Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loving and Letting Go

I love these kids. These boys bring out the best and worst in me. They bring out motherly love and also annoy the crap out of me sometimes. They bring out the mama bear protective instincts and then sometimes I wish I had ate them when they were young like lions do. They challenge my creativity with school projects and they also suck the energy out of me with constant bickering like toddlers rather than teenagers. Some nights I'm inspired to create healthy tasty dinners for them and sometimes I yell at them when they ask me what's for dinner and tell them to just cook a frozen pizza. Yin and Yang, Peace and Strife, Sane and Crazy.

Then there are times when I have to let them spread their wings and go live their lives without me and I'm scared to death. In the above picture, they had gone on a cross country RV trip with their grandparents for 2 weeks and then flew home by themselves for the very first time. My husband had to take this picture, because I was a puddle of crying goo on the floor, recovering from the fear of them being gone and the joy of them returning.

Next week my older son is going on a trip to Branson, MO with his high school band. It is a 14 hour bus ride and he will be in a hotel room with 3 other boys for 4 nights. Part of me (the crazy, mama bear part) doesn't want him to go, I want him by my side forever and always so I know he is safe. The other part of me (sane, very rarely seen part) is so excited that he gets to take trips like this and spend time with his friends. Then...sigh...a tornado hit Branson last night. Crap! I wasn't even worried about weather related problems, UNTIL NOW!

Letting them go live their own lives is so very hard. I know I have raised them right and they have the skills to take care of themselves (unless they have to open a package of frozen waffles...long story). But it's so hard. I've loved, protected and sheltered them for so many years, it feels unnatural to let them go. I know growing up is hard for them, but it's hard on me, too.

Oh yeah, and someone please find a way to erase from my mind the fact that I'm putting my younger son on a plane to Washington, DC in June.



Little children, headache; big children, heartache.  ~Italian Proverb

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spike The Wonder Dog

This is our dog Spike. He is such a handsome boy. We rescued him from a local animal shelter about 4 years ago. I love him so much, but he's about the hairiest damn dog ever. His mother was a German Shepherd and his dad was probably a Husky. Oh the hair! But he's worth it.
Recently, I made the mistake of trying to teach him to talk. When he first wakes up he howls when he stretches. It's like he's telling everyone "Good Morning!" I think it's cute, so I tried teaching him to talk with hot dogs and pretty much the last bite of whatever I'm eating.

Big mistake! Now whenever he wants something to eat, he barks...loudly! He's only doing what he was taught, so it's not his fault, but when you are getting a midnight snack, he will wake up the whole house! Oops, maybe I stumbled upon an unintended diet plan.

It's ruff,

If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people.   -Capek

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chain of Events

It's amazing how thoughts and actions build off each other. Here is the chain of events that led to today's realization:

My house was a mess. We had to declutter the whole downstairs just to start cleaning.

I asked my son to put on some music. He tried to start Itunes but it wouldn't open. It had a DEP error, whatever that is.

I tried debugging, I tried repairing, but none of that worked. Last resort before uninstalling was a Windows System Restore. Restore basically takes your computer back in time to a previous date to undo damage to system files.

Here is where actions and thoughts collided. I can restore my computer to a earlier date, wouldn't it be great if there was a Life System Restore?

Just imagine being able to restore your life to a previous point in time to undo damage to life system files. What time would I go back to? What would I change?

My son was sitting with me while I was pondering all this, and once I stopped and thought about it, I realized I can't go back and do things differently, but I can teach him what I've learned.

Don't wait until the time is right to pursue your dreams, the time will never be ideal, just do it, even if it's baby steps. Save money and live beneath your means. You don't need the best new latest gadget. Buy quality things that last and take care of them. Brush your teeth everyday. Floss. If you don't enjoy vacuuming, don't buy a hairy dog. Never buy a pet rabbit, they stink. Back up your computer.

Ride lots of roller coasters. Whee!

What would you do if you were not afraid? - Oprah Winfrey

Friday, February 24, 2012

Love and Rebuffering

I have a confession, I'm addicted to Netflix. I love being able to instantly stream a whole TV series and watch years worth of shows in a few days. I've become so spoiled by the absence of commercials that it is very hard for me to watch regular TV anymore.

