Dear Mama #BehindTheBlogger

Dear Mama (though I call mine M-o-m, Mom,)

You taught us many important life lessons growing up. You taught us that it is important to be a good person. We learned that volunteering is helpful and appreciated. Helping those who are less fortunate is important and you should do so.

You also taught me that working hard is important and there are times that you can only rely on yourself so it is important to be independent. You taught me that life and the treatment of women isn’t often fair but that if you work hard you can achieve anything you put your mind to and are willing to put the plain ol’ hard work into.

You helped me to learn that you should say sorry when you make mistakes and that you should be sorry in the first place. You taught me that respect is not a thug-life sort of respect but instead is a kindness and consideration that you should treat all people with.

I didn’t always appreciate the lessons that you were trying to teach us. Now that I am grown and I see many that are not growing up with some of these lessons, I appreciate them much more.

When I feel discouraged now, I remember how you used to tell us often “someday”.

There are things that I could choose to dwell on, that something didn’t meet my expectations (and sometimes that is because my expectations were simply too high, or had too tight of a deadline in my mind). But I work instead to focus on “someday”. Someday everything will fall into place, someday WILL come with hope and hard work.

I am thankful that although you moved away from the church yourself, you made sure that God and the church remained with my sister and I. The teachings and lessons learned there have helped to shape my character, faith, and resilience.

As mother’s day approaches and we reflect on our mothers, these are some of the things that I am thankful for.

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We Are Family #BehindTheBlogger

When I think of family now, I can’t help but think of Sociology. I have always been interested in families and how each one is different. Everyone raises their young differently, but often similarly to their families previous generations. In much of my work, I have spent a lot of time observing children and their families… so much so that it almost seems too easy to cover an entire chapter and week in Intro to Sociology on family.

When I think of the word “family”, I have thought of my family of origin. I have been married for just shy of ten years now, and only recently have I fully thought of my husband as falling under that word of “family”. It might seem weird to others, but I have always had him in this separate category “husband”. My family has been my family and not his family. Yet, recently my husband and my family of origin is now blended into those I would refer to in my family. My in-laws, although they are part of my family, if I were having a conversation, I think that there would be an emphasis on in-laws.

With my in-laws, it seemed that they were very accepting and welcoming of me initially. But since the incident this winter, it seems that I am definitely not a part of their group. I felt rejected, and at times I still do, I am learning to accept. It is still challenging sometimes emotionally, but I remember that it is okay, their $h!t is their $h!t, and my $h!t is my $h!t and how they act is on them and it doesn’t mean that I’m not worth it or worthy of respect.

I think that perhaps some of this is in-group out-group thinking at play. I know that with my family of origin, and especially with my husband, I belong. As long as I have existed, I have been an integral part of my family of origin. But, with my husband, I thought of us as something separate, a couple. And with my family, and with other families, I have seen that relationships do not often last and so I wonder if some of that was a subconscious way of me trying to protect myself out of a fear of not truly belonging with him or that there has been these underlying questions and fears of rejection and attachment. I couldn’t help but question will it truly last? or will it last forever? and will he still love me tomorrow? will he keep me forever? will he want to keep me forever?

In confidence, in reviewing the last few years especially, I think that it seems that I can’t know if it will last forever but I think he will still love me tomorrow and he wants to keep me forever just as much as I want to keep him (and I truly love the $h!t out of this man so I do want to keep him for forever and more!) I know that we are each better together and that we do belong in this world and we belong together. (I feel loved. I know I am loved. And I recognize that I am worth it and worthy of love. …and on a side-note I believe that everyone is, it has just taken me a long time to feel this way fully.)

So am I the only one? Did it take you awhile to redefine your idea of family? was it easier for some of you? or is the concept more fluid for others? I’d love to hear about others’ experiences.

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Looking Forward

I’m looking forward to some exciting events in April! Thanks to Expedia, I will be able to get away with my husband for 5 nights!!!

