Category Archives: writing

The Sunday List, The Reset Button

I know you’ve been here before.  You’re on your phone, looking up something unimportant, when it freezes.  You hit the home button, close the app, open the app, and search again.

Again, it freezes.

Suddenly, that unimportant info you were looking for is life and death, and you’ll be damned if a phone is going to stop you.

You follow steps 1-4 again.  Nothing.

What do you do?  What should you have done after the first time?  Reset your phone.  Power off, then on.  Close all the other apps.  Give your phone a chance to freaking breathe.

In case you haven’t figured out, I’m not talking about a phone anymore.  I’m talking about my life.

And I need to find the reset button, fast.

I noticed somewhere around Monday afternoon, that things were getting a little out of balance for me when I couldn’t find chocolate in the house where I work.   No baking chocolate.  No chocolate candy.  No chocolate ice cream.  Not even a single can of Coke (which is always my last resort).  And I almost broke down right there in the kitchen.

I work 5 days  a week.  Since April I’ve been trying to get this blog off the ground.  And last week, I thought it’d be a great time to revive my self publishing goals by entering a contest, which I ended up winning in round one (ah-MAZE-ing), so that also means I have a LOT more writing to do.

Who does this?

Meanwhile, I’m eating sugar like it’s the base of the food pyramid, not working out (but really, really wanting to), and finding resentment in the smallest of things.  See above paragraph re: chocolate.

I know I’m completely out of whack.  I know this is me and has nothing to do with the job, the heat, or even the chocolate.  I know that trying to be super woman/nanny is a very twisty, long road that leads to drinking excessive amounts of wine.

I know this.

So this entire weekend has been about hitting the reset button.  Finding ways to make peace with the life I have chosen (and really do love), and gaining some balance.   While I wait for the edits to come back, I have chosen this weekend to be a little selfish… after all, I do have the time right now.

Here are some ways you too can hit the reset button:

  1. Morning planning session.  I know this sounds like another way to add more to your list, but I promise it’s not.  This is all about priorities and choosing what matters most.  For instance, after looking at the next month, I know working out probably isn’t going to happen.  I need to let it go.  However, eating carbs and sugar every day, ALL DAY, isn’t going to work either.  Finding healthier alternatives is going to be key for me to stay sane.  I am a much better person when I get sleep and eat real food… the battle is just getting off the sugar.  That’s a whole other blog post though.
  2. Focusing on one thing.  I literally wrote an entire page on focus this morning, and how I don’t have it.  By the end of the page though, I had some ideas of how I can help myself.   Staying centered and focused on one thing at a time is my biggest goal.  Not thinking about what groceries I need, while I write this post, for instance.  That’s a no-no.  I also know that my job has probably caused this dissection of focus, but it’s time to reel it back in when needed.  This is going to be a work in progress, but probably the most important one for me.
  3. Letting some things go.  I have this annoying habit of trying to be everything to everyone.  Annoying for me that is.  I don’t know when I started the hustle for approval, but I think it was back in high school.  That’s a lot of hustling.  It’s time for me to take a step back and manage my time, money, and energy towards what brings me joy.  This is something everyone reading should do as well.
  4. Be grateful.  When you find yourself needing a reset button, gratitude is not likely on your radar.  It’s the one thing that can change your mindset in a matter of minutes.  A simple list at the end of the day.  A whispered “thank you” when that parking spot opens up in the rain.  A hug for someone who thought of you.  This doesn’t have to be a huge deal, just a simple perspective change.  It will change everything if you practice daily.

Obviously, there are a million ways YOU can reset how you’re feeling.  This list is personal… my list, and it is helping me plan for another crazy week.  I’m also incorporating morning an evening check-ins with my planner, just to stay on track.  I know that’s not for everyone, but it is something that keeps my mind calm.

This post isn’t about me or my list.  They are just suggestions.  What I want you to do is create your own list.  What calms you down?  What makes you ready to face another day?  What makes you smile?  Hint… if you answered chocolate, you better get making a list.

I hope you have an awesome week.  I know I’m ready for mine now…

Happy reading,

xo, Mo

 

Gracie’s Wisdom

How many of you look at this picture and think “Yes!”

You can feel your stomach near you heart, which but the way, is beating madly.  You can feel the wind in your hair and hear the screams of your friends cheering you on.

