The Right Stuff

I wanted BOGS. If you don’t know what they are you are probably in the minority, but I will tell you anyway. They are boots that are not very fashionable, but they are workhorses. They are great for winter as well as for mucky, muddy, wet, whatever weather where you need something to keep your feet warm and dry. I scored my daughter’s at the consignment shop where I work (where we have sold over 140 pair this season), and my son’s at a great deal new. I wanted some for me, but I did not want to pay full price.

See, when you wear a women’s size 12, footwear is more tough to come by. So when I saw BOGS made some styles in a 12, I was excited. I stalked many websites and finally found some for almost 60% off from 6pm.com. Woot! I quickly ordered them hoping they would fit and be comfortable. They arrived and were perfect! Well, they are a little tough to get off of my feet, but I loved them and wore them right away.

A few days after my coveted clunky boots arrived, I took my son to a therapy appointment in the morning and we had a little time to waste before bringing him to a birthday party. We decided to go to a craft store and browse a bit. I pulled in the parking lot of the store, driving my husband’s little car in my new big BOGS and hit the brake…AND THE GAS at the same time and rammed the front of my husband’s car into the front of the car parked across from me. Crap. Crap. Crappity Crap.

Now, my last full time job was working in an insurance office where many times I heard the words, “my car was hit in a parking lot and nobody left a note or anything!” Of course some people were lying. Well, that was our assumption but there is never any proof but yeah, that’s what people do. So, I knew that’s what people did. I got out of my husband’s car and looked at the front end of the car I hit. It looked fine. I saw no damage. I had a choice to make. Ugh. Crap.

We were parked closer to the store next door to the craft store so I went in and told the desk what happened and asked to page the owner of the car. A very nice girl came to the front and I told her what had happened. She was not concerned. That surprised me, but I let her know we would be in the craft store and told her to look at her car before she left to make sure she saw no damage. After about 20 minutes she found me in the store and actually apologized when she said she noticed a broken piece. I followed her out and sure enough, there was a small piece of plastic that had cracked off and went behind the grill. Again, I know how insurance works and an accident was not something I needed. I smiled as I gave her all of my information and asked her to let me know how much the damage was so I could pay it out of pocket. Smiled. But…crap.

I did the right thing. I know that. I also showed my kid how it is important to do the right thing. There are so many sayings about doing the right thing. Google will tell you so many of them if you need some reinforcement. But you know what? It’s HARD sometimes. Standing up for what is right is hard enough, but to sacrifice as well and admit your mistakes is really hard. I am the type of person who beats myself up for mistakes and hitting a car in a parking lot with my clearance boots on, the week before Christmas when we are also struggling financially is a big one.

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I’m not writing this for a kudos-pat-on-the-back-look-how-moral-I-am. I’m writing this because it was not easy. We have choices to make every day and many times we know what the right ones are, but they are still difficult. It still bugs me.

So, going into the new year, let’s not make huge goals about things that might be out of our reach. Take the time to encourage yourself to make the right choices even when it’s hard. You have it in you. Even if you do the right thing with the wrong attitude. We are human after all. I have hope that over time (aka when I pay off that $323 on my credit card), I will feel a little happier about tracking down that girl about her car. Many times we make what we know is the right decision, but we don’t have the right attitude about it. That is what I am writing about here. I think that’s okay. Just make the right decision and the attitude will…or will not…change later.

For now I am just thinking, “those clearance boots were NOT a good deal.” Crap.
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Merry Christmas

I had aspirations.  They were not lofty.  I have excuses.  They are not all that great.

I didn’t get all my cards out.  I purchased them.  I have the adorable snowflake stamps.

Some of you got the cards so I hope that you appreciate being in the first two rounds of mailings.  That makes it sound like the mailings were huge.  They were not.  I got out ones that I had easy access to addresses and ones knew I needed to send right away.  Then I never got back to it.

So instead of sending New Year’s card (some people do that.  I could say I will…but I won’t, I know that), I am placing our Dinesen family Christmas letter here.  I wish you the Happiest of Seasons, reflecting on Christ’s birth and what that meant and still means for us!

 

DINESEN FAMILY LETTER 2015

 

Most of my family is very tired and busy this time of year, so I have been elected to write the Christmas letter. After all, if you count it correctly, I am now the oldest member of the family. I do have quite a bit of time in my schedule, so here is a bit about the goings on in the Dinesen home.

