Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reality Check

So, I don't make a million dollars a year.
Not even close.
We are lucky enough to count ourselves above the median income here in South Western Missouri, but things are still tight as we try to adjust to retirement and furnishing our home.

So, I'm not one of those moms that I idolize who seem to have it all together and are just, you know, on top of everything.
In fact, I'm quite the opposite....you know, the kind who is scrambling to find something acceptable for picture--or, like this year, didn't even realize when picture day was...and who constantly seems to be searching for missing shoes or backpacks at the same time we are supposed to be heading out the door to do the morning "drop the kiddos at school" run.
...the kind of housewife who loves and adored organization--even color coding clothing "Roy G. Biv" style, but in reality is shoving things into the hall closet and vacuuming "where people see" right up until company comes over...and even then is apologizing for the globs of black hair that my Newfoundland leaves all through the house no matter what time of year. *sigh*

I'm also the kind of wife that realizes my husband has PTSD/TBI issues--thus I find myself helping him search for his wallet or shoes or whatever because he can't remember where he put them...thinking all the while, "Umm...I have 3 children...one teenager, one "tween" and a 1st grader...why am I doing this for my nearly 40 year old hubby? And why is it that I can remember where everyone else's stuff is, but no one seems to have a clue when my crap turns up missing?"
....and then I feel all kinds of guilty for a little bit...and then forgive myself because, Lord-have-mercy, I am only human and I'm trying...I really am trying to give my best, but for what ever reason I seem to get caught up on one thing and then something else falls behind.

Please tell me this sounds familiar.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who tries to budget--yet forgets a bill or doesn't think to plan financially for something and then has to juggle/maneuver things around to make it all work...
...who has made valiant attempts at creating a daily schedule and a "home organization binder" but with 3 kiddos and this monkey on our backs called PTSD/TBI, things get over looked, forgotten, put off, adjusted, and then who knows what else! *laugh*

I try to stay balanced.
I try very hard to not strive for perfection; however, with Pinterest as my comparison...well....it's rather difficult. *laugh*

Can I let you in on a little secret?
In my crazy brain, your home is literally perfect...like Pinterest perfect.
Your pantry is perfectly stocked with all the labels facing out and organized by this incredible system.
Your meals are planned--always.
You never forget anything at the grocery store.
You are dressed fashionably and with no dog drool or kiddie oopsies anywhere to be seem..oh and your shoes, jewelry and purse perfectly accessorize your ensemble....and you have these outfits planned out the week before.
There is no digging in your purse because it is perfectly stocked and organized at all times with no crazy loose receipts fluttering about.
Your animals are perfectly bathed and groomed.
Your towels folded and organized.
Your house is always cleaned--with fresh vacuum tracks in your carpet.

Why are you laughing and rolling your eyes?
Is this not your reality?

See, I had some girlfriends clue me in on the reality that this "reality" in my mind that I was constantly comparing myself to was ridiculous and just not REAL.

I was stressing myself out for some illusion I had concocted all on my own in my head.

So what is real?
What is realistic?

Well...you are going to have to define that one for yourself, but right now my office isn't all the way unpacked and even though I make organized little piles every other day, my kittens or children come in and remind me how much they love me by leaving this:

About once a week...ok, probably more like every 2 weeks when myself or the children run out of clean socks and underwear, my laundry room looks like this as I catch up on a tsunami of dirty clothes:

And my kitchen sink seems to always have "straggler" dirty dishes that didn't quite make it into the dishwasher....like this:


But you know what? I don't care anymore...because  have found that as long as my children and husband get my attention for a few minutes a day--they don't care whether or not the house is immaculate...and Lord knows I don't look back over my childhood and wish my mother had kept the house cleaner...in fact, I remember how stressed she was raising 4 children with a husband that worked away trying to keep it to the standards that her mother kept her house....oh and her mother had a live in house keeper. ;-)

So, why am I writing this?
Why am I sharing my "lived in and full of love" house?
Because I want you to know that you are a superstar!
You are more than enough...and this "stuff" that women's magazines tell us is important is B.S.
I want you to love yourself--have fun with life where ever you are at and let that be wonderful.

For instance, we pinching pennies to save for Christmas and fix this crazy car that "blew up". So, I've decided to see how creative I can be to feed my family for $150 or less a week. I'm learning how to make bagels and bread at home...along with a bunch of other stuff. And Christmas is going to be rather home made...along with Halloween costumes this year. And we've committed to buying gently used clothes...basically the only thing new we'll buy is socks, undies and shoes.

And you know what?! We are having a lot of fun with it! (And not focusing on "lack" but instead all of the things we have to be grateful for!)

So, I challenge you to give yourself a "reality check" by redefining what "reality" should be in a life that is full of mood swings and unexpected "stuff".

Remember, my friends, to always:
Love with PASSION!
Live with PEACE!
Dare to DREAM...for you are more than "enough" and incredibly worthy of everything you desire--and more!

I love you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Managing Expectations

Can I be totally honest here? I really feel like I have no idea what I am doing sometimes.

No seriously.

In the beginning of the crazy, awesome journey called "Battling BARE" I was only on Facebook. I had no idea about websites or Twitter or blogs or anything like that. Social Media was just fun for me--so the idea of using it as a business just blew my mind.

