Thursday, March 29, 2012

Family Rules

Shopping this week, I bought “Family Rules” to hang in our home. This sweet set of laws is sure to promote harmony under any roof. Look it over and I’m positive you'll agree. My favorites on this list are Laugh Out Loud and Listen to your parents.  However, after reviewing  “Family Rules” I realized some policies that my all-boy household require are missing. Without these "Customized Family Rules" listed below, our family would tilt completely out-of-balance.

Family Rules
Wear deodorant
Shower daily
Use soap
Keep your ears clean
Keep your mouth clean
Don’t kick your brother
Don’t hit your brother
Don’t look at your brother
I said don’t look at your brother
Use your toothbrush
Use the toilet brush
Pick up the seat
Be a gentleman
Napkin on lap
Don’t burp at the table
Don’t shove blow-up Monkeys under your clothes at the table
Pat attention
<><> <><>
Do you see why additional rules are needed?
Pay your debts
Use a tissue
Put tissue in trash
Take out the trash
Don’t play with knives
Be careful with air soft guns
Wear eye protection
Wear clean socks
Wear a smile
Pray
Feed your soul
Feed the Dogs
Clean up the dog mess
Don’t step in dog mess
Avoid muddy puddles
Avoid messy relationships
Lower that horrid music
Lower your voice
Don’t hide candy in your room
Don’t hide anything in your room
Love your Mother

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Missouri of Procrastination

Many lessons are learned the hard way. Experiencing the stress of procrastination, for example, is pure misery, or shall I say, Missouri?  I know that postponing leads to anxiety and pressure, but Daniel didn’t.
Until last week.  
He had three weeks to complete his 5th Grade Missouri State Report (20 pages) that also included a Missouri State Cookie with oral presentation. I reminded Daniel the first two weeks, but he chose not to begin until week three! This project was a ton of work, especially the research, and he spent 2-3 hours a night learning about Missouri’s historical facts, geography, people, politics, industry etc. It was an intense week filled with Jesse James, Indians, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Ozark Mountains and coal mines. When it was finally over (and Missouri never looked or tasted so good) Daniel admitted that he learned a lesson about planning and the misery of procrastination.

This is a valuable lesson to learn "early on" if a person hopes to keep the balance in, not only schoolwork, but life.
It is ironic that Missouri is known as the “Show Me State,”
because it sure showed him!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Balance Tip O' The Week - Don't look back

When riding Blanche across neighborhood streets, I have to look behind first. This takes extra balance, and I wobble if I turn and twist too much checking for cars. I've learned that I can't look back too long or I am sure to lose stability and fall on my face. Failure!
If you have failed in the past (and who hasn't?) none of that really matters because this moment is an opportunity to create something completely new, completely different and completely fresh.
Whatever is blocking you from future success is happening now! Many people try to analyze their past to break through their current problems but this doesn’t serve the purpose to create what you desire for the future.
If you are walking up a ladder and you keep slipping, you’re not going to reach the top if you analyze why you keep slipping, you will reach the top by discovering what you need to know to be able to reach the top.

Climbing a ladder. Riding a unicycle. Whatever goal, plan or struggle surrounds you, it's key to keep moving forward and find ways/solutions to be successfull and continue onward.
 Don't look back ;0)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hurry Magical-Unicycle-Easter April

Magic Castle here I come
At home on a Saturday night celebrating the never-ending-15th- birthday of Lucas via slumber party. Heck, you only celebrate fifteen once, or in his case, four-times-in-one-month! With my husband plugged into practicing his guitar solo, me thinks this a great time to catch up on Unicycle Rose. If you were curious, I rode Blanche four miles today, meeting my weekly goal of eight miles total. Soon, I’ll be pushin my short legs into six-mile mode in preparation for the 10K in April.
Show me The Bunny ;0)

Another exciting happening is that I sent my blog post “Magical” (3-16-12), to magician Mark Collier, whom we met in Santa Barbara on my Birthday. I thanked him and expressed how much we enjoyed his tricks and humor. He responded with “You were a lot of fun to perform for” (read:one too many jalapeno martinis).“I hope you guys come into The Palace again sometime. Let me know if you ever want to go to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I will be performing there on April 6th and 7th.”

