Life Isn’t Fair

I won’t go into what sparked this post because to do so would stir up controversy and anger (mostly mine), and I consider this blog my happy space.

“Life Isn’t Always Fair.” Four simple words that I think we’ve forgotten in this day and age.

Nope. We’re too “awoke” to sometimes let things go and move on. We all “want ours.” But our past doesn’t have to dictate our future and sometimes trying to make up for the past only stirs up more hurt and division.

Some things I hope my children (and a LOT of adults) would remember:

  1. You may not get the job you feel that YOU deserve. Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. Sometimes God (yes, I said God) has a different plan for your life. And though it may not seem like a better plan, He has His reasons. Maybe your dream job would lead you down a life of dependence and despair. Maybe He’s sparing you from that.
  2. You may not get the apology you think that YOU deserve. You can’t make people apologize. Not everyone thinks like you. Learn from the past, forgive, and move on. You’ll save yourself a LOT of grief over time.
  3. You may not get into the college that YOU want. No matter how well you do on your entrance exams, how high your GPA is, or how many extra-curricular activities you’ve been a part of, there will always be someone smarter, luckier, quicker at applying than you. It’s a fact of life and human nature. That doesn’t make you “less than,” it makes you who you are.
  4. You may not get the boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife that you think YOU deserve. We all have a plan, and sometimes those plans don’t work out the way we want them to. Sometimes the gorgeous guy or girl turns out to be a real loser. Again…forgive and move on. There’s no better “vengeance” than living well, and not letting the memory of “what could have been” control you.
  5. Speaking of vengeance…getting even is never the best option. Sure, it feels great in the moment. But it’s been my experience that YOU will waste way too much time and energy worrying about how to get even when the other person won’t even remember who you are. Although, I do have to admit, that when I saw the girl that tortured me throughout middle school and high school at my 10 year reunion and I pretended not to know her, it felt really good. But I wasn’t plotting that moment for 10 years…it just sort of presented itself. I never said I was perfect.
  6. People will disappoint you…it’s part of the human condition. The only person you can (and should) control is YOU.

The common denominator in all this is YOU. You have the power to change what you can, forgive when you should, and no amount of stomping your feet will make up for anything that life, the past or the present, has done to you. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person. The forgiving person. The loving person. The one who is willing to rise above the noise and see through the distractions to live as best you can.

So, when life isn’t fair, don’t despair. Get up, brush yourself off, and look for the positive in every experience that you can.

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Everyone Has Something…

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(This post was originally posted in 2016)

As a society, we’ve become masters at “labeling.” We know all our disabilities, all our flaws. We’ve given them names and can diagnose them earlier and earlier. But I’m not so sure that’s always a good thing. Sure, early diagnosis can help, even save, a large amount of people. But sometimes giving it a label predestines a person to limit themselves, to limit their life in ways that they may have pushed through had they not been labeled. Because here’s the thing: Everyone has something. Everyone!

Next time you’re in a crowd, even a small crowd, look around. Statistically speaking, EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that crowd has something in their life that they find challenging. A limitation. Sometimes they wear their challenge on the outside and it’s easy to spot. But more often than that, it’s hidden. It’s under their clothes, it’s under their skin, it’s in their brain. And it’s unique to each person.

Even the people that appear to have it all together, they too have something bubbling just under the surface. No one is immune.

One of the most valuable lessons we can give to our peers is to learn to push through challenges. No matter what life has dealt you, you can use that experience to build or to tear down. And everyone has something.

I think our beauty comes from those “flaws,” from those experiences, and from those challenges.

I think it’s our job, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, to help our children and those around us, with our flaws and our challenges, but don’t stop there. It’s our RESPONSIBILITY to show them how we push through our challenges and don’t let them limit us. To show them that even though we have a disease, disorder, or disability, it doesn’t have us.

People watch our every move, our every reaction, especially our children. They look to us for examples of how to handle the stuff that makes up life, both the good and the bad. A parent with a challenge has to shine through their disability, and show their children that it’s not something to stop them from doing what they want in life.

