Silence at the meat counter

There I was, at the meat counter at our neighborhood grocery store. All I wanted was to pick up two salmon fillets to grill for dinner. We have had problems with a particular butcher at that meat counter before. You see, we don’t like contributing to the waste in the landfill, so we do what we can not to. In this case, instead of purchasing the prepackaged salmon fillet which comes wrapped in plastic on a Styrofoam tray, we wait in line to pick out our meal selections which come to us wrapped in paper.

The woman in line in front of me walked away silently. There I stood waiting… Silently. There were people standing behind me, waiting, silently… did the butcher walk to the back? Silence… I waited… And waited… Silence. Then I finally said, “Hello? Can I please have your two larges salmon fillets?” His answer came from directly in front of me. How long had he been standing there? I just had to laugh. And then when he handed me a tiny wrapped piece of salmon in butcher paper, I laughed even more. At that moment, my husband walked up to the cart and I handed him what had just been handed to me. “here you go babe. This is what your favorite butcher thought I wanted when I asked for two large pieces of salmon.” Together, we turn back around and encountered a fresh person behind the glass, who was able to give us exactly what we wanted.

That silent stand off is pretty common. I wait for the person behind the counter to say something, while that person waits for me to say something. Hmm… “Hello?”

In yesterday’s case, it was just too comical not to share.

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A Smile in every Step

Today is Saturday, April 14th. The last time I actually wrote a blog on my website was my children’s first day of school. I’ve been having too much fun, way too much fun living my life and taking everything in to make time to sit down in front of a computer. It’s wild to think that exactly a year ago, I was desperately struggling. I was searching for balance. I found myself crying all the time. I felt empty, unappreciated, and I was over committing myself to people and projects, then feeling even worse when I couldn’t follow through. Recently, our family spent a week up in the mountains at my father-in-law’s property for spring break. During that week, I reflected on how choosing to fill my life with joy has changed its trajectory, and how I no longer feel empty, but whole, complete, and at peace.

Life is a journey, not the destination. I’m grateful to be able to smile every single step of the way. I am grateful to feel value, Love, and purpose. I am grateful for the characters in my sometimes theatrical play of life, no matter what role you might hold. As this month is my birthday month, I invite you to celebrate life in it’s entirety with me.

So what have I been up to these last few months that has kept me from wanting to write? I have fully embraced my role as the president of the national Federation of the blind of Nevada, a role that allows me to educate, empower, and inspired as I change what it means to be blind. I hosted my first NFB of Nevada State convention and I am now planning my second one, which will be held in Reno October 5 and sixth. I took a trip to Washington DC and finally dragged my husband along with me where we not only met with Congress but had some time to play tourist as well. I rediscovered my love of running thanks to Achilles Las Vegas. Yesterday, I ran 10.5 miles, and on May 6, I will be running my first half marathon. My ultimate goal is to run the Las Vegas rock and roll marathon in November. I spent a weekend in Salt Lake City at a leadership seminar, and another weekend in orange county with a beautiful group of women whom I call my Daring Sisters. I started teaching braille at the blind Center of Nevada. Though I am busy living an active life, if the center decides to find more value than only offering braille once a week, I would be happy to spend more of my time there bringing the joy of literacy to its members. Just this week alone, I had a birthday brunch with some ladies and their daughters, celebrated our dear sweet friend’s eighth birthday, and my children and I gave a presentation at a book club at a senior center where Marley and I both read braille. Our family calendar is quickly filling up with plans full of adventure.

The sunshine is too seductive and life too sweet to be spent in front of a screen. I may or may not write more on my blog website, but please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as I share my journey with you.

#LiveActivelyLoveProactively

For My Loves on Your First Day of School

Today is a big day.  Today, is your first day of school.  When you step onto the playground, and into your classroom, mommy wants you to remember these two very important things.  You’re backpack is loaded not only  of school supplies, your lunch not just packed with healthy eats, the most important thing you are bringing with you today are kindness and compassion.