Can you feel it?

And when you’re done, you swim back to shore, probably a little sore in places, but you can’t wipe the smile off your face.  You did something crazy and incredible, and now you carry that memory with you for the rest of your life.

How often does this happen in our lives?

Probably once if we’re lucky, but more often than not, it’s never.

And that’s okay, really.  I’m not here to make you feel bad that you don’t have million dollar dreams and goals that are unattainable.

But as I was working on my next project, I did realize that the advice one of my characters is giving might be beneficial to you as well.  I know most of us are still just going through the days trying to get to the next one, or the next weekend.  Always something to look forward to, but never focused on the now.  It’s time to start living and giving our own lives the attention they’ve been so patiently waiting for.

Gracie’s Steps to Reinvention

1. Take care of your health.  This is non-negotiable.
2. Find your hobby.  Not a job.  Not a kid.  Something that you can lose yourself in even for a small amount of time each day.
3. Take 24 hours before making any decisions.  Any. Decision. At. All.
4. Journal every day.  Have a place to dump all the thoughts that you can’t say out loud.  It doesn’t have to be long or well written.  Just get the thoughts out of your head.
5. Have a connection… a touchstone, a theme song, a prayer that will bring you back to this place of knowing what is most important to you.

No, these are life changing, and they seem so simple, but how many of us are doing these everyday?  I’m here to tell you that numbers 1 and 3 are kicking my ass, while the others are okay for me.  I would love to tell a co-worker that I needed to check with someone before taking their Sunday morning shift.  My initial instinct is always to make someone else feel better, even at my own expense.

Sometimes Usually I regret this quick decision.

Life is a work in progress, a journey, and it’s not meant to be mastered by the age of thirty-five.  I actually think that’s when it really begins.

So take a moment today and think about what you could (reasonably) change in your life to make it better?  Is there a hobby calling your name… photography, maybe?  Can you fit in a walk, even if it’s a short one?  What song would be playing if you were walking down a runway?

Today is about inspiring yourself.  Take the time to do one thing on the list today… two if you’re feeling adventurous.  Start somewhere, anywhere, and see what you can do.

Happy Wednesday!!

Winter

I am freezing today.
It could be the fact that I work in an ice rink.
Or the fact that I couldn’t warm up since I’ve been home.
I’m.  Just.  Sick.  Of.  Winter.
But this blog is about inspiration, not hatred, right?
So I’ll take the polar plunge into finding good things about Winter, and while I can’t guarantee you will all agree with me (except for the whole I hate winter part), you might at least see some good in this dreadful wonderful season.
  1. Winter means reading books by the fire.  Writing by the fire.  Eating breakfast by the fire.  You get the picture.  
  2. Winter = Award Season.  I’m watching the red carpet for the Oscars as we speak.
  3. It’s a scientific fact we burn more calories during winter.  Granted it’s our bodies desperate way to try and stay warm, but I’m okay with that.
  4. Winter is the perfect season for my favorite food group:  Soup.  I love pinning soups… cooking soups…. eating soup.  It’s a food group and an activity now.  
  5. Scarves.  Not a secret that I have a small, okay big, scarf collection.  I love them, and almost always have them on… even around the house.  
  6. Winter leads to Spring.  This one needs no explanation.  “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” ― Percy Bysshe Shelley
Thats it.  That’s all I can drum up for this season that is kicking my butt.  I know you’re feeling my pain too, but have no doubt we will be complaining about the heat in no time 🙂
Until then, stay warm… 
Happy Sunday!

Throwback Thursday

I remember when the words snow day would cause me to panic a bit.  The thought of not sending them to school and to find things for them to do all day would have me mentally exhausted by 9 am.

Now, I’m the one praying for one just to keep them around the house a bit more.  It’s crazy what ten years will do to your outlook.

I love a lazy day when there are no scheduled plans.  It’s that rare day when only Mother Nature can predict what you’ll be doing, or not in this case.  I have learned to find that magic when nothing goes according to plan, but it’s still okay.  Even better, really.

When the kids get older, it’s a gift to have them around the house even for a little bit.  Between school, practices, social events, school events, and work life isn’t the same as when we would wish them to school even on the gift of a snow day.

