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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

Tag Archives: family

I got reaquainted with my blog the other day while frantically searching for a photo. (I miss this blog and hope to become better acquainted with it again in 2011 🙂 But that is another story…)

Tuesday evening… 5:45 pm… close to time to head home and I get a phone call from my 7 year old. “Mom, can you please print me 7 photos?” the faint voice says sweetly.

“Sure, Honey. Can I do this in the morning and we can talk tonight at home about which photos you want me to print while we eat dinner?” Silence on the other end of the line shows me the disapproval is pending…

“But mom… the speech teacher is going to give me $20 speech dollars and this is VERY important and I need to have a picture of Feliz (our dog) and of Dad and of our family and and and…” His voice trailed of and he was very disappointed.

I was tired but I was not stupid. I could choose to go home but it would not be a good evening. Chaos would ensue and unhappiness would reign. My 20 minutes of hunting and printing would make for an enjoyable evening of his poster making at home. I began to hunt for photos while he talked me through what fit the description of his speech poster images in his head.

He and I had been telling stories the night before about the very special day in the hospital when he and his sister arrived in this world and how his grandparents had brought his two big brothers, Zach and Noah to greet them as newborns. It was a special moment. Only 30 minutes old, they were introduced to them and allowed to hold them, once swaddled into receiving blankets.

At a conference last week on research on newborns, I learned that the first four hours after birth, babies are the MOST alert they will be for THREE weeks. It is a magical window of time in their brain development and sensory input. Just hearing that statistic brought tears to my eyes thinking about this photo, and the special moment my four children had experienced serendipitously. How blessed they were to have bonded in that time and how they will always will be to have each other.

2010 has been an incredibly challenging year on many levels. Yet, through it all, we have learned, no matter what happens, we have each other. I hope my children will always grow up knowing that as well. No matter what, they will always have each other as well.

In this season of hustle and bustle of here and there and getting this and that… running to and fro… Remember… it is what we have within and what we have to give of ourselves to others that is the most important. It is my family, my children, and my friends that I find most comfort in this holiday season.

A Heartfelt Merry Christmas & Cheers to a wonderful, bountiful 2011!


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3 years with the NYC Girl named Blissie!

People who wander into our lives are sometimes only there for a short while. Little did I know 3 summers ago, Blissie was not to be one of them. She was there for the long haul.

We met at Rob’s and One World. We just happened upon each other and enjoyed showcasing our inventories of noob-ness on the dance floor. We got good at changing during DJ gigs. We offered everyone gifts from our noobish inventory whether they wanted it or not… drinks, slippers, snacks… and then… Blissie’s trademark cupcakes and love of them made their debut.

She went on vacation for a week that summer in her first life and I missed her like crazy. She had become my partner in crime. How could I do dance floor changes and run amuck without her? When she returned, I pounced her and vowed to never let her go. This NYC girl works like I do. She multitasks and bakes and cleans (like I wish I did). And she is competitive like no one I know except for my husband.

In the photo slide show you’ll see a picture of bullriding. She and Bigd spent many hours at the bull pen next door to One World. I would wake up to find Bigd had been trying to beat Blissie’s score for at least an hour before the rest of us stirred! I’m not sure who won but the competition didn’t stop there.

There were wardrobe challenges. The poor girl once wore a whole folder… her ENTIRE inventory… at once at Robs! I laughed until I cried. We pillow fought and wore spankers. Any new gadget seemed to find its way to us and Spanksgiving was born.

We built at Burning Life. Well… Borday built and we watched. Then we rebuilt while Borday swore. (Problems with land rights in BL). We wandered. We went on Sunday field trips. Blissie always warned people she was armed and warned me she didn’t make friends with just anyone. That was my job. She would rescue me from busrides across Burning Life and scary guys on dance floors.

We partnered to save each other from crazy gropey boys. Then I shamefully unpartnered because I was building my RL image for work in SL and didn’t want to confuse people… not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂

We’ve had phases and eras. The gesture era. The attachment era. The food era (has that ended?). The club opening event DJ hostessing era. The blogging – profile advice giving era.

In the end it boils down to one thing: time tested friendship and love. She pounces me at work on gmail every once and a while. She includes me in her profile or blog and makes me smile. She dresses up with me and shops and eats and even has pot-roast-cooking-contests. But… no matter where our paths go, they always lead back to the thing that brought us together in the first place.

