Hours and Hours and Hours

After so many (MANY) hours spent just today, it looks like the mobile version here at LoJ works. (Nevermind the hours I’ve spent on other days.)

Long story, short…a discontinued service broke all the mobile goodness. Multiple calls to tech support did nothing at all. NOTHING. AT. ALL. (And, as much as it pains me to say it, we couldn’t spend time on it until…well, vacation.)

But! My husband fixed all the things. By a LOT of research and many hours putting up with me. He’s officially my favorite.

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(Just in case you’ve forgotten what we look like.)

And since it is now almost 6pm, I’m going to change out of my bathrobe. You’re welcome, world.

(THANK YOU, HUSBAND!!!)

normal summerness

I’ve started three different blog posts this week. Three. I’ve finished none of them. Each time I get going, I start to feel annoyed by my own words. I mean, if I’m annoying MYSELF only a paragraph into a blog post, clearly I should just scrap it and move on with my life. For the sake of all of us.

The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t able to completely avoid the summertime blues this week. It happens every summer. The combination of a busy work life and not being home when my kids are off school is a tough pill to swallow. I knew it was coming! I know what my deadlines look like! I know that I hate not being home when my kids are home! It’s the same every year!

(See? I almost just clicked that “x” on the top right to close this without saving. ANNOYING. I’m annoying myself already.)

(Let’s switch gears.)

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I know the saying: If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you feel about it.

I know this. But sometimes it’s just really damn hard to change how you feel.

I was doing really great with my attitude. Saying yes to summer helped. Enjoying the backyard helped. Spending time with family and friends really helped. But getting a little stuck in my worry didn’t help. Getting angry at a team situation I had little to no control over didn’t help. Missing my kids while they’re off school didn’t help. Missing out on family events didn’t help. Being stressed about all the things didn’t help.

So.

I’m about to make the longest to-do list ever even though it’s going to overwhelm the hell out of me. (I need to get organized.)
I’m going to remember to take one thing at a time.
I’m going to schedule some time off.
I’m going to make sure to schedule time with my kids and time on my own. (Somehow.)
I’m going to remember make time for things I enjoy and love. (Like reading and blogging.)
I think I’ll watch a funny movie. Just to kick things off right.

 

Well, I got through a blog post. Perhaps I won’t annoy myself quite as much the next time around. Lofty goals!

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Thank you for the picture inspiration, Nora!!

my truth about consequences

It’s hard to raise children in the Miley Cyrus “do what we want to” society. I could take the time to find the real name to that song, but I just don’t want to. I usually change the station whenever it comes on the radio. Mostly because I’d get a mental image of twerking and oversized stuffed animals and there’s not enough bleach for my brain. But also because I’m trying to teach my kids about consequences. Because that’s a real part of life. The kind of real life that not everyone likes to talk about.

My dad used to make a big deal about reminding us kids about consequences. And even if we rolled our eyes every time you brought it up, Dad…we listened. I didn’t have a conference call just now with all my siblings, I’m totally basing this on the lives that we all lead. We actually paid attention to what you said and all five of us are upstanding citizens raising kids that are looking like they will carry on the Upstanding Citizens title.

Because of consequences. And the knowledge that every choice and every decision has a consequence.

Oftentimes, when we hear the word “consequence” we immediately think of a bad result of something we did.

I drove to fast. Thanks for the ticket, Mr. Policeman!
I lied to my mom. Now I’m in trouble.
I ate that giant cupcake. Now my giant ass is gianter.

But all consequences aren’t bad. Making good choices and good decisions lead to, sometimes, the most amazing consequences.

I worked hard on that project. I feel accomplished and people respect my work.
I washed my windshield. Holy crap, I can actually see out this window.
I hugged my child instead of yelling. We both feel better and are actually talking out the problem.

Don’t get me wrong…none of us are perfect and we’re all going to make mistakes.

That’s not what this is about. It’s the mentality that so many people have that what they do doesn’t matter. That they can “do what they want to” and no one else is affected.

“It’s our life and we can do what we want to.”

That’s true. It is yours and you can. And you can sing with your tongue hanging out and twerk your way through life doing all the things you want.

But there are consequences. Even if it’s only complete and total shame when looking back 20 years from now. (But, then again, maybe no one will care.)

Telling your kids they can be anything they want is absolutely true. But I don’t believe that gives them a free pass to do whatever they want. And I have reached this level of frustration that I can’t even explain. I just feel it. I feel it every time I see something in the news where “doing what you want” lands a group of college kids in jail and lives ruined. Or when I hear about a middle school aged child bringing a weapon to school. When someone drives under the influence. When a celebrity (and countless others) die of a drug overdose. Or when someone doesn’t pay attention to where they start their campfire.

There are consequences. Sometimes terrible and tragic and sad ones.

I know there are extenuating circumstances that can’t all be addressed here. There are exceptions to my rant and I do try to find compassion for those that can’t understand. Or who haven’t been given the tools to understand.

My frustration comes from the blatant disregard for life’s consequences. Those that seek to hurt others. To break rules without caring. Or those that just don’t care in general. We are not invincible. And our actions affect other people.

In our family, we talk a lot about choices. Making good choices. How happiness is a choice. And how our choices and decisions have consequences.

