Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Balance Tip O’ the Week ~ Practice Tradition

Family traditions are things that families do together on a regular basis and I visualize these rituals build "family glue" that provides security while creating fun, positive memories.
We practice conventional traditions; turkey on Thanksgiving, prayer before meals, Christmas stockings and gingerbread houses, among other things. However, there is one goofy-family tradition that’s greatly anticipated and manufactures "silly-family glue" that we all benefit from. I am talking about our Annual Halloween Dress-Up Dinner. This tradition started when our sons were quite young and, like most little kids, they loved to dress up in costumes. All. The. Time. My husband and I decided to channel our inner child and join them. Since then, every year we eat a special dinner in costumes and play games together afterward.  Even though our sons are  older now, I realize that it’s more important than ever to observe family traditions (especially the silly ones).

Here are some reasons why:
1.      Family traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember.
2.      Family traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging.
3.      Family traditions help your child with their identity. Face it; it helps to know that you ‘belong’ when you are trying to figure out who you are. Isn’t that the main job of adolescence?
4.      Family traditions help parents instill the family’s values to their kids.
5.      Family traditions offer kids a sense of security. Knowing our children face many difficult issues, practicing traditions reinforces that your child has a family to turn to when dealing with the outside world.

Our Dress-Up Dinner is a tradition we look forward to every year and it's a kooky way to maintain good family balance in our busy family life. Oh, and if you are wondering what my husband dressed up as this year, join the club! He scrounged through the costume box, then strapped on his new Halloween prop; Humphrey the Humping Dog. He was a hilarious sight that won’t easily be forgotten, no matter how hard we try!

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world. Susan Lieberman 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Balance Tip O' the Week

A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
~Larry Elder
This Balance Tip is the truth!
But I will note that even when you have a plan, sometimes the goal wilts right before your eyes.  Yes, I am referring to the postponed half-marathon!  Thankfully, this is not the case for our Church’s Ladies Getaway. After months of planning our team of six is excited to bask in the fruits of our creative energy and hard work.  In addition, the best part is that it hardly seemed like work because we moved together like a well-oiled machine!  The culmination of all our various gifts created an environment that promoted deeper relationships and a shared workload. It felt like God's hand was present in our thoughts and plans every step of the way.

Our theme is “Going Deeper,”which is based on  Debbie Alsdorf's latest book. We are so excited to have Debbie be our speaker with  sessions titled “Get Real with God,” “Get Back to Basics,” “Get Set to Live Differently,” and finally “Live Like it’s Real.” Tomorrow, over one hundred women are escaping to the mountains of Calabasas to go camping at Mt. Crags Retreat Center.  Well, it is sort of camping.  There are beautiful landscapes, in addition to running water, toilets, showers, meals and simple lodging. Now, that’s my kind of roughin’ it!

To keep the ball rolling we met earlier this week to assemble retreat goodie bags, folders, nametags and to spend time praying together before this long awaited weekend takes flight. My husband is working in Seattle all week, so it really was a girl’s night out!
My favorite part of any retreat? It's the escape away from life’s crazy pace. The hours of Free Time on Saturday will be savored like a triple-scoop ice cream cone from 31 Flavors. Well, that's after I lead gals on a hike in the mucho dry heat. That will be a challenge, as I fear running into rattle snakes.
I am scratching my chinny-chin-chin because this Ladies Getaway weekend hasn’t officially started and already our team is scheming about plans for next year’s retreat … which is actually a wonderful thing, because a goal without a plan is just a wish!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The half-marathon was rescheduled to November 20th. I considered sticking with my training, despite my undercarriage feeling the fallout of riding a unicycle twenty-five miles a week. Then I found out the new race day is January 8, 2012! I threw my hands up in the air and requested a refund. It is so disappointing to work hard for something and then have it snatched away before enjoying the fruits of your hard work.
On another note, my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and is having surgery tomorrow.  Big Farumph! That gave me a renewed perspective on what is worthy of frustration and disappointment. So, I’ll shut up and pray for her restored health and strength while I ask God for the blessing of good health for those around me.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time to Develop My Sense O' Humor

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. William Arthur Ward

Hesitantly, I'm developing my sense of humor upon learning that the Camarillo half-marathon set for this Sunday is postponed six weeks! Really? Blanche and I have been training since July for this damn day! Continuing to walk the tightrope of life, I am seeking the pole that will add balance to my steps, AKA: humor.

Humor, where are you?

I even made a cute tank top to wear for the race, and my brother-in-law was running the full marathon (stud). This was going to be a memorable family event.

At this moment? Like a flat-chested awkward teen, I feel underdeveloped (in the Humor Department).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Old Gold = New Money

My money tree is barren! One morning last week I set my mind on how I could come across a stack of twenty-dollar bills.  Don’t think that I'm money hungry, all our needs are met, but lately it feels like extra cash could make life flow easier and money arguments fewer. My mind was open to all possibilities as I read the morning paper. A huge insert begged me to sell my Gold for Cash … then I recalled my friend Ellen mentioning that she gathered her old jewelry, sold it, and skipped home with a handsome amount. Flashing back, I recalled that I blossomed in the 80’s when gold jewelry was all the rage. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, maybe I have some old gold lying around that could be turned in for a stack of twenties?”
Off I went to my twenty-five year old trinket box. Four broken gold necklaces and three gold bracelets (one broken), sat amongst the “cheerleader” and “Special Sister” charms; all ancient gold stuff I loved at one time.
I searched the internet to find places to visit that day. My father acted like an attorney on retainer, coaching my every move over the phone. My first stop yielded a $564 cash crop. Why, yes, I was pleasantly surprised! When I explained to Jacky at We Buy Gold (www.wcgoldbuyers.com) that I was just shopping around, she said, “I can offer you $630 with my personal incentive.”  I thought to myself, "How many twenties does that equal?" I was shocked, but stuck with the plan my dad guided me on. She did not like my negative response, so the Cute Crook  called to see what the “guaranteed highest offer” was that she could offer. Apparently, they advertise that they will beat any competitor’s bona-fide offer by 110%. Next thing I knew she dangled out a huge number … wait for it … $1050. What a leap! All that ching-ching made me want to sell but I saw that this had to be a fraud of some sort because she was scheming to steal my broken gold just minutes ago for $564. I told her I had to call my father (my husband was not answering due to work commitments, so I gave up and leaned on Dear Ol’ Dad).
Like a beacon in the fog, my father advised me to get out of there FAST and head somewhere else. Off I went to a local jeweler, “My friend in the diamond business,” is his slogan. They seemed honest and upfront. After careful weighing, they offered me $1048.  I had one more place to visit, but it was thirty minutes away, so I decided to call “Eli” at BST Gold first. I gave him the weights over the phone and he said it would be worth $1300 to $1400 … no sheet! All the reviews for BST Gold in Woodland Hills (www.bstgold.com) were glowing so I headed toward Los Angeles. Sure enough, Eli and Maya greeted me in a personal manor, offered over $1300 for the broken gold, PLUS they gave me a Starbucks Gift card! And they paid in cash! They took my driver’s license and thumb print, so it seemed like a straight operation.
I took the stack of green and headed back home. What an unexpectedly crazy day that was! I realize that for some this isn’t much money and to others it’s a windfall. For me it’s a huge-amazing-surprise windfall.  I smile when I realize that I woke up one morning scratching my head wishing for some extra cash and went to bed feeling like that wish came true.