So, as this wicked winter continues to kick our butts, I hope you have a warm place to be today.  Find a snowy throwback Thursday picture of your own and post it somewhere.

Make hot chocolate.
Pancakes for breakfast!
Read by a fire.
Curl up and watch a movie.

In my case, I’ll have two space heaters going in my office 🙂 But that’s okay… I had the time this morning to at least write about the snow day.

That’s something, right?

Happy Thursday!

Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time.  You just have to be open to it, and expect that it will find you.  When we are at our lowest and most overwhelmed state, rarely are we seeking to be inspired… It’s more like seeking another glass of wine… seeking an early bedtime…. seeking a Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon.  

No inspiration found there, that’s for sure.  
Usually it’s a simple text or email that reminds you that life is a journey…a marathon.  The low times are just a bad patch of highway, and if you keep driving or running (or writing!), you will get through it.  And yes, it’s always worth it.
So thank you for the inspiration today.  I hope I was able to give it back to you as well 🙂
Happy Tuesday!

Roles

What role are you playing in life?  If your life were a sitcom or heaven forbid, a drama, what would your part be?

Are you the dutiful, but wisecracking wife?

Are you the struggling parent trying to keep it all together?

Or are you the one who has the perfect life with a daily dose of humor?

The biggest problem with the roles we play is sometimes it’s just that:  we’re playing them.  Acting the part, instead of feeling whatever it is we’re supposed to be feeling.  Our identity becomes so wrapped up in the role that you lose the part of you that is real.

You following me?

Sometimes we get so stuck in the role we’re playing, constantly in character, and we forget the world is going to change, grow, and move on without us.

Motherhood (or one could say parenthood) is the biggest role in many of our lives.  And please don’t misunderstand me… that role is the most important role you will ever have.  However, it is all consuming and as the kids get older, the role changes drastically.  That is the space I’m in right now.  I’m still a mom, and will ALWAYS love being a mom, but the role isn’t 24/7 like it used to be.  Ten years ago was a lot different than it is now, and I’ll admit I was a little unprepared for how quickly it all changed.  I think I loved the role ten years ago because I didn’t have to think too much about the rest of life.  It was just all about the kids and what they needed.  
Sure, I found myself resentful sometimes… okay a lot of the time, but I took a lot of pride in it also.  
So I come back to this:  We are not the roles we are playing.  Those roles are a part of us, they they shouldn’t define us.  The things that define us are the things that will always be a part of our lives no matter what else changes.  
The hobbies.
The likes and dislikes.
The things we do when no one is around.
Sports.
If you’re wandering around wondering what to do, start digging in to see what interests you.  Check out the people in your life who inspire you and find out what they are doing.  Take a class.  Join a club.  Become involved in a cause you believe in.  Volunteer.
You never know what new role will fit till you try it out.  Will it be easy?  Absolutely not.  It will be hard and challenge you, but that is when you figure out who you really are.  

Life is good.

And you are worth the effort.
Happy Tuesday 🙂 

September Love

The calendar says September 1.

The leaves are already falling off the trees (a bit early, don’t you think?).

And even Spotify graced me with a little Earth, Wind, and Fire this morning.  Do you remember...

So it must be true.  Summer is officially over, and we are launched into one of the busiest months of the year.  I know many of you have been dreading this.  You knew it was coming, and you clung to the end of summer like Linus with his blanket.

Not me.  I say bring it on.  Maybe it’s my natural tendency to love change of any kind in my life.  It’s keeps things fresh and new.  I’m rather done with summer and doing a little dance today.  I will neither confirm nor deny that I baked a batch of cookies for the occasion.

But I’m sure you already know.

