Monday, August 12, 2013

Life Goes On

There are times in life that are all about the lesson learned.  And the one major thing, is that life goes on.  You can't change the past, you can learn and grow from it, but you can't change what happened.

The past week was a bear!  I won't go into a lot of details except to say that I was put in the middle of a situation that I never dreamed would happen.  While I hope that it is somewhat resolved, I learned a lot of things about myself and the people involved.  

It's the time of year when many days work just seems unbearable.  I hope that I am raising my children to be respectful adults and to remember that there is always a person on the other side.  I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to be so disrespectful to others.  I know many will say it is the current generation, but I don't believe this can be limited to a generation.  I've had people many years older than me be just as bad as a current twenty something.  It is almost that people feel the more they yell and scream that you'll be more likely to change your response.  Working in a financial aid office, it just doesn't work that way.

But no matter how bad things might have seemed (and they did seem bad), my kids started back to school and are loving it.  We spent a great weekend together as a family celebrating Ken's birthday.  We sat with our friends at church and for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace.  Peace in knowing that I'm right where God wants me to be.  I am not perfect - I am far from it.  I learn more every day about the person I want to be and the kind of people I want my kids to be.

Life goes on....we just have to find a way to continue to see the good in every day.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sometimes, Silence is Golden

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen some posts over the past week that indicate things haven’t been rosy in my little corner of the world.  I posted last week the following, “Honesty is the best policy, until someone gets hurt.  And then maybe it isn’t.”

I did something that was completely out of the normal for me last week.  I told someone how I felt about a situation.  The thing I didn’t take into consideration when I sent the email was that person’s feelings and how they felt about the situation.  I say it is out of the normal because if you’ve read my past few blog entries you know I’ve talked about how I’m a people pleaser.  A lot of times I don’t tell people exactly because I don't know what the reaction will be.

I say all this to say the following….I made a mistake.  A big one.  I hurt a very dear friend and I am not sure what the outcome will be.  I can’t take the words back, I can’t change what I said…I can’t change how I feel/felt.  However, I could have been more graceful in how I said what I was feeling.  And more than anything, I could have been more compassionate about how the other person might feel.  I let things become all about me.

If you know me well, then you know this isn’t my personality.  If you know me well, you also know I can’t help but worry and be concerned about the situation.  And finally if you know me well, you know I dwell on things.  So….I’m trying to start a new week on the right foot, but so far, it hasn’t been easy.

Think about what you say and how you’re going to say it.  If you think what you might say could be misinterpreted, wait a little while before saying it, sending that email or picking up the phone and rethink it after some time has passed.  I share this from a lesson learned.

The journey to 40 is not proving to be so easy….

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front on me; I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.  ~Albert Camus

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. ~Henri Nouwen

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you might have noticed a theme over the past few days.  Last night, I posted the following (which was an original thought by me):  True friendship is based on give and take.  You can’t be the one who gives all the time, nor can you be the one who always takes. 

June was a crazy busy month.  I worked at Vacation Bible School and then went “home” for a week to work at Camp Sumatanga.  In the solitude of being at Camp, with very little connection to the outside world, I really began to think about those people that are closest to me.  It gave me a great deal of time to think about and focus on the important things in life.  My last blog post mentioned that it was time for me to set some boundaries and determine when it is time to walk away, rather than continue to give and give.  Obviously I’m still struggling with that or I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.

But while at Camp, with no real connection to the outside world, I discovered some of the things I loved best.  The simplicity of life - watching campers enjoy the great outdoors without electronics being at the forefront of every thought and move; dancing with campers and listening to all the laughter; and sitting on a porch swing talking about life.  It was a great reminder to me that some times we all need to slow down and focus on the important things in life.

So what are those important things in life?  I guess they are different for each one of us, but the most important thing is that it should be things that enhance your life, not take away from it, whether it be relationships, technology, jobs or the every day little things that seem to creep up.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Life is Never Easy

This week has been really hard for me.  It wasn’t just one thing, but a compilation of a lot of things.  I haven’t really felt like “myself” all week.  It’s been a week where I spent a lot more time in tears than smiling.  I’ll share a little of what has happened this week and then tell you some of the conclusions that I’ve come to about life.

