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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Perspective February 28, 2013

Filed under: Family,Inspiration,Kindness — hiddenblessing @ 4:34 pm
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I have been thinking about perspective for some time now.

It started when I went to order a new pair of glasses. It was the most ridiculous purchase ever – I already had a perfectly acceptable pair that I just didn’t like. I was out shopping with E, who needed a new pair, and while I was waiting for him, I tried on a pair of frames. I fell instantly in love.

I thought about it for a few days and when I still just couldn’t quit thinking about them, I knew I had to have them. That’s my qualifier for any really selfish purchase…. IF I have the money and IF I still want them after walking away for a few days, I know it’s not a purchase I will regret. So I tapped into my private rainy-day-slush fund (ok, so tapped isn’t quite right, depleted might be a more accurate choice) and bought them for myself.

I waited and waited and waited for them to come in. It was going on the far end of the 7-10 business days the optical shop promised and I kept checking my phone… did they call yet? No? Ok. Thirty minutes later… did I miss a call? It was ridiculous. I knew it was ridiculous! But I was soooo excited for these glasses to come in. These glasses were going to be SO AMAZING and so cute and make me feel so happy!

I walked down to the cafeteria to get some lunch and I heard a voice call out my name. As I turned in response, I recognized that voice and inwardly sighed a bit. It was a woman I had worked with a year or two ago who had had cancer. She and I had gotten through all the employment-related mess that treatments and absences bring. Now, after all was said and done, whenever I saw her she emphatically wanted to hug me and talk.

I am a hugger. I really am. I am a big fan of hugging and showing those you care about that you care – it’s just that… in the cafeteria, everyone is watching. And when you are an HR girl, you just can’t quite be a huggy person. And especially not at work. With your employees. The next thing you know, someone’s claiming favoritism, or harassment or God-only knows what else. Plain and simple, it’s just not acceptable for an HR girl to be hugging. People don’t even like to be caught talking with HR people, let alone hug them by the salad bar.

So she calls my name and I sigh, because I know that today is going to be one of those big, public hug-days and I kind of wish I could’ve waited another 30 minutes to decide to walk to the cafeteria. But as I turn and catch a glimpse of her face, something stops me in my tracks. She just looks off.

“Hi,” I greet her as she comes up to me. I’m searching her face to see what’s going on. She offers me a weak smile and reaches out her arm into a half hug. I hug back.

“How are you doing?” she asks and I quickly mutter a dismissive reply, pushing her question away. Her face tells me this is no time for water-cooler chatter. She started to talk and then she choked on her words, breaking off into silence.

I took her back to my office where she sat down and told me that she had just gotten a call. When her doctor was doing some routine followup with her, he found a “suspicious” spot. A “suspicious” spot for a cancer survivor is not an ok thing to have. Suspicious means Danger!! Danger!!, and a much bigger-badder danger than it would mean for a non-cancer survivor.

She stared down at her knees and said softly and quietly, “I can’t do this again.”

So I did the only thing I could do; I pulled HER into a big hug, and I held her as she sobbed.

I don’t know what you say in those moments. So I didn’t say anything at all.

When she left my office a while later, and I ventured back down to the cafeteria to get my forgotten lunch, I thought about my call. Here I had been anxiously waiting for a call about a stupid pair of GLASSES… an idiotic, selfish, vain THING, a PURCHASE… and meanwhile, on the same floor in the same building, another girl was waiting for a call about whether her CANCER was back. We were both anxiously watching our phones; but from completely different angles.

Talk about putting things into perspective.

How much time do I really spend worrying about, thinking about, exerting precious time on… things that matter not one tiny little bit? When I sat on my laptop all last night working my SECOND job, as Little One watched repeated episodes of Dora and climbed into my lap and I got mad because he accidentally caused me to send an email to a whole contact list instead of one person… how ridiculous. How completely unimportant.

I need to readjust those new glasses of mine, and hope that I can keep some perspective on what’s really important.

