Peaceful, patient Monday Christmas countdown


Sometimes I can’t believe how fast time moves. And other times it is so slow,

I can’t believe we are only days away from Christmas. I try to be so positive and sometimes plans and life just don’t work out the way you want them to.

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Sometimes I have to set a course for what is best for me and mine. It isn’t always the easiest course but in my soul I know it’s the best one for me. I may not always be able to articulate it to others, and I am learning that is okay.

I just have to get through and I have to be me. it may seem selfish or like I am dropping my basket some, and I do, though not everyone sees that either. But I will pick it up and move on, because it is what I choose to do.

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Whatever course I take I know I will do the absolute best as I see it for everyone. Each life touches another. Sometimes the link falls but if we are true and patient the link falls back into place. Patience is hard and can be extremely hard this time of year. We miss those we love, we get irritated at others, we lash out when we don’t need to and don’t speak when we do. Finding a peaceful balance is what is the hardest to do. Yet I never give up. I keep hope alive. Always.

I have an amazing miracle as well as so many others to never give up and always, always have HOPE.

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Wishing you all a peaceful, patient Monday my fabulous friends.

 

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5 days til Christmas, social media break and making it through


I can’t believe the countdown until Christmas is only 5 days away!

I am seriously not ready and still have so much to do. I am just trying to hang on to those things right in front of me and the things that need to be done that I can do.

I have even stepped away from social media for the past 48 hours in order to try and get things together. Something I normally wouldn’t do as I keep in touch with many family and friends through it but sometimes you just have to realize you need to stop!

Between getting into the grove of the new job which included a very early start Friday, a late afternoon client visit and being on call this weekend, I am struggling. Not to mention that the lovely weather here in sweet home Alabama has wreaked havoc on my body and the joyous *sarcastic drip* migraines that I am prone to have also decided now is the time to visit.

My phone and texts have blown up and I have been struggling to respond and answer, missing several, of course. It’s a learning curve and one that is painful, icky but enlightening all the same.

Oh and we are 5 days out to D-day and this is first time I have ever been this far behind on actual Christmas things I get done! It’s one thing to not mail cards, but I haven’t finished shopping, creating, ordering and I still have to cook. All of those things which I will do in some fashion somehow some way in the next 4 days! Keep hope alive! I have to believe it because I know it’s true.

One of the many calls I have had this weekend was from a caregiver who sits with a family for their mother. Yesterday our client was taken back to the hospital and her prognosis does not look good. Not only is it right at Christmas, but her and I share a birthday. Being in this industry for so many years I understand what the final outcome will be. It still doesn’t make it any easier and I haven’t even met this client yet. The way things look I most likely will not get to meet her. It’s another reminder of how fragile life is and how I am once again in an industry where I feel like I am responsible for someone’s life other than mine and my child’s. It is a scary good feeling but also very humbling.

It is a hard time of the year for so many for so many reasons.

We never know how much time we have or that we have with others. I know I have family and friends who are not well and I pray that I get to talk or see them again before it is too late. We all have guilt, or some of us do, and we want to do and go and see more, but we can’t always do what we want to do.

I wanted a lazy weekend. I was fortunate to somewhat get it but not necessarily in the way that I had hoped. I wanted to also get things done. Yes, I understand that sounds conflicting but for me it isn’t… it’s just how I am. I didn’t get everything done I wanted to get done. I didn’t get to be lazy like I wanted either. Not completely but I am OK with that. I chose to be OK with it because otherwise, I end up feeling guilty and bad and wish I had got more done and there I am wishing away today for what I didn’t get done the day before.

So now I hopefully can move forward and get a few things accomplished. It is kind of cool to put an unplanned self-imposed kabash on your social media time. I do know when I get back on later that I will spend probably an hour just responding to things I had commented on or conversations I was having prior to me just dropping off like that.

I am keeping hope alive for a fabulously glorious day!

I wish you all the same.

Good luck with the Christmas countdown!

And for all of the others, Happy Festivus for the rest of ya!

 

 

Crazy weather, the holidays – may the odds be ever in your favor!


Finally it’s cold enough that I can see my breath when I am outside! It’s about time but then it’s December here in the motherland of Alabama.

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4 days ago I was wishing I was rocking a pedicure so I could wear sandals. I don’t think flip flops would fly at the office, although I keep scrubs in my car in case I have to fill in at a client’s home, why not just toss in other shoes too?