I was the lucky winner of one of the Expedia Chats on Twitter last year. Unfortunately, things didn’t line up for my husband and I to be able to take a trip to Fiji so I forfeited the airfare, but it turned out we were still able to use the hotel voucher locally. It took a lot of time researching to find a hotel. I ran into some hiccups trying to find a hotel that would accept the coupon code, but thankfully one of the Expedia team members was very helpful in determining which line of hotels were not accepting it and how to find others that would work. I felt that the Expedia representative really went above and beyond to provide exemplary customer service (Read: I had lots of questions that could have been annoying but I received only informative, prompt replies that exuded care, diligence, and patience.) Based on my experience, I would highly recommend looking to book through Expedia for your travel!!

This past week, I also had the pleasure of having some really positive experiences in my job search. I recently had a good phone interview which led to a face-to-face interview. Normally, I get really nervous before my interview, but this one was different. I had a strange calm feeling instead. At the interview, I encountered a couple of stumbling points. At one point, I had forgotten the question I was asked and upon leaving the room with the first interviewer, I dropped all of my papers out of my unzipped, zippered binder. Both instances were pretty embarrassing, but I was able to have self-compassion. I simply asked for the question to be repeated as I quietly took a deep breath, and I was able to share a laugh as I picked up most of my papers, except for the one that the interviewer helped me with. In reflecting on the experience, I can’t say that I felt that I had the best answers that a candidate could have but they were very honest, open, and absolutely genuine.

And I am pleased to say that it went well enough that I was offered a position! I am pretty stoked! I will have split days off which I am not too sure about, but my husband and I have agreed that we will make the best of it. (Read: I know he’s got my six, and we’re moving forward together.)

I have about a month before my training class starts, and in the meantime, I am working on a remote gig as a Reader/Evaluator (online) with Measurement Inc. It might take a bit longer to finish working towards our financial goal of moving out of my in-laws’ basement as first-time home-buyers, but it seems there is finally light at the end of the tunnel!

These Foolish Things #BehindTheBlogger

What is foolish? Foolish can be many things. It can be positive or negative. You don’t want to be labeled as “played a fool” or being a fool, but sometimes acting foolish can be a more positive label. Acting foolish is a more light-hearted, positive, goofy way of acting that could bring laughs from those around you. Judgment and tone make a big difference.

Personally, I’ve experienced foolishness positively and negatively. Back in December, I had some concerns with the way that my nephews, and one of my nieces were being cared for and some of the situations that they were being put in. In a perfect world, I would have been able to talk to my in-laws about the situation, but in a perfect world, they would have remedied the situations prior or after our discussion. With smaller things, my husband and I have basically been ignored or discounted on these things because we don’t have children of our own so they think we are foolish.

Truth is, I gave a lot of thought to the situations. I tried to consider were some of these things annoying, upsetting, triggering things from the past, etc.? I could acknowledge that because I had gotten in a car accident one morning leaving my driveway that yes, one of the situations was very much triggering me. I did my best to slow down and remove the emotion from it. Looking at the situation for what it was, the children were arguing over who would drive the car and their mom put the kids in her lap to drive the car to the bus stop.

I was angry and disgusted that paper bowls were left by the sink with milk and cereal still in them for days and that the 3 year-old was emptying his own potty. I heard my sister-in-law recount the details of how her friend was found dead having overdosed; the children were also in the room when this was being discussed with their grandmother. I was afraid that the children were with their mother at the home while and where the drugs that killed her friend were being dealt and that they were being put in what seemed like a number of unsafe situations.

I talked to my husband about making a report. We decided it would be best to make it anonymously. I did so, but unfortunately, despite my being very clear with the DHS worker that I was afraid of the family finding out and that my report would make it clear of who was making the report because of the information that it contained. I learned one morning that one of the DHS workers emailed a copy of the report to my sister-in-law, who in turn showed it to her mother. It was a nightmare. And I couldn’t help but feel foolish for trusting DHS to help protect us or to at least give me a chance at anonymity.

I’ve never shaken so hard in my life as when my father-in-law approached me while I was sitting on my bed and waved the document in my face and yelled at me. I used all of my coping skills to try to keep it together, to be understanding that he was angry. Unfortunately, my husband and I have to be here a little longer while we finish getting our ducks in a row and the snow and ice melts so we will be able to move out of the basement. Foolishly, the situation has significantly changed the dynamics when it comes to my husband and I. My in-laws barely talk to my husband and really don’t talk to me. It is uncomfortable and awkward for sure. When we are here, we are in the basement.

