Listening to yourself

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There is a voice in us.  A faint whisper, and we can to decide each day whether to listen to it or to completely ignore it, but its there.  Are you listening?

I wasn’t.  For some time, years even, I didn’t listen.  The result?  A feeling in the pit of my stomach that would never cease.  An ache for something missing.  And if I am going to be honest, I can admit that I was so removed from myself that I would not have been able to tell you what was missing even if you had asked.  I had let myself get that far away from myself.  It was a sad time.

Slowly I began making my way back to my center, my passion, my vocation.  What I can tell you from that experience?  I was met with pure bliss.  A reckoning of mass proportions!

Most recently, I have become involved in other things, other things took my time and my attention.  Things I thought would enhance me or make me better.  In truth, those endeavors I sought began pulling me once again from my place of true being.  That time I was now dedicating to new things was taking my time from my vocation.  Promises to myself to tend to the writing were not kept.  Goals I set were not met.  Further and further I found myself drifting.

I will not hesitate to tell you, I experienced true angst in this predicament.  I sensed a huge weight on my shoulders and with each day I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, more weight was being added.  I felt true pressure.

Here came the voice.  The inner voice.  A whisper at first, barely noticeable.  A hushed voice.  “Remember what brings you joy?”.  More time passed and such, less writing was done.  The voice called again with more earnest.  “Are you doing what lights you up inside?”.  More days checked off on the calendar.  More days just going along feeling like I am hiking further from myself.  The voice boomed.  “Go back to your center!  Do what it is you are meant to be doing!  Make time to be you! Do the work for that!”.

And so I remembered to listen to myself.  A decision was made.  And do you want to know something?  The second I made the decision, the very second I made it, I felt like I could float.  I felt like all the weight was gone.

THAT is how I know it was the right decision!  Listening to ourselves is so critical.  Life-changing and life-saving!

Be still and listen….

XOXO

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Reminder

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I am still here.  I write this as a reminder to myself even more than a notification to my readers.

I have been writing so much these last few months, just not blogging.  I have missed this.

I find myself thinking of this blog often.  I think,

“What do I want to write?”

“What is there to say?”

“Do people really want to hear a housewife’s take on kids and married life?”

“Do I really want to talk about kids and married life?”

“Should I just post works here?  Try to get feedback?”

Lots of questions.  And with full disclosure, I didn’t come to any definitive conclusions.

With the exception of this:  I want to write and I want to write here.

I want to write about whatever I want.  This blog doesn’t need to fit under an umbrella that only touches on certain topics.  It can be all encompassing.   I have no control over who reads, who shares, who cares.  But that isn’t why writing has ever mattered to me.  Writing has been my lifeline since I was a child.  When I was 7 and used writing to help me grapple through my father’s death and throughout my life going through every other hardship and joy.  Writing is home.

So here it goes.  Continuing the act of saving myself.  Using my God-given talent to spend time with myself…and hopefully you all as well.

XOXO

Clever is in business!

My eldest son, Clever, 8 1/2 (officially) has been hired.  His first job.  His father and I are his employers and we could not be more thrilled with our new employ.

We never really did the allowance thing with our daughter.  It just never came on our radar.  We presumed we would skip it for our final 3 as well, but these times and people are different.

We realized the need for an allowance with Clever a few weeks ago.  He paid his younger sister, Spicy, $23 to switch dinner glasses with him at supper.  “Okay.”  We said to ourselves.  “Someone needs to learn and appreciate the value of money. ” So I decided to come up with a system.

Here is what we did.

First, I wrote an iron-clad contract!  🙂  Clever, his father and myself signed it.  It states what his job duties are AND what is expected of us as employers.  It states payday is every Friday.  It also states that of all the monies he earns, he is to split it the following: 50/40/10.  50% Save, 40% spend and 10% Give.

Second I went to Staples.  I bought a binder.  Its the color GREEN for MONEY and is labeled “Woolford Bank and Trust”.  I also bought a calculator and an insert for the binder that had a velcro flap and 3 sections to it.  This was to break down his money each week into his Save, Spend and Give sections.