For the last 2 days it has been cold. Not cool but genuinely wear a heavy jacket if you’re outside at all cold. This may mean nothing to some, but here the drastic drop in temperature means hauling out a whole new wardrobe that I had pushed back because we had a cold “snap” and then warm weather again. We are on countdown to less than a week until Christmas and it’s just getting cold!

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We finally hit freezing where I am and I would love for it to stay this way for a bit.

Bonus is the “projected forecasts” say it will be in the 70’s on Christmas day!

Psychotic weather here in the Heart of Dixie!

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It’s interesting how it can affect your mood and your psyche when you are accustomed to cooler weather during a holiday and it feel like spring or one of those Indian summer days we have.

I have been working to get into the Christmas spirit and one of the things I love is the cold weather. I love having the change of seasons. If I would have wanted 60 – 80-degree weather at this time of year I would have stayed in Florida or California. Or moved to Hawaii where it is just heaven, to me, whatever time you are there. Not to get lost on those daydreams, but I can’t help it when we keep having the warmer weather.

When it finally cooled down it was like holy crap Christmas is a bit over week away! I have to get busy and get things wrapped up for the holidays!

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I haven’t finished doing all my shopping, I have sent zero Christmas cards… and I had such grand ideas of what I wanted to do too! So to my lovelies, who you know if I have your address, you were going to get cards but let’s not count on it! I apologize in advance for being such a slacker but I blame it on the new job, which I love, and the weather!

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So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah & Happy Festivus. If you don’t celebrate any of that Happy Chaotic Everyone Else’s Holiday season!

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I am headed to get busy on those things I can’t let slip up for the kids and I am sure I will be making food for a few days for friends and family. Need to shop and things to do. I am finally starting that list.I know you’re thrilled.

All while enjoying this cooler weather while we have it and I am a bit more motivated when it was too warm for Christmas thoughts for me. Hopefully that will also involve copious amounts of sleep too. I am a bit desperate for it… I keep hearing that chic from The Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor!” It’s mocking me!

may the odds be ever in ur favor

Fabulous Gracelessness A.k.a. Lady Maos is sticking to her tried and true motto:

KEEP HOPE ALIVE!

Have a fabulous day my friends!

I can’t call you


I woke up this morning and reached for the phone.

It was then I remembered you have gone on.

It’s so hard, these feelings I get.

I miss you so badly and sometimes want to just quit.

You taught me that life must go on.

It is so hard without you but I still sing your song.

I need you now more than ever before.

My life, this world, so many at war.

Things aren’t the same since you have been gone.

It breaks my heart knowing I’ll never hear you voice on the phone.

I can’t drop by or even send a hello.

I wish you were here to see us all grow.

Things change so fast and get crazy you see.

I need you, my daddy, for you were always a comfort to me.

**I have been missing my dad more than ever lately. His humor, his advice and his unconditional love. I just wanted to share my thoughts and feelings. Since what is put out on the internet last “forever” maybe it will be known how much I love him always.**

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Fabulous Gracelessness, Best Daddy Ever &  GrandMama

Good manners and kindness should be a part of everyday life


Growing up in the south I was taught from an early age to mind my manners.

Yes mam, no mam, thank you mam please. It was a little chant I was taught. And of course yes sir and no sir.

I was taught to be polite, respect my elders and not interrupt others when talking unless it was an emergency. I was taught to think of others and to be kind. Failure to mind my manners could find me in a lot of trouble with my parents and grandparents.

I still say mam and sir to people, both younger and older and even my age. It comes from getting in trouble enough that I just said mam to all females and sir to all males. It isn’t always easy and I do slip up sometimes, but for the majority of the time, I stick to what I feel is the right way to be.

I am teaching my boy to “mind his manners” and raise him the way I was raised. Sometimes it is a challenge.

It seems to many, that manners and being polite and kind to others isn’t on the top of their list of priorities.

This is something I truly cannot understand. I realize that the mam and sir are more southern, but manners and consideration of others is something that should matter to everyone.

We have a society of “me” people. People who seem to forget or don’t care about others. If you ask them “Would you like a drink?” we get a “yeah sure” instead of “yes, please.” Still 2 words but just nicer.

My boy is 5 and when he gets excited he sometimes forgets and interrupts myself and others. I gently remind him to wait and he will apologize. What is sad that so many adults feel like they have the right to interrupt anyone and say what they please with no regards to how it may make someone feel. If adults do this and children see it, why wouldn’t a kid mimic said adult?

We need to think of others instead of being so selfish. We need to stop and think before we open out mouths. We need to be a bit more compassionate towards others.

