What’s Your Motivation?

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today, Five Minute Friday.

The theme?

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Back when I was young and vastly much more energetic, I used to teach high school theater.

Those days were pretty nutty, and involved a lot of plays that took on a bit of a wonky Little Rascals, “Let’s put on a show!” kinda vibe, but you know. I remember once, (and only once) asking a sixteen year old while we were working on a scene, “What’s your motivation here?” He stared at me blankly.  And then I think he answered, “Well, I’m not doing basketball and my parents made me do something extracurricular.” I let it go. Plus, it was for Bye Bye Birdie, so, you know, I bet his true motivation was to break into song and dance at random points without his voice cracking like a sheet of ice.

So, the basic lesson here: Never ask a teenager about motivation. They never really know.

Also: It’s totally fine to ask a Momsie what her motivation is. But sometimes… I too, never really know.

There’s the quick answer to the above: Love God, and love others.

But also, there’s my recovery, marriage, my kids, my service, my writing, my book, my church, my fire baton routine… (Ok, just kidding about the baton part. I can dare to dream, however.)

I think moms have this ever-cycling wheel of What’s Most Important circling in our souls – our children… our husbands… our careers…. our ability to bake the best casseroles for church suppers… And repeat.

It’s an endless cycle of Where Do I Put All My Energy? Energy doesn’t do so well when it’s slathered all over the place, like thin margarine on toast.

Here’s what I would like: when I wake up, I would like a plane flying overhead, with one of those banners behind it, saying something like: DANA. FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

Or…

DANA. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BALANCE. BALANCE IS FOR GYMNASTS. GOD HAS YOUR BACK.

Or…

DANA, YOUR CASSEROLES WILL NEVER WIN ANY PRIZES. LET THAT GO. GOD LOVE YOU ANYWAY.

Or, simply:

LET GO, LET GOD.

My motivations can get tangled. Thus, the airplane banner thing would be helpful. I need visual, and large, airborn reminders, I guess. But, it would be kinda weird. The rest of the neighborhood might need a heads up.

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You had me at special snowflake.

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In today’s post I would like to channel my Inner Jim. That’s my dad.

And I would also like to talk about alcoholism.

So, YAY, this post is going to be INTENSE!

Why, you ask?

1. My dad is kinda intense. He likes to grip you by the elbow, in that way that makes the entire side of your body go kinda limp and numb, and he looks you in the eye and says things like, “How are you, REALLY?” and if you lie at all you feel like God might smite you, because God and Jim are *crosses fingers* like THIS.

2. Alcoholism. Nobody attempts that subject without a bit of intensity. I mean, we don’t just say things like, “Hmmmm, I think I might be coming down with a bit of alcoholism today. But, it’s just a tickle at the back of my throat. I’ll just get some rest and I’ll be fine!”

3. I’m in a really weird mood so there’s that.

I am also linking up with my favorite end of the week people: Five Minute Friday! and today’s theme??

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Ok, here’s what I know:

  1. My dad would tell me (as would all the other addicts in recovery) that I am not a special snowflake. I’m no different than anyone else. I have no special backstory that makes my sad issues any more special or sad.
  2. This kinda is a bummer because ever since I was knee-high to a very special grasshopper I KNEW I WAS SO VERY DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE. This explains so much.
  3. And, I am. But also, I’m not. So you know, not confusing at all.
  4. This does not have to be figured out. Really, the only answer to all this is understanding who Jesus is and trucking with him.
  5. Different is good. It means I can wear socks that don’t match and I tend to always (nearly always) break into dance whenever I visit my kids’ school and they stop me at the door with the camera thing. Because the office administrators really need to see me doing the Running Man.
  6. Different, in terms of alcoholism? Not good. I am not different. My addiction and recovery trucks along fine with the men and women, young, old, black, white, green, pink, tall, short, big, small, cat lover, cat hater, educated, street smart, rich, poor, faith-filled, faith-poor, lost, found, tattooed, pierced, pristine, married, single, somewhere in between, person who walks in the doors with the coffee pot on the door.
  7. Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Inner Jim. Just FYI.

I am reminded of this every time I attend a meeting, and I remember the words of one of my favorite old-timers there, “Mo.” He would say, “I’m no better than anyone else. And I’m no worse.”

