Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mom in Transition - Intro

For the past few years, I have been searching for someone. She’s about 5’6”, blonde hair, hazel eyes. She pops in and out of my life, showing herself every once in a while but always just out of reach. I know she's here somewhere, she just needs some encouragement to come out and show herself. Who am I looking for? Myself. Have you seen me?

Oh, not the woman who’s been around for the past 23+ years – mom, wife, chauffeur, PTO member, Church volunteer, homework helper, shoulder to cry on. No, she’s great but she’s not who I’m searching for.

I’m looking for that other woman. The one who loves to read and write; whose friends swore she’d be an anchor on the local news station; who couldn’t imagine getting old. The one who is turning 48 in a few days but swears she was just 25 a few months ago.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I even know her. She’s been buried under some wonderful titles (see above) but I think it’s about time I find out more about her.

I’ve had an incredible life so far doing exactly what I always thought I’d do – be a mom to some pretty great kids. And now, those great kids are grown up and I’m finding myself in a bit of a dilemma. I’ve got to find myself again.  I’ve got to figure out who Kathleen Marie Welsh Kopp will be for the next stage of her life.

I’ve been so busy being a mom and wife, and reacting to life, I’ve let life determine who I am rather than the other way around.

Well no more! I declare it’s my turn. I’ve already started my journey and I invite you to join me. Who are you looking for? That girl who always wanted to be a worldwide traveler? That woman who thought she’d be a great actress? That young lady who always wanted to write a book? That young man who thought he could be his own boss? That boy who thought he’d be a professional athlete?

Well guess what? It’s your turn too. Let’s do this together. Let’s look at each area of our lives and discover who we want to be from now on.

Over the next month, I’m going to examine and explore every area of my life – from the food I eat to the people I socialize with to the clothes I wear. I’m going to look at my past so I can figure out my future. 

Who’s with me?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Change can be a good thing, right?

I remember my first day of grade school.

We lived very close to school – I could hear the bell ring from our back yard – so I walked to school that September morning so long ago, holding my mother’s hand tightly. Even back then I didn’t like change. I wished desperately I was staying home with my mom, helping her hang laundry and clean up the breakfast dishes. (After 20 years of having a little one under foot, my mother wished I would walk a little faster, I’m sure!)

My teacher was Sr. Charles Marie and, even at five years of age, I had heard horror stories about her. And she didn’t disappoint. There she stood, tall (for a five year old) and imposing in her black habit and veil covering her hair. When she took my hand from my mother’s, I couldn’t help but notice her hands were not nearly as warm or comforting. With tears in my eyes, I watched my mom’s back as she walked home without me.

We were lined up and told to be quiet, which I’m sure was unnecessary, at least for me, as I hadn’t said a word since I saw my mother leave. We marched by two’s into the school and so began for me 16 years of Catholic school education.

(By the way, Sr. Charles more than lived up to her reputation. Her number one rule:  no erasing – even though we wrote in pencil and were in first grade!  The punishment? The page was ripped out and all work had to be done over again – neatly and cleanly.  One infamous event even necessitated a phone call to the principal from my mother - unheard of in our family as we were repeatedly told the teacher was always right! Our class was kept after school until 5:00 because no one admitted to throwing out a tuna fish sandwich at lunch. Not only was my mother incensed that first graders had to stay so late, but she couldn’t imagine why I was being held for detention when I didn’t even stay for lunch and therefore couldn’t have been the culprit!)

I made it through Sr. Charles and first grade, and seven more grades, before moving on to the local high school in ninth grade.

I remember my first day of high school.

Again, let me remind you that I was the youngest of six children and my mother was an old hand at saving money any way she could. Her theory when buying uniforms (and clothes in general) was the bigger it was, the longer it would last you. That’s why I started my high school career wearing an XL uniform (never mind that I was five feet tall and weighed 95 pounds soaking wet).

