What's in a Bag?

Certain scenarios in life will forever change us.

I have come to the recent realization that we are basically Play-Doh in the big scheme of life, being molded on a continual basis.  Sometimes, we are simply reshaped.  Other times, a piece of us might be completey torn apart.  Occasionally, we are rolled up tight in a ball.  And more often than we would like, we are squished completely flat.

But, we must remember that we have the ability to build ourselves back up and reshape our lives.  Sometimes, we just might need a helping hand.

I have talked in the past about trying to take a more positive approach on life.  I am still trying really hard to do this.  It is taking a continuous freaking effort, but I'm trying.  I swear.

Exerting all of this effort and energy to remain positive, gets to be down right exhausting.  The other day, I was in desperate need of a boost.  When I realized there was not enough coffee in the world for the kind of boost I was in need of, I immediately got more exhausted.  I needed a sign that I was doing something right.  That all of the effort I was throwing out there was not all for nothing.

Then, I finally got one. 

My husband and I were about to go visit our beloved family member in the hospital, when I suddenly remembered a forgotten Christmas gift.  I had read somewhere of a person creating a "homeless kit."  They filled a ziplock with nonperishable foods, toiletries, band aids, etc. to give to a homeless person.  

I immediately fell in love with this idea, because I have never been big on giving money, whilst at the same time- I hate doing nothing.  So, I put together a few kits to give to some of my family and friends at Christmas, to help spread the Spam.  I mean love. 

I bought stuff to build a kit for my husband as well; but, alas, being the procrastinator that I am- I ran out of zip locks on Christmas Eve.  So, the items had been sitting on a shelf since Christmas, until a few days ago when I remembered them and finally transferred them to a bag.  That day, we were headed to the hospital downtown Charleston, where there are an unfortunate number of homeless people, so I brought it with us. 

Now, much to my dismay, I have passed a lot of homeless people downtown.  At certain corners, there is almost a guarantee that you will see one.  But, with the route we had been taking (multiple times by this point) to the hospital, we never passed any.  Seriously, not a one.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  So, I was already mapping out an alternative route in my head that we could take on our way home, where we might be able to give out our bag.  Because, we were in dire need of some good Karma, dammit.

On our drive to the hospital, we turn the corner and- VoilĂ !  There he is.  I shit you not.  At a red light, with no one behind us (both are rarities for this part of town).  We stop, roll down the window and give the man our bag.  He gives us a big (primarily toothless) grin, takes the bag and says, "Thank you so much!  God bless y'all."

Some might call it a coincidence- me finally remembering to build the bag for the first time in months, us passing the first homeless person we had ever seen on that route, and him blessing us when we needed it most.

Some might call it divine intervention.

Call it what you will.

I know it was not merely a coincidence.  I know that we were in need of that exact occurrence, at that precise moment.  (As well as in need of all the good Karma we could get.)

We gave that man a bag of stuff.  That man gave us a true gift.

He was the helping hand we needed.  He took our flattened-selves and helped shape us back into what appears to be human form again.

God bless that man,


Spring Fever/F You Groundhog

This past weekend, we took a nice family stroll on the beach and it felt amazing.  It had finally warmed a bit, stopped raining for once, and the wind was eerily nonexistent.  It really made me realize how insanely desperate I am for warm weather.  I want it.  I need it.  Now, please.

I don't know about you- but I recently wanted to smack the shit out of the groundhog when he saw his  stupid shadow, implying that we're going to have to endure even more of this winter weather crap.

My thoughts exactly.

This hatred of the groundhog and longing for warmer days- led to my new list:

Top 20 Signs You Are Ready to Give Old Man Winter 
(and the Groundhog) a F-ing Beat Down.

1.  On the one random warm day when you were actually able to whip out and dust off your trusty flip flops, you were suddenly reminded that you have toenails. And, they have missed you. 

2.  You regret owning a dog because you have to let them outside, in the cold, to use the bathroom.

3.  You really regret owning a dog when you have to chase after them when they run off, in the cold, in your not-warm-enough pajamas, while your toddler is left alone inside.  Destroying your home.

4.  You have caught up on every TV series, ever created, in the history of TV.  Most of which you will forever be bitter towards because you wasted part of your life on them.

5.  Sweaters, scarves, gloves, and jackets are starting to make your inner claustrophobia come out- to the point that you are opting to freeze your ass off and leave them in the closet. 

6.  You are more than over the constant stream of snot flowing out of your kid's nose.  And, especially out of other kid's noses.  Also, you are pretty sure that your kid's doctor's office is lacing their suckers with 12 other possible illnesses every time you pay them a visit.

