Originally posted June 2016
Life, or at least my life, seems to combine a very strange mix of humor, sarcasm and irony. When life would hurl obstacles my way, I much preferred to duck and hide my head under a makeshift cover, rather than confront it.
Although life has thrown me more curveballs than I care to count; there are no do-overs and you can only go around this world one time! Therefore, while I may not have any control over present circumstances, I do have control about how I choose to navigate around them.
At 55, my life is changing and changing fast! Giving up the business I loved and developed from start to fruition is hard, very hard. For the last six years, I have put my entire life on hold. Endless hours, exhaustion, stress and financial strain combined with constant work and worry about ensuring that I provided the best work I could produce for my clients and the community have taken it's toll and yes, opened my eyes.
During this journey, I made many, many great friends that I will always treasure, and sadly yes, I did make a few enemies or shall we say frienemys. Either way, rest assured, what goes around comes around and I am confident that eventually they will meet my pal, Karma. You see, Karma has my back and I have no doubt there will be some future fun things to write about on that front.
First on the list-Employment
Employment, now there's a concept. Before undertaking the challenge of starting my own business, I never appreciated working for someone else. Now my mind swirls with the reality of so many simple pleasures:
Well, you get the picture. I've been asked, "Why does this excite you so much?" It really is quite simple, self employment means doing without many of the basic things most people take for granted. Groceries, clothes shopping, and yes, even splurging on a new package of underwear on occasion. "Did Mama really go there?" Yes, I did.
Second - My New Do
I have always preferred to be in the background rather than right out in front. The only exception to this would be when I am in a public speaking arena and as long as I can stand/hide behind a podium, I am happy. Rarely do I post pictures of myself and I have never been a fan of the selfie world. The part of me that tends to worry about mean comments or derogatory remarks must now fade into the background.
My new adventure shouted that a new do was in order, and so be it! I am nothing, if not flexible. With a new bold color and hair extensions, I questioned, "What am I doing, everyone will believe that I am going through a mid-life crisis?" So what, who cares what anyone thinks? Bring on the new do...It's time!
Third - New Me
When I say New Me, I guess what I'm really saying is Real Me! That's it in a nutshell, it is what this blog is about. Life, real life. The roads I've traveled are not uncommon; most of us have traveled similar roads. For those who haven't, well...as we say in the mid-west, "Bless your little pea-picken heart".
The world we live in today is rough, the political climate is ridiculous and our compassion for fellow human beings has diminished into a free for all.
I am a firm believer that laughter can lighten even the heaviest load and since life itself provides the perfect stage for a whole host of humorous adventures, I eagerly take one giant step forward and refuse to look back. I am Mama Tatuley and, for those who may not have met the Real Me, brace yourself; I plan to tell it like it is. So, sit back, relax and we'll journey together.
Love is in the air, romance abounds, restaurants are booked and vintage love songs fill the air on my favorite radio station; no doubt about it, Valentines Day has arrived!
As I sit, at yet another stop light, singing at the top of my lungs to the sappy '70 and '80 love songs blaring through the speakers, I can't help but laugh at the undeniable looks of judgement and smirks of condemnation from fellow highway motorists. I'm not quite sure if their obvious disgust for my behavior stems from the fact that I'm not "acting my age" or rather, they are simply allergic to "morning" people.
You see, I am very aware of the stark differences between "morning" people and well, people who are NOT "morning" people! Case in point!
THERE'S A SPOUSE IN MY HOUSE!
After 30+ years of marriage, one would think that many of our differences would have merged to form a somewhat meet in the middle, marital evolution, if you will.....NOT even close!
Hubby is definitely NOT a morning person. He would much prefer to stay up late and sleep half of the day; whereas, I am quite content calling it an early night and up before dawn.
I have to ask, what's up with "non-morning" people anyway? Seriously, why do you have to have a good 45 minutes alone with your coffee before someone can say "good morning" to you?
30+ years ago, I had no idea that saying "I do" and pledging to "love until death do us part" meant that I was embarking on a lifelong learning curve! Before the end of the reception, the dynamics of my little world and routine changed. I would soon realize that learning to live with a "non-morning" personality was simply one of many idiosyncrasies that would surface !
