Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Am Who I Am Because of You ~ Mom

Last summer my friend Erin Lane started a blog series that I thought was brilliant.  "I am who I am in part because of you" I promptly asked her if I could do the same series on my blog. She generously said yes so I got right to work. (you can start laughing now)  I have thought about it so many times.  I keep thinking about all of the wonderful people who have helped shape who I am.  This past week I decided it was do or die time for this series, and what better place to start than with my mother. 

Mom and Me
picture by John Hodges on my Motorola Droid

My mother and I have had an interesting relationship.  I am the youngest of three children.  I have an older brother and an older sister.  I was "a surprise." You wouldn't guess the surprise part because my brother is two and a half years older than me, and my sister is two and a half years older than him.  It seems perfectly planned, right?  My mom had a serious post partum depression after I was born, and this was back in the day when they called it "crazy." You just had a healthy baby girl, why wouldn't you be happy? In an added bonus. I didn't like to sleep.  Well, I liked to sleep~ I just didn't like to sleep at night. I would stay up late and sleep all morning.  I was just getting a jump on my teenaged years.

Do I have to talk about when I was a teenager? How about we leave it at I was such a pain in the ___ and so troubled about who I was that we wound up in counseling.  I think it was the best thing that happened to my mom and I.  We didn't become best buddies overnight, but we gained a much better relationship.  I am so grateful that she and my dad made that happen.  Then I went to college.  Let's just say I went back and forth to college. I floundered. I have no doubt that I had ADD for most of my life. I am not trying to be cute when I say that, I truly believe it.  Of course, this was back in the day that they called ADD "easily distracted." My mother bore all of my whims so well. I know that so many times she must have wanted to smack some sense into me, but she didn't. She let me make my mistakes and let me clean it up.  She always stood beside me and supported me.  She always told me that I could do anything if I was willing to work at it.

My mom has also always been a woman of great faith in God.  She is not a very trusting person. She has a good reason to be reluctant to trust.  She did not have good examples of kindness or faithfulness when she was younger. She did teach me to be cautious when trusting other people, but she always encouraged me to trust God.  Is it a surprise I ended up working for the church?

Our relationship has only gotten better as I sped into adulthood. We still have our moments. Put us in close quarters for more than a couple of days and you have a recipe for disaster.  We live next door to each other.  There is a large pasture between our houses, but we're next door.  How weird is that?  It is weird, but it is so fantastic, too. My children are a short walk or bike ride from their grandparents. My daughter seems to have cookie radar and always knows when Mom is baking. 

The last few months since my Dad fell have been hard on my Mom.  If you have any sort of crisis, or have to have surgery, Mom is the one that will come to your house and cook dinner for your family and get caught up on your laundry, but she is not a nurse.  She has never pretended to be. Finding herself suddenly in the caregiver role for my Dad was a shock.  She has borne it so well.  There were several moments when we all could have given up but she never considered it.  There were moments when he was in the hospital that she would have given her right arm for a nap, but instead of going home for a break she would just scoot her chair a little closer to his bed so she could hold his hand while she napped. 

I think that is at the heart of why I am so grateful for my mom. She taught me so much about loving.  The greatest Love is not about romance, candy hearts and flowers.  The greatest Love was given to us by God and it's about loving others, even when it's difficult.  My mom has been a great example of this kind of love.  I will always be glad that she loved me enough to let me be me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Nutella Party Revelation

Rule #1 when you live in North Carolina.  Never ever plan ANYTHING other than a watching party on ACC Tournament weekend.  Guess who broke that rule? Yep, Me!  I know this rule, I grew up here.  In school, (elementary, junior and senior high) if games came on television during school hours we watched basketball during class.  The lure of going to Disney World clouded my judgement because I needed to have a Nutella party before I left. 

Nutella Party
Party favors provided by Nutella and MommyParties

My disastrous scheduling actually led to a very fun afternoon. Since my Nutella party fell flat, I took the party on the road! I put the gift bags in my car, heated up some Nutrigrain Waffles and hit the road. I took the Nutella to a good friend's shop, by my daughter's elementary school and then by my parents house.  It was so much fun to let everyone taste the Nutella and get their opinions.
I made some interesting discoveries.  SEVEN out of ten people I visited had never tasted Nutella. I was very surprised by that because I felt like Nutella had become much more mainstream. Nine out of ten people loved it and planned on using their coupons to buy Nutella.  One person noted that a local restaurant uses Nutella as the "sauce" on their dessert pizza!  With all of the fresh strawberries around, we have been enjoying them for breakfast along with some Nutella on an English muffin.  Yum!  I think we have made some new Nutella fans!
Many Thanks to MommyParties for the opportunity to have a Nutella party!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why I'm Not Giving up Facebook for Lent

In the years that I have been on Facebook inevitably every spring comes the status update "One more day until I sign off Facebook for Lent! If you need me you will have to find me in REAL LIFE! I spend way too much time away from my family and friends on the computer. See you after Easter!"  Typically the status update comes from one of my Presbyterian friends, of which there are many, or from another Christian non-Catholic denomination. This pronouncement makes me a little bit crazy.

