Update on the Bucket List


Hello all!

I haven’t blogged in a while and I am not going to make promises about how often I will be able to do it. I will however say that I am sorry if you have been disappointed with my lack of updates. I am handling a lot right now – aren’t we all?! – and sometimes it is just impossible to add another item to my day. I know you all have felt this from time to time if not more consistently.

Anyway, I am currently working on getting a bit better about accomplishing my goals. I started to take a look at my bucket list and realized that while I haven’t been consciously working on them, they are still being worked on! I am on my journey to buying my first home. I have actually given myself a 6 month deadline to do so – hopefully it will work out!

I realize that things in life don’t slow down unless you slow down. I don’t feel comfortable enough to do that just yet but I hope that one day I will be looking back and realizing that I have purposely slowed myself down and am enjoying the life I am living – on purpose!

Do you live a life on purpose or are you surviving your existence?

Life Lessons


My journey here on earth is continually getting more interesting and complex. There are so many people out there handing out advice at every turn on any given subject. How do you really know what to pay attention to? I can’t answer that question for you. i just learned how to answer that question for myself.

I do quite a bit of soul searching on a regular basis. I am usually not quite sure if a situation is my fault, if I caused it, if I could have foreseen it or if I made it worse. I want to be sure I am being the best “me” that I can be. At times I have even made the comment of this being a quality of mine “to a fault”. Do I take it too far? Am I so wrapped up in making sure that I always adjust myself to everyone else and make sure that  i am learning a lesson, that I actually miss the bigger picture?

I have realized, and need to continually remind myself, that I am not always in the wrong, nor do I always need to adjust myself to fit something or someone else. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am wrong quite a bit. I do things that I shouldn’t, I say things that I shouldn’t, but where does that make me any different than anyone else? It doesn’t! What does set me apart is that I am willing to search myself, to change, to adjust and to grow.

There are always people out there that will ridicule me. They won’t understand me or my situation and they may take something for what it isn’t. That isn’t my fault nor can I change that. A good friend recently gave me a bit of advice “put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is that you are rejected but the best that can happen is that you are accepted. Either way, at the end of it all, you know you were true to yourself.”

I have realized that that small piece of advice was a seed. It has now grown roots and taken its spot in my soul with all the other seeds of its kind. Self Truth. I am being true to me. That in and of itself means that I am being the best “me” that I can. I am not perfect. I will wait too long to have that difficult conversation, I will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, I will overlook something of importance and I will make mistakes. All of that is being human. So, at the end of the day, I am satisfied that I am the best Maria that I can be.

I often wonder, how many other people out there, search their souls to be sure they are living rather than existing?

This Thing Called Life


I can hardly contain the feeling I have right now; so much excitement at being awakened to the core. This feeling is unreal and one that I never would have thought to experienced by having someone listen, understand, confirm and hear everything I was saying. All of that while also initiating a new drive for loving life and living to my heart’s content; being shown the possibilities of all that there can be. I have new dreams, imagining the reality that can become mine with some hard work and efforts on my part and a great deal of want and striving to make it my own.

I have come so far in my journey to finding who I am. I know what I absolutely don’t want; what I won’t stand for. I know what would be a great match for me in a partner and I know how I want to feel. I don’t yet know how I will make it all happen but isn’t that part of the process in and of itself? Life is a journey that we partake in, connecting with other humans on wavelengths never thought of before.

I know some people who would talk like this and I would think “gee! Give me what you are on!!” It is truly so much more than that. I have realized that it is possible to have this type of life. Yesterday, like so many days before it, have been a confirmation of this feeling. I suddenly feel unchained.

I am deciding to set out on this journey to truly experience life in all its moments and savor the time I create with my family. I want to see what seems to be impossible. I want to feed this feeling I have now so it never goes away. I want to be ALIVE!

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I’ve Missed Me!


I have missed writing for the last few months. Who am I kidding? Its been 6 months since I last posted!

It has been 1 year since I have started this blog and so much has happened and changed in my life both personally and professionally. I had to put the blog down for awhile to handle more important things but I am at a point now where I can concentrate on this again.

I am planning to post quite a bit in the coming days about the first year of my 30’s; celebrating my 31st birthday – all the woes and grins that came with it; and oddly enough – my bucket list items! I was looking through my bucket list and realized that I have actually – unknowingly – completed some of the items on there! GO ME!

I am not going to promise anyone who reads this anything great. I want to reiterate that I write for me. I like writing and I like having an outlet. NO, this is not self centered either. This blog is about learning how to grow as a person. Anyone can benefit from that and, I honestly believe, no one can do it on their own.

