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This is your one life.

17 Oct

 

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As I approach the “middle” of my one life, this is what I now know:

1)  Friendship is worth fighting for.  Preserving a good relationship is always more important than being right.  Even if you feel like it should be the other person’s responsibility to apologize, reach out to you, or be the bigger person, if the friendship is worth saving, you should do your best to save it.

2) That being said, invest in friendships, but don’t chase them.  I’ve learned that taking the time to notice my friends’ needs and priorities is worth its weight in gold.  Pay attention.  Be thoughtful.  Reach out just to check in, even if you have nothing to report.  But, by God, do not chase after someone.  If you are doing all of the planning and initiating all of the contact, it might be worth considering being quiet for a while.  If they care about you enough to miss you, they will realize and reach out.  If they don’t then you’ll know that things were way too one-sided to flourish into a fruitful, long-term friendship.

3) Friends are put in our lives for a reason, and sometimes only for a season.  Instead of viewing the fizzling or ending of a friendship as a “break-up”, treasure the good memories you made together and be thankful that the person was placed in your life for such a time as he or she was. 

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4) Rest assured that if something devastating hasn’t yet happened in your life that it will.  You will be stretched until you think you will break.  Instead of being constantly anxious about the inevitable, live in the moment and be grateful that you are experiencing a time of peace when you are.

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5) Children are blessings.  If you have kids, most days will likely be overwhelming and you will feel more challenged than blessed.  Instead of making life harder on yourself for feeling guilty about that, just accept that parenting is not meant to be blissful.  It is the raising of a human being, which like any work is going to require a lot of ups and downs and time investment, and will sometimes be less about joy and more about survival.

6) Having a spouse or a partner may very well be the hardest job you’ll ever have.  Instead of fighting that fact, embrace the idea that being in a full-time relationship is a full-time job from the moment you decide to spend your lives together.  That way, when the honeymoon is over and sh*t gets real you won’t be so shocked.

7) People get sick and die.  If you live past 30 (or maybe even before), you will likely find yourself staring at your phone or computer in disbelief when you get word that the unspeakable happened. That your best friend’s infant was stillborn.  That your colleague’s child committed suicide.  That your pastor’s wife has breast cancer and has a very low chance of survival.  That your neighbor’s toddler drowned in their pool.  There will be no words.  Don’t avoid those people because you don’t know what to say or do.  Bake a casserole, go to them, look them in the eyes to show you care, and hug them.  Just be there.

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8) Family are the people that you choose to show your true self and who seek to love you unconditionally.  Sometimes they might be related to you, but usually they aren’t.  Be open to this possibility.  Don’t buy into the “blood is thicker than water” B.S.

9) If you are connected to your family of origin, do not take them for granted.  Don’t wait to say “I love you.” or “Thank you.” or “Can we work this out?  You hurt me.” Your grandmother is still alive?  Stop reading this and call her on the phone right now.  Seriously.  NOW.

10) A good housekeeper, nanny/babysitter, or therapist are probably the hardest people in the world to find.  If you are lucky enough to have one, tip them often, thank them profusely, and treat them like family (or better).  When they eventually move out of your life for one reason or another, you will be heartbroken.  Don’t wait until then to let them know how much they make your life better.

11) Your body will fail you.  Stretch marks, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, gray hairs, hernias, wrinkles, and worse happen sooner than later…and not just to other people.  Take care of yourself, but don’t expect to be 20 forever.  Embrace the body you have; confidence is 80% of being attractive.

12) Love yourself.  Not just your body.  Your soul, your mind, your entire humanly being.  We have but just one life to live, so have a personal mission and vision and abandon anything that derails or erodes them.  Write your own eulogy now and then take all the steps necessary to live towards a life that represents it.  

13) Superstitions are nonsense.

14) Love someone else fully.  The person you shower with your fondness doesn’t have to be a spouse or child.  A dog, an elderly nursing home resident, or God count here.  Whomever you love, just give them your all.

15) Serve.  Do things for others without any expectation.  Being grateful and doing good are the shortest routes to contentment.

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16) Find a reason to laugh.  Daily.

17) Believe in something.  Sure, the Lutheran Christian in me hopes it will be the God I know who loves us all unconditionally and who provides grace through faith alone.  But, no matter what you believe in, stay grounded by being certain it is something bigger and greater than yourself.

18) Take my advice and shove it if it doesn’t work for you…your life is your own to be lived in a way that brings a little bit of better to the world.  Breathe.  Love.  Live.

