Monday, August 15, 2011

Parenting Advice

A friend recently wrote a blog post about parenting advice inspired by a news article she found online. My first thought when reading her blog was, that's something I could write about. I put it on the back burner, but today I came across a post I wrote several months ago that sort of tied in. So instead of writing a list of advice on how to parent your child, I'm offering suggestions on being a parent, mostly geared at new parents.

So, here's me, attempting advice.

First, before your baby comes, when you're imagining what life will be like with your brand new baby, know that you must have flexible expectations for yourself and baby. It does not matter what you want to do, plan to do, think you must do, if that doesn't work for your family or, most importantly, baby, it won't work at all. Having expectations for yourself and baby can sometimes result only in heartache. Not always, but sometimes.

Next It's important to know that it's okay to need help. If you've never needed help as a parent, by all means, tell me your secret, because everyone (especially brand new parents) need help. What kind of help? Anything. I was so set on being able to do everything myself that I didn't need anyone. I don't need to take a nap, I'm enjoying my baby and I can handle it. It doesn't matter if I haven't really slept for days, because all moms do this; if they can do it, I can do it. I was really stubborn and really set on proving to everyone I knew that I didn't need any help that I made life a lot harder than it needed to be, on myself and my family who was dying to just be helpful. It is okay to need help, and it is okay to ask for it. I promise. No one will think any less of you. And if they do, they shouldn't be part of your life anyway.

Enjoy your time with your baby, but don't forget that you have other roles in your life also. Chance's are, unless your a nanny and not a parent, that you aren't only responsible for holding a baby all day long. I know it's wonderful and amazing, but in addition to being moms (and dads) we are spouses first, or significant others, whatever. It is so easy to fall into dream world of baby and how awesome it is to finally get to spend time with your baby that we really do forget that we do have other loved ones in our life.

This can be really stressful for marriages, especially for dads, who unless they are stay at home dads really don't get as much bonding time in and don't always understand why we moms don't talk to them anymore or acknowledge their presence. I had a really difficult adjustment period realizing that my husband did need me to spend time with him as a wife and not a new mom. It's a hard mindset to even realize you are in, and then even harder to get out of it. I wanted to spend all this time with my new baby, because I knew he wouldn't be a baby for long. BUT, you won't miss much if you go out for dinner alone with the spouse or if you skip taking a nap with baby to actually talk about non-baby things for more than five minutes.

The best advice I can give here, is just to be flexible and realize that the dynamics of your relationship have changed, on both sides. You have to balance being a mom and wife, and Dad's have to realize that you are learning a whole new role, while on minimal sleep and a tide of emotions.

Might be more of a side note, and this may not happen to everyone, but my complete lack of sleep for several months has resulted in loss of memory for months of my child's early life. So, take pictures, start a blog, keep a notebook, something that keeps your memories intact so that you can look back on them and tell stories about them. (These memories are especially useful for the terrible 2's and 3's, because they help you remember how wonderful it was to hold a tiny sweet baby, when said baby is screaming their head off over who-knows-what and you're starting to wonder what you were thinking becoming a parent in the first place.)

The last one is a big one, and it's pretty hard to do at times. Every been there, done that mom has advice. She knows how it worked at her house, and why. But she doesn't know how it works at your house, so when she offers her unsolicited advice kindly smile and thank her for her words. and avoid punching her in the face. You can even try her advice if you want, but know that what works for your sister/mom/aunt/mother-in-law whoever, won't always work for you and your baby. No matter how many times she tells you what to do, or sometimes what you're doing wrong and how to fix it, know that she means well, but she isn't always right. It gets frustrating sometimes having to hear everyone give you unsolicited advice, but it never ends so just get used to it. :)

Being a parent is truly one of the most rewarding, stressful, wonderful, tiresome, scary, beautiful adventures you will ever go on; and it lasts forever. It never gets any easier, but the good news is, you will have a reason to smile for the rest of your life.

So, be flexible, don't take anything too seriously, and enjoy the ride.

My sweet boy and I our first day home from the hospital. 

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm a Grown-Up

I've gone back and forth on doing this for a long time, but I have made a commitment to this blog and I plan to see it through.