It doesn’t matter whether you think life is half full, or half empty… it’s recognizing the precious gift of having a glass to begin with.

Cheers, my friends.

 

Silent night December 19, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 11:13 am
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Silent night…

                Peace.  Love.  Gentleness.

This is all I know how to do, to try to offset the horror that befell our nation a few short days ago.  Speak softly.  Kiss my children’s sweet sleeping faces at night before I tiptoe out of their rooms.  Gaze out into the backyard and look up at the starry sky.  Remember that there have been other tragedies, too.  Breathe deeply.  Trust.  Close my eyes and ears to the constant media coverage.  Reading it again and again only intensifies the sorrow; more details don’t make the tragedy any greater or any less.   Unplug from society’s chatter.  Really look at my beautiful children, and tell them I love them.  Spend time talking to them, enjoying them, soaking them in.  Put down my fears.  Rest.

 

Holy night…

                I went to church on Sunday.  It has been a long time since I’ve been there.  But I went because I needed to feel comfort.  I needed to remember I am a child of God, and be surrounded by others who share my beliefs.  Together we are stronger than alone.  I needed to put some perspective on this season, to remember the reason that we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.  To remember that Christ was born to save us.  There is no evil in the world, not even a psychotic school shooter, who can conquer God.   We will be ok.  Our hearts are broken and grieving with the families in Connecticut; we are now fearful to send our children to their schools where we thought they were safe, but in the end, God is still with us. 

At night, when I lay in bed, I hold a space for God.  I ask him to come into this space, where I will be quiet, I will just listen.  My soul hears what my ears and mind cannot. 

 

All is calm…

                This is a month of many fears, many tragedies.  Is there something in the air that is causing so much chaos and fear?  Something that’s not tangible, something we can’t see, but we are feeling in our hearts?  I wrote some time ago about letting go and giving it to God.  Having faith.  Trusting in God.  This is the most important thing, I think.  My beliefs have changed and evolved many times over the years, but right now, I’m circling back to my earliest Christian beliefs.  I was taught at a very young age that Satan wants to steal us away from God, to cause us to turn our faces from him.  He wants to tempt us into serving Ego, Selfishness, Greed and Fear. 

                I also learned that when the end of the world was near, Jesus would come from Heaven and save all of those who believed in Him.  What if… the horrors we are experiencing, the fears that are continuously being introduced to us, the warnings and the alarms and the dangers… are truly a test of our faith and trust in Him?  A temptation of Satan, to cause us to lose our faith, our trust… our joy?

                Psalm 56:4 

                In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?

 

All is bright…

                I look around at all the beautiful lights of the season.  The twinkling of lights on the tree in my home, the soft glow of the tiny white candle I lit in remembrance, the homes on the streets that sparkle in all their holiday beauty. 

                I will be a light in the darkness.  

This darkness that has put a cloud over the world may be large, but it’s not large enough to extinguish the light of the good in the world.   There are too many blessings, too much laughter, and too much belief in the power of Love for darkness to ever conquer.   Believe in this.  Have faith in this.   Look deep into your heart and listen to what your soul knows to be true.  Trust. 

We are loved.  We are safe.   The essence of what is really truly us cannot be harmed by anything, anything¸ on earth.  We existed before we were born.  We will exist when we no longer walk this earth.  There is no weapon, no chemical, no illness, no person who can ever change that.  And the same is true for our love.  This time spent on earth is just one rest stop on much bigger travels.

 

                1 Corinthians 13:6-7

                Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

 

                Always.

Merry Christmas to you my friends.  I wish you love, and comfort and peace… true, soul-soothing peace.. this Christmas.  Shalom.

 

Trust. Faith. And handing it over. November 20, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,Kindness,Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 11:25 am
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Lots and lots of thoughts today.  But mostly, my thought today is … sometimes, I think you just have to let go and let God take over.  I don’t have anything particularly bad or stressful going on in my world.  Everything is fine.  The kids are fine, the husband is fine, we’re healthy, we’re safe and we’re dry.  There’s not enough money, but there never is – this is nothing new.  The dishwasher is failing and the furnace is questionable, but again… we’re fine.  Compared to some of my family and friends, I have NOTHING to complain about.  But all this being said, I have been having the hardest time with feeling this sense of worry and anxiety.

