hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

A baggie of Goldfish May 23, 2011

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My “other son”, a kiddo that has spent countless nights at my house, not to mention nearly every holiday, party, major and not-so-major moment with my family over the last five years, graduated from elementary school today. His mama sent me a text that said “He finished his graduation and now we are at the park. He’s running around with his girlfriend. I’ve lost him forever.” Ohhhh deep sighs…. I have a few more days before mine graduates to middle school as well, and I can’t help but wonder in awe how this day came so soon. And I know completely how she feels!

I look at my boy, who laughs at adult jokes that I know he doesn’t QUITE get yet, but he gets enough to understand it’s funny. I look at his shaggy hair that he won’t let me cut, his sense of style that is 60% there, and his need to carry a cool binder instead of a backpack. I am so crazy proud of this kid. He’s polite, he’s kind, and he has the biggest heart. He’s sincere and genuine and doesn’t ever set out to hurt anyone’s feelings except his brother’s.. (haha). But what I love is that he still “needs” me to get him his baggie of Goldfish crackers before school each day, and I still get to tuck him in each night. I know that these days and nights are limited, so I try so hard to enjoy every single one of them. When it’s a hectic morning and it’s all I can do to keep from pulling my hair out, I’m BLESSED that I still have a kid who wants me to get him his snack. Who asks me to sign his assignment notebook. Who kisses me every morning before the bus arrives and he’s off to his busy day. Who still cliimbs into my lap on occasion to watch television. Even if it is Supernatural or Family Guy he’s requesting to watch instead of Disney Pixar movies.

I’ve said it before, and I know that I will say it a thousand more times, but I so want time to just freeze… please.

Last but not least, I want to send out some peace and comfort into the universe tonight for all of those impacted by the terrible tornadoes that came through here over the weekend. Joplin, Missouri was nearly leveled by a tornado, and my heart breaks for all of those families tonight who have lost their homes, their cars, their businesses but mostly for those who lost a loved one. XOXOXOXO

 

The end of the world as we know it May 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 5:56 pm

That song has been running through my head all day, thanks to Sugarland’s post on Facebook upon the world making it to another day. I was really bothered by all this May 21st End of The World stuff, not because I was concerned it was the end of the world – I wasn’t. The Mayan calendar stuff freaks me out more than some guy who already got it wrong once before. But it bothered me because THE LOCAL NEWS was talking about it, and my child, who was spending the night with a friend sent me a text because he was scared. Why don’t people think about these things when decide what news to report? And isn’t the news supposed to be factual NEWS as opposed to a belief? Sigh. Enough about that.

Much more importantly, since we are in fact here to live another day, is what IF the end really is that close? What if we really only have another year or two. If you knew, for certain, that that was all we had, what would you want to accomplish? Whatever that is, you should do it. Now. Because you’ll never look back and say “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t followed my dreams.” I sure wish I hadn’t taken the kids to the ocean. I sure wish I hadn’t learned to play the piano. I wish I hadn’t taken that trip to Italy I’d been dreaming of my whole life.

That would never happen. So, being as we ARE here, and we DO have today, shouldn’t we enjoy it? The worst thing that would happen is that we would do that one thing we’ve always wanted to and then after that… we’d have opened the door for something else on our list. It’s kind of like me and how I’m starting to take classes in college again. Now that I’ve enrolled and bought the books and communicated with the teacher, I FEEL like I’m on a different path than I was just three months ago. I have known for years that this was something I wanted, but it was always a “someday”. Now it’s here and I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. I’m nervous and worried about how I will accomplish it, but I’m crazy proud of myself for actually taking that step forward.

Off to celebrate a birthday for one of the most wonderful people in my universe! Goodnight friends!