On Tuesday, I received word that our dear friend, Karen, died.  I knew her struggle with breast cancer had made a turn for the worse after her husband’s last update.  My heart was broken – for her husband and her three boys.  We had the privilege of knowing Karen and her family as her youngest and Adam was in the same preschool class as infants at Due West UMC.  They were in the same class a couple more times over the years and we always kept in touch with their family.  Even though we didn’t see each other a lot, we almost always caught up at Breakfast with Santa each year.  

I’ll be honest – I’ve followed most of Karen’s journey from afar.  We took meals to them a few times and delivered care packages to them.  But most of the journey we watched from afar.  I really thought I could hold it together for her Celebration of Life service, but not so much.  It’s been a long time since I’ve cried that much.  When we walked in and had an opportunity to speak with Kirk, the tears started and I just couldn’t control them afterwards.

Our church was mostly full for the service.  Karen was loved by so many and as one of her friends stated on Saturday, Karen always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room.  She had this way of always making you feel important, loved and cared about.  It was evident that many people felt the same way about her.  I only hope that one day, someone can say ¼ of the things about me that were said about Karen on Saturday.  I’m so glad she is at peace now and no longer suffering, but I’m still sad for her family that is left behind.

I want to be the type of friend that Karen was to so many.  It is something I will aspire to be.  Over the past few years, I haven’t worked to maintain some of the friendships that I should have.  I’ve let “life” get in the way too many times lately.  One of the things I walked away with on Saturday was that it was time for me to do a better job and reach out to some of my friends who may be separated by distance.

The other thing that I’ve really struggled with this week is setting boundaries for me.  I don’t mean “boundaries” in the typical sense of the word.  However, I’ve found myself lately putting more of myself out over and over for people to the point where I’m letting them take advantage of me.  I find myself doing this a lot at work.  My response lately has been “I’ll take care of it”.  On the small scale, this isn’t an issue.  However, when it causes me to be working 14 hours days, it is an issue.

This isn’t only an issue at work, but I find it in social settings and with some of my friends.  I continue to put myself out for people, and don’t always receive that same kind of support in return.  I struggle over whether it is being a good friend/co-worker/etc., and whether it is being taken advantage of.  I know it is a delicate balance.  I guess the deciding factor is when it consumes too much of your thoughts and time.   I have always been the type of person to go to the extreme for those I care about, but lately I’m beginning to wonder if I do this to a fault.  

I saw this posted on Facebook earlier and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was speaking to me:  “When you realize that you’re constantly treating a person a lot better than they treat you, it’s time to make a change”.   I think it is time to change a lot of things so I can be at peace and be happy with who I am.  I’ve written previously that I’m still trying to figure out who I am – but I think a large part of this journey is being content with the decisions that I make.  

So as I start a new week, I am going to work to be a better friend to those I haven’t worked to maintain those relationships with.  However, I’m also going to work to set boundaries on myself and my time.  I will always work to be the best co-worker/friend/mother/spouse/daughter that I can be, but I am beginning to realize that it can only be done when you know in your mind where the “stopping point” is. Here’s to another week filled with learning…..

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Journey to 40....What Makes Me Happy?

It should be such an easy question, but in reality it isn’t.  One of my dearest friends made the comment to me this week, “only you can decide your contentment/happiness”.  What powerful words with so much meaning behind them.  I said in my last post that I am a people pleaser.  And I am….so what that often means is I’m more worried about others than I am myself.  I’ve known this about myself for a long time.  But it seems recently, it has been a little harder for me to accept.

So today’s post is about what makes me happy….it is sort of a random list, but I thought it was a start.

Adam and Andrew’s laughter, hugs and kisses
Spending time with my husband, Ken, where we really have time to talk without all of life’s interruptions
Our chosen family, the Roberts and the Kunkels
A really good service at Due West UMC where you can feel the spirit moving
Really good music – live and in person
Singing some of my favorite songs at the top of my lungs while driving alone
Reconnecting with two of my best friends from high school….even years can’t impact some of those friendships
Swinging in the hammock in the backyard
Random texts from friends – just because
That my parents are a big part of my children’s lives
Helping students gain a college education
Time at the Beach
A really good cupcake  :-)

Life is never easy….this week has shown that in so many ways.  I can’t watch the news or listen to some of my favorite songs without being in tears.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those in Oklahoma.  I can’t even imagine, but I know that God is in control even now and I pray for His hand of comfort and mercy to cover all those impacted by the storms this week.

