Monday, January 26, 2009

Amazing Little Gadget

Grace #9: My Purple iPod

This past Christmas I received some "Christmas money" from my parents and in-laws. I knew instantly what I iPod! Santa had gotten one for my son Jack, and I fell in love with it. I adored everything about it, so when my windfall came I was thrilled. The day after Christmas I trekked out to Target (a daring feat, indeed!) with Jack in tow. He was along to "help" me with my purchase, and make one of his own. I knew without a doubt which color of iPod NanoChromatic that I wanted. Purple! My favorite color. (Yes, I know it looks blue in the photo. In some lighting it looks blue. I couldn't find the right lighting the day I took this. Er.) I adore my iPod. I like to listen to whatever music I want at just the touch of a finger. I like putting it on "shuffle" and being surprised with each new song. One of the reasons I have always enjoyed listening to the radio is that I never know what song is coming next. Now, with my iPod, all the songs are only ones I like. I like plugging myself into my own little world to walk my dog, vacuum the house, or cook dinner just by inserting the little ear buds. I also like plugging the iPod into my home or car stereo. Basically, I am having a ball with my new gadget.

The number one reason I am thankful for my iPod is that it is a new way for me to connect with my pre-teen son. This has been so important and vital to me. As with many males, my son loves electronics, gadgets, video games, etc. This is a world that is completely foreign to me, and one I am not at all interested in. However, being an involoved mom, I have tried on many occasions, and with many different media, to join my son in his world. I have tried to play his Gameboy, play Wii, etc. I have not been too successful. I have had such difficulty maintaining just enough interest to not appear completely stupid and inept. Out of self-preservation, and a need to not totally embarrass myself and him, I have always bailed out. NOW, with the iPod, Jack and I connect. We share music. We share tips on navigating the iTunes website. We introduce each other to new artists and songs. We listen to music together. This is not to say we don't have our bumps. He argues with me when he is not allowed to listen to some of my music because of
inappropriate lyrics. However, for the most part, this amazing little gadget has helped my son and I get just a little bit closer at this transitional time of his life, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Post Script: After my initial posting of this Grace, I allowed Jack to read it. As if to prove my point about our electronic differences, he implored me to please change the word Gameboy to Nintendo DS.

Me: Jack, it doesn't really matter.
Him: Mom, it does matter. They are not the same thing.
Me: Well, for my purposes, it doesn't matter. My readers will know what I mean.
Him: Please change it, Mom!

Two of the things I have learned as a mom are to choose my battles and honor the things that are important to my children. So, this post script is dedicated to you, Jack. I love you with all my heart!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My home

Grace # 8

I am grateful that my dog needed to get up in the middle of the night a few nights ago. While she did whatever business she needed to do outside, I sat on my couch, in my family room, in the dark. As I sat there in the quiet darkness, I realized once again how much I love my house.

These were important moments for me. Firstly, too much of the time, I do not take enough time to enjoy the quiet peacefulness of my home. Either the kids are home, and there is no quiet, or I am rushing about to "get things done." Secondly, I spend way too much time focusing on what my house needs to "make it better." In other words, I concentrate on what is wrong with my house, rather than what is right with it. Too often, I think about the walls that need to be painted; the baseboards that need to be cleaned; the closets that need to be reorganized; the siding that needs to be power washed; the trim that needs to be replaced; the basement that needs to be finished; the kitchen floor that needs to be replaced. Get the idea??? As I type this, I realize that my house is not necessarily the problem. The problem is me, and possibly my expectations. I am frustrated by the lack of time and resources available to devote to my house. Perhaps I need to "just be" with my house.

That night in the darkness reminded me of all the things that I truly love about my house. I love the elevation. I love the floor plan. I love my front porch, back patio and yard. I really like my kitchen. I really like the "girls' bathroom" that I share with my daughter. I love my soak tub! I am passionate about the natural light in my house (thanks, B for always reminding me of this!), and the fabulous windows in my two-story family room. Finally, you know what I love most about my house? It is my home.

My home is where my husband and children are. Our home is where Sean and I raise, nurture, enjoy and yes, struggle with, our kids. This is where we make our marriage stronger. This is where our family witnesses each other at our best and at our worst; where we are most vulnerable. This is where I feel safest and most comfortable. Home is where I want to be when I don't feel well, when I want to cook, and when I just want to relax. Home is where my beloved pets are. This is their home, too. As I write this, I struggle to really put into words what "home" means to me. It's a concept, a feeling, for which words do no justice. Home just means home, and when you have one you just know what that means. I feel immense gratitude for the fact that I do know what home means. Home is where my heart is.

"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than a magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."
-Charles Dickens

"There's no place like home."
-Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big Blue sky

Grace #7: Sunny day!

I am grateful that the sun is shining today! One good thing about all those endless gray days for me has been that I can really appreciate the sunny day we are having. I love it when the sun shines and the sky is just so blue because it just seems that the sky goes on endlessly. It makes me realize how BIG the earth is...and just how beautiful it is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Got hope? You bet I do!