Like all young couples, we faced and endured many challenges, from children and jobs to finances and schedules. Over the years, I have discovered that there is something to be said for the solace found in a relationship that is comfortable, but remains fun! Relationships weather life's storms, trials come and go and disagreements or, dare I say, arguments happen. LOVE is constant, while LIKE, on the other hand, is subjective and depends on the day. Oh, c'mon, you know it's true.
Ah, but I digress. The subject is Valentines Day. A day set aside each year dedicated to celebrating love. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but somewhere along the way, commercialism crept into our expectations and inflicted a steroid induced guilt trip if one failed to shower their love with flowers, candy and/or gifts of shiny baubles. It seems that one must proclaim to the world their undying love and affection for all to see. As a side note, it is important to remember that true love rarely depicts the romance glamorized in greeting cards.
Yes, I'm a romantic, but I am also realistic. Here are just a few things I've learned over the years:
When there's a Spouse in your House, everyday is an adventure of sorts, so move forward, jump over (or crawl under) life's hurdles and quit agonizing over reality. The aging journey takes it's toll. Accept the fact that knees creak, bifocals are necessary and uttering groans probably means you're just trying to get up off the couch.
This year, preserve the budget and celebrate Valentine's Day the right way...with pizza delivery, a box of chocolates, cuddle on the couch and enjoy a classic movie....or two, if you can stay awake!
Have you heard the story of the Bread Family Christmas? I didn't think so. Time to grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back and relax as I share with you one of the most elusive stories never told.
Although very little is known about the origins of the Bread family, their ancestry can be traced all the way back to the days of Moses and the leavened lineage of the Manna’s.
A long time ago, the wind was howling, snow was falling and it was a very, very cold Christmas Eve night. Corn & Ginger Bread were busily preparing for holiday guests to arrive for their annual Christmas celebration.
The Bread’s were blessed with six little muffins, each one embracing unique, individual personalities:
Excitement was in the air as the little muffins anxiously awaited the arrival of well… you know who? However, the excitement was less than a reality for Corn Bread, he was stressed and worried because the troubled economy made raisin six little muffins difficult. It goes without saying that times were tough for the Breads. Everyone, was cutting back and tightening their belts, or at least trying too, as many Breads were being sliced away from everything they had known.
Day after day, Cornbread would roll to the factory because they kneaded the dough. Through it all, Ginger Bread never seemed overly concerned. Ginger went about her sweet way, smiling through the worst of times. Inside the little canister they called a house, Ginger Bread always made everyone feel a little bit better and could always transform a bad day into a good one.
Ginger Bread made sure that the little muffins got a quick nap earlier that day, so they would be wide awake for the festivities. After a couple of hours, Ginger sang, “rise and shine”. Waking up was a little difficult for the little muffins as they seemed to be stuck in the warmth of their surroundings, but a little bit of careful nudging and they were ready to greet everyone.
It wouldn't be long before the "in-laws", the Loaves, would arrive. This added to Corn Bread's stress. Their rye sense of humor was never received well, and most of the time they ended up behaving like heels. Yet, year after year, Corn Bread kept hoping that this would be the year things would be different.
As customary, Breads from all over the country would soon be arriving from yeast to west and everywhere in-between. Aunt Éclair and Cousin Pita were the first to arrive. Uncle Crumpet soon followed. Uncle Crumpet always made Ginger Bread nervous because sometimes he would arrive a little half baked.
Time moved quickly and soon everyone arrived. Ginger Bread's house was filled with Breads; more than three dozen were gathered around the oven. The clock ticked ever so slowly as the little muffins anticipation grew. The little muffins were almost crumbling with excitement, when suddenly.......a loud POP was heard outside the little house, followed by a giggle. It was time! The moment they had been waiting for.......
There he was, easily identifiable by his characteristic hat, shirt and no pants ensemble. Yes, it was the famous Dough Boy himself, delivering goodies, fresh from the oven. He spoke not a word, but the giggles were endless. Dough Boy was soon out the door, on to the next oven, but they heard him exclaim as he soared out of sight, ....Happy Baking to all and to all a good night!
Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away! Family and friends will gather to share stories, reminisce and, of course, feast.
Ironically, the leftovers are barely put away before thoughts of Black Friday intrude on the days festivities. Black Friday shopping has changed dramatically over the years. The age of online shopping has made this task easier, cost effective and healthier. When I say healthier, I mean less bumps, bruises and yes, broken bones. It was rough back in the day.
Honestly, I never understood the attraction of Black Friday shopping until I had small children and a limited Christmas budget.
Mom, it's the ONLY thing I want for Christmas!" In my house, this seasonal mantra typically began shortly after Halloween and continued through Christmas Eve. These "more than anything", die-hard requests always seemed to be attached to the most elusive, hard to find, toy of choice on the market. To this day, I can still recall the echo of desperation in the tiny voices of my children.
As a mom, I dreaded and despised the non-stop, commercial driven antics of the toy industry. HOT item lists and anticipated shortages plagued my very existence. How could I let my kids down? There could be no exceptions or mishaps, Santa had to deliver! Mindful of my limited income and armed with determination, Black Friday became my ultimate challenge...my mom badge was at stake and I had to emerge victorious.
Admittedly, my first Black Friday escapade was a colossal failure. As a newbie, I learned very quickly that Black Friday shopping was not an exercise for the amateur or an adventure for the fainthearted. Black Friday shopping success depended upon strategy, expertise and a fierce desire to beat the competition.
As soon as Thanksgiving festivities would end, my Mad Woman on a Mission personality would surface. As a Black Friday shopping guru, my strategy began by gathering sale ads, mapping out Early Bird Specials/Door Busters, making a detailed list of which sales were at what stores, set out my clothes and went to bed early.
The alarm would ring at 1 a.m. and I would arrive at my first store around 2 a.m. The specials were very limited and I had to be first or second in line if I were to have a chance at getting the "must have", "hard to get" item.
Thinking back, I have to laugh remembering how easy it was to distinguish between Black Friday professionals and first timers. First timers just didn't seem to understand the consequences of drinking too much coffee or the hassle of returning lawn chairs to the car. Suffice it to say, depending on the crowd, getting out of line wasn't always respected.
First timers experienced a Black Friday boot camp of sorts. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately describe the brutality that could sometimes accompany Black Friday shopping. Once the doors opened, rules disappeared and the shoppers that, just moments earlier, appeared to wait patiently, transformed into raging mobs brandishing fisticuffs, pushing and showing displays of ruthless hostility.
Over the years, I became very skilled at Black Friday shopping and my BFF and I incorporated team shopping into our ritual. Team shopping made it even easier to secure more of our "must get items".
The era of Cabbage Patch Dolls®, Ninja Turtles®, Power Rangers®, Tickle Me Elmo®, Power Puff Girls®, Nintendo®, PlayStation II®, Fur Real Cat®, and Holiday Barbie® are now gone, but the memories remain. Black Friday shopping became a quest I conquered and now it's over!
Like I stated earlier, times have changed. I still love Black Friday shopping but I have to admit, I do enjoy it more from the comfort of my computer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not saying that I will never again (never say never) suit up to tackle the crowds and experience the rush of adrenaline while zigging and zagging my way through the frenzy of sale chaos. It is impossible for me to know whether or not nostalgia will once again release my Mad Woman on a Mission personality; however, one thing is certain....should that day arrive, I highly suggest that you move on or move over!
I asked my Facebook friends to add a line for a would-be Halloween story. My friends did not make this easy...this is the end result.
Labor Day, for the expectant mom, is the truest definition of hard labor
Family planning is particularly popular among many young couples intent on making their mark on the world, starting careers and having their proverbial baby ducks in a row BEFORE starting a family; however, whether “trying” or proclaiming “whoops”, recognize it's the same boat, so sit back and hang on tight because the next nine months will be a bit bumpy. You heard me, lift your head from your porcelain paradise!
Initially, the giddy excitement of knowing that you are the vessel that carries another life is overwhelming. The desire to learn everything about this nine-month journey is exceptionally strong, and soon-to-be moms endeavor to read every book and article written about this expedition. Detailed explanations are sought about mood swings, delivery and everything in-between.