Peace,

Amber

Text4baby: free health texting for pregnant women and moms with infants

26 Jul

Text4baby is a free public health texting service that provides pregnant women and moms with babies under age one, three health and safety text messages each week timed to her due date or baby’s age. Text messages are developed by trusted experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and include information on topics such as labor signs and symptoms, prenatal care, developmental milestones, and more. Know someone who might be interested? Signing up is easy! All you have to do is text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 and you’ll begin receiving free health and safety messages to care for both you and your baby.

Text4baby

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Free Braves tickets to Atlanta Summer Readers

26 Jun

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Atlanta Braves Announce “Home Run Readers” Summer Reading Program
Free Braves ticket in exchange for reading about sports or sportsmanship

This summer, the Atlanta Braves and the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” and the Georgia Association of Educators are partnering with Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) for the 2013 Atlanta Braves Summer Reading Program, “Home Run Readers.”

This new educational outreach program encourages students to build a love for reading, as well as advance their reading skills during the summer months. Home Run Readers rewards students in grades K-12 throughout Georgia by providing one free Braves ticket for each participant who reads at least one book about sports or good sportsmanship. Discounted tickets for accompanying family members and friends will be available for $7 each. 

All-Star pitcher Tim Hudson and All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla will serve as Atlanta Braves ambassadors for the Home Run Readers program.

“We know that reading and literacy will provide a platform for success and the keen knowledge to make wise decisions not only in school, but throughout their entire lives,” said Executive Vice President of the Atlanta Braves, Derek Schiller. “The Atlanta Braves are proud to provide a reward for the hardworking kids in the state of Georgia.”

 Reward tickets can be redeemed for any of the five following games:

•        Sunday, June 30, vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

•        Tuesday, July 2, vs. Miami Marlins

•        Monday, July 29, vs. Colorado Rockies

•        Thursday, August 1, vs. Colorado Rockies

•        Sunday, August 11, vs. Miami Marlins

“We are extremely pleased and excited about this partnership and to be able to offer these wonderful reading incentives to young people and families across the state,” said Dr. Lamar Veatch, Georgia’s state librarian. “A program that encourages education while providing fun for the entire family is a true treasure. Home Run Reading and its related events will be excellent examples of our three organizations’ joint commitment to every community in Georgia.”

“Just because school is out doesn’t mean students should take a break from reading,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president. “When students return to their classrooms in the fall, we want reading to top the list of what they did this summer.”

“This effort is a natural extension of our Read Across America programs held in spring,” said Calvine Rollins, president of the Georgia Association of Educators. “Although summer brings a welcome break from the rigors of the school year, it’s extremely important to ensure our children are keeping up with and enhancing their reading skills during their time off.”

Additionally, the Braves will host GPLS days at Turner Field on three separate dates. GPLS and local library staff will be on hand to enable those fans that don’t already have a library card to sign up for one at the stadium. The GPLS Days are slated for June 30 against the Diamondbacks, August 18vs. the Nationals, and September 15 as the Braves take on the San Diego Padres.

Home Run Readers is open to all Georgia students in grades K-12 and runs through August 11. Program rules, a list of suggested titles, registration information and redemption forms are available online at www.braves.com/reading.

Finding breathing room and seeing the light

9 May

ImageOne, of what will certainly be many, black eyes in the P house.

I’ve been struggling a little bit lot over the past few months.  Not really with my mood, but rather with the “voices” in my head.  No, I’m not actually hearing anything, silly.  I just mean the kind of self-defeating conversations you have with yourself when you feel like you have made a poor choice or you aren’t living up to your own expectations about what being a mom and wife looks like.

My boys (ages- a couple days from 2 & 5 and 7/12- his words, not mine) are having a rough go of the sibling thing.  They are at two completely different stages and have mostly different interests…except of course when one brother is playing with something- then it becomes absolutely the ONLY thing the other wants to do. 😉  Anyway, I feel more like a referee than a mom most days, and I’m fairly certain that I’ve been about as sweet as rotten eggs as a wife since our second became mobile.  L2′s nickname is “the bionic child”, and for good reason.  He challenges me to my core with the physical intensity required to keep that boy safe.  While being extremely independent, he is also an expert climber, jar opener, mess maker, and sharp item finder.  Being awake means he’s at risk for injury and so I can’t leave him alone.  Even for a minute.  Even to pee.

