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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Sticks and Stones

 

Photo by: rossrightangle.wordpress.com

Photo by: rossrightangle.wordpress.com

 I am a short tempered girl. I want to fly off the handle as soon as my feelings are hurt and I want to speak up and let the other person know what they did. I want an apology, I want acknowledgement that you hurt me. I want you to know that you hurt me.

There’s a couple things wrong with this action.

One, the other person may have no idea what they have said to cause me pain. Do I really need to be defensive and blow my top at them over something they have no clue over?

Two, even if that person meant to hurt my feelings. I don’t have to react in that manner to feed into whatever the other person is looking for.

Getting your feelings hurt is not fun. We’ve all done it to others and have had it done to us. This is just human nature. It will continue.

The one thing I have learned is we are the only ones in control of our reactions. Reactions to getting your feelings hurt can open a big can of ugly worms (did I mention I hate worms?) that you were not ready for. Our reactions can help others see the errors of their ways (or not). Our reactions can be nothing at all.

Why do we feel the urge to react so defensively when our feelings are hurt? When our feelings got hurt as children, we would cry, seek comfort (parents) or punch the other kid and run.

We are no longer children and our reactions are a little different. We may still cry and seek comfort but punching someone will lend us a stay in the pokey. Now as adults we have the opportunity to let the other person know what they did and why it hurt us so deeply in a calm and polite manner. Or we can stay silent.

But is that really the answer…to let that person know what they did to hurt us?

The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” are very true. They are only words falling out of a person’s mouth. In reality they cannot scar us for life. Yes words are powerful and hold so much meaning, but it’s how we react to those words and how much power we allow those words to hold over us.

If we feed into the hurt comment then we are allowing those words to hold power over us and that person wins. Especially if that person meant to say something hurtful.

If we don’t react, that allows us to figure out if this is a can of ugly worms (did I mention I really don’t like worms?) we want to open. Or the chance to let whatever was said and realize they are just words and does it really matter that my feelings were hurt.

We are adults. Feelings are going to be hurt but we do not have to react as children.
We are adults, it’s our job to be forgiving and love others. Even if they do something that may hurt us.

For me, I am not willing to ruin a friendship because my friend hurt my feelings. I will let it slide, forgive them and move on with my day.

I love and care for that person more than any hurtful thing they can say to me. More than likely my feelings won’t change about them because they hurt me. I am willing to look past the ugly and see the big picture of that relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong, there will be times where I (we) choose to open that can of ugly worms (Yuck!!! Worms). We just need to be prepared and willing to accept the consequences that fall afterwards.

Pick your battles carefully. Smile and forgive or just ignore the ugly stuff. There are more beautiful things to look at or be involved with than to stress over hurt feelings.


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Searching For The Positive

postiveWe are surrounded by terrible stories, events and personal tragedies every day. Stories that make you weep for others. Personal issues that would make others wither.  These things can either soften your heart or harden your heart.

The way I see it, we have become desensitized towards things that we either don’t care or don’t bother to get involved.  We have become so sensitive that everything offends us or we are looking for things to offend us just so we can be heard.

That is no way live. Yes, there are terrible things going one in our world and personal lives, but this does not mean that we have to succumb to the negative things around us. We don’t have to be numb about everything and we don’t have to be so sensitive either. There is a middle ground called positive thinking.

Positive thinking allows us to be in the moment to weep for others but also be blessed knowing that, that ‘story’ could be us.

Now don’t take that the wrong way. I don’t want you to think I don’t care. Because I do. Let me put it this way.

My mom is very sick. It’s hard for me to watch her health decline. It’s an emotional roller coaster with lots of low thoughts. You know what, I would not have it any other way. Because I know it’s my turn to take this journey. I am grateful that I don’t have to be on the path by myself. Grateful that I have family to help me. Grateful for everyday my parents are still here.

Where there is a negative there will ALWAYS be a positive.

I am a realist at heart. It’s easy for me to see the negative first. But, I also search for the positive in any situation. If I can deal with the negative, I know for a fact there will always be positives too.   

We just have to stop and search for the positive. We may not always see the positive at first. That’s why we search. For instance: if you are working on a jig-saw puzzle, sometimes it’s better to turn the picture on the box upside down or the puzzle upside down to get a new perspective. It doesn’t always work but we were able to fit a few more pieces together in the puzzle because of a new perspective.

Searching for the positive takes some energy if you are not used to doing so. But I will tell you, it is well worth the effort.