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I scooted over to our bank and asked for a mound of Savings Deposit Slips so we had plenty on hand for when we were doing our banking.

Next I went online to look for a kid-friendly bank register.  I mean, what’s the point of teaching him about money unless I teach him how to balance his “checkbook”? Am I right?  I found one I liked online.  It is from Moritz Fine Designs, LLC.  I liked this particular register because it provided big enough spaces for my 8 year old who still writes big and also has Save, Spend and Give (Donate) broken down so he can easily keep track of each “account”.

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Now to the job/work.  Clever already has regular chores he has been doing.  We consider these things he does to contribute to our family and household.  Things like making his bed, bringing down his laundry, bringing trash cans in, etc.  He now ALSO has a list of 5 additional chores that he gets $10 each week to do. Bam!  That is his allowance.  Every Friday he gets his “paycheck” in $1 bills presuming he has done his job well.  So far so great.  I decided to pay him in $1 bills because it is much easier for him to break down into each account (Save, Spend and Give).

There is an additional things we do as well. I wanted to teach Clever one step further with this lesson.  As it is in life, you can do what is expected and you can earn your paycheck.  You can also be a “go-getter” and earn even more on top of your base.  So I created “The Jar of Opportunities”.  This is a glass jar that sits next to the Woolford Bank and Trust binder.  It is filled with popsicle sticks that have various jobs written on them as well as Yard Sale stickers that show what each job is worth. Clever can earn even MORE in his paycheck if he does MORE work.  Crazy idea, right?  LOL   He can choose to do them all or do none.  It is up to him.  Luckily for me, my Little Alex Keaton wants to work hard and get the most money that he can.

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Every Friday, he gets paid his Base Salary and whatever extra money he earned from the Jar of Opportunities.  Then comes the fun part, I sit with him and we break the money down into each account and he has to figure the balances as well as count out the money to make sure it matches.

This is proving to be such an awesome experience.  He is learning so much about money and our fiscal system.  We went shopping the other day and he learned about Sales Tax.  He learned that the list price of something is NOT its actual cost because of taxes.

This helps him with his Math skills, with using a calculator properly and the proper way to balance a check register.  The life skill of being practical with money.  All things that sadly are not often taught and so desperately need to be.  It also teaches him that if you WORK for something, you EARN it and there is a great deal of PRIDE that can be taken in that.

Of course, now my younger two are dying to hit the pavement for work but I told them , you have to be 8 1/2 to get hired.  I need time to work with each child independently to be sure these important life lessons are soaking in.

XOXO

Reflections…

This blog is nearing its birthday.  3 years.  It seems like its always been here.  Of course, writing has been at the core for me always.  I wrote for every occasion and event.  I was never happy or fulfilled unless I was lost in an imaginary world I was creating.  Whole worlds created with just 26 letters.  Amazing, isn’t it?  26 letters alone and I get to jumble them around over and over for pure delight.

There is something about this little space here of mine.  This little corner of the internet that changed something for me.  Perhaps inside me.  It created a sense of belonging.  While I always wrote and it most certainly defined me, it was not a public thing.  Now it very much is.  I identify as a writer and whats really a blessing is that others do now as well.  I am no longer the person who says they like to write, I am the writer.

I always have been but its more now.  I now have a book that has been published and that is out in the world.  I have another following and yet another being written still.  I am now friends with illustrators, agents and other authors.  I am invited to the table for discussions that perhaps I would not have been before.

I think this little section of the ether plays a role in this.  Whether it be by allowing me to stand up, declare and PROVE that I am who I claimed to be or just by giving me the dedicated place where I could do what I loved, I am not sure.  But I am loving my place at the table and thank you all for your role in helping me along the way.

XOXO

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You’re kidding that its almost March, right?

My word for 2018 is Wonder.  My word I pick is always intentional and thoughtful.  I try my best to map out the year I want to have, the year I envision and then I set out to pick the word that will best help me stay my course.

2018- Wonder.

