Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rules For Grieving: Thank you Ya-Ya sisters.

My heart has been particularly heavy the last few days. I've been thinking and praying for the parents of the two Menchville High School Students who lost their lives in a tragic car accident last weekend...and the parents of the two who are continuing to fight for their lives. As a parent myself, I'm crushed when my children are sick or have injured themselves. I could not help but feel a deep pain in my heart upon hearing of this story.

As one who has not lost children, but has lost SEVERAL family members in 2005, I am not a stranger to the grieving process. Even three years later, I still grieve. And through my own pain, I have also witnessed the pain that my former mother-in-law
(and best friend in the whole world) and my grandmother endure with the loss of their children. My grandmother has lost THREE of her four children (including my mother) and even though all three of my grandmother's children have died 28 years or more ago, it doesn't mean she should be through talking it out or having "moments." It's her right. I enjoy offering my ear to both of these precious women because through their memories, I am able to find peace myself.

I have found with some people in my life, it is hard for them to believe that we are not "over it" yet. I have learned quite a few valuable lessons during my own grieving process and from others who are learning to live again as well. The biggest lesson I learned is that we will NEVER get "over it." We will get through the best we can, but inevidably, our lives are changed forever.

There was a quote from the piece "The Mourner's Bill of Rights" posted on Gumbo Ya-Ya just a few days ago on a thread called "Rules of Grieving." Gumbo Girls Discuss Grieving. Those of us who posted on that thread agreed wholeheartedly that there are NO rules.

I managed to find the whole piece by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. and have posted it below. I'm surprised that I never knew anything about this piece until an excerpt was posted by my friends. Anyway, I hope it will help others find even a morsel of hope as it is helping me.

The Mourner's Bill of Rights

As a bereaved person, you have certain rights that others must not take away from you. In fact, it is the very upholding of these rights that makes healing possible.

1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief. No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. Don't allow others to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.

2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief.

3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Know that there is no such thing as a "wrong" emotion. Accept all your feelings and find listeners who will do the same.

4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into things you don't feel ready to do.

5. You have the right to experience grief "attacks." Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.

6. You have the right to make use of ritual. The funeral ritual provides you with the support of caring people. More important, it supportively sees you off on your painful but necessary grief journey. Later rituals such as lighting a candle for the person who died, can also be healing touchstones. If others tell you that rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don't listen.

7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.

8. You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking "Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the cliched responses some people may give you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think what you have to be thankful for" are not helpful, and you do not have to accept them.

9. You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find creative ways to embrace them. Write them down.

10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember grief is a process not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things I'm looking forward to.

I have found that the best way to make it through a particularly rough day is to look at my list of things I am looking forward to in the next few days, weeks or month. (You need to actually make a list of things that are feasible. Within your reach. And once you've made that list, set dates, make plans and follow through.) I look at this list often since it seems that my household "honey-do" list is getting LOOOOOOOOOONGER. When I look at my "cool" list, my "honey-do" list doesn't seem to suck so badly! I consider it my rewards for good behavior. LOL.

So, here is my "cool" list:

1. March Vacation in the Outer Banks with all the girlfriends!

2. April Pink Tie Gala for Susan G. Komen For The Cure. (I got a COOL NEW DRESS for the event!)

3. Mother's Day Dinner with my Grandmother.

4. Todd Stadium Relay For Life!

5. Opening night of the movie "Nights In Rodanthe" with Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Chris Meloni!!! (June 6th)

6. July family vacation in the Outer Banks!

7. BUSCH GARDENS!!!!!!! WOOT!!!!!

8. Riding my motorcycle to the Blue Ridge Mountains this season!

9. Walking at the Race For The Cure at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront!

10. Releasing my new book to benefit Susan G. Komen For The Cure.

My "honey-do" list is available by request only if y'all are willing to take on all those chores.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A woman's response to her husband's SI swimsuit issue....








Need chocolate now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hopes & Dreams, Plans & Goals

Meet my friend Tammy:

She is cute. She is sweet. She is funny. And sometimes she doesn't have the sense God gave a gnat, but I love her anyway.

Last week, she and I were discussing things we would like to do within the next two years. Something we've always wanted to do. I told her that my goals are to go to Mackinac Island where my favorite movie (Somewhere In Time) was filmed...and to take my youngest daughter to Germany so she can finally meet the family she has always heard about.

I asked Tammy what she'd like to accomplish within the next two years. She said she wanted to learn a foreign language. I thought that was very admirable! I'm thinking travel and she's thinking deeper than that.

So I says, "Which language would you like to learn?"

She says, "I'd like to learn to speak Australian."


She says, "They have a really cool accent!"


I had to think about whether I should tell her or not. I really didn't want to break her heart considering she thought long and hard about her two year goal. But I gave in.

"They speak English, you idiot."