Practice this the next time you are in the car and find yourself frustrated because the guy in front of you is doing 45 in a 55.  Think of it this way, now you have the time to enjoy that beautiful sunrise, or maybe that is God intervening and saving you from an accident. Either way that is a positive. It will be fine that you are a few minutes late for work.

Things happen and it’s up to us to deal with those things in a positive manner. Which means we have to search the positive first in order for there to be a positive reaction.


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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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Are You Ready For Winter?

My answer….never. I do love the change of the seasons but my least favorite is winter.

When I got up this morning there was a heavy frost outside. It was beautiful but cold. I don’t enjoy the cold. I took a walk and snagged a photo hoping it would change my outlook. It didn’t….still don’t like the cold or winter even though it is pretty.

Photo by: Mother of Necessity

Photo by: Mother of Necessity

There is a four letter word that I swear is a cuss word and I cringe every time I hear it……..SNOW.

I am never mentally prepared for winter. I’m probably going to jinx Ohio for saying this, but I am grateful that it is December and we have yet to see that white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. Grateful that it hasn’t been so cold yet that I haven’t broken out the winter garb.

It’s coming, I know it is, so I might as well get prepared for the inevitable.

Here are a few things that I do to get prepared for that dreaded yucky winter.

  1. Make sure I have hat’s gloves and boots.
  2. Dig the snow shovel out and inspect it, so I know it will work.
  3. Buy a few bags of salt for my sidewalk and path to my car.
  4. Put a bag of salt in the trunk of car. I can always use it in an emergency. I can use it when it’s icy in any parking lot. I can use the unopened bag under a tire if I get stuck and it’s added weight to the car to help with traction.
  5. Keep an extra pair of gloves, hat, a pair of socks, jacket, a blanket, bottled water and a few snacks in the car in case I get stranded.
  6. I never let my car get below a quarter tank of gas. I want to make sure I have gas to stay warm if I get stranded or if I get stuck in traffic.
  7. I put plastic on my windows of my home to keep the warmth in. It saves on my fuel bill too.
  8. Kerosene heater with 5 gallons of fuel. Just in case the electricity goes out. This will keep a couple rooms warm, it will prevent my pipes from freezing and it’s another way to cook food if there is no electricity.
  9. Stock up on canned goods, bread, snacks and water. If I’m not able to leave the house I want to make sure I have something to eat while I am waiting for the snow to stop falling.
  10. Get my car inspected and fix whatever problem there is. I have the oil changed, and get new wipers. I want my car to be extra safe in the winter. I am too old to be setting in a broken car waiting for a tow truck.
  11. I keep lip balm and lotion in my purse. The winter does a number on this old menopausal skin.
  12. I get an extra box of tissues and stock up on cold/sinus medication. It never fails, I always get the flu, a bad cold or have a sinus infection this time of year.
  13. I open my blinds during the day to let the sun help heat my home. It saves on fuel and can brighten you mood too.
  14. Last:  I pray that this winter is mild and I don’t have to use any of the above items.

I hope this winter passes without incident for all of you.

What do you do to be prepared for the yucky winter months?


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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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Shopping As A “Big Girl”

Big Girl

 Since I start my new job soon and have not bought any new clothes this past year. I am now clothes shopping. Something I dread doing.

As I said in a prior post I am not skinny, I am a “Big Girl”. Shopping as a big girl is not a fun task. First of all since I live in a small town there are no ‘big girl’ shops close to me. I have to travel an hour to even get to one store and 2 hours to find more than one store to shop at. You know us girls, we never find what we are looking for just in one store.

I am overwhelmed before I even get in the car. I have to be prepared to drive to places I am not comfortable with. I have to prepare myself mentally, that I may try on 50 pieces of clothing and come home with nothing.

I have to make sure I have the right clothes on so I can take them off easily so I won’t get all sweaty in the dressing room. I need to have slip on shoes so I won’t have to bend over so much to tie my shoes. Tying your shoes is a chore when you are a big girl. There’s a lot of prep time and thinking before I even get in the car.

Once I’m at the store, I am already in a sweat. Just knowing I will be trying on 3 different sizes of the same blouse is daunting enough and still not have the right fit in any of the sizes. But now I am in public and being judged just by walking into a “big girl” store. I have no idea if the sales people are judging me, which I’m sure they are just by the looks I get walking in with my t-shirt, jeans and hoodie on.