And the medical dramas, oh how I love the medical dramas! ER, Grey's Anatomy, Mercy, and so many more! They fascinate me, I get so wrapped up in the story. I've watched so many episodes of Grey's Anatomy lately, I feel like I live in Seattle.

There's one fly in the ointment, rebuffering. I get so wrapped up in the story and then the dreaded red bar shows up. I don't even know what a "rebuffer" is. At least with commercials, you know when they are coming, but not with rebuffering. It just sneaks it's crappy little self in when you're least expecting it.

All in all, it's worth it. Maybe I need to find a hobby that only requires a short attention span that I can do while rebuffering. Any ideas? Knitting scarves for chihuahuas. Reading great works of literature through Cliff Notes. It just feels like I'm wasting so much time, while I'm wasting time watching TV.

Not an earth shattering problem, I realize, but if you have a Netflix account I know you understand.

Rebuffering victims unite!

I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence.  They got one marked "brightness" but it don't work, does it?  ~Leo Anthony Gallagher

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Magnetic Chili Dog

Yesterday was another in a series of crazy days. I had to do the intricate evening ballet dance of getting two boys to two activities, grocery shop and pick up dinner. It was suggested (by my ravenous children) that instead of getting a pizza and cooking it when we got home, we should get Sonic instead, and "Hey Mom! It's half price burger night!"

This suggestion was made at about 5:30pm and from that moment on, all I could think about was a foot long chili cheese dog. I know they are probably the least nutritious bad for you food on the planet, but I really wanted one. I was craving one. It's like a chili cheese covered frankfurter parasite crawled in my brain and took up residence there.

We proceeded through our evening, picked up #2 son (rated by age not preference, because goodness knows the ranking would change frequently) from the bus stop, drove into town, renewed library books, picked up #1 son from band practice, drove #2 son to choir practice, dropped off recycling, short grocery store run, pick up #2 son, and then headed to Sonic.

At this point, it's around 7:30pm and my stomach isn't feeling too well, so I squash the chili dog parasite craving and order a kids meal instead. Of course there was a lot of other food ordered once the two bottomless pit kids and husband got done ordering. They bring the food out in a BIG shopping bag...its a bit embarrassing. I mean, come on, one car load of people does not need that much food!! Oh well, I just point to the teenage boys in the car and everyone understands.

So I'm handing out the copious amounts of food and there is one bag left over. I look inside and it's a freaking foot long chili cheese dog!! I didn't order it, I swear. Somehow it got mixed in with our order (which was complete). My husband's eyes lit up when he saw it, because he knew I wasn't going to be able to eat it. Damn it! I attracted a foot long chili cheese dog and don't even get to eat it. He and the dog ended up splitting it. I couldn't even finish my dried up kids burger. Sniff, Sniff.

Today I'm going to think about a chili cheese covered winning lottery ticket!

Winner winner, chili cheese dog dinner,

May the dragon of life only roast your hot dogs, and not your buns. - ??

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Last First

I've been gone about 4 days...sorry, it's been a rough weekend. Now, I know I promised not to go all negative on y'all, and I'm really not. Life can't be all sunshine and roses. If you don't have dark times, you truly cannot appreciate the light times. This weekend was a time of mourning and reflection, but also celebration and fellowship. I spent Saturday with my dear departed friend's family to dedicate her headstone and lay her ashes in their final resting place. It was sad, yet beautiful.

Today is the one year anniversary of her death. I realized something today that brings a closure to this year, we are on our last "first." The first Christmas without her, the first birthday without her, and now the first year with out her. Starting tomorrow, we have all survived that particular day of the year without her. There is a certain comfort in that.

Last February 20th, none of us knew how we would go on. How could we get through our days without that beautiful woman in it? But we did. We all survived what was probably the hardest year of our lives, so far.

One year. So much has happened in a year. So many things she didn't get to do and see. So many things I didn't get to tell her and laugh or cry with her about. There is this new mascara out that she will be so pissed off that she missed (if you know her, you'll appreciate that, she LOVED mascara).

Don't take any day for granted. Don't waste anymore time on fear or doubt. Take control of your life and live with intention. Choose love. Choose joy. Share these with others so the energy is multiplied and more love and joy are drawn to you.

What did I do today? I took care of me. I went to the doctor for a checkup. I had lunch with my husband. I hugged and laughed with my boys when they got home. I shared dinner with my family. I told them I loved them, then I spent some quiet time and pictured my sweet friend in my mind. I told her all that she has missed and all that I have learned since she left us. I'm sure she is a busy girl, as there are probably a lot of people doing the same thing today.

You never know what tomorrow brings, but I promise you, you cannot regret any day that you spend in the state of love, joy and/or gratitude.

Carry on,

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.  - Plautus

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Joy: Positive Thoughts

Facebook is an amazing social experiment. In one day, you can read about what has happened to hundreds of your "friends." It sometimes shocks me at the details some people reveal on Facebook. One thing I have noticed is the power that positive thinking has on a person's life.

I have a few friends that only post about what is negative in their lives. I don't think they realize they are doing it, but their posts chronicle the bad things happening to them. These post range from everything to illness, job loss, marital problems, financial problems, and much more. What these people don't realize is that by focusing and posting their negative thoughts, they are amplifying them, giving energy to them and attracting more of the same. Things are not going to get better until they change their thoughts and focus on the good things in their lives. Everyone has SOMETHING they can be grateful for, even if its just the fact that you were able to wake up this morning. If all else fails, start with that.

Then there is Bee. I'm not going to use her real name, so I'll just call her Bee. I met this wonderful woman a couple of years ago and from that first day, I knew she was something special. She is absolutely the most positive, upbeat person I have ever met. She draws you in with laughter and joy. I have never seen her with out a smile on her face. Do bad things happen in her life, sure. Is her life perfect, probably not.

Here is what Bee does that truly inspires me. Her Facebook posts are 100% positive. She writes about all the great things that happen in her life, what wonderful friends she has, and a whole lot of jokes and funny pictures. Everyone comments about how much her posts cheer them up or make them laugh. Not only does she focus on the positive, but she lifts up and inspires others.

Good things happen to Bee because that is what she focuses on and thinks about. She gives energy to the joy in her life and therefore she attracts more joy. I am so thankful that I can be a small part of that joy.

Give energy to what you want in your life. Its simple physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Give out joy, get back joy. Give out negativity, get back more negativity. Start small and be thankful for small things (sunshine, clean water, a hug).

Thanks Bee, keep on making me smile, I love you!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  -Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gratitude: Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. It's a made up holiday that encourages us to buy (sometimes expensive) gifts for our "Valentine's." But even I'm not immune to the feelings of love and gratitude that today can evoke.

Last night, my oldest son bought his first Valentine's present for a girl. He used his own money and picked out a stuffed puppy holding a heart. It was sweet, and this morning he got on the bus with his huge, heavy back pack, trombone, and the stuffed puppy. Awww, I hope she likes it.

This morning, I surprised the boys with cupcakes (and sausage) for breakfast. I hid cards and chocolate kisses in their lunch boxes. There were also extra hugs and kisses this morning.

In a few minutes, my husband is coming to pick me up for lunch. We get to spend a few precious minutes out and about on our own. With our busy schedules, a date night is almost impossible, so we treasure our date lunches.

I am so grateful that I have these wonderful men in my life. I've never known as pure of love as I get from my sweet boys. They are truly a gift from the Universe. I am ever so grateful for their father, the most honest, kind, loving man I have ever met.

I may be a Valentine's Grinch, but I think my heart grew 2 sizes today.


All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Charles M. Schulz

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love: What do your kids see?

Motherhood is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have two teenage boys and they truly are amazing young men. I know that I've done more good than harm to them, but it is not always easy.

As moms we want our kids to be perfect. When they come into breakfast in the morning, my first reaction is to tell them to button this or tuck in that. Thankfully, early on in their lives I heard a interview with Maya Angelou and Oprah and Maya asked, "What do your children see on your face when they walk in the room? Do they see you taking inventory and finding them lacking?"

I am guilty of this sometimes, but I try to keep my face open and welcome them in the mornings with love. Who really cares if their clothes are perfect? If it's important enough to them, they will figure it out. In our house it's hugs and kisses first thing in the morning, then breakfast, then we talk about the events of the upcoming day and I tell them to do their best and have fun, then if they need it, I'll suggest maybe a gentle "comb your hair" or "zip your pants" (that is a pretty important one).

In the afternoons, I make an effort to be super excited to see them when they get home. Sometimes I am tired or in a bad mood, but I want them to know how happy I am to be with them again. Then we talk about their day, I ask about any homework or projects that need to be done, and then I ask them to tell me at least one good thing that happened to them today. This last one shows me what is most important to them. With one son, it's almost always something that happened in band, and the other, it's usually something that happened in theater.

All parents are different. All kids are different. We are all human, and we all crave love and acceptance. Now that you are aware, what does your child see when he/she looks into your face? Let it be love and you will both be the better for it.


If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, and then go out in the street and start grinning "Good Morning" to total strangers.  - Maya Angelou

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm learning as I go

I'm new to this Blog thing, so I apologize if there have been any problems with the site. Here are things I think I have fixed:

1) Follow Me By Email button is now working. If you would like to receive an email when there is a new post, sign up in the box on the right.

2) I moved the Share It button up where you can see it. If you enjoy the post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for reading,


We made too many wrong mistakes. - Yogi Berra

Goodbye orange duck tape!

If you've read the previous posts, you know that I try, as much as possible to fill my life with love, joy, and happiness. That's true, but in reality, problems do occur and frustration does mount. In the past I've let these problems get to me and ruin my day, but today something magical happened.

We have a hole in our bathtub. It started small and I put clear sealant over it. It got bigger and I put duck tape over it (all I had was bright orange, truly an uglier bathtub could not be found). Yesterday, it got much worse and sealant and orange duck tape were no longer a solution.

I really don't like calling repairmen. I like fixing things myself, doing lots of research and watching videos until I feel confident I can do it. In the past I have learned that I can change out and do routine maintenance on the hot water heater, replace the heating element in the oven, replace the belt on the dryer, and most recently changed the brake pads and rotors on my car. My husband just shakes his head at me and probably wishes I wasn't so stubborn about fixing things.

Back to the tub, he told me to call a repairman, but first I did my research, watched dozens of videos, and located an online store that sold do-it-yourself kits. I pondered awhile, but finally admitted that although I probably could fix it (poorly), it would be better to call a professional. After calling 3 places and leaving 3 messages, frustration started to set in. I want to fix it, but I can't. I called the repairmen, but they didn't answer. The frustration was mounting, and in the back of my head was the thought that this is going to cost way too much.

Finally, someone called me back. He sounded capable but not very friendly. He was annoyed about driving out to where we live, but there was nothing I could do about that, the tub ain't coming to you, buddy! Then he quoted $550 and after a small panic attack, I grumpily made the appointment, for next week.

I really wasn't happy about this, I pondered replacing the whole tub and putting up tile instead of the shower surround, but that was just too scary and if there were problems, it was going to cost a lot more than $550. But of course, I watched videos about installing tubs and tile. Then the magic happened...

I found a video that featured this very cheerful, kind hearted man that refinished and repaired tubs. I watch several of his videos, and I was so excited about them, I'd start another one before the previous one ended. I really wished THIS GUY could come fix my tub, wishing with all my heart that he lived near me, but what were the odds of that? About that time, the phone rang and while I talked on the phone, the current video was coming to an end and I saw the location of the company out of the corner of my eye. What? Where? Oh my goodness, this guy's company was in the large city next to us and said it serviced the surrounding cities!!

I immediately called the number and Jose, the man in the videos answered the phone. We had a wonderful conversation, he said I might not need such extensive repairs and he would be very honest about what we needed once he came out. We laughed and shared stories and talked about the videos and then he asked me if I wanted to schedule an appointment now. YES, of course! Then he checks his calendar and says they had a big job that got cancelled for tomorrow and could they come out on Saturday? Abso-freaking-lutely! Then he quoted me the price, $130 less than the previous quote.

It's still expensive, but I am so excited! I don't have to take a day off work, it will cost less, and I get to support the business of this wonderful, kind owner. It sounds corny, I know, but if I'm going to spend the money, I'd much rather support Jose's business than the grumpy grump that I first talked to.

Trust your instincts, take your time, follow your heart, and say good bye to orange duck tape!


To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. --Douglas Adams

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happiness: A Choice

I have always heard that happiness was a choice, but I never understood what that meant. I didn't get it. I thought you were either happy or not, sort of like being hungry or not. Looking back, I was a happy child, with a great life. My parents were wonderful, school came easy for me, rarely did I get sick, and I had a small circle of great friends.

As I got older, a few speed bumps came into my life, but nothing that I couldn't handle. I lost grandparents, but they all lived full, wonderful lives and although their passing was hard, it was not unexpected. I lost boyfriends, but in the end, that was a blessing in disguise, and I married a kind, honest, loving man. My life was blessed, but it was my normal, it's all I knew.

Then came 2011. It started great, with a fabulous 10 day trip to Italy. Then 2 weeks after I got back, my world fell apart. I had one truly close friend. She was the person that knew all the bad stuff about me and loved me anyway. She was the one that knew all my "inside" jokes and thought I was one of the funniest people on the planet. We spent hours on the phone without really saying anything, just "girl talk." One day she was there, the next day she wasn't. Gone, just like that, and I was the last person that she ever talked to.

How do you deal with a loss like that when your life had been so easy. Nothing prepared me for this and I did not handle it well. I spent most of 2011 in tears, in panic attacks, in sad isolation, overeating, lock in nightmares, and just plain miserable. I'd never been this sad. How do I get happy again, I'd ask my husband, over and over, but he said he didn't know either.

Then in December, I read somewhere that happiness is a choice. What?! If happiness is a choice, does that mean sadness is a choice, because I certainly didn't want to be sad. Maybe I had been sad long enough, certainly she wouldn't want me to feel like this. So, I decided that in 2012, I was going to CHOOSE happiness.

Here we are two months later. It really has been amazing what a difference intentional happiness has made in my life. I still have difficult moments, and sometimes I let them come, but most of the time, I stop and acknowledge the sad feelings and then let them go, take a deep breath, and smile. At first, I kind of had to fake it, but that was OK, all new skills take practice. Now, it is so much easier and the positive energy in my life attracts happy memories of my friend. What a gift.

Life is going to happen one way or the other. If you choose happiness or not, your future still unfolds. My experience shows me that one act of joy, happiness, or love snowballs and attracts more. If you give out happiness, it returns back to you. Grief has it's place, and I learned a lot from it, but it needs to have a beginning and an end. It ends when you choose. Choose happiness, smile, give thanks...breathe.


What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful. - Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gratitude: Thank You

The two most powerful words: Thank You.

Thank you. How many times a day do you say it? It's polite to say, "Thank You," but do you say it as an automatic response, or do you really mean it and feel the gratitude that the words convey? I would wager most people fall in the automatic response category, but to truly feel gratitude and mean it is a magical thing.

Challenge yourself to feel the gratitude in your words when you thank someone.  When others say Thank You, smile and say with deliberate intent, You're Welcome, and mean it. The exchange of gratitude and appreciation is a magical thing if it is done with feeling and intent.

Thank You. Thank you for reading this, thank you for contemplating deliberate gratitude and appreciation, but most of all, thank you for just being you.


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Welcome to Over Joyful. This blog is intended to be a place to learn and share ideas through love, joy and gratitude. There are plenty of places on the web to read news (good and bad), gossip, and editorials...these are not my intentions.

I was looking for a place to read about love, joy, and gratitude. Books that brought joy, movies that promoted love and gratitude, stories that inspired. I needed to find a place that made me feel good every time I went to it. I couldn't find a site or blog that fit the mold I was looking for, so I created one.

Please feel free to share with your comments. If you feel you have a great idea or post to add, email me and I would love to have guest contributors. This blog is intended to be a place of sharing. In the future, I will share my story with you and how I came to live in a place of love and gratitude through intention.

Thank you for visiting, I look forward to "seeing" you again,

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." - Dr. Wayne Dyer