The Re-Resolution of Stiletto Momma

2014…Day Two. The Christmas decorations are wrapped and boxed again. The bushes lining the house are dark as their formerly twinkly lights are extinguished for another season.

People are returning to their pre-Christmas carol, pre-gift giving lives of work, school and business as usual. “Merry Christmas!” has been replaced with “Happy New Year!” followed shortly thereafter with, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

Resolution? Hmmmm…

I am rarely able to come up with a resolution much sooner than 11:59 p.m. on December 31st. I’m too exhausted from all the party planning, menu making and present wrapping to think beyond the current holiday much less think about how I want to change my life starting at the stroke of midnight.

Then I’m faced with the inevitable failure of actually keeping the resolution. The minute I resolve to get back in the gym, I want a nap. If I resolve to eat a healthy diet, I will immediately start craving Reese cups.

I have never experienced the thrill of successfully achieving a resolution…until January 1, 2012 when I wrote and published the inaugural post of a little blog named after my alter ego, Stiletto Momma. In that post I resolved to simply “Do Something New.”

Yes, it is very open ended and non-commital, but at the time I also threw out a few possibilities like learning photography and Photoshop. I did buy a good camera that year…in September. I haven’t learned to use it beyond what I read in the first half of the instruction manual, and about the only thing I can do in Photoshop is look at my pictures. I suppose that counts, but just barely.

I mentioned one other possibility in that New Year’s post two years ago.  “I’ll start a blog,” I wrote, and because I typed those words and clicked the “Publish” button, I was a successful resolutioner in the very first hours of the new year! Counting this post, I have gone on to write and publish 64 posts as Stiletto Momma–warrior of all things maternal, corporate and pointy-toed!

When 2013 rolled around, I knew exactly what my resolution would be.

Do Something New!

However, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, 2013 was a witch of a year and a wicked one at that.  I couldn’t get around to deciding what “new” was going to be, so I stayed with what was working, and I blogged some more. Pretty soon I was blogging about what was really on my mind–my ongoing battle against Crohn’s Disease.

thegreatbowelmovement.org

My prize pack from TheGreatBowelMovement.org gave me everything I needed to raise IBD awareness in 2013.

In my quest for answers and information, I ran across what has turned into one of my favorite websites, www.thegreatbowelmovement.org, which has been making Crohn’s and Colits (the two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) cool since 2010. The founders of this non-profit encourage patients and caregivers to talk about their diseases in an effort to raise awareness. They even sent me a cool prize pack complete with intestine socks and an “Ask Me About My Crohn’s Disease” hoodie.

My 2013 “new” turned out to be writing about something that has been a part of me for almost 25 years. I may have lost some readers who weren’t interested in learning about the woes of a sick person, but embracing a new mission of raising awareness for something I know quite a lot about encouraged and empowered me in a time when I needed to feel strong.

With two successful resolutions under my belt, I’m ready to declare the 2014 version. Any guesses on what it might be?

DO SOMETHING NEW!

That’s right. I’ve decided on a new “new”, and if you’ve been following along for the past few months you could very well have an idea of what it might be.

I am a writer. There, I said it. I am a writer and this year, I intend to write with more dedication and purpose than I have in a long time.

I have a master’s degree in journalism, but outside of internships during college, I have never worked in the field. Maybe I was just waiting around for the blogosphere and digital publishing to be born. Whatever the reason, I graduated from Penn State with a journalism degree and immediately took a job in marketing.

The next one was in fundraising (another form of marketing). When I tried technical writing next, I found my skills were wasted writing about boring things like databases, and moved back to marketing. I had found myself a niche, and that’s where I’ve stayed for over 20 years. I was a marketer with writing skills.

keyboard

The Hubs gave me this cute little keyboard for my iPad–perfect for a blogging resolution.

Now, I want to be a writer who knows how to market herself. You can expect to see more of Stiletto Momma in 2014. I will soon be launching a Facebook page, and I might even start Tweeting. If you’re lucky, you could get a glimpse into this impressive shoe collection I’ve been hinting at. We could even do a contest or two!

I’m starting this blog re-energizing effort with the WordPress Zero to Hero program where my favorite blogging platform will give me a daily task for blog improvement during the month of January. Today’s task is to introduce myself to my readers. If I’ve done my job, you should have been able to pick up a few nuggets of me from the above ramblings, but in addition to being a chronically ill writer who markets (or a marketer who writes) and makes unoriginal New Year’s resolutions, I am:

  • a momma to two amazing children–a six-year-old tomboy and a 20-year-old all-American boy.
  • an adoptive momma to that six-year-old who was born in Russia and became a US citizen five years ago.
  • an Army momma since the 20-year-old is a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point. (Go Army!)
  • a football momma because that cadet also plays on the offensive line for the Army Black Knights and has been working toward that goal since he was five years old. (GoArmy!)
  • a football wife because the Hubs played football at Penn State once upon a time, coached our son for most of his football career and will accomplish seemingly impossible tasks to avoid ever missing a Penn State Nittany Lion game or a Pittsburgh Steeler game.
  • a doggy momma to the Furry One and the Fluffy One who, like the rest of the family, have clever pseudonyms in this blog because it is my choice to blog about them, not theirs, and they deserve a little bit of anonymity.
  • a fairly decent home cook whose specialty is anything her son requests and anything her picky daughter will eat.
  • a lover of shoes and all things fashion.

I am Stiletto Momma, and I resolve to make 2014 blogtastic for everyone!

What’s your resolution…or un-resolution…or re-resolution?

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Wiping the Whiteboard Clean

What is it about a whiteboard that binds us to commitment? List an idea on a whiteboard, and suddenly, it must be done. Thoughts are richer. Lists are more cohesive. A spark of imagination is recorded as truth.

