Listening to the rain

It’s Sunday night, I’ve had a very quiet, contemplative weekend and, as I slipped into bed, it started raining gently outside my open window. I love the rain.

I’m a jumble of thoughts & emotions this weekend, my friends.

What is love, to you? Is it undying devotion and passion? Is it companionship and familiarity? Is it mutual respect and common goals? Maybe it’s a big pot and each relationship is its own unique stew; more sex, less affection, more respect, less passion, or something like that.

I know what it’s not. It’s not dependence disguised as friendliness. It’s not willful ignorance of a partner’s needs. It’s not neglect. It’s not callous rejection. It’s not passing the buck. It’s not abuse.

I love the rain, but darn if it doesn’t bring on the melancholy thoughts. Of course, it could be my quiet house and being left to my own thoughts all weekend, it could be the stack of bills that need paying, or it could be that the Eagles lost today, but I’m laying here wondering if I am meant to be loved. Maybe I’m not; some people aren’t, I think. I’m not looking for pity or assurances; I’m just thinking through a possibility. Am I one of those unloveable people? Do I hold people at a distance and prevent them from loving me? Maybe it’s just me.

I have loved and lost. It’s devastating. At what point do I just turn off the ability to feel romantic love? Will time, loneliness, and lack of affection drive it away? Because I hurt right now, and I’ve been hurting awhile now, and I’m ready for that to stop. How do I not care? I have heard, and witnessed, those who can apparently turn it off at will. Maybe that’s a skill I can learn.

Instead I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I weep, sometimes a lot, sometimes uncontrollably, for all that I felt, treasured, hoped and lost.

Laying here, listening to the rain, I should be sleeping. Instead I’m trying to talk the hope right out of my head. Always hopeful, often disappointed. When will I learn?

No answers are forthcoming tonight, friends, so I’ll drop this missive into the ether and get ready for a new day.

Good night, Gracie.

XOXO,

Stef

Let’s get back to basics

When I was a kid I played with Legos a lot. Back then we didn’t have themed sets and all kinds of specialized Lego pieces. I had one set, basic colors, and a few windows & flowers & fence & roof pieces. By default, I always always built a house. On top of the typical green square base I’d choose my base bricks, often going for the thicker double Lego to have a stronger house. Then – and this was the most important – I had to layer the bricks in a staggered fashion in order to have a solid house that wouldn’t easily fall apart upon torpedo (by some ridiculous “friends” who thought tearing my house apart was fun). In this way, this Lego house metaphor, I’m building myself back up, one layered brick at a time, weaving in the bricks, big and small, wins, losses, and lessons learned.

Sometimes it’s small bricks, tiny wins, as a mom, daughter, professional, and homeowner – every time I mow the lawn (since I was 38 before I ever learned to do this), or when I present my professional work as a keynote speaker, or when I call my mom (something I’m not very good at), or when my son’s teacher tells me how much she just absolutely loves him. Those little wins layer in and fortify me; they make me stronger, more confident and better able to weather the storms.

Then there are big victories and big losses. These are the big, 2×8 bricks that shore up a whole side of my house. These are the game changers. The life adjustments. The this-is-so-hard-but-I-just-have-to-do-it things. The difficult decisions. The hard things in life. You’d think things like this would tear a hole in your defense that isn’t easily patched, and sometimes the repairs do take a while, but then you build it better, stronger, more able to take a beating. Sometimes you think that hole will never heal and then, miraculously, you’re whole again.

I’m repairing my foundation. Shoring it up. Making sure it doesn’t easily crack or crumble during the next air raid, if there is to be one.

 

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Life is hard, dude.

Build yourself up, be strong, weather that storm.

Don’t forget to love. It’s why we are here.

 

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Don’t forget the people who care. They may not always know how to help. ASK THEM. (I’m trying to be better about this!)

Don’t take advantage. No matter how much people love you, they are not responsible for you. Be strong. Build yourself up. Make sure you are proud of what you have become.

 

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At the end of each church service when my pastor gives the benediction she puts her hand up and I can visualize this golden ray coming through her hand to the top of my head when she says, “may the grace of God be with you today and every day.” When she does this, I feel a surge of blessing pouring down my head & neck & flowing out to my extremities. It’s the grace. To me, it means so much; it boosts my strength, power, humility, understanding and self-awareness. It’s in this way that I want to offer you grace so that you feel the higher power – God, if you believe, or just the collective power of our human race, together – surge through you and help you in your life every day.

With grace, hope & all positive things,

Stef
xoxo

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#nyc #blogpost jour deux

I’m home now, but wanted to close out my whirlwind 48 hour NYC trip with some follow-up pics.

First, on my way to Macy’s at Herald Square (AKA the mothership) I walked right through the crowd at Good Morning America and had this lovely encounter, quite by accident:

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Saw the Empire State Building:

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Then had to do some work, get dolled up and head to a work event where I was speaking to a group of clients & prospective clients. It was exciting & nerve-wracking for me, but I got through it!

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After the work event, I went with some co-workers to the rooftop bar at the top of the Dream Hotel. Met some lovely people, chatted, and generally had a great little diversion.

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Thursday morning I only had a few hours before I had to head to the airport, so I moseyed up 6th towards Radio City Hall & Rockefeller Plaza, got a coffee & cake at Magnolia Bakery (really freakin’ good) and went to the Today Show taping.

