The Future

36189157_10155580670682227_1016942784180912128_nI’m a nostalgic person. I love looking back at all the great memories of my past, but I’m also obsessed with the future.

Life tends to change for me every year. For example, 2017-2018 has been a time of big changes with the decision to surrender my horse back to the rescue I got him from and finding my heart horse, Kindle. I also started to nanny my best friend’s baby, started to write a book (or two), and began teaching. It’s a lot.

The time is coming for big change again. My boys are about to both be in school full days, which will be the first time I’ve been on my own during the weekdays since having the kids. That alone is going to be a big adjustment. On top of that I wont be watching my friend’s little girl anymore. That has been a tough one because I love this little girl, but her mom and I agreed that I’d watch her for a year and that year is almost up. They are working on another arrangement for her, but it isn’t easy. Part of me wanted to say “Sure, I’ll watch her for the next few years until she’s old enough for pre-school/kindergarten!” but I never aspired to be a nanny. Sure it’s been fine, but I am at the point where I’ve done my time raising little ones and I want to enjoy some freedom again. Can’t do that when you’re caring for a toddler. So my friends are forced to come up with another nanny or my friend possibly has to decide to leave her job and be a stay-at-home mom (which is what I did when the boys were babies). It’s tough to sit back and let them work it out, but it’s necessary. I have a lot of things I’d like to accomplish when I don’t have the boys around the house this year during school. I want to improve my YouTube channel and blog more and be able to see equine massage clients on the weekdays instead of weekends. My husband and I are also anxious to have our Fridays together again since he has Fridays off.

Change is good. Sometimes it just takes longer to adjust to the change.

 

My Book Writing Journey: Leaving a Legacy of Laughter

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The recent death that has hit my circle of friends and acquaintances got me really thinking about several things. One of them is the idea of leaving a legacy.

I guess we don’t often think about our legacy or what we’ll leave behind when we’re gone from this life. We’re focused on the here and now. Nothing wrong with that. Here and now is where we live, so it’s good to pay attention to it. When death happens close to you, you consider what things would be like if you yourself passed on unexpectedly. What will you have left behind to benefit humanity?

I’m a strong believer in laughter. It has the ability to flood in and replace things like sadness or anger. In the worst of times laughter can lift us up, even if just for a moment. Besides love, laughter has the most power in this world for good I think.

As I’m writing my book and drawing illustrations for it, my thought is “What is going to make people genuinely laugh out loud? How can I make this drawing even more funny?”. It’s a desire to bring positivity into a world that can never have enough positivity injected into it. Funny trumps a bad day and it can rejuvenate a tired, bitter soul in a very unique way.

I’ve always looked up to the people who’s biggest ambition in life has been to make people laugh (Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, etc.). While not everyone understands every joke, laughter is universal.

I think that’s what I love about comic art, you can create something that transcends any language barrier. It’s the expression on the character’s faces, the movement you create in the image that everyone can understand, because most body language and expression is universal.

This is what I hope to create with my book. A legacy of laughter. Something that will inject that positivity into the world long after I’m gone. Fingers crossed.

Chugging Along on My Book Writing Journey

pexels-photo-891674.jpegThis last weekend was a pretty busy one. I wished that I had more time to write and maybe begin to illustrate for my book, but life got in the way. I managed to write a couple of short stories and came up with more topics that I can write stories about, so it hasn’t been totally wasted time as far as the book is concerned.

This whole thing has been good for me because it’s the first time that I don’t feel compelled to rush through things to get a complete product. I really want this book to stand a chance at being successful, so i’m making it about the journey instead of the destination. Once the book is finished, that’s it. It’s out there and there’s no changing it.

It’s funny how this book has been evolving along the way. My original idea was to make it almost exclusively about my marriage and why I think my husband and I have lasted as long as we have from such a young, clueless age. It would have been about humor and how important it is in life, but especially in marriage. The book has had other plans for itself it seems. I’m now writing more about all the funny experiences that I’ve had in my life that lend themselves well to cartoon illustrations. When I started thinking about it and when family members started to remind me of stories that I’d forgotten about, I realized that it was the perfect content for this book. So that’s what it has become. A humorous book about my life. The thing I have going for me is that no one besides me has lived my life.

The biggest challenge now is remembering all the stories I have to tell, but that’s what friends and family are for. No writer/illustrator is an island.

Interested in seeing excerpts and illustrations from my book before it’s published? Check out the Facebook page for it: https://www.facebook.com/thisisfinewerefine/

Housework

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I know that I should be better about housework, but I’m not. I’m pretty terrible at it actually. My poor husband rarely gets to come home to a spotless house. The problem is that I’m a creatively driven person. That basically means that when I get an idea in my head, I have to execute that idea. It could be as small as putting an entry in my journal, or making a vlog or blog, or creating art, or coming up with new ways to improve my business. It could be any combination of those sorts of things. Whatever the inspired task that I give myself is, it trumps housework. It trumps housework every time.

Thankfully for me, I have a husband that tolerates my lack of interest in housework. He doesn’t necessarily love it, but he tolerates it. I think that as long as he comes home to his family and we’re all healthy and happy, and there’s a plan in the works for dinner, he’s a happy dude. One of the many reasons that I love him so much.