Her heart is huge. She is a fierce defender of things. She loves taking pictures of herself as much as I do 🙂 and she is an incredible ALT finder. She never hides. She just is.

Both lives make us remember what is important sometimes even when we don’t want to. Blissie’s RL is hard right now. While I know I can’t make things better, I can remind her how much I appreciate her in my life. First and Second… imaginary or not… my world is better for knowing Bliss. Cheers Gypsy Woman from NYC!

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There are just not enough hours in the day…  Phoenix WordCamp yesterday has my mind spinning about all the things I wish I could do with my blog… I wish I could do technically… and then… there is the writing piece.

My 11 year old son, Noah, is actively seeking to finish a novel at the end of National Novel Writing Month… his writing is incredible and it inspires me.  I wake up in the morning with fuzzy thoughts of phrases and paragraphs.  An hour later after a shower and a half a cup of coffee the moment is lost.

These days so much of my writing energy is channeled into grants and proposals.  I put my mind in the zone and just go.  A little start… a few paragraphs from someone else can ease the fear and pain of blank screen or empty white paper… and I”m off.

My blog though… it is so neglected.  I updated my look yesterday because it seems my days leave me feeling hanging like that.  What pieces of the photo you don’t see are the snuggly bunnies and lush tall grasses that are below to rescue me from my dangling position.  My real life is like that too.  When I take the time to savor the moments of bike rides to the park with my 6 year olds, laughs with my oldest now a teenager about the craziness of humanity, and pour over the creative juices of my 11 year old’s novel-to-be, I am reminded that those bunnies and lush grass are there for me in reality too.

Ultimately… I have decided the ultimate goal is to live in the moment of these treadmill paced life experiences.  When we choose to live from big event to big event, or for the short term celebration of Friday, or for the constant pressing feeling of achieve achieve, we lose what can be found in celebrating the big and the small of each moment.  Savor a muffin with extra butter.  Breathe deeply and appreciate the fall air.  Smile over an unexpected YouTube find showing a reunion between a dog and a soldier home from war.  Life is so short.  If I waste it looking down at my feet and worrying about my shoes on the treadmill, am I really enjoying all I should be?

Cheers to the moments that will find you smiling today.


Whoever invented Labor Day?  I believe it was the big union leaders rising up against the big bosses (or arriving at a compromise) in the Industrial Age.  Now in the Technological Age — is there such a thing as a “real” holiday?  I’ll wait for my husband to correct my history on this one 😉

The holiday aspect for me comes with sleeping in (until 6:30 instead of 5:30), being able to find a cozy spot on the couch to snuggle and read with my youngest, cheer on the kids as they battle the world of Lego Star Wars on Wii, and just sit.  The overcast skies and intermittent rain has provided some relief of the persistent sun and relentless heat.  Silly that even though temperatures rise here, the cloudy skies trick us into a sense of relief.

I look around the house and think of all the thousands of projects and chores that need my attention.  I dream of a personal assistant and maybe even an “Alice” from the Brady Bunch to rescue us.  There is so much to do.  When do we decide we deserve a personal Labor Day as well as the professional holiday one?

My oldest stayed up late last night watching movies but tucked me in and told me how much they loved me and rubbed my back while hugging me tight.  Those are the moments you want to just freeze in time.  Those are the times when all the “labor” pays off.  The thoughts of clutter and bills and deadlines melt away and I am reminded why I care so much about these little people in my life (who are not all that little any more).

So 1 day down, 2 to go for the breathing deeply, the not-so -rushed days to just be together.  Maybe we will paint fingernails.  Maybe we will play Barbies or more Lego Star Wars.  Maybe we will just all snuggle and watch another movie.  Even from the comfort of my own couch, with the chaos of children and family all around me, I am more than willing to work a few hours on projects I’m excited about at work.  To that end I suppose I thumb my nose at the traditional labor leaders of days long past.

Most importantly I am reminded I need to structure my calendar to include these breaks, this breathing room, far more frequently than I allow myself.  Deep breaths remind me that laughter and silliness are more important than clutter control and last much longer in memories.  Life passes so quickly.  Are you remembering to breathe?

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Many thanks to random searches and finding “Within this Strange & Quickened Dust” blog, early this morning. I would encourage you to think of your list. I decided to copy her and make this my Fall 2008 edition since there are so many things I consider favorite I’ll reserve rights to do it again in the next season.