So, here is to kicking off a new year of being 30 and living life to the fullest and loving my family more than ever!

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Digging Deep and Being Shocked!


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Recently, it has become quite clear to me that I have a lot of growth that I could stand to do. Growth is exciting, adventurous, …………….. worrisome even. I have found that while being a middle manager is difficult, its not impossible and it doesn’t have to be terrible either. The difference lies in having the tools to use to make the most of everything. My toolbox, at times, can be a bit bare. With all of that said, I have set out to make some changes, learn new tools, and grow.

Workplace Ethics is a course I am currently taking for the degree I am pursuing. Honestly, I wish this was more of an interactive lecture class. I find a lot of this information truly insightful and helpful. I believe this is a course every manager should have. Obviously most managers have probably had some type of ethics education, however, this course is different in that it is suited for the manager and the employee. Have you ever thought about how you are a follower? How you are a leader? There are toxic versions of both but I had never thought about what went into either of these.

In realizing the need for forward movement in this area of my life, I decided to connect on Linked In. Its business oriented, those who I know in business are on there and maybe, just maybe, I can learn something. That of course started a whole new track – and long story short I found http://www.mindtools.com. I joined. What can it hurt to have some additional learning and mentoring in this area right?

The website, in and of itself, I am so far finding helpful and informative. It is causing me to think about things I have rarely given consideration to in the past, but need considering. Working through my personal workbook on their site, I have had to answer questions and one of those questions stumped me. “What do I value that others fail to exhibit?” Wow. Never thought of it that way before.

I like to believe all the people I work closely with exhibit behaviors that I find appealing. And this is true. However, it caused me to ask myself, what are my top values? Mindtools has a list! (Of Course). In reading through this list I realized a lot of my values are similar to each other – example: Excellence, Perfection, Accuracy – clearly I value hard work and Quality Results. PROBLEM!! I am supposed to come up with 10…..each of these are a different value.

I never thought that honing in on what your values really, truly are would be something I find difficult. I don’t even have a complete list of what everyone would think their values are and I can’t decide!! So, eventually, yes I had to narrow it down.

Values are personal and you don’t have to share them with others, however, I am going to share with you my personal top 10. In no particular order here they are along with what they mean to me:

  1. Preparedness
    1. Being able to know where you want to go and have a plan to get there. Being ready to handle a situation with the right tools to have a positive outcome or the best possible outcome for a situation.
  2. Inner Harmony
      1. Being at peace with your life, your choices, your circumstances that have brought you to where you are. Knowing that you are worthy of good things and that life is what you make it. Striving to make life what you expect it to be and not expecting other to make the changes for you.
    1. Hard Work
      1. Putting forth all possible effort and energy into a task, chore or goal until it is complete or determined otherwise unable to handle or complete. Obtaining the tools and resources you need to get the job done, whether its help, training, knowledge or motivation.
    1. Practicality
      1. Doing all things that have meaning. Not wasting time or effort on endless events or tasks. Ensuring that all you do is done with a goal, result, purpose or vision for putting the result to use. Setting obtainable goals and realistic measures
    1. Stability
      1. Security in life with what you have, living within your means, creating roots in the job, community, and overall life you lead.
    1. Personal Growth
      1. Striving for better in all facets of life. Seeking opportunities to learn and use knowledge.
    1. Self-Actualization
      1. The ability to picture who you want to be; working to become that person. Removing self-doubt, hatred, fear and barriers and putting effort in positive thinking to motivate rather than destroy possibility.
    1. Integrity
      1. Ensuring that you have lived up to your values and are abiding by your own rules of life in all you do. The ability to know you have made the best possible choices and you have done all you can; holding your head up high no matter what others might think.
    1. Altruism
      1. Looking to benefit the whole, the group, the community, the family in all ways possible rather than looking out for what’s best for yourself instead even if it means sacrifice on your part for the betterment of the whole.
    1. Balance
      1. Ensuring that all facets of your life are congruent and aligned. Not allowing one area of life be too overwhelming or forgotten about and that your life reflects the values you hold.images

These are just my top 10. I struggled with where family, love, fun, respect, intuition and other values fit into. I realized that while these are all extremely important to me, if I follow the values I have listed, I will have fun and spend time with my family and love them, show respect for them and earn it from them and my intuition will be listened to. And that is how I found out what made the top of the list.

Have you thought through your values and how well you follow or exhibit them? This was a definite eye opener for me.

I’m That Girl – Who Talks to Herself!