Even when we think our challenge is too big to get over, we can still show our kids what it means to HOPE. But hope isn’t necessarily proactive. Being hopeful can change your state of mind. The lesson is in how we ACT on that hope.

Think about some of our most inspiring people. Why do they inspire us? Usually it’s because they’ve achieved something IN SPITE OF or even BECAUSE OF a limitation. They’ve overcome and made things better for themselves or for those around them.

Everyone HAS something, but not everyone will DO something. How are you going to use your limitation to inspire those around you?

People Hate Change

As a whole, the human race doesn’t like change. How can I make such a generalized, blanket statement like that? Because I’ve seen and experienced it, first hand.

A little background first:

I work in the dairy department of a grocery store. And as such, I have the opportunity to observe a large slice of humanity: different cultures, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different age groups from the very young to the very old, both male and female and anywhere in between. I see a little bit of everything because, well, everyone needs to eat. It’s quite a place if you every want to observe fellow human beings.

My place of employment is going through a remodel, and instead of closing down for several weeks and doing one grand reveal, they’ve chosen the route of remodeling the store department by department. That means that on any given day, the toilet paper is not where it was yesterday, and the dog food is now where the shampoo is, or the peanut butter is where the baby food was two days before.

People are wandering through the store with a look of disgust and frustration on their faces. Most have no problem vocalizing their frustration to the employees, who, because of the abrupt and daily changes, don’t have any idea where most of the items are either. It’s a mess. But it’s going to be beautiful! (they say).

The dairy department, where I work, is mostly one aisle, and it happens to be the first aisle on the right after you’ve gone through the produce department. So, my department is generally the first to hear people’s opinions about the changes. (Lucky me)

This week, they remodeled the dairy aisle: took out the clunky displays in the center of the aisle and replaced our old shelves with an enclosed refrigerated area complete with doors. And it does look beautiful. Oh, and they rearranged the entire aisle: the yogurt is where the cheese was, the cheese is where the sour cream and cottage cheese used to be, the juice is on the other side of the aisle where the creamer used to be, and the eggs have moved to the end of the aisle.

Today was the first day everything was the first day that everything was in place. As customers came around the corner and gazed upon our aisle, they were pleasantly surprised…at first. It’s visually pleasing. And then they realized that things were moved and rearranged. Change had occurred without their consent or input.

Some of the comments today:

“Ooo, look at this! Wait…where’s my creamer?”

“Oh, God…everything is moved! I’ll never find what I need!”

“Why can’t they just leave things alone?!”

“I’m too old to start over.”

“I don’t have time for this! I don’t want to have to hunt for my groceries!”

“Every time I come in here things are different!”

The best part was when they would ask me where something was, in my own department, and I had to take a couple seconds to figure it out. I mean, I work there! It’s my department! I should know, right? Wrong!

Fortunately, most people were patient and understanding. And I thank those customers for that. We’re doing the best we can.

So, here we are back to my initial statement: People don’t like change. Not one person came around that corner and exclaimed, “I love it! Thank you for changing everything around!” or “I can’t wait to find out where my brand of yogurt got moved!” or“ At last! Changes that disrupt my life, even if it’s just for a moment!” Nope. Not a single one. Though I did hear in a consoling tone, “It’s going to be beautiful when it’s all done.”

So, though change may be necessary, change is rarely easy. Change is rarely welcomed. No matter what someone tells you about loving change, I believe that kind of change is circumstantial in nature. The kind of change that people welcome is the kind of change that is self-initiated. And even then, it can be filled with anxiety, even pain.

But change is necessary for us to learn and grow, even if it means having someone move the eggs when you weren’t expecting them to. Or discontinuing your Dragon Fruit Yogurt because you were the only one buying it. Sorry if that was you, by the way.

What about you? Do you welcome change? Or do you run from it?