Not only was the uniform big but it was also hot. The high school did have a summer uniform but my mom was not going to waste good money on a uniform that I would only wear a handful of times. (She finally relented in my Sophomore year when the sweat stains in my long-sleeve blouses became too much to get out.)

I made it through 12 years of uniforms and hot classrooms and, to my delight, was given a full scholarship to a local college to study English/communications.

I remember my first day of college.

I was commuting and so would be home every day, but our orientation required everyone stay overnight for one night. One night! So, reminiscent of my first day of first grade, I walked to school with my mother and cried when she left! Some things never change. (Have I mentioned I don’t like change?)

What do all these first days have in common? They demonstrate that, despite my intense dislike of change, and the many challenges I faced during these first days, I not only completed 16 years of school, but I excelled as well.  Change isn’t all bad then, is it?

Over the past few weeks, I have sent my son off to his first job, my daughter off to her first year of college and my youngest off to her first day of high school. That’s a lot of firsts, and a lot of change. I have cried with them, consoled them and commiserated with them.

But I remind them, and myself, that change is necessary and change can be good. So here’s to all the firsts and changes we are all experiencing these days. May we appreciate them – good and bad – and learn and grow from them.

 If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. (Gail Sheehy).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stop and smell the sunflowers

Despite what my mother told me (every summer for years), summer is NOT over when Fourth of July gets here. (Although it often feels like it!) But summer does seem to fly by, despite my best efforts to slow it down.

If my calculations are correct (and keep in mind I was an English major in college for a reason), summer is about half way over. As depressing as that thought is, I am taking it as a wake up call.

It's time to stop and smell the roses, or sunflowers, as the case may be!

Have you taken advantage of all that summer has to offer?

Have you:

-Visited your local Farmer's Market?
-Taken a bike ride?
-Watched the sunset?
-Watched the sunrise?
-Swam in a pool? Lake? Ocean?
-Built a sandcastle?
-Bought lemonade from a neighborhood stand?
-Ridden a roller coaster?
-Read a good, trashy book?
-Slept in?
-Stayed up late?
-Roasted marshmallows?
-Visited a fair or carnival?
-Lost track of the days?
-Put away your make-up?
-Baked a pie?
-Visited a pick-your-own farm?
-Run through a sprinkler?
-Camped out?
-Gone barefoot for the day?
-Caught fireflies (and then let them go, of course :)
-Had ice cream for dinner?
-Created a sidewalk chalk masterpiece?
-Turned off the tv, phone, and computer for the day? The afternoon?
-Gone to a drive-in movie theater?
-Attended a baseball game?
-Made a wish on a star?
-Gone fishing?
-Packed a picnic?
-Gone cloud watching?
-Washed your car?
-Played mini-golf?
-Played on the swings?
-Had a barbecue?
-Gone to the zoo?
-Flagged down the ice cream truck?
-Gone to the park?
-Attended an outdoor concert?
-Eaten a s'more?

You haven't?

Well, what are you waiting for? It's the last week of July people! Time is a wastin'!

So get out there and enjoy summer and all its glory!

You're welcome!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Letting it go

Welcome July! (I’m not sure how you got here so quickly, but I’m happy to see you!)

I feel like my summer is officially beginning, despite the fact that my kids have been out of school for over two weeks and we’ve been down the shore (for those not from the Southeastern Pennsylvania  area, that means at the beach) since mid-June!

Summer is my favorite season (although fall is a very close second) and I use the time to not only work on my tan and soak up some Vitamin D, but also to set some goals and cross things off my bucket list.

And this summer is no different. The number one thing I’ve done so far is adopt a song for the summer ~ Let it Go, from the movie Frozen. (Ironic that my summer song is from a movie about the cold, but that’s another post for another day!)

I’ve decided to use this summer to “let go” of my controlling ways. I’m going to (try and) release the need to manage everything in my path. If I can’t do it in the summer, when the living is supposed to be easy, then when can I?