7.  You realize you have been wearing gray and black for approximately four months straight.  And... you don't really own enough of either color to warrant the excess wear.

8.  You ran out of firewood (for the 9th time), except for the one log you kept to throw at the firewood delivery guy, provided he is stupid enough to try and approach your house.

9.  You miss seeing any form of color, other than brown, in your yard.  This includes dead grass, dead plants, and the dog shit that you have been avoiding to go and pick up because it is so damn cold.

10.  You scour the internet to see if anyone has created an air freshener that smells like fresh cut grass, because you are starting to forget what that smells like.  And now, you want to bathe in it.  (If this does not exist- I call dibs.)

11.  Any Jimmy Buffet song brings tears to your eyes because they are just a cruel reminder of beach days, warm weather, and margaritas.

12.  Your skin has reached a new level of pale, ashy, and translucenency from lack of sun.  I do not care what you try to sell me- the best cure is SUN.

13.  You have not worn blush in months because the wind takes care of that for you as soon as you step outside.  However, it also makes you look like Rudolph.  So, you just look stupid and really should forget makeup altogether.

14.  You weirdly start to miss salads and have worn out every crockpot recipe Pinterest had to offer.  Which, if you are the one person not on Pinterest- that means a shit ton.

15.  Grill?  Wait.  We've got a grill?

16.  You repeatedly find your face shoved between the iron rods of a locked clubhouse fence, staring longingly at the glistening pool.  Yes, people can see you. 

17.  You get slightly frantic when the Girl Scouts come a knocking at your door; because, obviously they are selling delicious cookies; but, you also know that they always come when spring/bathing suit season is approaching.  (I am pretty sure Weight Watchers secretly owns the Girl Scouts.)

18.  You cannot wait to wear a bathing suit, even if that extra 10 lbs. of flubber that your thighs and love handles have packed on from those Girl Scout cookies... is not.

19.  You experience a dangerous level of jealousy towards your friends because they post pictures of their luxurious, warm, tropical vacations.  Are they your friends?  Or, were they put on this Earth just to torture you?

20.  Even though it is a really weird concept, (that I will never fully understand and will always somewhat despise because I have a kid) you forget how much you miss daylight until you spring forward.  

Happy day after Sprungeth Day,

*Sorry for the change in fonts- Blogger app is a b****


I Am Positively Trying

So, I have been MIA for a bit.  Sorry about that.  Or, you're welcome might be more appropriate....

Some of you know that I recently had an unfortunate family situation arise.  So, over the past 2 weeks I have been trying to process and deal with that.  I actually did write a post in my brief stint away, but my husband thought it was best that I kept that particular rant to myself.  I was in a dark, angry place at the time- so that is probably a good idea.  There also may have been a lot of f-bombs in that one...

Since then, I have been trying to really focus on the positives in life.  I do firmly believe that a positive outlook can do wonders for one's health and soul.  Although I have this newfound goal of positivity, I am still continuously reminded that there is no such thing as an all-inclusive, perfectly positive, "yay is me" attitude (at least without the help of some really good drugs).  It's like the resorts where you can eat and drink all you want and soak up the fabulous rays; but, you will eventually have to come back to reality.  And yes, you can have your cake, and you can eat it too; but, that does not mean you won't get fat. 

Trust me- I know that it can be really difficult to stay positive at times.  I know that somedays when it rains, it monsoons.

A recent example, not of a monsoon, but a super shitty moment...  Yesterday, when I was having a not great day already- I had finally sat down to eat lunch, with my newly filled (apparently very large?) glass of water... which I promptly knocked over.  Water poured all over my plate of food, my phone, my computer, the tv remote, my book, a sketchbook, another notepad, some pens, some mail, some jewelry, and possibly the most upsetting victim of the flash flood- my US Weekly Magazine.  As I watched the water overtaking the countertop, spilling over the side, and waterfalling down onto the floor, I became transfixed.  With TLC's Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls playing softly in my head I just sat there and stared.  Initially, I was simply amazed at how much shit I could even have in one place.  And, how did that cup physically hold that much water?  Where is all of it coming from?  It was like the clowns that continuously emerge from that stupid tiny car.  I looked up to the ceiling to verify there was no leak where additional water might be flowing from.  Finally, thanks to my son asking "mommy, what dis mess?" I snapped out of it and started drying things off.  Naturally, I ran out of paper towels and nailed my head on the underside of the counter in the process.  This led to more water flowing... this time, from my eyes.