Well, I have been terrible. First I want to apologize – I have been a little stuck in my own world and haven’t written anything in a very long time. Totally my fault and if you have come back to read and found nothing – SORRY! If you are reading this – THANK YOU! for not deserting me. So, I must have been up to an awful lot to not be writing huh? Not exactly……

I am definitely starting some new chapters in my life but I am also really enjoying the now. Ever heard “you can’t be comfortable with someone until you are comfortable in your own skin”? Well, I thought it was a sack of crap. No one really likes themselves entirely – right? I never did, there was always something wrong with how I looked, how I talked, what I said to that stranger….

Side Note and Funny Story: We moved to WV, had lived here a few months and I had met a new friend through my husband. She babysat in her home and so there were always a lot of kids. She had her own 3 and her husbands 3 and whomever she was babysitting. I was happy to know someone in this new town! I was in Wal-Mart a few weeks later and I waved super big and yelled across half the store at the checkout area “Hey! How are you?!” – Yeah it wasn’t anyone I knew. (epic fail!)

Back on track – So, I didn’t really believe anything about loving yourself so much you enjoyed being with yourself in the quiet and were so okay with that that you actually get a little upset when it was interrupted. Of course, I always loved my alone time to take a bath and relax, or go grocery shopping without someone hanging on my pants leg and another someone running around screaming throwing odd food in the cart. But, alone, completely and totally, alone – how do you do that?

Since my older two children are at their dad’s in New York and my youngest went with her dad for the weekend – I had my opportunity. An entire weekend with nothing planned. What to do? I started with a bottle of champagne and a pizza and a movie. I walked around in my skivvies (windows closed!), I watched TV at 2am and slept at 10am. I ignored my phone and I still did mom things like cleaning the fridge.

At the end of the weekend I was relaxed. I didn’t find myself having to call someone to go do something – I got this! I was finally so okay with being by myself that had it been rudely interrupted I probably would have slammed the door in someone’s face.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen. At the end of the weekend I actually was ready to spend time with other people. I now know the value of being by yourself and how rewarding, comforting, and energizing it can be. No matter where I go in my life, I will continue to make sure that every now and then, I still have those weekends – everyone needs them.

My Face Book Challenge!!


As a famous song goes “Happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway”. I don’t want that mat, I want to own happiness and joy and contentment. So what am I talking about and what in the world does this have to do with Face Book? Right! I guess I should tell you that part too.

So, as I read the Little Book of Contentment I realized that a lot of the things discussed are things that I do to myself. Most of the conversations I have are like “Self, you suck, you don’t look good, why did you get your hair cut, UGH you need to go shopping you look like a slug”. Yeah, really, like that. images

I have been wanting contentment and joy and peace and happiness and I have said it before and will say it again…………it feels like a mystical creature that no one ever actually gets their hands on. I want happiness to be my friend for once!! Ok, so that means I have to take charge.

In the book it was stated something like this, failure is not the end, its a way for us to reorganize the methods we use to make ourselves succeed. Ok, so that wasn’t word for word but that’s kinda what he said. Anyway, I have never thought of making myself succeed. Whoa. I can control that?

Happiness and joy and peace and contentment, when people talk about these things you hear how they feel. There is no guide map that says here is how you get to this destination. It’s generally something that has happened over time. They have learned how to be happy in the marriage, in life, in work, in play in whatever. Well, I have never liked the idea of sucking it up and accepting this is my bed so here I lay. However, this idea of making myself succeed at happiness or joy is completely different to me.

How could I do this? Well, I have to learn to love myself and learn to look for the simple things in life. I love my cup of coffee every day and when I am stressed out. Why? Because its calming, it brings good memories, it’s something that makes me think about conversations with those I have loved, happy moments where I laugh, times that I am focused on the simple things of life. The same reason I love hearing rain on a tin roof, sitting on the porch at sunset, walking in nature in the spring and fall or putting my feet in the ocean.

I spend a lot of tiimages (2)me doing things that have no importance at the end of the day. Face Book is one of them. Everyone on there wants you to see that their life is perfect and grand and posts the best pictures and the funnies things, or the political and religious views of everyone and their brother, and then there are those that are just angry and nothing is ever any good. I don’t want to be faced with this again and again because I end up having terrible feelings either at other people or myself because of what I see.

This caused me to think -is any of this worth it? Not really. In the end I came to the conclusion that Face Book is toxic and sometimes “you have to cut out the cancer”. So that is just what I am going to do. For all of my readers who are updated through Face Book I urge you to not stop reading but to sign up using your email address for updates on my blog. I am going to suspend my account with Face Book for a minimum of 1 month. I am going to blog about it, not daily but at least a weekly Face Book update. I am going to start this Friday after July 4th.

