2015 Update – A New Chapter

Forgive Me Followers, for I have…
It has been 6 months since my last post.

I. Am. A. Slacker. Can you believe we’re already into March 2015? MID March, no less. It has been quite the adventure since we last spoke, but I’ll try to make it brief.

In October of 2014, we decided to put our house on the market. I was driving 37 miles one way to work and it was taking its toll on me and my family. With two small kids, there was little time for any quality interaction. My budget was eaten up monthly in gas and oil changes. Yup. I had an oil change every month and a half! EEGADS! So we spoke with a realtor and our house sold in negative 7 days.

Yes. I said negative 7 days. We decided to put it on the market on a Saturday, had a list of things that would get it in tip-top-sell-shape, and got an offer the following Saturday from a pre-list search on my agents team lists. By the end of November, we moved into my in-laws home and kept searching for a place close to work.

We walked into a little townhouse that whispered to us – all it needed was our family to call it home. We fought for this place, through two denied offers, and won! I am now 8.5 miles away from work each day and have put 10 hours back into my family life (instead of in the car!). It’s a little smaller, with no yard (yay!) and nothing to maintain outside of our main walls. To some, it may have been a step back or down, but for us, it means a step up in time, money, and family value.

After all of the holidays settled down, I began selling candles again, but I’m not really sure how to do that, so I’ll tell you more about that some other time.

Today’s Big News
I finished school. Yup, that’s right. I’m officially a graduate of Grand Canyon University with my Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management. Summa Cum Laude and all that jazz to boot! I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment – a full-time job (that had a good 6 months worth of ROCKY terrain), two kids 6 & under, selling a home, buying a home, and being voted into a board position of my local chapter of a construction association… phew. I’m out of breath just thinking about it all. All that to say – if you want something, go get it. If you get worn out, lean on your support system. If you don’t have a support system, build one. If you can’t build one, email me. I’ll cheer you on. :) This is one of the most gratifying and rewarding feelings… but it has led to a little bit of laziness now that homework doesn’t drive my evenings.

Floating on Air
Yes, I’m pretty happy right now. Speaking of that day job of mine. I love it. I’m learning new things about benefits, my director is honest and straight forward about my strengths and my weaknesses, and values my ridiculous amount of self-awareness. I am in the process of being certified as a CM-LC – certificate of management in lean construction. WHA?!? I’m hoping to supervise in the near future, I think, but I’m nervous about that wish because people frighten me… along with the difficult decisions that sometimes come with supervising their work.

The kids are doing pretty well at their new school, and we’re slowly learning where to buy good, healthy food, instead of ordering delivery (now that there’s way too many places that deliver to us!).

Life is settling down, and we’re trying to have some fun in the process.

UP NEXT?
The Butterfly Museum!

Happy Spring, my friends.
Mel

Oh where, oh where, did my little blog go?

I was sitting today, thinking, “Man, it’s been like six months since I blogged anything.” Then, I went to look, see if something inspired me, try to get back in the groove.

Nope.
ONE WHOLE YEAR.

It’s been quite a year, too, but damn.

I make no promises of commitment, but god I miss writing. It’s been a crazy year and I’m proud to say that I’m (finally) just a few short months away from finishing my Bachelor’s degree! I thought I’d be done by October, then November, but now I’ve resigned myself to January. But there will be one helluva party come April when I walk across that stage. I have received a promotion at work, am back to my roots, stopped dying my hair, went on a non-dairy diet, lost 18 pounds, spent a week pretending to be a single parent (which gave me a newly bolstered respect for those who are), became an officer in an amazing organization, and got schooled on the appropriate way to draw a happy heart by my kid.

All in all, it’s been a great year. I want to write more, and not just essays on the legalization of marijuana or the use of emotional intelligence in writing a persuasive essay (not that either of those topics are bad…), but fun stuff. Opinion stuff. Silly stuff. Stuff that does not require I scour the library for peer-reviewed essays if I don’t damn well feel like it…

Anyway. I think I just felt like saying hello to the internet. Hopefully putting some good, positive vibes into the universe as well.

Happy almost Autumn, my friends!
Mel

Gratitude: Dear Dad

This is a letter in the Gratitude series. For more information on where this came from and to view the video from SoulPancake that inspired me, keep reading after the letter. Or, if you can’t handle too many feels in one day, just keep scrolling to the bottom. My dad won’t mind.