Yes, some moments, some days, some weeks.... really just suck.  So, I have recently started making my own positive moments occur.  Screw waiting for them.  At this rate, I could easily be miserable for the rest of my life.  But, I am not going to take the easy way out and dwell in my misery, waiting on this so-called "positivity" to maybe find me.  I am choosing to create a different, more positive take on life.

The Little Things
One thing that makes me happy is when I can make someone else happy.  Just by doing something little.  Such as, waiting an extra 5 seconds for a mom with a new baby to unload her groceries so that I can take her cart back for her, in the rain.  Shoot, it made me cry once when someone did it for me.  I know it will at least put a smile on her face.  Unless she's a total b*tch.

Or, letting the aggressive old lady at the grocery store go in front of me in the checkout line...  Yes ma'am, I know you have 3 times more crap in your cart than me... and I have a toddler in tow... and I know you are going to whip out that checkbook to pay... and then you will update your check register as the line behind you grows.  But, you go ahead.  I am just going to have to change this poop in my kid's diaper when I get home anyways, so take your time.

Ok, yes I know both of these references are at the grocery store.  But, alas, it is my second home.  And, yes I know that I still have a long way to go to be a "positive person."  My point is- these little things for other people, that I have been trying to take advantage of when they arise, have helped to make my day a little better.  Just, these silly, little things...

Maybe Humanity is Not Totally, Completely Screwed
Along with creating a few positives in my life, I am also constantly reminding myself of my recent realization regarding humanity.  (I will call this RRRH.)  These past 2 weeks, I've rediscovered how amazing people can be.  Something, that I did not even realize I had forgotten.  

The outreach of support our family has received has been beyond incredible.  We had more food then we could physically consume, more prayers than we could believe, cards, flowers, you name it... and we were so grateful for it all.  

Along with food, I personally also had people helping out with my dogs, my son, and even my wine supply.

A text, from an amazing friend who picked up my son from school, took him to pray for his family,
and kept him overnight for us. Words can never express our thanks.  But... I will try with wine. ;)

And, whether you believe in prayer or not- I can guarantee that you would feel pretty damn good knowing you had all those people backing you up.  It is an amazing thing when that many people join together and focus their attention to your wellbeing.

People who reached out to show their support, really did more good than they can imagine.  Knowing that they care enough to go out of their way and make an effort to comfort you is an incredible gesture.  It is something they did not have to do.  I am sure that they have plenty of other things to do with their time.  But, they chose to dedicate some of their time to us.  Sure, there are those who are just nosy and want to be in the know.  But, most people are really just good.  It has actually somewhat restored my faith in humanity.  For awhile there... I was pretty sure 99.9% of the population was going to hell in a hand basket.

Now That's Amore
I also have been amazed at how much one person can be so loved.  I can only hope to have 1/5 of the kind comments my family member has received, be said about me one day.  Calls, cards, visitors, even friends driving hours just to see him and give him a hug and express their love in person.  To know that you have impacted that many people in such a profound way must be a tremendously good feeling.  (Not to mention, he probably did not even have to initially make a conscious effort to do kind things [like myself at the moment] to have received these kind words.)

My Positivity Challenge/Reminder
I challenge you to try to do a nice gesture to someone, especially on your shitty day.  Make your day and someone else's day a little less shitty.  Even if it is not happening naturally, make an effort.  Put a tip in the jar that you have forever pretended not to see.  Tell someone who is struggling that is okay, and heaven forbid- even offer them help!  Donate your insane amount of crap that you have not used in years to a good cause.  Donate your money.  Donate your time.  Find something.  Do something.  

I know that this is in no way some new miraculous phenomenon- to be nice to people.  But, sometimes you need a reminder to just do something nice for someone.  This is your reminder.  Because, it is easy to forget when you're going through your shitty day, just how important that nice gesture can be.  And, it will make your shitty day a little better and one day you might find yourself in a position of needing to be on the receiving end of a similar gesture.

These past two weeks has forever changed me.  And, although I did not see it coming- I think it actually changed me for the better.  I am trying to focus on the positives, even when they seem to be nonexistent.  It has helped me to forget the old, stupid shit that had been weighing me down and that was preventing me from being a better person.  It has made me want to be a better person.  I now appreciate life, and everyone in it, more than I ever have.

Now- go do something nice,

*For you lazy asses, you can just click on the links below:

National Brain Tumor Societyhttp://braintumor.org/

Cancer Research Institutehttp://www.cancerresearch.org/giving-to-cri/ways-to-give