Ice is the New Black

So last weekend the state of Texas was shut down due to a nasty ice storm. This was no surprise to me because although I was raised up north, I’ve been in Texas for almost 20 years. (Clue: They don’t use salt here – just sand(??)).

To some, my title quote may indicate a reference to a certain Netflix series regarding a prison sentence but that is not the case. My four days iced in with my handsome husband and 3 maniac kids was a perfect fit. Just like that little black dress or the sleek black pants that ALWAYS make you feel good about yourself. It was a completely relaxed little vacation from the world.

We didn’t clean (much) or decorate for Christmas or worry about anything. My son came up with a new term “relaxed homework.” This refers to his new style of laying in bed, watching television or listening to music while completing homework. (Granted, there is a TON of rechecking going on in this process) It’s easy, slow and low pressure.

My husband played video games with my son, like together…at the same time. While they played they talked. They really talked.

The girls played in the ice and went sledding and played in the ice. They also watched cheesy lifetime holiday movies until we were all begging for them to change the channel. (Spoiler alert: The girl gets the guy…always)

I cooked for real. There were a lot of OOOHs and AAAAAHs when I presented the variety of soups, breakfast items and creative lunches. I felt like a chef lauded by millions (or 4 – whatever) when I presented the final dish Monday night. Shrimp and grits with fresh green beans was a big hit.
I also got a boatload of laundry done but now I’m just bragging.

Now they are predicting another storm front next week. Yeah, I’m praying for ice.

Q&A After A Very Bad Day

So my dad died last week. (Way to rip off the Bandaid, Amy) I know, sorry for that. I wanted it to be out there and now it is. I am not ready to publish details (and I may never be ready – so get over that now) but I will share this much: He had a lung transplant 2 years ago and it rejected.

So here I am sad, without my Daddy and I thought I would share some of the comments/questions I have received, (My thoughts at the time) and my actual response. There really is no right or wrong thing to say and every comment in this post was said with genuine love and concern — that’s why I found them so funny.

Q/C. Do you miss him?

A. (Uhm…wow) Yes, very much.

Q/C. Did He Smoke?

A. (Does it matter?) No.

Q/C. How long will it take to cremate the body?

A. (How long have you been retarded?) I don’t know, a few days.

Q/C. Is there anything I can do?

A. (If you’re Jesus, then yes, yes there is) No, but thank you for your thoughts.

Q/C. He was sick for so long. At least you knew it was coming.

A. Awkward pause…

Q/C. Were you close?

A. (again, does it matter?) Yes, very.

Q/C. Is it too soon to talk about the details?

A. (What? Really?!?!) Yes. It’s a bit “close to the surface” right now.

Q/C. I am here if you need to talk. / You know I understand. / My heart is breaking for you. / Let me handle (Fill in mom or work duty here) this week. / Can your kids come play with mine? / May I bring/buy you dinner/lunch/drinks?

A. (I think I love you! You are officially on my list of favorite people. Godsend!) Thank you.

In addition to being dumfounded by kooks, I was shocked by the sweetness, graciousness, beautiful words and speedy actions of so many of my friends. You are the reason I am able to giggle and roll my eyes at the crazy comments some people make. I can’t wait to see what you all have to say (or experiences you have had in this arena).

I Called 911 on Tuesday, What Did You Do?

Tuesday morning, my son woke up with an upset stomach. No fever, no vomiting, just a couple of bouts of diarrhea. At 7:20, I dropped his sisters at school and came back to take him to middle school.When I came in he said he REALLY didn’t feel well. The mommy bells in my head were going off so I told him to lay down on the couch and rest with me. I set my alarm and decided we would see how he felt at 8. At 7:53 he started kicking me and I thought he was having a bad dream so I touched his leg lightly and said his name…he didn’t respond. I stood up and saw my son on his back seizing; arms and legs pulled into his body, eyes rolled back in his head and what sounded like gasping. I rolled him on his side and got my phone to call 911. All I could think was “Dear Lord, Please DO NOT take my baby today.”

It is by the grace of God that I was able to recite my name, address and phone number to the 911 operator. I was shaking uncontrollably. It was about that time when he stopped seizing and lay there completely unresponsive – with his eyes open. “OH GOD HE’S NOT RESPONDING!!” I shrieked. The operator calmly asked, “Amy, is he breathing? Is his chest moving?” Yes, he was breathing. She talked me through the worst of it; reassuring me as I locked up the dogs and cleared the way for a stretcher to get through the house to him. he was motionless for about 5-6 minutes when the firefighters arrived.