This “Let it go” attitude was tested this past weekend, when we decided to host a mini-reunion for a group of friends with whom my husband grew up. I bought the food and cleaned the house, but let him control the agenda for the day. And every time I tried to take over and suggest a few things, I stopped and started humming “Let it go” until the urge passed. (Confession: by the end of the day, we were all sick of that song!)
But, and here’s the “aha moment,” the day went off perfectly and I (eventually) relaxed and enjoyed myself.
I have a feeling I will be sick of this song in a few weeks, since my family is determined to test my resolve this summer. I am spending these next few weeks at the beach with my youngest daughter while my husband commutes on the weekends and my two older children come and go as their work schedules allows. Yes, it is nice that they are of at that age but for a control freak, this means I am never sure who will be sleeping where, who will be having friends down, and when they will be coming/going. But I’m taking a deep breath and, yes, you guessed it, letting it go. 
So, if you happen to pass a woman in the grocery store humming that catchy Disney tune rather loudly, feel free to stop and say hello. I’ll try and keep it down, but no guarantees!

Happy July everyone!

*Rabbit Rabbit *

Friday, June 13, 2014

50 Reasons Why I Love JWK

50 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

1. His sense of humor.
2. His kindness.
3. His blue eyes.
4. His devotion to his children.
5. His unwillingness to grow up completely.
6. His support of my writing.
7. His willingness to put up with my lack of cooking expertise.
8. His work ethic.
9. His help with the children when they were younger.
10. His ability to always make me smile.
11. His love of the beach.
12. His uncanny ability to always get a good parking spot.
13. His strong arms.
14. His smile.
15. His laugh.
16. His willingness to walk the dogs in the rain/snow.
17. He always put his family first.
18. He tries to understand his girls, despite growing up without sisters.
19. He puts up with my crazy ideas.
20. His ability to stay calm when I’m freaking out.
21. His love of sports.
22. His willingness to kill bugs and spiders.
23. His strong lawn-cutting skills!
24. He values my job as a mother and wife.
25. He encourages and guides our children.
26. His kindness toward others.
27. He’s a great leader.
28. His sentimentality.
29. His ability to make others laugh.
30. He doesn’t take himself too seriously.
31. His intuition when it comes to knowing people/situations.
32. His gentlemanly ways.
33. His willingness to have the TV on every night before we go to bed because I can’t sleep without it.
34. His willingness to stay awake at night and talk me down when I’m on the edge.
35. His fantastic grilling abilities.
36. His great breakfasts.
37. He fills up my car with gas when it’s low – without me asking!
38. His hugs.
39. His patience.
40. His fantastic back rubs.
41. His honesty.
42. His willingness to pick up the kids at night when I’m already in bed.
43. His voice.
44. His ability (and willingness) to find the answer to any random question that may come up.
45. His loyalty.
46. His pride for his children
47. His willingness to help others.
48. His memory for faces.
49. He sticks to his principals.
50. The fact that he loves me!

Happy 50th Birthday Jeff!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remembering the firsts

I remember all your firsts:

The first time I saw your face, scrunched up and crying when the nurse handed you to me.

The first time your big brother held you, his four-year-old arms cradling you carefully as he asked “Where is she going to sleep?”

Your first sleep over, when at age four, you told me you were old enough to walk to the door by yourself, and that I shouldn’t worry or miss you because, after all, it was only one night, and I had a picture of you I could stare at.

The first time I dropped you off at preschool, your school bag bigger than you and your smile bigger than your face, waving to me as you ran into the classroom.

The first time you were hurt by a friend, your big green eyes filled with tears as you asked me why someone would not include you in a play date.

The first time you got angry at me, those same green eyes wide and blazing, questioning my decision and my words.

Your first days of kindergarten, middle school and high school, your smile still big but those eyes tinged with worry, and even doubt.

And now, instead of remembering your firsts, I am counting down your lasts:

Your last full day of high school (Where did the past 12 years go?)

Your last high school exam (Yes, you do still need to study for it!)

Your last day as a high school student (Remember this day, you will relive it over and over again for years!)

Your last summer before college (The best days of your life!)