 

Family tree May 18, 2011

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one day it will be pleasant to remember these things
Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/infobunny/

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Last week, E was assigned a project to find out information about his heritage. He came home and brought up the website http://www.ancestry.com to show me. I had been on it once before but didn’t want to waste the “two week” trial period when I didn’t have much time to devote to it. But this time, in order to help him with his assignment, I went ahead and tried it and was just AMAZED at the results. I would enter in one member, and it would bring up clues to another, but when I found the census registry from my great-grandfather that showed that his home was worth $35.00 and he was a salesman for the “mill”, I was hooked. I spent probably four hours that night typing away, with one person leading to another and then another and then another… I think E got a little irritated that I got so sucked into it! 🙂 Anyway, I finally reached a decent stopping point, where it became very obvious where the holes in the memories were. So I emailed my mom, and got in contact with my grandma-in-law, and my mother-in-law and got what I could. Before too long, my mom was visiting her mother to find out names and dates, and I arrived home from work to find my mother-in-law had brought me a book of one side’s family history. It is amazing, and beautiful, and humbling to see all those on paper who have come before you.

I love this. It’s SO AMAZING to see where my family has come from, and who my husband and my children come from. And to realize that someday, I myself will be just a name and a set of dates on some woman or man’s family tree. To look at one couple, who had FIFTEEN CHILDREN, and to see the hundreds… literally… that have come from that one couple. It’s no wonder our earth’s population is so large! But too… to see how our trees are growing smaller as well. Now people are having two children, instead of five.. and five was instead of 12… because our world and society just doesn’t have the need for large families like that. We can’t afford them.

So that is my little blessing this week. The homework assignment that sparked a lot of conversations, and documenting and hopefully, a really neat record for my family. And even more importantly, the chance to catch information from those who know it first hand, while we still can. Sometimes I think we forget to ask the questions, to write it all down, while we still can. I’m glad I have that chance now, when the grandmas in my family are still here to ask.

One other little thing tonight that happened that I want to mention. I texted a friend of mine to let her know I wouldn’t be joining Bunco this week because I was feeling crummy, and she texted back within minutes to say that she was running to Target, and could she pick me up anything? I was genuinely surprised and touched by her gesture. I think I need to up my “friend-game” a little, because I don’t know if it would occur to me to offer to run to Target for a friend! Bring soup if she’s really sick, yes. Go to the hospital and take flowers, yes… but that’s all for major stuff. But for just feeling crappy? I should take that gesture and strive to be THAT FRIEND. It was so sweet. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. All the wonderful people in my life! I just hope that I am able to be that wonderful girl in someone else’s life!

Blessings and love to you tonight!! I’m off to bed early to ward off the croup that Little One so kindly shared with me this week. 🙂 Sweet dreams, my friends.

 

The Titanic May 16, 2011

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I only have a few moments to post tonight, because I am just exhausted. My poor little one was in the hospital last night with croup. CROUP! I didn’t realize that croup could be that serious but apparently it can. Anyway, a night on a cot with nurses coming in and out and a fussy, crying baby makes for very little rest. And I feel like an ancient woman tonight. I laughingly told my husband that my whole body hurts – I have a sharp pain shooting up my back, my ankle hurts and I’m exhausted… pathetic! This is terrible if one night on a cot does this to me. What will I do if we go camping this summer?

But anyway, I really just had to share what E told me today, because it was hilarious. We were talking about the possibility of past lives and I told him that I have one memory (dream? image? memory?), that I’ve had my whole life, where I’m on some sort of ship and it’s really dark and cloudy/misty. In the picture in my head, I seem to know that there are A LOT of people around me. E said “Wow! Were you on a slave ship?” I told him “I don’t know. Maybe it was the Titanic!” He snorted and said “Mom, you can’t have been on the Titanic! It had just sunk a few years before you were born!” HAHAHA!!! Love that kid!