I have hope that I will find more time to do things, curious to see if it changes my motivation, anxious to see if any of my anxiety goes away (ha haa) and looking forward to anything that could come from this. Who knows, I might not turn it back on. So this is step one to being a bit happier in my life, removing one item that is causing a lot of distress.

Who wants to join me?!

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Update – 7/18/13:

I really am doubtful that I will turn Face Book back on. I have really enjoyed not wallowing in what other people are doing. This is my life and I get to live it for me. Taking a step back from Face Book has shown me that the important things in life never leave us, we can push them away but they will be there still. I don’t want to waste time missing things like making fruit salad with my daughter in the morning or playing hot pursuit with my son.

Dreams……Perfection……..Reality


As I was laying on my couch this weekend staring at a collage of pictures of my children I began thinking about how life started and how its turning out. When I was a little girl I always had a baby doll. I always wanted to be a momma. As I got a little older I always figured I would stay in my small town, get married and have babies. That’s what everyone does.

I have dreamed of being this mother that her kids would come running to with arms wide open. Being there for every first, making my children the center of my world and nothing less. I had dreams of living in big houses where I get to cook and bake and have people over, laugh and cuddle in front of the fire on cold nights and run in the sprinklers in the summer. A life right off the movie screen right?

I know some people have similar lives but what this dream really was – perfection. The idea of the perfect family, happy mother, loving hugs, children who are as wrapped in their mother as she is in them, a husband who lovingly provides for his family to have all of these things. Perfection………its not reality.

The reality of life is that I do have amazing children. They are extremely individual and different. Its amazing to me to think I helped to create all 3 of my children and they are so different. I see their similarities but they are definitely unique. We have shared so many good times and I know there are a LOT more of them coming.

The other realities is that life isn’t perfect. Movies are made to be enjoyed, you can’t have a good love story if everyone is yelling at each other and slamming doors and doesn’t cuddle. In life, there is as much friction as there is joy and happiness. Its part of what makes the world go round. I know and understand that this perfect life I always thought I would have, isn’t reality. The overall comforting thought of mom always there, happy times and laughs that is reality, its just not bundled with a cute little bow.

Every relationship whether its a parent and child, siblings, husband and wife, best friends, they all take the exact same amount of work. The problem is, who do you work on first? The reality is sometimes friendships slide to the back a little when another relationship is struggling like a marriage. The children and that relationship is extremely complex because not only are you their protector and friend, you are their rule maker. It is up to you to ensure that your children grow up with the values that are important in life, knowing how to treat people, how to communicate with others, how to express themselves without hurting other people, how to be successful in life and how to maneuver through all the pain this world is inevitably going to throw at them.

So when faced with who to work on first, its a choice. You can have dreams about how things work and you should but realize that your dreams are including the element of perfection which life doesn’t provide. So what is your reality? For me, this is the part where I create a balance as close as I can to being equal over time. Sometimes my children are going to take more from me than I think I can give. Sometimes my friendships really need to be on top for a bit, especially if these people are important to me. Sometimes my relationship with my parents is going to take a front seat. Overall, looking back, its the balance that is important.

If you are only in your marriage, everyone including you suffers. You can potentially lose yourself, your friendships, your closeness with your children. These relationships suffer at the expense of one. That is not balance. The same can be true for your children. If you wrap every second of every day into them, you don’t have time for someone special in your life, unless your friends do similar things with their kids that you do with yours you probably wont have many friends.

When you find that one relationship is smothering the others, its time to re-evaluate where you are and where balance lies. What can you do to change things? Without balance in life, in all that you do, you can get lost and in the end not know where you are or what to do about it. I’m deciding that lost is not where I want to be. I want life to be enjoyable with many things to look forward to, that way when the battles come, I can get through them knowing good happens too.

I’m Just Passing Through


It has been a while since I have blogged about anything and it almost seems like I have forgotten what to do. Yes, I turned 30 – this age that in my mind I seem to have made into more of a right of passage with everything going on in my life. Do I feel different – I have always thought that was the dumbest question anyone could ask. The only birthdays I can remember feeling any different was my 16th and my 21st, for obvious reasons. Every day you wake up – do you feel different than the day before? No. Generally people don’t. However, if you wake up one day and think about a few years ago, I’m sure you feel different now than you did then – a few years have gone by!

I celebrated my birthday with some good friends. It wasn’t over the top – except the friend who took one too many shots and that was the end of the night for her! (She knows I love her) We talked and drank – more than I have had to drink in a long time – for several hours. What amazed me is that I can still hold my liquor! And that I woke up at 630 am the next morning without a hang over. I tried some new drinks, played some songs and laughed it up. It was a great way to ring in my birthday.

