hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

My glass is never too full March 23, 2014

Filed under: Inspiration,Kindness,Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 12:52 pm
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I had an inspiration the other day.  I want to love everyone.  I don’t know a better way to say that sentence.  Those words aren’t quite right to sum up what my soul is trying to say. 

What I really mean is… for example, I have one sister.  THANK YOU GOD for her.  I cannot imagine travelling this journey without her.  There is no more honest sentence than that.  I was blessed.  No font can contain the gratitude in that one word.  But my Darling Nikki, she didn’t get to be born with a sister.  She wasn’t born with another soul to grow up with – to fight with, and laugh with and to crawl into bed with when she had bad dreams.  I had someone who knew me when I peed my pants playing “cow” in the back yard at age six, who knew me when I had buck teeth and skinned knees, who held my hair when I had the flu and held my hand when I put on my ivory dress to walk down the aisle.  And my Darling Nikki – her parents may have decided they only wanted one child, but I still was lucky enough to get her, too.  I wasn’t born to her – but I am connected to her and responsible for her and she for me. My life is so intimately entwined with hers that even though she grew up with no siblings, she now has one.  And I have her. I love her children and am their aunt.  My son thinks they ARE his cousins.  When her parents get sick, I share that with her.  She’s not an only child anymore; she has a sister to help.  And likewise, I was gifted with HER.  It’s a win-win.  You can’t have too many loves in life.  Really.  Like who ever says “I have too many friends.  I love too many people.”?  No one.  So I want to love everyone I can.  Because in turn, they only make my life more beautiful, more full and truly – at the very, very end of it all – it’s me who was blessed by getting to love all of these wonderful people who crossed my path.

Starting now, starting today, it’s my goal to try to love everyone just a little bit more.  To be kinder than necessary.  To go out of my way at least once every day for one person.  I’ve been given so many blessings and gifts in life; it’s the best way I know how to give it back. 

Love to you today, my friend.

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More than enough November 8, 2012

Filed under: Family,Inspiration,Kindness — hiddenblessing @ 4:59 pm
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At work lately I’ve been noticing all of these posters up for “angels” and giving trees.  I tried to be an “angel” one year for them, but my employer apparently only gives out whole lists for children as opposed to letting you buy a portion of the list.  So if a child wants pj’s, socks, cd’s, video games and tennis shoes, you either have to provide ALL or let someone else be their “angel”.  I think that’s rather silly, myself… wouldn’t some of their list be better than none?… but it’s what they’ve decided.  So I’m finding a different way to be helpful this year.

 

One of my favorite blogs, Momastery, has something they do every year called Holiday Hands.  This year, they have this down to a mad science!  They have a board, per se, of readers who are in need.  I read the initial requests on there this morning.  It was things like… a coat for my two year old.  A bed for my child.  Help with dental work.  Help paying off a funeral expense.  Gift cards for groceries.  And then, other readers sign up to provide these things.  It is BEAUTIFUL!  And amazing.  And what a wonderful, perfect way to help.  You can look through the requests, find one that touches your heart, and help.  Or maybe you are the one who needs some help.  You can put it out there.  It’s kind of like a Craigslist for kindness. 

 

Then later today, Glennon, the blog writer, posted a comment on Facebook about one woman who requested on the Helping Hands board that she needed clothes for a girl, size 2T.  And within MINUTES, something like twelve women responded that they had clothes and were going to send them.  The mom was crying – at the outpouring of love she was getting within MINUTES.  She actually turned AWAY people offering because there was more than enough.  This led to a bunch  of other moms posting in the comments that they had boy clothes size 4T if anyone wanted them, and someone saying they needed any boy clothes for ANY size under 3… and on and on and on.

 

It was like a giant list of friends, helping friends.  Because that’s really what life should be, isn’t it?  My Little One has gotten bigger and as he has, I’ve returned most of the items that were lovingly given to ME, and bagged up all the rest and sent them on to a younger, brand-new mom who’s just starting out.  Because I love her and she’s my friend.  And that’s what we do.  Sure, I could sell them at a second hand children’s store or a garage sale.  I could list them on Ebay and see what I get.  But really – I was a young, new mom once, who had a friend who packed up HER baby’s clothes and gave them to me… it’s all about sharing the love. 