He was right. And here is the thing – doesn’t this also apply to our faith? Doesn’t it also sound a little bit like how Jesus wants us to live?

I mean, we are all in recovery from something. Or we should be. Right?

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You’re Only As Old as You Feel. Or something.

Linking up with my happy place today over at Five Minute Friday!

The theme?

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It’s my birthday today. I’m forty eight. Which is impossible. I kinda feel like that “Sunrise, Sunset” song, only all that sweet nostalgia is not about my children growing up. I’m all… “Is this the little girl I carried… Is this the little boy at play?”

NO. NOT IT’S NOT. IT’S ABOUT ME AND I AM REALLY OLD AND I CAN’T CARRY ANYTHING IT’S MY BIRTHDAY.

I walked to class this morning and the sun was all crisp and cut, coming through the trees, and it was so cold. It was the perfect winter day. And THEN a small deer came out of the woods and waved and a bird came and alighted on my shoulder and sang to me. A chipmunk handed me a gift card.

Not doing drugs on my birthday, I promise. This really is just how I am.

I arrived at my classroom, and one of my friends came in, singing happy birthday to me. (No, she really did. She was real.) And then, she told me this:

“You know you’re only as old as you feel.”

“But, what if you feel sixty-seven? Like… I have things on my body heading south. Things on my body are traveling to places where they are not supposed to go. There is sagging. Sagging is not good.”

“Well. Just keep looking up. That’s all that matters.”

(This was not the exact conversation. I don’t remember it exactly because I’m too old, and your memory’s the first thing to go.)

Here are my top ten reasons why it is a happy birthday:

I REALLY NEED TO EMPHASIZE THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

1. Larry, Moe, and… Bob.

Note: The image of Bob in this picture is not actual. I didn’t want to go search her paranoid little furry self out, and so there you go. Also, I would like to note that Steve and Vader are giving kisses in this pic because they are preshus woodum coodums.

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2. This morning, Red greeted me with one open eye from his top bunk, and said: ‘Happy birthday mommah” then rolled deeper into his blankie.

3. From the bottom bunk, Blonde swung his hand out and hit me right in the crotch, meaning to spank me, I guess? So, you know. Love is painful. But I thank you for Blonde, and, I thank you that my crotch is still ok.

4. Did you know, if you write “crotch” more than once in a few sentences, you start to get really obsessed with that word and it starts to sound all weird? And it’s just an awful word anyway? So from hereon, I will now refer to it as The Honorable Lady Fagina.

5. Don’t really know what #4 was all about but let’s keep moving. I am ALSO grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning. Boom.

6. My book. The second one. I am editing it right now which is kinda like having a hang nail and then pulling it off so your finger starts weeping blood all over and then you try to put a bandaid on it but that just gets soggy and then you accidentally spill a bottle of lemon juice on your hand and you get the idea.

I realize that doesn’t sound very grateful. But, it’s always darkest before the dawn. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also, when God shuts a door somewhere he opens a window?

Cannot you just SEE how I got a book deal in the first place?

Anyhow, the book is all about perfectionism and so of course editing it is going REALLY well. Irony is just coming up and bludgeoning me over the head with this whole thing. “HA!” says Irony. “You gotta perfect a book about being PERFECT!” *SMACK!*

And then Irony snaps and sashays away. Such a jerk.

7. My husband. I was gonna post his as #5 but that seemed weird. I love it that he gets me. That I can bed-shame him (no, it’s not what you think).

This morning, I came upon the bed looking like this, and so I did what I had to do. I texted him about it:

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And then, later we had this conversation:

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He gets me. Which is so very necessary because otherwise I don’t think we woulda made it past date #1. And then, there would be NO Blonde, or Red… and I would probably be living in a van down by the river.

Whoa. This is so very It’s a Wonderful Life. This will be a future post, I promise. I bet you can’t wait.

8. A Muppet Christmas Carol

Although, the first time I tried to watch this movie with the boys Red was about three and he took one look at the opening number and ran, kind of bleating, from the room. I never really got it out of him, what terrified him so. I think somehow he still thinks that this whole real people/ muppet people universe is really out there, just waiting for him to happen upon it, and he is so creeped out. I have tried for FIVE years straight to watch it with him, and each time he sort of shudders and avoids looking at the dvd, like its a portal to the netherworld. Who knew that Fozzie could cause such stress?