We can start with me. I’m Lincoln, also known as the greatest family dog ever. I turned 11 in human years in June and am starting to feel my age. The arthritis in my leg is bothering me, I have a lump that was deemed, “just fatty tissue (yeah, I got lots of that!),” growing, and, much to everyone else’s chagrin, am losing a lot of my long hair every day.

The littlest human is still my favorite person in the house. Julia started kindergarten and seems to like it. She gets tired of wearing her uniform because she prefers to dress in cheetah print, black fashion pieces with a, “flash of color,” she calls it, and other things that she says are, “the fashion.” They love her at school too. She came home with a new t-shirt because she was the first Student of the Month in her class. Pretty cool! She’s my favorite because she loves animals, sings around the house a lot, gives me treats, and never finishes her dinner so I get the plate.

The medium human is the loudest and he is 10 now. Maxwell is really smart, loves video games and just got a fancy letter in the mail saying he was one of the top performing students in 5th grade for Grand Rapids Public Schools. Yep he’s smart. But he’s really loud too and is still trying to figure out how to handle feelings. Our parents call it Aspergers and read about it a lot and help him. I tend to just leave the room when he gets loud. My senior nerves don’t handle it well. But Maxwell does give me treats too and really good belly scratches and I have known him for a long time so we are pretty close. He looks really cool when he leaves for his karate class with his red belt. I like to watch him do moves at home because he can kick really high!

My mom, Michelle, is doing pretty good. Sometimes she gets to stay home with me when the other kids are at school and we hang out. By hang out, I mean I nap on the floor and she does some light cleaning and lots of coloring in her fancy books. Other times she goes to speak at a MOPS group because that is what she loves to do. And then some days she gets to go to work and have fun. Michelle likes working at Village Kids Consignment Boutique because of the nice people that come in to the store and that work there. I agree with her about getting older. As we age, our goal is to focus on goodness, family, and rest. I notice goodness in my new Trader Joe’s treats; she is learning to see it in situations that come up. I love to get leftovers from my family, she focuses a great deal of her energy on helping Maxwell work things out and the rest of our home in general. Rest is my favorite and I do it for about 23.5 hours a day. Instead of unpacking and decorating in our new house and cleaning everything perfectly, she takes time to watch her favorite show, connect with a MOPS group, color, and has even tried blogging again. You can check that out at michelledinesen.com if you want.

My dad is still working building websites through his company, engine. He is very busy and enjoys what he does. He also connects regularly with friends at a couple different Bible Study groups. Like my brother, he likes playing games on the tv and he and Maxwell sometimes play some weird game with squares everywhere – squares of bricks, squares of wood, squares of water, even their heads look square! It seems kind of pointless to me, but, then again, I sleep through most of it. My favorite thing my dad does is put big hunks of meat into this round outdoor thing. It makes a lot of smoke and the entire house and yard smell like meat ALL DAY LONG. His favorite (and mine) is brisket. Oh, I mentioned the new house. It is right by a butcher shop. My mom says my dad goes a little too often for brisket and meat sticks. I disagree. He can go as much as he wants in my book.

My grandma Sally still lives with us and I love it! She gives me lots of snacks too. I have found that the more people who we have in the house, the more snacks I get. So I am a total fan of people. She also lets me lay in her room a lot. The new house is great because her room is right by the kitchen and I don’t have to go up or down any stairs to get there – bum hip and all. Grandma Sally picks up the kids from school when my mom goes to work and helps a lot in the house. She likes to go to Muskegon to visit her sister every week too.

We moved to Walker, MI in August (email michelle@dinesen.us if you need the address!.Our family needed to get a main floor bedroom for Grandma Sally and be closer to school. So now we are all good! I have a bigger yard, though I don’t run around like I used to. There are a couple dogs behind my house that I can bark at and that makes me happy. Mom and the kids are happy for the shorter commute to school, dad likes the big garage, and Grandma Sally finally has a bedroom where she has a door that closes (even I don’t have that!)

So that’s us. To see how awesome and cute we are, check out Facebook because my mom posts a lot there. If you want to see how we are all a little bit of a mess, come on over and see our everyday life. We’d love to see you! I’m going to take a nap.