The Presbyterian church I grew up in did not encourage giving something up for Lent as a spiritual practice.  I do not have a good understanding of it, but I do see how denying yourself something could be a meaningful experience.  I don't like the whole "giving up Facebook" thing because does it accomplish the goal?  Do you really grow closer to God and to your family through giving up Facebook for a few weeks?  That's one of my issues.  Another issue, is spending time on social media sites a negative in your life?

My first issue is with the whole "Facebook is evil" mentality.  I know that it does allow some people to isolate themselves within our society.  Facebook also does amazing things.  I am able to keep up with friends who live far away.  I would love it if I could visit more, or even sit down and write lengthy letters to them, but I do not always have the time.  I can jump on Facebook and see what they are up to and let them know I am thinking about them.  We can keep up with each other and still KNOW each other through social media.  I won't even get started on the people I have met online and become good friends with.  One of the best gifts of Facebook came to me yesterday.  I had two friends give birth yesterday, one a beautiful boy and one a beautiful girl.  I was able to see pictures of these beautiful babies within hours of their births.  Both families have friends and family around the world who were able to see these sweet babies.  Facebook can be a gift if you use it wisely.

My second issue is does what you are giving up accomplish your goal?  I'll admit that for several years I have not thought in terms of what I should give up for Lent, but what should I be doing to be more of the person God is calling me to be.  I know lots and lots of people do this.  It makes more sense to me in my relationship with God.  This year I have been focusing on being healthier so my Lenten pledge is to get 30 minutes of exercise every day.  I hope to pray every day while I walk to help me remember why I am doing it.  Hopefully at the end of Lent, I will not only feel closer to God, but be a healthier person.  If you are giving up Facebook, what are you replacing it with?  Websites? Books? Are you making an effort to consciously exchange that time for what you think your life is missing?  If you think Facebook is letting you miss out on time with your children, your family or your friends, are you giving your online time to those people to regain your connection?

I would love to hear if you have made a Lenten pledge this year! Have you given something up?  Are you adding something to your life?

Whatever faith you do or do not practice, I hope you have a beautiful spring!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cinderella's Fountain ~ Wordless Wednesday

cinderella fountain

Cinderella's Fountain

This is one of my favorite pictures from our Disney World trips.  I absolutely love Cinderella's mice!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disney's Grand Floridian ~ Disney Social Media Moms

In just two short weeks my family and I will be traveling to Walt Disney World, AGAIN!  It is no secret that we love going to Disney World, but this time I have an actual purpose behind the trip.  I am attending Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration.  I attended last year when I had first started my journey into social media.  It is very fun to be returning this year with more experience and knowledge under my belt. (translation-this year I will understand more of what Chris Brogan is saying!)

We are staying in one of my favorite resorts in Disney World, the Grand Floridian.  We have been lucky enough to stay there a couple of times and now I am dreaming about our return.

Grand Floridian Entrance
From the minute we see the sign

Approaching the Grand Floridian Gate House
To our first view of the resort

Beds at the Grand Floridian
The comfortable beds

Day Bed at the Grand Floridian
The beautiful couch that turns into a comfy day bed

Desk and TV Hutch at the Grand Floridian
The desk and TV hutch.  The desk has a little table that rolls out, and the hutch has drawers and a small refrigerator.

Mickey Lamp at the Grand Floridian
The Mickey Mouse lamp that lives on the desk.

Double Sinks at the Grand Floridian
The convenient double sinks in the bathroom (yes I take pictures of bathrooms!)

Turndown at the Grand Floridian
Turndown service in the evenings.  And yes, that is almost a full box of chocolates.  My kids became good friends with the Mousekeeper and she was very generous on our last night!

VIew out to Seven Seas Lagoon at Grand Floridian
The beautiful view out to the water

Water Pageant from Grand Floridian
Watching the Electrical Water Pageant every night!

Beach Pool at the Grand Floridian
I hope it will be warm enough to swim in the Beach Pool!

View of Wedding Pavillion over to Polynesian from the Grand Floridian
The view over to the Wedding Pavilion where our celebration will start!

I could probably post Disney pictures all day and all night because I am so excited about this trip.  I hope to have a lot of pictures to post and stories to tell from the conference so stay tuned!

I have paid a greatly reduced rate to attend the upcoming Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, however that will not influence my opinion or determine what I choose to post.