 

There is more than enough to go around.  More than enough.

 

Love and blessings and peace to you today, my friends.

 

Our version of the Yaya Sisterhood September 23, 2012

Filed under: Family — hiddenblessing @ 8:25 am
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Fairies“>

Fairies by Flo’s shots 4 me (http://www.flickr.com/photos/florencia123/)

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I am a Yaya.  A princess Yaya, that is.  And oh, how I love this little tiny bit of (pretend, but very real in my heart) royalty.

Did you ever see that movie Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?  Here is a very brief summary:  there is a group of girls growing up in the 50’s who are best friends.  They have a secret club, as most little girls do at some point, and they name themselves the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. They sneak out late at night in their jammies, have a little bonfire, wear silly crowns and swear their loyalty to each other forever and ever.  Their friendship lasts into adulthood, and when of the Ya-Ya’s has relationship difficulties with her daughter, the remaining friends kidnap the adult daughter.  They sneak her away to the family cabin to try to get her to come to reason with her mom’s history and why she is the way she is.

That’s a terrible rendition, but it’s the core of the movie.  But here’s where it turns really fun… during the summer of 2002 after the movie came out, on some random weekend my extended family and I all sat on my grandmother’s patio talking.  Somehow the movie came up and someone decided it would be really fun if we had a Yaya weekend.  Somewhere where all the girls could get away – no husbands, no kids, and just be us for a weekend.  We would make fun drinks, get pedicures, swim, and basically just have a fun weekend together celebrating us. 

And so it was born.  On the weekend after Labor Day 2002, my aunt, mother, sister, grandmother and I gathered at my grandmother’s house.  We giggled and laughed and did no cooking.  We drank copious amounts of alcohol, swam at my great uncle’s home (he wasn’t allowed to join us except for one cocktail since we were, after all, using his pool), and waited for Saturday night.  And when Saturday night arrived, my grandmother pulled out beautiful crowns she had made for each of us.  We pulled chairs into a circle under the crabapple tree in the backyard, and we lit a bonfire.  And that’s where the real magic of Yaya began.

We had no idea, that first year, what a precious thing we were creating.  We had no idea how seriously we all would take Yaya, and how much it would grow and morph over the years.  But I will tell you this… there is nothing quite like the honesty and love and support you get from a group of women who love you.   Who have known you since you had buck teeth and skinned knees, and watched you dress up for prom.  Who kissed your newborn baby and comforted you when your marriage was falling apart.  There is very little in the world that is more beautiful than the night when one of the Yayas was seriously ill, and the other princesses drove over state lines, donned the crowns and snuck into the ICU late at night, to giggle and hug and love the sick princess.  Or the coronation of a baby Yaya, who was born much, much too early and had to become a Yaya right away. That baby Yaya is now a healthy, happy 9-year-old, and while I’m sure it very much has to do with the powers of modern medicine, there may be a little bit of Yaya magic sprinkled in there, too. 

In two weekends, the princesses and I will be coming together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Yaya.  Ten years.  It is staggering to me what has changed over those ten years.  I can’t begin to express the enormity of our losses, and the significance of our gains, in what life has dealt each of the princesses in the past ten years.

But one thing remains… we are still together.  We are still gathering to light that midnight bonfire.  To celebrate love and family and all the things that matter to each of us.

I am so honored, and blessed, to be a Yaya princess.

 

A letter to my middle schooler August 21, 2012

Filed under: Parenting,Teenager — hiddenblessing @ 9:53 pm
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My sweet boy,

This letter has been keeping me up at night, begging me to write to you.  I wake up in the dark of the night, and all I can think about are all of the things I want to say to you as I watch you grow into the wonderful, strong young man that you are.  I am so proud of you.  I have always been insanely proud of you – you are so good inside.  You are filled with so many wonderful traits that sometimes all I can do is fall to my knees and thank God for giving me such an exquisite gift as he did, the day he gave me you.

