Quitter

I am reading a very interesting book.

Quitter. by Jon Acuff

Now my husband likes to tease me because I have the tendency to “weave” any book that I am currently reading into whatever conversation we are having.  For example:

Him: “Hey Sweetie, next time you go to the commissary, could you pick up some razors for me?”

Me:  “You know, that reminds me…I am reading a book about time management.  According to Dr. So-and-So, I need to free up more time for the things that are important to me by having you and the kids take more ownership in the areas of your lives that you ask me to handle.  Therefore, I have posted the commissary list on the refrigerator.  If you need something, it is up to you to write it on the list.  When you simply mention things to me in passing, you abdicate responsibility for the task and it somehow becomes my responsibility.  This makes me feel undervalued, because I am running around trying to meet all of your needs, the kids’ needs, and my own needs.  I simply can’t do it all, and I really need you to step up and take responsibility.”

I think he was expecting me to say, “Oh sure, no problem.”

So, every time I start a sentence with “Hey honey, I am reading a great book…” hubby gets that glazed-over, deer-in-headlights look, and I know that he has retreated into his mental man-cave until the danger of amateur spousal psychoanalysis has passed.

However, I really am enjoying this book, so rather than torture my husband with my thoughts on it, I decided to discuss it here.

No one wants to be a “quitter.”  In American society, it is considered an act of cowardice or failure to “quit” something.  We are brought up to believe that “winners never quit, and quitters never win.”  What a load of crap!

Now, it is true that we cannot expect to hop around from thing to thing, or idea to idea, constantly giving up when obstacles present themselves.

But, when it is obvious that something is not a “fit” for you, are you expected to stay with it, indefinitely?  Of course not.

And this is the main crux of this book.  We all have dreams, passions, interests, and goals that we would like to pursue.  And somehow, our society has romanticized those people who give up everything to follow said dreams, etc.  But that is not the way it should be.

There has to be a bridge between living your life as it is right now, and living the life you desire to live in the land of “someday.”

The best way to do this is not to hate your current situation and daydream about a better life (although yours truly is quite guilty of this from time to time).  Rather, you should embrace your current state and begin to perform with excellence, looking for opportunities to incorporate the skills necessary to accomplish your long-term goals.

Become intentional about how you perform in life.  Don’t see your current job or situation as an obstacle.  Rather, use it as a stepping stone or a building block to where you want to go.

Even if your current job has nothing to do with your passion, you can figure out ways to become “excellent.”

Now I am only about a third of the way through this book, but I gather that part of Acuff’s message is that excellence is a habit.  It must be cultivated and developed intentionally.  It does not happen by accident.

Let me repeat that:

Excellence does not happen by accident.

You can’t go through your daily life being lazy, sloppy, and uncommitted and expect to turn into a creative, energetic ball of excellence on the weekend when you are working on your passion.  No…you must make excellence a habit.  Not perfection…excellence.

OK, so in order to be an excellent mother, I need to get up out of this chair and get my day started, otherwise I will be sending my kids off to school in questionable clothing choices and lunches consisting primarily of chemicals I cannot spell not pronounce.  (Which does not really jive with the whole “Healthy Mom” part of this blog’s title.)

Have an excellent day, and don’t quit your day job! (just yet)

 

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Senior Spouses (Part 1)

This week I have had the great fortune to attend a seminar for “Senior Spouses” here at the United States Army War College.  It has been a great few days of networking, relationship-building, learning, and reflecting.

Now, if you are not familiar with the military, you are probably thinking “What the heck is a ‘Senior Spouse’?”

Basically, a Senior Spouse is a military spouse whose Soldier has been in the military for many years and has attained a certain level of rank and/or responsibility.  The military understands that, in most cases, the Spouse has had to make many sacrifices to support his or her Soldier’s career over the years.  And many times the success of the Soldier has been, in no small part, due to the Spouse’s ability to keep “the home fires burning” and maintain an incredible sense of flexibility.  The Spouse has, undoubtedly, learned many skills and techniques for dealing with military life and she (or he) often has a wealth of knowledge about military life to share with younger Spouses.

While it is true that we military Spouses do not “wear” our Soldiers’ ranks (although some make an attempt to do so), we are “aware” of our Soldiers’ ranks and how that causes the rest of the world (especially within the military community) to see us.  Whether we like it or not, by virtue of being “Colonel So-and-So’s wife” or “Command Sergeant Major So-and-So’s husband,” we are ambassadors for the military.  Whether or not we want to have anything to do with our Soldiers’ careers, the rest of the world still sees us as representatives of the military.

Now, just because we are military spouses, it does not mean that we cannot (or should not) have lives and/or careers of our own.  There used to be a joke that “If the Army wanted you to have a wife, it would have issued one to you.”  In some circles, this attitude still prevails to an extent, but it is rapidly dying out.

