Archive | April, 2012

The Power of Choice

23 Apr

The Power of Choice.

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The Power of Choice

23 Apr

Something extraordinary happened this morning, something I had hoped would happen but have waited years to witness. Today I woke up earlier than I would have liked because I went to bed way too late last night. I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that was not the one I’d hoped I would see. I brought the overflowing laundry basket downstairs and started a load. I emptied the dishwasher and looked around at my house that has been neglected this weekend because we’ve been away from home so much. I realized that nearly every area of my life could use some improvement in some way or another, but then I realized something amazing. I realized that in spite of all of that, or maybe because of it, I feel fantastic.

At first it seemed strange that with so much on my plate, and with me being “behind” in so many areas I want to improve, that I could feel so good. Then I realized something else. I realized that even though my life isn’t where I want it to be, I know how to get where I want to be. I know the steps to success for me. I just have to follow them. So why haven’t I? In some areas, I know exactly why. My weight is where it is because this week we’ve had two birthdays, one of them being mine, and I’ve let myself enjoy foods I usually avoid because I know they add weight. In my home, I’ve chosen to have a lot of fun this week and weekend. In my spiritual practice, I’ve stepped away from a routine that was beginning to feel a bit stifling and revamp. In all cases, I know that I’ve just taken a pleasant side trip in the journey of life, and for me that may be the greatest revelation of all.

You see, in my younger years, I wanted a huge house and tons and tons of money and a full walk in closet full of clothes and trips and cars and stuff and stuff and more stuff. I thought those were the trappings of success and, in turn, the trappings of being happy. Guess what? They’re not. Don’t get me wrong. I love having a nice home, money, good clothes, traveling, cars that run well and some of the other stuff of life. The point is that none of these things will ever make you happy. I know some very wealthy people and some very poor people who are happy. I also know some wealthy people and some poor people who are unhappy, depressed and thoroughly miserable. It’s not the money or the stuff that makes anyone happy, it’s the decision to be happy that is important.

Today, I am awed by the fact that I live in a country and in an era that allows me to choose how I pursue happiness. It’s not just a freedom; it’s a fundamental right. I live in a country of extraordinary opportunity, where everyone can get a free education when so many women in this world have no way to be educated. I can choose my profession, what clothes I wear and who I will marry or if I will marry. I can vote. I can travel unattended. I can make my own money, and I can be whoever I want to be. In our world, especially as a woman, that is no small thing.

So, this week, as I return from a week of “making merry” to the obligations I’ve willingly taken upon myself, I will do my best to remember that having the choice is a gift. I will do my best for all the women who cannot choose. I will make a choice to remember and honor those who wish they could be in my situation. I will do my best to choose wisely, and if you happen to hear me whine or complain, I hope you will choose to remind me of what I’ve written today. I also hope that you will choose to revel in your choices and if you need to change your choices to get to that point, do it, and do it quickly. You deserve to choose happiness and I hope you will. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

Listen all you Mothers

17 Apr

Listen all you Mothers.

Listen all you Mothers

17 Apr

Today I feel compelled to write about moms because of the situation in the media with Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, and what I really want to say is STOP IT!! Women before us have worked too hard and made too many sacrifices for us to be so judgmental, petty and cruel with one another. I know more really good moms than really bad ones. I know that no matter what your economic, social, religious or marital status, the job of mom is one of the most challenging there is.

I choose to be a stay at home mom in a traditional marriage. It is the greatest joy of my life to be a wife and mother and raise my boys. For me, being a stay at home mom is following my bliss because the worst day raising my children is better than the best day I ever had at a paid job. Ironically, my oldest child will be heading to college in the fall and my youngest will be graduating from high school in six years, so I know that the job I will have had for over 20 years, by that time, will be phased out. My job will be eliminated in the corporation of Bemmes, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I have friends and relatives that have made different choices. For some, staying at home was stifling and diminishing. They need their work atmosphere to feel whole. Because they work, they are better parents. Because they find personal fulfillment in their work, they can focus on their children when they’re away from work. It helps them to find balance and joy, and I salute them because I cannot imagine taking the same road.

Then there are my single mom friends. They balance a life of children and work, in some cases with no support at all from the father of their children. Some need work, again, to feel whole and balanced and valued. Some wish they could be home with their children but press on because they want to give their children the best life possible. In all cases, they do their very best and I admire them for their tenacity and strong spirit.

