’s positioning in the building added so many challenges (which I’ve already mentioned in previous blog posts), but even that seems to be falling into some sort of a rhythm.  I’m slowly getting used to grabbing my cane to traverse around the building and the distance is thankfully becoming a little less daunting for me.  It’s the little things…
  • My Little Red Wagon… it rocks.
  • I’m learning to cook on an electric stove!  I’m not at all happy about it, but it’s a challenge and I’m learning how to adjust to make meals for us within the parameters of the items found within the apartment… and I’ll be even more grateful when we finally move into a place that has a gas stove, cuz we’re not going to buy a place that can’t be plumbed for gas.
  • I still have wine in the apartment… and I’m still cooking with wine… this makes me ridiculously happy!
  • After all the problems we experienced with the apartment complex during our check-in, our relocation guy just sent me an Amex gift card… won’t change the past, but certainly will give me something positive and happy to do tomorrow.  It’s all about perspective, people… focus on the positive.

See?  It really is all about how you view the situation.  We’re now deep in the “wait and see” mode with regards to the sale of our home in VA.  There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but pray… and pray, I will.  It’s how I lived through our move from Michigan to Virginia in 2001 and it’s how I’ll live through this move from Virginia to Maryland.  It’s not my preference, but it’s how things must be done in this  time of uncertainty and chaos.  I’ll strive to face each day in true “duck” fashion, looking calm and collected, while fervently paddling/praying like a madwoman at every opportunity.

Shouldn’t we all strive to act like a duck from time to time?

 

 

Making Way for New Traditions April 20, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Holidays,Life Balance,Moving,Parenting — beatitudesofmylife @ 11:00 am
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Since our move last week, I’ve been thinking about “The way we’ve always done things” and how this will change in the coming year. As we celebrate Easter in our apartment this year, our tradition of sharing this holiday meal with dear friends is going to become a treasured memory. We had a “traditional menu” of spiral ham, scalloped potatoes, Mimi’s peas (a twist on green bean casserole), some sort of fresh vegetable, homemade rolls, and a special dessert made by my best friend, who happens to be an incredible chef. Easter dinner will definitely not be the same this year and, while I will miss the comfort of those dEasterEggear and special people, I have to take heart in knowing that this is part of our new/next path.

Change isn’t easy… it’s a shedding of the familiar and learning to embrace the different. It’s mourning those things you will miss while learning to enjoy those things you hadn’t yet contemplated. While I recognize the benefits that can come about by giving way to new traditions, it’s still a bumpy road to travel. GIving a simple wink-and-a-nod to all that has come before isn’t enough… but going into a full-on-mourning is too much. Where do we find that happy medium when it comes to change?

Our family has relied a great deal on tradition.  Creating new ones and resurrecting others has been a coping mechanism, especially when my boys were younger.  Some, I pray, will always remain important… primarily our Thanksgiving and Christmas menus… while others will either meld to fit our currently family dynamic or fall by the wayside entirely.  I loved hearing E ask if I was making sloppy joes and homemade rolls for Trick-or-Treating night,  “because that’s what you always make for Trick-or-Treating”.   Is “The way we’ve always done things” enough of a reason to keep a certain tradition alive or is there a deeper, cultural reason for maintaining the status quo?

During this time of transition, I’m doing a great deal of questioning the importance of individual family traditions.  I’m learning about my own expectations and those of my family… and finding where they intersect and where they veer off in totally different directions. It’s both difficult and refreshing.  Is it important to make that same Easter holiday meal for just the two of us or is there something specific that’s important enough to salvage and recreate?  Maybe we don’t need a spiral cut ham dinner to make our holiday complete… maybe I really *do* want some sort of special thing that reminds me of the Easters from my childhood.  I’ve chosen to get a simple pink  hard-boiled egg from the grocery store and make something out of that as my Easter touchstone for this year.  Nothing else will be the same (ok… we *do* have jelly beans in the house and M just brought me a few special Creme Eggs) but that’s going to be where our tradition will end today.

We’re making way for new traditions to become our anchor… stripping down all the old ways of celebrating of holidays and coming up with new things that are more us, more true, and more real.  Simply doing things because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” isn’t as good an answer as it has been in the past.  It’s not going to be easy, but I believe that the end result will be a more true reflection on us and on our faith.  Traditions, I believe, aren’t meant to be chains that weigh us back to the past… they’re meant to be links that keep us connected to one another, generation to generation, in whatever way seems best to each family.

My hope is that our traditions become ones that my sons will carry into their adult lives… not as stagnant blueprints, but as ways to create traditions of their own, linking the future with the past.

Isn’t that what we all want from traditions?

Wishing you each a most blessed Easter… and in the traditional Episcopalian way, let me greet you with “The Lord is Risen!  He is Risen indeed!  Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!”

 

 
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