Today, I wiped my whiteboard clean.

whiteboard

A clean whiteboard. All I left was my inspirational posters that remind to never quit and to continue to sparkle along with a press clipping of my son that inspires me to follow my dreams.

Normally, that 3 1/2 X 5-foot space is a brainstorming mecca. I write my ideas down before they float away. I organize, prioritize and then gaze at my mind-flow from behind my desk, thinking of all the greatness I will achieve when these ideas take fruition in the form of presentations, blog posts and well-managed projects.

Today, I wiped it clean before I even had the chance to embark on the list of 2013 goals I had begun developing long before January rolled around. I wiped them all away, first with the felt-backed eraser, then with the cleaning solution that came in the handy dry-erase marker set.

Gone are my plans…, and suddenly I feel freer and lighter than I did when I walked from my office yesterday.

I hadn’t expected the feeling of liberation I experienced when I took that first pass of the eraser across the board.  Some words vanished with ease, but others had been in place for so long, they clung to the surface. Only thin strips disappeared, my ideas so permanent only sheer determination could clear them completely.

I scrubbed and scrubbed, sometimes with one hand clutched around the foam block, sometimes with both as I added more force. I didn’t want to see these thoughts any more. I didn’t want them taunting me from across the room.

Finally, they were gone entirely. In there place was a swirling film of red, blue and green. I launched a second assault with cleaning solution and paper towel. The colors cleared, and I was left with nothing but a blank field of white.

I stepped back, and unexpectedly sighed with relief.

I had been frustrated after meetings the previous day, having just found out I would be forced to realign my expectations in the aftermath of a corporate reorganization. I glared at the whiteboard this morning, knowing the goals I had set for myself would no longer help me succeed. The future seemed too uncertain to count on these plans. I could find no joy or excitement in reviewing them every time I lifted my eyes from my computer. They had to go.

Now with the remnants of carefully planned strategies physically wiped away, I can see clearer.

I see the freshness of things to come, the newness of things yet to experience. I am excited to discover what the next steps will be, and I am filled with anticipation of making new lists, setting new goals and proving myself on new territory.

Last week, in the wake of New Year’s celebrations, my whiteboard glowed with promise.

Yesterday, it screamed disappointment.

Today, it is clean, and I am ready to start over.

How do you handle things when faced with a significant change?

***This post was written as submission for The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge which tasked bloggers to creatively capture the theme “Starting Over.”  I spent two days planning a light-hearted post on the Young One having to start over with her self-image when I decided she needed to grow out her bangs. Then corporate shake-up and reorganization happened.  I ended up with a new boss with a new vision, and when I erased my whiteboard, I knew what I needed to post this week.

Momma-Can’t-Stop-Smilin’ Moments

My kids made me so happy yesterday.

Neither of them said anything special or did anything extraordinary for me.  Actually, it wasn’t even them that made me smile so hard my cheeks hurt.

What made me beam with pride was pictures of them captured at just the right moment.

First, the Cadet…the one I haven’t seen since he left for West Point and the Army Black Knights football camp in early August. He plays left tackle on Army’s offensive line, and as a Yuk (aka a sophomore in almost any other college in the country), his goal when he set foot on the gridiron this season was to dress and travel with the varsity team.

Yesterday, marked the 2012 home opener for the Black Knights, but too few vacation days and too many miles to travel meant this momma watched Army take on Northern Illinois from the comfort of the Hubs’ man cave. Had I been in Michie Stadium, however, I never would have heard the announcers on CBS Sports discussing the significance of the unit patch affixed to each Army player’s jersey.

For each game, the team honors  one Army unit by wearing its patch as part of the game uniform. Stitched to yesterday’s jersey was the unit patch for the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum in northern New York. The 10th Mountain Division is also the Army’s most deployed division over the past two decades.

As the announcers discussed the significance of the patch, the television screen filled with a close up of the patch on a player’s black jersey.

Army Unit Patch

Then the camera slowly panned out to show the face of the player inside that jersey. My breath stopped. I gripped the arms of my black leather man-cave chair, and yelled, “That’s him! That’s him! That’s him! PAUSE IT!”

Army Unit Patch

Yes! My little boy was filling all 101 inches of man-cave screen! Wearing Black Knights black and gold, prowling the sidelines waiting for Coach to call his number and cheering his team to what turned out to be a heart-breaker–a 41-40 loss for Army.

You can almost hear him.

Army Unit Patch“GGGGG….”

Army Unit Patch“…OOOOO!!!!!!”

Of course I was happy to see him all larger than life on the flat screen, but his image was not what had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. I was beyond happy for HIM because he had reached his goal of dressing with the Varsity team. Not much else can make a momma’s heart glow with warmth than knowing her child is happy.

The Young One, it turns out, was pretty happy with herself yesterday too. Her accomplishment came earlier in the day, but I didn’t truly see it until the day was winding down, and I sat at the computer to download the pictures I’d taken from yesterday’s early morning soccer game.

As this is her first experience with a team sport, I’ve tried to teach her to the basics of the game.

DeterminationTry hard.

Don’t give up, even when the boys are trying to take your ball.

HappyAnd have FUN!

Her face in this last picture tells me that she too had accomplished everything her five-year-old self could possibly achieve on a chilly Saturday morning. I couldn’t stop looking at this picture, and the smile wouldn’t stop either.

My kids are happy! I have fulfilled the Momma Destiny! I have kids who are reaching their goals, and having fun and SMILING!

What more can a momma ask for? Yes, my kids made me very happy yesterday. That’s not much different from the day before, but the difference this time, is that I saw their joy smiling back and me, and I am happy too.

How have your kids made you happy today?

Stiletto Momma