In Honor of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 46 countries around the world. In the United States this modern holiday originated in 1908, Anna Jarvis held a memorial to honor her Mother at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  She continued her campaign for national recognition for Mother’s as “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

My Beautiful Mother Kay

One of my favorite sayings is “When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  Being a good Mother is one of the most selfless acts in a woman’s life.  Although it can be frustrating and exhausting at times; Mother is a title that we carry with love, devotion, pride and honor.

I searched for words to describe a Mother, here are some of the most popular: hero, teacher, nurse, cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, cheerleader, champion, our rock and the boss.  Some behaviors and traits are:  patience, sacrifice, energetic, smart, strength, courage, nurturing, tireless, loving,  faithful, compassionate, dependable, dedicated, and supportive.

Mother & Son 1997

To my son Johnathan, I am so proud to be your Mother.  You are my greatest gift, my greatest joy, and my greatest challenge. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow to be the man you are today. You are my bright shining star.  This photo is the first of our many “back to back” shots.  I love you!

On this day, I want to honor my Mother Kay. As a child, she made us feel special and loved.  We have great memories of being kids and her being there for us, no matter what trouble we caused.  Although I am now a Grandmother myself, there are times when I just need to talk to my Momma!  She always makes me feel better and puts things into
Daughter & Mother 1983

perspective.  I love that I continue to learn from her.   I love her passion for Jesus and her compassion for others.  I love her beauty, her smarts, and her kind heart. I love her spunky go-getter attitude and tell-it-like-it-is demeanor.  I love her beautiful smile and her laugh.  I am so proud to be her daughter.  When people say that I take after my Mom, I say with a smile, Thank You.   I love you Mom!  Thank you for everything! 

There are many other people who refer to our Mom as “Momma Kay”.  At first, I was jealous of this title.  Now that I can see her with these people, I see how she has truly changed their lives by just being in it.  She willingly opened her heart to others who needed her.  She brings them guidance, love, comfort and joy.   They give her love and joy in return.  This is true meaning of a Mother’s love – one that is not guided by the boundaries of biological or spiritual tags or by marriage.  I am so proud to have a Mother with such a big heart and a compassionate soul.

3 Generations Nutcracker Ballet 2015

Finally, I want to give a shout out to the families whose own Mother’s are no longer here on Earth.  May your heart be filled with love, comfort, and peace. May your mind be filled with the wonderful memories of your time together.

For those who are blessed by having a Mother here on Earth, please make time for her.  Your time and attention are the greatest gifts you can ever give her. Remember that yesterday has passed, today is a gift, and there is no promise of a tomorrow.

What 3 words best describe your Mother?  How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

And life goes on……

 

My To Do List

It’s time that I put ‘me’ and ‘enjoy the journey’ higher on my to do list.  My guess is that this is true for many of you!  Do you feel guilty when you want time for yourself?  Do you feel like you will never get through your to do list?  When is the last time you – Relaxed? Took a nap? Called an old friend? Let the chores go undone and just had fun with family and friends? Smelled the Roses?  This blog was inspired by the song “My List” performed by Toby Keith, lyrics are in italics.

“It is time that I make time for that.”  I am a type A, get ‘er done personality.  My son teases me that I make lists to make lists.  I am one of the most productive, efficient and organized people I know.  I love to volunteer and willingly do things for others.  I am a ‘give it my all or nothing’ kind of person.  For most of my adult life,  I have gone through the hurried motions in life’s journey as if it were a race. Looking back, I wish I would have allowed myself to simply enjoy the journey more often.

I need to make it a priority for the things that make me happy such as building relationships,  travel, photography, and to check things off my bucket list.   I will still do more in a day than most.  The difference is now I want to embrace and enjoy this journey with the same importance.  Life is short, let’s make the best of it while we can.

Last Saturday, I had a first date for lunch and a trip to the zoo.  It was great!  I got to know him better, took photos, and enjoyed God’s creations. We loved the different colors, smells, build, and behaviors of the animals.  He held an umbrella over my head so that my camera and I would stay dry.  I am glad I didn’t have a plan or a list, I simply allowed myself to enjoy this journey.

“Look up a long-lost friend of mine.”  With very little effort, old friends become current friends again.  It is time well spent.

I am still a list person and always will be.  I found a great free app called Wunderlist. You can set up as many lists as you want, all of the data is in one place.  I have lists for groceries, home projects, work, weekend chores, blog topic ideas and a bucket list.  I just added a new one – My Journey list.

