NaBloPoMo Challenge Completed!

It’s been a long 30 days of daily posts. I think the challenge was good for me and I enjoyed it. I will admit that this past week I have had to “phone it in” with some quick posts because there was so much going on here over the holiday week.

I am glad that I decided to make the commitment to do it. It brought a lot of new people/blogs into my sphere, and now I am hoping to find time to start visiting more of them than I have had the chance to thus far. We’ll see – it’s not like December is a slow month!

Trying to post every single day really stretched me, but it also reminded me that I am capable of rising to a challenge. When I have committed to various challenges that are 30 days or 90 days, I have been very faithful to keeping those commitments, and I have done far better than if I just have a vague “I should really try to do that more” general thought about something.

I’m thinking I need to commit to one or two things every month in that manner, be it a health commitment, mailing an encouraging note daily, practicing something I’m learning, etc. After taking on a few different challenges in 2014, I have learned that challenging myself to commit to something for a specific time period results in my being far more likely to accomplish it.

Now the question is which challenge should I take on next that won’t add too much to the craziness that is December.

Thank you all who have followed and commented during NaBloPoMo. I have appreciated every interaction, and I hope to get to know people here and maybe even strike up a friendship or two.

Hugs!

Advertisements

Time

Saturday evening and it’s quiet.

It’s not truly quiet, which is a rarity when a 12-year-old boy is present, but still, it feels quiet.

My girl left last night and when my girl leaves, for a little while it’s like the air is sucked out of the house. The atmosphere is different without her. It’s as if the house knows she’s gone again too, and it requires a day or two to regain it’s equilibrium, just like me, to adjust to her absence again.

Even though she’s called me twice today and I’ve heard her voice, it’s not the same as her being present. I know it’s only 3 weeks until she’ll be back, and those 3 weeks are ridiculously busy this year and surely they’ll fly by, and yet it will simultaneously be a long 3 weeks.

Time.

Clock

I think often about how odd it is, passing in a blink as well as feeling interminable, sometimes at the exact same time. I often wonder if my perception of time is similar to or different from how others experience it. There are memories of people that are so vivid I feel I can almost touch them and surely they were just a few weeks or months ago, not decades. Then there are other things that no matter how I strain, I can’t quite recall, or that are from the very same time period as the vivid ones, yet they seem a lifetime ago.

Time. 

Memories and feelings can make people feel as near as a heartbeat, just beyond the reach of our fingertips, yet as unreachable as if on the other side of a great chasm.

Thankful Thursday – Thanksgiving Edition

It’s been a long day, but one filled with love and laughter, and my heart (and belly) is full. I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well, whether you were surrounded by friends and family or, as some of my friends far away, had a day of solitude and self-pampering.

There is much for which to be thankful, and I hope you can all think of several things today.

Today I am thankful for:

* My family.

* The sounds of my children’s voices all together and especially their laughter.

* Warm clothing on cold, snowy, 15-degree nights. Also tea and pie.

* The aroma of all the foods cooking today.

* YOU. Yes, I am thankful for you, people who are following me, people I have connected with here, people I have yet to connect with, people just passing by. Each and every one of you who sees these words is a unique individual who brings your own special gifts to the world, so today I am thankful for you. You matter.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Hug)

What Is the Best Thing that Anyone Has Ever Said to You?

What is the best thing that anyone has ever said to you?

A friend posed this question to me awhile back.

I’ve been pondering this for awhile now, and I know there is something I am forgetting, a moment when I remember saying the exact words “that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.” The fact that I can’t recall what it was now is driving me batty.

I can say that I have been told several times that I am easy to talk to and, even better, the words “I trust you” and “I trust you completely.” When someone says that to me, especially someone who hasn’t really known me all that long, or maybe not even actually met me but communicated with me only through some form of the written word, that means the world to me, that they have that much faith in me, that they feel they can trust me with their more private selves, and I value that incredibly highly. I don’t even know how to aptly put into words how that makes me feel. Deeply honored.

However, one instance in particular does stand out in my mind.

A few years ago while we were out shopping, my kids opted to take a rest around a patio table that was set up in the store while we went to check something out. (My oldest was old enough to be responsible for them.) When we returned, there was an older gentleman sitting at the table with the kids, chatting.

He told us who he was, his age – in his eighties, I believe, and a bit of his personal history, that he had met all kinds of people in his lifetime. He then went on to tell us that he had been chatting with my kids, and what a pleasant exchange they’d had.

He said he wanted to take the opportunity to let us know what a nice little family we were, that my children were well mannered, bright, and how he was impressed with their answers to his questions about various topics. He even went on to say that he thought my youngest could become President one day, that he had leadership qualities, and that he would certainly vote for him.

