The gift that keeps giving: reflections on Mother’s Day

I’ve been blessed in my life with two parents with an abundance of wisdom, advice and patience. Sure I may not have appreciated it as much when I was younger (specifically a teenager), but I always understood how lucky I was.

In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to share some of the advice I’ve received from my mother.

I should point out my mother is a science teacher as well as a superhero so advice is something she is used to giving. I mean she teaches junior high students daily and that’s a superhero in my book.

She taught me to work hard

My mom has been a shining example of working hard. She has shown me that whether it is school or sports or work in general that putting in time and effort will pay off.

She taught me how to laugh

My mother has an amazing sense of humor. She continues to help me laugh through situations and reminds me to not take myself too seriously.

She taught me to be optimistic

She is always there to point out the positive in every situation. She showed me that being positive is infectious and spreads to others.

She taught me how to treat others

I remember at a young age my mother would show me how to treat others – my friends, my friends’ parents, families, strangers, waiters and others. I specifically remember her reminding me when I was younger to thank the parents of my friends whenever I was invited anywhere. She taught me to treat others how I wanted to be treated.

She taught me it’s okay to say f**k it. 

I can be a worrier. I get that from her. But she also gave me the ability to  let a stressful situation go. In fact if she knew I told others she said that it’s okay to say f**k it she would probably say, “Gads.” Have I mentioned how great my mother is?

She taught me it’s okay not to be okay 

She taught me that it’s okay to cry. She taught me it’s okay to be upset about something. She taught me that it’s okay to fail and that it really is all about what you do after you fail.

She taught me not to take anything or anyone  for granted

My mother lost both of her parents when she was young. I know on days like today she misses her parents more than words could describe. She has reminded me not to take what I have for granted and because of that I fully understand and appreciate everything I have.

She teaches me every day to enjoy life

She showed me to appreciate what I have and who I have to share it with. She has taught me to take chances and not take myself too seriously. She has taught me to help others when I can and to ask for help when I need it. She showed me to work hard but to be humble. She showed me all I have to be grateful for and how to enjoy it.

I am what my mother made me and for that I am so thankful for my mom today and every single day. I think this quote from Abraham Lincoln is fitting:

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

I want to give a special shout out to all the mothers out there. You’re all superheroes in my book. What about you? Did your mother or someone else in your life teach you some kind of lesson you still remember today? What was it?

Woman to woman

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I had to laugh when I read my coffee cup: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

I was getting coffee with a friend and her cup had a positive and uplifting quote about the future. In comparison, mine seemed a tad harsh, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Yes I’m familiar with the quote and am aware it is from Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state. Albright said it. Taylor Swift quoted her. Sarah Palin quoted a version of it. And finally, Starbucks printed it on my coffee cup. (There are various other versions of this quote out there).

In an interview in 2010, Albright talked about her experience as former secretary of state and being a woman.

“I love being a woman,” the self-proclaimed feminist said. She went on to say women are better at a lot of personal relationships and telling it how it is, when necessary.

From there, Albright spoke of her passion for women issues and the criticizing character women have when it comes to other women. A lot of times we talk about others and criticize them for one thing or another. When she first started as secretary of state, many women criticized her and that criticism isn’t coming from a genuine place, she said.

“[Women] have a tendency to make each other feel guilty,” Albright said.

She continued a little more by saying her motto is there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other. We need to help each other.

We need to be there for one another. Instead of talking about women and tearing each other down we need to build them up and do what we can to support them.

I am fully appreciative of the pay it forward movement, but I also think that we should use our kindness and ability to help others in little ways every single day.

Not to get too cheesy, but, girl power.

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Eight shades of mean

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On Wednesday we wear pink, you can’t wear a tank top two days in a row and you can only wear your hair in a ponytail one day a week. Oh and you can only wear jeans or track pants on Friday, which also works in with casual Friday at work, I guess.

When watching it through the likes of Regina George, Cady Heron, Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith it’s funny. Really funny; like I’ve watched it 10 times funny.