“Just start livin’, that is the next thing on my list.”   What should be on your list that isn’t?  What is on your list that should be removed or can wait?  Do you allow yourself to simply enjoy this wonderful journey called life?  How?

…… And life goes on.

Courtesy: “My List” was written by Tim James and Rand Bishop, Performed by Toby Keith.

Be Present In This Moment

This blog is for anyone who is over stressed, over worked, over scheduled, and overwhelmed.  This post may be helpful for anyone trying to be everything to everyone and feeling like they are not doing any of it very well.   I have felt this way many times!!!

Not the Real Me

When Johnathan was in pre-K, I decided that we needed counseling.  As a young single Mother, I needed some help on how to deal with a highly energetic, strong-willed and sometimes angry child. During one of the sessions, the therapist asked me about my typical week.  As I gave the details of working full-time in a very male dominated industry, starting a college degree, helping with Johnathan’s athletics, taking care of my house, and trying to be a good friend and family member.  I broke down in tears.   I was stressed out and overwhelmed.   The more I tried to do, the more I felt like a failure.

My parents told me that I could be anything and everything as long as I worked hard at it.  What they failed to tell me was that it could be exhausting and overwhelming!   I thought I could be Wonder Woman, Super Woman, Betty Crocker and Tim Allen all wrapped in one.  In doing so, I felt guilty all the time.   I felt guilty about work when I was at home. I felt guilty at home when I was at work. I tried to be the best at everything but I felt like I was failing at everything. In reality, I wasn’t.

The therapist said that she thought I was one of the most amazing, talented, and strong women she had ever known.  She said that she wished that I could see myself through her eyes, I only needed to learn one important lesson.  Drum roll please, this is the best advice I have ever received… Be present in the moment you are in.  Be present – give whatever you are doing your complete attention.

It works!  When I learned to focus more on the task at hand, rather than doing it halfway and thinking about a thousand other things at the same time, I felt better.  Sure, I am the Queen of multitasking and scheduling but it only goes so far.   Devote time to each of your tasks, allow time for interruptions, and focus. Then move onto to your next task or role.   In doing so, you will feel like you have accomplished more with less and have greater sense of satisfaction!

Kaden

When I got home from work, I asked Johnathan (and then later his daughter Meghan) to give me 5 minutes to change my clothes, then I would be there for them. I would give him/her my undivided attention for 15-30 minutes.  Then I would get him/her started on a project in the same room I was in – either homework, drawing, or better yet, helping with the household chores.   Children can help do many chores – load the washer or dryer, sweep the floor, fold towels, water plants, set the table, help cook, etc…. Yes, they won’t do it exactly as good as we can do it, but it will be good enough.  They will love being a “big kid”.  I learned the hard way, if I didn’t give him/her positive attention when I got home, they would act out  in order to get my attention, and no good would come of it.  In reality, the same can be said for children, teenagers and adults – often negative attention is better than no attention.

To make it even more challenging in today’s world,  now we have to compete with the electronic leash (cell phone, tablet, laptop and the like).  These are an added form of time consuming distractions!

I believe that the greatest gift I can give someone or something is my undivided attention.  I believe the greatest gift I can give myself is to simply be present in the moment I am in.  I can be anything I set my mind to, just not all at once, and that is good enough.

What is the best advice you ever received?   How do you deal with the stress of being overloaded?

….. And life goes on. 

Open Your Home and Your Heart on Christmas

This edition is to encourage everyone to open your home and your heart this Christmas to someone who needs a place to share in the joy of the season. Someone recently said to me “Christmas is about family.”  I respectfully say yes it is about family but also much more!!

Here is the story of how The Gray family did this for me and my 4-year old son. It was the second Christmas after my divorce.  Johnathan was supposed to be with his Dad this year. On Christmas Eve morning, I received a call that his Dad would not be coming for our son.  What?!  I was not prepared for this.  I learned to always have a backup plan.

Bob and Ann Gray

I called my best friend Melinda in a panic, what was I going to do?  She called me right back to say that her parents would love to have us join them.  I packed up Johnathan and drove across town to the home of Bob and Ann Gray.  All of their children were in their 20’s so they were not ready for children or Santa. To my surprise, everyone in the house was preparing for our arrival.

This happened 27 year ago, so I may have some of the people in the wrong place but the activities are still very clear in my mind as well as the feeling of love in my heart.  Ann and Melinda’s Grandmother were in the kitchen baking cookies, treats and delicious meals.  Bob had pulled out several holiday books including “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The family watched Johnathan so that I could rush to the store for gifts.