Middle school is a weird time for kids.  You want so much to be cool and accepted, and fit in with the right kids.  To look right, act right, and not do anything embarrassing.  But inside, all of these things are coming up; exciting, nerve-wracking, drama-filled things.  Stressful things.  It’s exciting and fun and scary and depressing and quite honestly, a giant muddle of mixed-up craziness.  You are half child and half adult, and sometimes that makes you feel one way and sometimes it makes you feel another.  Sometimes, it’s both.  That’s ok.  Pick what feels right for that situation.  Soon enough, it will become easier and you will leave the little stuff behind.  But don’t let worrying about it weigh you down.  Sometimes you won’t know what to do.  Sometimes, you’ll just feel silly.  Other times, sad.  Sometimes you will feel giddy and emotional and sometimes, you will just feel stressed.

I want you to know, that 100%, forever and ever and ever, my darling boy, your stress is my stress.  I have your back.  Always.  I might freak out and lecture you (I’m working on getting better at this) but at the end of the day, no matter what, I am on your team.  The things that hurt you, hurt me.  The things that worry you, worry me.  You can come to me, day or night, and know that I am always willing to listen.  Tell me that it’s important, and I will put down the computer, or send home my friends, or cancel my date night with dad, or whatever I need to do  and we will sort through it.  Your problems are my problems, and together, sweetheart, we will work out anything.

As a little boy, my darling, you were always the sweetest child.  I have never met a child who had so much compassion and understanding of other human beings as you did.  You were polite, you were kind, you were loving, you were gentle, and you always, always, put other people ahead of yourself.

That is a beautiful trait.  One you should be proud of.  But don’t let it allow people to walk all over you either.  Save the people that you choose to give that kindness to, to be ones who are worth it.  You are going to meet a lot of people on your journeys to manhood.  A lot of them will not be worth your energy.  So if someone hurts you or belittles you, or doesn’t want to hang out with you, that’s ok.  They aren’t for you. You will find friends and people that are worth your love and your energy.  Go ahead and enjoy those that are fun to be around, when you are around them, and let them go when they go.

There is a poem out there about friends being there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I don’t think there is necessarily a way to know exactly which way they are there for you, except to say that when you look back, it will be obvious.  I’ve had four friends, so far, that are there for a lifetime: your dad, Aunt W, Super Nikki, and my friend, L, who you haven’t met.  I have had a lot that were there for a season… I had a best friend in grades 4 and 5, another for grades 6-10 and one in between, in grades 7 and 8.  Those short friendships were my “seasons”.  My “lifetimes” are easy: L was there my whole life, Aunt W from senior year on, and Darling Nikki since we moved here.  I am blessed, sweet boy.  But think of the hundreds of people I have known, who have come and gone, in all of those years.  I’ve had a LOT of friends who just happened to be exactly what I needed at that time in my life, but when that situation was done, we all moved on.  These are the “reasons” friendships. You are going to find this to be true as well.  So if you find someone that you feel deep inside is worthy of your friendship, offer it to them wholeheartedly.  But if, for whatever reason, they don’t return that friendship in kind, don’t worry… just move on.  Remember, a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Girls.  Oh, how I love and hate this topic.  As your mama, here’s what I want for you.  I want you to find a girl that thinks you are the handsomest, funniest, strongest, best guy that there ever was.  You will find her, someday.  But not in middle school.  And likely, not in high school.  Your dad and I were an extreme exception to the rule, believe me.  But until that day comes along, you are going to meet a ton of girls that you will fall for, and no matter how sweet, beautiful, kind, funny or loyal they are, will someday break your heart.  I am dreading that day, but it will happen.  You will break a few hearts, too.  You will leave some poor, sweet girl sobbing because she felt that she loved you, and knowing you like I do, sweetheart, this will be very hard on you.  But it’s just part of growing up.

Know this; these relationships are real.  That pounding in your heart, those sweaty hands and nervousness when you talk to her, that is all real.  And that crushing, blinding, heartbreak you will feel when those relationships end is real.  But as painful as it is, it will be over just as quickly and you will meet someone new.  You won’t believe me when you’re going through it, but it is true.  That will be true for the girls whose hearts you break too.  And even more importantly, all of those feelings you had for that girl who broke your heart will be nothing compared to when you grow up and find the one you are really meant to be with.  But… that is a topic for another letter when you are older.