High school graduation is such a momentous occasion in one’s life. It’s a stepping stone to adulthood. 

Friends you swore you’d never loose touch with will slowly disappear, replaced by new friends and only seen at reunions and homecoming games.

Summers will no longer be spent lounging by the pool and hanging out at the mall. Instead, there will be summer classes to attend, internships to be scored and the world to be explored.

These really are the best days of your life. Enjoy them. Don’t rush through them. Stop and take the time to appreciate home. Oh, not necessarily the physical building (although your room is rather comfortable) but the places you have existed in and taken for granted these past 18 years.

I remember someone describing home as the place that is close to the heart of the owner. Yes, close to the heart of the owner. That is the place I want you to enjoy – anyone or anyplace that is close to your heart.

Congratulations my soon-to-be high school graduate. As I watch you walk down that aisle at graduation, I will have another first to remember:

Your first steps into adulthood (I’m so proud of you!)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Goodbye May

It’s the last day of May! For those lost in a fog of baseball games, graduations, dances, lacrosse games, showers, proms, softball games, recitals and spring cleaning, you’re welcome for the calendar update! Or is that just my schedule?

Anyway, it’s the last day of May, and I can’t decide if I’m happy about that, or sad.

On the one hand, I can cross off at least 3 major events that have been hanging over my head and stressing me out. (Three down, four to go!) I feel like I can start to breathe again.

On the other hand, May has come and gone and I’ve missed the opportunity to sit back and appreciate nature coming to life again after that long, cold, brutal winter.  It’s a joy to see color again after so many months of gray.

Looking back, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime in these past 31 days. I’ve celebrated my son’s college graduation; sent my daughter off to her Senior Prom; helped organize a Post Prom party for 350 kids; opened our summer house for the season; celebrated my son’s 23rd birthday; prepped my daughter for her visit to the high school (which she will be attending next year); wrapped up two volunteer jobs; and started the very difficult discussion with my father about downsizing/moving him from our family home (a home he’s lived in for 56 years). Talk about your highs and lows.

But I feel like that’s what May is – a time of change, a time of awakening. Closing the doors on some things while anticipating new opportunities and beginnings.

If only I could slow down a bit and appreciate it.

But life marches on. There are more graduations to attend, dances to go to and recitals to prepare for. And then… summer!

Just a few weeks of craziness left and then we can calm our nerves while we appreciate the longer days. We can relax our shoulders and stretch our legs and breathe in the fresh air of summer.

Goodbye May 2014. You will be remembered for your good times and bad, your highs and lows, your sunshine and rain.

Welcome June – be kind and feel free to dawdle. I’m in no hurry to see you move on.

Rabbit Rabbit

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Blessings

Wishing all those who celebrate a Blessed and Peaceful Easter!

"Jesus Christ is Risen Today... Alleluia!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I am still here

I am still here... I think.

I am still here... but pulled in a thousand different directions.

I am still here... but my mind is a million miles away.

I am still here... frazzled, distracted, overwhelmed, over scheduled, and over it.

I am still here... despite life's best efforts to derail me.

I am still here... tired, flustered, edgy and restless.

I am still here... smiling, moving, working, trying.

I am still here... but is that enough?

I am still here... because I am stronger than I thought.

I am still here... for all those who need me.

I am still here... and will be, God-willing, for quite a while.

I am still here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Confessions of a Control Freak

I admit it. I’m a bit of a control freak. (Okay, perhaps more than a bit.)

I dislike chaos and crave orderliness. Delegate is a dirty word for me. Peace and calm are my constant goal. Change scares me (just the word makes me cringe).

I recently chaired an event that required me to rely on others for the majority of the components. It was hell. In the end, it all worked out but the week prior to the big day, I gained five pounds (I eat when I’m stressed) and lost countless hours of sleep.

It’s a problem, I know, and not something I’m particularly proud of. You would think my need for control would have been cured after having three children. After all, there’s nothing like a sick baby or an unexpected homework assignment to throw your to-do list right out the window.