You may or may not have noticed that when you followed the link in your feed it redirected you I bought my own domain! Yay. 

This feels like such an adult thing to do. I own a little piece of cyberspace. Well, not really, but I own the name of this page. :)

I've also set up an email address and added a button in the sidebar, just in case you ever feel the need to send me an email, it's there.

Lastly, if you've linked to me via button, I have updated the address there so you might want to update it on your blog as well as in your feed/reader.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Some Harry Potter for Your Day

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My dream

Early this summer I went to my cousin's high school graduation. During the ceremony, one of his classmates sang and played his guitar. It was really great and my mom and I were very impressed with his vocal skills. After that I downloaded his songs on iTunes, I mean, they were just a dollar. Those few dollars meant nothing to me and helped an aspiring artist pursue his dream. 

Today I saw his facebook page in my newsfeed and thought I would check out his website and see if there were any updates. I read his bio for the first time and there was a touching note to his Papa, the person who pushed him musically. The person who inspired his dream. 

So my cheesy mind thought, that would be a good blog topic, "What's your dream?" 

Then I realized I didn't have the answer to my own question. I know it's natural to have some identity issues at my age, but that kind of hit me hard. Do I even have a dream? I dream of...being a good parent, original right? 

You want to know my very first thought? I'm sad to admit it because I know it will never come true. My very first thought was, My dream is to live in NYC. I've always dreamed of living there. 

So, I'm not really sure if that counts or not, especially since I know it's not even possible, but there it is. 

My dream is to live in New York City.

After realizing this was my dream, I've decided I want to create a dream list, sort of like LMM's Life List so be looking for it in the near future.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


My blog topic prompt today is, What in your house needs cleaned the most?

I nearly snorted when I read that prompt. What doesn't need cleaned in this house? It seems that everyday, no matter what proactive things I do all day long to avoid large messes, they still happen. 

Yesterday I did a load of whites, a load of towels, a load of blankets (because my child peed the bed twice in one night), a load of darks, and two loads of colors. I actually hadn't really done a mass laundry run since early July. Which I know is really sad. I would just wash a few things here and there and leave the rest piled in the laundry room. Now they are all washed, folded, and waiting for me to organize my and Chance's dresser to put them all away. Work starts back up next week and I need to have everything ready to go without worrying about doing laundry. 

I run the dishwasher daily. You wouldn't think that cooking 3-4 times a week would create as many dishes to be done as it seems to, but apparently you'd be wrong. I think the main culprit is the previous house we were in before this one had this really awesome closet in the laundry room that I stored our extra dishes and other kitchen stuff. Well, when we moved, Chance forgot to get everything out of it, and left us with like 6 large plates, 2 medium plates, and 3 small plates and a very limited selection of utensils and silverware. When Chance's grandparents passed away we were given some of their silver wear which has helped, but when yo only have 9 plates total, and three people, well, that means you wash dishes all the time.

My house isn't dirty, it's definitely messy. There are lots of things that are out of place, or don't have a place at all to begin with. I guess that's what I would really like to do most. I would like to organize the entire house, find more places for things that don't belong stacked on top of the fridge or any other cabinet in the house. I would like to build on and have more storage. More places to put things that need a home. 

Oh yeah, and I also need to clean my room.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blog Topics?

Lately I've been relying more on a predefined topic as inspiration instead of my daily life. I think there's a really thin line between a creative writing project and a blog topic. 

Sometimes I just need a boost, an idea. Something to get the creative spark going, so this is really helpful to me. BUT, I do think that it's important to use the topic to tell your own story, and not create one. 

While going through a topic list, I kept coming back to one: "Describe the nicest thing you've ever done for someone." 

I don't know about you, but praising myself is not my strong suit. I'm great a being sarcastic and pretending to brag, and I know what I'm good at, but that's not the same as narrating something that I've done and why it's the nicest thing I've ever done.

I don't think I'm a horrible person, but I know that I don't just go around doing nice things for people. I actually can't tell you something at all nice that I've done for anyone. 

And that makes me really sad, to think that I can't even think of anything. My goal, before Christmas, is to complete an activity that will be able to finish this blog topic question. 