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9. I forgot the rest. I feel the need to go lie down and watch Golden Girls for a few hours. Maybe drink some Ensure.

10. You guys. I just love you.

In the span of I don’t know how many years now, I have gained so many readers, written for all sorts of magazines, published a book, am working on a second one, and a partridge in a pear tree. None of this (maybe excepting the partridge – debatable) would have been remotely possible without you.

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Momsie’s Top Ten Thankfuls

It’s time! It’s Thanksgiving! Here comes annual Top Ten!!!!

Disclaimer: It’s possible Momsie is on her second cup of really expensive super good coffee from Hawaii because THAT’S HOW WE DO IT ON THANKSGIVING. And thus, whe is SUPER JAZZED AND ALL EXCLAMATION POINTY!

Actually, that’s how my father in law does it. I buy Aldi’s. You know I love you, Aldi’s. We’re besties!

So, here we go!

MOMSIE’S TOP TEN THANKFULS, 2017 EDITION:

  1. Blonde’s smile, when he’s trying not to smile. This occurs often when I come in to wake him up in the mornings. I tickle him, and then I watch. One side of his mouth lifts up, and the other side works very hard to stay down, and the dimples show up. He’s so handsome, my boy. Who knew that we could spawn handsome? Also, that “handsome” is part of the package now? He was all “cute” and “adorable” and “itty bitty” and now he’s dialed up to “handsome.” I tell you, parents, we measure our days by our children. We can’t help it.
  2. Red. He is still at the “cute” and “adorable” stage and THANK GOODNESS. I can’t take too much handsome going on here. Between Blonde and the hubster, I am overloaded and my head explodes. It’s a good thing that Red is still at Level Cute because it calms me down. Here is a picture to prove it:IMG_7411.JPG.jpeg

Ok, I tried to take a picture, and as his very often his adorable habit, he decided to mess with me. This is SO adorable. I promise that there is adorable stuff going on UNDER the blanket. Also, he probably knew that if he took the picture the camera would have blown up due to the cuteness. That happens a lot in our house. The cuteness keeps causing our electronics to spark out all the time.

3. Ok, while we are at it, I want to point out that I have the most wonderful hubs in the world of wonderfulness. Boom. And here is the picture to prove it:

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Ok. So, he was getting ready and didn’t want to have his picture taken. This is a door. I get the difference.

4. Hot pastrami sandwiches. I don’t really know why I thought of that just now. Perhaps the proximity to the hot door-ness that is my husband? We’ll just leave that right there.

5. My momma’s stuffing. Not her actual stuffing, but the kind she serves at Thanksgiving dinner. She has a recipe that involves prepping for this stuffing like four days ahead, and it involves something called giblets, which, truth be told, I have forgotten and baked inside the actual turkey a few times. I don’t really know what giblets are but they taste divine in Mom’s stuffing. Which is where they belong.

6. Fur. We have a lot of fur at our house:

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Spot the cat.

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Voila! Hello. I don’t always sit on the laundry like this but when I do, my human has to take a picture. Because I’m that fabulous.

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Hello. I’m not codependent and needy at all!  But actually yes, I totally am! I love you! Let me sit upon you! I love you! I must stare at you awkwardly while you work! I love you!

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No talking. Sleeping. She saved me from the great outdoors where there was not a lot of food. Or soft places to lie down. Tired.

Also, there is another cat in our house, Bob. She doesn’t like to have her picture taken, so she’s probably huddled somewhere, all hunchy and weirded out that I’m even writing about her.

7. Christmas trees. There was a display of these by my grocers, and I walked over to them on autopilot and proceeded to stick my nose in the trees and inhale loudly which was awkward for the passers by, but necessary.

8. Bow-ties. Both of my boys are wearing them as I write. This is because it’s what is done on Thanksgiving. They are rolling their eyes a lot and telling me “It’s not CHURCH, MOM.” Oh ho, little ones. But it’s my mom’s TURKEY AND STUFFING. So, we wear ties.

9. Free will. One of the two boys is now, most definitely, NOT wearing a bow-tie. So, there’s that.

10. God and Jesus and da Holy Spirit! (That one is from Red, who is now cuddling with me in a really bright orange t-shirt and pants. No tie. He looks great. Sorta. The tie woulda been a nice touch, though but he will not be held down by the man.)