I thought it was only fitting to do a September Top 10 in honor of the first day leading into the best season ever.
September’s Top Ten
  1. I will say what you’re all thinking (even if you won’t admit it)…. The kids go back to school.  Yes, for some of us, this has already happened, but for everyone else, this is one of the happy days in our parental year.  
  2. Things like schedules and family dinners are written into the planner again.  Practices, homework, games… these eat up the white space of our calendars, but for me, that’s a good thing.  I do so much better when there is a plan of attack.  White space scares the hell out of me, and I end up watching entire SEASONS of a show on Netflix on a single day.  
  3. Weather changes.  Is there anything better than Fall?  I know it doesn’t officially begin till September 21, but I can always hope the weather isn’t following the calendar too closely.
  4. September means the rink will be quiet again during the day.  I’m not going to lie… This summer was hell for everyone involved, and I for one, am happy to be able to think clearly again.
  5. Three words:  Hockey season begins.
  6. Football is back on TV.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of football, but I don’t mind it on, especially if I have a good book to read.  It’s something I can watch with the boys and not feel left out.  That is until ….
  7. THE RETURN OF SCANDAL!!
  8. Let’s just hold there for a moment… Fall is the beginning of the TV season, at least for network television, and what I also have started to call DVR season.  We are bombarded with so many new shows (Hello How To Get Away With Murder!), as well as our old favorites that we wouldn’t consider missing (i.e. Revenge), and there just isn’t enough time each night to see it all!  Enter the blessed DVR.
  9. Blake Shelton.  The crush continues.  And so will The Voice, September 22.  
  10. Reading/Writing time increases.  For whatever reason, I just find more time to write and read during the school year.  The boys are out of the house more, or I’m waiting at school.  Either way, it’s more time to get to what I love.  Words.
Word.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Additions

I have an addition to my family… my blog family, that is.

It’s been a struggle to write here lately (yes, I know you’ve noticed), and I just have found myself reading more than anything else.

It’s only natural that I would want to have a blog dedicated to what I love most.  I’m hoping to maintain both blogs, as well as start a new book of my own, and want to keep you along for the ride.  Yes, I have high hopes for myself.

So, if you’re looking for the next book, or just want to see what I’m reading, head on over to So Many Books and let me know what you think.

I always love to hear from you…

Sorry (not sorry)

Sorry.

I am guilty of this – saying sorry for every little thing – even things that I have no need to be sorry for!

It’s as if I am apologizing to everyone for even existing.

Sorry I’m talking.
Sorry, I have an opinion.
Sorry, I have a question.
Sorry, I’m good at what I do.
Sorry, I don’t agree with you.
Sorry, I’m sick of that bullish*t.
Sorry, I really don’t have time for that right now.

When I first saw this commercial, I nearly cried.
For real.
I have never really thought about it before, but what are we all sorry for?  I know I’m not the only one apologizing their days away.   Are we so worried about what everyone else thinks, that we feel the need to right something before it’s even wrong?
Or is it just the worst case of insecurity ever?
I’m not sure when it started, but you better believe I’m going to stop myself from apologizing for things that aren’t necessary.  
It’s okay to have an opinion.
It’s okay to disagree with someone.
It’s okay to be exactly who you are.
Own it.
Live it. 
Be strong and shine.

Thanks, Pantene.  I love your commercial.

Happy FIRST day of Summer!

Inspired

Inspired… that’s my word of the day.

I’m hoping it lasts for more than just a day though.

I’ve been looking everywhere for it.  High and low.  In desk drawers.  In file folders.  Even in the cookie jar.

It couldn’t be found anywhere.  At least not where I was looking.

Then a friend of mine said she was doing a speaking engagement today for a teacher’s conference, so I decided to leave work early and go see her.

Truth be told, I would pretty much cross state lines to watch her read the phone book.  She’s that good.

And it’s not so much what she’s saying all the time… it’s how she says it and the meaning behind the words.  She is a children’s book author, a teacher, wife and mother, daughter, and friend.  So many things to so many people.  In fact she has inspired me to write another top ten list 🙂

Top Ten things Allison has taught me:

  1. Being real and honest about who you truly are is a beautiful thing.  So many people out there are trying to fit into a mold of who they think they should be (myself included), so its amazing to be around someone who is 100% completely owning who they are.  
  2. Beauty can be found everywhere.
  3. Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary or boring.  She is brilliant.
  4. Real people attract real friends who are really nice.
  5. It’s okay to have issues, and if you can share them in a way to make someone else feel like they’re not alone… well, that’s just brilliant.
  6. She is funny, wise, and likes to curse as much as I do.
  7. Be nice to everyone (even the people you might not like).
  8. Home is where your heart is.
  9. Taking chances in necessary to growing.  
  10. It’s the little things in life that truly make a difference.  How you treat people and live your life will come back to you every time.  Be kind.
So you can see why my inspiration jumping off the page now?  I hope you can all find something to be inspired about this weekend.

Happy Friday!