And then things went crazy...
And the entire team that was working with Battling BARE at the time felt like we were simply holding on for dear life.

Fast forward to today and I am really a one woman show as far as everything really goes, and I really let everything slide for awhile. Even thought about shutting everything Battling BARE related down, but was begged not to by many, many strangers.

So here I am--writing a blog, figuring out what it means to have a Social Media plan, what it means to be the wife of a now retired 20 year Veteran, settling my family into a beautiful home that we don't have enough furniture to furnish--and I've decided in all my home-making to literally build most of the furniture and thoroughly adopt the attitude/philosophy of my secret addiction--The Duggar Family's show on TLC of "Buying used and saving the difference."

This idea means that it'll probably be a full 6 months or so before our home is furnished and "finished"--which drives me absolutely insane in the mean time and delays having a "house warming party" where all our family and friends locally can come see our beautiful new home.

On top of all of that, this move from Tennessee to Missouri has been full of crazy ups and downs, financial adjustments, epic surprises...like the SUV we bought in June having catastrophic engine failure 5 weeks after we bought it...thus we now drive a Ford Flex (which is basically the result of a station wagon and a mini-van/SUV falling in love and having a baby car...ok, I drive a tissue box, people. Ask my children. And yes, he has a name--Felix!) and are still figuring out what to do with the SUV(--so if you have an engine to a 2007 Ford Expedition you are getting rid of, please let me know!)

On top of all of that, we are still recovering from a $3,000 shortage in July, and I just honestly have to sit back and laugh because isn't this life? Isn't this wonderful journey what everyone goes through? That no matter what we plan for and try to figure out, life is full of surprises and pitfalls and just craziness sometimes--and each and every moment is truly a miracle if we stand back and look at it?

Just this morning, I sat contemplating what to write--thinking in the back of mind that really what interesting things so I have to write about? And then all this just started pouring out.

When I look back over 2014 thus far...I could focus on the frustration of all the health effects from the toxic mold in the Tennessee house and how much money we lost remodeling it--or I could realize all the wonderful memories that were made there...like building an awesome flagstone patio and pergola (like this one from ana-white.com)  with my children and my husband.

Here are the plans: http://ana-white.com/2014/05/plans/ryobi-commercial-pergola

I could focus on my husband disappearing to his best friend's house in Carthage, Missouri (9 1/2 hours from where we lived in Springfield, Tennessee) after telling me he was heading to the store to get buns for dinner...thus inducing a state of panic and horrendous fear in the lives of my 3 children and myself. Or I could focus on the outpouring of love and assistance that came from the friends I've met literally and only through Facebook because of Battling BARE.

I could focus on this crazy move to Missouri that we hadn't saved for or planned because I knew my husband needed to be "back home" where he grew up...close to family and friends. That resulted in our financially struggling for the past few months, my daughter and I's precious Pomeranian, "Chewie" getting killed on the road in an area he didn't know and my massive emotional break down because of all the memories of my 1st marriage that resulted in a double homicide Christmas Day 2004 being triggered because Carthage, Missouri is where my 1st husband and I went on our honeymoon  (Odd the way life comes full circle, eh?) and the 30 pounds of weight can that resulted in all the stress...did I mention that when I am stressed I bake...and let's just say I've been baking A LOT!

Or I could focus on this big, beautiful home that my entire family loves! Here is the front of the house:
--and that has a REAL DEAL laundry room! Here is part of it:
(I gotta let my geeky-mom self out for a sec there!)  a huge great room:
 And a functional kitchen that allows my love of all things culinary to go WILD:
Our new precious Pomeranian, "Reggie". The fact that my oldest 2 kiddos were so excited to be in Junior High and Middle school here in Carthage where they would have still been in Middle and Elementary school back in Tennessee. The amazing recipes that I found to feed my "stressed out baking habit" and have made several times over because of the financial strain forcing me to get creative with what I made my family for dinner.

Like this crazy-amazing pizza crust that we now make once a week for Pizza Night on Friday! YUMMY! (Here is the Recipe: http://feelingfoodish.com/the-best-new-york-style-pizza-dough/)

... and the fact that I have an amazing friend, Lori Harder, who got me involved with her busygirlhealthlife.com workout group and I have amazing support through a group of women who have all "fallen off the wagon" a time or two in their journey to a rock-hard body.

This is Lori...I love her...and just have to tell you I met her at a conference in California. She was walking into the women's potty in front of me and I blurted out, "Girl! You have the nicest butt ever!" Yeah...I have no filter sometimes. *laugh*

Life is nutty, my friends. Life is anything but perfect--and I know none of you really expected me to be perfect...I just put that idea in my head. So here is to having realistic expectations and being open and honest with everyone.

Here's to this blog being a window into my crazy life in the hopes that you will see you aren't alone in the chaos that is having a family affected by PTSD...and that your perspective will shift so you see all the things to be grateful and in awe of in your life...instead of all the B.S. that will always be there no matter what.

So, I think that is enough "mind dumping" for my first blog post in over a year.
Make today amazing, friends!

And remember to:
Love with PASSION!
Live with PEACE!
Dare to DREAM...for you are worthy of everything you desire and so much more!

-Ash Wise