Marley, this summer you discovered that blindness comes in all different flavors.  Just like blindness, personalities differ as well.  Some personalities might mix with yours better than others.  Just remember that no matter how nutty, gritty, sweet, or sour they may be, you feel better when you add in sprinkles of kindness.

Jackson, you have always been my special little guy who wants to know how everyone feels.  Keep those questions in your heart.  Trust your tummy.  That tummy of yours, and those dragonflies fluttering about will never fail you in making the right choices.

This morning I’ll make sure to swirl an extra layer of love into your breakfast, spread an extra serving of kindness into your lunch, and stir an abundance of happiness and joy for my special girl and boy.  I promise to keep your bellies fed with love, so that you never run out as you step into the adventure of another school year.

Love,

Mommy

image of a heart with two footprings inside of it. Over the image are the words, Many people will walk in and out of our life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your hea

What is the source that drives your force?

I only recently became a Star Wars fan.  Our family owns all seven episodes, minus Rogue 1.  That one wasn’t really that good and not part of the series.  So, since today is Star Wars Day, and we’re all wishing each other, “May the fourth be with you,” I thought that this was the perfect time to publish this post.

What is the source that drives your force?

Whether you are a Jedi, a stay at home mom, working mom, single mom, a teacher, firefighter, cop, lawyer, politician, bus driver, house keeper, nurse, doctor, whether you may be young or old.  Think about that question for a minute…

What is the source that drives your force?

or in my husbands way of saying it, which often follows some snotty or passive aggressive comment from my mouth,

“What is the motivation behind that?”

I admit, I have had my ups and downs.  I want to thank you for hanging in there with me as I work through my craziness.  I recently went back and read some of my older blog posts and saw that my earlier pieces were so much more uplifting and inspiring.  I also found a new book I absolutely love, and begin each day with.  I’ll be writing all about this wonderful book soon, so don’t worry.  I never keep those sort of things to myself.

What is the source that drives your force?

Is it status, recognition, power?

Is it money so you can keep up with the Jones’s ?

Is it fear?

Is it obligation?

Is it duty?

Is it guilt?

Or…

is it love?

In my attempts to isolate what is causing my ship to spin without a working compass, I took a hard look in the mirror.  I did not like who was looking back at me. My engine was overheating and on the edge of exploding or going under.  It was vital I unloaded all that I was taking on board and weighing  me down.  It was time to clean out the gunk that clogged the gears.  It was time to get back to the old me, the joy filled me.    It’s still a work in progress, but with the daily practice of self love, I will be able to find land again.

It is love that I needed to power my force.

What is the source that drives your force?

 

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My kids sledding together on a bright green saucer

Five Minutes

Five minutes.

That’s what I’m giving myself to write this blog.

Five minutes.

That’s the amount of time I’ll be hiding in the bathroom.

Five minutes.

That’s what I need to regroup, refresh, and redirect the trajectory of my day.

Five minutes.

For deep breathing.

Five minutes.

for self care.

When you feel the weight of to do’s crushing you,

When your plate is about to shatter or tip over because of the imbalance,

It just takes five minutes.

Do it with me friend.

Happy Birthday to Me and Happy Anniversary to Blogging

Earlier this month, I celebrated my 34th birthday.

Today, I celebrate 5 years of blogging.

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29 year old me wearing a baby Jackson, and holding a toddler Marley’s hand at the park

 

I want to thank those of you who have been following my journey from the beginning.

I want to thank my friend Jessica for sending me the text that read, “Was just talking to my sister today about you and discussing how you do it being a blind mom in the burbs.”

I want to thank those of you who have just begun reading my ramblings.