Tis the season to help others. Why not start with the first person you see today? Why not try to at least go out of your way to be nice and use your manners every day for the rest of the year? It isn’t that much longer, only 2 more weeks.

I challenge you! Maybe it will stick with you and you will carry it over into the new year. Just think if everyone helped one person a day and said kind words and used their manners for the next two weeks how many people could be affected? It would be a bowl full of positive. It’s worth a try!

Keep Hope Alive!

We can do this!

Finding my groove again


I have recently started a new job and I love it. However, after not working full time for about a year, I am struggling to get back into some sort of groove. I knew it would be challenging, but I didn’t know it would be quite this hard.

On the plus side, I truly love what I am doing. I have an awesome, understanding boss and it is very close to home. I do have to drive across town some, but it is totally worth it because I believe in our mission and I love helping people. I feel like I actually have a career again, something I did not have with my last full time job. I am making about half of what I made, but I have opportunity for advancement and know I can help grow the company. People need the services we provide, and having been on both sides of the field, I have a broader and understand the needs of both the clients and the caregivers. Yes, I need the money but I know that I don’t want to just work for more money and be completely miserable. It isn’t worth it and it isn’t fair to me or mine.

My biggest challenge has been managing my time so that I am still fully there for the boy and keeping up with my blog on a daily basis. The first is easy in some ways. I will always be there for him I just have to figure out how I can rearrange things so we can continue to do things together in shorter amounts of time.

I can’t stop writing; I think a part of me would be lost without my blog. It’s funny how something I started on the side has grown into something that fills me up.

I am already loosing time with friends and family because my free time is not as abundant as it once was. Even when I had more free time, I was cramming it so full of things that I was not getting things done. Then I get stressed and sick and then nothing gets done.

So in a way going back to full time work is forcing me to be better with my time management. I am nowhere close but I am getting there. Keep hope alive! It’s the best motto for me.

We often get so caught up in our own lives and our own needs, in what we think is important, that we forget those things that matter most. We forget to look at life from a different perspective. It isn’t always easy and it is easier to rationalize to ourselves that the way we are doing/seeing something is the best course. But if we look closely and examine it, we realize that we are doing what is best for us or easier for us or so we think. It is hard to think otherwise. It is easy to be selfish and blame life or circumstances for why we can’t follow through or be there for someone. Sometimes it is the truth. Other times it is an excuse because we don’t want to look too hard at the things that really matter. It can be depressing.

Life is so precious. We never know how much time we have. I know I don’t want to waste another second on regrets. I have too many as it is. I work to turn my regrets into life learning experiences. Not all of them are but I am learning that sometimes I can find a small morsel that I can learn from. I do my best to not repeat the things that cause the regret in the first place.

So today I am moving forward with hope and positive thoughts. I am going to banish the negativity and not be as hard on myself. I can be my own worst critic.

As one of my wonderfully, fabulously close friend says, “It’s a great day to be alive!” It is. No matter what crazy life thing happens, we woke up alive. We may have aches and pains, there may be fear or drama or things out of our control, but we can control how we react to people, places and situations.

Choose to be positive. Choose to keep hope alive. Choose life.

I hope you all have a fabulously wonderful Wednesday.

Much hope, happiness and positive thoughts,

Lady Maos

 

 

New traditions and Gingerbread houses


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Last night the boy and I finally put together the Gingerbread house he had be given. It seemed simple enough when I looked at it. 5 main pieces, a tree, 3 ginger folks and a dog/cat creature. It appears that it would only take about 30 minutes-ish so we eagerly started the project.

The boy wanted it to look like the picture on the box. My first thought was I’m making him OCD like me and I worried. I knew that I would try my damnedest to make it look that that. About halfway through, I realized it would not look like the pretty house on the box. After all, I am fabulously graceless and he is my offspring. I suggested we make it custom for us. He agreed it would be “more funner” that way and that our would look so much better! Bless him!

After an hour we finally finished! From the walls, to the icing glue (and boy does that stuff set fast) to the fruit candy and M&M decor, we had it completed! Then we saw the package of the spinkle thingys – teeny tiny little balls that looked festive. Straight from hell is more like it as when you carefully dumped them where you wanted them to land, they bounced everywhere and only half ended up where we wanted them. *Ahem. The other half was on the table and the floor that was just cleaned yesterday. But he loved it. He went on and on about how our Gingerbread house looked so awesome and he was so proud of it. It was worth every bit of irritation and biting my tongue as to not say words he doesn’t need to learn.