 

Surprise date night May 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 5:25 pm
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My hidden blessing today is a night alone with my husband!! Not completely alone, but just us and Little One, which is really exciting. Alone time for the just the two of us is too rare… last fall, when I first started having my Fridays off, Fridays was a fun us-day, when it was just us and Little One. It kind of felt like we were young again… back when it was just us and the baby… only this time around we have enough money to go out for lunch at a microbrewery instead of ramen noodles and Leinenkugels eaten over the hand-me-down coffee table in our apartment. But those Friday lunches quickly got absorbed by doctor’s appointments, grocery store trips and other errands and that extra day became my get-everything-done day. Unfortunately, this also meant that my husband and I’s quiet “us” time went right out the window.

Today we celebrated B’s birthday with a party in the backyard. Originally I was rather disappointed that 3 of the 7 boys we invited couldn’t make it, and I was actually a little worried about whether we had enough kids at the party. But like most things in life, everything happens for a reason. We had so much loud, raucous, manic BOY ENERGY that we could barely keep it in check. The “wounded soldier” game was the best… each team sent out a soldier to run to the crest at the back of our yard and lay down. Then the teammates ran out, wrapped up their wounded soldier in toilet paper and lifted him onto his gurney (i.e. beach towel) and carry him back to safety. But it quickly became teepee-the-house and drag-the-soldier-by-his-feet-until-he-has-grass-stains-on-his-butt. Then we had random children running into the house by themselves searching for their prizes and B in tears because his missile-balloon wouldn’t blow up… ahhh, sometimes I think the $150 Chuck E Cheese ticket is worth leaving all the stress behind – but there’s something to be said for creativity and backyard fun, too.

When the last boy was picked up, the kids begged his mom to let B have a sleepover. I happily obliged, because E is at a sleepover tonight too, and I knew B would be sad being home without him (especially on his birthday-party weekend!). But after he was gone I realized that this is actually an opportunity for a great date night! After the baby goes to bed, we will grill some steaks and crack open a bottle of wine. Rent a movie, snuggle on the couch… ahh, heaven. I am blessed indeed.

I hope your night is as wonderful as the one ahead of me!! Goodnight, my friends!

 

Don’t Stop Believing May 11, 2011

Filed under: Signs — hiddenblessing @ 10:24 pm
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Most of you know that my inspiration behind this blog was little Ronan and his amazingly inspiring mom and their fight against neuroblastoma. Ronan lost his fight this week, and although I don’t even know this little guy, my heart broke for Ronan’s mom and their family. She writes beautifully, and she touches her readers… you couldn’t help but be sucked into her story. I hope that someday when she finds the strength again, she’ll publish her story in it’s entirety, but for the moment, she’s still astonishing her readers with her insight and grace as she gets through these days.

Mostly what I wanted to tell you about, though, was that she posted today that she has heard the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey repeatedly since little Ronan died earlier this week. She believes that this is a little sign from her boy, to never stop believing in him. And I believe in her. What’s really interesting about all of this is that strangely enough, I too heard the song on my way home from work the night that she posted that he was gone (I hadn’t seen the post yet). I don’t know what made me pay attention to it, but I did, and my thoughts drifted somewhere along the lines of the fact that it was a Journey song and just the other week my Marvelous Nikki was going to sell a Journey t-shirt at our garage sale. Minor, mindless thoughts, but I thought about it enough that I remember it.

So then Ronan’s mom posts about how she’s hearing this song everywhere, and a few of her blog readers have posted the same thing in their comments to her. And then tonight, James on American Idol sings… you guessed it… Don’t Stop Believing. All I could do was smile — little Ronan! — and think about the thousands of people his story has touched (literally). And then think about what I was saying in my last post about all the funny little coincidences, signs and gentle nudgings that the universe sends our way… this week has just been insanely full of them.

So my friends – tonight I want to leave you with this message that I really believe comes from somewhere other than where you and I are today…. don’t stop believing. Don’t stop believing in messages, in signs, in dreams… in hope, in inspiration, in a new start. In the ability to conquer unbeatable odds, in the ability to change the world around you. Don’t stop believing in the power of love and laughter and faith. There is a beautiful day waiting for us tomorrow.

