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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Who Says Boys Dont Cry?




Feb 3, 2013

Every young man on that court was playing to win. As the roar from the crowd became hostile I reminded myself that every mother and father in the stands felt the same way I did. We all wanted our team to win. But somebody had to lose didn't they?

Emotions were running high at the big game this week and despite all my preseason confessions that I am not competitive, I found myself sucked in by the fervor of the crowd. I was turning hoarse before halftime.

Sure enough, it was a nail biter till the very end and alas, we were not the victors. That old saying "The thrill of victory and agony of defeat" stung deeply as our players filed off the court with their heads hung low. Our fans gathered our belongings and began to descend the bleachers. Some were angry, some were offended but most, like me, were sad. My heart was heavy for our boys who literally gave it their all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Own Limo



I walk to work. An entire 2 blocks. Every day.
LIke a mailman.
In rain or shine.

Everyday I wave to the same neighbor, see the same bus driving her route, and the same kids walking to school.

Yesterday it was a particularly cold walk.
Nose to my scarf, mug of coffee in hand, I walked as quickly as I could to my office.
My waves were brief, my pace was swift and, what's this? a variation from the routine.

After picking up the neighbor girl, the school bus pulled up along side me. The driver threw back her window and over the roar of the bus declared, "I don't know how you do it!"

"It sure is cold this morning!" I answered perplexed. Usually a wave is the extent of our daily exchange.

"What will you do when it snows?" she asked.

I thought to myself, "I'll wear boots of course" but fearing that would sound snarky-er than I intended, I jokingly said, "Call in sick I guess". I smiled and continued on trying to get indoors as quickly as possible.

Not finished with our conversation, the bus trailed alongside me for a feet while the driver offered, "Well you know I could always just pick you up!"

"I'll keep that in mind!" I waved and carried on.

Tickled by the offer I shared the story at work. We laughed but I threatened that if I ever take the driver up on her kind offer, I would live tweet the whole event and hashtag #perksoftheDistrictOffice

Or #checkoutmylimo
Or #Iridethelongbus
Or #myBosswontmind

What do you think? 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Grief. Fear. And Hope.


I fell asleep at night, my pillow wet with tears. I've spent the last 30 minutes or more imagining my husband's funeral while he lay next to me sleeping peacefully.

Who would come? What would they say? Where would we hold services? Perhaps I believed these mental rehearsals would prepare me *should* the day ever come. 

My husband by the way? He's perfectly fine. It's me. I've let my imagination become overrun by fear - and this is how I spent so many sleepless nights in the early years of our marriage. 

I was afraid what we had was too good to be true, or that my mother, who became a widower like her mother before her, passed down a family curse. "Poor Aaron", I thought, "Marrying me was a death sentence."

I don't struggle with this type of fear so much anymore. I had a few books and friends help me along the way, but mostly I learned  - and practiced (and practiced and practiced) training my brain. Now when I feel the tragic imaginations coming on I purposefully change my line of thinking. 

I didn't know then, but I know now, that I can be in charge of what I think. 
Turns out my brain is not a runaway train because I'm the conductor.

And yet, fear exists.
Fear is real.
And fear can even be a protector at times - like when you get that creepy feeling and you alter your plans and realize in hindsight that that feeling protected you from something unsavory. 

C. S. Lewis wrote, "No one ever told me grief felt so much like fear."
 When I first came across that quote in Brene Brown's Rising Strong book it struck me hard, but yet I couldn't articulate why exactly.


After weeks of meditating on those words I've decided that often, when we feel sadness strongly, it's not a long jump to misunderstand it as fear. 

And fear, at it's core, is most awful.

When we grieve:
a loss, a cancer diagnosis, bad news, unemployment or a broken relationship we easily become afraid.

Afraid of:
death, afraid our child will be sick, afraid to watch the news, afraid of change, afraid we'll never be loved again. 

Grief feels like fear. Except it's not.

And what about hope?

As Seth Godin said in his January 17, 2016 blog entry,

"Fear shows up unbidden, it almost never goes away if you will it to, and it's rarely a useful tool for your best work.
Hope, on the other hand, can be conjured. It arrives when we ask it to, it's something we can give away to others again and again, and we can use it as fuel to build something bigger than ourselves."

