Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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My Journey: Mom and Dad-Getting Organized

ducks in a rowWhen a family is going through the tragedy of preparing for the final stages before the passing of a loved one, you tend to be overwhelmed and consumed with more important things. Being organized is the last thing you are thinking about.

The past few weeks have been chaotic to say the least for me. Just for my own sanity, I need to get organized. I NEED to have that sense of being in control of something, well anything. Getting my ducks in a row helps me do that.

Here are some things I am currently working on.

This past week I have gathered photos of mom, her family, Dad, us kids and the grandbabies to make a photo slideshow at Mom’s viewing (when the time comes). I have scanned all photos into my computer and have edited each one to make them better.

This was a hard task to do. But also very enjoyable. I got the chance to talk to mom about each photo, listen to stories I’ve never heard before. The best part was, it was like I was seeing these photos for the first time. Looking at them with new eyes. I never realized how pretty my mom is. She and my dad made the cutest couple. The biggest surprise was, I didn’t realize how much my sister looks like mom.

Now the only thing left for the slideshow is picking out a few songs to play while the video is scrolling through. Another tough challenge but I am up for that one. It should be fun listening to some beautiful piano music. Mom just loves a great pianist.

The other thing I am working on is a guest book (so to speak) for Mom/Dad’s house. Since all of kids work, we miss out on visitors to their house during the day. It’s nice for us to know they are not alone.

I was also thinking this is a great way to remember to thank the ones that have stopped by, brought food, helped out with chores or just volunteered to set with Mom while Dad ran some errands.

Not only that, if I don’t send Thank You cards out or miss someone, Mom would be disappointed with me. Mom is very proper when it comes to these sort of things. She always sent out hand written thank you notes within a week. I have some big shoes to fill.

I figured a guest book for their house would be a great easy way for me to stay up on all the visitors. This way the guests can sign in, let us know if they brought food, visited or helped in anyway. And I can be sure to thank them properly.

This weekend I will be bringing a notebook and pen to keep at their house so we can take notes on any arrangements that need to be made, write down songs she would like to have played, jot down anything we deem important or would like to remember and leave notes for the siblings.

I know all of this seems trivial in the grand scheme of things. I will be honest, I thought it was kind of odd too. But I’m here to tell you, it helps. I am not searching my home or purse for that one little piece of paper that had a note on it that mom wanted me to remember.

I will not be rushing around the last minute trying to go through photos (that will tear me apart) to make a slideshow. I know for a fact how hard it is to look through photos just after a death. I have helped a couple of cousins with this. 

I won’t have to worry if I missed someone for Thank You cards. I will have my list. And you all know how much I love lists.

This is just the beginning stages. There will be more challenges ahead. But for this week. I feel like I am on my game. I’m probably not but I do love the sense of control I have with these steps I have taken this week.

I hope in the weeks/months to come I can stay on top of all the balls in the air. Only time will tell. For now this is good thing.

If you have any helpful tips I would love to hear them. I can use any help I can get.

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Wanting To Help, But Can’t?

free hugsSomething on my heart.

Have you ever been in the position that you know you can’t help someone or comfort someone in need. Especially when your heart is breaking for that loved one(s)? The past month or so has been that for me.

My heart aches that so many of my loved ones are hurting and there is nothing in my power to help or comfort them. Which breaks my heart even more.

As you already know I am a control freak and I want to help others. Not being able to assist them in anyway makes me feel like I have failed them in in some way or that I am a bad cousin, friend, Aunt, sister, daughter and/or mother.

I don’t like seeing loved ones (anyone) suffer or struggle. It truly saddens me to the core that they have to go through the pain. I realize they have their own support. But I’m not helping. I am not contributing in the help.

How do I help someone when there’s nothing you can say or do to help take away the pain?

Here is what I have concluded. There is something you can do to help. It may not be cleaning their home, or even being that should to cry on. You can be there with your love and support.

  1. Make that phone call. Let them know you are just checking in. Sometimes that opens the door for a conversation that needs to be set free.
  2. Text them and let them know you are thinking of them.
  3. Send an e-mail. An e-mail allows the other person a chance to open up and share when they can’t actually talk about the struggle.
  4. Send a card (handwritten). Take the time to write down your love and concern you have for them and make sure you open that line of communication. Sometimes just knowing that someone is in your corner is enough to get them through the day.
  5. When/if they reach out to you….listen to them. They NEED to talk. It doesn’t matter what the content is, LISTEN. They NEED you to listen.
  6. Be there. Just be present for them.
  7. Hug them, sometimes a hug breaks down the barrier. Hug them till they stop hugging you. Let them hold on for dear life if needed.
  8. Prayer is something you can do to help comfort them in a way no one else can. God is the only one that has the power to bring peace to a hurting soul.

