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.

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Brave Girls Unite

My beautifully brave sister in law posted a note to my wonderful mother in law today on Facebook. I read it. I gasped. I loved it immediately.

This is what I need. This is what all women need. How could I have not known about this earlier?

It’s a site called http://bravegirlsclub.com/. The letter I read was from their Daily Truths emails which seem to always start with “A little bird told me . . . ” and then goes on to give you a daily boost.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

I flipped through some of their Daily Truths and this one stuck with me. This is for my girls down in a hole of despair and pain. Baby, it will get better.

I’ll recreate the whole note here and link to it as well so you can see the pretty graphics:

 

Dear Extraordinary Girl,

The path to the best places for us sometimes must take a trip through the muck to get to the other side of it. Sometimes that truly is the only way.

When we are in the middle of it, it feels senseless and like such a complete waste of time (let alone not very comfortable)When we are in painful places in life, or even just annoyingly uncomfortable places, it’s important to remember that we are headed somewhere else if we want to be.

We do not have to stay stuck there. Sometimes it takes a while to work our way out of it, and sometimes we don’t know how we got there in the first place, but mucky yucky places on the path of life are always temporary if we are willing to work our way out of them.

We are not meant to stay stuck. We are not meant to be stagnant. We are not meant to be in pain for any longer than it is necessary to teach us. We are meant to shine, to fly and to have joy. Even when we are in a place where it’s nearly impossible to do this, there is always a way out of that mucky place. It is always temporary.

Please believe this, beautiful friend.

If you are in a mucky spot, just keep going, keep going ’til you get to the other side of it. It will be SO worth it.

Don’t you dare give up now.

You are so loved.

xoxo

Here’s the link: http://www.bravegirlsclub.com/dailytruths/oct1111.htm.

You tell me what woman doesn’t need a daily affirmation like this and I’ll then prove that woman is really a man. And sometimes men need them too.

YOU ARE SO LOVED. Every one of you.

Stef

Don’t forget your doubt

I have a story for you.

(I love to tell stories. They are the patchwork of our life-quilts).

As you read here, I have insecurities. Those insecurities are a big part of why I haven’t shared this blog with a wide audience. I’m testing the overall response, but I’m also finding my blog voice (if you know what I mean). I want to see what value, what information, what anecdotes (that are relevant), that I can share with an audience. Will I be funny/witty or serious/educational? I hope to be somewhere in between.

I’m slightly introspective. Perhaps you can’t tell.

Here’s the story part. My boss and I are sort of friends. As much as bosses/employees can be that are male/female without any hanky-panky going on.

To be clear: no hanky or panky occurs – at all – ever.

I had not mentioned my blog to him. It’s something I normally would have mentioned but I felt odd about it.

One of my boss’s favorite activities is to psychoanalyze why people do and say the things they do. He’s a student of human nature and figuring out what makes people tick is something he and I both think about and enjoy. (Woe to our co-workers, right? Ha! Not really – we’re more theoretical.)

He was recently gone on a trip and we were really busy immediately before and after that so we hadn’t had a chance to just chat in a while. Last week I went into his office and he said, “tell me a story.”

So, I told him.

I told him I started this blog last year and how I felt about it. I told him about Joni’s blog and how it had influenced me (good and bad) and I told him about connecting with Joni and the blog she wrote on sisterhood.

So my boss said to me, “Why are you so nervous about this? You’re telling me this very hesitantly. Why?” Why, indeed?

Well, because I don’t want to be judged! I am trying to get over that though. I mean, part of blogging is being real, right? Putting yourself out there – telling stories – and hoping they resonate with other people. I need to be brave and stop worrying about being judged. I’m trying.

In the end my boss was very encouraging. He pushed me to keep doing it and to really think about an overall message. What I want to convey. What’s the point to my stories. Confound the man. (Let’s see: empowerment, honesty, sisterhood? I’m thinking along these lines. Work in progress. Moving on.)

The next day when my boss came in to work he sent me the following lyrics to an Avett Brothers’ song, Weight of Lies:

I once heard the worst thing
A man could do is draw a hungry crowd
Tell everyone his name in pride and confidence
But leave out his doubt

He said he had been thinking about how Joni’s blog made me feel and then what Joni had written about in regard to sisterhood. He said he went back and listened to this song and the words clicked.

We should show our insecurities as well as our strengths. Be real. We can’t create an emotional connection through shared experiences without admitting our insecurities and our doubts. Everybody has them and that is where we have the power to bond.

So this is my promise to you: I will always be real.

(And I’ll work on being brave too).

I am not an idiot

Really, I’m not. Some people even think I’m pretty smart. (When I whip their asses at Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble, specifically).

