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This Birthday’s for you!

35.  It’s impossible for me to get excited about it no matter how hard I try but instead of sulking and pouting about it, I’ve decided to make the day… the whole month actually… exciting!  This year, instead of my birthday being all about me, I wanted to make it all about someone else.  35 someone else’s to be exact.

This year, I decided to spend the month of September doing Random Acts of Kindness around our city.  Everyone deserves a “nicey”, and I hope that they put a smile on someone’s face.  I know they made me smile (and a couple even made me shed a tear).  Some are just simple small things, others took a little more thought 🙂

I have one request before you go and read my list (or before you decide this is the most boring post ever, and move on to the next blog). I want a birthday gift from you. (Pretty funny for the girl who says she doesn’t want her birthday to be about her, I know). In honor of our friendship, either real, or in the blogosphere, I would like you to do one RAOK for someone else.  Hold the door for someone, pay someone a compliment, whatever feels right for you in the moment.  Then come back here, or on Facebook, or wherever, and tell me about it.

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Here, in no particular order, is my list of 35 Random Acts Of Kindness.  (The one’s in red are the one’s I’ve already done)

  1. I gave a random mom free McDonalds Ice Cream coupons for her kids
  2. A mom in town was granted overnight visits with her kids, and looking for books to read them.  I filled a knapsack with some of Hayden’s old books for her, and a few Kids DVD’s.
  3. A neighbor was looking for a kiddie pool, I happened to have one in our storage shed.  That one was almost too easy.
  4. I gave a single mom working long hours on a road crew a crock pot so she wouldn’t have to come home and rush to prepare dinner.
  5. I gave the same mom movie passes so she could take her kids out for a night (After being a single mom, I have a serious soft spot for them)
  6. I cleaned out my closet, and supplemented when needed, and gathered 5 bags of clothes for a low income new mom who was in need of some clothes. (Those of us who’ve had to shop for them know plus sized clothes have that “extra material” surcharge on them that makes them more expensive then “Regular sized clothes”, whatever those are.)
  7. I gathered a dozen tennis balls, put them in a container with a note, and dropped them off at the dog park.  As I we were pulling away, someone pulled up with their dog, so we hung out for a second to hear what they said and the girl said “Awww… that’s so sweet” and I teared up a little thinking of how Bernie would have thought it was great to play with… or eat… the tennis ball.

    My Sweet Berner Bear would have loved this!

    My Sweet Berner Bear would have loved this!

  8. We are having construction work done on our old thrift store to convert it into our new food bank.  I’m going to make cookies and bring a case of cold water for them during their break. They are going above and beyond for us to get this done asap, so I wanted to go above and beyond for them
  9. I left a Tim Horton’s gift card in the mailbox for our Mail carrier.  She drives all over town all day long, and I don’t know how many people get a chance to tell her thank you, so I wanted to make sure that I did.TIms Card
  10. Quarter machines…. as a kid, they were my favorite thing, with unknown treasures wrapped in plastic spheres. As a parent, they drive me nuts, trying to get out of the store before the kiddo notices one and inevitably asks for a quarter while my arms are full.  I went to the mall, Canadian tire and Walmart, leaving quarters in all the machines I could find for some curious kids to discover.  I got busted by a couple waiting in line at Walmart customer service who noticed me stooped over the machines, but I don’t think they told anyone.

    TREATS!!!

    TREATS!!!

  11. I taped quarters to a drink machine so someone could help themselves to a cold drink while shopping.
  12. While driving around town to drop off another couple RAOK, I saw a kid… really… a kid I would assume was younger then my oldest son playing guitar for change outside No Frills.  Just one look at the guy told me he was seriously down on his luck, so I reached into my purse and found another Tim’s gift card.  When the Hubs gave it to him, the kid asked “Are you serious??!” and it almost broke my heart.
  13. I went to two of the playgrounds in town and left bottles of bubbles and bubble wands for kids to find
  14. Over the last 5 years, our family has become very familiar with Emergency Rooms.  They are NEVER fun, and the outdated magazines hardly help me keep my mind of why we’re there, let alone some poor kid brought there with their family.  (and yes, that’s been Hayden a time or two).  We went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of kids books and left them at Triage, the ER waiting room, XRay, CT and Ultrasound waiting rooms.
  15. Looking in mirrors has never been something I’ve enjoyed.  Add in the harsh light of a public restroom, and A simple trip to wash my hands can lead to an all day depression.  I left post it notes all over bathrooms in town that said “You are beautiful”, because lets be honest, we could all stand to hear it now and then 🙂

    20140912_141119

    We are all beautiful!