Growing up my mom and dad kept our house pretty clean. My room and my brother’s rooms and our bathroom might have been a different story, but I remember my mom being good about cleaning pretty regularly. The point is that I don’t come by my lack of affection for housework honestly. It’s just something that I have never made my priority. I almost need to throw a party once a month to force me to clean. That isn’t going to happen, but it’s a thought. I clean a little here and there and when we have guests over I clean as much as I can. I both envy and pity the people who have a beautiful, spotless house. I envy them because, who doesn’t love a nice, clean house? I pity them because I know how much time and effort it takes to keep a house perfectly clean.

My husband and I joke that we could have a clean house, or dogs and kids. We chose dogs and kids. Also, I’m bad at cleaning which doesn’t help.

I Yelled at My Kids Today

This morning I yelled at my kids. I didn’t scream at them or beat them, but I yelled at them. Why? Because they weren’t listening. Most moms deal with this problem. You try to ask your kids to do or to stop doing something as nicely as you can. They don’t listen, so you ask again. Still nothing. So finally you get so frustrated that you start yelling at them to do (or stop doing) what you asked. I really hate when it gets to that point.

In my kid’s case, today was one of those mornings that we were going to be late to school if they didn’t hustle and finish getting ready for the day. Instead of doing that, they chose to bicker and mess around with each other. My oldest son was the main subject of my yelling. You see, he’s eleven, and in my opinion he’s old enough to know that when I tell him he needs to stop harassing his brother and get ready for school, I mean it. We just expect more from him because frankly he’s old enough to know better. Because of this our oldest tends to feel picked on, and he’s probably right. He does tend to get the brunt of our frustration. There are times when I feel like we should ease up on him, and then he goes and does something he knows he shouldn’t do, so we have to get after him again. It’s kind of a vicious cycle.

When I dropped my kids off at school finally this morning my son said, “Bye.” in a less than enthusiastic voice. I was feeling the same way, so I said, “Bye.” instead of my usual, cheerful “Have a good day at school, buddy! Love you!”. As soon as I said it I knew I couldn’t leave things like that, so I told him I loved him and he said “I love you too.”

No matter how upset he makes me, I just never want him to go to school without knowing that despite how our day starts, I love him. There’s no guarantee that when I drop him off at school I’ll see him again. The world can be a dangerous place, so no matter how angry your kids make you, tell them you love them. You’ll never regret telling your kids that you love them, but you would greatly regret not telling them if you ever lost them unexpectedly.

How to Juggle a Crazy Life

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Let me open this blog post by stating that I am not an expert. I’ve simply learned through trial and error how to juggle a busy life as a wife, mom, business owner, friend, equestrian, gardener, blogger, vlogger, (temporary) nanny, and more without losing my damn mind.

1.) If you have a family, family comes first. Whoever you consider family. There has to be balance between everything we do that fulfills us as individuals and what we do that keeps us connected as a family. Those relationships are what last when everything else has run it’s course.

2.) Make it a point to only take on projects and activities outside of work that fulfill you in some way. If you’re like so many people, your job takes up a lot of your time and whether you love your job or not, the time you have outside of work is very valuable. Fill it with things that make you happy. Volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue, work with a charity that’s near and dear to your heart, or teach on a subject that you have a lot of experience in. The list goes on.

3.) JUST SAY NO. This one is probably the most difficult, but it can be the most important. If you are asked to do something for someone that you just don’t feel good about doing, or that you really don’t have the time to do, just say no. There is no rule that says you have to say yes to everything everyone ever asks of you. This is part of why so many people live in constant stress. They never learned to say no. People are more understanding than we give them credit for. You’d be surprised at how infrequently the world falls to pieces because you said no to a request.

4.) Take care of yourself. This looks different for everyone, but in general you should just remember to do something nice for yourself from time to time. For some people that means indulging in a favorite sweet treat, or getting a massage, or going rock climbing, or going fishing. Whatever feeds your soul and refreshes you, make the time for that. No matter how small of a thing it is.

5.) Do something physical. I’m not talking about going to the gym (unless that’s your happy place). I’m talking about getting outside in the sunshine and doing an activity that you really enjoy. Maybe it’s going for walks around the neighborhood, or playing a sport, or taking your dog to the dog park, or gardening. Whatever you can find a little time for to keep your body moving and getting some fresh air in your lungs.

6.) Know when it’s time to move on from something. This is up there with saying no. There comes a time for a lot of the things we get invested in when we need to let go of it and move on to something else. For example, I started a small henna tattoo and face painting business back in 2011. It was fun while it lasted, but I got to a point when I knew it was time to move on from there. Letting go of that, which had clearly run it’s course for me, allowed me to find the next important thing in my life. Remember that change is good.

7.) Weigh the pros and cons of things. If you are thinking of taking on a new project, job, hobby, etc. weigh the good and bad things that go along with it. That will help to teach you what are things you can live with and what things are deal breakers. You’ll be surprised at how many things you will wisely reconsider with this tip.

8.) Write things down! Whether you are venting in a journal after a difficult day at work, or visualizing your future plans, writing things down can be very powerful in manifesting the things you want, or helping you work through things that are tough to deal with.

9.) Lastly, but possibly the most important thing to remember, LAUGH. If you aren’t laughing a little every day, you’re missing out. Laughter can change your whole day and remind you to not take things too seriously. Always remember to look for laughter throughout your day. These are a couple of books that my husband and I discovered that always make us laugh, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, and Emails from an Asshole: Real People Being Stupid

Sometimes the best answer to juggling a busy life is to just make it less busy by dropping some things that just aren’t serving you any longer. I hope that some of this advice will find it’s way into your thoughts and you can apply them to lower your stress levels and more effectively juggle your crazy life.