Before we take a look back at a few of my favorites from the last 6 years, I’d like to take a moment to be just slightly bit serious.  When I began blogging in the spring of 2012, my children were 2.5 and 6 months old.  I had recently found myself running a neighborhood mommy meet up group.  My biggest worries were potty training, spit up, and where to host the next playdate.  In just a few months, my baby will be starting Kindergarten.  I will find myself in the next chapter of my life.  If you have read a few of my recent posts, then you have noticed that I am not well.  I have spread myself so completely thin with obligations and commitments that I am constantly on the edge of an anxiety attack.  The lines around my circle of concern and circle of influence are so blurred they have turned everything into an ugly grey.  In the beginning, I wrote to share my adventures on my life as a blind mom in the burbs.  Then we found ourselves in our Marley and Me series as we advocated for our daughter, who just so happened to be given mom’s eye condition.  Over these last 6 years, I’ve shared many joys, tears, hopes, dreams, and fears.  Many family members wondered why I wrote so openly and freely for strangers to read.  Why not?  If what I share can be a source of connection, inspiration, education, I’ll happily keep writing.  Today, however, my writing has a new purpose.  I invite you to continue along with me on my journey of self discovery, self compassion, and self growth.  I write for clarity.  I write for comfort.  I write as a creative outlet for self expression.  I write for me.

Happy Birthday to Me, and Blind Mom in the Burbs!

Here are a few of my favorite blogs.

My very first post was actually titled, “Blind Mom in the Burbs.

See With Your Fingers Mom

October Reflections

Do’s and Don’ts to Remember When Meeting a Blind Person

From Mommy Can’t, To Mommy Can

The Princess and the Mask

Meet the Rupp’s

 

The Practice of Breathing 

All you yogis and practicers of mindfulness, you all make it look so easy.

In… out… in… out…

There’s something about that process I wasn’t getting.

Yesterday evening, I had a lesson on how to breathe.  I don’t breathe.  I take in and release air to function my physical body, but I do not know how to breathe to release and refresh my soul.

In through the nose…

Out through the mouth…

Pulling that breath through the body, down to the toes, and letting it all out with the exhale.

I could feel a huge lump in my core as I breathed.  My breath was catching on that hurtle and having to work extra hard to continue moving.

This is me practicing breathing and choosing to be happy.

Deep breath in through the nose…

Deep release out my fingers through my writing.

In the words of Glennon Doyle Milton, “I can do hard things.”

They may not seem hard to you, but don’t discount another person’s struggles.

In my five minutes alone in the bathroom, I will breathe, release, and choose happiness and gratitude to get me over that hump of endless to do’s.

In…

Out…

In…

Out…

In…

Out…

What do you say… when you are not ok?

Life is good, half full shirt

When your family and friends ask how you are doing…

When you’re kids ask if your allergies are bothering you again because your eyes are red from crying the night before…

When you find yourself hiding in the bathroom or bedroom…

What do you say… when you are not ok?

When you feel like somebody is sitting on your chest…

When your stomach is constantly feeling sick…

When you are breaking out in hives…

What do you say… when you are not ok?

When you are supposed to be this pulled together person…

When there are so many people looking to you to be a role model…

When you are supposed to be a leader…

What do you say…

When your outsides don’t match your insides?

When you feel like you are constantly on the edge of an anxiety attack?

When your shirt says half full, but you feel empty?

I don’t know the answer to getting past anxiety or depression because I have just begun to acknowledge those words in myself.  However, I do know that Dr. Brene Brown’s words ring true to me in, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” which I am rereading again.

“If you put shame, isolation, and secrecy in a petri dish in the dark, they will multiply and take over.  the opposite to shame, isolation, and secrecy is courage, connection, and compassion.”

This is me being courageous by putting it all out there.

This is me being connected by being honest with myself, my family, my friends, and all of you.

This is my act of self compassion by saying it is ok to admit that I am not ok.

Comfort in the Little things When You Have Control Issues

Many people will probably be surprised to learn that I’m not that easy going, put together person they think I am.  That’s the stage me.  That’s the straight hair me.  In reality, I’m messy, suffer from anxiety, and struggle with control issues.  I find comfort in my tiny daily rituals like straightening my hair, and applying lotion to my sensitive dry desert dwelling skin.

My trusted companion of almost nine years has left me high and dry.  Actually, she’s left me frizzy and fried.