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I had started to not feel good the night before but by Thursday morning I could feel the flu coming on. Every time I see that pic of myself at Rockefeller Center I can tell how miserable I was from the look on my face. But just after that my kids called, Facetimed, on their way to school so I was able to “show them around” the plaza and the Today Show windows. That was fun.

All in all, it was a great trip. Traveling home while having respiratory flu symptoms just absolutely sucked, but the flights were uneventful (on 9/11) so I’m grateful for that.

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And, oddly, I saw so many celebrities either on the street, through the GMA or Today windows (but so close!) and even at the airport ticket counter: Connie Britton, Harry Connick Jr., James McAvoy, Jeff Goldblum, the GMA & Today Show casts, and Austin Pendleton (the stuttering lawyer from My Cousin Vinny (among many other things)). I just saw Jeff Goldblum at Dulles in the Spring so I think it’s really funny I saw him again, same year, different city.

There is nothing like NYC for a little excitement, or to make me appreciate coming home to my quiet house and two boys waiting with hugs.

See the world & have safe travels!

xoxo,

Stef

(Ridiculous) #NYC #Selfie #blogpost

Hi! I’m in New York City! (NEW YORK CITY?!?)

This isn’t a real blog post. This is just a bunch of silly pics & selfies to prove I’m in the awesome City of New York. As if my Instagramming & Facebooking haven’t provided enough proof! I swear, it’s all about documentation and “look, look, look where I am!” I think it’s crazy, but I do it too.

Though, in contemplating this, I have to admit that I’m more of a social media whore when I’m alone than when I’m with a crowd. I stood in the middle of Times Square tonight, awed, soaking it in, but there was no one to share it with. I’m on business travel so that’s the way it goes sometimes but, man, I wish sometimes there was someone there just to say, “are you seeing this? This is amazing!” And then we’d take a duet selfie (OMG, that should be a thing (if it isn’t already!) #duetselfie for everyone!! Except me, when I’m business traveling. Apparently. Le sigh. Moving on).

So, long story short, no #duetselfie means I took copious pics & a vid and vomited them on IG & FB. Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure. Or not; don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

(No, I have not been drinking).

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I didn’t see the spooky woman until later when I was looking over my pics. Maybe she’s my guardian angel? That’s a nice thought.

Aloha, from the Big Apple!

Stef

Autism: A day in the life

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At almost 1 am last night I had just fallen asleep when I felt a hand grab my shoulder. I was momentarily scared out of my wits until I realized it was my 10 year old, J-man.

“Mom, I can’t sleep.”

“Okay buddy, go pee & I’ll get you another melatonin.” (Because any time I can remind him to pee at night may save me some laundry tomorrow).

I got him situated back in bed, gave him a sleepytime pep talk, went back to bed and promptly fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

At 6:50 am I kept hearing movement in J-man’s room, across the hall. He is usually a late sleeper so I immediately realized what happened.

“J-man, come here.”

He came in, fully dressed with shoes & a hat on, holding a piece of paper and pen.

“Mom, look, I made a to-do list for today! And guess what? I lost another tooth!”

“J-man, did you sleep?”

“Nope! I stayed up all night! And the first thing on my list is to paint a Pacman on a ball!”

“What’s the second thing on your list?”

“Play Minecraft.”

“Okay, go do that so mommy can go back to sleep. No painting until mommy wakes up, ok?”

“Okay!”

And off he ran, like a shot from a cannon.

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7:30 pm and he’s still going strong. Mommy could use a nap though.

Sometimes it’s hard but, I have to say, I’m grateful for his Autism. He makes the world a better place by being so real, without artifice, and he makes me a better mom because that’s what he needs from me.

XOXO,

Stef

The Honey Badger

The subconscious remembers things that we would rather forget. You know those dreams where you wake up and think, my goodness, that was so real? Some memories are so buried that, driving down the street, I’d have a hard time recalling them. It’s only in your sleep, when the sentries who keep guard over your thoughts are at rest, can your mind conjure up the deepest, hardest, fondest & most painful memories.

Your subconscious don’t care.

Your subconscious will whammy you when you least expect it. Recalling feelings, touches, a remembrance of a time or person, but maybe in a new setting or experience. Because that’s what dreams so; they marry your memories with your wants, your desires and even with your fears. You may wake up smiling or crying, or a little of both.

Your subconscious don’t care.

It’s times like these when I remind my conscious sentries of two things:

1. A lesson or a blessing? Which was that memory? And the dream?

2. A reason, season or lifetime? Where does that person or experience land in my lifetime? Was it a learning experience? A long-term, but inherently finite experience? Or is this for my lifetime?

Those two things help me to sort through the emotions & categorize the experiences in a way that makes sense to me.

Consciously I’ll categorize and put those memories away. I’ll push them back in their file, like an old jack-in-the-box.

But … it will pop up again, you see .…

Your subconscious don’t care.

Try to embrace the memories, even the painful ones. They teach us something.

XOXO,
Stef

I’m bringing booty back

You can’t go through life without knowing this song. You’re welcome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

Thank you, Meghan Trainor.

Love & value yourself. We absolutely must.

XOXO,

Stef

 

ETA: I’m getting a ton of weird click-throughs so I decided to remove the embedded vid and replace with a link.