My last topic that I really want to talk with you about… you are going to find yourself in situations where there are drugs and beer.  I am not even going to try to pretend that this isn’t true.  Please, please, please believe me when I say that you should not ever use drugs.  I can’t tell you how many people I have known – wonderful, kind, handsome, funny people who came from good families – who used drugs and completely destroyed their lives.  Drugs mess people up.  What starts as a fun party thing quickly turns into something that is out of their hands… the risks are just enormous, baby doll.  Young bodies, for starters, are not equipped to handle the poison that is going into their bodies.  I knew a kid who was huffing paint fumes, and died.  He was a nice kid.  His name was Adam.  I’ve known kids who smoked pot and drove, and killed a friend.  I’ve known countless kids who wound up in hospitals and I’ve known kids who’ve killed themselves because they got so depressed following drug use.  But mostly what I’ve seen, is people who just plain ruined their lives.  They never ended up going to college, they didn’t get good jobs, they had babies way too young that they couldn’t parent or afford, their skin and their teeth are ruined, and they feel hopeless… because they can’t get away from the drugs.  Think really, really hard about the choice you make if someone ever offers you drugs.  Even the “light” ones.  At the end of the day, you know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Alcohol… I know that there will be parties.  They had better be a damn long time from now!  But let’s get this out in the open now.  If you ever have a situation where you or a friend needs a ride because someone did have a beer, please call me.  We will come up with some sort of agreement, you and I, where if you trust me enough to call me and let me pick you guys up, you won’t be in trouble.  I would so much rather have you safe and have had a beer and me be a little disappointed in your choice to drink, than have you hurt or dead because you didn’t trust me.  But that’s all it would be – a little disappointed, because I was a teenager once, too, sweetheart.    

And here’s the biggest thing, my sweet baby boy, I trust you.  I trust that you have a good head on your shoulders, and at the end of the day that you will make the right decisions.  And if you don’t, if you mess up, that’s ok, too.  That’s how you learn.  And it’s my job to help you pick up those pieces that are the fallout of the wrong choice and maybe turn them another way to help you see how to fix it.  Mistakes are a part of life.  I still make mistakes, and I’m still trying to learn how to do it all right, the first time.

These years are going to be so much fun for you.  Live and love every single second of them.  Laugh when you want to, cry when things hurt but above all, enjoy RIGHT NOW.  Don’t worry about next year, or five years from now, or when you are an adult.  (Well, except for good grades.  Do that.  Swim hard.  Get a scholarship. 🙂 ) You will be grown up before you know it.  Before I know it!  And I want you to remember every single second of these years.  They are so much fun.

I love you, my boy.  There is nothing that you could ever, ever, ever do that would ever change that.  My love for you isn’t something that you will ever have to work for, earn, or deserve.   It just is.  Always has been.  And always, always will be.

 

Dear Sugar August 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 12:31 pm
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Right now, whatever you are doing, stop.

Go find and read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.

I haven’t even made it through the sample of the book and I am already filled with emotion. I have tried not to cry, I have laughed, I have thought endlessly about a few phrases and I have thought YES YES YES! to a few statements.

Truly, this is my blessing that I found today.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon one too, but I didn’t have a chance to write. Baseball practice and back-to-school stuff took over my day. In fact, all of this stuff took over my week. I am so thankful it is Thursday, and I am almost to the weekend.

Yesterday morning, my dear hubby and I had a ferocious argument that stemmed entirely from exhaustion. That’s really what it comes down to. He was mad at me because the Meet-The-Teacher night ended before I could get home from work, and I didn’t have time to run to the sporting goods store for slider pants. I didn’t even know what slider pants are (I do now), let alone running out at night with three kids for them. But he was upset because he doesn’t have time to do these things, and it makes him upset that I needed him to do this. He also is stressed about when and where baseball practice is because, honestly friends, our lives are stupidly complicated and our schedules are impossible. And three nights a week of baseball practice on top of one game a week, plus two other kids and two other sports, means that we are doomed.

He was just exhausted.

And so was I. Because while it’s true that I didn’t get off work in time for Meet-The-Teacher night, I’ve been busy making sure that the clothes, supplies, forms, meds, lunch tickets, registration papers and immunizations are all ready. I’ve figured out when and where the practice is, and it’s me who sat in 95 degree heat with a two year old to watch the practice for an hour and a half. And I’m tired, too. Hearing all the ways that he is feeling I’m not holding up my end of the bargain doesn’t help this, at all.

We should never talk to each other when we are this tired. Or we should talk more, I’m not really sure. But I just know that when I feel like that, all I really want to do is have him hold me hold him and say, slow down. We’re alright. This is just today. Tomorrow will be better.