Peace and blessings and love to you tonight. And if you have a little extra room in your prayers tonight, please pray for little Ronan to fly high with the angels and for his family to be at peace. Goodnight!

 

Following the right path May 9, 2011

Filed under: Signs — hiddenblessing @ 7:17 pm
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This Way
Picture found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/potteryandeverythingelse/

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Have you ever noticed how once you hear a new word or learn of a new concept all of a sudden you hear it everywhere? Supposedly it was there all along, you just didn’t notice it. Because you hadn’t noticed it, you effectively cancelled it out or skimmed over it as though it was never there. But really, it was. You were just blind to it.

I don’t really know if I think that that’s true. I think sometimes you find yourself noticing something for a very particular reason. Maybe your angels are “nudging” you to see something, or maybe this something, whatever it is, is an important part of your future. Regardless of which it is, lately it seems like the stars have just aligned and then universe is throwing a giant, blinking “THIS WAY” arrow at me.

I stopped by to wish my mother-in-law a happy Mother’s Day yesterday, and we talked a bit about books. She and I tend to have the same tastes in our non-fiction books, and it’s always so nice to have someone to relate to when I’m interested in a particular subject. She told me about two new books she had read, which were about … bear with me here… cells and how our beliefs and thought processes can physically affect our bodies, by affecting our very cells.

I believe this could be true. I do believe, for certain, that sometimes when someone is dying, they have the ability to hold on – or let go – as they choose to. My great aunt, for example, had asked me to come be with her one March day many years ago. She told me that I was the last one she had to talk to; that she had had a chance to speak to everyone else alone, and I was her last. She told me that she knew she was dying and that she wasn’t afraid. That I shouldn’t cry, that she was at peace with this. She died that night. I think it was a choice; she had made her peace and said her goodbyes… she was ready to transition into her next adventure. And if we humans have the ability to do that, sometimes, why shouldn’t we have the ability to make other changes in our body? To will ourselves to live, to will ourselves healthy… or to bring illness upon ourselves if we believe firmly enough that it is so?

But I digress. What I was amazed about was that today while at lunch, I sat reading my college-level Biology book that I bought in preparation for my upcoming classes… and there, in black and white in MY BOOK was a statement that very closely mirrored that which my mother in law had just presented to me the day before. It was talking about how while it is hard to imagine that animals (including us) at their very smallest are made up of molecules and then cells… even the fact that we have thoughts about them at all is actually just the process of molecules moving from one cell to the next. I can’t help but tie that back to what my mother in law and I talked about yesterday… and what I really think is, is that the fact that we’re discussing it at the same time I’m finding it in my textbooks… just tells me that I really am headed in the right direction. I think that there is a bigger purpose behind everything, and I think that sometimes the coincidences happen as a reminder from the universe that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to.

I also had something else really neat happen today. Last night I dreamt of my friend L, who I have been friends with my entire life. Literally. We lived across the street from each other as toddlers and when we were in elementary school she moved away, but that didn’t change much for us. We haven’t seen each other in ten years and we haven’t actually haven’t contacted each other since last July, but we can pick up in an email as though we had just had dinner yesterday. Anyway, I dreamt of L. I don’t dream of her very often, but in my dream I was with her, grocery shopping of all places. A giant MOUSE or RAT or something, fell out of the ceiling or lights onto me and in real life, I yelled out and sat straight up in bed, searching through the sheets for this mysterious mouse (which didn’t exist). I had a hard time going back to sleep, and when I woke, L was still on my mind.

An hour or two later I was still thinking about her and so I sent her a message through Facebook. I just said that I had dreamt about her, and was everything ok?? She responded almost immediately and said “CRAZY. We always have this connection.” and she proceeded to tell me about some very painful, very serious issues going on in her personal life right now, which she felt like she couldn’t tell anyone else about. I am so thankful that something told me to contact her, and that I can now reach out my hand to help. I just wish my “feelers” had picked up on this earlier!

