Tuesday, November 9, 2010

By Luck or By Choice

Some people seem to have such good "luck."  Or is it just that they make good choices, so more good things seem to happen to them?  The same can be said for "bad luck."  Do people that find themselves or their lives a complete mess really have that bad of "luck" - or have they just made a lot of bad choices that have led them to where they are today? 

I believe in luck.  I believe that some people are "luckier" than others.  They get their name drawn for prizes more often, etc...  I also strongly believe in an individual's power to make good OR bad choices - which, in turn, can lead to good OR bad fortune. 

If your car breaks down on the side of the road, was it because of bad luck?  Or was it because you chose not to get your oil changed, or have that check engine light diagnosed?  If you can't seem to finish a project, or your schooling, or get a promotion at work - is it because other people are "luckier" than you?  Or is it because you have made the conscious decision NOT to work on what needs to be done in order for you to meet your goal, or called in sick too many times, etc...  Don't get me wrong, I believe in "bad luck" too.  Sometimes you can do every possible thing in your power - but things still might not go the way you'd like.  Although, that might not actually be "bad luck."  That might be God closing a window so that a new door can open.

I believe that I have a "lucky" family.  We are very fortunate, and very blessed.  Surely that has a little bit to do with "luck."  But I also know the sacrifices that James and I have made, the hard (not always very fun) choices that we have made, and the things that we have given up - in order to be where we are today.  I don't credit "luck" for the nice home we live in, or the fairly nice (used) vehicles we drive, or the business that we own.  WE deserve credit for those things ourselves.  We worked really hard for those things.  We paid our bills instead of going shopping or going on vacations or buying newer/bigger/better.

All you can do, is your very best.  And if you do your very best, you will get the best possible outcome in all aspects of your life.  Work hard, so you can play hard.  You reap what you sow - so if you want a different outcome, start making some different choices.  You just might find your "luck" changing for the better.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Conversation & Kind Words

It's amazing how a few kind words, or a nice conversation can really make your day.  These words can be spoken face-to-face, over the phone, or written in a note - or even on facebook!  It's been a good "release" and therapy for me to write my thoughts down in this blog.  It's also been very heart-warming to hear and read the comments that friends have made about my posts.

I'm sure we've all felt the pain that comes with harsh words, and even dished out a few ourselves.  But oh, the joy of giving and receiving kind words.  That warm, fuzzy feeling can be additive!  Children long for those "feel good" words of acknowledgement, approval, acceptance, encouragement and love.  Adults need all of those things too!  To have someone, seemingly out of the blue, tell me that I'm doing a good job as a mom - or with a project I've been working on - gives me a high that lasts for days.  To give someone a compliment, and watch how it brings a sparkle to their weary eyes - is so refreshing and good for the soul.

The anticipation of good conversation is always something to look forward to as well.  Planning a lunch with a friend, or even the next appointment with your favorite hair dresser, can be something to look forward to and brighten your day.  I'm a fairly shy person, and not always the first to speak to those I come across...whether I know them or not.  That is definitely something I'm working on, because I know how valuable those kind words and good conversation are to those who give and receive.  And isn't it lovely, that some of the most valuable things in life... are free!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quality Time

I've often thought about the quality time (or lack there of) that I spend with my husband and children.  I am away from my kids from 8am - 5pm Monday through Friday, and I donate some of my time to sit on the BBBS board, and help with occasional fundraisers.  Other than that, I spend most of the remainder of my time with my kids.  I work with my husband every day - although we rarely see or talk to each other besides in passing, and he is home almost every night.  But how much of that is actually QUALITY time?  Mornings are crazy with the hustle and bustle of getting everyone up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed and out the door.  Evenings are crazy with fixing supper, sports, church, and homework.  So where does that quality time fit in on such busy days?  Well, I guess that depends how you define quality time.  It's supposed to be "un-interruped" one-on-one, face-to-face conversation....right? 

Well, I've found some peace in defining my own quality time for my family.  I'm not a morning person, so there's not much I can do to squeeze quality time in there.  But what I can do is talk to my children on the drive across town to school - instead of turning on the radio to drown everything out.  Evenings are still busy, but I use "homework time" as a good opportunity to snuggle into the recliner with both of my kids to read their daily library book.  And then, there is the very sacred bed-time.  Lullibies for Keely, and a quick review of the good and bad of the day with Braxton before kisses and hugs. 

James and I still have some work to do on squeezing in our "quality time" - since watching a television show together after the kids go to bed probably doesn't really count.  We both struggle with turning our brains off at night, so that's were most of our face-to-face conversation takes place.  It's usually about work, with occasional tid-bits about the kids....but at least we're talking.  Too bad we can't actually see each other since it's in the dark!

And, my favorite, WEEKENDS!!!!  I love spending our weekends visiting extended family, going to birthday parties, taking little trips to Salina, or the pumpkin patch, or the zoo, or the park....  It may not look like traditional "family quality time" because James usually isn't able to join us, but my kids and I have a blast!  And we always come home to wrestle around with Daddy when we're all done.  I'm so thankful for the Quality Time that God has blessed our family with.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Love of a Child

I just got done crying my eyes out.  Everyone needs a good cry every now and then.  It may seem trivial that my burst of emotion was triggered by a TV show, but once you're a Mom - it doesn't take much to tug at your heart strings.  God has blessed me with two wonderful, amazing children that I love more than I could ever express.  There are days when they seem more than I can handle, but I think I would very likely die if anything ever happened to them.  Or what if something happened to me?  I am so thankful that James and I have family that would take care of our children if anything would ever happen to us, God Forbid.  Some children don't have that extended family, or even parents at all.  I have so much respect and admiration for individuals/couples/families who adopt those children.  All of God's children deserve a loving home.  And anyone who is so fortunate to experience the love of a child should feel truly blessed.  That is what children are, an absolute blessing.  Even as I write this, I'm still crying.  Tears of joy and love for my two precious blessings asleep upstairs, and tears of sadness for all those children in the world who aren't asleep tonight in a loving home.  May God Bless them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wife/Mom/Business....what about ME?