I am sad that these foolish things have impacted everyone the way that they have. I’m disappointed that my in-laws can’t or won’t get beyond whatever it is that they are feeling to see that I made the report out of love for the children and wanting them to be cared for properly and safely. I really wish that things turned out differently.

Through all of this, I am thankful. My husband stood by his decision to support me in making the report and through all that he has had to endure as part of the fallout. I am thankful that we are able to lean on each other more and we are learning to connect and grow together in the most challenging of places and situations.

On a more positive, foolish note, our dog, Gremlin, is foolish with his toys. We have been told that he must be about the biggest Pekingese ever. At the time, he weighed over 17 lbs and could have used a little more weight then even. At a small stature, he has a lot of heart and spunk. He earned his name, when we brought him home almost 10 years ago and he began taking parts and tools while my husband was trying to build furniture for our apartment.

And Gremlin continues to show us all of the time how he is definitely a Gremlin. He absolutely loves stuffed animals and Kong toys.

The only problem is that when he has a Kong, he won’t really do anything other than chew it. We have to limit his time with a Kong toy because he’d rather chew a Kong than eat or drink or sleep. It is cute when he falls asleep relentlessly chewing as his eyes close and when after they close they pop open again for a few more chews and there are a few eyes-closed chews because it’s just that good apparently… When he gets really foolish though is when he pushes the kong away with his paws and grumbles at it. This is usually done with him laying at my feet and he pushes the Kong out of reach under the couch and will bark until we get it for him. If we give it back to him, he will do it again. And then I wonder, who is the foolish one?

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The Lucky One #BehindTheBlogger

Am I the lucky one? Are we all lucky?

There are times in life that I’ve felt rather unlucky. I think that was more about unmet expectations, sadness and disappointment. After letting go of those, I’ve been able to take a new perspective. I’ve realized that I have been far more fortunate than I was feeling at the time. Perhaps, I am the lucky one.

I could tell you about many circumstances, events, and such that have seemed unlucky, but instead I am going to tell you some of the many reasons why I am lucky.

First off, I was born a twin, and very premature. The doctors said we had about a 10% chance of living. And I am living 🙂 (My twin sister is too.)

I’d say that being a twin is very lucky. Although there were times that I wasn’t so sure about it… like when my sister accidentally sat on our birthday cake. (We were camping and someone put it on the seat of the picnic table. Turns out that wasn’t the best spot.)

Having a twin though, you always have someone with you that loves you for you. My sister has always challenged me, whether it was to be honest with myself, to hold my ground, or to work harder or do better at something. I never had to wish for a sibling or fear their arrival since both had already happened.

I am quite resilient. My parents divorced when I was young. They held onto a lot of bitterness, anger, and resentment which meant a lot of fighting and a lot of counseling. Some counselors were better than others, that was clear… but I learned a lot.

I grew up Catholic. We went to Catholic school for a couple of years before having to transition to public school. My mom slowly drifted away from the church, but not before instilling the importance of faith, and integrity in us. Do unto others, as you wish they do unto you. Have love in your heart to forgive. Diligently act in ways and dog things to be love and light to others. These were some of the things that I took in and have tried to use in my life. I am lucky that although my family is not always close to the church or to God, perhaps, they instilled in me that these things are important and that we don’t have to all believe the same things.

I have a husband who loves me more than anything. This summer will be our 10 year anniversary. I am most lucky because I have him. He’s been through war and back, we continue to experience the effects of war, but we lean on each other as much as we can. And each day we choose to love each other through it all.

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of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level. 

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Find Your Love #BehindTheBlogger

I think that finding your love can be really challenging at times. Self-compassion, I find more difficult to have than compassion for others. These are some of the things that I have reflected on since the last #BehindTheBlogger prompt. I thought that it was interesting that one of the topic ideas was “25 things that you love about yourself” but no one wrote about that.
When thinking about it 25 things that you love about yourself and are willing to share with your current or future audience feels really vulnerable and a bit scary. And 25, that seems like so many when looking in the mirror or inside oneself.