Your actions do not have to be large gestures, just your love. I know the above do not sound like a lot of help. But, I have been informed by others that sometimes the smallest act of kindness/love is the greatest help. Supporting hurting individuals is tough because it never seems to be enough. You just being there for them is enough.


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Holiday Tips & Reminders

snow

It’s that time of  year. The holiday season has begun. Time to start prepping for visitors, big dinners, and lots of shopping.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the holidays.

VISITORS: If you are making your rounds and making impromptu visits, keep in mind people may not be prepared. No judging their homes or actions.

If the home is dirty or they don’t have anything to offer you (drinks/food), don’t be mad. You are surprising them.  Remember why you are visiting. You are there to check in with them, have conversations and see if there is anything you can do to help. These are people you love and adore, please do not judge. Be kind and offer your help.

If you would like to, you can always bring a small gift when you go visit. The gift could be your help around their house, such as helping with decorations or cleaning. You could also gift them with coupons to help with cost of the upcoming events. A nice small centerpiece is always good. Bring your own snacks and drinks.

Bringing a small token is a great gesture of kindness and love.

When you have folks come to your home to visit, I recommend on Thursday or Friday night before the weekend or the day or 2 before the holiday, go through your home and do some light housekeeping.  

Make sure the bathroom is clean, dishes are done and you living room is picked up. Maybe go to the grocery store and get some snacks and extra drinks. This way you are prepared for any visitors.

Visiting is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and everyone feels good when you are able to connect.

DINNERS:  If you are hosting the dinner, make sure you have everything you need. Making that last minute grocery store run can be awful or the store may be closed and you are out of luck.

Ask for help. No need to do this by yourself. There are others that would be grateful to assist you.

Relax: Don’t pressure yourself to make everything perfect. If something doesn’t work out the way you planned, it’s ok. Remind yourself why you are hosting. It’s not for the glory of compliments (even though compliments are wonderful) but for making memories with the people you hold dear. Trust me, your guests don’t care that things are perfect, they are happy to be surrounded by folks they love too.

If you are going to someone’s house for dinner, remember your etiquettes. Be polite (please & thank you), offer your assistance, clean up your mess and play nice with others.

If you are helping with the dinner by bringing a dish (pot luck style) please bring what was asked of you or what you committed to bring. Your friends/family are relying on you to do your part.

If you are not bringing a dish you might want to bring a small gift for the host or for the home. If you are like me and can’t afford a gift, make sure you help with the cleanup. Your host will be so thankful for the help.

Send a nice “Thank You” card after the dinner. It shows your appreciation and the love you have for that family.

SHOPPING: Just a few helpful tips.

Fill up the car with gas before you leave. You don’t want to interrupt the shopping spree by getting gas. Travel with your car lights on. Even during the day. 

Have a list of people you need gifts for or a list of gift items needed. It helps keep you on your budget and reminds you who/what you are needing to purchase.

Keep your money secure. Keep your purse in your hand at all times. Wear a cross-body purse (less likely to be set down or stolen). Carry you debit/credit cards in your front pocket of your pants.

Charge your cell phone or have a car charger. You don’t want to be out shopping and not have any service to retrieve those online coupons.

Carry a small amount of actual cash. Some of those small business do not accept credit cards. It’s also nice to leave your lunch tip in cash for the wait staff.

Set a budget for how much you are spending on your spree.

I hope you have a safe, happy and stress free holidays.


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And So The Job Search Begins……Doubts

finding a jobWell, the time has come. I have to start looking for a real job. I have been hiatus for over a year and my money is running out. I have enjoyed my time off. I have gotten to explore myself a little more. Started blogging, wrote two small books and started back with my photography. I have organized my house, went on a vacation, visited family and relaxed. I am not looking forward to the job search. It’s been over 14 years since I had to apply for a job.

I have so many doubts about my skills. I am terrified since I do not have a college degree or any higher education. I am scared no one will hire me because of my weight.  Don’t get me wrong, I know I have some great work skills but the doubt comes in because I may not have the right skills that are needed in today’s world.

I really don’t know what I want from my career at this time. I have questions:  Do I want to work in the same field (customer service) or do I want to try and venture out of that comfort zone? Do I want to relocate? If so, where do I want to go?

I do enjoy customer service (I’m good at it) as long as I am really helping a person. I enjoyed my last job helping people with their medications and insurance. I made a difference to many people. I liked that tremendously. What I didn’t like was the company I worked for they forgot that we worked for people, real people that were searching for help. The company looked at the customers as a number and the bottom line.  The company got lost in sales and profit, they forgot about their own mission statement.

I don’t want to do meaningless sales, or a dead end job. I want to help others. I want to grow as a person in my job. I want to make a difference. It can be a small difference but I still would like to have that impact. How can I do this and make a living? (Seriously. Any suggestions?)