  1. Cooler evenings and mornings…  Fall in Phoenix is finally here when it dips into the 70’s and 80’s overnight.
  2. 101 Halloween Costume ideas from 5 year old Simon that started as soon as last Halloween was over.   Throughout the year Simon has tried on costumes from the box he uncovered in the garage.  As new characters would pass through his imagination, they were added to the list.  I’m excited to see what he actually will decide to be his final costume… as I write this he wants to be King Kong and take over a city.  I could have sworn last night it was Spiderman.
  3. Fall Break… the 1st Quarter success marker that reminds us we can make it through the rest of the school year chaos with a little rest.  Nothing big planned.  Just being is the biggest item on the week ahead’s agenda.
  4. My father-in-law’s 83rd birthday and my sister’s 37th birthday.  They share the same day.  They never celebrate together but I’m excited to have my sister and her family coming to visit in a couple weeks… no doubt cake will be involved.  And 83… holy cow!  I hope I am still walking every day, living in my own house, actively involved in the community, and in charge of my own life still at that age.  Incredible and amazing man 🙂
  5. Halloween Parties and decorating for Fall on Second Life may sound silly to those who don’t know SL but SL is all about holidays.  Some of my favorite inventory items have been stored away for a year patiently waiting.  I know by the end of October I will be ready to run away screaming from the overload of costume parties but for now, I’m filled with anticipation of all the fun.
  6. SPANKSGIVING! 2nd annual is yet to be planned but with fall in the air on SL… it is just a matter of time.  We have so many things to be spankful for 🙂 stay tuned.  My NYC partner in crime will no doubt be full of great ideas on how to celebrate this one of a kind holiday.
  7. Lower electric bills because we don’t need AIR CONDITIONING as much!  With the reprive in 100 degree temperatures, our house can finally start to cool off on its own.  We will most certainly find other things to spend those saved pennies on but it is nice to see the amount due lessen… for just a few months.
  8. Sleeping under blankets!  I love snuggling up for a nap under a soft, fleecy blanket.  I love sleeping at night under my comforter and even a blanket.  This time of year finally lets me enjoy a night of sleep (good night of sleep? not with peewees in the bed) under cozy covers.
  9. A big PBS event we will be hosting at the end of this month complete with 4 characters, picture taking, and booths and booths of fun activities for families.   The first event like this that I will have been involved with coordinating and bringing to fruition.  10/25 is dday for that – so don’t expect me to form complete coherant sentences that evening 🙂
  10. A new office downtown with a shorter commute! We move in less than 2 weeks to a beautiful brand new, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of downtown.  I am so excited… I often think Weezie had nothing on us as I sing “Movin On Up” to myself.  We’ll be bidding farewell to the old hospital turned offices with roof rats and scary bugs.  We’ll be bidding farewell to free parking too.  But… I suppose that is all part of the cost we pay moving up.

I can’t wait to see what forms the items on your lists.  It really is the big and the small that make up who we are and remind us what is important in life.  I’m glad I can think of both big and small for my 10.  Truth be told, I could probably think of 20. Thank goodness I can do a list for winter!  Thank you fellow blogger for thinking this up!

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I’m embarking on a new RL challenge that has been serendipitous. I always love that – when you get the exact tool you need – unexpectedly. The new challenge is joining a Children’s Challenge Speakers Bureau for the United Way here in Arizona. It is something I will volunteer for – but something that can be done in conjunction with the other things I do for my job. Yes… one more plate to spin, one more ball to juggle, but… I felt like I have been blessed with the ability to speak to groups – and I have been more than blessed with healthy happy kids and I needed to speak out on behalf of those kids who struggle with just getting their basic needs met.

So… this speakers thing required 2 days of training. I met an amazing woman through the course of the training that I hope I will continue to build new professional bridges with. We both agreed there was a lot of potential. Her mantra was embedded heavily in the 3 days.

Affection ~ Inclusion ~ Control

She shared this with us because it is how she builds rapport with her audiences when she speaks.  She shared then numerous examples with us of how it can apply to day to day life – it could solve problems with 3 and 5 year olds, and it could solve problems with whole countries.  A very simple strategy – and one that I will try my best to practice.