L1 is at an equally delightful and challenging age.  The one where his curiosity has blossomed from self endangerment (which he never really suffered from) to research.  However, it also means that he asks a million questions a day and is incredibly sensitive because he is analyzing everyone’s words and actions.  What used to be wishy-washy playground talk by 4 and 5 year olds has become “the world is going to end because so-and-so told me he’s going to lock me in the squidapod…”.  What in the world is a squidapod anyway???

Yesterday was a random day.  My husband was out of town.  A couple of friends and neighbors stopped by.  The landscaper was moving mulch from some trees we had cut down last week.  It was sunny and warm, but not too hot.  The stuff of ordinary Wednesdays in May in Atlanta.

But, for me May 8, 2013 was extraordinary.  Why?  Because it was the first time in as long as I can remember that I felt like I was doing an okay job.  That my boys weren’t constantly in a competition to see who could irritate the other more.  That I didn’t feel the need to rush to beat the bedtime clock.  That we just were.

This morning we slept in a little.  We had just enough (but not too much) time before school to do the things we had to do.  We got to school on time.  Not late, but not too early for carpool, either.  L2 and I came home after dropping off L1 and he and I played a bit.  I cleared out my inbox a bit.  We ate a bit.  He actually watched part of a TV show!  He brought me a shirt out of his drawer and asked to get dressed.  He threw his own trash away and helped me clean up a few of his toys.  We hugged and laughed and giggled.  He fell down and bumped his head and instead of getting hysterical he walked over to me and asked for a hug.  We snuggled.

I found some breathing room in the past 24 hours.  For the first time in over a year my shoulders are not pulled up to my ears as an outward sign of the inward stress.  I am breathing a bit more deeply and peacefully.  I am seeing the light of what life will soon be like more regularly.

While I adore the infant phase and I am able to tolerate the toddler phase, by far, 5 years old is my favorite so far.  I miss the newborn smell and the ease of a child who can’t harm himself since he doesn’t move much.  But, I also miss being able to pee by myself.  And, reading.  Oh how I love books…and I miss them so.

My kids are growing older everyday.  Whether I like it or not, they are rapidly changing and developing.  So instead of living my life in mourning for their infancy, I am going to choose to be present and find the beauty in having older children.  The contentment and freedom that come with their independence and ability to communicate their needs.  The joy of finding myself again as I get to know them better.

Bless your heart 😉 ,

Amber

Atlanta’s World of Coke Offers Discounted Tickets Every Monday in March

1 Mar

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CELEBRATE NCAA® MARCH MADNESS® MONDAYS AT THE WORLD OF COCA-COLA

As NCAA® Final Four® excitement builds in Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola is celebrating March Madness® with a slam dunk of an offer. Every Monday in March, the Atlanta attraction is offering $10 general admission tickets for NCAA® March Madness® Mondays. These tickets are available online at www.worldofcoca-cola.com/march-madness.htm and at the World of Coca-Cola ticket windows. 

What:                   NCAA® March Madness® Mondays

When:                 March 4 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. entry)

March 11 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. entry)

March 18 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. entry)

March 25 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m. entry)              

Where:                The World of Coca-Cola, 121 Baker St. NW, Atlanta GA 30309

Additional Information: Mention NCAA® March Madness® Mondays to take advantage of this offer at World of Coca-Cola ticketing windows or visitwww.worldofcoca-cola.com/march-madness.htm to purchase tickets online. Tickets valid for visits on March 4, March 11, March 18 or March 25, 2013 only. For additional information including World of Coca-Cola hours of operation, visit www.worldofcoca-cola.com.

 About the World of Coca-Cola

The World of Coca-Cola has welcomed guests from six continents, more than 75 countries, all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Join more than 5 million people who have visited the Atlanta attraction and experience the history of the world’s most famous soft drink at the dynamic, multimedia home of the 126-year-old secret formula for Coca-Cola. Get closer than ever before to the vault containing the secret recipe, and see the fully-functioning bottling line that produces a commemorative glass bottle of Coca-Cola for every guest. View more than 1,200 never-before-displayed artifacts, take a trip around the world in a thrilling 4-D movie experience and tempt your taste buds with more than 60 beverages from around the globe. 

The World of Coca-Cola is located in Pemberton Place, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, and is accessible via the Peachtree Center or CNN/ World Congress Center MARTA stations. Consumers with questions may call 1-800-676-COKE or visit our website at www.worldofcoca-cola.com to purchase tickets. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/WorldofCocaCola or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/WorldofCocaCola.

 NCAA, Final Four and March Madness are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

PUPPETPALOOZA 2013

7 Feb

…presented by the Atlanta Puppetry Guild and the Academy Theatre.