Grace #6: Barack Obama and the American People

Words cannot describe the happiness and overwhelming gratitude that I feel today. President Obama (boy, do I LOVE saying that!) embodies "hope and virtue" for me. I have been so affected by the inspiration that he has given Americans, and the movement that has been occurring in our country. I have experienced a renewed faith in America. I feel excited to be an American again.

Barack Obama is truly a hero to me.

Thank you President Obama, and thank you my fellow citizens.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cuppa joe?

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Grace #5

One good thing about being a busy mom who doesn't get enough sleep is that I frequently "need" caffeine. My dear hubby would tell you that I most definitely do not need caffeine, and that
I ought not drink COFFEE of all things. "Do you know that coffee has at least 100 known carcinogens?!" Yes, he has told me that. Yes, I do care. However, I dearly love my Starbucks non-fat, extra-hot mocha. I love the way it smells. I love the way it tastes. I love the sweet whipped cream on top. I love the warmth it gives me, and, yes, I love the caffeine buzz it gives me.

The other thing I dearly love about having coffee is that I often get to share a "cuppa" with a good friend. I thoroughly enjoy this part of the coffee experience. This photo was actually taken while Sean and I were in San Antonio celebrating his 40th birthday. We enjoyed venti cups of coffee (after a late night consuming many margaritas!) with our good friends from college who had joined us for the celebration. In my regular life, if I am very lucky, I might get to sit in a Starbucks with a friend and have coffee. This is the best! If I can't have coffee in person with a friend, the second best way to share a "cuppa" is to talk on the phone with a friend while sipping my favorite beverage. My time with my friends is one of the most important things in my life, and coffee just makes that time all the more fulfilling!

I am so grateful for my friends and Starbucks coffee.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tote this!

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Grace #4
I am grateful to be a mom who has so much to tote around. That need led me to this bag. I was in need of a new "purse." I actually purchased a black leather purse. I liked it. It held my stuff...well, some of my stuff. The fact is that I needed more than a purse. I needed a
tote bag. Most days, when I leave the house, I have to take notebooks or files or books or my camera (or all of these!) with me. Now, I COULD carry 2 bags, but let's face it, I am busy, my brain is crowded,
and I am getting older. Chances are I am going to leave at least one of these bags somewhere. Actually, that has happened. So I surrendered. I began to look for a tote, and
I remembered my friend S had a tote that I coveted. She got hers from Lands End, and gave me the "go-ahead" to copy her. (I didn't get the exact same bag. I chose a different pattern.) I was so excited when my new bag came in the mail. I love this bag. I feel so happy when I
see my new bag. AND, it's highly functional! It holds a lot and
has many inside pockets and a special strap to hold my keys.
I am grateful for my new tote bag!

Grace #3 My wonderful Family

'Nough said!

Friday, January 16, 2009

"52 Graces"

This is my maiden voyage as a blogger. Kinda scary, but I am going to do it anyway. I have several friends who blog, and their courage to put their thoughts, etc. "out there" for all to see and read has always impressed and humbled me. I was recently challenged by one of these friends to give it a go myself. So here goes....

I have recently begun to think that I need to take time out of my life to focus on those things for which I am grateful. However, it took me a while, and a just a few "knocks on the head," to get me to actually DO something. This blog is my attempt to do something active to acknowledge my gratitude.

Knock on the head number one is the fact that I have been struggling with post-holiday, winter (too many cold and gray days!), and hormonal (can you say “beginnings of perimenopause?!) blues. As part of the blues, I have been plagued with way too much negative thinking. Being stuck in this cycle has led to more negative, self-defeating thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I being so negative?” I knew
I needed to DO something, but what????

Knock on the head number two was receiving an email from my dear friend, B. The subject of the email was, you guessed it, gratitude. I loved the email. The message was that you need to find gratitude even in places where it doesn’t seem possible—e.g. “ I am grateful for the mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.”

Number three: This one came from B as well. She posted an entry on her blog titled “52 Graces” in which she talked about her realization more gratitude is necessary in her life as well. Included was a reference to another blog, “Blah, Blah, Blog” by Julie. Julie started the idea of including a grace per week on her blog. Hence the term “52 Graces.”

Finally, my own daughter provided the last knock on the head that got me thinking, “Hmm, maybe I should give some thought to doing something about this gratitu
de thing…” My daughter and I have been working our way through all the American Girl historical stories. Our latest is the story of Kaya, a Native American girl. In Kaya’s culture they thank all living things that give their lives so that people can benefit. At dinner the other night we were eating venison (an extremely rare occurrence for us). My hubby thought the kids would freak out to know what we were eating, but I had confidence they would be ok with it so we told them. My daughter’s beautiful response was, “Oh, poor deer. Thank you so much for giving your life so that we can eat.”

OK. OK. OK. I get it!

Grace #1: Last night I was grateful to be out walking in the freezing cold because it means that I have a wonderful old dog named Hoosier that is still healthy enough to get outside for a walk.

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Grace #2: Along those same lines...I am grateful for the cat vomit I had to clean up yesterday because it means I have 2 wonderful, adorable cats that bring great joy and much laughter to my life.