Beauty, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As you may have noticed, last Sunday yours truly didn’t go to confession. At the beginning of August, I celebrated my 46th. birthday. It was a lovely day filled with beautiful birthday wishes and a few lovely surprises. This year I decided to give myself a present – the gift of time. That morning while sitting in my garden with my coffee, I vowed to myself and the cardinal sitting on my fence (whom I firmly believe is my Gramma Leah flying in to check on me) that I was going to give myself one day off a week. A day that wasn’t filled with laundry, cooking, cleaning, being my daughter’s private Uber service, running errands…you name it…I wasn’t going to do it. Being a wife and mother, I, as most of us do, take on every task, large or small, and wear ourselves thin. Our patience and our focusΒ  lands on the back burner and in the end, we, our families and friends and even our dinner gets burned.

The first week, I gotta admit was tough. I had to keep telling myself, out loud, to slow down. I had to remind myself that the grocery store will still be there the next day and that left overs or takeout for dinner will not create the demise of my family. The second week it was much easier – of course it was the long weekend so I felt like I had a get out of jail free card. I woke up last Sunday morning, poured my cup of joe into my Mama Bird birthday mug and planted myself in my garden. I watched the bees buzzing, listened to the breeze in the trees and said hello to the cardinal – I’m telling you, it’s my Gramma Leah. Every morning she shows up within 5 feet of me, chirping away. It’s been happening for over 2 years now. Every morning, there is a cardinal chirping at me. I sat there for a while, then went inside, walked past the pile of dishes waiting by the sink, poured another cup of coffee and planted myself in front of my puzzle. Yes, my puzzle. I have loved puzzles since I was a kid, so I treated myself to a new one for the summer of 2018. This one will probably take me the whole summer to complete. In my infinite wisdom I purchased a 2000 piece Van Gogh’s Starry Night puzzle…and have now learned I need glasses.

My day continued as such, working on my puzzle, listening to music, laughing with my family, sitting in my garden having a Palm Bay. These events were on repeat all day, and it was wonderful. My hubby washed the dishes that were waiting on the counter and ordered Skip the Dishes for dinner …a dangerous thing this Skip the Dishes – getting to eat your favorite restaurant food in the comfort of your pajamas.

Here’s the deal. I know all to well that life gets in the way of best laid plans. Kids get sick. Pets get sprayed by skunks. Cars break down. Shift changes at work. The list is endless, I know. Carve some time out for yourself, put your name in your weekly agenda, make an appointment with yourself. Do a puzzle, get your nails done, read a book or simply sit in your garden. Making yourself a priority will make you a better person, for yourself and for those around you. Plain and Simple.

lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. A lovely quote I stumbled upon many years ago. I have to admit, I used to compare myself and my life to others. Feeling like I was missing out, or not doing enough with my life. I would hear of vacations, career changes, new houses, new cars, you name it…if I heard about it, it was always accompanied with a dash of jealousy, wishing I could have all those things too. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe it’s maturity, maybe it’s my hysterectomy, maybe it’s the fact I am going to be 46 in a few days, maybe it’s perspective, maybe it’s everything coming together all at once.

This October I am taking a trip to Vancouver with my husband and I am going to my first concert with my husband. We have been together 26 years, married for 24. When I tell this to people, I almost always get “the face”. You know the one, the look of pity, or shock or sheer disbelief that I have not traveled or rocked out at a concert in 24 years. I have had people ask if our marriage was in trouble and if we are trying to rekindle the spark. I have had people tell me it’s about time I started living. I have had people say “…so what have you been doing with your life?”. Ten years ago, these phrases would have flattened me. I would have let the opinions of others take the helm of my life’s journey. I would have felt embarrassed or ashamed of my life, or lack there of. Today, not so much.

A long time ago, I decided to put my marriage, my family and our life together first. Over the years, we have faced job losses, lay offs, health issues – some scary, some not. We decided it made more sense financially and emotionally for me to stay home with our daughter until she reached school age. It didn’t make sense for me to be out of the house 40 hours a week to hand over most of my paycheck to a daycare provider. We made a one income household work, hence no travelling. When my husband was faced with manufacturing layoffs, I stepped up and worked 6 days a week. Keeping our house was more important then having a family vacation photo. My mother in law broke her hip, twice. That summer we took care of her, got her the rehabilitation she needed, took care of her home and finances, so our summer vacation plans fell to the wayside. I could go on an on, reading the list would make your eyes blurry and would give me carpal tunnel. Sure, we could have gone on trips and rocked out at concerts, but we couldn’t afford it, and honestly, I, hell, we were stressed enough, why would we add more financial stress to our platter? How would I enjoy myself sitting on a beach knowing that I had a credit card bill waiting for me in my mailbox with the vacation and hotel charges that I couldn’t pay? I guess all I am trying to say is shit happens, plans change, life gets in the way and never be ashamed of your life because you aren’t doing what everyone else seems to be doing.Β This is your life. Your choices must be what is best for you, and for your family (for those of us that have one). No one else is living your life but you. Another great quote I stumbled upon is “the opinions of others do not pay the bills”.