He wasn’t lucid until they had him loaded on the stretcher. He saw my face and looked very worried. The face quickly changed when they asked him where he was – he looked like he thought they were crazy for asking him if he knew his own living room.

In the ER, all his tests (CAT scan, blood work, etc…) looked good. Wednesday he went to see his pediatrician who referred us to a neurologist for an EEG and ruined his life by telling him he was not allowed to play in his first baseball game of the season that night. She cleared him for all activities by this weekend except television, video games, swimming and baths.

Apparently, it is not unusual for adolescents and children to suffer a first time seizure. “Each year, 120,000 children seek medical attention because of a first or newly diagnosed seizure. Of such children, approximately 37,000 develop recurring seizures or epilepsy. Many first seizures result from an event such as trauma, hypoglycemia, or a high fever. Such provoked seizures might recur whenever the precipitating situation is present, but they generally do not require long-term treatment.” (http://www.gillettechildrens.org/fileUpload/Vol15No2.pdf)

I would have liked to know this, so I am sharing my horrifying experience with you. File this away in the back of your mind, parents: If your child has a seizure, clear the area, turn them on their side, time the seizure, and do not put anything in their mouth (My son bit his tongue). You will FREAK OUT and that is okay.

I will be praying for my babies, your babies and all of you tonight.

Are You a Teachers Pet or a Class Clown?

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Being a good student can make life easier even if you’re not in school. many of the techniques good students use can be adopted to business, parenting and relationships.

Are you a good student? Here’s a little ‘yes or no’ quiz to gauge your “teach-ability.”

1. When enrolled in a course do you pick and choose the classes you will attend?
2. When given homework do you write down the assignments?
3. During class do you ask questions and listen to the answers fully?
4. If given the opportunity, do you work extra credit assignments?
5. Do you find yourself looking for additional information on class topics outside of class?
6. Do you talk to friends and loved ones about class topics?
7. If you do not understand class topics, do you contact the teacher during office hours to get additional help?

If you answered “yes” to at least 2 questions consider yourself a good student. If you answered “yes” to 4 or more questions you are an excellent student.

If you did not score many “yes” answers, here is your opportunity! Practice the techniques listed above (modify if necessary – you don’t want to call your kids during school hours) and see what a difference it makes.

Color Me Happy

Can colors really make a difference in our mood? Think about when you wear a sleek red dress, a soft white sweater or those tall black boots. Color can dictate the way we act and react. I truly believe that color has an effect on the mood of a room. I have butter yellow walls in my dining room, bright and light blues and greens in the bedroom and soft neutrals everywhere else. Don’t get me wrong, I love a red dining room as much as the next gal (mine was red before yellow) but I have become hyper-sensitive to anything that can add to the already ever-present kid-on-kid smackdown bouts in our house. I am constantly looking for a way to reduce the stress on my over-scheduled, overachieving children.

For example: My son has had a hard time going to sleep at night. He seems very stressed. I thought it was middle school stress and helped him manage it using essential oils and a soothing routine. Last summer he got a quilt from my mother. This amazing quilt has flaming basketballs stitched on a black background. This weekend when we washed the quilt, I didn’t get it dried in time so he had to use another quilt with soft neutral colors. When I came up stairs to start our calming routine he looked calm and fresh. He said “I really like my room like this. Its just so bright and happy!” He was asleep within minutes.

The color chart above seems to work and I have found that these ring true in most cases. Some say its the intensity of the color, some the vibration. I dont really know what it is for certain but I know that colors really have an effect on our mood and emotions.

 

 

Temper Temper

There is a lot to be said for temperance. It’s key in obtaining life balance. Self control is a virtue. A virtue that for me is taking A LOT longer to master than others. I believed that if a little is a good thing then even more would be even better…right?!? Overindulgence would throw me out of balance. My reaction often swings the pendulum in the other direction only touching on balance before I plunged into an over correction.

If I ate too much and felt bloated, I would drastically reduce intake until I became lightheaded. If I drank too much, I would not drink again for months. I would meditate all my time away until my real world duties were neglected then not meditate for weeks. It was always that pendulum; back and forth. Until I stopped overindulging and started tempering my actions.

So, what’s the solution? How do you learn temperance? Enjoying the “now” and understanding abundance is part of it. I don’t need “bigger, better, more” when I can be happy with what I have. Mostly for me it’s like anything else – practicing.