 

I’ve tried to pinpoint it.  It started the morning of the election – and before anyone gets all huffy about THAT – I am politically-challenged and can’t speak intelligently about politics. At all.  So I really don’t think it’s that.  We’ve got the holidays right around the corner, and of course that’s stressful but I love Christmas like I love sunshine – it is so wonderful and special and beautiful that it really can’t be that. 

 

Then there is the whole end-of-the-world-Mayan-calendar thing.  I have joked, over the last three or four years, that I would need to be on meds come December 2012 because it just FREAKED me out so much.  And as we crossed over into the New Year 2012, it did flit across my mind (just being honest here.  It’s my blog.  If I’m not at least honest with myself, this is a complete waste of my time! LOL.)  And it has crossed my mind here and there across this year.  But is that REALLY what is going on with me?  I hope not.  I will so laugh at myself if I wake up on January 1, 2013 and feel miraculously better. 

 

Sometimes I just think that the world is such a frightening place.  There is so much violence and greed and selfishness abounding.  I think perhaps I’ve been reading the news a little too much again.  I’ve got to stop doing that.  It’s like giving a hypochondriac free reign to read WebMD all day long.  It’s just a recipe for failure.  I’m not saying my ostrich-angle is a good one to have.  If we all stuck our heads in the sand no one would help anyone else, ever.  But I am saying that sometimes I think I tend to absorb the stresses and struggles of those around me, or those that I hear about.  Which is ridiculous.  Those aren’t even my problems to own.  It’s like I’m my own psychic vampire. J  Really, I need to be stronger than that.   

 

But even more importantly,  I have to have faith that the good that is in the world, that all the light and love and joy that exists WILL win in the end. 

 

I was talking to my mom about her impending potential job loss. And I said – well, I think your choices are this:  you could stress about it, worry day and night, lose sleep and develop an ulcer and lose your job.  Or you could trust that you can’t change what may or may not happen, sleep well, enjoy what you have right now and STILL LOSE YOUR JOB ANYWAY.  In my opinion, Option B is just such a better way to go. 

 

So last night, as I lay in bed thinking about this nameless worry I have – as my darling B came and climbed into bed asking to sleep with me – as I snuggled him close and thought about how his hair smells like cupcakes and THANK GOD that I still have these days – that my boy still WANTS to be cuddled and wants to sleep curled up next to me – I thought I just have to give it to God

                I will trust that He has a plan in place.  I will trust that in the end, all will be ok.  I will trust that I am just one person, and I can’t fix all the troubles in the world – that’s not my job, it’s His.  I will just take care of what’s mine, this cupcake-smelling boy and this beautiful baby and this challenging teenager and this man who loves me.   I will try to spread a little bit of love, a little bit of good and as much light as possible to those around me.  But if it happens, and it sometimes will because that’s just the way life is, that I don’t know the right direction to take or I get overwhelmed and scared at the enormity of the craziness in the world, I will take a deep breath.  And I will just Hand. It. Over.  I will trust.  I will have faith.

 

So today, that’s what I’ve done.  And I woke up so much lighter and calmer than I was when I went to sleep.  I looked at B’s sweet toes as I woke him up, where he was sleeping horizontally in my bed, and I took a moment to just say thank you.  Thank you for the sunshine pouring in my window, thank you for this beautiful child asleep in my bed, and thank you for simply another day.

 

 

I will trust.  I will have faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The carpool line and a little dose of kindness September 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 11:43 am
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Yes.  I’m really going to write about the carpool line.  It has me shaking my head in wonder, so I just have to do it.