In the work place, it’s not so funny. Mean girls* exist everywhere, not just prom dances and high school hallways. (*mean girls in this case don’t necessarily have to be girls. They can be mean coworkers (regardless the gender) who are well, mean, to others.

Here are eight shades of mean I’ve met through various places of work.

1.) Mimicking Molly
Molly will mimic you (almost) behind your back. Laugh too loudly? She will mimic you loud enough for you and others to hear. Drum your fingers on your desk while your lost in thought? She’ll drum an entire verse, louder.

2.) Chameleon Carl
Carl will soar through one-on-one interactions. Get him in a group and you’ll never know who you’ll get. He might act nice around nice people, but when he gets in a group of people gossiping or complaining, he’ll fit right in and act similarly to others.

3.) Pretentious Pam
Pam went to a small school and participated in 50 activities and received 1000 awards. She turns conversation of other people’s accomplishments back to that one time she won the ____ award.

4.) Insulting Ian
Ian’s the person who says just kidding at at the end of a phrase that supposedly makes it okay. He’s the person who uses a disclaimer to cover up his insults: “not to be rude, but….” Have you ever met someone so practiced in insulting he doesn’t appear to be insulting you at all? That’s Ian.

5.) Demeaning Diane
Although Diane was hired only a few months before you, she holds it over your head. Anything she doesn’t want to do, she passes it off. Anything she doesn’t think she has time for, she also passes it off no matter how busy you are. Your job isn’t half as hard as hers is. At least that’s how she feels.

6.) Selective-memory Steve
You’ve met him 10 times. You opened the door for him and took Steve progress reports when he looked busy. Steve doesn’t remember you. He doesn’t know your name. He isn’t outwardly mean he just doesn’t care to know who are you.

7.) All-knowing Annie
Annie knows everything about everything in the world and she’ll let others know that. Ask a rhetorical question? She’ll answer it. Even if she thinks 50 shades of grey is a good read and Superman is the one with Robin, she won’t be convinced otherwise.

8.) Judgemental John
You want to write a story about that? Judgement. You didn’t replace the fax machine paper? He’s judging you. You forgot to bring your lunch to the brown bag lunch meeting? Definitely judging you.

There will always be the Steves, Pams and Ians of the office. What can you do? Don’t let it bother you and make friends/surround yourself with positive people. Dont’ let them bother  you, because, trust me, they aren’t bothered by you.

And if all else fails, laugh. Laugh it off. There are too many people who are miserable and will take it out on people in the office (And don’t become a member of the Plastics clique).

meangirls21

Writers write, right?

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The first time I wrote a short story outside of school was when I was 10 years old. It was about a magic key that led to a secret forest by the creek in my backyard (hey, I was an imaginative kid). My love of blending words together on paper grew from there.

The first time I wrote a book I was 18 years old, a senior in high school. Looking back through it years later has made me cringe at some sections because I could see mistakes and unfinished thoughts.

The first time I received direction on my creative writing was in college through workshops. Professors took my writing shook it for a little bit and handed it back to me telling me to delve deeper. After my freshman year of college I decided to make creative writing my minor. Poetry, fiction and non-fiction workshops; I took them all.

I learned the most from an unpopular fiction professor. I say unpopular because he was harsh. I’ve seen people cry because of his class. However, every piece of information I’ve ever heard him give made the writer and story better.

The best advice he ever gave me was “The longer I teach the more I realize that it’s very human to want to get something done right, but that making good art takes time, practice and patience. Workshops can often be discouraging to young writers and sometimes because of workshop they give up. I hope you know that if you really want to continue to write all good things will come to you in time.”

I let my writing slack in the past 11 months and I’m going to try to be better. I’ve realized even though writing was easier in school when I had an allotted time to do it, it will never just be handed to me. I’ll have to work on it.

The first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I said a princess. The second time I was asked I said an Olympic swimmer. The third time I said I wanted to be an author. Since I haven’t yet turned into a princess or Olympic swimmer I think I’ll stick to writing. I might even start one of those annoying 7- or 30- day writing challenges and keep track of it on my blog. Forgive me, friends.