  16. Thank you cards for random people in town.  I wish I had these ready when I saw an RCMP truck parked outside the hospital, but I will be prepared next time!
  17. Get a bunch of balloons and tie them to the park fence by work.  What kid wouldn’t love a free balloon?
  18. Donuts for the 3 Fire Halls
  19. Donuts for the RCMP station… is it wrong to give donuts to the cops? Will they be offended?  I’ve outsourced this looking for an answer 🙂
  20. EVERYWHERE downtown has parking meters, and its always such a pain in the butt, especially if you don’t have a quarter.  So, I’m going to leave Quarters on the meters.
  21. Flowers for a friend just because
  22. We have such a great relationship with the local newspaper.  They are always covering our events, going out of their way to help us out.  So why not say thank you with some cookies?  Who doesn’t love cookies?
  23. We had a trunk sale last weekend, and we saw a bunch of people coming through with kids who wanted to stop at our table, but the parents kept saying “I have no change left!” so we took all our prices off and gave it all away.  (OK, so it was kind to the kids, but the parents might not have been as excited about it)20140913_115924
  24. We paid for the orders of people behind us at Tim Horton’s twice.  The first time, The Hubs forgot to tell them it was for my Birthday RAOK, so we did it again 🙂
  25. I met a lady with a new Cat.  Her kids are more then a little obsessed with it. (If you’ve ever had a new pet with little kids in the house, you know what I mean… mauling the poor animal any chance they get).  The cat hurt it’s leg and she was looking for a carrier to be able to let the cat recoup without little fingers bothering it, so I gave her the one we had.
  26. I have some sweet little cousins in Alberta who have been playing xBox with My boy.  I’ve mailed them something special that they should get next week.  What little kid doesn’t love getting mail?
  27. I have a friend who’s son got married this past weekend.  She was looking for a projector to show a slide show during the reception, so I loaned her mine.
  28. Our local domino’s does a program called “Suspend a pizza”.  What that means is I can pay $5, and they will put a pizza “on hold”, and when someone comes and says “I’m hungry but don’t have any money”, they will make them a pizza from the suspended pizzas.  That one made me a little teary eyed as well.
  29. Deliver Handwritten cards to a local nursing home. Not everyone gets visitors, and that thought makes me sad.
  30. Drop off thank you basket to the nurses in the Emergency Dept. for all those time’s they took such good care of us.
  31. This week I had a visit to the dentist. And when they came out to get me to bring me to the room, they asked how I was “Aside from being at the dentist”.  The hygienist and I started talking to it, and I asked her if it was hard hearing people say they didn’t want to be there every time someone came to their appointment, and she said “You get used to it”.  I thought how hard that must be, every day to hear people say such negative things.  So I’m going to drop off a basket of stuff for them… I just need to think of what is an appropriate treat for a dentist’s office… clearly not candy 🙂
  32. (Ok, so this is probably my one and only selfish RAO) Child the III and I don’t always get a lot of Mom and Kiddo time, and with our adoption paper work to add another little kiddo to our family, it may be a little shorter at times, so this weekend while the hubs is away, Kiddo and I will be spending the weekend camping, and spending some quality time together.
  33. This one is a family RAOK.  When Kiddo was selling his Skylanders, we got a FB message from a mom asking us to please please please sell her one of the specific figures because her autistic son saw it over her shoulder and went nuts. It was the only one he needed to complete his set, and would not stop asking for it.  Hubs made arrangements to meet up with her, and gave it to her for free.  We got a note from her half an hour later saying that her son hadn’t stopped running around the backyard yelling “Thank You!” to the nice man who gave it to him. That one brings a tear to the hubs eye every time we talk about it 🙂

  34. This one is a work in progress.  Hubs belongs to one of the MANY local service clubs in the area, and they run a lunch program for the local schools to make sure kids don’t go hungry.  I don’t know why no one put the two together before now, but they run the food program, we run the food bank… there is clearly a way for us to help out! So details need to be worked out, but I don’t think it will take too long, or be too hard to link these two fantastic programs together.