The carpool line is a fascinating enigma at my children’s school.  Let me start by saying that the design of the neighborhood, the street, and the parking/entrance doesn’t exactly lend itself to being pickup friendly.  The neighborhood is designed so that there are very few homes that are in walking distance of the school, and it backs to a very busy street.  Most families that go to this school live quite far from it.  We are 2.4 miles from the school, to be exact.  I know this because you have to live 2.5 miles or greater to ride the bus for free.  As a result, many parents drive their children, and it results in a line that extends for blocks down one street.

I’m not a stay at home mom, and I am fortunate enough to have a girlfriend who picks up and takes my child to school every day except Friday.  On Fridays, I do the driving.  This morning I was waiting, as usual, in the long line of cars.  The children were chatting in the back, I was thinking about my grocery list, and just moving slowly ahead in the line every 45 seconds or so.

Now I have read, many times over, posts on Facebook about the infamous carpool line.  It’s usually some dad joking about how he’s getting ready to take on the carpool line and others wishing him good luck.   Or my neighbor cussing about someone who cut her off in the carpool line.  Or someone else venting about why people JUST CAN’T GET IT RIGHT?!  Apparently, it is against the laws of Carpool Code of Conduct to turn left off of the main street that runs in front of the school.  Instead, you should go one street up, four blocks over, and circle back so that you are turning right, into the parking lot and then up to the school entrance accordingly.  I’m not kidding in even the slightest bit about this.

So here I am, sitting where I should be in the carpool line.  I happen to notice this guy, who clearly has violated the cardinal rule of carpool pickup.  He is sitting, looking at the line, as EIGHT (eight!) vehicles refuse to let him in.

Eight.

What is wrong with these people?  Yes, he should have gone the other way, like all the rest of us.  Yes, it’s annoying  that we have to wait in line and this guy just came careening on in like it was no big deal.  But really, is it that big of a deal?

Who knows what his story is.  Maybe he’s a grandpa from out of state who was taking his grandson to school that morning.  Maybe it’s his daughter’s birthday and he stayed home from work this one day to take her to school?  Maybe they just moved here, like I did a few years ago, and he’s just figuring it out.  It’s not like there is some manual they hand out to people that says THIS IS HOW IT MUST BE DONE.  EITHER FIGURE OUT HOW TO DRIVE THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD THE LONG WAY, OR ELSE.  MUAAH HA HAAA.

I let him in.  Of course.  And then I was immediately worried about the backlash that would go viral on Facebook if any of my neighbors saw what I had just done.  I actually expected to hear someone behind me honking angrily.  That’s the kind of craziness that carpool line starts.

So that’s my kindness for the day.  Which is ridiculous that doing that was even a kindness at all.

One other thing I just want to share because it was fantastic.  After surviving the carpool line, Little One and I went to the grocery store.  I was turning into the peanut butter/salad dressing aisle and I heard a voice say “Delores.  Want to race?”

I looked over and it was a little old man, sitting in one of those riding grocery carts.  He was probably in his late eighties, early nineties.  He was grinning up at an equally elderly woman with a walker.  She grinned right back at him and took off shuffling away.  That was a beautiful sight this morning.  I love when I get to witness wonderful moments like that.  It makes my heart smile.

Have a wonderful day, my friends, and an even better weekend.

 

My top five September 11, 2012

Filed under: Family,Kindness,Parenting,Teenager,Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 10:32 pm
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I came across an article today that was titled Ten Things I Hate About Being A Dad. Ouch. I’m not sure I would ever want my children to have a list in hand of all the things I supposedly “hated” about being a parent. Talk about a guilt trip.

Now obviously, being a parent is not easy, by any means. It’s not even fun all the time. That includes me… there are nights, tonight happening to be one of them, that I am tired and grumpy and less than the mama I’d like to imagine myself. At one point, B and I were arguing like mad and at another, a saleslady in a store we were at was trying to bribe my children with candy because quite frankly, it was total mayhem and the line was ridiculous. But even so, I still love it. Even when it’s ugly and hard and infuriating and I’d really just like to hide away with a glass of wine and earplugs.

Now that my kids are in bed and my blood pressure has returned to a relatively normal level, I want to add my two cents about that Top Ten. Here are the top five things that I LOVE MOST about being a mom.