  1. Show Affection.  Tell people you care about them.  Smile.  Make eye contact.  Use body language that shows affection (not lovey-dovey – but accepting).
  2. Remember Inclusion.  Allow everyone to be involved.  Allow everyone to offer their thoughts.  Solicit opinions.  Listen to those opinions.  Include all in the necessary dialogue.
  3. Share Control.  Remember that in compromise control can be shared.  You can still achieve your goal, while acknowledging the needs and concerns of others, and allowing them to have control as well.

To make it a little more concrete I’ll share my example from an interaction with my 5 year old son.  Mornings at our house are a little crazy.  It is a race.  It is an adrenaline producing experience.  It definitely makes just the rush from caffeine seem mild 🙂  to say the least.  Anyway – Dave always does a great job in setting out the clothes for the kids so that by the time they get up – it is a no brainer – grab your clothes and put them on… move on to the next task.  

So… one morning this week after hearing this strategy… I had an incident cross my path immediately to practice.  Simon decided he preferred to wear some older shorts/overalls that were his favorite as a 3 and 4 year old.  Yes, they are cute. They were my favorite too.  They were designed to be baggy.  They were in the pile of clothes to donate to Goodwill.  In a squeeze, yes, unfortunately, they still “kinda” fit Simon 🙂  Simon decided THOSE were what he was going to wear. He needs help undoing the buckles to use the restroom – so I knew they really weren’t an option.

Simon was very upset about not being able to wear these overalls to school.  He was in tears and very angry.  I held him and talked quietly about how much I loved those overalls too.  We both agreed they were our favorite.  (hint: affection)

Then, Simon and I talked about some alternatives.  I agreed to not put them in the Goodwill pile and we brainstormed some times when he could wear them (at home, on the weekend,  even to sleep in if he wanted! LOL).  (hint: inclusion)

He agreed to wear his other shorts and decided he would put the overalls on as soon as he got home.  He was still sad but agreeable – and far from the headstrong temper tantrum mental state he had been in when we began  (hint: control).

NOW… mind you… this all took place in probably less than 5 minutes.  This was in no way a Dr. Phil show length activity.  Less than 5 minutes and we both felt good about the outcome.

Maybe we need to pass those 3 little words on in big and small ways to those around us, and to unexpected strangers that cross our path and may need a dose of that as well?


the little guy I love so much

the little guy I love so much

By the way – once you take notice of this strategy – you will see it everywhere – non-examples abound – and you will see opportunities to put it to work yourself if you are brave enough to try 🙂

An important note to include I almost forgot…  One of the things this facilitator shared is that in the absence of this strategy – in the absence of affection – inclusion – control, passive- agreessive and downright defiance will always prevail.  

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The kids screaming, phone ringing
Dog barking at the mailman bringing
That stack of bills – overdue
Good morning baby, how are you?
Got a half hour, quick shower
Take a drink of milk but the milk’s gone sour
My funny face makes you laugh
Twist the top on and I put it back
There goes the washing machine
Baby, don’t kick it.
I promise I’ll fix it
Long about a million other things

Well, it’s ok. It’s so nice
It’s just another day in paradise
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Well, it’s two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Friday, you’re late
Guess we’ll never make our dinner date
At the restaurant you start to cry
Baby, we’ll just improvise
Well, plan B looks like
Dominoes’ pizza in the candle light
Then we’ll tippy toe to our room
Make a little love that’s overdue
But somebody had a bad dream
Mama and daddy
Can me and my teddy
Come in to sleep in between?

Yeah it’s ok. It’s so nice.
It’s just another day in paradise.
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Well, it’s two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

Well, it’s ok. It’s so nice.
It’s just another day in paradise.
Well, there’s no place that
I’d rather be
Two hearts
And one dream
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
And I ask the Lord every night
For just another day in paradise

For just another day in paradise
Well, it’s the kids screaming. The phone ringing
Just another day
Well, it’s Friday. You’re late
Oh yeah, it’s just another day in paradise

~Phil Vassar, Just Another Day In Paradise

If everyone can make it out the door, combed hair, nice clothes (picture day today for 3 of 4) and make the bus on time… and Dave make 1st hour… life is good, right? My youngest 3 waved happily as they climbed on the bus. My oldest said don’t worry mom, today will be a good Monday and shooed me away from the busstop. The ENT told me it must just be my blonde hair making me dizzy. So…We are off and running! Cheers to the first day of Fall and imagined cooler temperatures in Phoenix. Cheers to cancelled meetings and more time to get work done. It is ANOTHER DAY in paradise 🙂 Half-full baby!

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