Wife - We all know what that means...taking care of the house and the HUSBAND, pay the bills, cook the meals, do the laundry, and so on....   Some days I'm happy to do it all, some days it's more of a struggle.  But what if I just don't feel like it today?  Not a big deal I guess - no one else is going to do it, so "IT" will be there waiting patiently for me tomorrow.  For those of you fortunate ones that have husbands who help out with the traditional "wife" duties (more than once a month or without being asked) - consider yourself Lucky!  Please don't get me wrong, I love my husband and he works very hard to provide for us.  But there are definitely days when I wonder....What about ME?

Mom - This is by far my favorite, but also my most draining "title."  I LOVE being a Mom, and I LOVE my two amazing children.  Does that mean that I'm not ever upset with them, or want to scream at them, or go in my room just to get away from it all??  NOPE.  It doesn't take much to wipe away all those stressful times though.  My 3-year old daughter has started spontaneously telling me she loves me.  She's never been one to express herself verbally - but she's really becoming a wonderful young lady.  My six year old son has no problem expressing each and every emotion he's feeling to the full extent.  It's fun and exciting when they're good, but also stressful and crazy when they're bad.  He's a first grader now, and I've seen him grow and learn SO much this year.  The nightly reading folder, flash cards, library book and spelling words are time consuming....but they are so worth it to see him doing such a good job.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't worry about their safety, and what they'll someday become.  I'm not doing this whole parenting thing perfectly, but I feel okay knowing that no one else is either - and that my kids are pretty darn GREAT.  What will happen when my kids are grown, and I'm not running them around all over anymore?  What about ME?

Business - James and I just celebrated our 3-year Anniversary of owning Budreau Muffler, Automotive and Tow.  At times I can't believe it's been three years, and other times it feels more like 10!  I'll be honest, it is sometimes difficult working with my spouse - but we haven't killed each other, yet.  The business is actually going quite well.  We have great customers, and pride ourselves in providing the best customer satisfaction possible.  This business has given us opportunities to help weary travelers that are broken down far from home, contribute to local schools, charities, and athletics, and provide an investment for our future.  Of course it's a lot of hard work, but the things that are worth it usually are.....but what about ME?

ME!!!  Haha...I don't work on this part very often.  Let's see....I play volleyball on Monday nights with a great group of ladies, so that is a little bit of "me time" during October and November.  I try to go scrapbooking about every other month for a whole Saturday.  Of course, my scrapbooks are all about my kids...but it's still "me time" when they're not there and I get do to what I want to do.  To be honest, that's about all.  Sometimes I think that when you're a wife/mom/worker (whether at home or at a job) there is rarely any time LEFT in the day to have any "ME TIME."  Sure, there are things I would love to do...get a pedicure, facial, gel-nails; go for a walk; go shopping; read a book; enjoy an amazing meal at a nice restaurant...but why is there always GUILT that goes along with Mommy's ME time???  I don't really think that most Dad's feel guilty when they go golfing/hunting/etc.. - so why do Mom's?  I don't have the answer to that.  All I can do is try to keep doing my best at the Wife/Mom/Business part, and squeeze in the ME time when I can.  Sure, I'll probably still feel guilty if I spend the extra time and money on ME every once in a while - but it will be worth it, and will hopefully quiet the little voice that keeps asking "What about ME?".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Helping for Free

I worked in Mental Health for seven years, followed by Big Brothers Big Sisters for about 1 1/2 years.  I've always loved working with kids, and found myself really missing it now that James and I have owned the shop for about three years.   I decided to volunteer in Braxton's 1st grade classroom once a week, to not only help him and his teacher/classmates...but to also help me to not miss my old job(s) so much.  While I worked very hard at those old jobs, it was still definitely a "button" that kids/teens would sometimes "push" on me when they said that I was only there for the money.  Even after joking back at them about there not being much money involved, and that I worked there because I loved helping kids and families....it still kind of hurt.  As I walked away from Braxton's school yesterday, I was on such a "high" after helping....after "working" for FREE.  It felt great.  I wish Helping for Free could be my full-time job!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God Let Me Be a Super Hero!

I am sometimes only minimally aware of how my actions (whether good or bad) affect other people's days....especially when, to me, my actions may appear very small.  Who would have thought that bringing a Sonic Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke to a moderately stressed stay-at-home mom would truly "make her day?" 

Or getting bumped off a volleyball team, only to pick up the phone and start up my own volleyball team - would bring together old and new friends - and for my friend who also got "bumped" and was having a bad day.... she called this morning thanking me and telling me I "made her day."

Really?  Such little things in the middle of a typical busy, run here and there, do this and that, take care of what I need to take care of day?  Wow, I guess God must have decided to make me the Super Hero for those two friends today.  And how easy it was, to be such a Hero. 

I think we are all Super Hero's to other people a lot more often than we even realize (MOMS especially!).  I am thankful that my friends expressed to me how my actions made them feel.  More often than not, I believe a lot of actions are not always recognized.  It feels good to do something nice for someone else - whether they notice or not....but how great it feels to know you've helped two people in one day!  I think I'll try it more often!