I learned a long time ago that each one does what each one can and when we support each other we can all accomplish so much more. So, all you mothers out there, keep doing your best, keep loving your kids and keep yourself sane any way you can. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

Love is Lovelier

11 Apr

Love is Lovelier.

Love is Lovelier

11 Apr

One of the areas of my life I rarely write about is my marriage. It isn’t because there’s something wrong with my marriage. On the contrary, it’s because it is the one area of my life that works the way I think it’s supposed to nearly all the time. I’m not bragging. Ok, maybe I am a little bit, but for me it’s all a matter of priorities and getting it right…this time.

You see, I was married once before. We dated off and on for ten years starting in high school. We broke up when he went to college and got back together not long before I graduated from college. We were great friends. We had a great time together, and we loved each other. The problem was that we weren’t in love with each other. In fact, once we were married, we were really bad for each other. I can’t speak for him, but the end of our marriage was one of the lowest points of my life. I felt like a failure as a wife and a human being the day I told him I was leaving. I went from “having it all” to facing the very real possibility of living my life alone and without the children I knew I wanted some day. Shortly before I moved out, a friend who had been through this before me told me I would know the very first night I was in my own apartment if I had made the right decision. She said that if I went right to sleep, I would know it was the best choice for me. If I tossed and turned and questioned myself, I might want to re-think my decision. I slept like a baby. Within weeks, we filed the papers, shared an attorney through the divorce and even hugged each other goodbye on the day the divorce was final. We were both free to live a better life. Little did I know how much better life could be.

The night of my divorce I celebrated with friends and a great guy I had just started dating. The comedian asked if anyone was celebrating anything, a marriage, birth, divorce? Our table erupted into laughter and the comedian had great fun at my expense. So did I. That great guy and I learned a lot about each other very quickly. We shared things with each other that we had never shared with anyone else. We were more vulnerable with each other than we’d ever allowed ourselves to be. We broke down each other’s walls and were ourselves in every way. Then, one night in January, with a twenty degree below wind chill, my great guy showed up for a date in shorts. He didn’t do it for effect. He did it because he detests long pants and because he doesn’t feel cold on his legs. We were stared at all night and giggled through it all, and that evening, after he went home, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life him. Thank goodness he felt the same way.

In the twenty plus years since then, we’ve weathered so much, including job losses, a preemie baby with health issues and losing our fathers a mere four months apart. We’ve endured losing friends, euthanizing a beloved pet and watching a flood destroy nearly half of everything we owned. We’ve even had a moment or two that we thought we might lose each other either through a traumatic birth or an unresponsive diabetic low sugar episode. It’s no more or less than some couples go through, but in our case, every episode solidified our relationship and our marriage. It created a bond and a trust that we both only dreamed we could have. It made us who we are today, and who we are is better than who we were and is just the beginning of who we will become.

As I was pouring my heart out in this post, I began to wonder why I felt compelled to write about my marriage today. I think it was because of one of my online friends was panicking about wedding details. She’s young and sweet and the wedding is close and like every bride, she wants everything to be perfect. Who wouldn’t want that? But, having lived the life I’ve lived, I realize that it’s the ups and the downs that make you who you are. It’s the fighting through tough times, the lifting each other up through despair and the rejoicing in every joyful moment, and doing it together that create a marriage that will last through the ages. It’s being able to know your spouse inside and out and love them with all of their quirks. It’s deciding what’s important enough to fight about and making sure that is the shortest list you’ve ever made. It’s about forgiving and asking forgiveness and being able to say the two most difficult words in the English language…”I’m sorry”…and really mean it. It’s about staying madly in love with the one you’ve chosen to spend your life with, and knowing that your efforts are worth it. It also helps to choose someone who is as committed to your marriage as you are, and if they aren’t, run away. Run away far and fast and don’t look back. So, you may not read much about my marriage because that sums it up. It works for me and for him and I hope yours works for you. If not, I hope you figure it out because everyone deserves to have a lifelong romance with someone who makes their heart sing every day. It’s never too late to have the relationship you dream of. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

The Busyness of Life

10 Apr

The Busyness of Life.

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