The military has come to understand that, as an all-volunteer force, if they want to retain talent, they have to make sure that the families have a certain quality of life.  Spouses need and want to have opportunities to pursue their careers, passions, interests, etc.  The idea that the Spouse should just put her (or his) career on hold is no longer acceptable or realistic.  Finding the balance between supporting the military member’s career and having the Spouse sustain and grow a career of her (or his) own can be quite a challenge (especially in the midst of moving every few years, sometimes to foreign countries.)

The military is making an effort to ease such transitions.  And in the past few years, they have made an attempt to improve the amenities available to military families…more youth activities, tuition assistance programs, better housing, career counseling for Spouses, etc.

But, here’s the kicker:

We are in a time of budget cuts.  As a whole, the military is being required to find areas where it can “cut fat” and reduce spending.  And let’s face it…family programs are not immune to these cuts.  Nor should they be.

The mission of the Army, as one example, is essentially “to fight and win our Nation’s wars.”

The mission is not to make sure that military Spouses all achieve “self-actualization”  or to make sure that free child care is provided for every meeting that a spouse may want to attend.  While these things are nice, when it comes down to it, they are “extras.”  Important extras, but extras nonetheless.  And I give them kudos for having made an attempt to provide many of these things while we have been at war over the past decade.

So we, as Senior Spouses, need to help the younger spouses to manage expectations and empower them to find solutions to their dilemmas rather than simply ask the military to provide everything.  This is a time when we need to come together, get creative, and lift each other up.

While the military has tried to create programs to address many different needs, one of its greatest resources has always been (and I hope continues to be) the families and the way they help each other spontaneously…looking to each other rather than expecting the military to supply the answers and resources to meet our every need.

I am curious…if you have experience with military programs, which ones do you think are important to keep, and which ones do you think would be able to be cut from the budget?

I will address these issues more in the future, but for now (like a good military Spouse)I need to go play “reveille” for my kids in order to get them up and going for the day!

 

 

 

 

Pinterest…Facebook…Twitter, Oh My

Who doesn’t love social media?

I know, I know…not EVERYONE loves social media.  Older generations got along just fine without it.

But younger generations cannot imagine a world devoid of tweets or posts.  (Although, if you ask my teenagers, Facebook and  Twitter are becoming almost passe.  They spend more time on Snapchat and Instagram.)

I find myself in that “grey area”.  My peers grew up without social media or the internet.  Heck, we didn’t even have text messaging.  If we wanted to talk to someone outside of school hours, we actually had to pick up the house phone (no one had cell phones…never mind smart phones) and dial the person’s phone number.   We risked having his or her parents answer the phone, and, using the best manners we could muster, we had to ask if we could please speak to our friend.  I don’t know that I have ever had one of my kids’ friends call and ask to talk to one of my kids.

I digress.

Anyway, as I said, I am in that grey area between the generations of social media and no social media.  I can clearly see the differences in the way people interact and how social media has changed our abilities to engage with other humans.  I even notice that when I spend too much time on social media, I find myself feeling a bit depressed and disengaged with my family.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love me some Facebook and Pinterest!  And, while I am not a huge Twitter fan, I check it probably once a day just to skim the headlines.

But I think we have to be careful.  Most of us complain about not having enough time to complete the tasks that we need to complete.  We say there are not enough hours in the day.  We are sleep deprived.  Our homes are a mess.  And the quality of our work (if we are truly honest) is nothing close to what it should be.

And yet, somehow, we find time to read and re-post Facebook posts that promote our favored political or social agendas.  We find time to re-tweet funny sayings or memes.  We find time to re-Pin that amazing peanut-butter-fudge recipe or handprint craft project that our kids would love (but never find time to actually make it with them).

Even though each of these things only takes a few seconds, these seconds quickly add up to minutes and hours.  I cannot imagine that, on my deathbed, I will say “Gee, I wish I had tweeted more.” or “I really regret not having had a bigger Pin Board.”

Social media has its place in our lives.  I believe it is here to stay.  It can play a positive role in our modern world.  It is vital in today’s business community and is great for small business.  It helps us to maintain connections that would otherwise be very difficult to maintain (especially for those of us with transient lifestyles).

But like any tool, we have to be careful that we use it correctly so we don’t end up “hurt”.  We have to make sure that it does not dominate our lives and move into the realm of addiction.

I am curious, how do you manage your social media time?  Do you find it to be a help, or a time-waster?

 

 

My Not-So-Cute Blog

I have not written anything for several days.  It seems that as soon as I get an idea for a blog post, a child wakes up, another child needs help with homework, another child needs me to drive them to practice, or some household task needs immediate attention.

