And a very merry Thanksgiving to you!

Thanksgiving in our household is something of a haze. To be honest, I don’t remember a really good Thanksgiving that sparked the love I have for this season when I was younger. I do remember the delicious food…

Scratch that. There was one where the sisters and I were falling apart in every sense of the phrase – mentally, physically, emotionally – and trying to pick each other back up. Where Toni had more than her share of vino at dinner, and our family let go, laughed, cried, played games and grew into us.

That’s what sparked my love of Thanksgiving.

This sums up the infamous Thanksgiving!

This year there is SO MUCH I have to be thankful for.

It’s been the year of love. Not only did my soul sister Ashely and her handsome hubby welcome the most precious miracle into the world,

Baby

Baby Emma Grace

But my other, long-time, ride-to-die love and bestie since high school, Kim, said “I do” to the most amazing, warm-hearted man, Greg.

Thanksgiving for me has always been a reminder of the little things we take for granted. It is really easy in our everyday hustle and bustle to get lost in the stress, the annoyances, and lose sight of the big picture. For me, Thanksgiving is a time to remember the silver lining. To take those annoyances and find a reason to be thankful for them. For my Thanksgiving post, I tried to see some of my daily stresses as daily blessings, to be thankful for everything.

I am thankful for the bills I pay every month. These bills mean I have a job so that I can pay those bills. These bills also mean I have a roof, at times leaky, but still a roof over my head that shelters me. A home that Cody and I have built and will continue to build. Through harsh winters, stupid springs and much much more.

Paying bills with pizzazz!

The savings account that I have built up over the years is dwindling because of this year’s upcoming nuptials. This means I am going to marry one of the sweetest men I have ever met, a man that has more strength and determination than most.  I’ll save the rest for my speech. 😉

I just had to! HA!

The increase in hourly work weeks, more time sending emails and less time lazing on the couch or spending time with friends and family means I am in a field that is growing and thriving. That I have the ability to put in extra hours and have the opportunity to build up an amazing company. I have a job – period!  I am able to contribute to our household more now than I ever have before. Being able to help Cody with the day-to-day means more to me than anything.

Cody and my busy weekend schedules mean we have some of the most amazing friends that are there to support and pick us up when we are at our worst and celebrate when we are at our best.

If we were sitting around a table, this is the time where I would lift my glass and propose a toast to all the silver linings! Try and look at the tough stuff this Thanksgiving weekend and make it into a positive, find your silver linings exercise.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Jacqui

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You can’t control the hand you’re dealt

It really is all in how you play the hand, your attitude as you face adversity, what you choose to focus on.

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I believe you lose a lot of peace and joy in life when your focus is on the negative, when you stay and wallow when heartache knocks at your door, when you embrace and thrive off playing the victim.

In fact, I don’t just believe it, I know it’s true.

While compared to some, my life has been anything but challenging. Compared to others it’s not the easiest story to read. If I chose to sit here and list all of the damaging moments, the moments I didn’t think I could survive, the moments I questioned, “why me?”, I am sure I could make some of you, our faithful readers, feel sorry for me in some way or marvel at how strong I must have been to face those challenges.

But, what is the purpose in doing so? Other than to use these moments as examples of survival, there is no purpose. Other than to relate to another human in an intimate way by shedding light on the darkest scars found on my heart, there is no purpose.

While I do believe part of overcoming and rising above the situation presented to you is fully feeling and processing what is happening, I also know the most important part is 100% your attitude. It all boils down to your ability to gain perspective and how capable you are in accepting the situation as it is – as much as it does really suck sometimes.

HUGE difference.

HUGE difference.

If you’re in a constant state of struggle and life just seems to keep handing you the short end of the stick, maybe it’s time to reflect a little. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re causing the extent of the heartache. Maybe you’re drawing negative situations to yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you’re playing the victim a little too well.

Take a pause to reflect on how often you complain or find yourself in a less than desirable mood?

I used to let the silliest things take up rent in my head and space in my heart. I would focus on what was wrong and worry that it was never going to get better, that I would never learn how to deal or manage it, that I would never feel whole again.

And I know first hand that there will always be some aches that never fully disappear,  but you do learn how to take the lesson and make peace in order to find your happy – no matter how different it may look and feel after.