Did he say Magic Castle?

I’m part-country bumpkin and was not sure what this Hollywood-Abra-Cadabra-Castle-thingy was about. However, my big-city sister, Miss Piggy, flipped at the thought of visiting the Home of the Academy of Magical Arts. It's on her bucket list, but not an easy goal to check off, as it is an exclusive private club and you must be a member or have a guest card from a member to gain admittance. In our case, the Amazing Magician Mark Collier (toss confetti and applaud here), is providing the golden ticket to this thrilling night that hosts five different magic shows in three different showrooms.
I am so done with March “the-eternal-family-birthday month” and ready to dive into a magical-unicycle-10K-Easter month. April? Bring it, show me the bunny!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Balance Challenge ~ Forgive and let’s work on forgetting

Why is it so hard to forgive and forget? C.S. Lewis said “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.”

Going though the words and motions of forgiveness is a horse of a different color than the forgetting part. My human side can reconcile with the one who hurt me, but the mouse riding the wheel in my head hums the hurt over and over.  Forgetting is nearly impossible! It’s like riding a unicycle backwards while juggling. Impossible!
However, if you can bring yourself to forgive and forget you will enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and less stress hormones floating in your blood. You’ll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive. Sounds like good emotional balance to me! So how do you do it?

I found that forgetting involves remembering graciously.  It means remembering the painful parts, but without puffing them up with angry adjectives that quicken the resentment again. In other words, play it down, not up.
It involves the practice of gratitude -- the active effort to acknowledge what's good in your life. Gratitude is simply focusing your thoughts on the positive things that have happened. Aw, C'mon, there are plenty of amazing things happening in your life that you can "zero in" on. That creates a biochemical experience that makes it more likely that forgiveneess witll occur. Hmmm, biochemical experience. I like the sound of that :0)

Good luck Grasshopper!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome March 20, 2012!

Calling all rainbows, butterflies and unicorns! 
After a heavy rain and then sunshine, we were given a pre-Spring gift on St. Partick's Day. Funny thing, we were celebrating Lucas's 15th birthday and just sat down to a Chinese Orange Chicken Dinner (not corned beef!) when out the window we saw a full-electric rainbow. Next thing, everyone popped out of their seats for a closer look at God's awesome creation.
The pot of gold was delieverd to us this St. Patty's Day!

Jump for Joy! Spring is here; time to welcome rainbows, Easter and sprinkle seeds. Don't forget to wet your plants ;0)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Irish Trifecta

Irish Jokes, Cartoons and Blessings

Although I am 100% Italian, isn't everyone Irish on St. Patrick's Day?
Enjoy a few St. Patty's Day Favorites
(This post is dedicated to my favorite Irish woman, Patty Lu)
 Irish Jokes
How do you get an Irishman on the roof?
Tell him the drinks are on the house.

The Irishman on Liverpool's docks would leave the job early every lunchtime, telling his workmates, 'I'm just going for more cotton.'
When he died they wrote this epitaph on his headstone:
'Gone - but not for cotton.'
 Green Maxine

 Irish Blessings
 May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.
May good luck pursue you each morning and night
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

"If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough.”

Friday, March 16, 2012

Magical


Magical.
That is the word to describe my visit to Santa Barbara last weekend. Why? Because we went to The Palace Grill for dinner and on Friday nights, this Cajun American Bistro features award winning Mark Collier  performing spectacular magic tricks.  This guy is amazing!  The restaurant ceiling is covered in  playing cards that are a result of his tricks. I don’t know how he did it, by now Unicycle Rose is part of the authentic French Quarter ceiling d├ęcor of the Palace Grill.
 