Did I mention I love her anyway?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Painting your home tips from Karen

None of these tips were ever covered by Heloise or Bob Villa and I honestly think it is information we all need when we're beautifying our homes on a budget. Print out these tips and keep them handy before your next painting project. You're welcome.

1. It's never a good idea to let the pets watch you while you're painting. Sure, they enjoy your company...but they also want to help. Case in point, Sharkbait the cat felt there was a bit too much paint on one section of the bathroom moulding and decided she would lighten it up a bit by constanting rubbing up against that section until the excess was no longer on the moulding...but on her fur. And Tucker the dog showed me that he has a built in paint brush. His long Golden Retriever tail. I'm grateful for the help, but when painting a small room, it should be a one person project in order to keep brush stroke consistency.

2. Never paint your window sill when it's raining buckets outside. It doesn't matter that's it's indoor painting you are doing. It takes forever to dry and the condensation from the window may cause your sill to drip and streak...causing you to add more paint to cover up the streaks until you are up to 8 coats of a losing battle. Foul language generally follows this practice and that's not good for the pets.

3. Have a little patience. Never hang the brand new white curtains on the window that has just been painted with 8 coats of green paint even though it has been 30 minutes and the paint is supposed to dry in 20.

4. Never let your husband get away with calling you "Earl Scheib." Next time, give him the paintbrush and quietly go to your room and watch Lifetime movies.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Blues....

I'm WEARING blue. I ain't got the blues. I'm perfectly happy that I have another Monday on this earth. Therefore, I never complain about Mondays.

I DO complain about other stuff though. Like my husband killing a good ghost story with "logic" and my dog passing gas all night while I'm trying to sleep...but I'm grateful that I have another breath to complain with. I was blessed with another day to enjoy family and friends. And I am grateful to God that he has blessed me with the patience to get over petty stuff quickly.

Life ain't always beautiful...but it's a beautiful ride.

Todays blog posting is dedicated to the memory of Ginni Michek and Claus McKenney. Thank you for teaching me what's really important.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Dang. My friend Tammy and I thought we had a cool ghost story to tell our grandchildren in the future...until our engineer husbands spoiled the party! Grrrr.

Last night over dinner, Tammy and I discussed the mysterious falling pictures with our husbands. My husband, God love him, explained that he had hung a calendar above the picture the day before and apparently it fell, hit the picture and that's why it hit the floor. Then he explains that he hung that calendar with SCOTCH TAPE! Whutthe? SCOTCH TAPE? A heavy calendar on a plaster textured wall? I'm thinking "Oh Gawd tell me he didn't. I feel a 'big dummy' coming on." I just assumed he understood the law of gravity! I mean, even Tammy and I get THAT one! And we can't find our cars in a parking lot with only one car!

Then Tammy's husband chimed in. Her pic was hung with an eyelet screw and was coming out of the wall anyway. That's why HERS hit the floor. Who hung that pic in the first place? Her husband.

So there's no more cool ghost story. No one to blame stuff on. And even worse, Tammy and I have to hide the all the scotch tape and eyelet screws. Otherwise, we're gonna have crap falling off the walls all the time.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


My kids have been telling me for years that our house is haunted. Yeah, I've heard weird stuff going on but I just chalk it up as squirrels re-enacting "Fiddler On The Roof." I told them if the house is REALLY haunted, it wouldn't kill Mr. Ghost if he could do the dishes and a load of laundry every now and then. Otherwise, he would just be a freeloader. Everybody has to do their share, knowwhutimsayin?

Well, this morning as I was getting dressed for work, I heard a crash. I went downstairs and blamed Sharkbait the cat for getting into trouble, but she looked up all blurry eyed from her favorite chair. Apparently, she had been sleeping. I searched through the house. Finally, I saw the problem. In the "man" room, a picture that my husband had hung YEARS ago had fallen off the wall. It was on the floor leaning against the wall like somebody placed it there. The nail still in the wall. This pic hasn't been moved in 6 years, man. It just fell off the wall for no reason. Okay, I let it go and left for work.

My friend Tammy called me and told me that the same thing happened to her last night. A pic that had been hanging on her wall for over 4 years! And it's not damaged either!

If I were a superstitious soul, I'd be duct taping my butt to a well grounded chair with a year's supply of Cheetos and Dr. Pepper by my side.

But, I'm not superstitious. And I ain't hanging that danged picture back up. If Mr. Ghost doesn't like it, he can just replace it himself. I'll have to send him over to Tammy's house too since he seems to be freeloading in both places now. Maybe we should make up a chore list?

Brillo pads and dish detergent under the sink, Mr. Ghost. Get to work!

Edited to add: My daughter Laura reminded me that the Ghost has a name. It's Bob. I'm not sure if the kids named him or if that's his name, but yeah.

I was also reminded by a loyal listener via email that I need to apologize to Sharkbait the Cat. I did. With a half a canister of cat treats. I think we're good now.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

DOG CAM!!!!!