And I think that’s the key. I think that a great deal of peace comes from knowing, innately, that pretty much no matter what you face in life – you will be okay. Trusting completely that there is a greater purpose, that you will always be taken care of, that God has a plan. It really takes a fight to consistently remember that.

But after it’s been practiced, after it’s been applied to the crappy, non life-altering situations that in the grand scheme of things don’t define you, when it does come time for life to throw a big curve ball at you, you might not necessarily be ready for it, but you do have a better chance at dealing with it well, knowing that it’s all so temporary and that in five years, most of our today worries won’t matter so much.

~ Toni

Guest post – Surviving the empty nest

Julia’s mother-in-law and the Sisterhood’s second mother, Dianne, joins us today as our guest blogger. She’s awesome, so show her some love! ❤

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When do we realize we have changed? It’s not the subtle changes we notice individually, but one day, after an enormous number of microscopic changes, we wake up and realize we are no longer “that person”…whoever that person was. For me, ‘cuz I can only speak for me, that person was someone else’s someone. I spent 55 years being someone else’s someone…a daughter, a little sister, the prize wife, the do-everything-be-everything mom.

Then IT happened, the empty nest happened. How, just tell me, how did this happen? Why did this happen, and especially to me? Empty nest is the quintessential double-edge sword. If it happens then you did a good job, you have successfully launched your offspring into their own lives. If it doesn’t happen then you are a failure, something went wrong and it is most likely your fault! The empty nest affirms that parenting is truly a two-person activity, because the end result is not a wonderful experience alone.

As much as having a child changes your life, no longer having one changes it. At one point in your children’s lives, you were everything to them. Slowly, they have extracted themselves from your scope of influence. If you blink, you will miss that instant when they stand alone, apart from you. You won’t realize it has happened until you discover that the grocery bill has dropped. Now you shop for groceries for special occasions, when the children and grandchildren come for dinner. Otherwise, always keep freezer bags on hand so you can separate the meat into one-person portions.

The question here is how to survive, pick up and press on.

When my mom passed away nine years ago, I baked. I baked everything I knew how and learned some new tricks along the way. I baked for six months. My daughter-in-law took baking back to her mom’s; I supplied the church socials with muffins, cakes and whatever else would fit into a 9×12 pan. That was how I survived that loss. If I couldn’t be thin, then God could make everyone else fat, and I was just doing my share.

When the last one leaves, you celebrate. For me, it was the last wedding, my freedom 55! When the dust settled, the party had ended and all the extended family had gone home, the house became quiet, too quiet.

Now I needed new coping skills. I saw two therapists. The first one decided I had so many issues that he would need to see me twice a week for 18–24 months. We would spend our time digging up all my past issues I had so cleverly buried. The cost would rival my mortgage payments for the period in question. One session with him and I was instantly cured of any repressed issues.

The second therapist lasted longer. She decided on cognitive therapy; let’s talk about what is happening right now, this will help us work on acquiring new skills to cope with being abandoned. She made me think about personal current events, my beliefs regarding those events, and how I might modify my reactions and strengthen the ME I wanted to be.

When I decided to write this blog, I came across one of my homework assignments. I was to make flash cards for myself. Each flash card had 3 positive declarations. Even if I didn’t believe them, I was supposed to write them down. Each day, I was to read these statements without judgement. It’s the power of positive thinking at work.

I stopped reading these cards some time ago. It has been almost two years since the party ended. My journey has not been without trials. Lots of people envy my life. I can sleep late without guilt, I eat cereal for supper because it is easy to prepare, I use the dishwasher once a week so that the parts don’t seize. People forget that at the end of the day, if I haven’t made a conscience effort to see family, no one will touch me, no one will hug me and no one, absolutely no one, will tell me that they love me.

Today, I still am someone’s someone. I am Nana to seven beautiful grandchildren. As they learn to talk, they tell me that they love me, they reach for a hug and a kiss. They continue to need me, even if their parents don’t. What I plan on doing after they grow up, who knows. Let this be a warning to my family: I may unexpectedly drop by, looking for nothing more than a glass of water and an excuse to tell you that I love you.

~ Dianne

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!