11. Friends. I know I can’t count, but they don’t care. Friends who have basically unintelligable conversations with me like this:

“Hey! Did you…”

“Yes! I did! Have a Happy- ”

“Thanksgiving! You too! I’ll bring that stuff over later.”

“The stuff with the things on it?”

*Child starts yelling in background*

“Gotta -”

“Yep, Child. Go.”

And somehow, we completely understand each other, anyway.

 

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season to remember your thankfuls, and hold your family close. I am so very blessed by you, dear reader.

Oh, and?

#12. Sobriety. It comes with twelve steps, so there ya go.

One day at a time.

Every day is precious.

All days are worth it.

 

Now, go forth, and eat a heck of a lot of food.

 

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Thanksgiving Throwback Because… As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Hi friends!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! It’s my favorite holiday. FAVORITE. Why?

Sooooo many reasons. But a lot of them are centered around time with family and great food and just… oh, you know. All that mushy stuff.

I post every year my Top Ten Thankfuls, and thought it might be fun to post last year’s… today. I can do that because it’s my blog.

So without further ado:

Screenshot 2017-11-22 13.14.05.pngMOMSIE’S TOP TEN THANKFULS

Here’s what you have been waiting for, all year!!!!! I know you have. Me too.

Gratitude is the best reset button EVER. I belong to a facebook group where we post, every day, five gratitudes, and did you know? Every time I do it, I feel better. Even on the no good, very bad, worstest days ever. Gratitude is a multi-vitamin for the soul, I tell you.

So, here goes. My annual Thanksgiving Day Top Ten Thankfuls:

(In no particular order, because I’m doing this right after I had some coffee and a Clariton and I am totally squirreled out right now):

  1. Squirrel One and Squirrel Two. Might as well keep it in the rodent family right now. img_57831
  2. Also, of course, head squirrel, the hubster:

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4. Lemon Bars. I know. Kinda random. But really? Everything has been all pumpkin spice all over the place and I’m so over it. Let’s start a new thing – Lemon Bar Season! It could happen.

5.  That The Force Awakens did not rely on bad CGI and there was no Jar Jar in it.

6. My mom’s oyster dressing. I know that I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

7. That Black Friday will be over soon.

8. This guy:IMG_5652He has hopes that one day he will be able to FIT in that box. But, as he keeps getting fatter, and the box stays the same, I admire his optimism.

9: This:

 

10: Also, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And he is good.

Amen?

And all God’s people said: Amen.

 

Bonus #11:

Sober Momsie. I just am who I am supposed to be when I don’t have alcohol in me. I operate better.

I know, some would say, “Really?” But, if you knew me before you would not argue, believe me.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Dream A Little Dream With Me.

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Still working on my Change All the Things Big November Plan, and it’s going… sort of ok.

I know, guys! Did that introduction not KNOCK the SOCKS off of you!? Are you not just totally on the edge of your seat? Without SOCKS???

Ok, truth:

Trying to rehab anything is very hard. I mean, have you ever watched Intervention? Not to make light of a serious topic (I never do that. Ok, well yes I do, all the time, but you know my heart’s in the right place. Plus, I am a walking Intervention, so I can poke fun at myself) but trying to get something back from a state of disrepair is HARD.

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Here are the things I have been working on:

  1. Food and all things food related. Like, not eating all the sugar in the house because I am stressed. Case in point: Halloween candy that belongs to my sweet children is STILL belonging to the children and has not been touched by me since that fateful night. I am kind of proud of myself on that one.
  2. Stress level. I am beginning to really appreciate breaking tasks down, and organizing and not waiting until the last minute to get a writing deadline done. And yes, I hear you, editors, cackling away at me. No lie, my mom will plan to make chocolate chip cookies on Friday, and on MONDAY she starts planning ahead by setting a bowl out on the counter. A bowl. She is hard core.
  3. I really really need to stop watching stupid youtube videos. Like, this is just stupid. It’s stupid and bad and stupid. Every time I watch a youtube video (unless it’s Francis Chan) my IQ drops and a cute kitty video dies and I start writing “stupid” too much. Or something like that.

#3 is really not my fault. It all started because I was all #2, and then, I thought, “Hey! Let’s watch cute kitty videos! It will make me laugh and feel better and chortle chortle chortle and the next thing you know, it’s five hours later. It’s physics. An object at rest remains at rest, blah blabbity blah blah blah.