I am proud of what my husband and I have accomplished. It hasn’t always been pretty, sometimes it got ugly, but we are still together, fighting the good fight. We never lost sight of the fact that we love each other and that the problems and arguments were because of life getting in the way, not loss of love for one another. We have our home, we have our health, we have a beautiful daughter who is coming into her own and doors are opening for her at every turn…and although it is later than planned, we are going to travel and rock out at a concert.

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As I sit here by my favorite window I can hear the rain falling and with it a much needed cool summer breeze. I have been wondering what to write about this fine Sunday. It seems I am having one of those mornings where ideas and memories are flooding my mind at the same time. I get inspiration for today’s tale then WHAMMO! I am hit with a memory – some good, some, not so good. I haven’t been sleeping as soundly as I would like lately, and all I keep thinking about is Shug Avery from the Color Purple singing “…can’t sleep at night. And you wonder why. Maybe God is tryin’ to tell you something.”. Now, I have no clue what God, the universe, the smurfs – take your pick are trying to tell me. All I know is something, somewhere is out of whack. Sure I could blame it on planets in retrograde, or the fact that we were dealing with record high temperatures and humidity…but I do believe that would be an excuse, not a reason.

Maybe the reason for my lack of sleep and feeling of unrest is to share it, to let whomever reads this know that you are not alone. That it’s okay to wonder about your life choices, to question your actions and the actions of others. To feel like something, somewhere is not as it should be. That there is a difference between being paranoid and being aware. That it’s okay to take time to figure yourself out, be it meditating, prayer, reading, walking through a forest – whatever you need to do to get back to you. Life pulls us in every direction. Now more than ever thanks to social media we can be left feeling like we aren’t enough, or doing enough, or travelling enough. Try and take a page from my book and see social media as one of your favorite magazines or reality television shows.

Take time for yourself, today and everyday. Even if it’s five minutes. Maybe, just maybe in those few moments you and I will hear just what God is tryin’ to tell us.

Beauty, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

I woke to the sounds of birds chirping and the faint glow of the sunrise peeping through my window. It’s Sunday morning on my part of the globe. As I sit in my kitchen by my window, I feel the warmth of the summer sun, theΒ  morning breeze cooling my shoulders. I see the steam rising off my fresh cup of coffee in my favorite mug and all is right with the world. As I was gazing out my window, wondering what to write about today, my mind was flooded with all the conversations I had with customers this week. As you know, I decided to take the offer of returning to the shoe store I once worked at. In the past I was in charge of the Ladies section. This time around, I am once again in the Ladies section, without the hassles of management. I go in four days a week and all I have to do is focus on selling and helping the customers, and it’s wonderful.

This past week, I lost count of the women who spoke poorly of themselves, and unfortunately of others. Women of all ages. Thinking their ankles were too thick to wear a strappy sandal. Women who thought they were too old to wear red heels. Women who thought their bunions were too ugly so they only wore running shoes so no one would see their feet. Women who thought their feet were too wide for the gold ballerina flat they adored. Women who thought their calves were too big or too slender. Women who thought their baby toe looked weird. What it all came down to was they were all worried about what others would think, never once giving a thought to what they themselves thought. Almost all of the women who were concerned about their “problem area” had one thing in common, someone had told them it was a “problem area”. One woman in particular stands out. She found a pair of sandals, flat with a little bow. I told her they looked really cute on her, because they did. She looked up at me, eyes sparkling, smiling ear to ear and said “I love them!”. Minutes later, I saw her putting them back in the box and returning them to the shelf. “Did you need another size?” I asked. “No. My friend said they were too young for me and I just look foolish.”. No smile and the sparkle in her eyes had vanished. She ended up sitting in a chair waiting on her friend. She didn’t want to look anymore or try on anything else.

First and foremost, Ladies and Gents, don’t do that. Don’t. One of the cruelest actions is putting your own insecurities on someone else. When you see that someone is happy or excited about a decision be excited for them, celebrate with them. Secondly, for all those out there, Ladies and Gents alike, stop worrying about the size of your ankles, your calves, your bunions, whatever it may be, stop worrying about what other people think. Trust me, no one is looking…and for the few who are, give them a copy of Knitting for Dummies and tell them to get a new hobby. Seriously, if they have time to look for thick ankles and bunions, their lives must be pretty empty and their self esteem and image is dwindling to say the least.