I sincerely believe today is just one of those amazing days when the stars are all aligned and the messages are just there for you to pick them up. Here is my thank you to the universe for opening my eyes (and dreams) to them!

Good night, my friends. Thank you SO MUCH for reading!!

 

A working mom May 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 6:01 pm

I just want to talk about this for a moment. Being a mom is HARD. There are no two ways around it. It is the most guilt-ridden, anxiety-wrenching, fill you with joy till you could burst experience in the world. There is nothing like it, and no way to explain or prepare someone for it. I sat with a friend last night for a long time, talking about exactly that. And it’s something you can never get until you’ve actually been there.

I worked full-time for a long time after becoming a mom. I wanted more than anything, always, to be home with my children. When I envisioned and planned my life, being a working career woman was never in the picture I imagined. I would have a job, yes, (I would be a nurse) but my first job was to be a mom. But life and family and reality arrived, and it was never possible for us. I cried, every so often, about how it was killing me that my children were growing older in front of my eyes and I still wasn’t home with them. That I couldn’t go on the field trip to the Science Museum with my child, because I had to work. Why couldn’t I go to the talent show tryouts? Volunteer at field day? Let him sign up for soccer at 3:45 Mondays? Some of these things I could do, some of the time. But I couldn’t go to every classroom party, to the PTO meetings at 9 am at Starbucks, to each choir performance at the local grocery stores at 11 am. I couldn’t because there is just not enough vacation time in a professional career to do that, all the time.

And I’m good at being a career woman. I love what I do; I have pride in my career. I make a difference in people’s lives, I hope. I like the pride it brings me, and the fact that I’m valued and needed. That I am trusted with serious business decisions and situations. I like being really, insanely busy. But that doesn’t change the fact that if I won the lottery, I would always choose my children first.

When I became pregnant with Little One, I knew it was my last. This was my final chance to be a stay at home mom. And there was just no way that it could happen. Period. To not work would mean that my children would go without. Literally. It wasn’t a matter of “buckling down” or “cutting corners” as various women would tell me in an attempt to be helpful. If I didn’t work, we would have enough money for the mortgage and the car payment and part of the grocery bill. We might have enough for the electricity and water and insurance payments. But we wouldn’t have money for birthday parties, haircuts, back to school clothes… we wouldn’t have the money for tires and brakes or air conditioner repairs. It wouldn’t be worth it to take away all of the fun stuff and some of the necessities, just for me to be home. So we found a compromise… I would stay home part time, which in our case means one day.

So I have Fridays at home with Little One. I cannot begin to express to you how very, very, very much difference ONE DAY makes. I am astounded at how much more I can get done, and I also don’t feel like I am giving away his whole childhood to someone else. I am here, what feels like HALF the time… as opposed to before, which felt like (scratch that, WAS) an hour and 1/2 at night each day. It has truly changed EVERYTHING. I have the very best of both worlds; a career, and a lot of time to be with my darling babies.

I don’t have hours and hours to read stories to him and garden and play outside like I would imagined I would. But I still have a day with my boy, where I can kiss him and cuddle him and take him to the grocery store. We go to garage sales and walk at the park and play in the backyard. This one day I have I treasure beyond belief. And I am SO excited about this summer because I will get to have time with the older two when they are on summer break, which I have not been able to experience yet!

I will still envy the stay at home moms. I will still wish that I had that; nothing will ever change that. But I am ok with what I’m doing now. I truly have the best of both worlds, and for that I am so thankful.

 

Running in the rain May 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 6:39 pm

misty rainbow
Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666/

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I have had a really long, crummy, anxiety-filled day. But I got off work early so I went for a run. It began to rain about three minutes into it, and it was such a wonderful experience. I always loved playing in the rain as a kid, and running today was no exception. I wanted to just stop and turn my face up to the gray sky and let the water pour down on me. I was hot, and the rain was cold, and the music pouring through my headphones was just perfect for my mood.