Balance is an effort – a regular day job. I have to work at it, then I get out of whack and I have to work at it some more.

I’d love your comments on temperance – Any tips or tricks (magic buttons would be appreciated).

Abundance – Friend or Foe?

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” – Buddha

Everywhere I go these days I notice abundance of noisy chatter. On television, in the workplace, at home and definitely online. It seems like millions of sources of information vying for attention all the time. Almost every day though, One (or more if I am fortunate) message gets through that seems genuine. Im not talking about the regular interaction with people you know and love – my friends and family are amazing at “filling my cup” and I hope I am the same for them. I’m talking about the vast amount of messages on social media, television, direct mail and the like.

The quote above has great meaning for me. My daughter says that smiley faces are “kind of like her signature because she really connects with them.” I feel that way about that sigh of relief or unclenching of the teeth I hear when I have helped someone find peace – even if its only briefly.

I know many people see the quotes I post and think “Cheesy McCheeseball is at it again” or “I have heard that a thousand times” but I know that for some it makes the difference between a long hopeless day and an added skip in their step. It could be exactly what they need to post to their own page or blog or the words they needed to share with a friend or loved one.

There is an abundance of sour people who care little for others and just want to shout above the crowd to get noticed. My challenge for myself and for you is to add worth to your interactions on social media, add value to your blog in the form of helping others.

Abundance can be a very, very good thing (please be listening lottery elfs) or a challenge (the abundance of dirty laundry in this house comes to mind here) either way – cutting through the excess blather can be the best thing we do as entrepreneurs, small business owners, bloggers or copy writers. Connecting genuinely taps into another abundant commodity – love. (not the kissy kissy stuff – ewe)

Can You Hear My Heart Beat?

Twinlog – Post 1

“Listen, Amy, I’m not getting a heartbeat. We need to go to the sonogram room and check things a little more closely. No need to panic”

Not the words I was hoping to hear at my nine-week visit to the obstetrician. I’m having a baby and this is happy stuff. No heartbeat but don’t panic!? REALLY?!?

The longest 10 minutes of my life (to that point) was the time it took to get me to the sonogram room and on the table. I was at this visit alone, my husband was traveling. I came on my lunch hour for a quick heartbeat check. This was not my first rodeo. I had a healthy 2 year old at home.

The doctor began pressing the sonogram scanner (or whatever it’s called) uncomfortably against my already bulging belly and there it was on the screen. Two little bubbles with two little heartbeats. “Well, it looks like we found the heartbeat or should I say heartbeats. You are having twins!”

I burst into tears!

Patience Schmatience

Patience is defined as – (1) the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. (2) an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner or (3) quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.

I can effectively say I have not mastered the art of patience nor do I know many people who have. So, how is it that I can do soooo much “big talking” about meditation?? It’s not just talk and the truth is, I don’t know. It’s just not the same thing.

When I am faced with a delay, annoyance or provocation I have a physical reaction that I have to control to prevent an outburst. It took me years (literally) to learn to control the reaction but it is not automatic and sometimes I don’t even try…really. Meditation is different.

When meditating I am more purposeful about tuning out the world. My kids can scream, (as long as its not a pain scream) and the dogs can walk over me and the world can continue to buzz around me…with no reaction.

So mark “I just don’t have patience” off your list of excuses for skipping meditation…cause if this firecracker can manage it, so can you!

Didn’t We Just Do This Last Year?

So I went and checked my “New Years” post from last year (http://keepthefaithdaily.com/new-new-shiny-and-new) and it feels like I may be a hamster on a wheel here. I didn’t set the same goals this year and the bitterness is decidedly less evident but ultimately I am still trying in different ways to be a productive person and help others…and the clock (or cute doggie watch) keeps ticking. So here is what I am going to do….trash it all.

I’m tossing my resolution to be nice, ditching the theory that somehow I can become a better person and create happier energy everywhere I go in one year. Lost is the image of myself as Glenda the good witch spreading comfort and joy to those around me.

The trick is this, I have been working toward this goal and succeeding little by little for years. I am betting outside of weight loss and independent wealth, you have done the same thing. Anyone who has made a conscious effort to be “better” probably is and its not a limited time engagement – its every day, all the time.

This year I am working toward certifications and notable ways to get better at what I do but I was doing that last year and I will be doing it next year. You dont have to put a target on the wall or a label on this year to achieve…although I do recommend a good vision board and motivational essential oils;-)