Be your own kind of beautiful, today and everyday. Be kind. Celebrate others achievements and choices, for they are theirs, not yours to deal with. Oh, and buy the shoes.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, Sunday has arrived and with it another installment of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Sunday Confessions. It’s Canada Day today, our national holiday, although with our 40+ degree tropical temperatures (105 for my Fahrenheit friends) it’s hard to believe we are in the Great White North. Being a holiday, today I am making my tale a short yet sweet one…much like yours truly.

Canadians are known for many things, maple syrup, hockey, double doubles, two-fours, poutine, the list is endless. We are also known as one of the most polite and kind people around the globe. We apologize to a shelf if we bump into for Christ sake. With all that is happening in the world today, I wanted to take a moment to remind us all that a little kindness goes a long way. Taking a moment out of your day or daydream for that matter to look someone in the eye when they speak to you may seem like nothing to you, it could mean the world to the person speaking to you. You may be the only person they see that day, or even that week. Looking them in the eye makes them feel like they matter, that someone sees the value of them. Holding the door for the person crossing the parking lot may be the only glimpse of God that person sees all month and you never know, it may restore a glimmer of hope in their soul. Helping a mom with three toddlers in tow get her groceries in the trunk as you are parked right beside her may give her a moment to take a breath and prevent a meltdown between mom and child and ensure a safe ride home. Giving your extra change to a child trying to count their nickels wondering if they can buy two popsicles can renew hope in miracles…trust me, I know this to be true. I have done this on more than one occasion and let me tell you, I now know what it feels like to be Santa…the look of sparkling wonder in those eyes is inexpressible.

Take a moment today to be kind, then tomorrow do the same, and the next day, and the day after that. In your world and the world outside your door, there is always time and a little room for kindness.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, another Sunday morning. It’s a dull, cloudy rainy morning in my corner of the globe. I used to hate rainy days, up until 2 years ago, when I read a quote “I love the rain, it washes away the stupid.”. The sound of rain hitting my window was my alarm clock this morning and instead of my go to groan “ugh…rain”, I laid there thinking “ahhh, thank you for washing away the stupid.”. Not only does the rain nourish the soil, it nourishes the soul. When we see the rain, it makes us stop in our tracks and really give our next move some thought. Do I go out today? Should I change my plans? Instead of just going through the motions of our day, we have to stop and think for a minute, actually focus on our day and our actions. I don’t know about you, but I must confess, I am guilty of being a slave to my calendar. Waking up, putting the coffee on, walking over to the calendar, crossing of the previous day, and going through the mental checklist of what’s happening that day, where I have to be, who I have to take somewhere and how I am going to do it and inevitably wondering why. Why do I have to do all this? Funny thing is, when it’s raining, I still do the same morning ritual, but the angst isn’t there. It’s almost as if the rain is telling me, “There is a lot to be done, but if you don’t get to it all today, it’s going to be okay.”. Which led me to the question, why do I need the rain to give me permission to slow it down, to take it easy? The answer is I don’t, and neither do you.

Growing up, (this will show my age) all the stores, except for pharmacies and your local corner stores, closed by 5 on Saturday and were closed Sundays. We were allowed to have weekends, time to take it easy, put our feet up and just be. No guilt that we should be doing something or going somewhere. Saying “I’ll get to it next week” was a reasonable thing to say, because many times you literally had to wait for the next week. I remember looking forward to weekends because I knew my Dad would be home. That my friends would be home. That I could play all day, I could do a puzzle, I could play Monopoly with my whole family without someone having to leave to run an errand or get back to the office. The only plan for a weekend was making sure you waited until 6:00 p.m. to make a long distance call, because it was a cheaper rate. It may just be nostalgia talking, it seems the world was more at ease, people were more mellow. Working non stop and burning the candles at both ends was frowned upon, unlike today where the opposite is true…if you aren’t stressed to the max and working 24/7, you are frowned upon. Bosses comparing your work to the work of others, the always present dangling carrot of a potential bonus “if you just do more”. Seriously, unless you are a world renowned brain surgeon, there is no need to feel guilty for not taking a call from work on your day off. I read another great quote that rings true with today’s tale “Take care of you, because if you died today, your job will be posted online before your obituary.”.