Excitement abounds for first time, soon to be moms; not-so-much for moms who are expecting their second, or third bundle of joy.
As a new mom, I was totally unprepared for the responsibility I was about to accept. In retrospect, I am certain I would have benefited from a guideline to follow; thus the reason for the following list.
Daily if possible! For the next four to seven years, it will be necessary to tote a bag full of items everywhere you go. This bag will contain a variety of items (bottles, pacifiers, diapers, baby oil, baby lotion, wet wipes, toys, coloring books, rattles, baby nose aspirator and so on) based on the child’s age. Also keep in mind that it will be a long time before you will be able to enjoy a dinner out without saying the following statements:
Never set an alarm clock. This will be the last time you get to sleep all night for……well, I’m not sure, I’m still waiting.
Not necessary, might as well let it go. It’s time to begin getting used to your new motif anyway.
Seriously….get over it. Living in your new baby world, you will soon discover that romance is not even listed in the top ten as “I Love You is quickly replaced by “Hey, You Awake?
WHILE WAITING FOR LABOR DAY
LABOR DAY ARRIVES
It will seem like an eternity awaiting the arrival of your bundle of joy. Soon you'll attend birthing classes that will make labor sound bearable. (It's a lie!) The phrase, “you will feel discomfort” had to have been written by a man. Discomfort, DISCOMFORT; try anguish, torment, agony or torture, but DISCOMFORT my #?#@#!
Natural childbirth is popular until experienced. Think about it, were you using natural birth control (if so, how'd that work out for you?) My advice, for what it's worth, is to begin asking for drugs before you really even need them to ensure that you avoid being told, “I’m sorry, it’s too late.”
Last but not least, recognize that your spouse has absolutely no clue what to do, what is happening or what to say. He will make totally insensitive comments, so brace yourself.
Hubby: Do you want to watch TV to take your mind off things?
Me: Do you want to retain the shape of a TV?
Hubby: Just breathe.
Me: Great advice Einstein, the one thing I didn’t have to think about.
Me: I am focusing, on the PAIN!
Hubby: It’s almost over.
Me: Yea, right, that’s what you said 6 hours ago!
Hubby: I love you.
Me: Yea, yea, like that’ll ever work again.
Hubby: I see the head.
Me: Well, Hot Diggity Dog
Me: You’ll think push when I push you out of this fourth floor window
Hubby: The doctor is on his way
Me: Here or does he have another golf game?
Hubby: Do you want some crushed ice?
Me: Yea, stick a block under my fist and I’ll crush it!
When everything is said and done, you will have experienced the ultimate human achievement and will take home with you a beautiful, dependent little life that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state. Ironically, if you are a successful parent, this beautiful, dependent little life will grow into a teenager that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state.
Happy Labor Day!
Hasty Decisions are rarely Productive
When the profit line begins to decrease, many business owners panic and often react by eliminating positions, merging job duties, decreasing wages or reducing hours. Often, these decisions are made in haste and can negatively affect the long term fiscal health of the business. There is no disputing, certain circumstances may require these strategies; however, they should be a last resort rather than a defensive maneuver.
Merging Job Responsibilities and multi-tasking can cost your business $$$
In a misguided attempt to cut costs, merging job responsibilities has become common practice. It is imperative that businesses recognize and analyze the benefits of certain skill sets, experience and productivity of each employee, before implementing such drastic cost cutting measures. Employees bring with them distinct and respective talents that may or may not be listed under a computer generated “job description”. Merging job responsibilities typically means more work for the same pay, which may result in employee "burn-out". Is it worth the risk of losing a great employee to another company, maybe a competitor? Suffice it to say that all jobs are not interchangeable!
Your Employees are your Best Resource for Ideas
Business Owners should be visible, approachable and open to suggestions. The value of dedicated employees cannot be underestimated; they are your best, in-house resource for ideas and improvements. In today’s business environment, a successful business owner must invest valuable time cultivating and maintaining business relationships with peers and staff, just as they do with their clients.