I need to have blinders on and get past the judgmental looks and stares. I have a job to do….get new clothes. I take a big breath and trudge forward.

Now I’m in the store and realize that every shirt/blouse has some sort of crazy design, sparkles and multi-colored on them. WHY??? Who, in their right mind, thought it was a great idea to have a wild print in 4 yards of material and make a shirt for a big girl? I have never talked to a big girl and they said they loved all the sparkles and prints on their blouse. We, as ‘big girls’ already stand out just because we are big. We DO NOT need or want a blouse to make us stand out even more.

Our size is enough for us to catch your attention we do not need the apparel experts help in this area. We need their help to make us blend in with the other women in our fashion.

There is no fashion in a blouse that has 5 colors on it that look like a 3 year old put paint strokes on it. Then they told the 3 year old to add some sparkles to the shirt that is 10 inches longer than it needs to be and the neckline is so low you have to wear a tank under it so your boobs/bra don’t show. Crazy!!!

Big girls do not have the option for a perfect fit. It’s either too big in one place or too small in another. We have to get creative in order to wear any of the clothes we buy. Maybe I can wear a scarf with this shirt to help cover my cleavage. How about a jacket/blazer/sweater to cover that awful design on the sleeves. I could even sew a piece of material there so my boobs don’t show. I could have the sleeves altered so I won’t have to roll them up. I can have this taken in or I can add a panel to the back and wear a sweater.

Being a big girl you have to be a seamstress or at least know someone that can do the alterations for you.

I am a short, fat girl. I cannot wear a V-neck t-shirt because no one wants to see my bra or my cleavage. Shoot, I don’t want to see that either. Where is the modesty in ‘big girl’ clothing? There has to be a designer out there that can design the perfect ‘big girl’ T-shirt. One that the neckline covers the bra strap, one that doesn’t gap open when we bend over and one that the armpit area doesn’t show our bra when we raise our arm. It can’t be that hard.

You are professional designers. Put your college degree to work and make the perfect T-shirt. PLEASE!!! Or am I asking for too much from the designers? Maybe they are wanting all of us to look silly just in the hopes we will lose weight. Or are we being penalized because we are not the norm?

Can we talk about the prices for ‘big girl’ clothes? They are outrageous. There is one store I love and I can usually find something I like and it fits.  They sell regular sizes and plus sizes for women. Which is great but their mark up on the plus size is nuts. Generally the mark up is 20-40 % higher than the regular sizes. I understand that there is more material in the item but that is no excuse for such a huge hike in the price.

On average the plus size clothing can be as much as 40% higher. If you are shopping for a typical white t-shirt, regular sizes are $10-$20. But for me, I am paying $25-$40 just for a stupid t-shirt. Might I add, that the t-shirt still doesn’t fit right.

I expect to pay a higher price just because of the material and labor that goes into making a plus size item. But 40% higher…no. We are getting ripped off in my opinion.

This is all for the blouses/tops. Don’t even get me started on jeans and dress pants. Needless to say…..I have to hem even the petite cuts. That means every pair of pants I own or buy will and have been hemmed.  

Just more money being spent so I can go out in public and hopefully not be laughed at from my lack of choices and the horrific choices I get to choose from.

It’s hard coming up with an outfit that won’t make me look like a clown with all the colors and awful designs. Now I have to come up with at least 7-10 new outfits just so I can go to work. Stressful and exhausting.

I too want to be fashionable, cute, and comfy in my clothes. I may be a “big girl” but I deserve to have descent fashion as well. I don’t think I am asking for too much. Do you? I know that the plus size fashion has come a long way but it still has a way to go.

I have resorted to online shopping. I can order the sizes I think will work and can always return what doesn’t. I can shop at multiple stores in just a few hours. I get to try on the clothes in the comfort of my own home without some small girl trying to assist me in the fitting room. (She just doesn’t get it anyway). I don’t have to waste my gas on traveling to a store to come home with nothing.

I may order 6-7 items and keep 3-4. To me, that’s a good shopping spree. And I got to do it with less stress than going to the store.

Granted, yes it takes time for the items to arrive to my home. But it is worth the wait when I finally have an article of clothing that works for me.

Just as a side note: Those catalog girls are a size 14-16. These girls may be big girls, but they are not the BIG GIRLS. They still look good in almost anything and can still get the perfect fit. The rest of us struggle more to find the right clothes.

Tell me what bothers you about shopping.