I slowed to a walk and the music changed to a slow, quiet melody with momentary pauses through it. It was quiet enough that I could actually hear the rain padding against the sidewalk and street and the thunder as it rolled in the clouds overhead. It was a very cool, serene moment, the kind where all your senses are alive. If only I had had a camera to capture it, although I don’t think a picture could have begun to capture everything in that moment. The newly budding trees and grass smelled perfect, the rain was cool against my skin, and for just a few moments, I could let everything go.

Tonight I intend to snuggle with my kiddos, watch some American Idol, and crawl into the tub with a good book. The book makes me smile, actually. E has been insistent that I read this Warrior series he has been reading, and he checks in with me daily about how far I am. I love having something like this to talk about, that HE is interested in, not just something I picked for us. So I have some catching up to do.

Have a beautiful weekend, all you Mommas out there!! I am sure I will post before Sunday, but I wanted to say it just in case! 🙂

 

When I grow up May 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 9:51 pm
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Inspiring Quote on wall @Starbucks
Image found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/37676753@N08/

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Do you ever feel like everything around you is just changing? I have been feeling these changes rolling over me like an ocean wave, and slowly but surely everything has been changing. All for the better, but it’s just so fascinating to realize. I think back about what I was thinking about and focused on just a mere few months ago, and it seems like everything has changed.

It started with Braden and Ronan. Braden, the sweet boy I’ve talked about whose race I went to a few weeks ago. And Ronan, whose mom’s blog inspired me to start this very one you are reading right now. Both of these innocent, darling children are fighting cancer right now and Braden is doing well right now. Ronan is not. I cry just reading his mom’s blog. It devastates me, floors me, and breaks my heart. I am disgusted that childhood cancers are not given more attention, more money, more notice. How are these babies dying every FOURTEEN HOURS and we haven’t done more? We can put a man on the moon, we can build entire fake cities to train our militaries, we can have FIFTY MILLION VOTERS on one night of American Idol, but we can only come up with two drugs to treat pediatric cancers in the last twenty years??? What if every single one of those voters donated one dollar to childhood cancer research, for just one night? In a matter of three hours, we would have fifty MILLION DOLLARS.

Ok, enough about that. I’m getting off subject. So these changes with me started with these two boys. I started following their stories, then I started commenting, and then I started this blog. And then I started volunteering, and then I quit smoking. And now I’ve started running. And then finally, I enrolled at a community college to take one class… one class towards my dream someday of being a nurse.

I’ve started researching schools, and realizing that my GPA all those years ago in college – when graduation was the only thing on my mind, not how successfully I got there – may actually prevent me from getting accepted into a university. That saddens me. I am an entirely different woman than I was when I was in college. I have zero doubt that my grades will be astronomically better now than they were then. The reasons for this are many; I understand how expensive it is. I also understand what it means to feel passionate about what I’m doing, and why. And I’m old enough now to actually KNOW what I want to be when I grow up.

I found out today that the students that get accepted into the program I am interested in have a typical GPA of 3.7. This means all A’s in college, with an occasional B thrown in. This means ZERO C’s and most certainly not that D that I got in Sign Language but didn’t bother to retake because I was so mad that I had a D in the first place. I could accept this at face value and move on, but I won’t. It might mean that I can’t get into THAT school, but it doesn’t change a thing. Because I have wanted to be a nurse, overwhelmingly so, for most of my adult life, and this desire strikes me every few years or so. But now I’ve realized the time has come to consider actually doing something about it, no matter how many years it might take me to do it. Because children like Ronan don’t have my whole lifetime to wait for help. So Chemistry 121, here I come. Wish me luck, my friends. I am filled with such HOPE and excitement about this!

Goodnight, friends. I hope that you are listening to your dreams tonight, and tomorrow, you have enough courage to do something about them. GPA’s be damned. I will be an amazing nurse someday.