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Keeping Busy

It's amazing how much more quickly a day will go by when you are doing things than when you aren't, isn't it? Every day I look forward to five o'clock, and it seems to just drag by. Today, however, was much better. Well, time wise anyway. Archer and I enjoyed our last summer day sleeping in until 10:45. He snuggled in my bed with me for a little while before deciding he was starving. I made him some eggs for breakfast and then ordered this really awesome planner for myself after finding it on a blog I follow. (PS, I have a coupon for the planner, and will post pictures of mine when it comes in!!) (Wow, just realized how lame it sounds to be this excited about a planner.)

While I was doing that, there was a knock at the door, the plumber. He spent about an hour working on the lines, charged me $100 and said all of the lines to the city's main line need replaced. He got the BALL that Archer flushed down the toilet out, apparently the SOCK and underwear he flushed went into the lines. I capitalized ball and sock, because if you remember from a previous post I said the boy flushed his panties, but yesterday as I was telling my grandpa why I needed a plumber he confessed to also flushing a ball and his daddy's sock. Grr.

Anyway, he said that it's back to flushing for the time being, but that we really need to replace the lines, a task he would only charge me $5,000 to do. I almost crapped my pants. I thought he was joking, I almost laughed out loud. Chance said we would just rent a trencher and do it ourselves. I almost would rather pay the $5,000 than do anything that involves sewer lines....

While they were working I threw a pork loin on the stove, it's the Pioneer Woman's Dr. Pepper Pork recipe, and let me just say, YUM. If you haven't tried it, you must. It's very spicy but oh so good. That took a significant amount of time, as I like to go to the kitchen periodically to smell and baste the meat. And snack on the top and edges once they get done. It's a tough job. After the meat was done Archer and I headed out to my mom's for dinner. I made the roast, so she made the rest; as well as some chile rellenos. It was fantastic food, but I'm feeling it in my esophagus tonight. Archer gobbled up some spaghetti o's while we ate spicy food and then put away an ice cream cone and a bowl of ice cream. The sugar festival was on after that.

He was being wild. I took him out in the garden for some pictures. Getting a smile was like pulling teeth for a while. Actually, getting him to smile and look at the camera was a task. He would look at the camera with this horrible straight or sad face, and then look away and smile. He was wearing me out. We wandered out into the pasture to take some more, where I did get a few smiles; but once we got in the pool he was back to not smiling again.

 Even though I thought he was going to wear my patience thin, it really did push the day along quite nicely. We got home at 8, chatted with Chance and then Archer went straight to bed. He never crashes that early, but tomorrow is his first day back at day care. I can't wait! :)

 Here are a few of the pictures from this afternoon, all I wanted was a smile.

Twenty shots later, he finally gave me a real smile and made eye contact with the camera. Love my boy.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Free Toy Story Party Invite Template

Last month I posted about creating my son's birthday party invites. Well, today I had to change the time and add some stuff which required me to wipe the entire text out, leaving me with a blank etch-a-sketch.

SO...I thought it would be nice if I shared the blank image with everyone so that the could make their own from the template.

 Here you go, a free Toy Story party invitation template! All you need to do is add text, which can be done in paint, picasa or your favorite editing software. Enjoy!

Today I had my invitations printed online at walmart. This template can be saved as a .jpeg image and is printable.

(Linked at I Heart Naptime)

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Recipe Link Party Details

Today is recipe sharing Monday over at Jam Hands (one of my new favorite blogs). If you have a recipe you are dying to share and you want to increase your blog traffic a little head on over to Jam Hands and link up!

Jam Hands
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

I got the idea for this recipe from my friend's healthy cooking cook book, I'm not sure of the actual title, sorry; but I didn't really stick to the recipe. If you're looking for a healthy version of stuffed peppers, this is probably not it.