He then said, “Mommy we need to do this every year!” I smiled and of course told him we would add it to our Christmas traditions. Of course, I mentally noted that a good strong adult beverage for me will be had before we start the next one!

He is so excited about the holidays. He loves the decoration and to help. Helping my mom with the tree a few weeks ago, we realized how we had basically done the decorating with everything in it’s place, to look festive and beautiful. What we were missing was his touch. The clumping of ornaments, the placing of decorations in places we would never think to put them and his general ideas of a “new way” of doing things. Somehow, it made it even better and more special.

He wanted me to make sure I had the reindeer food ready for Christmas Eve and has informed me that Santa wants homemade cookies this year and not the ones from the store. So we will be baking a small batch of peanut butter cookies because hey, if Santa’s going to eat them I might as well make my favorite, right?!

Last year he was with his dad on Christmas Eve and I had to make a batch of reindeer food for him to take with him. Reindeer food consists of uncooked oatmeal and glitter. Not some fancy smancy hard to create dish as there is enough going on without me having to make something complicated. I also had to make sure it was scattered on our porch so that when he came home he could see how messy the reindeer were and how they ate the food we had prepared for them.

Christmas is magical for a child. The wonder of it all. The lights, festivities, mangers, Santa and elves. The carols we sing and the things we do to ensure that everyone is happy.

Presents are great but I love that he loves all of the other stuff and that isn’t the main thing. Of course he loves getting gifts but he is happy with whatever he gets. At least at this age. That could all change soon I know but for now I am happy that he finds joy in those little things. He loves creating traditions and doing things from my childhood and incorporating new things. Like the Gingerbread house this year!

In the weeks leading up to Christmas we watch all kinds of Christmas movies. He loves the classics – Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Santa Claus is coming to town, Charlie Brown Christmas, The Nightmare before Christmas and of course the Grinch. Each year we add a new movie to our collection to watch.

Before he arrived in my life, I think I was getting a bit more bah humbug. Now I am not even allowed the option! I couldn’t be happier about it to be honest. Yes, it can be work but he is worth every minute of it.

We are always looking for new things to try and ways to enjoy the holidays together. I think we have achieved that already this year and we still have a bit over a week before the actual day.

I hope you are all having a fabulous week and not too frazzled over this holiday season!

Never forget to keep hope alive! Believe me I chanted it a lot while making that Gingerbread house and it turned out pretty good. Plus it made my boy smile a bit wider and throw his arms around me and tell me how much he loves me and how much fun I make Christmas for him. To me, that’s the best present there is.

Have a fabulous Tuesday my friends!

Check out our custom Gingerbread house!

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The start of the week before Christmas


Ahhhhhh here we are at the beginning of another fabulous week! And not just any week but the week before Christmas.

I’m sure most folks have done their shopping, got things in order and are ready for the holiday. For me, yeah, I am still behind! But that’s OK by me because I am at peace with it. Finally. It seems after all these years it took me having a child and being laid off from my job to realize other  things that are more important.

I quit the black Friday shopping about 20 years ago. If I couldn’t find what I needed for family and friends then it wasn’t necessary. Over 15 years ago I realized it didn’t matter if I bought presents or made them. If the recipient wanted something I couldn’t afford and was upset about it, then I didn’t need to be doing something for them. After losing family and friends my circle shrank even more. I always made sure the children in my life, and ones I didn’t know, had Christmas because I love seeing the beauty of Christmas magic through a child’s eyes.

When my son was born I wasn’t working. His first Christmas he was only 3 months old and well, there isn’t a lot a 3 month old needs as far as toys! For his second Christmas, and him being the first and only grandchild in both families, it was a bit of overkill. He had so much that he literally couldn’t play with everything. It seemed to happen the next year too.

By his 3rd Christmas, his father and I were no longer together so I think we both tried to make up in some way for us not all being together. (For the record, we swap Christmas eve each year so that he gets to be with both families on Christmas day. Yes, it can be challenging but this way he gets to be with both of us.)

Last year I scaled back a bit and he was just as happy. After all, he gets two Christmases and he is not wanting for anything. This year I have scaled back even further. I also realized I was letting Santa get too much credit for all the hard work I put into each gift for him. I did this with his birthday and it seemed to work out well. He gets so much from friends and family so I no longer worry he will feel like he is “missing out.”

Plus, I am teaching him the joy of giving to others as well as spending time with family and friends.

It’s been a rough year for me financially and I really don’t want to loose the little ground I have gained on a bunch of toys that will be set aside or forgotten because there is an abundance from everyone else.I have been blessed with wonderful friends and family who help me out too, but I do want to be able to provide for him myself.