I have started putting in my resumes to several companies this past week. Now there’s something new to me. Applying online, that is something very simple and easy but still foreign territory for me.

I am used to going to each company, speaking to the HR (human resources) personnel and then calling every week to check on the resume/application. There’s a whole new process involved now and it’s all online. What a huge difference 14 years can make.

Making a new resume was difficult too. The style of the resume is different, the wording is different, and the format is different. It’s all new to me. You now have to have key’ words that help you stand out. You have to be unique but not so unique that you are not taken seriously. Did you know that you only have between 15-30 seconds to impress someone with your resume?  Did you know that if you don’t have those ‘key’ words they will dismiss your resume?  So much pressure to do the resume right.

It’s a new work world. I have doubts whether there is a place for me in it.

I would love to blog, take photos and write for a living but I know I am not a professional at any of these things. (((SIGH!)))

Here I am searching for what I want in a career. I am still searching within myself on what I want out of life and for my life. Searching myself if I want to relocate for a job.  Searching for joy in a job. Searching for a job that will add to my happiness.  So much searching to be done, all the while doubting my abilities.

Here I am asking for help. Here I am leaving my comfort zone. Here I am trying to stay motivated. Here I am trying to add to my happiness and self-worth.  I may have to re-read my own blogs just to get through this (insert big belly laugh).

The best part is, in my heart I know everything will work out in the end. I WILL find the right job, I WILL be in the right location and I know I will still be blogging and taking photos.

It’s the journey that gets ya……and so the journey begins.


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Making A Mountain Out Of A Mole-Hill

Mountain

I think this is my son’s favorite past-time. I realize he is still young and can freak out about things he encounters for the first time. But, really to stay in that freak-out mode and to build on it, just seems tiresome to me.

Let me set the stage. A few months ago my son had to replace the engine in his car. He had many choices to pick from but he decided to replace the engine. In this situation he did not freak out at all. (I did for a few minutes).

A few days ago, his car wouldn’t start. He checked everything and he could not find the issue. He comes in the house and is just deflated, his attitude is bad and he’s talking about how his savings will be gone once he gets the car fixed.

He continues to rant about how this, that and the other won’t work out. He just kept building layer after layer of how bad all this is, without even knowing what is wrong with the car or how much it will cost to fix.

He stayed in this phase/mode/mindset for over a day. Never taking any action to resolve the car issue.

As some of you know, once your kid reaches a certain age, we as parents can’t tell them anything. So, I didn’t say a word till he asked me.

That’s when I asked if he called our mechanic, he said “no”.

Here I go being a mom and telling my adult kid what to do. I tell him to get on the phone and make sure the mechanic can take care of the car within a couple of days. And then tell him to call for a tow truck to take the car to the mechanic.

He comes back to me and says the car will be picked up the next day and the mechanic will be ready for the car. Awesome….wheels in motion (pun intended).

The next day everything is done and within a few hours the mechanic calls my son to tell him it was nothing major just a faulty spark plug and he can pick up the car anytime.

Best part, not a lot of money out of my son’s savings.

He drove himself crazy for 2 days all because he made things worse then they were and expected the worst thing to happen. And it wasn’t that way at all.

My brother likes to say this kind of action is ‘going from zero to hammered’. I call it, making a mountain out of a mole hill.

We all do this to ourselves at some point. For me, I’m ok with being in that stage for a minute or two. But to stay in that stage for a day or longer is just ridiculous.

Nothing gets accomplished and your stress level goes through the roof. Then fear sets in because we are afraid of the outcome. All because we went on a tangent to make things worse for ourselves.

Lessons learned:

We make thigs out to be worse than they really are.

Nothing is as a bad as it seems (most of the time)

Don’t let a problem sit and boil, get busy and resolve issue (ASAP)

Take a breath when a problem comes up and then tackle said problem.

I hope my son’s example of what not to do is helpful for you.

Tell me a time when you made a mountain out of a mole hill and how you resolved the problem or what you had learned.


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Planning A Reunion In 9 Steps—Promotion included

family reunionIt’s that time of the year where some of us will be going to family reunions. Better yet some of us are planning the reunions.

I love our family reunions. I like reconnecting with my family which are my friends too. I like catching up with everyone, playing games, looking at pictures, hanging out and I love all the food.

If you are planning a reunion this year I have a few helpful tips.

First: Ask for help, you can’t do this by yourself. In our family we have a group of cousins that pitch in and help. There are 5 of us that generally do all the planning, date setting, organizing, set up and clean up.

Second: Pick the date/time. You need to pick your date and time at least 2 months in advance. We do ours about 6 months ahead. Because we have so many that come out of state and we need to be sure this is the final date for them to have time to arrange their schedules.

