Lori Robinett: {Creating} My Path

musings of a wife, mother, writer . . .

Archive for the tag “mother”

Putting On a Happy Face

Recently, I posted something slightly negative on my Facebook page.

Feeling really grouchy & irritable today. You know, more so than usual. Thinkin’ it’s a good day to keep my head down and buried in work.

A friend responded.

Oh, dear – and you seemed so happy yesterday! Hoping it’s a temporary grouchiness and you’re already feeling better. <hugs>

Seeing that post really did help. Those virtual hugs aren’t just data. They’re emotion.

And that emotion that transmits via social media is why I’m generally careful about what I post. There’s research that indicates mood spreads via Facebook (check it out here), and I have no desire to add to the negativity in the world so I put on a happy face. I do the same thing at work, most of the time. I smile. Pretend I’m not hurting. Pretend everything is OK. And I bet others do the same thing. Does that give others a skewed view of our true selves? Probably. Does it serve a purpose to share those darker feelings? Maybe. Probably depends on why you share your darker feelings.

The reality is, my 18 year old daughter ripped my heart out about a year ago, days after she graduated from high school. Recently, I’ve seen pictures on Facebook of prom and posts about senior events and graduation. Those memories will forever be tainted for me, because they feel like a lie (yeah, yeah. I know they weren’t truly a lie. But they FEEL that way). On top of that, we had to have our 13 year old yellow lab put down last month. And now it looks like we’re going to have to have our 14 year old miniature schnauzer put down, likely on Saturday. If, that is, I can bring myself to make the phone call.

So, no, I’ve not been happy. I’m hurting and angry and disappointed and frustrated. But that’s OK. Those feelings are natural, legitimate feelings. We should not be afraid to share them with others, but neither should we let those feelings wrap their tendrils around every aspect of our lives. Do your 500 friends on F/B need to know that you’re feeling a little down today? No. But a quick post to let people know how you’re feeling is OK. Maybe you’ll even get a virtual hug that makes you feel better.

But remember that there is life outside of Facebook.

Acknowledge the feelings.

And then practice a little self-compassion.

 

 

Throwback Thursday #TBT: 8th grade graduation gate album

Here’s a post about the gate album I made for my daughter’s 8th grade graduation. Enjoy!

One of my hobbies is scrapbooking, which dovetails nicely with my love of writing. Those are two things I can do that really get my juices flowing. Over the weekend, I worked on a gate album to commemorate my daughter’s 8th grade graduation. I thought I’d share, since this is a project I’m especially proud of.

1. Pick your pictures. Just pick the good ones. The not so good ones can go into your regular album, but you want a special album like a gate album to shine. By saying good pics, I don’t mean just those that are perfectly composed & lit – I mean those that mean something, those that bring back memories.

2. Pick a color scheme based on your photos or your theme. My album was celebrating my daughter graduating from 8th grade and going into high school, so I went with the high school’s colors – green and black – and added pops of pink and yellow to accent. I let my daughter pick most of the papers since this is her album.

3. Choose your base. I’ve been on a tree hugger kick lately (not sure what’s up with that, but last week I stopped twice to help box turtles across the road), and decided that recycled materials would be good. We still use old fashioned telephone message pads at work, so I started saving the backs of them. It’s like chipboard, basically, about 4 1/4″ x 5″ or something like that. I mounted 4 of them to cardstock (or mounted the cardstock to them. Six of one, half-dozen of the other.) to use as the base, then I built up from there, using 2 across for some pages and 2 stacked atop one another for others. Just remember to trim your pages that are not the base to allow for binding.

4. Scrap each page, leaving room along the outer edges for binding.

5. Bind the outer edge of the album using whatever method you prefer. Personally, I like the Zutter Bind-It-All, but you could also hole punch holes then use yarn or ribbon to tie your pages together. You could also use jump rings through the holes. The reason I like the Zutter bindingĀ  is that it is easy to use, easy to turn, and is sturdy. Another note: if you use the Bind-it-All (or some other binder), flip your pages so that the album back is at the front when you bind, so that your rings will be “clean” on the outside and the rough binding wire will be concealed inside your album. If you’re not sure what I mean, email me and I’ll send detailed instructions.

And here are a couple of images:

The front of the album (which is actually 2 half pages):

And here’s one of the inside pages:

Thanks for looking – and let me know what creative projects you’re working on.

Take Care of You

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What is it about us, as women, that makes us think we have to do everything? Is it learned behavior, or is it in our genes? I, like many women, have many roles to fill. Who am I? I am a mother, a wife, a stepmother, a daughter, a sister, a co-worker, an employee, a paralegal, a writer . . . and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

The struggle to balance those roles is just that – a struggle. I would not get through the day if I didn’t have a game plan. I’m a bit of a control freak, I’ve been told (and you may notice a bit of that in my main characters – that’s a piece of me in them). I don’t deny it (though my philosophy with most things is deny! deny! deny!), I try to work with it. I start each day with a plan. Personally, I swear by my Franklin Planner. My life is in that book. My first boss out of college, Virginia Stewart, was a good influence on me. She trusted me, she taught me, she encouraged me. She let me take time off work to attend classes towards my masters degree, and other classes that were simply meant for self-improvement. One of the classes she sent me to was the Franklin time-management one-day seminar, and she bought me a binder, the first year’s filler, and a storage binder. That’s something that made a truly lasting impression on me – that she thought enough of me, a lowly young secretary, to invest in me like that. I should track her down and write her a thank you.

OK, so now you know my method of management. A couple of years ago I tried something different – divided each day into three sections – work, family and personal. I think it is important to realize that these three facets of your life work together, and mesh with each other, to form a total picture. One cannot exist without the other, at least in my life. My work is what keeps a roof over my head and food on the table. My family is, well, my family – the most important facet of my life. Separating them in my planner didn’t really work. There is too much overflow and overlap. So, I’m going back to the traditional planner with a daily task list. Maybe I’ll try something different for home, though.

My personal life has somehow been glossed over for the past several years or so (well, until 2005). My daughter is now 17. She’ll graduate this spring and will soon be off on the grand journey called College. She no longer requires my constant attention. I should be able to carve out enough time to have a personal life, to explore my own wants, desires and needs. To be honest, I am a better parent and a better wife when I allow myself that time. Yesterday, I was ready for Christmas to be over, to have time to myself. While my DH snoozed on the couch and watched Cowboys for Christmas, I played in my scraproom. It was WONDERFUL. I felt so refreshed afterwards.

So, you may ask, why do I suddenly feel this need to carve out personal time? To allow myself that luxury? A pivotal moment in my life occurred on February 28, 2003. My best friend died of cancer. She was 35 years old, with a loving husband and two wonderful children. We were best friends in high school, when we talked for hours on the telephone, cruised the loop together in her mom’s yellow Mustang, and double dated. We got dressed up for Prom together, and cried on each other’s shoulders when things didn’t work out with a boyfriend. We thought we had the rest of our lives to do . . . whatever. Anything. Everything. Then one day she had a routine mammogram, and the results weren’t good. She called me, and I helped her walk down the hallway of the hospital after her masectomy. She didn’t look good then, but the chemo and radiation seemed to work. A couple of years later, she attended a breast cancer survivor seminar/luncheon with me, and I thought she would make it. Less than six months later, she was dead.

You never know when your time will be up. You have to do it – whatever “it” is – now. For me, writing is important. It is my legacy for my daughter. One day, I want her to read my work and be proud that I am her mother.

Most important takeaway: Don’t put off the good stuff until tomorrow.

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