I walked into the office yesterday feeling worn out and sad. The admin smiled as she always does and I thought… I wish people understood how I’m feeling today. I need someone to be kind today.

And then, I stumbled upon this later in the day. Divine intervention. If you have a minute, check it out. It put my miniscule argument into perspective. And it also reached out a gentle, comforting hand to me – a hand that said “me, too.”

Which really, if you think about it, is all any of us truly want. Someone who says “me, too.”

http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/2151

Hugs to you today, my friend.

 

Amazing August 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 6:44 pm
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My little blessing today is brief, but still something I want to remember.

I ran into a young mom in the restroom at work.  She was getting a paper towel as I went to wash my hands.  I remembered that she had had a baby about a year ago, and after greeting her, I said “So how is your little one?”.  I couldn’t quite remember if it was a girl or a boy, and definitely couldn’t remember the baby’s name.

She smiled beautifully at me and said, “She is amazing.”

Amazing.  That was the word she chose.

Most of us say, “Oh, good…” or “Getting big” or some other generic, nondescript way to answer to a semi-stranger.  But this mommy?  No.  She said her baby was amazing.  

I usually answer with something like, “Oh, they’re doing good.” Followed by this frantic thought process where I try to think of something interesting or unusual they have done recently that I can tell the listener about.  It’s never occurred to me to just say what they really are, which is, amazing.

She then went on to tell me how her little girl was very short, and was trying to learn to walk, which was so funny to her mommy and daddy because she was just so darn tiny.  And I smiled as I listened to her, not because of what she was saying, but because of the pure happiness and pride and love I could hear in this young woman’s voice.

We never really think about that, when we ask that simple question, “how are the kids? The family?  The husband.”  My darling friend, Wendy, says that we don’t actually want an answer to the question, we just ask it because it’s something to say.

I disagree.  I really want to know.  I want to see your face light up as you tell me about your little girl.  I want to hear how much you love your husband when you tell me how things are going.  I want to truly listen to you.  I want you to know I genuinely care.

Because I do.  I always have room for another friend, another hand to hold on this walk through life.  You can’t ever have too many friends.  When you want to talk about your family, or about how you feel, I hope that I listen, and I listen well.

Life is too colorful, too precious, and too fleeting to be generic and nondescript.

 

The games we play August 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 12:56 pm
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I was watching the Olympics last night, and it was a men’s volleyball game between USA and LAT.  I wasn’t even 100% sure what country LAT was… I guessed (correctly) Latvia, but it still brought me a moment’s pause.  Geography whiz, I am clearly not.

I watched these men playing, and one camera shot in particular was on one of the Latvian men’s faces.  I thought “he looks a lot like so-and-so”.  This man, from a country that I’m not entirely sure where is located, and I wasn’t entirely sure of the name of, looked a lot like someone I knew.  Regardless of his nationality, or skin color, or eye shape, or anything else… looked like someone I know, and this made me think a little more in general about the whole concept of the Olympic games.

The Olympics are a beautiful, amazing thing… because it is the one time that the ENTIRE PLANET gets on board with the SAME THING.  We all come together to play a game.  That everyone knows the same rules for.  Everyone wants the same thing, everyone wants to do that particular dive perfectly, or spike that ball over the net just so.  And for the next three and ½ years until the next Olympics, all over the planet, people will still be playing that same game, until the next wonderful party where we get to do it all over again.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could just remember this all the other days of the year?  No one cares what religion you are when you are leaping over those hurdles on the track.  NOT AT ALL.  They don’t care if you wear a cross on your neck or a turban on your head, grow a beard or shave every ounce of hair on your body.  You can worship little green people on Mars if you want to, but if you can fly effortlessly over those uneven bars and land beautifully, everyone cheers.  Those strong, determined girls from Romania, those talented girls from China, that amazing girl who they have named an entire stunt after… they all want the same thing.  They all practice the same moves, on the same equipment, for hours every day.

We are all one.  We all live on this same Earth. We play the same games… we cry and hurt and laugh and wish, just the same.  Imagine if we put this kind of one-ness into cleaning our oceans, or fixing our atmosphere, or feeding the children of our planet.

What a beautiful few weeks.