 
SAT, FEB 23, 2013 11am till 2pm
 
This is a “drop-in” event with continuous activities.Bring the whole family to this fun puppet variety show featuring the talents of the Atlanta Puppetry Guild!

 
In addition to puppet shows,  there will be concessions, carnival games and puppet craft activities for kids and parents alike.
 
There will also be merchandise for sale including one of a kind puppets!
 
Proceeds will go to the Atlanta Puppetry Guild to support scholarships and grants.
Don’t miss out on all the fun!
Kids $5 Adults $10

It is MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK in Georgia!

4 Feb

MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
FEBRUARY 3-9, 2013!
 

Join us in making Maternal Mental Health a priority!

The Georgia Coalition on Maternal Mental Health (of which I am proud to be a part) promotes the well-being of mothers and families through community partnerships, awareness, education, and advocacy with regard to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

We invite you to join us at the Georgia Capitol on February 6th at 3PM when Sarah Schwartz, Executive Director of MHA of GA, will be presenting to the Health & Human Services Committee to advocate with the Coalition in making maternal mental health a priority in our state.

Please join us to show your support for maternal mental health by joining us at this legislative presentation.

Contact Liz Smulian at liz@mhageorgia.org or 678-904-1968 for more information.

p.s. In case you have media connections, please share this with them.  Look for us on Weds…we’ll be wearing the green sashes and buttons with the Mama and Baby Green Ribbon logo!

Bless your heart 😉 (and mind),

Amber

Positive.

7 Jan

I want to have goals.  I do have goals.  I mean, really, who doesn’t…it’s just that many of us are good at keeping them and some of us are more mediocre.  Anyhow, over the past few years, I have chosen a word to meditate on, to direct my choices.

In 2011, as I approached the birth of my second son, after having survived (barely) horrible postpartum depression and anxiety with my first, my word was HOPE.  I had that word plastered everywhere.  I spent a whole weekend praying on that one word, in fact.

In 2012, after successfully avoiding severe PPD, I realized that while I was so proud and grateful for the blessing of being able to not only remember, but enjoy, my son’s infancy, that I was still fighting.  Fighting the demons of my past, and honestly, the demons of my present, too.  The difficult relationships, the imperfection of just being human.  I felt constantly disappointed and convinced that the difficulty letting go and finding joy in everyday life, not just special events, was the fault of others and outside factors.  And then I woke up.  I realized that my life was pretty good and that a big part of my challenges were about my lack of being able to cope when things weren’t exactly how I wanted them.  Ahhhh…enter ACCEPTANCE.  It began as a Lenten practice and then became a life practice.  Two steps forward, seventy five back.  I probably could’ve taken that one on as a five-year-plan, but instead in 2013, I have chosen anew.

This year’s word is POSITIVE.  I am anything but 100% certain that I will be anymore successful at this practice than I have been at others, but I am determined to try.  To become someone who sees with rosy glasses and always views the glass as half full.  It won’t be easy.  It will take lots of practice and mindfulness and thought-stopping or replacing, but I will do it.

Here’s to facing life each day with the calm, goofy, and upbeat perspective I had in this photo!

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Bless your heart ;-),

Amber

Warmest Atlanta Wishes…

26 Dec

to you and yours.

From mine…

ccard1

Bless your heart ;-),
Amber

Holidays: When Happiness and Hectic are one and the same

6 Dec

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I LOVE Christmas.  I mean, like really, really love.  Like mail out my Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving, love.  Like my decorations MUST be up before the end of November, love.

But, I also recognize the emotional nature of this season.  I mean, by it’s very virtue the “holiday season” is meant to elicit images of extra activities, service projects, alternative (or even just regular) gifting, worship services, family obligations, remembrances of loved ones gone and experiencing illness…ah, the list goes on.

As an Atlanta mom, I feel blessed that weather is generally not an impediment to my task list.  I also find the distance between us and our families of origin, who live in Pennsylvania, a bit of a relief, in that all of that “over the river and through the woods” talk can be the stuff of Christmas Carols instead of my Christmas reality.  And, I would be lying if I didn’t mention the exhale that not being in the midst of the family drama, every family, no matter how functional, inevitably encounters at one time or another, allows us.

But, no matter what the reason or the season, life is way, way too short to let a busy pace, the worries of yesterday, or the anxieties of tomorrow take up the happiness of today.  Whether you are anticipating Hanukah, in the first few days of Advent, or simply appreciating the season, I wish you moments of peace, joy, and contentment in just being.

Bless your heart ;-),

Amber

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