Third: Pick venue. Decide where you are going to have the reunion. It could be someone’s home, a city park, the country club. Make sure you have your reservations in place.

Fourth: Food options. Have a chat with your committee to see what options they are wanting. You could have it catered, you can assign what foods to bring by what family, and you can do a pot luck style, or the committee provided the main dishes (meats) and everyone bring a side.

Fifth: Make a list. You and you team of helpers need to make a list of everything you will need for the day of the reunion. Such as, plates, cups, silverware, ice, coolers, trash bags, table clothes, extension cords.

Once the list is made then divvy out who’s getting what. This helps relieve the pressure for one person to get everything. You can also ask other family members besides your team to help purchase a few items if needed.

You could also do a day shopping spree with your helpers. This way you have everything at one time and no need to any more shopping.

Sixth: Send out invitations. I recommend social media as your first invites. Do this about 2 months ahead as a reminder. Then mail or send e-mail or social media reminders a month in advance.

Corn HoleSeventh: Entertainment. Plan for some games. This can be yard games, board/card games. You can have a craft table for the little ones.

If you want you can have a DJ come in and play music or a band.

Eighth: Set-up/clean-up. Here’s where your committee comes in handy. Make sure you have everything you need and have your team meet you at the venue at least 1-2 hours in advance. You will need this time to put table sloths on, make sure bathrooms are clean, setting up food stations, drink stations, games, the band or DJ.

The clean-up is just as important. You want to make sure the venue is just like you found it, if not better. Make sure you help take out the trash, sweep up you mess, wipe off tables and chairs. This will also help your family remember everything they brought. No need for a lost and found each year.

Ninth: Remember what worked and didn’t work. After you get home rest a day and think about the things you want to do different the next time. Call your helpers and see what they have to say too. Make a list of what worked and what didn’t so you can be sure to make your reunion better the following year.

If you would like more information on planning a family reunion, please go to the top of the page and click on the “BOOKS” tab. I have written a short book on family reunions. It is a step by step guide with lots of helpful tips. Only $3.99 and you can have it the same day to help you get started.

I will give away (for free) my book to the first 3 people that e-mail me at motherofnecessity1@gmail.com  In the e-mail please provide your name and e-mail address you want your book delivered to. Promo ends on July 3rd.

I hope these tips and book help you and your family have the best reunion.

Please let me know what worked for you or what didn’t work.

Do you have any helpful tips for a family reunion?


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Did Your Get Up And Go, Got Up And Went

MultitaskingHave you ever been looking forward to something and when that day came, you just didn’t want to anymore? Or have you been in the ‘zone’ and working hard and all of a sudden your ‘zone’ was gone?

This happens to me all the time.

In my family we say “Get up and go” which means it’s time to do something, time for work, chores, anything. For instance if I know my son has a list of things to do, I will gently remind him by saying….Don’t you think it’s time to get up and go. That’s his queue.

Now, my mom will say this to my dad and my dad’s response (just to bug mom) is: My get up and go, got up and went. Which means, he really doesn’t want to or he’s just bugging mom.

Seriously though, have you ever had the energy to do something, go someplace or be in the middle of a task and out of the blue, you just don’t feel like it anymore or you lost your momentum? It’s not that you are tired, you just no longer have the energy to follow through. What is up with that?POOF- Gone

This confuses me every time. I had the energy 10 minutes ago, where did that energy go? It got up and went. I‘ve been trying to figure out why this happens to me. Am I missing something, Do I have ADD, or am I just lazy?

I may have ADD, I do like a shiny object and I do get side tracked on occasion. I can be lazy too. But when I am in the middle of something or have committed myself to a task or friends I will follow through. This one has me befuddled.

I have been practicing a few tricks to help myself with this anomaly.

The first thing I do is try to figure out why I no longer want to do the thing I was looking forward to. I ask myself these questions.

Am I board with said project?

Do I really NEED to do this right now?

Do I really want to go to…..?

Will this impact my day, week, friend or family?

Should I do it anyway?

Once I have answered these questions, I generally have my answer to what I will do next.

If I see that I really don’t have a need for or it won’t impact anyone, then I will either drop it or move on, or some sort of guilt will rear its ugly head and I will do it anyway.

If my answers are, I need to, I have to, and it’s the right thing to do then I will force myself to do/go. I generally feel good about my decision to go through with it.

I have found out that even when I don’t want to and I do/go anyway. I have great time and I get so much accomplished.

It works out in the end. But I still haven’t figured out why I lost the gumption in the first place.

I can’t be alone in this. Well, maybe I am the odd ball after all.

If you have any ideas on why I/we do this to ourselves, please share with me. I really want to know. This is one thing that drives me nuts sometimes.

Share your thoughts to help a girl out. Thanks