My journey continues.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days are filled with self-discovery.  But no matter what, it is a journey to discovering me.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Journey to 40.....Who Am I?

I have been thinking about writing more on my blog for a while.  I guess the "push" I needed happened in our staff meeting on Friday.  A good friend of mine and colleague, Angela, did a session for us on The Happiness Project.  Angela left me a copy of the book.  I haven't started it yet, but I will soon.    

One of the first things Angela talked about was interviewing yourself.  It really got me to thinking about "Who Am I?"  Some of it is easy, I'm the daughter of Tex and Regina.  I'm the wife of Ken and the mommy to Adam and Andrew.  I work at Kennesaw State University.  I volunteer at Due West United Methodist Church where we are active members.  I volunteer at Frey Elementary School.  I love watching Alabama football and drink a Coke every morning.  Ok - so those are some of the things about me, but they don't really define me.  They are part of what make me who I am, but I think there is much more.

I'm a people-pleaser.  I have been since I was a child.  I always wanted teachers to like me.  I wanted to make my parents proud.  I always wanted people to like me.  I would do anything for my friends, even when those same friends wouldn't do the same for me.  And in many ways, that has carried through into my adulthood.  I think in many ways, girls are raised this way or maybe it is just part of our genetic make-up.  But it many ways it can also be a detriment.  I have always tried so hard to please everyone else that in many ways I just take on what ever they do.  For example, liking the same food as someone else, liking the same music, etc.  If you like all the same things, everyone is happy right?  Well maybe not.

So, it was pretty hard for me to interview myself.  I've always known this was an issue for me, because in social settings I rarely like to make a decision.  I can make one professionally with no issues.  But ask me where to go to lunch, and most often my answer is "I don't care".  Ask me what I'd like to do with my free time, and most often my answer is "it doesn't matter".  Ask me what kind of drink I want when I'm out with friends and a lot of times you'll hear me say "what are you drinking?"

A part of my journey is trying to determine who I am.  First and foremost, I know I am a child of God.  Am I perfect?  Not by a long shot.  Do I disappoint Him?  Of course I do.  Can I ask for forgiveness?  Absolutely.

I have a fantastic family - husband, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  I also have a very few close friends that we call our chosen family.  We're closer to them than we are some of our extended family.

After those two categories are covered, I start to struggle a bit more with identifying who I am.  And maybe more importantly, who I want to be.  I have a feeling the next few months will be a journey and I'm looking forward to what I can discover and change about myself as I approach a new "first number" of my age.  


Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Been A While....

It's been over two years since I've posted on our blog.  I seem to spend most of my time on Facebook these days.  But, as my journey to 40 begins, I've decided that it is time to spend a little time putting my thoughts to "paper"' and start blogging again.  The blog may change its tone for a won't all be filled with posts about the kids and what's happening, but more about the changes I want to make as I approach the changing of the "front number" of my age.

But, since it's been two years, there is a little catching up to do.  I changed jobs in October of 2011 and have never been happier.  I love working at Kennesaw State University.  It's easy to love the commute (8 miles from home), but more than that, I love what I'm doing.  I love knowing that I'm helping students get an education.  I work with some great folks and am so very glad I made the change.  

Adam is in 2nd grade (for a few more weeks) and is loving school.  He's one smart cookie.  He impresses me most every day with the things that he comes up with.  Andrew will graduate from Pre-K in a couple of weeks.  He'll start Kindergarten in the fall and will also be at Frey Elementary.  It will be nice to have them both at the same school.  I know they'll both enjoy it.  

Ken is still with IBM and enjoying his job.  He is back to working from home several days a week and enjoys being around the house.

Bailey is our almost 80lb lab mix and we all love her.  She is a great dog and protector of our family.

Just so you'd have an update, I've included one of our photos from this past fall.  So, here's the brief update, but watch for more to come.