  35. We live in a town that still has payphones (Insane, right?!) I remember being stranded and having to make a collect call more then once in my lifetime, and it’s a horrible feeling not being able to check in with someone who might be missing you.  I’ll be taping change to the local payphones so  “someone can reach out and touch someone”
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Adoption, Blogging, McHubby, Surprise

 

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Organizational Fail

It’s September 3rd and I’m falling behind!

Working in the shelter system for 7 years taught me to expect the unexpected ( to steal a junk tv tag line, thanks Julie Chen). Being a single mom for 4 years taught me that life cannot always be “planned” into action. Growing up in,  working for and marrying into the life of a Salvation Army officers family taught me that life, like postal codes, can change on a regular basis. You’d think because of those lifs lessons I’d have learned to roll with the punches. To grab life by the horns.

But instead, here I am, 4:30am searching for freezer meals for our Christmas season, to avoid last years catastrophe of feeding my family dinner at 7:30… if they were lucky. I’m also on the hunt for project ideas for Child III while the teachers/government negotiate a new contract while our kids sit at home actually wanting to learn. Oh… and I’m 3 days behind on the Bible study I’m doing, and a week behind on the new kids program for church, and a couple days later then I wanted to get started on Sunday School lesson distribution (although with just one other SS leader, I’m not so stressed about that one).

Did I mention I promised my Dr I’d join a gym in August? And … well… its September.

I need to focus. I need to get my act together. I feel like I’ve lost the plot and we’re only 3 days in!

*** Ha! Thats how much of an organizational fail… its now the 10th and I didnt even post this yet lol

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Blogging, Meals, Mess

 

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#Empowered

A few lifetimes ago, I gave away my power.  Not intentionally, not all in one swift blow, but slowly, bits of me broke away like an iceberg, trying to find out who everyone wanted me to be.  Too Loud?  Ok… I’ll be quiet.  Too quirky?  Ok… Boring is easy.  Too Smart? I can play dumb REAL good.  Relationships, Friends, even family in their own unaware way.  Instead of struggling to find our who I was, I was struggling to be who “they” wanted me to be.  It became very easy to transform, to easier to tuck away the real me and become who I thought I was supposed to be. Before I knew it, there was very little of the real me left.  Instead, I was a chameleon.  One way for one set of friends, for coworkers.

I come from a strong line of women (and men for that matter).  Chipping away at the real me like that, it ate at me. And as it ate at me, I ate at everything in sight. I grew up with hopes, dreams, plans for an incredible future.  At 21 I had a job I loved, an apartment of my own, living in my favorite city and suddenly…. I was moving back into my parents’ house, pregnant, alone, battered and bruised.  I felt powerless.  I had lost control, if I had ever had it in the first place.

I was scared.  I ate.  I was lonely.  I ate.  I was ashamed. I ate.  And for brief moments, I felt in control. I could control what I ate.  (You know the pattern, right?)  I was suddenly responsible for this little life, and I couldn’t even tell you who I was, let alone who I wanted to be for this baby.  I felt powerless.

Fast forward 6 years.  Not a lot had changed.  I was in a relationship with someone I knew wasn’t faithful to me, who took every opportunity to make himself seem smarter at my expense, but my friends seemed to like him and most of all he enabled me.  Want to eat junk food and lay around on the couch doing nothing? He was your guy.  Want to stay inside and hide from the world? No problem.  I knew how this game of “Who Am I” went, and I was going nowhere fast.  The numbers on my scale however were flying through the roof.  One night, talking to my best friend oceans away, he heard something in what I said that I hadn’t even heard myself say.  He said to me “If you’re happy, tell me and I’ll drop it” and for the first time in a long time, someone was asking me… the real me… how I felt.  He saved my life that night.

It’s been 5 years and I’m still trying to figure out who I am exactly.  That same best friend who saved my life that night 5 years ago is now lovingly known as “The Hubs” and unfortunately for him, he’s left trying to help me put the “Sharon Puzzle” together.  The good news is he’ll call me on my crap, pardon my French.  When he hears “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do” or “I don’t care, whatever you want” he doesn’t take it as an answer. But as great as he is, as supportive as he is, this problem, it’s all mine.

I crave food.  It gives me comfort.  When I’m lost, not sure which Sharon is supposed to be “On”, food never tells me I’ve made the wrong choice.  When my heart is aching for a dream long gone, food soothes the hurt.  When I’m nervous, food offers me a distraction.  When I’m bored, food offers something to focus on.  One of the women in our small group personified her craving as a lover.  Seductive.  Calling to me.  Offering me the world.  I get it.