Part of me providing is teaching him how material things aren’t what is important but that the love and time spent with friends and family is. It isn’t an easy task when every paper, commercial and store has “Toys that You Need” splattered across every surface that you can see. He loves to say, “I want that!” with every commercial or circular sent in the mail. So I asked him what he really wanted. If he could have just 3 things what he would really want. I told him to think about it and get back with me. That boy continues to amaze me. He wanted his Pops in heaven, his Jethro dog, also in heaven and maybe some toys that Santa or mommy thinks he would like. Let’s say it together now, “Ahhhhhhhh!”

Of course within the next hour when he was watching television he said, “This toy could be one of the ones you get for me mommy!” about 15 times! But still. I think he’s understanding you can’t always buy the gifts he “thinks” he wants. He is understanding that people, and animals, are more important than all of the material items he can get. Don’t get me wrong, he is a 5 year old boy and loves his toys, but he loves his family and friends too. He will chose people over things most of the time.

So I am not sweating the small stuff this year. I know that my friends and family understand my financial challenges. I am hoping to spend time and good meals with them. Those important things. Not to say I won’t give and receive a few gifts, but I am looking forward to the time with them. Not what I get or give.

I hope you all have a fabulous Monday.

Don’t knock yourself out or go into debt this season. Enjoy those you love if you can, and if not, plan for before or after, just get together!

Keep Hope Alive!

 

Newsflash…I am not perfect!


The fact is I have never, nor will I ever be perfect. I make mistakes. I let people down. It’s not that I want to let others down, but sometimes life happens and I can’t do all that I want or said I would do.

I forget things sometimes.

I have the best of intentions and seem to always say, “Yes, I will do it!” And I mean it. I want to do it or take care of it. I end up overloading myself and sometimes, I do so much and keep going until a sickness or my body knocks me down. Yet I still keep trying to go on.

Sometimes I don’t do things fast enough for others. I am working on teaching the boy patience, but I don’t expect to have to explain patience to adults. More often than not they can be worse than my 5 year old in the patience department. I am also guilty of being impatient.

I have flaws. Lots of them. People can chose to accept me for them or walk away.

Sometimes I get frustrated or angry and raise my voice. Then I feel guilt for snapping.

I don’t always handle things like they should be handled.

Sometimes I drop my basket and loose my shit.

I forget that I am human.

It’s like I try so hard to make sure everyone else is taken care of, happy and getting what they need that I forget to take care of myself. I then find myself resentful but have no one to blame but myself.

Right now I am working on finding my balance. .

At one point in my life I had my life much more organized. I was cheery most of the time. I worked long hours but I loved my job. I may have grouched some but I was still able to keep myself in check and get everything done that I needed to get done. I also didn’t have my boy and the life priorities I have now. In some ways it was easier, yet it was also hard too.

After my miracle boy came along, I let a few things slide. When his father and I realized we could no longer live together I know I made many mistakes. However, I also realized that no matter what we were his parents and good or bad, I would make sure he knew that I was always there for him. Loving him no matter what. Sometimes I fail miserably but yet he knows, as he has told me, that everyone makes mistakes and he loves me no matter what. He knows mommy will always be there for him and that I put him first.

So my my attitude, my demeanor, my thoughts, my car, my home and other things may not be perfect, but I know that his love for me and my love for him is perfect. That makes my mistakes and my colossal errors at bit easier to handle.

I have started again working full time after a year of not. I am dropping things left and right. I am still trying to find my balance. Still, I know that he loves me no matter what. I am also beyond blessed to have people in my life that love me and accept me for me. Flaws and all.

So if you are expecting perfection from me, I am afraid I can’t always deliver. I can, however, promise you that I will admit my mistakes, my flaws and my imperfections. I also know that to one little boy, he finds me perfect and never judges me because he knows that my love for him is built on a solid foundation of unconditional love.

So if you find yourself frustrated and irritated at not being perfect at something, realize we are all human. It is a part of life and try to work to make it better.

No one is perfect. Although we can be perfect for each other.

Keep Hope Alive!

Saturday and a bit of Frost


Sometimes there is so much in my mind, yet a song or poem sticks out more than others.
Robert Frost is one of my many favorites and this poem is screaming in my head to get out. So I am sharing it here.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Of course now I always think, “Stay Gold Ponyboy.” Sorry if you don’t get the reference but it will always be a part of my lovely memories.
Keep Hope Alive!
Have a fantastically, fabulously Saturday!