Take that road you’ve always wondered where it led. Join your grandmother on her evening walk (one of my treasured memories). Have a coffee with your parents. Take your child to your favorite childhood memory. Read that book you’ve wanted to read, hold it in your hands, smell the pages as you turn them and remember the wonder of a quiet moment to read a book. Bake a cake. Call an old friend, anytime…long distance calls are cheap these days. Veg out on the couch with your Cheetos and chardonnay watching the original 90210 reruns or simply stare out the window and wonder. Take a moment to take care of you, everyday, be it for an afternoon or even 15 minutes, take care of you. Why save it all for a rainy day?

 

Beauty, health and wellness, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

 

 

“Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most?” – Charles Lindbergh

I am a lover of quotes. I have been for as long as I can remember. Quotes and sayings that grabbed my attention or the attention of others were and still are my favorites. I fondly remember shopping with my mother in a gift shop in Elora Ontario. I was 8 years old and fancy shoe laces were all the rage. The shop had a display of them and as I was looking at them and planning my performance to my mother in hopes of getting her to buy me a pair, my eyes landed on a pair of laces that I thought were the letters of the alphabet…they weren’t the letters of the alphabet…they read “BULLSHIT”. I giggled and gasped at the same time. My mother came over and I threw caution to the wind and told her I found a pair I liked. I pointed them out to her, she read them and laughed out loud, took them off the display and bought them for me. I wore my “BULLSHIT” shoelaces with pride, to school, to the playground, even to my grandparents house. Back to the tale at hand.

The above quote I came across a few days ago on Instagram and have not been able to stop thinking about it. It made me think of all the things that I think about, but do not say. Sure I make a sarcastic quip to lighten the mood, and will give my honest opinion when asked, I do not however always talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I put on my game face and head on out the door. Over the past weeks, being given time to actually complete a thought and do some soul searching via conversations with friends and finding a fabulous book -Rising Strong by Brene Brown, I have been able to, slowly but surely, leave the house without my game face. What you see is what you get. I have been able to shed my skin of shame (as I like to call it) and just be me. Becoming honest with myself is allowing me to become honest with those around me. So many of us are dealing with some type of pain or anguish yet feel shame for doing so. Let the shame go, it’s a waste of energy, it serves no purpose. Sharing your stories will set you free, your stories may even set someone else free for they will realize they are not alone. For the naysayers out there I have a perfect example, a personal one.

My daughter deals with anxiety and depression. Her high school years were not gentle and kind. Over the years we tried to get her some help to deal with her thoughts and feelings, to no avail. It was frustrating to say the least, not only for her, but as her Mother for it is my job to protect her, to show her there is good in the world. How was I to get her to believe that when one door closes another opens when every door seemed to slam in her face? Over the years we did our best to support her, all the while telling her to speak to someone. She didn’t trust the system for it had failed her so many times before. Finally, God, the powers that be, the Smurfs, whichever you want to believe in heard our plea, saw our efforts and a door opened, my daughter was heard, was taken seriously and is slowly but surely gaining control of herself, her emotions and her anxiety. I know, I hear you …”what’s your point? Where’s your example?”. Here it is. Last year while working with my friend at her shop, a friend of hers came in for her morning Matcha. She looked exhausted. She looked distraught. She was on the verge of tears. I overheard her conversation with my friend, it was about her daughter. She was 17, not eating, depressed, anxious, couldn’t make it through the day at high school. Her Mother was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. I went over, excused myself for entering the conversation and told her I felt I needed to. My voice was shaking as I told her about my daughter. Why was my voice shaking? What was so wrong about speaking the truth? It was at that moment I realized that I was blaming myself for my daughter’s anxieties and in turn by doing so was making her issues about me, which serves no purpose and does not help my daughter in any way, shape or form. As I was speaking to this woman, her tears slowed, her breathing calmed, my voice stopped shaking and we both felt lighter. I told her “Don’t do what I did. This is not your fault and we have to remember this is not about us. I am here to tell you there is light at the end of this tunnel. It will get better”. I went home that day and told my daughter about the conversation and I apologized to her. I apologized for always trying to fix it, that I realized all the while I was trying to make it better for her, because of my fear and shame of being seen as a bad Mother, I was not helping at all. By speaking my truth to another, I let go of my feelings of shame I hadn’t even realized I was carrying and I released another of their feelings of shame.

We all have stories that ain’t so pretty. We all know someone, or are ourselves dealing with;

  • loss
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • mental health issues
  • parenting issues – form having your toddler ripping off it’s diaper to having to put a parent in diapers.
  • are we doing enough
  • are we doing too much
  • bad hair day meltdown

…the list is endless. Here’s the deal Beauties. There is no shame in speaking your truth, what ever it may be. In the immortal words of Dr. Suess ” Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”.