Never Buy a Model Home

This is a bit off topic from my usual posts but consider it a tongue-and-cheek PSA from someone who made that mistake. On the surface, buying one of the models in a new home tract seems like a bonus. It’s move-in ready, right? Well, not exactly.

We sort of “fell into” buying our house. We were renting, and our landlords offered it to us for a great price. Since we were looking to buy, we were familiar and happy with the area, and not having to pay to move was a huge plus, we decided to jump in. And for the most part, it was a good decision.

But there was one main drawback – it was originally one of the “model homes” for our townhomes.

That means a few things, which I’ve learned along the way.

The first drawback is a term I learned almost immediately. EVERYTHING IS “BUILDER GRADE.” And I mean everything! Every home repair person we’ve had to the house grimaces when they see what they have to deal with. In fact, just today, I went to clean out the p-trap under the bathroom sink only to find that it doesn’t have a nut on the p-trap which could be easily removed. Our p-trap is GLUED TOGETHER!  A short cut the builders took to hurry up and get the model home done first.

Now, getting the model home did mean it came fully decorated, which, at first glance, looks fabulous. But the more we started looking at details and corners, the truth started to make itself apparent. We have crown molding in several rooms. But where the crown molding ends and a new room begins, for example at a corner, they didn’t bother to miter the corners. The molding just ends…chopped off…sometimes before the end of the wall. This would have frustrated my engineer father to no end.

Let’s talk appliances…all builder grade. Not just the cheap built-in microwave and stove either. We’re talking toilets, faucets, shower doors, bath tubs, and garbage disposals. Not a single brand name.

And counter tops? Tile? Granite? Soapstone? Marble? Not even close. Try plain white laminate that stains the MOMENT something like a drop of red juice is spilled on it. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my new best friend.

Can we talk cabinets? Not a glimmer of chrome or brass hardware on any cabinet in the whole house. Not in the bathrooms and not in the kitchen. But they did remember to use industrial strength magnets to keep the cabinets shut. If only there was a handle to open them up!

Now there is one thing that none of my neighbors have. We ended up with what only a handful of the neighbors have…a two-car garage. Apparently, after they made our model, they decided that a two-car garage would not let them cram as many places in here as they could. So, they got rid of the two-car garage option.

Oh, we also have a fully painted and dry-walled garage complete with green trim and a small closet. It seems that our garage served as the “front office” for the complex. So at least our pipes in the garage don’t freeze every winter. And there were heating ducts in the garage when we first moved in until we sealed them up because having heating ducts in a garage that is attached to the house is potentially lethal. (Something the inspector missed, by the way).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am eternally grateful for our home. I love it and know that we are very blessed to be able to own a home. I just want others who may be looking to buy a home to be aware of what it means to buy a model home.

If you buy a model, just be prepared to make a lot of upgrades and get used to the term “Builder’s Grade,” and the pity look the repay people will give you.

What is the worst or quirkiest thing about your home?

Mom Therapy

Mom Therapy

When my first born was about six months old, I went a little crazy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I definitely had cabin fever. I felt like a shut-in, like I had lost contact with any adults other than my husband. He’s the love of my life, and my best friend, but he isn’t a woman. There’s something about “sisterhood” that women need, especially when they’re short on sleep and buried in diapers.

Come to think of it, now that my kids are teens, I STILL need that “sisterhood.” There aren’t diapers or crying fits anymore (unless you count mine – LOL), but there is a certain need for a sharing of our lives.

I call it Mom Therapy.

It comes in many forms. Years ago, when the kids were babies, it meant stealing a couple of hours (if we were lucky) at Starbucks with babies in strollers. When they got to toddler age, we took our coffee to the park and pushed the kids in swings while we chatted. Shhhh…don’t tell the kids that the park is really for you too.

And then partial day preschool and kindergarten kicked in, and it was back to Starbucks, sans strollers, for coffee and maybe a quick trip to the mall or Walmart. We never bought clothes for ourselves, mind you, it was always for the kids. But we still managed to talk about life and laugh about how ridiculous it could be at times.

