Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Joy" happens

It's been 18 days since I left my job. It was a tough choice to make but, our kids need  me at home. It has really put things in perspective.

For the last two years I've been working 6 and 7 days a week to try to get back on track to the lifestyle that we once knew.  A big house in a great school district, shopping at Nordstroms, eating out several times a week, kids in dance, baseball, nice vacations and nice clothes. Compared to the standards here we didn't live extravagantly,  but we never had to say no to our children. Ever!

In the past, the sacrifices we had to make have been bearable. We just tightened up a little. But we have always managed to bounce back!

The tangible things that we had became less important as long as we still had what we needed.

I think the hardest part of going through transitions in your life is the carnage of friendships. The people that you had so much in common with go on with their lives, without you. It's sad. When things are tough sometimes just a conversation can be helpful to lift your spirits. But it seems as though people are uncomfortable being around those who are struggling.

I've always been an open book and wear my emotions on my sleeve which has not served me well in relationships. It seems to scare people away!

The funny thing is, that as you learn to live with less tangible things you find that you don't need all of that stuff. In fact, it feels good to live lighter. Less choices to make, less to clean, less to move and less to take care of. It simplifies life!

Unfortunately, that is not the case with friendships and relationships. Where you expected kindness and understanding people have turned their backs. However, in some cases kindness and good conversations have come from the most unlikely places. Casual acquaintances suddenly become more than that and strangers touch you in ways that leave you feeling very blessed! I've come to appreciate the relationships that I do have even more. I spend more time asking questions and really listening, not just to what people are saying but what they are feeling. I didn't take the time to do that before.

Being at home with my kids has forced me to slow down. It's not that there's less to do! Just as much laundry, cooking, dishes, dusting and vacuuming and yard work. But now I have time to see when
something needs my attention. Time to laugh and be silly. Time to investigate things I want to learn
about and things I want to teach my children.

I'm starting to find joy and good feelings from simple things like sleeping in, taking pictures of my kids being kids. I even get real satisfaction from empty dirty clothes baskets! I can have a real conversation with my son without distractions because we have to be somewhere. Suddenly my daughter and I are not at odds over every little detail. I have gotten back to being a really good cook, something I have a real passion for.

So, as we continue to fight this battle I am seeing things differently. We may have to eat at home and hold off on a new pair of shoes for a while. We don't have as much stuff as we used to and we have less friends to spend time with.

I believe that there is a lesson in each road we travel in life. This one is becoming crystal clear!

For now our hearts are full and today that's all we need!

Live 2 Inspire

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Prayer for Mothers of Daughters Everywhere

A Prayer for Mothers of Daughters Everywhere
Written by: Tracey Wormsbacher

I pray that you that in raising your daughter you influence her in positive ways.

I pray that you teach your daughter to be kind and compassionate not only with words but with actions.

I pray that you understand that what you teach your daughter today is who she will be tomorrow.

I pray that your daughter knows that you’re not perfect and that you don’t expect her to be either.

I pray that you instill values that build a healthy sense of self-confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.

I pray that you can find a way to give her the confidence to stand up for herself when others won’t.

I pray that you invest the time to talk about right from wrong on a regular basis.

I pray that you spend time showing her how her actions affect others.

I pray that she can learn to be a “lady” no matter what the circumstances.

I pray that you can control your emotions when faced with times when things hurt your     

I pray that when bad things happen you show your daughter that “Doing the right thing” 
              is most important.

I pray that your daughter is able to tell you the truth, no matter what the consequences are.

I pray that no matter what the truth is that you will let her know that your love is unconditional.

I pray that during conflicts you are able to see it from different perspectives and teach your daughter to do the same.

I pray that you care for and protect the friends of your daughter as if they are your own.

I pray that you recognize the times when your daughter needs you to be a friend and the times when she needs you to be   
             her Mother.

I pray that you can find it in your heart not to judge others when they make mistakes but take advantage of the teachable  moments for you as a mother and your daughter as a child in these challenging and confusing times.

I pray that you convey that is never ok to have fun or gain at the expense of another human being.

I pray that your daughter learns to be a “Good Friend” by your example.

I pray that you surround yourself with other Mothers who share the same values for their daughters.

I pray that God shows you that we all share the same goals for our daughters, to be raised in a safe and loving environment that will prepare them to be “Mothers of daughters”.

“I pray that you help other mothers by sharing this prayer.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love is in the details, but not the ones you think!

You might think I'm pretty self-absorbed to say that the biggest blackout in history was about me.