DSC_0092

I am seeing a trend here.

For a while I have been feeling quite frustrated, even a bit resentful, about this situation.  I see all these mommy bloggers and food bloggers who have amazingly cute blogs, and I have to confess to a bit of jealousy.  I would love to have an attractive layout with fun cartoon-y images, beautiful photography, tabs, menus, etc.

I love visiting these types of blogs.

(Here are a few of my favorites http://www.browneyedbaker.com/,  http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/,  http://thefoodiearmywife.com/,   http://pinkheelspinktruck.com/,  http://www.thehappiesthome.com/,  just to name a few.)

So, you can imagine how discouraged I feel when I can’t seem to find the time to learn all that I would like to know about designing my blog and making it look the way I want.  When I do find time to sit down and work (usually at 5 or 6am on a Saturday morning…eek!) I struggle to decide whether I should be writing or tinkering with the layout.

Searching for tips and ideas, I often get stuck daydreaming in the land of Pinterest and wasting what precious little time I have.

I suppose that I should actually be writing.  I could have the most perfect layout in the “blogosphere,” but without decent content, who the heck will want to stop by, right?

So, for now, I hope you will forgive me for my “not-so-cute” blog and you will still stop by to see what’s going on over here at “Happy Mom, Healthy Mom.”

With that said, if you are a current blogger I would welcome any tips, tricks, links, and/or other bits of advice you have to offer.  Be sure to link to your own blog in the comments!  Thanks for stopping by!

Now, it is 7am, and I have to quit blogging and run one of my kids to track practice!

Favorite Recipe Challenge

I have a little “project” going on in my kitchen.  I am tired of feeding my family “mediocre” food.  I want to find the best of the best recipes out there.  There are so many fabulous recipes out there online, in magazines, in cookbooks, and let’s not forget about Pinterest!  It gets overwhelming!

So I challenged my friends on Facebook to share their favorite recipes of all time.

I kind of hope they will include stories with the recipes as well.  I think the beauty of food is not just the flavor and appeal to the other senses.  Rather it is the experience that surrounds the food…thinking back to baking cookies in Grandma’s kitchen, reminiscing about the time you burned the meringue on the Easter dessert (oh, wait, that was me), or reveling in the first time your kids asked for seconds of the dish you slaved over.

If you would like to be a part of this, you can share the one recipe that you could not live without.  You can either link to it in the comments, write it out in the comments, or email me with it .

I can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!

Let me tell you about…

My husband.

My fav pic of Craig

Yep.  This guy.

He is pretty stinking amazing.

And that can be wonderful and infuriating all at the same time.

Now no one is perfect.  But every once in a while you come across someone who makes you scratch your head and say “Is this guy for real?  Is there ANYTHING he can’t do?”

That is my husband.  His mind is unbelievably sharp.  He nearly has a photographic memory.  His drive to succeed spills over to the people around him, whether it is his family, acquaintances, or the  Soldiers he is leading.

He will probably kill me for saying this, but he also has a huge heart.  Just the thought of our girls going off to college in a couple of years evokes a lump in his throat.  And, like any good Irishman, he has been known to shed a tear in his beer when reminiscing about loved ones who are no longer with us.

He is stellar Army officer,  a wonderful father, an amazing husband, and a down-right good man.

He is also my best friend.  He is the person with whom I have the most fun, I laugh the hardest, and I I share many inside jokes.

Now, it is not all roses.  We definitely have our difficult moments…those times when we each question our own sanity for having married the other.  As first-born children, we both tend to think we are always right and the other one is simply “in the wrong.”  Those times when we ask, “Why on earth can’t he (she) see things the way I do?”

And it drives me crazy that so many things that come naturally to him are a challenge for me.  (I’m sure the opposite is true as well, but I am hard-pressed to come up with something that I can do that he can’t do better…except maybe childbirth and breastfeeding.)

And  sometimes it seems like we won’t get through the current challenge…but then we do.

We make the choice to do so.  And then we become that much stronger.  And we have a little more experience from which to draw the next time we have a disagreement.

I am very thankful for my husband.  I am not sure where I would be without him.  I do know that my life would not be nearly as rich and I would not have had the amazing experience I have had, if he were not a part of it.

We are a great team, and  even though we make a lot of mistakes (individually and as a couple), we are able to look at each other most days and say “well done.”  And even though that does not sound exciting and Hollywood-romantic, it is that ability…the ability to find satisfaction in a day’s work and in knowing your partner was with you working towards common goals…that lays the foundation for all of the more flowery romantic stuff.

Now please excuse me while I go put up my feet, turn on Les Miserables, and break into the box of Girl Scout cookies that this amazing man brought home for me today 🙂