 Not only was Mark captivating entertainment as he strolled working his magic, but he was a one-man act of wit and hilarity. For example, he closely held a small rope in front of me. Next thing I knew, it disappeared. I was amazed. He next made a card vanish and a few other things. I was stumped until he did it with a pack of cards that “thumped” as they hit the floor behind me. I turned around to see a pile of his “magic.” My Techie, Miss Piggy and Lui were in stitches because they saw how he was really playing a trick on me, by throwing the objects outside my line of vision. I almost peed my pants laughing so hard.  Maybe it was the jalapeno martinis that created this magical gullibility? Regardless, you gotta be able to laugh at yourself!
The  Palace  Grill includes more offbeat fun;  they hand out a little menu and  instruct you not to open until the music starts. Soon, a song begins and the entire restaurant is singing “What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong.  Who can resist a sing-a-long especially after a jalapeno martini? Not me!
 The next morning, I rode Blanche while Lui ran. We talked the entire four miles, as we cruised the Santa Barbara beach that was bustling with life. The weather was gorgeous! Later, the four of us enjoyed a tasty Mexican lunch before we headed back to the real world. 
Thank you to Miss Piggy, Lui and their Little Dog Cinco for welcoming us!
 Getting away with my husband sans the kids is magic in itself. I wish I could make myself disappear to weekends like this more often.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our God is an Awesome God


Family time during his six-month stay at UCLA, 1997
Flipping through old photo albums, I was borderline weepy looking at pictures of my first baby. The day he was born. The day of his first open-heart surgery, his first feeding tube and home ventilator. That sick baby now towers over me without all those tubes and wires that I feared would forever be part of him.
I wasn't planning to post anything about Lucas’s 15th birthday today, but after looking through pictures, I realized I'd be remiss if I did not shout to the world and thank the Lord for Baby Lucas. Yes, Our God is an Awesome God! He rearranged my heart and world fifteen years ago today! Lucas will always be that 9.5-pound baby that broke his collarbone out of the shoot and was diagnosed with complex congenital-heart defects on day three of life. This little one rebounded surgery, after surgery, after complications and more surgery and more complications ... plus spent waaaaay too many months living in an Intensive Care Unit. That was the hardest year of my life. And, Lucas’s too.
Abundant life lessons were gathered that difficult year. Through Lucas I learned much more than the anatomy of a human heart and how to suction a tracheotomy. I discovered that bad times don’t last forever and God really does answer prayers, although not always on our timeline.  I learned that babies don’t remember their first couple years and that life really is not fair. I searched to find something good in each day and learned it's the simple, little things that carry the most meaning. I found out what it means to be rich and it has nothing to do with money. The wherewithal to blossom compassion, hope and spiritual growth lives in me today because of Baby Lucas.

What a blessing that the last fifteen years, God has been healing and growing up Lucas into a funny-intelligent-caring- talented-Godly-healthy-young gentleman (most-the-time). I don’t know how else to express it other than, Our God is an awesome God and I have the miracle to prove it!
One last thought. I picked up Lucas today and we were chatting about his birthday. I told him I was looking through his baby pictures. I laughed when he asked "Do I look fifteen years younger?"
You betcha :0)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Balance Tip O' The Week

Be grateful for what goes right
Coming off a weekend where everything went right, I found myself actively appreciating that there were no glitches. Nada. Null. Zippo. Sometimes what you expect is nothing like what life actually delivers. This can be disappointing, emotionally deflating, and leaves you feeling out-of-balance.  I know, it has happened plenty of times. It can be a small glitch like riding my unicycle confidently across a crowded intersection and falling. Or, it can run big, like feeling super sick, or involved in an icky fender-bender. That stinks!
However, when situations do stumble into place and you don’t fall on your face … STOP! Jump for joy! Recognize what is right!  Revel in optimism! Embrace all that is true and good; the weather is gorgeous, you’re with fun company, you’re getting along with your spouse, you're healthy, feel loved and life is rolling along just how you hoped.
Thank God for those extraordinary times when things do go right and you feel (for a wee-bit) blessed with the rare gift of  wonderful-life balance.
In other words, let's be grateful for what goes right!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Best Birthday Bouquet Ever