That was the weekend of our wedding August 16th, 2003. Ed and I started dating on Valentine's day in 1984, almost 30 years ago. It wasn't until our children were 3 and 5 that Ed decided that the milk was no longer free, so he might as well buy the cow!

We didn't want a big wedding but there were so many people who had taken part in our journey as a couple that we wanted our wedding to be a celebration to include those people. Because of our age difference and the fact that I started working for Ed when I was 19, there were a few who never believed it would last. Surprise! 

In fact, our wedding song was not your typical wedding song but one that says it all. "Looks like we made it" by Shania Twain.

We lived on a golf course with the perfect setting for an outdoor ceremony. It was everything I had dreamed of.  The wedding dress was perfect, champagne silk and ivory lace. I tried on several dresses, many of them seemed silly for a 39 year old bride. The sales person at the bridal salon brought me a few dresses that were not my style. Then she brought a strapless 2-piece and asked me to please try it on for her! You know what happened next. The minute I put it on I got goosebumps and began to cry. (I'm crying now just remembering that moment).

The veil was borrowed from a very close friend who had worn it 20 years before. It reminded me a bit of Jacqueline Kennedy. A pill box with a 20 foot lace trimmed veil. Stunning but simple. 
My mother in law to be had the hankerchief that she carried on her wedding day reworked and embroidered with the date of our wedding.

This would be Ed's second marriage. Our grandchildren from Ed's son were included in the wedding as well as Casee and Evan. Finding the perfect dresses for the flower girls was just as important as my wedding gown. They were beautiful ivory with crocheted tops and tulle skirts. I found the perfect ballerina flats to match. Of course I made matching hair pieces!  Casee and Cassidy carried baskets with flower petals to drop down the aisle. The bridesmaid dresses were a simple design in a rich rust silk. I think the  girls liked them?

I did a lot of research on the cake before deciding on a bakery. The wedding cake had to actually taste good! I always wanted apricot puree and cream with yellow cake but I knew that was selfish so,  I had them make raspberry mousse cake as well.  I scored on the baker because he was the only baker on the west side who could make "Italian Love Knot" cookies. They were placed on each guest's plate with a "love knote".

The flowers gave me the most grief. It was the only time during the planning that I became  "Bridezilla" I had always wanted a simple bouquet of Lily of the valley. Not possible in August. When I saw my choices nothing satisfied me. We settled on ivory calla lilies and roses. I was very clear that I did not want any shade of peach anywhere in the flowers or there would be drama. The color scheme was cream, champagne and rusty shades of orange. The florist included a lot of greenery so, a friend of mine took it home and started clippings. You should see how many beautiful pots of plants that have grown from those clippings in ten years! I think that's a good omen don't you?

In absence of my father who had passed away 5 years earlier I asked the person who he was closest to him to walk me down the aisle, my brother John who lives in Florida. He had just gone through a divorce and was getting back on his feet so just in case he couldn't make it, we asked Ed's best friend as well. In the event that my brother John made it, they would both have the job.

Every part leading up to the big day was a joy.

Then came Thursday August 14th. It started off great. The kids were at daycare and we had a lot to get done. I went to pick up my dress and hung it from the banister of the second floor of our family room.
Then off to the fruit market, the bakery and home to start preparing baskets for the the hotel guests.

I remember it vividly. It was a hot day and my sister in law and I were putting the notes on the love knots. All of sudden the clock on the microwave beeped. I looked at Debbie and said....
"Did the power just go out?" The nightmare began. You know what that day was like.

At one point I was on the phone with our minister, a 20 year friend of my husband. He lovingly said to me, "Tracey I know that it's hard to see right now but, something good will come out of this". At that moment looking at my beautiful dress hanging there I was doubtful and wanted to slap him for saying it! 

How would anything get done? Tent, chairs, food, flowers. A million questions ran through my head. By that evening we had contacted as many people as we could with the little bit of charge we had on our phones. We had decided if nothing else, we would have a ceremony on the golf course and plan a party at another time. It was so hot upstairs we all slept on the floor that night in the kids playroom. Not what I had planned.  Friday was spent worrying about the friends and relatives who were coming in from out of town. By now our cell phones were dead. We had no way of knowing if anyone would make it. How would we get the tuxedos? I had no way of knowing if there would be a cake or flowers.
It was falling a part. Of course, there would be no rehearsal. 

I was so upset and I know many people were upset for me. I kept asking god why is this happening?
That day was so hot and so long...