Now my kids are teens, and most of my friends, like myself, have gone back to work, ruining our Mom Therapy time. Oh, how I long for those days of strollers and Starbucks.

Some Moms forego the Coffee Therapy in exchange for Gym Therapy (I assume…I’ve never been to a gym), or PTA gatherings, or Church Functions (ie Bible studies), or Book Clubs.

But however Moms get their “therapy,” we need it. It’s essential to our survival.

I’m sure Dads have their own version of Dad Therapy, but I’m not a Dad, so I wouldn’t know what they do.

To my “Mom Therapists,” you know who you are, and thank you for your time.

What do you do for your Mom Therapy? Do you have a group of “therapists” that meet regularly?

Thank You for Stopping

To the man who stopped his car and let me cross the street in front of him today…”Thank You!”

Like most people, I live in a town where EVERYONE drives. Oh, sure sometimes they walk: they walk the dog, they walk their littles to the bus stop (sometimes), but NO ONE WALKS OUT OF NECESSITY. Unless their car runs out of gas or gets a flat tire…oh, wait, they have their cell phone to call for help. So, scratch that.

I walk out of necessity. I don’t drive. I can’t. Believe me, I would if I could.

Rarely do people ever stop for me at an intersection (crosswalk or not). In fact, many will pull through the crosswalk deliberately, so they won’t have to stop and wait the 35 seconds it takes for me to cross the street. I’ve even had a fire truck do this, which makes me wonder just how safe my kids really are when they cross the street. Something to think about.

So, you can imagine how shocked I was when the kind stranger stopped, smiled, and waved me across the street WHILE HE WAITED. I came close to knocking on his window to tell him “thank you.” So, Thank You, Kind Stranger. You have no idea what it means when people take the time to do that. It made my day.

And if you’ve ever waited the 35 seconds to let someone cross in front of you, may I say “Thank You” on their behalf.

Remember, we ALL have to share the road…even with pedestrians.

Why Moms Need a “Village”

When I had my first child, over 16 years ago, I was elated. Growing up, I never aspired to be a CEO, or a big executive (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I just wanted to be a Mom and a Wife. My dreams were coming true.

And then the hard work began.

For starters, I have a minor disability which makes me somewhat dependent on others, which I hate, by the way. But it can’t be helped. That’s where my “Village” comes in.

I knew going into parenthood, that I would need help, especially getting around town with the kids. And it became evident immediately when the doctors screwed up my C-Section (a small portion of it opened back up) which sent me to the wound center EVERY DAY for the first 10 weeks of my daughter’s life. My husband couldn’t take that much time off work, so my village took me there and waited with the newborn while my wounds were cleaned.

Because I can’t drive, I try my best to be close to schools, grocery stores, and doctors, and God has provided that for me. But there are times when stumbling blocks get thrown in the way. That’s when I need my village. Sometimes it’s made up of good friends or family and sometimes near strangers.

The truth is parenting is hard, whether you have a disability or not. There are times when you’ll be criticized, and judged, and you’ll need your village to support you even when you’re wrong.

My Village comes in all shapes and sizes.

I’ve had friends who are like surrogate parents to my children. They love them almost as much as their own. They’ve watched my kids early in our friendship when my husband had a gall stone attack (we didn’t know what it was at the time) and had to be rushed to the hospital. They’ve picked my kids up from school or watched them when I was stuck on the bus or they’ve taken them to school functions when I couldn’t get them there on my own.

Sometimes the “Village” support comes in emotional support as well. When I thought I was losing my mind as most of us Moms do from time to time, they picked me up off the floor and reminded me that “this too shall pass.”

My kids are now in their teens, and I still need my “Village.” Moms with older kids who have gone before me to advise me with high school decisions. Moms with younger kids to remind me not to take any moment for granted, because they pass quickly. Moms with kids the same age to support each other in the insanity.

My Village…I love them all and there’s never any way I could every repay their kindness. Somehow “thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough.

What about you? Have you found your village?