A Proactive Approach is Always Best
All options be carefully weighed and searching for a proactive approach serves the best interest of the business.
Ask Yourself this Question
“Will the solution I am proposing, address this situation from a proactive approach or a reactive state”? If the response is the latter, more evaluation time is required.
Right off the bat, let me clarify that my boldness should not be viewed as a lack of gratitude for the benefits you, Mr. Big Business, bring to your respective communities. The employment opportunities your company provides are vital and your employees are grateful; however, it is important that you, Mr. Big Business, make a concerted effort to never underestimate the worth and value of the community you serve and employees you hire.
Mr. Big Business, while you reap the benefits of tax incentives and government perks, your small business counterparts are simply aspiring entrepreneurs just trying to catch a break.
Membership dues are part of business, period. Your annual, obligatory membership dues to various organizations help ensure that your political interests are represented. At the same time, the small business owner struggles to pay those same dues; not for political representation, but to establish credibility. Sadly, every day, somewhere, a small business owner gives up and closes the door. With each closing, the American dream seems more like a slogan from yesterday than a possibility for the future.
So what can you do about it? Well, Mr. Big Business, I'm so glad you asked. Learn about and do business with the small businesses who live and work in your community. The quality and value of the services and products they offer may even surprise you. It's easy to forget that success breeds success; yet, as overall budgets increase, so grows the community.
Mr. Big Business, I really don’t think that you are cold-hearted; just unaware of the many great businesses that exist in your area. The unawareness is not your fault, but rather an enormous communication failure of the very organizations whose mission it is to bring small businesses and big businesses together.
Mr. Big Business, small businesses know who you are, what products or services you provide and even where you’re located; but YOU need to know them! Who they are, what products or services they provide and where they are located!
So, how do we turn this around?
Unfortunately, some of the organizations and so-dubbed "powers that be”, refuse to be part of bridging this gap, so that is why I am calling on you, Mr. Big Business, to be the catalyst for change. Together, combined efforts between Big Business and Small Business will reap stronger, economically sound communities.
There are moments in time when a single, ordinary comment can send a person into a complete tailspin and this was one of those days!
It was just an ordinary day, just an ordinary comment and just one little word that changed my perspective. At the time, my children were very young and I was employed part-time.
Although I don't remember where I was, at the time, I do remember the question and my respone that day. My response forced me to step back and take a second look at how I viewed myself.
So...what do you do?
I’m just a mom.
Later that day, that single phrase hit me like a ton of bricks! Just a Mom! JUST a Mom! What was the matter with me? Did I really say that! Yes, I work part-time and I AM a Mom; a BUSY Mom; a TIRED Mom, and often a FRUSTRATED Mom, but JUST a Mom?
Where did that come from? I mean really, is someone JUST a Doctor, JUST a Lawyer, JUST a Nuclear Scientist? Oh, well, I digress. Why on earth would I use the word JUST to describe my career, my destiny...my life?
When one accepts the role of Mom, it is the most important job in the world; therefore, how dare I, or anyone else, demean the status of such a vital position? A Mom’s day begins before anyone else awakes and ends long after everyone else has retired for the evening.
A Mom’s responsibilities are endless. Breakfasts must be prepared (even cereal, after-all, someone has to get the bowls out and pour the milk), pack lunches, do the laundry (every day), ensure the kids leave the house “appropriately” dressed for school, teeth are brushed (can’t assume), hair is combed and see that the kiddos arrive at daycare, school or the bus...on time!
Then it's time for the mom, who is employed outside of the home, to hurry and get ready for work, hoping her shoes match (who among us hasn’t arrived with two different shoes of similar styles) and double checking the seams on clothing (you know you have worn that blouse inside out before). For the Mom who is not employed outside of the home, the routine of household responsibilities must be tackled.
Whether employed outside of the home or not, Mom inevitably has to pick up dirty clothes that have been left wherever they were removed as children and some spouses have difficulty seeing things on the floor. They look at it, walk over it, around it or even through it, but will never pick it up.
Meals, whether baked, fried, crock-potted or micro-waved must be prepared, dishes have to be washed or loaded into the dishwasher, carpets require vacuuming, linoleum demands to be swept and pre-fabricated furniture will not dust itself.