What really got me, however, was when he made a point to say that as parents we were really doing something right, that we were raising really great kids.

As someone who more often than not has wondered if I am doing anything right as a parent, who has often experienced self-doubt and felt like I have floundered badly, this was really something to hear.

I have keenly felt the loss of the benefit of being able to go to my own parents for wisdom and parenting advice, or even encouragement, so this struck right at the heart of me. After he left, I welled up with tears – and am again now just thinking about it as I write this – and I don’t think I was able to speak much for awhile.

For a complete stranger to take the time to get to know my children a little, to see such good qualities in them, and to make a point to offer such words of encouragement and praise about parenting them, that has really stayed with me, and is truly one of the very nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Shattered Glass and the Kindness of Strangers

Once upon a time, my family and I were on a week-long road trip. We traveled through several states, stopping to explore places that struck our fancy, with the last leg of our journey being an overnight hotel stay, then a day spent at a large zoo there, followed by the 6-hour drive home.

However. 

When we went out to put our bags in the truck the next morning, this is what we found.

30731900_ad63219829

Someone had broken into about 10 cars in the parking lot of the hotel, smashing in the windows, and stealing everything of value inside.

Unfortunately, we had not thought to remove our car dual DVD player we had purchased for the kids for the trip, the GPS, some games, a power converter we had also purchased for the trip, and a few other items, including our checkbook.

My son, who NEVER left his Nintendo DS in the car, forgot it for the first time ever that night, and it was stolen too. If you’ve ever had a kid who was quite fond of their video games, you can imagine how unhappy he was. None of these things were visible, all hidden under the seats and in seat pockets, but the thief apparently just smashed in random vehicle windows all over the parking lot and then ransacked the insides for whatever he could find.

The glass though. It was like a bomb had exploded inward. It was EVERYWHERE. Thousands of tiny pieces of glass in every nook and cranny of the truck. I couldn’t believe one window could make that much shattered glass. We couldn’t possibly travel in it as it was. It wasn’t safe to even try to get inside. We were 6+ hours from home with all our suitcases and no place to go.

What on earth were we going to do?

We had to rely on the kindness of strangers. The hotel staff was wonderful. They gave us back our room for our kids to hang out in and a place to stow our luggage while we figured out what to do. We filed the police report and made arrangements with a glass company to come and replace the window later that day. Once all those things had been taken care of, we sat down to figure out what to do next while we waited for the truck to be fixed.

The kids were understandably quite upset, though to their credit, they tried to see it as an unexpected adventure. We loved a good adventure, and I’ve always told them some of the best parts of a road trip are the unexpected and unplanned things that happen, but this was not quite what we had in mind to make the end of our trip “exciting.”

While chatting with the hotel staff, we mentioned we had intended to spend the day at the local zoo, but that clearly wasn’t a possibility now. And then something unexpected happened. They happened to have 4 free passes for admission to the zoo, so we would only need to purchase 1 ticket instead of 5. Then the manager and another staff member volunteered to chauffeur us there and back in their personal vehicles.

They stored our luggage safely in their office, gave us the tickets, took us to the zoo, and arranged to pick us up about 5 hours later. I am sure they felt a certain amount of responsibility to us as their hotel customers, but it was no fault of the hotel that someone had chosen to break into a slew of vehicles in their parking lot. Allowing us more time in our room to sort things out was something I think would be fairly common practice in a situation such as that.

However, I think that giving us the zoo tickets and being our personal chauffeurs so that our kids wouldn’t miss the planned trip to the zoo – and to try to boost their spirits after being upset about not only losing their things, but feeling a bit violated after seeing their truck seats covered in shards of glass – was going above and beyond, and it was enormously appreciated.

What started out as a very upsetting morning and could have been a long and unhappy day, ended up being a fun afternoon at the zoo and a rather enjoyable day. When my kids got back and talked to their friends about their vacation, as well as writing those back to school papers about summer vacation, the one statement we heard again and again was, “We got robbed!”

Certainly, it was a memorable event. My kids have been taught to be kind, and I have watched them extend kindness to strangers themselves many times over, but I think being on the receiving end of it in a situation like that and realizing what a big difference those simple kindnesses from strangers made for us that day, really brought it home to them in a personal way how kindness can make a big impact.

For me, that is what is truly memorable.

[Oh, and all that glass? The people who replaced the window vacuumed the car out for us as best they could, we laid our jackets down on our seats, and still found glass all around us. We continued to find pieces of glass coming out of seemingly nowhere not for months, but for years.]

Photo credit: jeffc5000 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA