Positive Daily Three – Day 144

It is so amazing to me how quickly time can slip through our fingers, but, at the same time, how much can happen in such a short amount of time.  My path these past couple of months has taken a few turns I didn’t anticipate.  I have begun a spiritual journey that has become more important to me than I ever thought it would be.  I have developed a friendship that has been awesome and needed.  I have gone on adventures with the kids that I never imagined I would be capable of doing on my own.  I have gone through resiliency training and learned a great deal about myself and how to grow relationships and interact with others in a much more positive light.  I have found a smoother rhythm with my children and we have all been cooperating with each other in a more effective way.  Most importantly, I have felt and experienced the heartache of how long a year can feel with my husband away, but I have slowly learned the importance of reaching out to friends and asking for help when I can no longer withstand the weight of loneliness on my back.  These past few days have really brought to light some of the changes that have been occurring in me these last two months.

I had a conversation with my oldest daughter a while back that prompted me to start trying to find a way to provide my children with a little more spirituality.  A mentor at the time, who has become an amazing friend that has inspired, taught and brought out the best in me, invited me to join her at church.  I have to admit that I considered finding an excuse about why I couldn’t go, but in the end, I pushed myself to try it.  I got chills during some of the music, and felt like I needed to keep going down this path to see where it lead me.  The sermons have been diving into developing a relationship with Jesus, so I began reading the bible in an effort to better understand who Jesus is.  While reading, I think about the questions that I have and then pray about them.  Before this long weekend began, I had been reading the Gospel of Matthew and John and remember reading about several miracles that Jesus performed.  I asked the question, “Why isn’t He here now, performing those miracles in a world that is extremely troubled.  Where is He now?”  Over the weekend, I encountered two entirely different people whom I was hanging out with at different times.  Through no prompting on my part, these two individuals shared a piece of their life story that was tragic, and yet, both of them, against all odds, survived and moved forward in a positive manner.  Something I probably would not have seen, noticed, or thought about before, was the presence of Jesus in these two unrelated stories and how He was there in their lives to provide them with a miracle.  As I encounter these different moments, I find my faith slowly starting to grow and deepen.  This is a part of me I never thought I would have to develop, but I am finding that I want to keep pushing myself to try to find the answers to the questions I have while taking baby steps forward toward that cliff where I will finally be able to let go and take that complete leap of faith.

On Monday, I went on a hike with the kids.  The hike was more strenuous than I anticipated, but we took our time and made it to the end.  It was worth every step.  The view of the mountain from where we were was amazing.  The trees colored the path in multiple shades of green.  Waterfalls, though small compared to some I have seen, surrounded us.  The snow still on the ground added a nice contrast to the rock of the mountain.  Though it was noisy, I was able to tune all of the noise out for just a few moments and appreciate all of the beauty and peace the peak had to offer.

On Tuesday, my amazing friend took me out for my birthday.  We had a wonderful time talking and trying out a new restaurant.  She is an awesome person, and we had such a good time that neither of us really paid attention to the time.  We were both out later than we planned for, but that time is something I will cherish, and I definitely don’t regret being out late.

Today, I took my youngest to a pool party and had a wonderful time.  I love getting in the water and playing.  It will always be something that relaxes me and makes me feel like a kid again.  My youngest even got in the water without any trouble and was swimming around by herself in her puddle jumper because she could do it all by herself (her knew favorite phrase).  I got my run in today which felt great because I have been a slacker over the weekend.  One of the greatest things about today and this weekend was that we had some very long, good, and fun conversations with my husband, and that is always a great thing!

As I travel forward through the sands of time, I know there will be departures and arrivals, adventures, discoveries, moments, and so much more.  I am learning that the most important thing to do as time passes, is to be aware and to spend those passing moments being grateful for everything that is in front of me and around me.  I want to find the courage to look into that mirror and make the changes that I seek.

Positive Daily Three – Day of Books

The weather was beautiful outside today, and all I wanted to do was lay outside, but of course, that is not possible.  I took my youngest to the library and we checked out some new books that she is very excited about, and I got some books for my son as well.  We have started family reading hour.  This usually takes place while my youngest is napping on the weekends so that I can get some reading and relaxation in as well.  I totally stole this idea from a friend, and am very pleased with it.

I took my youngest to library storytime today, and she had a ball.  We sang the peanut butter song today, and she absolutely loved it.  When we got home from the library, we ate lunch, and then we laid on a blanket outside and read several of the library books we had just checked out.  It was wonderful.  I had to get her down for a nap after that, so I started reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  She loved it, but we were both asleep by the time I started reading chapter 2.  My body has been fighting off a virus, and her and I took a 2 hour nap.  It felt wonderful, and I got to snuggle with her the whole time, which was great.

My son had a pretty good day today as well.  We have been having an increase in the number of tantrums he has been having, and today he was pretty mellow, so that is a win.  I watched my oldest stand up for herself today and make decisions that were best for her rather than listening to everyone around her.  I was very proud to see her be assertive and make decisions that would be beneficial to her in the long run.

It was a pretty good day, even if there wasn’t anything super significant that happened.  Please share some good things that you encountered today.

Positive Daily Three – The Sick House

Before I had the opportunity to exit the bathroom after my shower and lay down on my bed, my son came in crying, pleading with me to sleep in my bed.  I gave him a hug, preparing to walk him back to bed when I felt his forehead.  He was burning up.  I went downstairs, grabbed the thermometer and some children’s aspirin, and headed back upstairs.  Fever confirmed, medicine delivered, sleep followed.  Whatever he has appears to be stomach related, so hopefully it will pass quickly.

With both my youngest at home, I had to skip my morning workout with my friend, again, but I am hopeful that I will be able to make it on Thursday.  I did manage to get a run in this evening after I got the kids to bed, and am grateful that my oldest agreed to watch them while I ran.

It actually was a pretty great day.  We read books outside, painted and colored, and I even read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone leading into nap time.  I even let them each watch one short show.  They were outside playing with play dough and coloring on the sidewalk with chalk.

I was able to put together a feel good music play list, and a Disney playlist for car rides, and it was fun to watch everyone (even my oldest) jump around and dance.

There was a little bit of suck today, too.  My youngest puked on me and her just as we were getting ready to sit down to read books before bed, and developed a fever.  My son’s fever started creeping up again, too.  The good thing, though, is I am still healthy and able to take care of them.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I think I will be ready to face it.

Please feel free to share 3 positive things that happened to you today.

Positive Daily Three – I Have Been Ninja’d

Don’t Google Ninja’d because it totally doesn’t explain it in the context I’m about to use it in.  I went through some incredible training this last week, which is why I missed my posts for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  My husband had gone through the RTA (Resiliency Training Assistant) course about 4 or 5 months before he got orders to Incirlik.  Before he left, he made me promise him that I would write down 3 good things that happen to me every day and send them to him.  At first I was resistant to this, but when I realized it was important to him, I agreed to do it.  I decided that since this was a journey that several military spouses usually encounter at least once during their spouse’s military career, it made sense to share my three things through my blog, which my husband now reads.  I know we all have different stories and different things happen, but, at the same time, we also have similarities and maybe some spouses out there can relate to some of the struggles, good things and experiences, whether they are good or bad, that I am going through.  When I went through my key spouse initial training, one of the speakers that came in spoke about resiliency, also known as Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF).  I liked what he had to say and was impressed with some of the points that he made.  I grew excited when he mentioned that key spouses were allowed to attend the RTA course.  I spoke with my husband about the course and he heavily encouraged me to do it.

The very first day of the course, we were immersed into understanding gratitude, getting out of the negative spirals, and finding the things we can be grateful for.  I realized that when my husband asked me to find 3 positive things every day, he ninja’d me without me realizing it.  I have gotten through some small and big struggles while he’s been gone simply because I can still look back on each day and remember a few good things.  In fact, at this point, it has pretty much become a habit for me to try to find the good, find that light when things are starting to spiral down.  I am learning to take a breath, stop and be more aware of the whole picture.  My knowledge was expanded to new levels during the three days of training.  It was an awesome experience.  It centered on growth for in all domains of a person: mental, physical, social and spiritual.  A lot of the training focused on breaking things down into first the facts, and then the deeper levels.  Figuring out what is the driving force behind our actions and emotions.  Understanding why we get so upset and which values are being threatened when we react poorly to circumstances.  Another part of the training was analyzing our responses to others.  Are we responding to news and information in a way that is driving forward the relationship, or are we responding in ways that could be hurting the ones we love the most?  I learned so much, it would take me days to explain it all, but if ever you have the opportunity to attend a CAF day or go to an RTA course, definitely seize the opportunity.

This weekend we spent more time with each other and less time on electronics.  We played Mexican Train Dominoes on Friday and Sunday nights, which was a great deal of fun and even my youngest, with assistance, was able to have a blast playing.  I got part of the house cleaned on Saturday, which was awesome because it made me feel good.  My son’s friend also came to visit Saturday with her mom, so we all got to hang out and have fun.  Sunday was almost a perfect day.  It would have been complete and perfect if my husband were with us, but I still see how wonderful the day was.  We went to church with good friends.  It was a good service, and the kids all played at the playground while we caught up and talked.  We went to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park to have a picnic, run around and go for a hike.  It was gorgeous.  All of the desert flowers were in bloom, the spring was active, the weather was amazing, with a cool breeze blowing, and the kids and I had a wonderful time playing baseball, soccer, and flying a kite (for at least a little while).  The weekend was pretty terrific and relaxing.

Today didn’t go exactly as I hoped it would, but there were still some things I am grateful for.  I was able to find a great location for a star gazing evening I am planning for military families.  I took my youngest to a local park and we played for a couple of hours.  She even did an amazing job riding her trike around the park.  It was another beautiful day, as well.  Finally, I ninja’d my 5-year-old at the dinner table.  He started getting upset because I told him to sit up right and eat.  Instead of going with my usual response, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was.  He thought about it and then started talking about it.  I kept asking questions about his best experiences of the day, and he ended up being happy.  That was an amazing feeling.

Please let me know what your positive things have been today.

 

Positive Daily Three – Falling Into Place

Last week I had a few upsets that threw me off a little.  Today and over the weekend I was able to get a few things accomplished that have started this week off great.  I’ve finally gotten around to reorganizing a few things at the house, which has alleviated some stress and has allowed me to get some cleaning done in the process.  I was able to secure a babysitter for round two of attempting to go through the Resiliency Training Assistant Course.  I am looking very forward to going through this training, so I am very grateful that a friend of mine had time in her schedule to fit my youngest in.  I started the process of getting a quote from a local park for a special even that I am planning for August, so hopefully it won’t be too costly.  I accomplished more than I thought I would be able to today.  I even got a shopping trip in to Costco.  On the flip side, my youngest hasn’t been feeling great, so I had to skip my run today.  I am hoping to make up for it tomorrow.

Positive Daily Three – Zippity Doo Da

It wasn’t an entirely wonderful day, but I think there were more good moments today than there were bad.  The gap may be small, but still, it was a decent day.

I made it to the park to do my workout with the mom I met there.  My youngest got out and ran around for a bit.  It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze that kept everything cool.

I didn’t sleep well last night, so I was pretty beat when my daughter went down for her nap.  I grabbed a chair and read my book outside in the fresh air.  I haven’t made time to do that in years.  It felt great.  Of course, now I wish I had spent the time cleaning the house, but it was great to get a little relaxation in anyway.

Today, the kids were all in fairly decent moods.  There was not a lot of negativity, which helped me tremendously.  My patience and frustration build quickly when I don’t sleep well, so the fact that they were all in pretty good moods made it easier for me to get through the day trying to stay focused on positive things.

Positive Daily Three – Finding the Light

In life, we are given several moments, and in these moments, we are presented with opportunities to shine a light on possibilities.  We have the ability to make these possibilities realities, and the only thing holding us back is our lack of belief in our capabilities and our lack of faith that if that light starts to dim and things aren’t going quite right, that He won’t help us turn that dimmer switch back up.

This past week, I challenged myself to do something I normally would not do without my husband.  My oldest daughter and son were anxious to go camping for spring break.  This is a feat I would normally immediately say no to when their father is absent, but this time, I sat on it for a little while and started thinking about how I could pull it off.  In the end, I decided to move forward with planning a camping trip that would take us to Cottonwood, AZ, and Sedona and the Grand Canyon.  As I planned it, I honestly thought that this had to be the stupidest idea I ever had, but I would push forward with it and create a plan B in case it didn’t work out.  I made the breakfast and dinner meals ahead of time, and then froze them, so all I would have to do was warm them up and add corn tortillas to dinner.  I made peanut butter sandwiches as back up food and for lunch and cut them into quarter pieces.  I went through all the camping gear and made sure we had everything we needed.  I got snacks and sandwich makings.  I checked the weather and felt like I was as prepared as I could possibly get.  We would be camping from Monday to Thursday morning.

Day 1 of camping had ups and downs.  We were staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in AZ, and it was gorgeous.  We were tent camping and were surrounded by a few trees and trails.  We got the tent up and camp mostly organized and ready to go.  We still had about an hour before we needed to start getting dinner ready, so we all embarked on a small journey over the other side of the hill from our campground.  We discovered ruins in the distance and as we walked a little further, we found the Verde River running below us.  We hiked down a little hill and wandered to the river, discovering a beautiful oasis that immediately reminded me of the book, Bridge to Terabithia.  It was beautiful.  We had dinner and then I decided to get the two youngest and myself showered.  By the end of this ordeal, I was frustrated because my shoes and most of the clothes ended up wet.  I then got the youngest to lay down, but sleep was far from their minds.  I finally managed to get them to sleep, but only after I felt the stress and frustration pile on.  This was the moment I needed more help.  Normally, I would just suck it up, and bottle my frustration, which would lead me to releasing it later over something even more trivial.  This time, after I sat for a little while at the campfire with my oldest, I took a walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed myself.  I looked at myself in the mirror and knew that I had to do something to get back to a good place in our adventure.  On my walk back to camp, I did something I haven’t done in a really long time.  I looked up at the stars and said, “God, I could really use your help on this one.  I’m going to just roll with this and see what happens.  Please give me the strength, patience, courage and knowledge to make this a memorable and fun trip.”   I stared up at the stars for a little while longer and then went to sleep.

Light Bulb!  I was trying so hard to stay on a schedule and make sure we were clean that I was the one causing unnecessary stress.  Taking showers is pretty pointless when tent camping, especially if it’s only for a few days.  We would smell like campfire and be covered in dirt no matter how many times we showered in a day.  I resolved to just washing up and using deodorant as needed.  Life was much better.  I didn’t bother trying to get the little ones to sleep until dusk, no matter what time that happened to be because I knew that was a battle I would not win.

The rest of the trip was amazing.  There were definite moments of exhaustion and loss of patience on my part, but they were brief.  We got to hike in Sedona, visit the Grand Canyon, and even see an elk up close.  There were some great memories made.  I pulled it off with a little help from the kids and some help from God, and we did something I myself didn’t even think we were capable of doing.  We can do most things we set our minds to, if only we try.

I have to say that one of the most positive things that has happened to me very recently is a rediscovery of my spirituality.  I have deep beliefs, but I have not nurtured my spirituality in a very long time.  I have just let it be there, acknowledging it when I do things out in nature, but never really pushing myself to do more to make it a greater part of my life.  While talking to a friend, I was inspired to try to find a place, or something that would help me begin to bring that part of me back to the forefront.  I believe I have found a place, and have become very grateful for my friend and the new community I have been introduced to.  I stepped in feeling very uncomfortable and uncertain, but was amazed that as soon as the music started, I found the comfort and certainty I sought.  I pray that we all continue to push ourselves to believe that we can turn on the light, and if it starts to fade, someone will be there to help us push that dimmer switch back up all the way.

Most importantly, I hope that we do not deny ourselves experiences, memories and opportunities simply because we don’t think we are capable.  We have the power inside of ourselves to push the limits and turn any negative into a positive.  The only thing that limits us is our own self-doubt.

Positive Daily Three – Climbing Back Up

Well, today was the start of a few things, so I am feeling a little bit more like myself again.  I met up with a mom I have been talking to at our local park, and we did our first park workout together.  It was nice to be able to have some adult conversation and get a workout in.  I think that a truth is that we are all lonely at times, and we need to be there for each other.  We are set up to meet up every Tuesday and Thursday.  I am glad to be able to hang out with a peer and get a little exercise in at the same time.  Plus, we are holding each other accountable to help each of us reach our own goals.

I signed up for my first USO event today.  I am going to be helping out at a function on base which should be tons of fun for everyone.  I am excited to start volunteering and getting out into the community in a positive way.

I got to take a twenty minute nap with my youngest today, which was much needed.  My youngest slept much longer, but I closed my eyes long enough to reenergize.  I have been having a lot of trouble getting to sleep this week.  I just can’t seem to turn my brain off.  I have even tried going to bed really early, but I end up thinking, and then I just toss and turn.  I think I’m going to curl up with a cup of chamomile tea this evening and hopefully it will get me to sleep.

I know that it will take time to make friends again.  Most of my friends will be departing from Vegas shortly, and I will have to actively get out there and make some of the relationships I already have stronger and make new relationships.  I have to remind myself that building a personal community takes time and a lot of effort, and perseverance.  It can get lonely, but eventually, that community does develop if I just keep going at it.