I do a pretty good job at work and I kinda know what I’m talking about most of the time. I can recite Shakespearean poetry from heart (no, not ALL of it – just enough). I know that the Democratic Republic of Congo used to be called Zaire, that there is a difference between their, there and they,’re, and I know all about the symbolism in Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding Portrait. That’s it, right here:

This is hanging in my living room
So here’s my confession. I HATE dealing with financial matters. I feel completely incapable of doing it. I think I should be doing so much to further our financial growth but I don’t know what to do or how to do it. My only consolation is it boggles my husband’s brain even more than it does mine. He’s the creative type, you see. So the job falls to me. 
It’s okay, for the most part. I generally do a good job. In times when we are lean it’s usually due to circumstances and not some catastrophic planning on my part. I pay the bills monthly(ish) – as the money comes in from my job and the hubby’s freelance work (which is, by nature, somewhat sporadic). I understand the basic concept: have more come in than you have going out. We’re working on that. 
I’m sure we could have made better decisions in the past. I know we could have. But we have a nice house – not new, but nice and good-sized – and we have cars made in the last 10 years. I don’t regret any of those purchases (though I do wish the housing market hadn’t plummeted three years after we bought our house). 
My quandary is long-term planning. Making goals and sticking to them. Having willpower to look to the future and say, “no, I don’t want to make this purchase today because it will impact our ability to take a vacation in 2 years”. This is my struggle. 
I will go without incidentals for myself quite easily; where I run into trouble is I too often rationalize things for my family. I want things for my kids. I want to see their enjoyment. I want to take them to Disneyland because I grew up going there and I feel guilty for moving them so far away.
We went to our CPA today. Our Taxman with a capital “T”. I love him. He makes me happy every year. In 4 weeks I will temporarily be financially stress-free and I will revel in it – probably too much – for a very brief period until I pay some stuff and buy some other needed stuff and then we’ll be back to status quo.
So tell me – are you the money person in your family? What do you do to make your financial goals and keep them?

My blogging inspiration (AKA I’m so jealous I could spit)

A few months ago I was cruising around Facebook being nosy by clicking into friend’s pages, looking at their friends, and so on (c’mon, you all do it), and I ran across a girl I knew of in high school. She’s now married to a guy my best friend dated in high school. (See how that Facebook cruise went?) Anyway, she’s a year older than me and I may have talked to her a couple times at school but likely not a lot. But I knew who she was. She was very pretty, had a gorgeous smile, and always seemed to have happiness inside. When I found myself looking at her Facebook pictures a few months ago, and then her blog, the happiness she had inside 18(ish) years ago was now magnified by infinity (and beyond). 

I started reading her blog. It was funny, witty, and she wrote the things I wanted to say. She is crafty – like I wish I still was – but she does it properly; she learned how to knit and crochet and she freaking makes knit hats and purses from old sweaters and scarves. Anyway, I stalked her blog for a couple weeks. I thought, my goodness, this woman must be so completely happy. She has everything she wants. She is now married to the love of her life (the love just POURS out of their pictures), they had a baby, she has 3 other gorgeous children, she has a supportive family, she’s insanely talented and, as if that isn’t enough, in my blog reading I found out that when she’s not having babies she works as a hospice nurse. 

So, obviously, I had to stop reading her blog. I mean, I had to. The feelings of inadequacy just rolled over me and I nearly sobbed. (I may have actually shed a tear or two). (Side note: why do we women always hold ourselves up to other women to gauge our worth? It is so counter-productive. Why do we always think someone else’s  life is so much better than our little lives?)


Anyway, I went about 6 weeks without reading her blog but every once in a while I would think of it. I would say, hmmm, think I should go read it? And the insecure chick that lives in my brain would say, “Hell no! What are you thinking?” Do you see? The mere thought that her perfect life existed was enough; I didn’t even have to read her words to feel sorry for myself. 


But, at the same time – I started this blog because of her. I thought if I could just be 1/10th as talented as she is that would be a real accomplishment. She’s doing it – she’s doing her passion and I’m not. I had a really hard think. Soul-searching. All I ever wanted to do was be a writer. I don’t think I’ll ever be published but the least I can do is write this itty-bitty blog about my life. And it’s because of her. I’m jealous and grateful all at the same time.

Then an odd thing happened. I went to her blog tonight for the first time in weeks and weeks and in her recent posts she distinctly said her life was not perfect. She admitted fears, real-life concerns about money, feelings of inadequacy because she’s decided to temporarily quit nursing to be a SAHM, and she admitted to feeling a little lost. Part of me wants to reassure her – to tell her the powerful influence she had on me. The other part of me is rejoicing a little. I can’t lie. She’s not perfect. She’s human. I still want to be just like her – but she’s REAL. 


I wanted to send her a message to tell her what she did for me (to me) but I couldn’t figure out how so I’m doing this instead. Joni – I am in AWE of you. You have raised 3 gorgeous children, divorced and found the man you love, and then gave birth at home to a 10 lb baby. You had the balls to do what was so absolutely right for you (and your family) and quit your job. You pursue your life and you absolutely LIVE it. I am inspired by you. 


I’ll close, naturally, with a Jane Austen quote on sisterhood:

But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other, the balm of sisterly consolation.

Edited to add a link to Joni’s blog: http://joni-ishouldwriteabook.blogspot.com/