But this week… something was different.  I couldn’t tell you if it was the knowledge that 40,000+ women were walking this walk with me, if it was the sudden realization that I was turning to food instead of God when I was at my weakest, if it was a recent reminder of how food affects our health, or if it was a combination of all of the above.  Whatever it is, this week I feel #Empowered.  I can do this. or to be more exact, through God, I can do this…

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Babies, Blogging, McHubby, Prayer, Relationship

 

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2014

It’s the time of year where I say “I don’t make resolutions” and then proceed to come up with some other way to phrase my “hopes and dreams list” or some other silliness. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to the idea of resolutions. Maybe it’s because I know so many people end up breaking theirs that it seems like a recipe for disaster. Maybe it’s my deep rooted fear of not succeeding. You’d think, with my OCD being what it is, I’d embrace the chance to plan out my year 365 days in advance.

This year, I’m looking at it as my to do list. I work well with lists. In fact so well, that I may try on at least a weekly basis to convert The Hubs into a list person. I’d say it’s a work in progress.

So… In no particular order, and for the accountability of the 4 of you out there that read this, is my to do list for 2014;

– Take better care of the body God has blessed me with. How’s that for an outlook change? I’m not in the shape I want to be, very far away from it, in fact. But 2013 reminded me over and over to be thankful, and I cannot start anywhere else but being thankful for being alive, for having the full function of my body. What I’ve done to it… That’s all on me. I own it, I know it, I can change it. And I plan to.

– Not be afraid to ask for what I need. Have you seen the commercial of the woman who can’t sleep? She’s flopping all over the bed and at one point (In her mind) yells at her husband “How can you be sleeping?” That’s me. That was me a lot of 2013. And 2012. I get so caught up in a certain way I expect things to go that I will be stubborn enough to wallow in the way it “Should be”. An example of this? I have caught myself sitting next to To Hubs thinking ” I wish he’d reach out and hold my hand” or ” I could use a hug. I wish The Hubs could sense that and hug me” and then the me who spent too many years in bad relationships will sit there, wondering if I sigh long enough, or look doe eyed at him, he’ll read my mind and know what I need, and if he doesn’t, that poor little girl with baggage that I carry around, she will go without rather then ask. You see there are some days, the poor guy can’t win, and he doesn’t even know there’s anything going on. I know expecting him to psychically know what I need is irrational, but you’d be surprised the number of arguments that have broken out because I needed something and didn’t ask. So this year, if I need something I will ask. Or better yet, I will give. If I need a comforting hug, why not go and give him one? I know I will get one in return. (I know you just read that and uttered an eloquent “Duh, Sharon!” But this honestly is a new revelation for me.

– Speak More. When The Hubs and I were dating, and found ourselves in uncomfortable situations, we’d often remind the other to be “Loud and Proud”. I am a woman who’s faced adversity. A woman who’s stood between a pimp and “his girl”. A woman who’s sat at the bedside of women who’ve lost family, friends, everything they’ve owned, and vowed to protect them. I’ve literally jumped in the middle of fights to break them up. Stood strong while staring down the barrel of a gun. Attended too many funerals for people when it’s been just a few of us shelter workers and the funeral director. I’ve designed programs that change lives. I’ve helped negotiate a union contract (Some of you will know the fortitude THAT takes). I am a strong, smart woman, and it is time to start remembering who I really am. 2014 will see me … Or rather hear me Loud and Proud.

-Talk less. Yes, there is a difference. The hubs and I were in bed not 30 min after watching the ball drop in Time Square. While settling down, and for no reason I can think of, I made a biting comment about someone we both know. Not 30 min into a new year! As soon as the words left my mouth, I looked at him and said “wow!” I knew it wasn’t nice. I knew if they had heard it, it would halve been hurtful to them. I could tell you that this person and I don’t see eye to eye. That I’d been on the stinging end of some of her remarks. But does that matter? Does that excuse my behavior? I cannot say that it will not happen again, but I can say that right now I am making a commitment to stop talking just for the sake of talking. To take seriously gravity of the words I use.

There are other things. Re-focus my daily Devotional time. Read the Bible cover to cover. Unplug more. Drink more water. Laugh more. Be spontaneous. Love harder. Skype more. Be a better friend. Trust. Focus. Change.

Hold on… It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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