But sadly, I somehow held on to my controlling habits, despite the best efforts of my children to derail me.

I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want a calm, orderly life. I think control, in many cases – especially as a mother – is important. It’s just not a good thing when it affects you physically. Or when it affects your life and those around you.

I’m afraid I am teaching my children, especially my youngest, that change is something to be scared of. And THAT is not a good thing.

And that is what I’m trying to work on in 2014. I’m going to keep my orderly life, but throw in some change every once in a while.

As you know from my last post, I picked up Lu Ann Cahn’s new book, I Dare Me. It’s a great book about doing new things to recharge your life. I loved it and have already made a list of things I want to do for the first time (or for the first time in a long time).

For example, I tend to sit in the same pew for Mass every Sunday. Not so unusual, as I see many families do the same thing each week. But, just to switch it up, I will not only sit in a different pew, I will sit on a different side of the Church.

Now, there are probably two different reactions you could have to this statement. You are right now either nodding your ahead in agreement and understanding, since you tend to be a creature of habit as well, or you are shaking your head in amazement that I actually have to make a resolution to sit somewhere else in Church. (Crazy, I hear you thinking!)

For those in the latter group, I applaud your spontaneity – really! But sadly, I think there are a number of us “control freaks” out there who are set in their ways and see change as a dirty word.

For those of you, I say join me. Join me in shaking up your life a little.

What else do I have planned for 2014:

1. Going to a movie in the middle of the day by myself.
2. Going tech-free for a day.
3. Dance in the rain.
4. Sell/buy something on e-bay.
5. Finger paint
6. Host a home trunk show.
7. Learn to Hula Hoop.
8. Learn to put on and wear fake eyelashes.
9. Stay silent for a day.
10. Yoga on the beach.

And many, many more.

In fact, I’ve already marked a few “firsts” off my list, including learning to recite the ABC’s backwards and shopping in a new market in the area. Grant it, they’re not earth-shattering opportunities, but it’s a start – a new way of looking at the same old things. And it’s a chance for this old control freak to shake things up a bit and see that change does not have to be scary.

For once, I’m actually looking forward to some change in my life. And I’m learning to ignore those butterflies in my stomach and take a chance.

Any other control freaks out there looking to shake it up a bit?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time to Shake It Up a Bit

It’s another snowy day here in Eastern PA. School is on a 2-hour delay (at least they are in school) and roads are supposed to clear by lunchtime. This is good news for everyone in my household because we are all pretty much sick of each other these days. We’re tired of the snow, the cold and the confinement.

It’s been a tough winter around here, with words like Polar Vortex and thunder snow being bantered around on a daily basis. I’ve been woken up at 5:00 a.m. with a phone call from our School Superintendant over a dozen times (so far) and if my daughter asks me one more time, “Do you think we’ll have school tomorrow?” I will scream!

For whatever reason (lack of sleep most probably) I am in an especially down mood this morning. It’s snowing (again). It’s cold (again). My schedule is being interrupted (again). Winter fatigue has set in but considering there is still over a month until spring, and more snow and cold weather in the forecast, I need to get over it.

Luckily, I was able to get out of the house last night and hear a wonderfully inspiring speaker who has written a book to help me shake off this mood. Lu Ann Cahn, a Philadelphia TV reporter, has written a book, I Dare Me, which talks about how she “rebooted and recharged her life by doing something new every day.”

THIS is what I needed to hear. She started by asking those in attendance, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Wow, think about that for a while.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

She admitted she was in a rut in 2009 – unhappy and frustrated with life. Her college-aged daughter challenged her to shake up her life a bit by trying something new every day and writing about it on a blog. Cahn was reluctant at first but decided to give it a try. On Jan. 1, 2010, she participated in the Polar Bear Plunge in Atlantic City, NJ. For someone who admitted to not going into the ocean in July, this was a big departure from her comfort zone.

Cahn kept it up, trying everything from hula hooping to eating in an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time to zip lining in Mexico, all the while recording her daily adventures on her blog.

