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Monday, February 19, 2018

Letting Go of the Past

I sold my childhood home.  This had to be one of the most difficult things that I have done as of late.  To let go of the house that I grew up in, the house that I lived in for 18 years until I left for college.

I felt so guilty for selling this house.  Like I was letting people down - giving up even I felt like I was losing my parents, my brother all over again.  I was letting go of so much history.  I questioned myself about whether it was the right thing or not...but I realized that it did not make sense to keep it any longer.  I no longer lived there and it would take a bundle of money to renovate it in order to sell it or even rent it.  When someone came in and made an offer to buy the house as is (the house was not even on the market!) I felt like it was a sign...I was meant to sell it.  I thought about it for a couple of days, I cried over it, prayed over it and decided that I had to let go..even it if meant saying good by to house that I grew up in.  Prior to signing all the documents - I wrote a letter to the new homeowners - it provided closure to me and was quite cathartic as well:

Dear New Homeowners:

I am so thankful that you have been open to see the potential in this home.  When I was deciding what to do with the house that I lived in the first 18 years of my life, I knew that this house could be so much more than it is today.  I am so happy that you too see the vision.

This house was a place of many happy Holidays…the house where Santa Claus came down the chimney so many times.  So many wonderful meals in the dining room with the family!  The Christmas tree with the multi-colored lights was placed in the corner of the living room – exactly where children could sit and gaze into the lights while dreaming of what Santa might bring them.  My brother and I had many a birthday party in the house – our friends sitting around the dining room table while we all were anxious to blow out the candles so we could eat cake!

It was the home that my parents brought my little brother home to.  I wanted my parents to send him back because I wanted a sister.  He turned out to be a pretty good lil brother though.

I remember my parents telling me that they put up the old fence in order to keep me from traveling the neighborhood.  That fence really didn’t stop me.  I was just a social kind of girl!

My mother was an OR nurse.  She set-up a small medical center in the back room off the kitchen so I too could be a nurse like her and take care of any of my dolls that might be sick and required medical attention.

My parents were sure that they had a musical prodigy on their hands so they bought an old piano.   I played many countless hours on that old piano.  If you can imagine, the piano was in the living to the right when you walk in the front door.  Little did I know at that time how that piano would impact my life forever.

I remember my dad raking the leaves from the old maple tree in the front yard and then jumping into the pile of leaves….oooh…did that make my dad mad!  I can still remember the glorious smells of autumn – falling leaves, fires burning in the neighbor’s fireplaces.

I remember my grandmother and another neighbor who lived a few houses down sitting in the swing on the front porch on the good weather days and I can only imagine the gossip that those two shared.

It was that kind of neighborhood growing up.  Neighbors cared about one another and looked out for each other.  We were more family than just people who lived on the same street.  I hope that this neighborhood can be the same for you someday.

I baked my first cake in that kitchen and it wasn’t bad either!  Chocolate of course. 

I walked to the Zesto from the house for their delicious dipped dogs more times that I can count or we would walk to downtown Huntsville with our 6 RC bottle tops and see a movie for free on Thursdays.  I guess that dates me – right?

In case you are wondering, the hill at the top of the street is a great place to sled down after a snowfall.  It was neighborhood favorite spot where the kids always gathered.  Just make sure that there is plenty of hot chocolate available once the sledding is complete.

It was at this house that my date picked me up for my very first Tri-Hi-Y formal in 9th grade.  I remember my mom taking me next door to the rock house to have my picture made in front of their living room window. 

Yes – this house was my home until I moved away to college (Roll Tide!), and I never returned to live in that house again.

As I say goodbye to the house that holds so many childhood memories my only wish is that another family will have the same opportunity to build their own memories within those four walls.


(source unknown)


 Someday, I will really let go but I am not quite there yet!


Friday, January 5, 2018

Saying Goodbye to 2017 aka Saying Goodbye to a loved one

This is a post that I have put off writing for much too long since it is so very difficult to write and to re-live.

Memorial Day weekend I received a call from my brother's girlfriend- Nan -  the most incredible and loving woman that had been in his life for a long time and had never left his side over the years...the call that would change the path of my life forever. She informed me that my baby brother - my only sibling had recently been diagnosed with throat cancer.  A week later, we found out that it was Stage 4 and his treatment options were limited. He eventually decided to forgo treatment and the doctor gave him maybe 6 months without treatment.

First thing brother and I had experienced a rough patch in our relationship which so many siblings have done over the years but the difference is we had not seen each other since our Mom's funeral in 2009.  We eventually started talking to each and while we had not seen each other, we were able to bridge that gap that had come between us.