Merry Christmas!
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Shattered

I threatened to shatter the screens of both tablets the kids were on. It’s not the first time. It was time to get ready for school and the kid had woken up early (like, before 5:00AM) and came into my room. I told him to go back to bed. He started to yell. I told him to do what he wanted. I knew what he wanted to do.

Hours later, the girl is up, watching Mr. Rogers on her tablet. The kid is still fighting zombies with various vegetation. I need coffee. I need a shower. I need them to GET OFF THOSE THINGS AND DO SOMETHING FOR THEMSELES. But that will cause a ruckus. The girl will do it. The boy doesn’t care what I say. He’s oblivious. Before you judge (just in case you do not know), my boy has Aspergers aka ASD-mild aka high-functioning Autism. He also is ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Lately we are in the trenches of new symptoms like obsessiveness (think Monk) and increased aggression. It’s a wilderness I am clawing through with all I can, sometimes giving up to rest my (mostly mental) injuries, but grabbing my sword and shield to fight another day/hour/minute. So you get it…or maybe not….but it’s rough.

The image in my head of a morning where we wake up, get dressed, sit together for breakfast as I sip my beloved coffee was shattered long ago. Most images in my head about how things are, “supposed to be,” have been broken for awhile. That’s my normal.

This morning I had enough. I told the kid to GET OFF THAT THING and go downstairs and GET HIMSELF a bowl of cereal. He said he would (YAY for small victories!…or so I thought). I hear him pound loudly down the stairs, jumping around, making noise, slamming the cupboard and I hear a loud shatter. I, still in my pajamas, come flying down the stairs to see pieces of glass all over the floor and counter. My kid says, “whoopsies.” WHOOPSIES.

Shattered. That’s how I feel most days.

BUT. But I am grateful that I have my faith. And today, God showed me a blessing that came from Aspergers.

Our dryer recently broke so my husband and I went begrudgingly to Best Buy to spend the money we did not have on a new one. With the financing plan, we decided to replace both the washer and the dryer, buy the cheapest models, do the financing, and hope it was the right move. My husband said he would just have Best Buy haul away both of the old appliances. I asked him to keep the washer. It’s near Christmas and I thought we might be able to get a little for it on the yard sale site. So, last night when I was up late eating my chips (see previous blog post), I listed it. No pics, just info and a $60 price.

This morning a woman commented that she might be interested and wanted more info. I recognized her name. I don’t know her personally, but through the world of social media and an online Autism support group I knew who she was and some of her story. I sent her a private message about who I was and that I knew some of her struggles. I told her the washer was hers and to please not pay me for it. She wrote back that she was in tears. As a single mom with a child very much like mine, she was struggling a lot. She too is shattered most of the time.

As I told this story to my son this morning on the way to school, I explained to him that if it were not for his Aspergers, I would not have known anything about this woman. She would have been a woman on a yard sale page asking about my old washing machine. If she happened to ask me to lower the price, I may have been perterbed. I would not have seen God working, putting some shards back together a bit for today. I told my son that we were able to bless her because of his Aspergers. Does it mean that I am happy he has Aspergers? Uh, NO. Does it mean that I fully believe that God places us in situations to use who we are and how we live to bless those around us? YES.

 

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Not What I Need

I’m eating chips. It’s 11:39. I don’t want to give up the day. This is my time. It happens a lot. It’s probably…no, definitely, the reason that I have swung up a bit on the scale.

I wrote out more Christmas cards. I figured out a few things on the calendar. I had a cup of coffee and more chips.

Then I decided to visit a long lost friend. We haven’t been together in awhile and honestly I have not missed this friend, but I had a need and I thought they would be the one to meet that need. I was incorrect.

As I typed in the word, “Pinterest,” in my browser, my screen lit up with all kinds of cool ideas – food to make, ways to tie a scarf, how to entertain your children, your holiday guests, and your husband. There are home decorating ideas, fashion looks, and crafts that are so awesome that I might like to do them. I clicked on my own name to see what I had on my, “Christmas,” board. I found decoration ideas for womens events at the holidays, fun treats for kids, free printables, homemade gifts ideas, and so much more! But, alas…my friend Pinterest was not what I needed. I closed the window and thought about how I felt. Was I sad that I was not doing these cool things? Was I angry at the moms who do post all the things they do from Pinterest all over Facebook? And on that note, can we agree to stop belittling what we do with the, “It’s from Pinterest, so it wasn’t my idea.” People! If you actually took the time to do that burlap wreath, make those rice krispie snacks shaped like turkey legs, or whatver else YOU did, own it. That was you! Okay, back to me with visiting my old friend…