Multi-tasking is a must when juggling homework, after-school activities, ball games and band practice. A Mom may not be a doctor in real life, but definitely plays one at home. A Mom’s responsibilities never end from doctor appointments and picking up a sick child at school to dropping off forgotten homework and paying household bills. Oh let us not forget the responsibility of ensuring that the last roll of toilet paper or all of the shampoo has not been used.
There is JUST one simple moral to this story; a Mom works full-time, regardless of "employment" status from a world view. As a Mom, you are never JUST a Mom! A Moms work is hard, heartbreaking at times and the pay is lousy. Being a Mom encompasses many things, it’s just that JUST, ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!
Every Sunday, breeds from every religious denomination gather together for services within their respective Houses of Worship. Close examination of congregations conclude that the most common breed is the infamous Pew-Setter. It can be difficult to recognize a Pew-Setter, as it highly resembles its’ purer counterpart, the Soul-Winning Retriever. However, there are several ways to identify and distinguish between the two.
The Pew-Setter’s actions, though not usually malicious or intentional, might best be described as learned behavior. The typical Pew-Setter attends all Worship services and activities, stands when directed, sits when instructed to do so, Amen's on command, and occasionally speaks or testifies when prompted to do so.
The Pew-Setter lineage usually stems back several generations and, unfortunately, has a misplaced sense of ownership. This progeny usually sits in the same spot and can become secretively, and in some instances, boldly indignant when an uncommon breed happens to take up residence on their perceived, reserved dominion.
The Pew-Setter tends to be very vocal and simply has no qualms about offering criticism about anything or anyone. This particular mutt seems to have an overwhelming urge to howl loudly when changes occur and will never admit that he/she participates in, and in some cases, orchestrates gossip. This tracker uses its’ nose to sniff out private information regarding others and unwittingly disguises the information as a prayer request or other vainly concealed concern and disregards any damage that may result.
In sharp contrast to the above description, one can easily detect the Pew-Setter's rare, purebred counterpart; the Soul-Winning Retriever. The Soul-Winning Retriever also attends morning, evening and weekday Worship Services; however, should an uncommon breed take up residence on the Soul-Winning Retriever’s territory, he/she welcomes the newcomer, retrieves personal details like name, address, whether or not the visitors attend another House of Worship regularly and is forthcoming with an invitation to return often.
The pack that the Soul-Winning Retriever hangs with welcomes all new breeds. This beloved jewel genuinely tries to form a lasting friendship bond that is not isolated and reserved specifically for visitors. The Soul-Winning Retriever strives for joy and peace. This exceptional pedigree endeavors to share the Gospel outside of the church walls, is highly educated in God’s Word, follows God’s directives and takes his/her Spiritual walk very seriously.
This Soul hunting hound is always on a mission to sniff out witnessing opportunities and provide assistance to those in need. This thoroughbred has a keen awareness and uses discernment when another seems to be in distress or going through a difficult time. This hound will relentlessly pursue every avenue, until all venues have been exhausted, in order to provide assistance.
Trust is a particular plus with this bloodline. Listed as an exquisite gem, this thoroughbred studies the Word of God regularly and retains Scripture for use at an appropriate time. In addition, the Soul-Winning Retriever gives to others as directed by the Holy Spirit, and earnestly attempts to win lives to Jesus Christ. A feat of this magnitude can only be accomplished through a genuine expression of love and concern toward others, both inside and outside of the Tabernacle. Inside the Sanctuary, the Soul-Winning Retriever receives the weekly message and inspiration from God’s Holy Word and immediately releases this message into the world upon completion of the service.
Through the words and prophecies contained in the Bible, a remarkable promise has emerged. Hope is not lost for the misdirected Pew-Setter or any breed for that matter. This poor, mutant breed can be transformed instantaneously into a Soul-Winning Retriever. As a matter of fact, all breeds MUST be transformed. This change does not require DNA manipulation, but simply a true acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior, surrendering everything to Him, repenting of past discrepancies and last but not least, a few lessons in……………….obedience training.