4 Bell peppers (I get the multi pack, color wise. Yellow is my favorite)
1 lb Lean ground beef
1 can Rotel OR
1 small can green chile sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 package Uncle Ben's Santa Fe rice (90 second microwave kind)

Start water boiling in a pot large enough to hold your peppers. Season and brown ground beef. While your beef is cooking you will need to microwave rice according to package directions and seed/core your peppers. I prefer mine cut in half with only the stem removed from the top, but for presentation slicing off just the top and coring is better. Once the water is boiling add your peppers, cook 3 minutes or until tender. Return beef to skillet, add rice and rotel. Keep heat on low to help mix the flavors. When the peppers are soft, plate and stuff.

This is a super easy recipe with tons of variety. You could add cheese and onions if you like them. You can also roast the peppers in the oven (it's just too hot for that) or my favorite way to make them is in the microwave. When I'm working I'll bring 4 cleaned raw peppers and microwave each one for 7 minutes in a bowl with a lid, but vented. Then I warm up enough stuffing for each one and stuff them. It's a super quick and easy lunch, and not really left overs.

Sharing at A Bowl Full of Lemons

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Where I am...

Just in case you are wondering.

First, I have some stuff going on that I'm not really comfortable with sharing on a public platform. Nothing at all major, just trying for a sense of security.

Second, I'm dealing with some things around my house that are really just wearing my nerves thin. Last Saturday as we were packing for the lake, my child comes in to the living room to say he flushed his panties (yeah, he calls them panties, so what?) down the toilet. I didn't believe him. He says silly things likes this all the time. My husband runs in and immediately starts plunging. (I personally think this was the wrong move. I think he should have taken the toilet off to check if they were right there and could have been snatched up. But whatever.)

We got the toilets to flush on Saturday, everyone had a shower after the lake, Sunday everything was fine. Sunday evening rolls around and mortifyingly enough, after I go to the bathroom it won't flush. Not even a little. So I have to plunge for what feels like hours. I go and get the kid to show him what he's done. After plunging, for what seemed like hours, I yelled at Chance that we needed to call a plumber. He decides he'll get a snake at the hardware store first thing the next morning. Monday morning rolls around, and guess what, it's the parade day. Oh, and I have to take my car in to get it repaired after the wreck. So we battle our way downtown after the parade, pull into the body shop (which my sister owns) and park it on the back side half a block away because there are still people parked every where and loitering. Leave my car there. Get in Chance's (old, crappy, needs repaired) 4Runner and head to the hardware store. He then tells me we are almost out of gas and sometimes when it's hot his truck doesn't start well. It's noon and over 100 degrees, so the prognosis isn't well.

Luckily we made it home, only to find out that the snake we got doesn't fit the hole in the floor where the toilet once was. He has to go back, with no gas and the heat and hopes he makes it. (Again, here I thought that getting gas would have made more sense, but he said that the gas station was too far away so he couldn't make it? Not sure the thought process there...) Around this time the rental car places calls so my sister drives me the next town over to get the rental. When I get home Chance tells me that the snake didn't work, we'll have to wait and see and probably get a plumber.

Fast forward a few days, it's still hot outside, we're over 40 days straight above 100 degrees in case you're wondering what I mean by hot. I throw some clothes in to wash and forget to dry them. I wash them again, hot water extra rinse (I'm an idiot, I know). Then I do another few loads of laundry. I hear a gurgling, which is normal, except I go in the bathroom and there is sewage in the bath tub. I'm ready to blow a gasket at this point. I clean the tub with bleach and put the drain stopper in.

We're now at 48 hours since the toilet has actually flushed willingly, otherwise I've had to plunge every time. Which is the nastiest job I can manage. It's the weekend, but I assure you, I'm calling a plumber tomorrow.

Thirdly, my brand new dryer, well, less than a year old dryer, is on the fritz. There is some kind of short somewhere that causes it to turn off about 15 minutes in. You know, just long enough to forget that you started it and don't notice that it's not running. The past two loads of laundry I've done have required me to sit in the laundry room or at my desk nearby and run in and beat on the front panel to get it to run again. I also need to call a Sears repairman, but I can't seem to remember to do that except for when I'm doing laundry which is late at night because it's a million degrees during the day time.

All these things combined is really just about to push me over the proverbial edge, so let's just say I am pleased to announce that the boy goes to daycare next week. Yay!

