Archive for the 'Family and Friends' Category

I Am Invisible

I am Invisible - Essay about mothersWish I knew who wrote this. But alas, she is invisible. Sharing this post that I found on one of my old blogs from another time. It’s worth repeating.

Karen

I am Invisible

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and asks to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Come right around
5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied hi story and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.

My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving , ‘My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Until next time...
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My Baby Boy is Seven

Today’s Terry’s birthday. He is my only boy and my youngest baby and is growing up so fast!

He has changed a lot over the years and is becoming such a big boy! I am so proud of him and the little man he is becoming. Happy Birthday TJ!

He was a big baby! 8 lb 15 oz

One Year Old

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

Four Years Old

Five Years Old

Six Years Old

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Making Vacuum Tracks

Vacuum TracksBack when I first became a mother in 1994 (wow) I was a 100% stay at home Mom. I was living in the St. Louis area back then and after being a busy wife and teacher up to that point, it was an adjustment to be at home all day alone with an infant, especially in a new town since we moved from California when my daughter was 2 weeks old. There was always something to do, taking care of the baby, cooking, cleaning, shopping, talking on the phone, watching soaps…

As I became more social in my new role and my new home, life got busier. I found there were many ‘indoor playgrounds’ and mommy playgroups, and I got involved in La Leche League. When we moved to Florida a couple years later, I found groups there as well and despite being a “stay at home mom” I really wasn’t home much because I was involved in many things. I helped start a playgroup, became a LLL group leader, had another child, and in 1998 I started my direct selling business. Having 2 little kids and taking them places, meeting new playmates and exposing them to lots of experiences was a lot of fun for all of us.

Among my friends we would talk about how busy we were and how our husbands (my ex especially) didn’t understand why the dishes didn’t get done or why there were toys on the floor when they got home from work. They couldn’t understand how we could be ‘home’ all day long but the place still looked like it did when they left in the morning (or worse!) One day I started making vacuum tracks in the carpet. You know, when there are vacuum tracks in the carpet, someone’s been vacuuming, right? On days when there were vacuum tracks, there was peace in the house when Daddy got home. There was visual evidence that the ‘work’ had gotten done – just enough to satisfy him.

But the truth is, the REAL accomplishments were not in that carpet. They were in the hugs and the “you can do its” and the band-aids and even in the potty chair. They were in the friendships and the personal growth and the blossoming of a young mother who learned the real meaning of priorities. They were in the memories – the playdoh lumps, the marker all over the sofa, the upturned oatmeal bowl, and the trips to the zoo.

Those vacuum tracks didn’t mean a thing. Later as we got older and wiser, it became a joke among the moms. We’d be talking on the phone – or later chatting in IRC on the computer – and now posting on Facebook – and we’d look at the clock and it was a quarter to 5. “Gotta go – time to make vacuum tracks!”

Where in life are you making vacuum tracks? Are you not giving yourself credit for the amazing person you are or that you are becoming? Are you covering up for slacking off and then tricking us into thinking you’re something you’re not? Or maybe you’ve gotten yourself into a situation you really don’t belong in and are keeping up appearances instead of standing up for yourself.  I know for me, it was all of the above! But I have a new life now, a new Mr. and a new home… and I don’t make vacuum tracks any more!

Until next time,
Karen

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Date Nights

Greg and Karen's DateAnyone who knows me or is friends with me on Facebook has seen that Greg and I regularly have ‘date nights’ and we tend to tell the world about them. LOL I like to be an example for others in all that I do (aren’t we all modeling all the time?) and I cannot tell you how many married couples I know who do NOT go out on ‘dates’ with their spouses. So I figure by posting about ours maybe a marriage will be saved – who knows!? I always seem to have lofty goals. :)

So why do we call it date night? I mean we live together, we see each other all the time, what’s so special about date night? Well, there is a huge change in the energy when you call it a date night! Especially in a busy household with 3 kids. If we just at the last minute decide to run out for dinner alone, or to a movie, it isn’t the same. When we plan a date night, it’s so much more special!

One person has to ask the other person out. We instantly become each other’s girlfriend/boyfriend again. Then, because one person gets to plan the whole thing, there is the fun factor for the person who is in charge of it but the other person also gets to feel special, because of the attention their spouse is putting on the relationship. Even if it is only once a month, it feels special to plan to show your spouse a good time.

Then there is the night of the actual date. Knowing you are going out together alone and then taking the time to shower, do your hair (well me at least), put on some nice clothes and get READY for your date adds to the excitement and breaks up the monotony of your every day life. Putting the time into looking great for your spouse and showing them a good time adds life back into the routines of marriage.

Greg will often open the door for me, pull out my chair, pour my wine, and it is so romantic. We hold hands, stop and stare into each others’ eyes sometimes and have even been known to ‘park’ if you know what I mean! We have an unspoken rule (or maybe we did speak it early on?) to not talk about the kids or any family drama. We catch up on each others’ lives as individual adults – reminding us that we are more than Mom and Dad. We laugh, we talk, we have a great time as friends again, after sometimes weeks of routine ‘roommate’ lives, caught up in the daily crazies of having a family with 3 kids.

So when was the last time you went on a date with your husband or wife? A real date where you asked them out, and primped and preened for them and acted like boyfriend and girlfriend? Try it!

Until next time...
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Tell Her She’s Beautiful

All my life I felt like I was not attractive at all. I mean at all. Why? I never had any reason to. No one told me. Not my family. Sure I had friends, had boyfriends, even husbands, but they didn’t tell me much. I guess I should assume I’m at least not unattractive but that isn’t how my brain works. I knew I was pretty smart, but I never felt like I was on the good-looking side of the scorecard.

Some might say I should just know. Hmmm. What if I don’t? At the risk of sounding the opposite (conceited) what if I need evidence? What if I need to be told? Maybe the last 44 years spent without much, if any, obvious affirmation from those I love has made it so I just don’t see it.

In the past I’ve talked about it with my family of origin and was told that no one wants it to ‘go to my head’ so they don’t pay compliments, and it’s not just me. I think with my ex-husband there was fear that if I knew, I’d leave. The truth is, I might have. Because as awful as he was to me, it took me 20 years and hitting a painful bottom to feel like I deserved better in that marriage.  Looks aren’t everything, but maybe if I had a clue that I could do better, I would have left sooner.

Something happened last night with my wonderful husband Greg that changed my perspective, opened my eyes. I’m starting to see it now.

If you have a daughter, girlfriend, wife, sister or friend, tell her she’s beautiful. Today. Now. Over and over. Don’t keep it from her. Especially the young girls in your lives who really have no idea. We don’t know unless we’re told. I didn’t. Looking around (gathering evidence) now I think I’m getting a clue (tho it is still hard sometimes to believe) and I wonder what a difference it could have made for me if someone had just told me.

PS: For those that have told me, thank you. And I am sorry for not believing you.

Until next time...
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