So, the other day I was talking with my sister and she said something really really interesting. She said that her husband asked her, all out of the blue, “Hey, what are your dreams?”

First of all, this now has taken my sister’s husband and put him in the Husband Hall of Fame because holy matrimony that is just the sweetest thing EVER. Like, right now, I am sitting next to my husband and I’m giving him the side eye. And I’m thinking, He never asked me what my dreams are. Huh. I wonder why? Does he not care? Clearly he doesn’t care. My sister’s husband cares.

Ok, reeling it in. Getting off track.

Here’s why the November’s Big Huge Colossal Plan to Change So Much Stuff is occurring:

I need to learn how to dream again.

When I first published my book, I felt like I was floating about in a really happy floaty place called: I Have Always Dreamed of This.

It’s a really nice place. It was all pink and fuzzy and blissful.

Well, actually at times it was also really frenetic and stressful but for the most part I was floaty-floaty.

And then, time passed and I landed back on earth, which is fine and good because we really can’t float all the time. That would be weird and I would never be able to drive my children anywhere, which as you moms all know, that is the reason for my existence.

In the past months I have forgotten all about dreams.

It’s ok. That happens. There’s children and costumes for children (hello October) and appointments and all sorts of animals to take care of who kept getting sick, and I forgot why I like writing. It got buried underneath a pile of laundry, I tell you.

In my life, God comes first. Then the husband, who doesn’t ever ask me about my dreams, then the kids.

And then, somewhere along the way, I forgot that writing and creativity needed to be up there too, somewhere above the laundry. And all sorts of other stuff started to fill in the holes.

I didn’t really realize any of this, when I started out on my Make It All Totally Super Awesome Novemberness. I thought I just wanted to lose a little weight. But instead? This has been a lot of thinking and turning things over in my head.

Funny how that works, eh? Walking away from carbs and eating a whole lotta kale has led to a full fledged epiphany, y’all.

Who knew? Who really knew that kale had that kind of power?

So, I’m halfway through November. I’m finding my groove again. I haven’t eaten sugar for two weeks and I have not died.

In fact, I feel very much alive.

Thanks for listening my friends. I’m now off to snack on some kale pudding.

Just kidding. Kale and I are not at the pudding stage. That’s just crazy.

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Too many kale jokes?

Nah. You can never have too many kale jokes.

 

 

Insert Motivational Quote Here:

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*Taps mic*

Hello? Hi. Hi there. I’m Dana. Your motivational speaker. So….  How’s everybody doing today?

I’m here today to tell you more about The FABULOUSNESS THAT IS NOVEMBER and light a fire under that tired-out soul of yours.

If, that is, your soul is actually tired. Perhaps it’s all shiny and ok. Mine was not, so here I am.

This morning I walked the dog and and did some sort of nonsense called Fitness Blender, where sweet and annoyingly chipper Kelli tells me to squat, and I squat. Sometimes she adds kicks to the squats and this makes me feel all flair-ish, so there’s that.

The weather was cool and foggy and I BLASTED this song while I walked sweet Hosmer. All rather simple things.

But I have to tell you, Hosmer was so GRATEFUL for a walk. (He’s grateful for anything, really. My days with him are a regular immersion in furry gratitude. Case in point: He is currently sitting on my feet looking at me with such adoration he basically has become his own emoji.)

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Picture is blurry because dog moving. He keeps trying to come in to lick me.

Also, I have worked on THIS:

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This is not life shattering, I know. Every month, I get out my felt tip pens (all the pretty colors!) and I plan my month. I used to color code it for children and adults and all… but then I realized pretty much all of it sorta morphed into all children all the time, because they consume my life, so I just use colors that make me happy.

Also, I draw turkeys really badly.

But, I guess what I’m trying to say is… (*clears throat, attempts highly motivational voice*)

IF YOU PLAN TO PLAN, YOU’LL FAIL TO PLAN.

Oh wait. No, other way around. (*clears voice again, all the while realizing that motivational speaking might not be my jam*)

If you fail to plan… you can plan.. to fail? Right? That’s it, right?

Right?

We’re only on day 2, people. Progress, not perfection.funny-pictures-cat-does-not-think-plan-will-fail.jpg