I made a decision that I would fly to Alabama each month to spend what little time we had left to finally make things right between each other. On my first trip there we had that difficult conversation about what he wanted us to do once he passed.  I could not believe that we were having this "talk" with my little brother.  We also worked on his Will and again...I was so not emotionally prepared to do that.  We looked at what must have been hundreds of pictures and for a short period of time...the years between us faded as we shared our memories of friends, family and good times that we had.  I only managed to get two visits in as his health deteriorated quickly.  As I was preparing to fly back to Texas after my first visit, while struggling to speak, he did make me promise to return to visit him again.  The 2nd visit had me arriving on a Saturday.  While this horrid disease had almost robbed him of his ability to speak, he did manage to say to me that "you did come back".    I reminded him that I made him a promise to return to see him and that I wouldn't have broken a promise to him.   In less than 24 hours, Sunday August, 6th, he would be gone. I will forever be thankful that I was in Alabama for his last day on earth and to be their for Nan during this difficult time.

Even after 5 months, I am still a bit in shock over the loss of my brother and I think about all the time that we wasted by not seeing each other over the years.  Part of me wonders if it took this horrible turn of events to bring us back together again...but I will be eternally grateful that we had this special time together.  I miss  our text messages that we would send back and forth about our favorite collegiate football team - Alabama.  I even sent him a text message on his birthday even though I knew that he would not be reading it this year...but it was the first birthday since he left us! 

I still have so many things that I wished that I had said to him, so many questions that will go unasked but I am just so thankful that we spent the last day of his life together!

I miss you Jim...please know that you left a void in my heart the day that you left us but how selfish is that?  I am just so thankful that you are no longer suffering and not in pain.  You are now with our mom and dad!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Working from Home

What do you think of when you hear someone works from home?

Be you imagine this in your mind?

 (Source Unknown)

I know before I started working from home full time that is exactly the way that I imagined it. 

(source unknown)

*HA* - Another thing that I have to work really hard at is to maintain a strict schedule.  I have to remind myself to get up from my desk and walk around a bit.  I need to take breaks...I do not have folks coming into my office to chit chat so it is important to take much needed breaks.

The thing that I have found to be true for me is that I have a tendency to begin working earlier now that I do not have to factor in a commute to my daily schedule and I am more than likely to work later for the same exact reason!

(source unknown)

One other thing to remember is that working from home means that I do not have lots of people around to talk to as well. It can get a bit lonely!  If you are a sociable person like I am - this can be a bit of a negative too!

If you are thinking about working from home there are a few things to think about before you make that move:

> Have a dedicated work space.  Make your desk a place where you enjoy working...a place that brings a smile to your face when you see it.

> Define your work schedule and stick to it.  Decide when you want to begin work each day and define your end time.  I like getting to my desk early in the day before others are awake and sending emails right and left.  It is my special time that allows me to slip into the day on my terms.

>  Dress the part.  Each morning I get up and get dressed.  I may or may not put on make-up but I am always in the right mindset for the work day.

> You are working from home...not at home to clean the house.  Spend your work day doing your professional work.

>  Take breaks - nuff said....get up and move around.  Do not sit for 8 hours...take a mental health break as well as getting the blood flowing too!

>  Stay away from social media that is if you are not being paid to do social media!

>  Last but not least - remember it is a privilege to work from home.  You are getting paid to not take this for granted!

(source unknown)

Don't get me wrong - I love working from home but there are days that I would really enjoy getting out and driving to the an office too!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Do you love your job?

Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life. 

I like many folks here in the U.S. have enjoyed some time off from work during the Holidays and to be honest, I am not looking forward to getting up early today.  It has been wonderful to turn off the alarm and wake up when I wake up.  It has been nice to not rush to a meeting or stressing over hitting a deadline.  In the process of mentally preparing myself for hitting the payment again soon, it made me curious about how many people are unhappy with their jobs.  I was shocked at the facts that I uncovered:

According to just-released data by Gallup, only 13 percent of employees are "engaged" in their jobs, or emotionally invested in their work which  in other words means that 87% of folks are not happy with their current job situation.

Another poll shows that most people -- 80% according to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey -- are dissatisfied with their jobs.

I  must admit the percentage of those unsatisfied with their current job situation was a surprise to me.  I knew that there are many folks out there that work to bring home a paycheck but I was really surprised to see such a high percentage.

I will admit that I have been on both sides of this situation before.  I have been fortunate enough to work for some companies that I absolutely loved and really could not wait to get to the office each day.  I have also worked for a couple of companies where I had to drag myself to the office.  I will agree that I felt like I was a much more productive employee when I loved my job.  I felt very disenfranchised when I worked in a job that I did not enjoy.  I felt very unappreciated and I knew because of my feelings about my job - I wasn't as productive as I could have been.

I know that there are many reasons why people do not like their jobs.  Some folks might feel like they are in a dead end job or that they do not like their boss, their company or their co-workers.   What choices do you have if you do not enjoy your job?  We do after all have choices.  Per Gallup - we can do one of the following:

  1. Try to work it out
  2. Move to another department within the company
  3. Find a new job
 I encourage you to not be a part of the 87% but to be a part of the 13% of folks who love their job!