At 7:15 pm on Friday night I was walking by the powder room and thought I heard a motor running.
It was the fan! I couldn't believe it. I ran outside to praise god. When I opened the door my brother, 
my stepmom and two nieces pulled into our driveway. 

I got down on my knees and thanked god.  Then with tears in my eyes I kissed each of my family members and hugged them tight. 

At that moment I had no idea how things were going to turn out. But I was happy that my family was by my side.

One by one each of the suppliers confirmed. The florist had a generator so there was never a problem.
The bakery was behind but got it done. The tent set up as planned. The clubhouse was able to make everything on the menu except shrimp as a precautionary measure. When the band showed up it looked like we were going to have a wedding after all.

I was numb with happiness as I dressed up as a bride. As we prepared to walk down the aisle I held on to my brother's arm and whispered "Don't let me fall" I was weak with giddiness!   

As I walked down the aisle I scanned the faces of the people who came to witness this special day and tried to make eye contact with each one of them to say "thank you for being here".

The singer sang "The Prayer" for the procession which put the whole crowd over the edge.

By the time I reached Ed and the minister, the message was crystal clear. 

For me, this wedding was not about dresses, flowers, cake,  music or any other physical detail.
It was about the journey and the people who have been a part of our lives. The power going out was necessary to get me to get my attention to not only see it but, feel it.

We spent the evening expressing how much each one of our guests meant to us.

A true celebration of LOVE

Friday, June 7, 2013

"My Promise"

In 2006, our family owned business that we built from the ground up closed after 20 years in business. Unfortunately, our home was tied to the business and we lost it too.

When you go through rough times whether personal or business you have all kinds of emotions to deal with. Guilt, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Hopelessness and Shame.

It's hard to see the future.

It's easy to say that it doesn't matter what others think. However, we live in a community that instead of asking you for the story and lending an ear, they talk about you behind your back, form their own version of what's going on and avoid you. So, add lonely to that list of emotions.

Only a few came to my defense or asked how I was holding up!

As it turns out things did turn around. We started to recover and rebuild with new careers.

In three years my husband put over a hundred thousand miles on his car traveling for work.I felt like a single mom but we didn't have to make the choice between buying groceries or health insurance.

Then I ran into a "Friend" that I hadn't seen in a while. I asked how things were going. She smiled, put her hands on my shoulders and said, "How are you? I've been meaning to call you." At first, I thought it was about me. But when her smile turned to a look that I have seen on my own face recently. She explained that things were not going well and were about to get worse. She told me what was happening to her family because she knew that I could relate. She also made it a point to tell me that many times she had come to my defense when others passed judgment on my choices.

At first glance it would appear that things were fine but if you look a little closer you can see the pain.

Friends,  I want to make you a promise...

The next time I see you and you look tired...
I won't judge you.

When it looks like you've gained 10 pounds or lost 10 pounds...
I won't judge you.

If your family business of 20 years has to close...
I won't judge you.

When the for sale sign goes up on your home...
I won't judge you.

When all of your rainy day savings are gone...
I won't judge you.

When all of your "sound" real estate investments are liquidated...
I won't judge you.

When the experts you hire such as lawyers, title companies, brokers and banks give you bad advice...
I won't judge you.

When you have to pay your payroll on personal credit cards instead of paying property taxes...
I won't judge you.

When your husband's company decides not to renew his contract for employment...
I won't judge you

When there is no longer a need for your company's product or services and sales are down...
I won't judge you.

When your husband's company has to cut back and you have to work outside the home...
I won't judge you.

When your husband has to commute to another state for work and leave your family every week...
I won't judge you.

When your husband has to put 500 miles a week on his car to make a living...
I won't judge you.

When your company has to make a choice between laying off staff or buying much needed equipment...
I won't judge you.

When you have to make the choice of your children participating in sports or Mom getting new clothes...
I won't judge you.

When you cut your own grass and clean your own house...
I won't judge you.

When you decide to stay home for vacation instead of going to Mexico...
I won't judge you.

When you decide that staying in the community that you love is better than moving away in shame...
I won't judge you.

When you have to make tough choices on making house payments,  buying groceries, school clothes or health insurance...
I won't judge you.

When you don't invite your neighbors over or attend parties...
I won't judge you.

I will promise to say hello. I will promise to ask if you need someone to talk to. I will promise that you are not alone. I do promise that bad things happen to good people. And I do promise that you will get through the hard times.

So hold your head up high and feel the blessings if your family is together and healthy. 

I promise that I will come to your defense against judgement when others don't.

For I have walked in your shoes...