The rest of the weekend was just like any normal weekend. I dealt with family, with my kids, cleaning, laundry, bills, mail, my car – what else is there to do in a weekend? Yes, I envisioned that my 30’s would start with this huge bang and be awesome and amazing but I don’t think that 4 days into it I can say it won’t be those things…………we are just on the slow part of the roller coaster right now.

I do know that I started this all as being an adventure. I have talked about my children and their amazing wonderfully crippling antics, music, and hardship. I have been faced with more things recently than I really ever thought I should have to deal with. What I am finding truly amazing is that somehow, somewhere I have acquired the skills (that I didn’t think I would ever have), to deal with situations.

I can tell my husband things I used to be afraid to say. Why? Because I know its not fair to pretend something is OK meanwhile in my head I am cursing and stomping my feet because its not going the way I want it. That is exactly how I have lived my life, until the past few weeks. That behavior is only creating resentment in myself towards everyone else that isn’t doing just so. Jeez. I wouldn’t have wanted to live with me.

I can listen to someone tear me down because they needed to vent about things and not lose my composure or stomp away or yell at them. I can hear past the tone of fury into the heart of pain to hear what they really are trying to say. Do I wish it was handled differently? Of course! Feeling ambushed by opinions and thoughts of you did, you should have and I want is not really what anyone would choose.

In the end, I guess what I am trying to say is that I finally just might have crossed over into the grown up world. I feel like it is OK to say what I want, to laugh and cry when I want, to take time to process my thoughts before sharing them. Its very much OK to be human and have an opinion and not be mechanical because you think that’s what other people want. Who cares what they want! What do you want?

The golden key I have been handed has unlocked a new world for me and I’m not looking back now.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall


Reflection. A word with 9 definitions according to Merriam Webster Dictionary Online.

An image given back by a reflecting surface. When you stand in front of the mirror what do you see? I have always seen the same 19 year old girl full of mistakes, awkwardness, fear and shame. It’s been 10 years of looking at that same girl. No matter how often I change my hair, add makeup, get a new pair of glasses, it doesn’t matter……….it’s always the same girl.

A thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation. My life absolutely does NOT reflect anything about who I always thought I was.

Consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose. I happened to read this today:

Productivity Practice is that the brain can’t distinguish between are really well mocked up imagining of an outcome and the physical action.  Sports trainers know this.  Top athletes spend large portions of the training schedule ‘imaging in’ the successful result (crossing the finish line, sinking the put, serving an ace) because those imaging literally change the physiology.  I wrote last week about our limiting beliefs.  Our self talk is programming us all the time.  Let’s program ourselves for the outcomes we want. An excerpt from the Practice of Productivity blog.

So, as I am pondering all of this I thought about who exactly I thought I was. I LOVE baking, horses, romance, candles, bubble baths, cowboy boots and hats, county fairs (the events not the rides), music, performing arts, large old houses with character, walking in nature, sunrises and sunsets, weddings, large family dinners, holiday excitement, giving people surprises.

Then, there is who I am not. I know nothing about cars, I hate working in the yard, I don’t easily talk to other people on my own but I will talk to you if you try, I don’t like teaching people because I am not a patient person. I appreciate that other people can do things that I can not and I want other people to appreciate what I can do.

I currently live in town in a townhouse, working a job that I have lost passion for where I have to train people over and over and over again on the same thing, living near absolutely no family members of my own, not celebrating holidays with anything more than a dinner. I quit baking to make others happier, I stopped buying candles because it cost money, I don’t have a tub big enough to soak well in but its bigger than the last.

I got rid of my boots a long time ago and the hat left long before that. I don’t go to the fairs, can’t find anyone to attend anything in the arts field with, I walk by with longing looks at some houses in town and really love the town across the river even more. Boil all of that down – you get someone who is so far from their personal truth they almost don’t exist.20130616_184211

Reflection is also the act of bending. So, if the quote above is true, I have started envisioning myself owning a bakery and going home to big farm house with a horse to feed and someone that meets me at the door every now and then with flowers and a picnic in front of the fire place and dances with me in the moonlight. A fairy tale – maybe, but it’s really not so far fetched.

I filled out the FAFSA today. Yup, I’m going to find a way to get to culinary school one way or another. It might take me all 10 years or more to make my dream real but it beats staring at the same girl that I have for the last 10 years. I would rather try and risk the possibility of failure than to never try at all and simply wish things to be different.

Who’s in your mirror?

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