Stars

Dear Dad,

Thank you for never being disappointed in me, but making the distinction that you were disappointed in my choices – and always emphasizing that you still love me. You have instilled in me just enough paranoia to keep me on the right track, though sometimes it can get the best of me. I have always looked up to you for your work ethic and your willingness to put our needs before yours – I never truly understood it until I had kids. As I’ve grown up, I’ve enjoyed the little chats we have, no longer huddled around a speak n’ spell, but still always learning and growing. You taught me how to be self-sufficient and problem solve, and to love all things smart and Trekkie. I love that when I come to visit, if you’re working on a project, you light up as you show me what you’re doing and how you did it… inevitably finding some cool trick to make it easier, faster, or even more awesome than it began. In fact, because of your excitement for processes, it’s one of my favorite things to work with today (next to people – but I think I get that from mom). You’ve always supported me, given me your honest opinion, and loved me no matter what. I appreciate every lesson you taught me, even the ones you had to teach me twice. I’m grateful that I had a pretty good team raising me – we were never perfect, but we were always just right. There are days that I crave a bologna sandwich with spicy yellow mustard on white bread… and dirt. You’ve always been just cautious enough to still have some fun, especially on those off-road trips we got to take… camping out on the Mogollon Rim during the last 400 miler is probably one of my favorite memories as a teenager. I never felt like ‘just a girl’ or a ‘silly kid’ because you always treated me like a partner in the garage or on the road, always teaching me something along the way..

I hope that through it all, the headaches and the worry and the stress (and the locked doors for that brief period I frightened you as a teenager), you know how very much I love, respect, and appreciate everything you’ve done for me.

Even if this is awkward to read, don’t worry… I won’t ask you to say anything. I just wanted you to know. ‘Cause I think you’re pretty awesome.

Love you, dad.
Melonhead

RedLineSeparator

This week, a video by SoulPancake was shared on my wall on Facebook. I’m still familiarizing myself with SoulPancake because let’s face it, science & feels are RIGHT up my alley! What I’ve seen so far has been so thought-provoking and inspiring… I just can’t get enough!

This particular video, linked below, is an experiment in happiness and how gratitude… well, you really should view it for yourself.

Go on. I’ll wait.

So after viewing the video… cleaning up a few tears, then viewing again, I thought – Gratitude. Huh. What a concept. I know I don’t give it out enough. I don’t say what I truly mean (and being a bitch doesn’t count, Mel… it just doesn’t).

After the compelling and happy science, I decided to start my own gratitude series as a way to boost my positivity and maybe even that of those around me. At the very least, I hope that those in my life know how very much they mean to me.

Much love,
Mel

Gratitude: Dear Husband

This week, a video by SoulPancake was shared on my wall on Facebook. I’m not too familiar with SoulPancake just yet, but I plan to be soon (science & feels – RIGHT up my alley!). The video is an experiment in happiness and how gratitude… well, you really should view it for yourself.

Go on. I’ll wait.

So after viewing the video… cleaning up a few tears, then viewing again, I thought – Gratitude. Huh. What a concept. I know I don’t give it out enough. I don’t say what I truly mean (and being a bitch doesn’t count, Mel… it just doesn’t).

After the compelling and happy science, I decided to start my own gratitude series as a way to boost my positivity and maybe even that of those around me. At the very least, I hope that those in my life know how very much they mean to me.

Here we go!