Things were not once they once were. You see, I have so much happening in my life that I am in a, “blah,” stage with no physical or mental energy. I used to go out of my way to make things look nice (on a budget) and make the cute and fun things. Sometimes I even posted them on Facebook. Maybe you are one of the people who have been annoyed with me posting my Angry Birds shaped babybel cheese snack or my strawberry mice (that was a short-lived phase of after school fun snacks that quickly evolved back into telling them to grab a trail mix or cheese stick). When things like busy days, a husband who works quite a bit, a kindergartener testing her limits (and mine), and various diagnosis of people in my home that I am the caretaker have me not wanting to see my old friend right now because she is not what I need. But my friend is not my enemy. My friend can see other people too. In fact, I encourage it. Let the people who are open to Pinterest love her, share fashion tips, recipes, and fantastic crafts and home décor. I am even good if you post it on your wall for me to see. I’m not jealous. I’m not hurt or guilt-ridden. I’m good. Well, not good because I am dealing with quite a bit in my home, but I have realized I don’t miss her because my real life cannot handle all she has to offer right now.  She is not the friend that I need.
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December

December is here.  Open up the floodgates of SO MANY FEELINGS.  Family time, beautiful lights and decor, time to reflect on the season, finding that amazing gift that you know they are going to like…stress about how to fit it all in, decisions on whether to buy another screen/device/time sucker for your home, gross fruit-flavored chocolate oranges that my husband thinks I like (I think I have finally set him straight for this year with a photo of the Target aisle, oranges all at attention, with a huge, red, “No, No, No!” strewn across it, robotic animals that they REALLY want that freak you out…seriously, a Furby looks like a tie-dyed gremlin and an ewok procreated.  It’s just freaky. But I digress.

Last night I started putting together our countdown calendar to Christmas.  Each day there is something that we do as a family, or the kids eat, or get, or something.  Yes, it was November 30th when I started to put it together.  Don’t judge or I will not tell you that all of the papers with numbers are hanging on the wall, but there is nothing written inside about 6 of them because I have no idea what those days might bring.  It’s done, it’s on the wall, it counts – for now.  Much of it is normal December things like getting a tree, putting up stockings, having hot cocoa, decorating cookies, etc.  It’s more of a reminder/task list under the guise of a fun activity and it works.

12333230_10156222734930705_204368594_oThen, this morning, I started addressing Christmas cards.  I decided to buy the old-school ones in lieu of my normal photo card and to go back to a Christmas letter.  Nothing braggy (I even wrote it from the point of view of our dog), but just a little info on our family right now.  I also wanted to write a little note in each card that was personal to who I was sending it to.  As I went along, I found in almost every card, I wanted to write more than I could.  There were so many people who, as I sat there with my metallic forest green pen in hand, I was in awe of all they had been through in the past year, or how their lives had changed, kids had grown, accidents/diagnosis/treatments/moves/losses/births/praises/and on and on, had happened.  I was IN AWE.  One person hit me so hard that I had to put down my pen and open my computer and send her a message right away about how I had noticed her and all she had done and was going through and how amazing she is.  There was no getting around it.  It was too much for a family card and I just had to say it in that moment.

How many moments do we let slip by?  How many relationships do we have only via texting and Facebook?  Now, I should be in a 12-step program for Facebook so I am SO not judging you.  What I realized this morning is something that I need to keep reminding myself of.  I crave real relationships.  People matter so much.  I need them and sometimes I feel that I am falling through the cracks and losing the personal connections.  The old-school cards I picked to do, the silly letter, the personal words inside each card all affirm what I know.  I need people and as much as I try to form relationships, it is so hard right now.  It’s easier to send a text or Facebook message. I do it all the time.  But I crave personal relationship.

