nest

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XVII

This week is all about family in all its forms.

A lot of weeks I wind up getting so busy with the minutiae of errands, bills, running a household, and all the other stuff that day-to-day life entails I don’t get to spend the kind of quality time that I might like with family. It happens to the best of us. We all have busy lives and jobs and a responsibilities that pull us in a million directions at once. But every once in awhile I get a big heaping dose of family and I remember why I need it so much.

I’m very lucky that I have a large extended family and my husband does as well. And both sides are full of some really amazing people. And since we got married so young, we’ve been blessed to build a lifetime of memories with all of them. In addition, we’ve met people along the way that have become family, not because they’re related by blood, but because having them in our lives enriches our lives immensely.

I got to spend some time last week with my youngest niece. She’ll soon be four months old. It’s easy for me to forget how it is at that age, as MY baby is a junior in high school. Sometimes I get sentimental and I mourn for the days when I could wrap my kids in my arms and cuddle with them and it makes me so sad to think that it all passed so quickly. It’s heartbreaking to have children and know that they are destined to leave you. But spending some time with my niece made me remember that it’s all a journey. In reality, no one would want their children to stay small forever. And when they are small, most of us are so excited and looking forward to their next milestones that we aren’t really focused and appreciative of it anyway. And then *poof*, they’re grown! But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And really, each step in a child’s life is amazing in its own right. It’s wonderful to have a newborn to cuddle and cradle, but it’s also amazing to watch a toddler walk for the first time or try new foods or grow into their personalities. And it’s wonderful when your kids get a bit older and they start to learn about the world on their own and they develop their own tastes and styles and way of seeing the world around them. And as they grow older and enter their teen years, you can begin to see the adult that they’ll eventually become blooming from inside. It’s a blessing to get to watch them achieve and take chances and try out their wings. No one age is better than any other. It’s just amazing to be able to watch the entire journey unfold in front of your eyes. I need to be reminded of that sometimes when the spectre of an empty nest comes creeping in on me, making me sad or worried. For some reason, a song from “Charlotte’s Web” has been running round in my mind while this blog post was coming to life. Do you remember it? I think it’s quite appropriate.

And then over the weekend, we got to witness another bit of that journey when my cousin made his bar mitzvah. Aside from having a wonderful time dancing and celebrating with my aunt, my uncles and a bunch of my awesome cousins (as well as my husband and our kids), it was wonderful to watch an entire community come together to celebrate one boy’s special moment. I really am grateful for having the opportunity to share in moments like that with our extended family. And it makes me look forward to all the special milestones I have to look forward to in the future – weddings, births, graduations.

So really, I am grateful for my nest (and my family tree). Maybe it’s not so much that I’m headed toward an empty nest, but just a nest that’s getting bigger. As with everything, it’s all in how you look at it!

circle of life

Have a beautiful week!

Take care. – Mama Bear

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Abide.

Full stop. I put it there on purpose. Here’s why –

I love “The Big Lebowski”. It’s one of my top five favorite movies, actually my favorite in terms of philosophy (I don’t think you can include “Gone With the Wind” in that sort of list, really except for the whole “tomorrow is another day” thing.) The Dude is the ultimate protagonist, and really the ultimate good guy. Sure, he smokes weed, he drinks a lot of White Russians and then there’s that weird bit with Maude and his friendship with Walter – none of which detracts from his basic goodness. In the midst of all the furor and turmoil around him, he abides. He is simply The Dude and he remains unchanged, unmoved. He is a center of peace in a world that’s anything but peaceful.

Every once in awhile I get in a situation where I’m reminded of how much I need to simply abide. Today was one of those days. I’ve felt myself spinning for awhile, panicking or at least worrying about first this thing and then another. Trying to get the blog(s) up and running, applying for online jobs, the holidays, then taking on another job and underneath it all knowing that I’m going to be 46 in a couple of months and ohmigod, what am I gonna be when I grow up?!? And then there were all the little irksome things along the way. Like today.

Someone on one of the Facebook pages I follow posted an article lambasting introverts and specifically referring to the memes explaining introversion that have become so popular lately. Being an introvert myself and one who is finally understanding what it means and that it’s okay to feel the way that I do, my knee-jerk reaction was to be offended. The post was from a blog written by someone who’s a self-avowed cynic who uses sarcasm extensively in her writing. It was a mean-spirited blog post that went into great depth talking about how introverts are essentially looking to be treated as though they have a disability. Now, I don’t know if she was being serious about that or just trying at satire, but it left a bad taste in quite a few mouths. I had every intention of leaving a comment to correct her in her thinking, as we all know that the surest way to change minds is to get into a battle of words on the Internet, right?

But for some reason, the next thing that caught my eye on my Facebook feed was a post from another page: Dudeism. And I sat back and a scene from the movie came to mind:

your opinion

And you know what? He’s absolutely right. That whole negative blog post? Just her opinion, man. And it had absolutely no real effect on me, my life, my personality, my understanding of myself or my world. So why bother getting my panties all in a bunch and feeding into the negativity by posting a comment on her blog? Why give it more attention than it deserves? It’s JUST an opinion, man. How liberating is that?