Surprise! I walked into Fourth Grade and was greeted by balloons and beautiful spring flowers decorating my desk!  These were better than any fresh bouquet; they were handmade by each student who included a birthday message. Some made my name into an acrostic poem. Cute! Simple, kind expressions are my favorite gift and kid-kind words are at the top of that “touch my heart”  list. I started to get teary as they sang Happy Birthday with their big-toothy smiles and ten-year-old voices. Then, they crooned the "Fourth Grade Birthday Song" and it goes like this:
“This is your birthday song, it isn’t very long. Hey!” (Punch fist in air when shouting Hey!)
These lovely flowers wake up my house, will never die and their sweet sentiments stuck in my head remind me that I “rock,” am "splendid" and a “great math helper,” among other things. If I’m feeling down, these are the blossoms I pick to lift my spirits.
Why does it feel so nice to be loved by children? It just does.
Thank God for my little Fourth Grade blessings!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Let's Celebrate O.T.C.

Dream on it. Let your mind take you to places you would like to go, and then think about it, plan it, and celebrate the possibilities. And, don't listen to anyone who doesn't know how to dream.
Liza Minnelli

Yes, Dreams are free, so let's celebrate the possibilities! That’s my mantra. I like to think I created that saying while riding my unicycle a couple years ago. Well, maybe I did. Whether it be spending lottery winnings I will never see, or dreaming that my son will never-ever need another open-heart surgery, I am a Dreamer; with a capital D, and that ryhmes with P and that stands for possibilities!

“Celebrate the possibilities” is what our friend Liza Minnelli was quoted saying (insert shaking-cabaret-jazz hands here!). Then she advises "do not listen to anyone who doesn't know how to dream." Honestly,  I would not take marital advice from Liza, but when it comes to jazz hands and dreaming she hits the target.

Now, let’s focus on CELEBRATE! Specifically, we rejoice with Janet who is One Tough Chick , aka: O.T.C.  She had her final round of chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday. Her wig that looked darling can be tossed aside (eventually), but Tuesday, marks that date chemo ended and hair started rejuvenating. This O.T.C. is happily ending a  hellish five months of battling breast cancer and she has a long year ahead of radiation and surgery. We all know an amazingly tough person who's fighting this monster and can appreciate what a feat it is to make it to that final chemo treatment.

Cheers to O.T.C! You will be healthy again.
You can dream on it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Balance Challenge ~ Practice

Practice is everything. This is often misquoted, as practice makes perfect. ~Periander
Cheers to practicing whatever odd talents our loving God blessed you with, no matter how wobbly or unsure they are. Do them. Embrace them. They are all yours!

The weather this weekend in Southern California was hot-hot-hot!  It was gorgeous with blue skies plus sunshine and that equals ideal unicycle-riding weather. I am on the cusp of signing up to ride Blanche in a 10K and I have not mounted her in months. It’s been a while since the half-marathon was canceled last October and then rescheduled to January. I didn’t go forward with training, riding over 25 miles a week. My inner groin-undercarriage begged not to and I listened. Those poor things.

Alas, three months later, it was time to pull Blanche out of the garage, hop on and go for a spin in this pseudo-summer weather. I debated taking a 2 or 4-mile ride. Time was tight so I cruised Blanche for a mere 2.3 miles. Piece of cake! Or, so I thought This is where the above quote ties in. Apparently, practice is everything. I did okay; a tad wobbly and slightly unsure, but I did it. I returned home with sore knees. The next morning I was greeted with an aching lower back and inner legs that felt like they rode a twenty-mile horsey ride. Ouch!


 Now Blanche is parked in the living room so I will remember to practice, practice, practice!
 
Why not join me in sharpening whatever skills you already possess? Run the extra mile, teach yourself that new song, arrange those garden flowers, practice head stands, refresh your magic tricks or quilt the extra yard? Cheers to keeping up with whatever talents our loving God blessed you with, no matter how wobbly or unsure they are.
My training will continue when I stay overnight with my sister, Miss Piggy, in Santa Barbara this weekend. We are planning a ride/run along the beach while we toast to my 44thBirthday. Clink!