Bad things happen. Bad things might happen to you. Or your loved one. Or your child. But it might not. So instead of entertaining fear, allowing it authority over us
to wreck us
keep us up at night
and cause us great misery 
I believe hope - which can be called upon - is the answer we need.

Not *instead* of the fear. Nay, in the midst of it. 
Have hope. Give hope. Conjure hope.
Love hope. And if you're not convinced in it's power - at least experiment with Hope.
Hope never fails. The Bible; Romans 5:5

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Menu Monday January 17 - 22

Menu Monday is back this week on To Write a Better Story.
This mid-January freeze we're experiencing has got me weary of:
the cold
static cling
winter skin
and sunsets that come too soon.

I guess I felt like mixing the menu up a bit. I've warned my family - I've done something I've never done before - every meal I'm preparing this week is a brand new recipe. 

Take that winter blues!
(I have no idea how new recipes corallates to me beating Old Man Winter, but there it is nonetheless.)

Here's what a working mother of 5 feeds her picky kids:



All of these recipes are pinned on my Pinterest Board (follow me @Steph_Sikorski) Please let me know if you try any of the recipes or share some of your family favorites with me. January is barely halfway done and apparently I'll take any form of creativity I can get in this bleak month. 
XO friends,
Stephanie
Also check out www.orgjunkie.com for a HUGE
Menu Monday linkup. So fun!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Delightful


I am tired of being worn out.
I am tired of being afraid.
I am tired of being told to be afraid.

I am tired of injustice.
I am tired of the really small things being blown up into really big things because drama is our go-to knee-jerk comfortable reaction instead of seeking out sanity, love and wisdom.

And I think my people are too.

My girlfriends are searching for real answers amidst hard questions. 
My family is trying to navigate a-having-more-means-you're-worth-more culture .
My kids are struggling to understand being passed over and picked last.
My community longs for good news, hope and financial security.

All the while my insides are searching and looking for some small way to bring hope and light somewhere. We need a little hope. We need a little light. We need a lot of love. 

I don't know if it will help, but I have an idea to try; thanks to the encouragement of The Good Life Project I'm trying to remember to be a delight.

Wherever I can.

What if, the people in my world, the people I work with, come in contact with or love, what if instead of coasting through the moments in our interactions I choose to spend energy on delighting them? What if I consciously, and in the truest of genuine ways (vs a forced, phony trying to impress sorta way) thought to myself, "Can I do/be/say anything in this moment that causes delight?" 

and then do it?

Would my people be happier?
And if they're happier do the people they love become happier?
And would happiness multiple?

Would fear take a back seat?
Would love evident itself?
Would someone's day be better?

Is it possible? It is possible that if I choose to be a delight, that something, anything could go better?

If there is anyway that the answer to these questions 'might' be yes, than I think it's worth a try. 
Anybody want to join me?

(For more information on being a delight check out this very cool podcast The Power of Delight) http://www.goodlifeproject.com/the-power-of-delight/?t=radio

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Good Reason for Giving Thanks




I'm cradling my coffee, snuggled on the couch and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving surrounded by my 5 children.

And I'm grateful.

Today is Thanksgiving, the day we pause and reflect.

The origin of Thanksgiving has much to teach us. The first settlers sat down at a table, with new food and new friends after a very difficult journey in celebration. Celebration of surviving. Celebrating scarcity averted. 

I just told a friend last week that when Hubs retuned to college to earn a teaching certificate it took 3 1/2 years. Three and a half years..

Three and a half years without financial security.

Three and a half years of charity.
Three and a half years of not having enough.
Three and a half years of scraping, denying, hiding and crying.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Just last Thanksgiving we were giving thanks because hubs graduation was on the horizon.
This Thanksgiving is much different: our home is warm, our bellies are full, our children are here and we're all sitting on the couch together because we're on the same work schedule.

We are blessed.

We're not pilgrims by any means, but we've been on a harrowing journey as well. So when my family gathers around the turkey and stuffing I'll be especially grateful. We've known scarcity. And now we know abundance again. For that I am grateful. Very. 

Funny how it takes going without to remind you how blessed you are when you have what you need. To me thats exactly what writing a better story is all about; taking the story I find myself in and choosing to live within it by being the kind of character I would like to read about. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

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