Positive Daily Three – Step Back and Slow Down

Today was a pretty good day.  We all maintained pretty decent moods the whole day and most arguments remained small and easily remedied as they were the plights of a 2 and 5 year old.

My youngest and I went to Kids’ Club, a nearby indoor playground.  She had an absolutely wonderful time.  She rode the little scoot and swivel bikes they now have, and played on every piece of equipment available this time.  She made a friend every now and then, but was really just running around on her own having a great time.  I have been super proud of her as well.  We were potty training her before my husband left, but she started refusing to sit on the toilet shortly after he left.  I didn’t pressure her, so we went back to pull ups.  On her own, she has now started telling me when she has to go.  She still refuses to put on underwear for now, but I am so amazed that she took the initiative to start wanting to go on the potty again.

My oldest and I got our eyebrows threaded today, which is a good thing, because I have been in need of a clean up for a while now.

I finalized a date with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for the stargazing event I am organizing.  I made contact with the Airmen and Family Readiness Center to expand the night to all families of the deployed and remote, and I contacted a possible venue for the event.  Hopefully it will all come together fairly easily, but I will find out.

I was able to read my son his Avenger’s library book tonight, which made him very happy.  He went to bed quickly tonight, which I was quite happy about because he was looking very tired.

We skipped karate in order to find a little room in our lives to get a few things done, like reading before bed and baths, and it was definitely worth it.  Sometimes you just need to stop and take care of the little things that are more important than most of us realize.  Being able to read books tonight and give baths to the little ones made a world of difference in the way they went to bed tonight.

Positive Daily Three – Smiles are as Beautiful as the Soul Making Them

So I took my oldest daughter to an orthodontic consultation today and am still picking my mouth up off the floor after finding out how much it costs out of pocket for braces.   Almost three grand after insurance, not including the retainer.  Really!?  So, I totally get if there is a viable reason: teeth not coming in, problems or difficulty chewing, literally something that requires the teeth be straightened. For out family, though, that’s like two or three vacations.  The worst part is listening to the sale of how it is a functional issue.  A functional issue would require there being an actual problem.  The teeth are not functioning in a way that allows us to grind our food to a size that can be swallowed without choking.  To me, there is no functional issue.  I simply can’t justify paying for braces for a child who will more than likely not abide by all of the necessary steps to make spending that kind of money on a cosmetic fix worth it.  I am generalizing when I say child here.  I have never been able to wrap my head around the need for perfectly straight teeth.  For me, spending thousands of dollars to have perfect teeth does not produce a beautiful smile.  Having a soul full of love, humility and honesty produces the most radiant smiles on earth, regardless of how straight the teeth are or how many teeth are missing.  We have turned so much focus to the outside that we are letting the most important part of our being wither to nothing.  I am getting off of my soap box now.  Sorry about that.  Had to let it go.

On a positive note, the orthodontic office was very pleasant and understanding, as well as willing to work with us financially if we decide to move forward.  The atmosphere in the office was amazing and it is definitely the place I would go if I were going to get orthodontic work done.

I got the oil changed in the car today and made the decision that tomorrow I was going to focus entirely on my youngest.  The last couple of days have been errand days, so we haven’t really done anything fun.  We were trapped at the car place for 2 1/2 hours waiting for our oil change.  She was a champion though.  She brought more entertainment to the customers than the annoying television shows that came on.  Another reminder of why I am so happy that we do not have cable/satellite anymore.  She also did a fantastic job of entertaining herself if she was not entertaining the rest of the room.  It could have been a lot worse, so I am very thankful that she was in a pleasant mood and bringing happiness to all the rest of the customers suffering through the extended time with us.

I discovered that one of my friends is back in town.  She had a hummingbird nest last year, and we got to see the little baby hummingbirds.  She has a nest again this year, so we are planning to head over Friday evening to take a peek at the baby hummingbirds and visit with them.

There are always ups and downs in every day.  I like to think that from my perspective there were more ups than there were downs today.  I still have to discover the sleep secret for my son so that we can find more peace and understanding, but we are rolling with it, and our smiles are outnumbering our frowns, so we are doing pretty good.  I will finish this by saying, please don’t ever let anyone tell you that you do not have a beautiful smile.  If there is real joy and love in your smile, then it outshines the whitest and straightest smile out there.  Never forget that smiles are only as beautiful as the soul that makes them.