When I returned , Johnathan was helping to fill paper bags with votive candles along the front walk and street. He had already eaten several of Ann’s yummy treats.  He was very animated telling me what they had been doing  to prepare for Santa’s arrival.

I wish I had a photo of these next two memories but I don’t. Bob was wearing his reading glasses with Johnathan on his lap lovingly reading holiday stories.  He had a great voice and was very animated as he read.  My son was engrossed in his every word.  Later that night, Ann helped with the plate of goodies for Santa and his reindeer.

Melinda helped me to beautifully wrap a large art easel in gold paper with a huge red bow.  It would be the largest gift under the tree!  Everyone helped with the stockings.

The look on Johnathan’s face was priceless when he walked into the living room and saw that the large red-bowed package was for him!  Santa really came!!!!  He was literally pushing their grandmother into the living room so that the gifts could be opened. Johnathan was so proud to hand out the gifts. We were so full of joy and happiness.

That night as I feel asleep, I shed a few tears of gratitude and appreciation.  Without hesitation, the Gray family had welcomed a struggling single Mom and her son into their home and into their hearts to make this a very special day. Bob and Ann are now in heaven with the Lord.  I hope they knew what an impact they made on us and that I have never forgotten their generosity and kindness. To Melinda, Scott, David and Mike – thank you for sharing your family with us!  These are fond memories that I will always cherish. 

Since that year,  I have often invited people who don’t have family nearby into my home and my heart to celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is one small way that I can pay forward the generosity bestowed on us by the Gray family.  So, I respectfully say to this person, Christmas is about family but it is also about welcoming friends, who would otherwise be alone, to share the joy of the season. On this special day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,  I am sure this is what God would want from us.

I’d love to hear your stories about opening your homes and hearts for the holidays or when you were blessed with this gift of love.  I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

….. And life goes on. 

 

 

What Will You Pass Down to Future Generations?

This installment of my blog is about passing down the things/traits we are passionate about to future generations.
nana-and-meghan-cowboys-10-9-16Earlier this month I took my 12-year old granddaughter Meghan to her first NFL game, the Dallas Cowboys of course!  We had a great time!!  I enjoyed  watching her expressions as we walked from the parking lot through all of the tailgaters.  There was such enthusiasm and fan fare!  I wasn’t the craziest fan she’d had ever seen anymore.  I am happy to report we won the game! Full disclosure, her Daddy is a die-hard Houston Texans fan, so she is encouraged to love both teams.
I can remember taking her Daddy to his first sporting events and how excited he img_1606
was to see the players and the fans.  I have been blessed to attend hundreds of games during a 30+ year career in sports television.  I still get that excited feeling when I am at a game as a fan supporting my favorite teams.

My son Johnathan and I love to play fantasy football (I taught him everything he knows, wink).  Meghan and I love to attend baseball games.  nana-and-megahn-june-2016She is very good at score keeping (I taught her everything she knows, big grin).  On our bucket list is stamp our MLB passport book at every major and minor league baseball ballpark. The entire family loves bowling, fishing and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  A love of sports is certainly one thing that I am passing down to my family but there are many more.  I am sharing my passion for travel, photography, music, dancing, being near the water, as well as just looking at the moon and stars.  I hope they will also share my love of learning, a sense of adventure and embracing curiosity.  

Even more important than activities is passing on a passion for building good character traits.  Some of these traits are being kind to others, doing the right thing even when no one is looking, empathy, compassion, leadership and mentoring.  I hope they have a strong faith in God.I hope they will follow my foot steps of volunteering at school, church, rodeo, non-profit organization, HOA, donating blood, or wherever they are called to do, give back and pay it forward.

We as the adults must make every effort to share our passions with the younger generations, to make these fun and exciting, and to demonstrate importance.  We must encourage our young people to get their face out of their phones and tablets so that they can enjoy the big picture of life using all of our senses.  Life happens all around us, if they aren’t careful, they will miss it because they are sending a text, posting a picture on Instagram, reading posts on Facebook or posting selfies on Snapchat.    Please put the phone down!

passionWhat are you passionate about?  What do you want your future generations to remember about you?  What do you want them to pass down to their children?

In closing, I want to say thank you to my parents and grandparents for passing down many of these passions/traits to me.   I love you.

…. And life goes on.