At the end of the year, she realized what had been missing in her life – firsts! Trying new things added excitement to her life and made her appreciate what she had.

Her goal with the book: helping others become unstuck and discover the wonder life has to offer!

I’ve had the book in my hands for about 16 hours and can’t put it down. It’s inspired me to change it up a bit. Me, who thinks living dangerously is sitting on a different side of the Church on Sundays.

It’s amazing what comes your way when you really need it.

I've already started a list of things I want to try for the first time and, while I won't be doing something new every day, I am challenging myself to shake it up a bit at least once a week.

I’m not getting any compensation for this post. My only goal is to help others who may be stuck and in a rut, especially with this crazy winter we are having.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Pick up this book and challenge yourself to do something new, today! I dare you!

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Valentine's Day

It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s also our school’s 10th snow day, as well as the ninth snowstorm that has hit our area this season, with more snow predicted tomorrow. We have had over 55 inches of snow this winter so far. Here's my view as I write this:

For this warm-weather, beach-loving lady, this is my version of hell!

But, I digress. It’s Valentine’s Day. We aren’t big fans of this holiday in our house. I’m not saying I would turn down some chocolate and flowers, especially when I am surrounded by children and snow these days, but I am not the type of woman who requires a big fancy dinner out and a tiffany-blue box on the table. (Having said that, again, I certainly wouldn’t turn either down. See first paragraph!)

For once, this year I thought ahead and picked up a few things for my daughters and husband for Valentine’s Day a few days ago. Since we were housebound yesterday, my forethought allowed me to gloat a bit this morning at the breakfast table when I pulled out said gifts. I’m not proud of my actions, but it certainly was fun to see my husband squirm a bit when I pulled out a card and gift at 8:00 am. (This was after I served him heart-shaped pancakes! I know. I have no shame!)

Having been married for 24 years, I know my husband well enough to expect some flowers and chocolate in a few hours. He knows the way to my heart. But while in the shower this morning, I started thinking about all the gifts he has given me through the years for which he never gets credit.

The biggest gift: The ability to be a stay-at-home mom for our three children. Financially, this is worth countless bouquets of flowers, pieces of jewelry and dinners out, but emotionally, this is a priceless gift that I appreciate every day, and yet rarely thank him for.

Other gifts he has given me:

-Filling up my car with gas when I’m almost on empty.
-Waking up early and running to get me a bagel at my favorite bagel shop.
-Warming up my car before I leave in the morning.
-Walking our dogs at night, in the rain, and never complaining.
-Picking up our kids after that late-night party because he knows I don’t like to drive at night (and I’m already in my pajamas).
-Coming home to another night of “breakfast for dinner” or take-out dinner (that he has to pick up) – and not complaining!
-Giving up many a weekend at our shore house so that my sisters and I can have a girls weekend away.
-Making many late-night runs to the grocery store to satisfy my chocolate cravings.
-Making me laugh every day!

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I want to thank my sweet Valentine for all the gifts he has given me these past 24 years. I may not thank you every day, but I appreciate them more than you’ll ever know. And those gifts are worth more than any flowers you could every get me. (We can talk about that tiffany-blue box later!)

Friday, January 24, 2014



There, I said it. Now, before I go any further, I have to apologize. I don’t usually use my blog for personal, seemingly unimportant rants. I tend to stick to Twitter:

Or Facebook:

for that.

But here I am, breaking my own rules.

You see, this is what I’m looking at right now:

And THIS is what I’d really much rather be looking at:

As if that isn’t hard enough to bear, THIS is what it feels like in my house right now:

And THIS is what I feel like it feels like in my house right now:

Get it?


I wasn’t always this way. I used to enjoy winter. I loved the snow. I looked forward to hearing my school number being called on the local radio news station, knowing that meant a day off of school and hours of sledding, snowball fights and fun ahead!