With all the songs and TV shows and news reports that give examples otherwise, I hope it’s enough. I hope my conversations matter to my kids. Even if they just humor me right now (yeah, sorry about that Dad) I hope that it leaves an impression on them like it did me. I hope they can remember just how important consequences are.

harmony -vs- balance…and why harmony is the winner

be who you are

Can we just get rid of the word balance? I know I’ve spent too many years trying to find balance. The internet is excellent at making us believe that we can, so we do. The internet is also good at making us feel like shit when we can’t actually find that balance we worked so hard to find. It’s so easy! Put down your phone…get off the internet…say no more…make your own cheese! So much information constantly being thrown at us, proving that we’re doing it all wrong.

I’m pretty sick of it.

The idea of balance is so enticing. The notion that we can have it all and that we can look fit and fashionable while doing it. But it’s a pile of crap that is disguised as kale and elaborate playdates and bikini-ready bodies. It’s the instruction that if we JUST! TRY! HARDER! it will all fall into place. Our life, I mean. We’ll be the shining examples of doing it right and having it all! So we can then, of course, post it on Facebook or Pinterest the hell out of it.

No really, I’m pretty sick of it.

Would it be so bad if we all just admitted how hard life is?

The reality of balance is this: if you are putting your focus on one specific thing, you are not putting your focus on every other thing. It is impossible to focus on all the things at all the time. And I don’t believe you if you say that you spend equal amounts of time on all the things. I call bullshit. And I call it OUT LOUD.

In my efforts to find the ever elusive balance, I have somehow created a war. Mostly with myself, but a war has broken out. I’m angry when I can’t be fair with my time. I’m frustrated when I can’t get it all done. I’m furious when my plans are fall apart. I feel shamed when I fail at everything. Because didn’t the internet tell me I could have it all? Am I terrible? What is wrong with me? Where is all the balance?

Have I mentioned I’m sick of it?

I’ve become so frustrated with all that I have to do and all that I have to focus on, I’ve become bitter and resentful. I’m just so mad at myself that I can’t keep it together.

And then I read a book (a completely un-related, a little bit dumb book) that talked about harmony. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering. It was just talking about the Native American views on harmony and it was almost like I was smacked upside the head with this book. (I do realize that the link mentions harmony AND balance. But I’m pretty sure the Native American version of balance isn’t creating a Pinterest worthy DIY project while doing a million hours of planking at the same time. Maybe.) It’s not balance that I’m missing. It’s developing a harmonious place where all the areas of my life can coexist. Although, I kinda want to punch myself in the face after writing a sentence like that. (I’m so sorry.)

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My point of all this rambling is that I’ve created this completely un-balanced environment while I search for the thing that will make or help me live a balanced life. What I’ve done is cause all the areas of my life to be at war with one another because I can’t seem to remember that I’m only one person. And that maybe if I sought out harmony instead of balance, I might actually get somewhere. Because, can’t we all get just along? If I can figure out a way to not be angry or frustrated at all the parts of my life that are demanding my attention, I might be able to see that all parts can work together and more can actually get done. Okay, probably not…but I’ll be able to remember that each part of my life needs my attention at different times. And I hope that I can stop feeling bad about everything I’m NOT doing when I’m in a car for long periods of time…or at work far more than I want to be…or folding laundry for hours on end. Finding harmony and giving a space for everyone and everything to play a little nicer sounds a lot better than feeling constantly guilty for never obtaining a balanced life. You know, the one that doesn’t actually exist.

I’ll probably never be able to fully give up my quest for balance. Pinterest ruins you like that. But at least I can try put my focus on a lot more harmony, and the fact that I’m only one person, and a lot less on the ab workouts and the latest quinoa recipe.

I wasn’t going to do that ab workout anyway.

photo credits here and here

Neighborhood Watch Sometimes

I’ve been thinking about the girls in Ohio.

The story boggles the mind. It’s horrible and shocking and it’s hard to wrap your brain around it at all. I’m sad for them. My heart breaks for their families. I’m angry. Angry at the situation. Angry FOR them.

But, like much of the media and like many of you, I think about Charles Ramsey. The man that saved them all. He is their hero. Absolutely. But after all the media attention goes away, I wonder what he’ll be feeling. Glad he could help, of course. But I wonder if he’ll feel guilty for not helping sooner.

I hope not. But I know that I would.

I don’t know all of my neighbors. I see some of them out and about. The house to our left is holds some of our very best friends. We are friendly with our neighbors to the right and straight across. We have spoken to a couple other neighbors once or twice. But there are several families on our street that I’ve never met. And sure, I’ve seen the funny lady who is looking for her cat on a near daily basis, but I have no clue what her name is. (I do, however, know the name of her cat.)

I’m not implying that any of my neighbors are holding kidnapped women in their house. PLEASE KNOW THAT I’M NOT. I’m just saying, if they were, I wouldn’t know. I would be that person on the news saying, “I had no idea anything was going on. They seemed like normal people!”

How would I feel if something like this happened in my neighborhood? I’d feel shitty. I’d feel shitty and I’d feel so much guilt.

There isn’t a magic answer for any of this. I don’t expect one. I don’t have any desire to snoop on my neighbors. I’m no Mrs. Kravitz. And I certainly don’t want everyone knowing everything about me. It’s none of their business. I guess you could say there’s a slippery slope of being aware without being nosy. It’s coming to the realization that something like what happened in Ohio could happen to any of us in any neighborhood. Because we probably wouldn’t notice. We probably wouldn’t have any clue at all. Because how could we?

I don’t have any answers or pearls of wisdom. I’m just hashing this out as I think about it. This world can be so insane, sometimes you just have a take a few minutes to try and process a little bit of it. And then you just have to let your faith take over. Because making sense of it all is kinda impossible.