And that applies to so many things in life, and in particular stuff that has to deal with the Internet and all the negative shit that goes on there. We have a choice at every turn – whether to let it get to us, or whether to be like The Dude and just abide. And I don’t know about you, but I find that when I let it roll off my back and just abide, life is a whole lot better. am a whole lot better. My world and my family and my relationships and my health are all a whole lot better.

Did stressing over the holidays make anything any easier? No. Did it suck some of the joy that I should have been feeling out of the whole experience? Yes. Will my blogging ever become my full-time hustle? Dunno. Will worrying about it rather than working and learning and writing make that happen? Nope. Is there something wrong with me that I’m going to be 46 and still don’t have it all figured out yet? Not necessarily. Is it still a fun ride? Hell yes! And does getting all bent out of shape over other people’s opinions, comments or actions ever serve to make my life better? NO.

So I’m going to choose to abide. As often as I possibly can, in as many ways as I can, I’m going to remind myself to just abide. Period. The Dude had it right all along.

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swag

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XVI

I almost missed this Tuesday – my goodness the days seem to be racing past! But here it is again and time for Total Gratitude Tuesday!

For starters, I’m grateful that this horrible cold is finally improving! It’s been nearly a month but I’m starting to feel human again. I haven’t been this sick in quite awhile and it really makes me appreciate my health, but then nothing does that quite like being really sick!

I’m thankful that my daughter is a cosmetologist, and a damned good one! I got color, highlights and bangs from the comfort of my home, with great conversation, lots of laughs – what more could a girl ask for? (I don’t have pics, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one.)

I am grateful for all that I’m learning with KEEP Collective. As with anything, it’s a learning process, but thankfully there are tons of great resources and the other designers are a great help as well, so I don’t feel nearly as overwhelmed as I probably would have under other circumstances. It’s still a bit of a stretch as I don’t think sales comes naturally to most introverts but I love it!

omg new arrivals

I’m also grateful that I’m finally getting some better understanding of my personality quirks and seeing them less as drawbacks and more as possible positive attributes. I’m beginning to realize that there’s nothing wrong with being the kind of person who needs to unwind and have alone time, and I’m not odd or snotty for not enjoying raucous parties and lots of socializing. Believe it or not, that’s something I struggled with for a really long time. It’s a great thing to have hit an age where I’m finally relaxing into who I am. I highly recommend it! 🙂

introverts

And finally, it may sound trivial but once again, I’m glad that “Downton Abbey” is back on the air. It kills me that it’s the last season but at least it looks like there may be some happy endings for the characters that I love so much ( I damn well better not wind up being wrong about that; if some unforeseen tragedy comes, I’m gonna lose it!)

edith

There we go – another week of gratitude! I hope your week is going swimmingly.

Take care! – Mama Bear

new year new me

New Year, New Perspective

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I see you out there rolling your eyes at me. Believe me, I get the same reaction anytime I see a sentence that starts out “new year” anything. Set aside your cynicism for a second and hear me out, okay?

new year new me

I didn’t really make any resolutions this year. I’ve finally hit a point where I don’t even try to bullshit myself because I know that whatever I’ve resolved to do on December 31st will most definitely be a distant memory by about January 5th. I did make a list of goals for myself (check out my “16 in 2016” post) and decided on a theme for this year:

peace bracelet

But other than that, I didn’t really come into 2016 with too many rules or expectations for myself. Partially because I’m a realist and partially because I think I’m doing pretty well, honestly.

However, I DO have some pretty big goals, resolutions, dreams, plans – whatever you wanna call ’em for the blog. For starters, I want to expand the scope of this blog. There’s a lot of talk in the blogging world about finding a “niche” for your blog to attract and maintain an audience. And I do understand the value of that. Most people don’t want to subscribe to a fashion blog and see a bunch of stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with fashion on there. They read and subscribe for a reason and sometimes for a very specific reason. And when I started writing this, I knew that I wanted my focus to be positive thinking and how it has helped me with depression and anxiety and all-round better living.

As time went on, I realized that positive thinking is only telling part of the story. There’s a lot more to building a positive, healthy life than just thinking happy thoughts. And I put a lot more into it than just thought. So I plan to expand the blog with a lot more content that pertains to the big picture – whole living for a happier life. So you can expect to see more writing on health, fitness, life, love, parenting, humor and all the things that help make life better.

I also would like more input from my readers, including guest posts. I’d love to hear from anyone who has a fresh perspective on dealing with life’s challenges. So if you’ve got something you want to say, advice you want to share, or a story you’d like to tell about making your life better, please feel free to send me a message through the blog or email me using the form below and we can talk about you writing a guest post for the blog. Don’t be shy; I’d love to hear from you!

So yeah maybe a little bit of “new year, new blog”, but that’s exciting, right? Stick around – it’s going to be fun!