Relationships are about investing your time and your entire self into someone else. God calls us to it. At my church, our mission statement is, “Knowing Jesus, Being Jesus.” Get to know that little boy born in a manger so many years ago. Form a relationship with Him and learn who he was and is and what he did and is still doing.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that he designed you to be in relationship with him and with people around you.  This Christmas season, pick up the phone, write a card and mail it, or, better yet, go see someone’s face.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give, and receive.
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Julia’s Story – In Celebration of Her Adoption Day – November 17, 2010

My son is a miracle. Yes, I know all children are miracles, but mine was frozen for 8 months. Yep, that kind of miracle. Sure, he was an embryo when that happened, but he was out cold. Pretty cool, right? Well, that’s not the story I am going to tell you. Though that one was a mess. A beautiful one that ended with the spunkiest little boy ever. No, the one I am going to tell you is different.

I’m currently 40, happy to be my age and overwhelmingly blessed where I am at. But it wasn’t always that way. Raised by a single dad as his oldest, I’ve always been pretty take charge. When cancer took my dad 6 years ago, I was angry at God. A few months after his death, I received a letter that my father had left me a chunk of his pension. I knew right away that money was God placing it in my hand to adopt a child. You see my son, the aforementioned defrosted one, was just barely paid off after bouncing the balance of invitro treatments around no-interest credit cards for years. My husband and I had talked about adoption, but could not afford it.

By December of 2008, we were in the books and hopefully screaming, “pick us!” from our profile book. The agency had told us that the average wait time for a domestic infant with the openness that we chose was about 10 months. So, you know….I was planning on having that baby by at least September! Well August came and we had not had a nibble on our profile. I became angry. I thought, “why would anyone pick the overweight couple who already has a kid when there are probably rich, perfect-looking couples on ski slopes all over those adoption books?” I remember coming to the MOPS Convention in Dallas that year seeing moms wearing t-shirts that were for sale in the Resource Fair with, “Mom,” and then a little number (2,3,4,12…or whatever) and I got so angry and cynical. “What? cbd products I was less of a MOM because there is not a shirt with “just one.” I had a big pity party. I was angry at God. He took my dad and I was sure that the money left was to bring another life into my family and it was not happening!

I decided I was going to quit MOPS. I took my family of 3 to Disney World with some of the dad-money. I told my husband we were going to Denmark for Christmas to see his family. I called our adoption agency and told them we were not renewing our profile. I was DONE. Thankfully, God was not. And He had a cool twist just to show me He had it all under control.

So, I need to detour from me a little to tell you about that. On December 11th, my sister had a baby girl and named her Lillian Kate. My dad loved lillies and I suggested the middle name because we loved the name Kate and had planned to use it if we adopted a girl.

On December 28th, I received a call from our adoption social worker that a birthmom had come in and taken our profile. We were not supposed to be in the book anymore. We should have been pulled. Our social worker let her take our profile home because she really liked us. So he emailed me her first initial and age, some medical stuff, the birthfather info, and said she was due with a baby girl in February. On January 11th, my husband and I went to meet the young woman at the adoption agency. We shook her hand and introduced ourselves and she said said, “I’m Kate.”

My daughter Julia Kate was born in February 2010.
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The Big Picture

The Big Picture

We moved into a new house a few months ago. One room is…well, is supposed to be…..okay, is one of our favorite things about the house. The huge fireplace covers the entire wall. The floors are beautiful. It even has surround sound should we want to use that in the future.

Last week I was getting ready to leave in the morning and noticed this room not for it’s pretty fireplace or it’s nice flooring. I took NOTICE of what was happening in this room. My beautiful rug was (and still is a week later) tossed to the side in a clump because our dog had peed on it and we cleaned it up and took it outside to dry out. When we brought it in, our son had brought down k’nex and they were all over. Our daughter had toys all over this room. This room was supposed to have just a few very organized toys in it because they both have larger bedrooms now and most toys are SUPPOSED to be upstairs.

I took NOTICE. I noticed toys everywhere – shopkins, pokemon cards, play food, my little ponies, the amount of k’nex not built because interest was lost….and, what I noticed was the big picture. The big picture is that this room IS beautiful. It’s where the kids want to have their toys and play so they are close to where we are. It’s where there is a mess, a beautiful mess of living together and enjoying being together. Even the rug. Our dog is struggling with old age and it’s a reminder to take the time to love on him and show him some grace. My husband has taken over the building of the roller coaster and is loving it. My 5 year old daughter can’t wait until it’s done so she can see it.

Within 10 years, the roller coaster will be forgotten. The little kitchen with it’s plastic food will be gone. A pretty rug will cover the floor. It will be beautiful. But not as beautiful as it is right now.