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(art done by in house artist, Spicy)

I want to see the world through a different lens, perhaps a psychedelic one.  I want to see the good in all.   I want to feel that glimmer of extraordinary in everything.  I want to make intentional choices for myself that bring me wondrous things.  I want to inspire others to seek their own wonders.  That was my plan.  It most certainly still is.

But somehow, it is nearly March.  How is that possible?  Is anyone else shocked by this?

I feel in times such as these, when we have fabulous notions and ideas but we let time slip by (or rather it squeaks by on its own), the best plan of action is a PLAN OF ACTION!  A purposeful intention that is also a regimented intention.

I vow to check in here each week, we’ll say Wednesdays- I call them:

Wonder Wednesdays!

  When I write this little blog of mine, in my little space on the internet- I will report to you the wonder I have seen, felt, tasted and discovered.  I challenge you all to go find wonderful things as well.

 

 

Back to the Core

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We always hear, “Write what you know.”  Perhaps that is why I was so quiet for so long.  I wasn’t sure I knew much at all.  I was never focused on one thing long enough to speak, er, write about it with any sort of intelligence or wisdom.  I go from the time I wake until the time I collapse.  Swimming, hockey, ballet, scouting, play dates, church, school trips, school volunteering, all household task, etc. etc. etc…..

Here it is.  I am a wife.  I am a mom.  And these people I made are getting older.  They are getting busier.  The more involved they become in their lives, the less in touch I become with my own.  I’m aware this is not a huge revelation and I know from speaking to my sister, its normal. But why?  Why does it have to be?  Why does helping them find their way mean I must lose mine?

It doesn’t. IT DOESN’T!

And they aren’t asking that of me.  My husband isn’t asking that of me.  I am doing it to myself.  How many stay at home parents do that to themselves?  It doesn’t make me a hero.  It doesn’t make me a martyr.  It makes me less than what I am called to be and that serves no one.  Not my husband, my community, my children, my God nor myself.

I am getting back to the core of myself.  I am vowing to myself and this little piece of space I have in the great ether that I am going to carve out time- for me.  I am going to take care of me.  I will practice my craft and make time to do what I love.  I used to see that as selfish.  I don’t anymore.  I need to take care of my WHOLE self so I can wholeheartedly be an asset to my family and their lives.  So I can be me.

So I am going to write.  Create.  Get back to my core.

Are you?  Are you doing what you are called to do?  If not, please do.  The world will be a brighter place when we are ALL our Authentic selves.

 

 

 

“Come to meet his mom…”

I have been sick over these hazing stories and deaths that keep coming up in the news.  I wrote about it.  I pray for peace for all families affected.  It is just so tragic.

 

Come to meet his mom  by Jennifer Woolford

 

She kept him safe from harm

Holding him by the arm

for Oh so long.

Don’t talk to strangers, keep close to home.

A mother’s usual repeated song.

 

She watched him grow into a young man

with dreams and hopes and wants

Headed off to college

to make them all come true.

Then he met you.

 

She heard about you right away

on his very first day.  He said,

“Mom, I met this cool kid.  I think we’re gonna be great friends.

He’s gonna help me fit in.”

 

She felt a sense of calm.

With friends looking out for him what could go wrong?

He now had people on his side

Just how she’d been all his life.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now part of her past.

 

“You can be our brother

If you have another.

A few more things you have to do

For us to think you’re worthy and for us to like you.”

 

Its called hazing and it makes you feel so superior.

Makes you feel like men.

But when his mother is gripping his coffin

Where are the big boys then?

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom

She’s the woman hunched over in black

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now a part of her past.

 

You’ll brag about it, the hazing.

Laugh about it

Thinking it makes you so cool.

Its pathetic and cruel

Playing Russian Roulette with someone who looks up to you…

 

We each make our decisions

That’s how you’ll skirt any blame.

God forbid your generation

feel any obligation or shame.

Yes, he decided he would do anything to be your friend.

You really showed up, didn’t you?  A “friend” to the end.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her how you’re the reason

Her son, her life, her everything is now a part of her past.  ~JMW