Take care. – Mama Bear

 

bowie

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XV

This is going to be a short one, kiddies. My annoying cold has turned into a different kind of critter altogether and I’m a bit under the weather. But never fear – saw the doc, got the meds and I’m sure I’ll be back to my Tigger-y self in no time!

So on to what I’m grateful for…

(You know, it’s never escaped my attention that on every one of these blog posts, I end that sentence with a preposition and there’s a tiny little bit of me that chafes at that. But I’m working on it.)

I have to admit, gratitude has been in short supply lately. Mostly because I’ve been exhausted but also because I’ve been struggling harder than usual with the depression. I never like feeling like I’m just phoning it in, so I genuinely try every day to find things for which I’m grateful and I usually am able to find them even if it’s something as small as being upright and breathing one more day. But I don’t think anyone wants to read a bunch of blog posts about how I’m glad I’m able to get out of bed, so I push a little harder and try to come up with something more profound. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a broth bowl or a lip gloss (not so incredibly profound, I guess) and sometimes it’s something more. But there are some things for which I am eternally grateful.

I’m grateful that I have my husband and my kids. I could mention them in every single blog post because they are the foundation for everything that is good about my life. They truly are. They give me strength and support and a reason to get out of bed in the morning when reasons are hard to find.

I’m grateful for this blog. It has made me expand my thinking in so many ways and made me feel that I am accountable for my moods, my opinions, my words. I’m aware every single day that I have a responsibility to myself and to anyone who stumbles upon this blog to try to find solutions to my problems that are positive and healthy and to keep on fighting for answers and for a happier life.

I’m grateful that I have had the luxury of taking time to figure out what has meaning in my life and pursuing those things, even if they don’t always work out as I had hoped. It’s been a longer journey for me than it has for most to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I’m keenly aware of how lucky I am to have had the time to discover and try and fail and get back up and try again.

I’m grateful for my small circle of friends. I don’t make friends easily and I realize that’s because of who I am, not because of any faults in others. I am someone who values her personal space and builds walls sometimes without meaning to, and I am incredibly grateful for those who have found it a worthwhile venture to climb those walls.

I am grateful that I am stubborn and optimistic. No matter how hard life gets in the moment, I never once let go of the belief that it would eventually get better and that it was worth hanging in there to get to that next big adventure, whatever it is. No matter how scary or frustrating or sad the world gets, there’s a deep spring of optimism somewhere inside me and it keeps me pressing onward and I’m so thankful for it.

So that is part of my eternal gratitude list, because I didn’t want to write that I am grateful for Z-Pak and codeine and hot tea and leave it at that this week! And because I feel another shift in perspective coming on (in a good way) and I want to sit for a brief moment and dwell on all the good things in life while I have a bit of quiet.

And on a very sad note, I am grateful for 40+ years of music and art from the incredibly talented David Bowie. I love people who take risks and defy convention and are just completely, utterly and unashamedly themselves and he was all of those things aside from being an incredibly talented and creative artist. It’s sad to grow older and watch all the bright lights of my youth passing out of sight but that only means they burn brighter in the skies, I suppose. I’ll leave you with this beautiful thought from the man himself:

bowie

Take care. – Mama Bear

 

 

 

Michelle Frost

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XIV

Welcome to 2016! Who’s ready to rock the new year with me?

happynewyear2016-

I started the new year with a pretty heinous cold, and given that Mercury is evidently in retrograde yet again, I don’t think it’s any surprise that most of our electronics also have been under the weather this week. (Not sure if I fully understand or believe that, but hey, it sounds better than just blaming Windows 10 for my health issues and whatever’s going funky with my laptop, eh?) But even so, I’m pretty optimistic about how this year is starting out!

Anyhow, on with the gratitude portion of this Total Gratitude Tuesday!

For starters, my interview with Joanna James-Lynn from Introspectology.com is live today! I did the interview with Joanna a couple of months ago and I am SO excited that it’s available now! I was really nervous beforehand but within 30 seconds of starting our conversation, I was perfectly at ease and I truly believe we could’ve talked for hours! If you get a chance, take a listen (click on the banner below) and subscribe to the Podcasts and Joanna’s blog; it’s all about learning more about ourselves and what makes us tick! You can also join the Introspectologists Facebook group here. (Also, how cute is the graphic? I love it!)

Michelle Frost - The Humourous Mama Bear

Also, this weekend, we got to celebrate our daughter’s 24th birthday together as a family. And we were able to get the whole family together to help her celebrate, which is sometimes a tough thing with everyone’s schedules. More and more I realize how much those times mean to me. That’s one of those things I’m learning to do more as I get older – live in the moment and really thoroughly enjoy it.

And I also have a lot of new things in the works for the blog and in my life, so stay tuned. I’m really excited about all the new opportunities for growth this year, both personally and professionally. I hope the new year is just as exciting and wide open for all of you as well!

Take care! – Mama Bear