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The Dollhouse

My daughter turned 4 last winter and I got an amazing deal on a GINORMOUS, like GIGANTOR dollhouse for her. Santa had brought her a bunch of princess Barbie dolls a few weeks before and they really needed a place to live so I decided to help them out. I mean, princesses can’t live in an IKEA bin in my basement. They are soooo above that.

I spent tons of time scouring deals and after months of searching, found the perfect one. Then, the company made an error and sent an even larger one. GIGANTOR. Oh, I was so excited to give it to her. It has lots of rooms with coordinating wooden furniture. The living room even has a little flat screen tv and a little rug. Rooms with bunk beds, a playroom with a ceiling fan and an art easel. An ART EASEL. Yeah, this dollhouse rocks. I even remade her room and my husband put the dollhouse together while our daughter was at grandma’s house. She got home and loved it and played with it…a little. Actually, her favorite thing to do with her time is to grab the Ipad and go on you tube to watch people play with Barbies and dollhouses. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, go to you tube and type in, “kids Barbie videos.” The woman who does these has the most annoying voice ever…like Caillou and Dora grew up, got married, and had a kid who grew up to do Barbie videos on you tube, annoying voice. After asking my daughter numerous times why she doesn’t go play with her dollhouse, I heard myself say, “Why would you rather sit in front of a screen watching other people play with dolls and dollhouses then have fun and play yourself?” Then it hit me. That’s what I do.

How many hours do I waste in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, reading about other people’s lives instead of living my own life? Ummm, if you know, please don’t tell me…that was totally a rhetorical question. But really. How do we not have time to call a friend for a heart to heart, or prioritize contacting someone for a coffee date, yet we have time to play (insert your current game addiction) and read Facebook for an hour? Why do I not have time to read the chapter I need to go through for my church small group, but I have had plenty of time to watch my shows (with my computer on my lap reading Facebook) this week? I say things about not getting a chance to do that yet. I don’t have time to play a game with my son or do a puzzle right now. I haven’t had a chance to clean that out yet. I am too tired to go do that activity. Why am I watching everyone else play with their dolls when I should be focusing on my own GINORMOUS amount of things I could be doing in my own life? Notice that I don’t say things I, “should,” be doing. I say things I, “could,” be doing. Because God gives us this beautiful world with amazing people and an abundance of creativity and  all sorts of gifts that we could use. We need to use them. Right now.

So, here is a challenge. Think about what you really want to do this week. Are you hungering for connection and a latte? Then call that friend and set something up. If that friend is busy, call someone else that you could see yourself forming a relationship with and get out there and then comment with what you did. Maybe you have enough time out and just want to actually do something from that Pinterest board. Well, make your list and get your supplies or ingredients and get offline and do it. Then take pictures of it and put in on Facebook. That’s okay. It may inspire me to do something too.

Go ahead, play with that dollhouse, it’s fabulous!
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Blogging…My Introduction

We live in a world of choices and easy influence. Of gray lines and categories that all blend together into a fusion of confusion that makes my head spin. Recipes pouring out of Pinterest and organization tips, crafts, teacher gifts, ways to get my child to behave, and fashion tips that I cannot afford nearly drown me. Then there are the blogs. Everyone has one and everyone has something to say. If you are not one to blog, you still have a twitter account or a Facebook where you can get out any thoughts that you feel like sharing and know that people will hear your voice. So, why would anyone really want to blog? And, if one would want to blog, why would anyone want to read such blog in a world of choices, influence, categories, confusion….well, I have no idea. But here ’tis.

I feel like my life this year is in transition. Maybe it’s because I am approaching 40 and I see fraying edges where I feel I should see perfect lines. Whatever it is, there are changes happening and many thoughts in my head. I’ve always had an interest in writing, but have never kept a journal. I regret that. Maybe it’s laziness. More likely it’s being terrified of what I would write and what would happen should others find it later, or even my own thoughts about reading what I wrote. Blogging seems like a great middle ground. Making my musings available to anyone who wants to, for whatever reason, read them, will help me not to write too many possible offensive things (maybe). And, going back to the fact that I am nearly 40, I have hopes that maturity has brought humility as well.

Thank you for joining me on this new endeavor.  Stick around and I may say something profound.  Or not.  More likely, I will be a bit cynical, a touch sarcastic, outrageously honest, and, most importantly, unashamedly authentic.
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