I’m not sure exactly when it all changed. I can’t say “real life” crept in, because – truthfully - it’s not the driving in the snow to go to school/work that I hate most about winter (although that certainly isn’t top of my list). No, I think it’s the cold I dislike most about these few months. And the fact that winter seems to drag on and on.

Personally, I’d like to see us skip the months of February and March completely and go from January 31 to April 1. (My apologies to those with birthdays in those months but I see it as a sacrifice that must be made. We’ll celebrate your big day with a nice outdoor picnic at the beach instead, okay?!)

My goal today was to spend the morning writing. I had the entire day blocked off and was excited to spend it on my computer pounding out some interesting, relevant content. And here I am talking about the cold. What happened?

It started with our heater. Or perhaps it’s our thermostat. Whatever it is, we can’t seem to get the heat working in our house with any consistency. One minute it’s 67 degrees in here, the next it’s 59. Have you ever tried to type with cold fingers? I’ve re-typed this sentence five times because my fingers won’t cooperate with my brain.

And of course the call to the heating company went about as you would expect a call to go when there is 12 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature isn’t expected to rise above freezing in the foreseeable future. “Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you.” Sure you will – right around Memorial Day!

After donning a hat, scarf, fingerless gloves, two pairs of socks and three layers of sweaters/jackets, I decided to make the best of the situation and start my writing. As I sat down, my neighbor called. His car wouldn’t start and he needed to borrow our jumper cables. Oh, and our car!

And then the dogs needed to go out. They didn’t want to go out, mind you, (who does?) but unless I wanted to be cleaning up various messes throughout the day, I needed to convince them that it was a good idea to get out of their warm beds and go outside to do their business. (Can anyone explain to me why dogs cannot simple walk outside and go? Why do they feel the need to be walked for blocks and then sniff their way to the middle of a yard covered in snow before they go?)

And now, half way through this cold winter day, I am finally sitting down and writing. I have managed to bang out 600 words on something as important as “Why I Hate Winter.”

I will end this rant, I mean post, the way I began it, with my apologies. My hope is that the next post you read will be calmer and a bit more relevant. But don’t count on it, as there are two more months of cold and snow and, in case I didn’t mention it before…


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Work of Christmas

I don’t normally post other people’s writings, for obvious reasons, but I came across this beautiful poem by civil rights leader and theologian Dr Howard Thurman and I had to share:

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

So let’s get to work!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Miss Her

I miss her.

I miss her smile and her laugh.

I miss her sunny personality and her chatter.

I miss her concern and her thoughtfulness.

I miss her.

It’s been so long since I’ve seen her. I drive past her house and pause, saying a prayer that all is well; wishing things were different; hoping for good news.

Life changes in an instant. How often do we hear that phrase? How often do we repeat those words to our children, to ourselves? How often do we say that this time, we will listen and appreciate our lives? How often do we forget?

Such a little thing, that cough, barely noticeable to those around her. Allergies? A lingering cold? Nothing more serious. It couldn’t be.

Cancer? No! She’s too young. She’s got three children who need her. She’s just started back to school – a new career, a new start. Cancer? Really?

Radiation. Yes.

Surgery. Okay.

Chemo? Whatever helps.

Problems? Complications?

What can we do to help? Dinners. Carpools. Prayers. Anything.

How is she doing? I’ve asked that question countless time over these past few months.

Is there anything I can do? Another question posed over and over again to anyone who will listen.

It’s such a helpless feeling – seeing your friend so sick and not being able to do anything; not being able to do enough.

I’ve cooked dinners, written notes, sent texts, dropped off little gifts. I’ve said prayers, offered intentions, added her to prayer lists.

I feel lost. I feel powerless. I feel frustrated.

Then I feel guilty. It’s not about me, after all, it’s about her. It’s about her family. It’s not about me.

So I keep on praying. And I keep on asking for her. And I keep on sending those texts and dinners and notes.

I keep on. Just like I hope she is keeping on. For with life, there is hope.