I don't start back to work until the 16th, but I really need him out of my hair for a few days to chill and he really needs some entertainment. We're ready.

So, that's an almost complete summary of what is going on with me. I left out lots of disgusting plunging details, and the first paragraph's actual point, but you get the idea. It's really hard to come up with stuff to blog about when all you can think about is when you're going to be able to flush the toilet again.

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Friday, August 5, 2011


A few semesters back I took an advanced abnormal psychology class, which was basically a diagnostic class for mental disorders. As we were studying phobias, I found mine. I have a Specific Phobia of the natural environment. This would apply to heights, thunderstorms��, darkness, and aging.

Three out of four, I'd say yes.

Last summer when we went to Estes Park, we took a tram up a mountain. There was a walk way at the top and you could also walk around on the mountain. I've always had issues with being in high places and being afraid of what could happen, but it was ten-fold worse there. I was scared the entire tram ride, and really only went because my entire family was going. Once we got to the top I was freaking out at being so high, being on a metal walkway atop a mountain, etc etc. Archer wanted to run and play which made my heart stop, and eventually I had to just sit down and breathe because I was literally having an anxiety attack at being that high. I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but looking back now I know that's what it was.

As long as I can remember, I've been deathly afraid of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. In the spring time, I watch the news incessantly and watch all kinds of weather to find out what's happening all week. This past spring I began following several news and weather pages on facebook. Each of our local news stations post weather updates, and a friend's brother is a storm chaser and I also followed his page. On days that weather alerts were issued I was glued to my phone. I kept it on me, and checking facebook every chance I could. It was completely unhealthy, but it felt so necessary.

There were several days that they posted extremely dangerous situations for the days weather and those days were awful. I could hardly focus, I didn't eat. One of those days they basically placed a bulls eye on us for tornadoes. I came home from work, got Archer, and made a bag of clothes for both us to go to my sister's basement. I was so worked up that I could hardly make it into my car or buckle Archer's seatbelt. I would also say that was an anxiety attack, but not so bad that it really kept me from doing anything. More like, I had to get somewhere that I felt safe and I wasn't letting anything stop me.

The next one on the list, darkness. Dark doesn't really affect me as much as the other two, but I don't enjoy being anywhere without a light. I absolutely hate walking through my back yard in the dark. I'm more afraid of what could be in the dark. It got even worse a few weeks ago when I was watching Criminal Minds and this guy was utilizing the blackouts in California to rape and murder women. One woman was even attacked because she went ahead and opened her door then when back to get her baby out of the car. That really bothered me and I had to turn it off there. After that I didn't even like walking past the windows in my house after dark. I was really afraid something might be looking in. I'm sure that sounds crazy, but I even had to buy a heavy curtain for the back door.

I'm not at all afraid of aging or dying, though I don't think on the process with joy, I know it's out of my hands. Everyone ages.

Anxiety was something that I thought other people dealt with, and never realized I dealt with it some myself until after I studied it more. I know that if you really looked into most of the disorders in the DSM you could find yourself on lots of pages, but this was something that I truly acknowledged in myself. Right now just awareness and focusing on relaxing are the only thing I need, and I hope to always be able to manage it in that way.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I've been feeling sorry for myself for two days. Yesterday I blew past 1500 calories and had pizza, chips, chocolate, and more soda necessary. I didn't have a single vegetable. Today I had pizza for lunch and fruit for dinner, but nothing else.

Tomorrow I have plans to eat real food and drink lots of water.

Right now I'm coloring my hair and watching awful chick flicks.

I feel slightly better.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monthly Menu

A blog I follow posted their menu for the entire month of August today. I must say, I'm impressed and very envious. I literally cannot even plan tomorrow's meals. Something always comes up or changes. I don't even try anymore.

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Evolution of Blogging

I've been blogging for years, I started out blogging on myspace in 2006, moved to blog spot in 2008 with my pregnancy blog, and in 2009 I started posting on this blog. Most of the time it's just mindless chatter, but after seeing the rest of the blog world evolve I'm wondering if I should too?

I have shifted from all random postings to actually having ideas and themes in my posting. I see what other people are posting about and use that for inspiration. I have seen other bloggers like Little Miss Momma say what they do when they are having writers block, and I enjoy seeing those posts. Anything to get something creative flowing.

