Expecting the Unexpected

For November 2017 Blog Surprise Gift

My hubby and I are ardent planners. Over the last 19 years, we’ve come to value having a roadmap for our journey together. Buying a one-story home we can easily maneuver later in our golden years? Yep. Having two kids, 3 years apart so “they could play together?” Uh-huh. Career moves that let us balance work and family time? Check-check.

But, are we also learning flexibility because plans can change in a split second? You bet. My mom’s sudden death. My brother’s bout with cancer. Moving my dad in with us after a fall in his home. And so, so much more. We get it. Continue reading

Advertisements

About Those Masks … (1.5-min. read)

mask pic for oct 2017 blog

Every October 31st, we went a-begging for candy. And what fun it was: Putting on makeup and wigs and masks and whatever else was required to become a werewolf, princess or superhero.

By the time I was about 10, I preferred to be any character that didn’t require wearing a mask. More specifically, those plastic masks with a string of rubber stapled to it to hold it in place, circa 1980. Continue reading

Road Bumps (1.5-min. read)

road-4539__340

So, the other day, I messed up.

Hubby was out of town overnight, so I was parent-on-point. I looked at the calendar. Only one Saturday morning activity? No problem, I thought. I got this.

Well, it turns out that I didn’t “got this.” Our son was scheduled to play his first game with a new lacrosse group. And, he was clearly excited. He jumped out of bed on his own. Got dressed quickly. Ate breakfast without dawdling so we could be on time.

He was on point. But, his mama? I was already 2 hours late and didn’t even know it. Continue reading

Back to Basics (1-min. read)

Writer’s Note, 8.31.2017:

I wrote this post a week ago, but held on sharing it. Doing so seemed insensitive in the face of tragedy and devastation due to Hurricane Harvey.

But, I’m posting it now, without hesitation.

Why?

Because, especially in extremely difficult times as this, we really don’t have time to mistreat, dislike or even hate each other. And, thankfully, a lot of folks agree; the evidence is in news stories of strangers helping strangers impacted by the hurricane.

Yet, a lot of other folks still don’t get it. From the rude customer in the grocery line yesterday to the latest POTUS shenanigans, too many adults insist on choosing the low road.

But, we don’t have to. The high road is waaaay better, and there are many paths to get there.

Here’s a brief look at one such path. Continue reading

Bees & Buttons (1.5-min read)

bee-839764_960_720

I’ve always been industrious, busy as a bee. As a kid, I could keep myself occupied for hours by creating art using typing paper, tape and crayons. As a teen, I stayed busy with homework, school clubs, music, and church. And none of that changed as a young adult.

Yet, I’m not a high-energy person. Type B through and through, I require quiet time to recharge and recenter. Otherwise, I’m a walking billboard for “Exhausted: Proceed with Caution.”

My natural way of operating in the world is caring for others by giving them a lot of my time and attention. When I became a mom , that modus operandi only intensified. Sleep deprivation? Whatever. In my overachieving-first-time-mom mind, I HAD to be sure our little one ate, slept and had clean diapers or the world would end. Literally.

So, I just kept going and going and going. Kinda like the Energizer Bunny, but without the benefit of batteries. My ever-so-thoughtful hubby, worrying more than a bit, would look at me and almost plead, “Karin, grab a nap. You. Are. TIRED.”

But, you’re a new parent like me, tooooo, I’d think to myself. You know as little about this parenting stuff as I do!  I trusted our newbie parenting skills as far as I could throw an elephant. So, I couldn’t truly rest.  Instead, I’d look at my loving hubby through bloodshot eyes weighed down with bags and reply, “Nuh uh.”

Time kept moving along, and so did I – usually in a fog of fatigue. When our daughter was 9 months old, we visited family at my parents’ home. My big sis, with kids of her own, fell instantly in love with our daughter – and saw the fatigue all over me.

“Give her to me,” she insisted, as soon as we walked in the door. “And just go rest. I got her.”

I knew my sis would know what to do if the baby cried, pooped, even managed a whimper. She was a safe and trusted harbor, a Jedi-level mom raising 3 older kids.

I almost ran to the bedroom, confident our little one was in the hands of a pro.

I’d discovered my Off Button.

I won’t even say how long I slept or how much drool I left on my parents’ pillows. But, to this day, it was one of the best naps I’ve ever had. I woke up smiling with renewed energy, able to be fully present with my hubby, our little one and extended family.

My life is still blessed with family, work and more. So, yeah, each day is super-full. I’m planning and executing and scheduling and transporting and cooking and cleaning and writing and editing. And thinking of it all when I’m not doing any of it.

I’m still pretty good at wearing myself out.

But, the good news? I’m better at pressing my Off Button when needed. I’ve come to trust that the world will not, in fact, fall apart if I stop being a busy bee and just rest. No alarm clocks. No itineraries. And no cell phone or computer use. I simply lie down, close my eyes, and instantly go into a deep slumber.

And, when I do so, I’m all the better for it. So are those I love, care for, and work with. Why? Because I return reenergized and ready to engage. My best self shows up. Not the snippy, too-tired-to-talk-laugh-or-smile Karin.

We all have moments when we need to push our Off Button. Being “On” most of the time– the pull of cell phones and social media, full work days, demands of others, you name it – can wear us out and down. Our brains, hearts, and spirits can only manage so much. We’re mere mortals, after all.

We all need an Off Button. Do whatever it takes to figure out yours – and then, when it’s needed most, press it.

 Your Turn: What’s your Off Button?

Hurry Up and Wait (2-min. read)

You Can't Rush the Ideal Time

You’re driving long distance to an event—perhaps a business conference or a friend’s graduation—and time is of the essence. You prepared well. You packed up needed items, placed the mail on hold, and hit the road on time. “I’ve got snacks and a full tank of gas. No need to even stop,” you brag to yourself, smiling. You just know you’ll arrive with time to spare.

About 2 hours into the ride, you’re in an unexpected roadwork zone, and traffic slows juuuust a bit. No worries, you think. I’ve still got plenty of time to get there.

Then, you see it. Red brake lights in front of you. Not just on one car. On ALL the cars in front of you.

And no one’s moving. Continue reading

A Matter of Trust (2-min. read)

For May 2017 Self Confidence and Trust Yourself Pic

Photo Credit: Alexas Fotos

“Mom, my throat hurts.”

Recent words from our son. While it’s not earth shattering by a long shot, a sore throat is out of the ordinary for him. He has never, ever complained of having one. I thought, a brand new symptom? Stop the presses. Something’s off. Continue reading