1. Walking through grocery stores with Baby L. I’m not talking about Walmart, mind you. We already know how that goes. But I’m talking the better moments… the ones where he insists on wearing his cowboy boots and Superman cape. The ones where he says “hi” to every man and woman over the age of sixty, and he wants to talk to every “friend” who is under three feet tall. Where the grandmas smile at me, and him, and I pray that I remember these moments and are not TOO jealous when I don’t have a small, fuzzy-headed baby whose legs pull up and his bottom sticks out when I pick him up. He doesn’t actually do that anymore, and I already miss it a little bit. Thank God he’s still tiny enough to let me kiss his squishy cheeks whenever I want to. But that pride I feel, that love that swallows me up, when I am out and about with a happy baby.

2. Holidays. There is so much magic in celebrating holidays with children. Now make no mistake, grown-up holidays are fun, too. I absolutely love long, leisurely dinners filled with wine and celebration with friends and family. But I love the magic that reflects in my children’s eyes even more. I love everything about it… the dyeing of Easter eggs, the messy carving of pumpkins. Mailing off lists to Santa and grinning at the explosion of wrapping paper that has engulfed my living room after presents have been opened. Making cookies that I know will be eaten almost as quickly as I can get them out of the oven. The shock and awe at the possible sighting of the sleigh in the sky and the way they squish their eyes closed to wish for sleep to come THAT VERY SECOND BECAUSE WHAT IF SANTA IS REALLY, REALLY CLOSE??? Reading “The Night Before Christmas.” I love the holidays.

3. Getting woken up in the night. Now bear with me here… I’m not saying that I love it for the sake of being woken up. But I love that my sleepy B still comes crawling into my bed and snuggles right up to me when he can’t sleep or has had a bad dream. I love the way his eyes are puffy and they roll back in happiness when I run my fingers through his hair. I love that he tells me more about his life in the middle of the night than any other time, and I love the way he yells random things in his sleep. I love that Baby L still sleeps with his butt in the air and cries out for me in the middle of the night because he wants his sippy cup refilled with water. I look at E and I already miss this. Every once in a great, great while he will watch a scary movie and come wake me up to talk to me about it. And I am absolutely ok with that…. it’s so rare now. I have to cherish the few times it does happen.

4. Activities. I think about all of the things that I can do without any concern for what anyone else thinks, purely because I have children with me. Disney movies? Absolutely. If I didn’t have the boys, I’m pretty sure I’d be a little self-conscious renting The Lorax. For that matter, I probably wouldn’t even know what The Lorax was. Think of all the movies I would have missed if I didn’t have them… Up. Shrek. Tangled. Rio. We go to the pool all the time, and even if I would rather NOT be wearing a swimsuit in public, when your boy begs you to go down the “toilet bowl” water slide with him… YOU DO IT. I can say with almost 100% certainty that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have kids. Going to carnivals. Pumpkin patches. Kite flying. Cheering like a crazy girl at the parade because it’s my children’s buddies out there marching and doing cartwheels in the street. Watching baseball and soccer games, sitting for hours at swim meets. Yes, we are busy. Too busy. But if I had a choice between being a mama and camping in 100 degree heat with a group of Boy Scouts, or being at home, alone, with an armful of books and a cup of tea, I would still choose to be a mama. I’ve got years to read and drink tea. I’ve got only a few to camp with Boy Scouts.

But number 5 has to take the cake. The number one thing I love most about being a mama is nearly impossible to put into words. It’s the way it makes me FEEL to know that these beautiful children are mine. That it is my responsibility, and duty, and the biggest blessing imaginable, to have been given these children to nurture. I love the sheer joy that caring for these sweet boys has brought me. I love the pride that fills up within me, and sometimes spills over and down my cheeks, and the gut-wrenching devotion they inspire in me. The raw, pure, fierce desire to protect and cherish and honor and love these human beings.

Goodnight, my friends. Sweet dreams.