I'm just not creative enough to get something going on my own, so for now I'll browse through the headlines and facebook and see if there is anything relevant going on to blog about.

What do you do to cure your writers block or deal with a lack of creativity?

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Auto Review:Dodge Caliber

Did I tell you we were rear ended a few weeks ago? Well we were. It really wasn't a bad wreck, Archer was with my parents and Chance and I were fine.

The body shop was ready for my car today so I dropped it off and my sister took me over to pick up a rental. At first I was really afraid that it would be this old grandma car they had in the lot, was a Dodge Caliber.

It was a really pretty ruby red color, cloth interior. Here were the things I really liked about the Dodge Caliber:
-Tons of storage
-I'm talking cubbies all over. There was a perfect spot for my wallet, a cubby for my phone, and the soda holder in the glove compartment.
-Electrical Outlet
-It has an actual electrical outlet inside.
-Auxiliary plug for my iPhone
-Pretty decent sound system
-Decent gas mileage

Here are some of the things I did not like about the Dodge Caliber:
-No power
-I was smashing the gas pedal and was barely going.
-No variable shifting (the fancier model might have this)
-My Jetta has 6 gears, sport shift and automatic sport shift and I love it.
-Lots of road noise
-You can hear every car next to you, every bump in the road, etc. Not a quiet ride.
-Lots of blind spots
-I am used to having to use the mirror for backing up, but the Caliber had lots of blind spots even during driving.
-Difficult cruise control
-There were more steps than mine to set the cruise and it didn't set on the speed I was actually going.
-Not a lot of storage
-My car trunk has more storage and doesn't have a designated cargo area like the Caliber does.

For anyone looking to buy a Dodge Caliber I will say that it is a decent car, but I wouldn't buy one after driving my Jetta.

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I came across this really cool photographer the other day. I don't remember now how, but she takes awesome pictures so I follow her blog and facebook. She used her facebook to ask this question today, and I thought it was really intriguing.

"What makes you persevere the most?"

My immediate answer to this question is knowing that others before me have dealt with worse.

I know it's hot outside, but not nearly as hot as it is in Afghanistan or Iraq, and I'm wearing shorts and a tank top, not full gear. I some times think that my toddler doesn't have as much as others, but then I remember that he has food, a bed, lots of toys, and more clothes than I can keep washed. He's fine. He has never had to have donations for Christmas presents.

Sometimes, I think that there is no way I can make it through the day because he's driving me crazy. And then I remember that my Nanny had three children under the age of six and was dealing with dangerous chemotherapy and radiation. If she could handle that, I can handle an overtired, whiny, clingy, attitude having toddler.

Every day I am thankful that my child has no health, learning, or mental problems. That I can talk to and interact with my child for his every need is a wonderful thing that I know I take for granted. I know mothers who can't interact with their children, because they can't hear, don't understand, or are not interested in being social due to PDD disorders and I know they struggle much more than I do.

When I think that school is just too much, it's just too overwhelming, I remember that my Nanny (who overcame that cancer) went back to school in her late 50s while completely blind. At least I can see my work to edit it right? When something is difficult to learn, I know that if she could learn how to use a computer without being able to see a single thing she was doing, I can do it with sight.

I have more rights than millions of people before me, the right to have this blog in fact. Many generations of people could only dream of having a place to put their thoughts, because even speaking them out loud to a friend might not have been safe. I can go to church (or not) and I can decide what church to go to (or not).

As a woman, I am treated equally to a man; something my great, great grandma can't say. I can and do own land, exercise my right to vote and I even work. I don't complain about much job much, because it really is awesome. I love my job and I love that I can even have one.

I really have a blessed life. I am healthy, my child and husband are healthy. We have our own home. We have reliable cars. We can afford to pay our bills and buy groceries, which I know is more than some people have.

Knowing that someone else is struggling daily with something more difficult than I am drives me to succeed with the conditions I have. My life is good and there is no reason to complain; even though we all are guilty of that sometimes right?

What makes you persevere?

It's all about perspective.

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