I feel completely lost without that daily piece of control.

I know, it’s sad, but it’s the little things in life that count, right?

So, my ten minutes of me time in the morning help to ground and balance me just a little bit.

I don’t like change, and I don’t like pulling the trigger when it comes to shopping for myself, but like the blue butted monkey in the Lion King says, “It is time. ”

So, the question is, do I buy the same Chi Pro for $87, or do I get the cute purple one for just $20?

How Do You Measure the Value and Worth of a Stay at Home Mom?

This question has been coming back to me quite often these last few months.  While California has been experiencing an abnormally wet winter, the state of my emotional self has also been experiencing a rather wet one too.  This is a post I have wanted to write for a while, but the emotional rawness that accompanies the words cause me to keep pushing it back.  However, like I’ve learned about myself time and time again, the only way for me to deal, process, and heel, is to put it all down into words.  So, here I go.

While everyone around us were in celebration of love, family, peace, and making memories over the holidays, a storm was brewing beneath the surface.  Every now an then the thunder rolled and lightning would strike an unsuspecting victim.  Why was I feeling this way?  Where was this self destructive, self pitying, self loathing, self coming from?  It was time to turn on the lights and take a long hard look in the mirror.

While my mother has always cautioned me to not air out my dirty laundry, and to, “Keep the fire in the house,”  Her inquiries of, “What’s going on?” set off the water works yet another time.  This time, they kept flowing and flowing.  Sometimes, all you need is just your mama.  In this case, my mama helped me to pull up the heaviness of my being for some fresh air in the light.

My mama, you see, is the strongest most courageous woman I know.  She survived the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s. She married my dad in a refugee camp in Thailand, the same camp where I was born.  She traveled to a country with a toddler, and another baby on the way, without a penny to her name, and not knowing a single word of the language.  And now, she lives 10 houses away from me, enjoying retired life after running a thriving business for twenty five years.  That’s my mama.

Me, I am just a stay at home mom.

That sentence there, that deserves me a slap to the face.  That’s that self loathing, self destructive, self pitying, self I dislike.

I am not just a stay at home mom.

I have sacrifice a professional career, so that someone else does not have to raise my children.  It is up to me to create caring, compassionate, and confident human beings who will make loving contributions to our world.  I keep their bellies, hearts, minds and dreams fed with nutrients.  I am grateful for a husband who provides for us and allows for me to be here.

In addition to all my work in the home, I dedicate countless hours to my passions.  A passion that does not pay in dollar signs, but pays in the number of lives changed through my work in advocating for the rights of blind people.

My two roles are causing imbalance, and my compass was washed overboard during one of the storms.

This husband of mine, the one who provides for us.  He has been the one to help me see the sad eyes I’ve been trying to cover up.  He is also the victim of my emotional storms and lightning strikes.  Why is it that we typically take out our turmoil on those closest to us?  He did not deserve my cold, mean, and hurtful behavior.  He responded by shutting down and tuning out.  This thus caused me to react with even more engine power as I search for land in the midst of my lonely seas.  It wasn’t until my behavior was causing both of us to question the stability of our marriage that I began searching inward to find some answers.

I was feeling resentful because I felt like I had no control.  I felt like since I did not contribute to the family financially I had no say in where our finances were being spent.  Thus I made withdrawals out of our emotional bank account and only depositing anger, bitterness, and sadness in return.

Yes, I know that is ridiculous.  In my head I know that I contribute so much more than can be added up in dollar signs.  However, when I’m in that storm, it’s really difficult to see the sunshine through the tears.  Recently I testified in a court case as an expert on blind parenting.  Because I don’t have a list of letters behind my name, I didn’t make hundreds of dollars an hour.  Because when I filed my taxes, I wrote, “Stay at home mom,” in the occupation field, I go back to questioning my worth in dollar signs.

I have posed the question to a few of my friends, and found their responses quite interesting.

How Do you measure the value and worth of a stay at home mom?

How would you answer that question?