RedLineSeparator

Dear Husband,

I appreciate your support so very much. You have been my cheerleader for a number of years, managing our household while I work outside of the home. Even when we were first figuring out this new routine, and I acted entitled and more important than you, you had the courage to look me in the eye and say “Cut it out.” Some look inside of our lives and pass judgement on your motivation or lack of desire to work; some think that you lead a charmed life. Hell, I’ve thrown it at you (more recently than I care to admit) that you have it pretty easy. But I’m much more aware of how difficult your days can be than I may appear. Rationalizing with an irrational and emotional pre-schooler, helping the kindergartner overcome obstacles and staying connected with his teachers… planning meals for the family  and making sure I have everything I need (and want) for work. I don’t think I would be successful in the same job. To some, you live an easy life, and by a number of standards, you do… I mean, neither of us are living a hard life, and I’m grateful for that. But you deserve more respect, appreciation, time and attention than I have given you. I’ll admit, I don’t know how to show you that I appreciate you anymore than I currently do, except refraining from irrational displays of emotional wacktitude at something I asked you to do in the first place. There are just not enough words to express how much you do to make my world better. You have given me two beautiful and smart, kind and crazy kids that challenge me more than any job I’ve ever had. You’ve influenced them towards compassion and education and encouraged a love of all things, geeky or otherwise. Thank you for your dedication to our family, to me, and to making our lives the best they can possibly be each day. Thank you for forgiving my shortcomings and sticking by my side through each day, and for owning up to your own faults when it seems we both needed a good argument. It is because of your support and your encouragement that I continue to press forward, in hopes that I make you proud. I am excited to continue this journey together… though someday, I hope to finally absorb from your personality just how to have fun and enjoy things, without the worry monster on my shoulder. Thank you… for everything.

Love,
Wife

*Disclaimer: I was not asked to write about, nor am I affiliated with, SoulPancake. I loved the video so much and it’s science was so in line with the changes I’m trying to make, I wanted to use it as a catapult for positivity… plus, I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it a lot, just reemphasizing the point for myself and hopefully reducing the number of purposeless cries I have during the week (you know, because watching this gives me feel-good cries). Check out SoulPancake and their cool science vids on YouTube. I just watched a handful and wow… just. Wow.

Chapter 5: Only the Beginning

I decided to end this random  series on Chapter 5, though it’s only the beginning of my adventure in recognizing and breaking down the lies I constantly tell myself. I’ve had to be reminded several times over the past few weeks of my truths and continue to retrain my self-talk to stay away from the falsehoods. I wish it were easier to remember through all the stupid emotions that moment that I realized I am a good mom and wife, I do work hard, and I’m not as lazy I try to convince myself.

Moving on…

It’s been a rough couple of weeks inside my head – both at work and home. I’m irritable and frustrated, angry and sad. Anything that goes even a little sideways sends me into a downward spiral into this personal tirade against myself, spewing each and every lie back into the mix. Trying to convince myself that everything is in my control is somehow so much easier than realizing most of it is not – and what is has been poorly managed by choice.

After a pretty long and productive chat with my boss the other day, I’ve decided to climb on her positive wagon. After all, in order to truly change the way you feel about things, you have to adjust your perspective, right? If I keep focusing on the negative – the bills I keep juggling, the debt I keep incurring, the arguments I keep having – then I’ll be too busy to see all the wonderful things in my life – the husband who supports me, the children who are healthy and smart and fun, the job that is supporting my bad habits as well as my necessities. As I began to change my perspective today, it suddenly occurred to me (on the hour-long commute home – the first epiphany in a while!).

I can no longer justify my negativity with a ‘but’. 
That’s so great – but it was so frustrating getting there.
You didn’t have it yesterday – but it sure would have been helpful.
He’s progressing so well – but the focus is beginning to wear me down.

It’s time for a change (I say that a lot, don’t I?).

I’m determining right now, to my entire audience, great and small, that I will no longer tolerate my own negativity. I will be making every effort to change my words, my focus, and my arguments, to be positive and driven towards solutions, not problems.

That’s so great – it is!
You didn’t have it yesterday – I didn’t, and I’m so grateful I DO have it now!
He’s progressing so well – he is! And I’m so excited to see his next accomplishment!

I’m leaving my lies on the doorstep and inviting my truths in. I’m not burying them, because they inevitably call your name at night when you least expect it, causing an impromptu growth of new lies and self-doubt. But if they stay at the door long enough, watching the truths pile in, the positives jolly right on past, maybe they’ll whither up and just fly away… like a memory that feels distant but still a part of your past.

I’ve said it before and gone missing for weeks, but I’m going to try to be on here more often, spinning some positivity, offering up some gratitude, hopefully sharing some positivity that will inspire (or at least make someone feel nice).

Hug your family tonight. Say thanks to the universe for the things you have (or praise your God), and just take a moment… even if it’s just to smile at absolutely nothing at all.

Much love,
Mel

*If this post is too saccharine, it’s only going to get worse. Just fair warning… :)