God Bless you my friend. I miss you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Life is a Roller Coaster

If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past 40+ years, it’s that life is a roller coaster. You have your highs and your lows, your peaks and your dips, your curves and your straight-aways. Every day is different so buckle up and hold on because it isn’t for the faint of heart.

Anyone with children knows that life with kids is one long, continuous roller coaster ride. They have their ups (they were just invited to a great party or got an A on their latest test) and their downs (they were the “only one” not invited to someone’s house, or they didn’t make a team).

When these events happen, I remind them (and myself) of my little adage: Life is like a roller coaster. I have repeated that saying so many times that even my dogs could recite it. I know that what comes up, must come down. I know that life always gets better. I KNOW all this. So if I know this, why do I climb into that car and ride that rollercoaster with them every time?

Why do I still feel a pang when I look on Instagram or Facebook and see a group of my children’s friends together without my child there? Why does my heart break when I hear my daughter talk of a sleepover that she isn’t invited to?

Why? Because no matter how often my brain hears me saying, “Life is like a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs,” my heart hates those downs when they are happening to my children.

I know adversity builds character and strength. I know that not everyone is invited to everything. I know that life isn’t always fair. But here’s the thing, and it’s a biggie, knowing something and believing and accepting it – all the time - are two totally different things.

It hurts to see your children hurt. It hurts to see that look of disappointment or fear on their face as they come down from that high.

I recently heard someone talk about something that helps ease the pain of those downs. They call them back-pocket moments. I love this idea. Back-pocket moments are those times when something goes really well; when life is good – really good. You know the moments: you just got your first job; the boy you like asked you to Prom; you aced the test you studied for all night. When my kids come home and tell me something that they are really happy about or proud of, I tell them to “put it in their back pocket” so they can pull it out and remember that feeling when life isn’t going well.

Because we all know that, as good as everything might be right now, life changes in an instant. That roller coaster doesn’t stay up continuously. But isn’t that what makes the ride so much fun – those crazy twists, turns and drops? And isn’t that what makes life so interesting?

So I’ll remind myself of these back pocket moments, and I will try and stay off that roller coaster that my kids will be riding. They are “tall enough” now to ride it alone. I will stay on the ground and smile, wave and encourage them as they go up and down, and be there for them when they get off, to give them a hug or a high-five, depending on what they may need.

I will remind them that they will experience many ups and downs in life so buckle up and hold on because they’re in for a great ride.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resolution Failure

It’s three days into 2014 and I have failed at every one of my New Year’s resolutions!

Three days!

I have very good reasons of course. Really!

First resolution: Diet

Well, as everyone knows, you cannot start a diet on a holiday, which New Year’s Day clearly is. And then an emergency came up with an event I was running and, well, we all know the only cure to emergencies is chocolate. And today, a snowstorm has hit our area. Six inches of snow + five people in the house together (who already spent a lot of time together over Christmas break) + four batches of chocolate chip cookies left over from Christmas + three tubs of popcorn received from neighbors and clients + two wet, smelly dogs equals one cranky momma who is in no mood to diet! Bring on the fudge!

Second resolution: Gym

I AM going to get to the gym, really. It’s just that it’s so crowded those first couple of days after New Year’s that you can’t get near any of the equipment, and then that snowstorm hit and I hate to drive in the snow, and the kids are home from school and…

Third: No Judging

I’m not judging anyone but really, who wears a sleeveless top in January when the wind chill is 4 degrees? It’s not that I care, it’s just that a sweater would be much more appropriate in this weather. I wouldn’t even mention it but, sleeveless? I think someone just wants to show off their arms. But really, it’s none of my business. I’m not going to talk about it again. This is a judgment-free zone from now on (as long as no one wears sleeveless shirts again)!

Fourth: Write more.

I would write more but you see, an emergency came up that I had to deal with, then a snowstorm hit and the schools closed so my family is all home, and there is all this left-over food I need to finish before it goes bad and really, who has time to write?

Luckily, it is only January 3 and I have 362 more days left to make up excuses, I mean make up for my resolution failure.

How are you making out with your New Year’s resolutions?