Self-compassion, patience, empathy, and understanding are things that I am working on personally. I have been struggling more than I’d like to admit. I have been looking for a full-time job and am not having a lot of luck right now.

I recently went for a job interview. It was a group interview with 12 other candidates in the room. The questions were light but the pressure was heavy; the applicant pool weeded to 12 and only 1 position. A week later, I found I was not selected for the next round of interviews. It was discouraging. Filling out job applications, writing cover letters, completing online job portals have become tiresome. It is frustrating. I am frustrated, sad, and discouraged that things haven’t worked out yet.

Self-compassion, patience, empathy, and understanding are things that I need more of. I need to love myself more. So how I find my love, how do you find your love? Maybe there is something that you can identify that you like about yourself or something that you’re good at. Maybe you can give yourself a gift of extra resources, positive energy, positive vibes, a few extra moments of peace or mindfulness.

One of the mindfulness exercises that I think of is with a clementine. You hold the clementine in your hand focusing on its shape, color and texture. Then you slowly peel it and notice its scent. Then put a piece of the fruit in your mouth and really be present with the flavor and texture. This was a simple exercise that I experienced in a group setting, I thought it was remarkable because I had eaten a clementine before but hadn’t fully experienced it like I did then, when I was fully present in that moment. Practicing mindfulness helps me to be in the moment and not focused on things that I could have done differently or wished I had done differently in the past or all of the things that I should do tomorrow.

Ultimately, I think that the key of finding your love is finding the positives in today. After all, today is a good day to be a good day. So today, why not find your love?

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Love Yourself for Greater Happiness #BehindTheBlogger

There are many reasons to love yourself. No matter what you do in life, you will always be you, so why not be a happier you. Yes, loving yourself can increase your happiness.

Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge some of the things that you appreciate about yourself. Making an effort to focus on the positive things about you and in your life invites a positive mindset, attitude and a better mood. It allows you to be in the moment with your greatness. Yes, you are great!

There is only one you. There will only ever be one you. Love yourself. Do your best to take care of you. Take time for you.

Sometimes, life gets busy and it can be a challenge. Sometimes, you put yourself a little lower on your priority list than you should. Remember though, take time for you, make time for you. You’re important. You are valuable.

Doing something special for you (and no, it doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly) will give you some time to recharge a bit. When done on the regular, self-care will lead to a happier, healthier you. You will likely find that you have greater resilience and more resources (physically and emotionally) available to you and in your interactions with others.

Love yourself more and you can be more open to receiving love. Acknowledge that you are lovable. Accept who you are; you will find that some people will be accepting of you, but if you are at least accepting of yourself, it won’t matter so much when others are less accepting of you. Negative thoughts and expressions can roll off a little easier or at least not create so much friction in your life and mind.

Loving yourself will help you to set boundaries with others rather than being a pushover or doormat. It will help you to be treated the way you want to be treated. You get to set the guidelines of behavior that is acceptable to you.

Love yourself. Do it. You will be rewarded with increased confidence.

Take each day anew. Each day is a gift. Love yourself in the present and keep moving forward.

Love yourself, because in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Hate is too great a burden to bear”. Love is louder; make it louder starting from within. Love yourself and make the world around you a greater place to be.

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of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level. 

Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this
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P.S. I Love You Giveaway

I’m excited to announce that I am having my first giveaway! I am offering the chance to win one of my handknit owl stuffed animals. 


Each knit owl is super soft, plush, squishy, and snuggly. They have safety eyes that have been handpainted by me. Each owl measures about 9 inches tall.

Thanks for stopping by! Good luck!

Enter Competition

Welcome to the P.S. I Love You Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!

Hosted By: Mama Smith’s and Women and Their Pretties

Co-Hosted By: Everyday Life, Crazy Busy Family Life, Life with 5 Monkies, & The Robin’s Nest Designs

Sponsored By: Teach My

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO ENTER TO WIN THE GRAND PRIZE.

GRAND PRIZE: Two Teach My Deluxe Learning Kits
Choose between Teach My Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, and Kindergartener Deluxe Learning Kits

Teach My are makers of award winning learning tools that help your child get a head start! Their products teach babies, toddlers and preschoolers the basic skills, things like; the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, reading and even math! Their aim is to encourage early learning, parent child interaction, self-esteem and help children to develop fine motor skills and excellent hand eye coordination. Bond. Teach. Play… 20 minutes a day! Purchase here.

Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!

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#ThursdayThoughts for #NationalSpousesDay

Today is National Spouses Day. It is a day to take time to appreciate your spouse and all that they do.

My husband and I have been married for 9.5 years. We have met a lot of challenges head on so that we can move forward together in life. I was afraid of the changes in our life but more than that I was afraid of what would happen if we didn’t make them happen. When my husband got out of the Marine Corps, we moved back to Maine to be closer to our families. To make ends meet, we both took jobs in the mental health field. Over time, it became too much.

We moved into my in-laws home so that my husband and I could both make some career changes. We’ve stayed with my in-laws far longer than we planned, but I am thankful that while we have been here, we have made a lot of progress. We have learned much about ourselves and each other – how to better communicate, how to own our emotions, and how to cope with extremely difficult situations and move forward through them together. As of late, I think we have confirmed that we truly are each others battle buddy.

Steve has put a lot of hard work in over the last couple of years to go back to school. He is starting a new career in information security. He is just starting out but he is doing everything that he can to be successful and he is outright killing it! There is little that makes me as happy as when he shares his excitement or joy with me. Yesterday, I was so happy to hear he had a really great day at work.

I totally agree with him as he said “I think I made the right decision to get into this field”. In addition to his courage to pursue a completely new career, I am thankful for my husband’s unwavering commitment to me and to our relationship.

I realize that I may be totally biased, but my husband is really amazing. I have been watching and trying to learn from him. We are both really strong people, but our strengths lie in different areas.

I think Steve’s real “secret sauce” is pushing forward every day with an honest effort to be positive. He admits that some tasks and days are more difficult but each day he shows up. Each day he brings a smile with him, even if he isn’t feeling it. He told me he is now spreading high fives – he’s been giving his co-worker high fives and now people go by his cube to give him one too.

With that in mind, I aim to create more positive moments each day. I will try to smile more, even when I’m not feeling it. I want to continue to help others somehow. I also want to blog more regularly.

Steve encourages me to explore my interests and do things that I enjoy. We talked about blogging and he encouraged me to just go for it, make a plan, and work on it. I decided that part of my plan would be to join in some blogging opportunities including writing prompts and giveaways.

I signed up for my first giveaway The #PSILoveYou giveaway hop with the #TheHoppingBloggers which starts February 2nd. I’m looking forward to it! Stay tuned 🙂

Sterline Rechargeable Toothbrush with UV Clean Technology

One of my goals for the new year is to smile more and with that I’d like to have a brighter smile. I think it will be easier to do with one of the latest products I had the opportunity to review, the Sterline Sonic Pulse Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush I found that my mouth and teeth had a more intense clean feeling after using this toothbrush, perhaps that was because of the sonic pulse of the toothbrush. Based on my experience, I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a rechargeable unit at an affordable price! And I am excited to share that Sterline is also offering a 15% discount today with the code THKSXMAS

After testing the unit, here is what I found: It is small enough to be portable. It comes with 3 different brush heads – professional, slimsonic, and interdental. I would say that the slimsonic is for your everyday clean, the professional for a little deeper clean and the interdental head is great for cleaning between teeth. The interdental head is also meant to help with cleaning around crowns and braces (though I don’t have either, I believe it would be effective and I like that the manufacturer was thoughtful in including this).

The toothbrush vibrates intensely in 3 modes. There is an on/off button and mode button to select whether you would like to use normal, soft, or pulse modes.

I love that there is a little uv sanitizing station within the unit. To me, this is really the best feature!! Just plug in the unit, put your brush head inside and close the door. The light will activate and sanitize brush heads inside the enclosure; the unit will glow a light blue and then shutoff automatically after 7 minutes. There is a magnet on the door to the sanitizer which keeps it sealed. I also like the idea that it keeps your toothbrush heads away from bathroom germs. Overall, I feel that this is a great little unit at an affordable price.

Disclaimer: I received this rechargeable toothbrush at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own. I did not receive any other compensation.