Friday, June 9, 2017

Go make your next choice be your best choice

This post's title comes from one of my favorite artists - Jason Mraz. His "Yes!" album re-centers my soul. I have no idea what that means exactly, but it calms me and enhances my happiness by 1000 percent.  While my appreciation for Mr. A-Z's music runs deep, he is not the subject of this post. This post is about looking forward instead of focusing too heavily on the past.

But don't get me wrong - the past is pretty important. Every millisecond of your life has shaped you into the person you are in this exact moment. Your previous experiences - whether resulting in happy, sad, regretful, nostalgic or other types of memories - cannot be changed. (Well, actually - that's not completely true - you can change your long term memories... but that's besides the point. I'm not trying to get into psychology or neurology here!) What happened, happened. The past is fantastic for learning how to proceed going forward, but you shouldn't waste your time with "I wish I would have done that differently."  You cannot change what you did or what happened.

So - go make your next choice be your best choice. Take control of what you can - your future.

"Ugh, I shouldn't have had that cake. I want to get healthier!"  That's okay - choose something healthier next time. In fact, plan on what that will be now, so you don't slip up and have more cake. And after that, make your following choice your best choice as well. Plan your upcoming meals so when you are hungry, you have something to eat. When you make the choice and follow through with it, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and a reminder that "yes, I can do this!". Focus on your next steps and set some goals. You CAN do it, you just need movement in the right direction. And allow yourself some snacks - but in moderation! No one eats perfectly 100% of the time. If they say they do, then they are liars. Everyone deserves a cheat meal - just don't make your food choices a cheat lifestyle.

"I wish I would have completed college." Guess what! You're not dead, right? And college is still a thing?  Then do it! And don't tell me that you don't have time for it. If you don't have time for it, you don't want it bad enough. Make time. Create a schedule that allows you to include college courses (or whatever other thing) in your life. Make the choice and take the action. No excuses.

"I shouldn't have spent money on that."  Too late now, the money is gone. But you know what you can do? Come up with a budget and stick to it. And maybe allow an amount that gives you the opportunity to buy things that you "shouldn't" so that it not longer falls into the "shouldn't" category. But as with all things in life - prioritize. Make sure you cover the necessary bills (the "needs") before you find wiggle room for the "wants." Or, continue to make poor choices and work your way into debt (or, further into debt if you're already there). It's up to you - it's your choice.  Do we all see the theme here?

You can apply this to just about any scenario, I think. I've recently made this phrase my personal motto. I had a birthday a few weeks ago and decided that this WILL be my best year yet. I've made goals around my health and am focusing on one day, one decision at a time. I can already see improvement in myself - and focusing on one choice at a time is far less stressful. And with each good decision, the next time I have to make a choice, it becomes easier to make that decision a good one.

I personally find that having an overarching structure of some sort (guidelines, a plan, a schedule, anything) helps me as well. For example, I'm trying to improve my overall health. I decided to only implement one change at a time. First, I started juicing every morning (fruit + mixed greens). And the beautiful part of that choice is that my daughters and husband enjoy the juice as well. Not only is my good decision helping me, it's helping them as well.

Next, I made it my goal to have a salad for dinner most nights of the week. My target is 4-5 nights a week. I find that I do better if I have a variety of ingredients available so that each salad is not exactly the same and I don't become bored with salad night after night.

Once my routine felt fairly adjusted to the juice and salad change (i.e. they felt like part of my normal routine), I started a goal to accomplish at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Whether it's biking, yoga, or HIIT - I need to do 30 minutes of something every day. Out of the last 11 days, I have only had 2 days where I didn't hit that goal. Which is okay, right? As long as my next choice is a good one. Normally, out of 11 days, I think I would have had maybe 4-6 days of exercise. Now I'm up to 9. So, I'm improving there as well.

I've shared some general examples and some of my own person examples. Overall, the idea is that you can focus on one action at a time or go as far as a full plan, but know that you can always become a better version of yourself. You can't go backwards and undo or modify any part of your life, but your future is not yet determined. Every action you take in your life IS a choice. You make the decision and you can make the change. If you can keep making your next choice be your best choice, then you will be enabled to become the absolute best version of yourself.


  • You can't change your past, but you can control your future.

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Celebrating Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had this nagging feeling all day that I didn't really feel like "celebrating." Not to suggest that I was upset about something -- the closest word I could find to describe how I was feeling was - undeserving.

Then we took a family trip to the grocery store, and I suddenly became aware of what it was that I was feeling. It had nothing to do with me and feeling "undeserving" of a good mother's day; it was actually a reinvigoration of appreciation for my husband. It's not that I didn't feel like celebrating Mother's Day, it's more so that I had internally redirected my focus on the strength of our relationship. I felt like it should have been a "Parent's Day" instead of a day focused on me.

We were in the checkout lane, and the cashier made a comment about how "it was dad's turn to cook" and that I deserved the day off. We chatted about how busy the restaurants were going to be that day, because, as the cashier put it: "the men don't know how to cook, so everyone goes out to eat on Mother's Day." We laughed, paid for our groceries, and then made our way to the car. This was the moment in which it all sunk in: I really did marry the right guy. The reason I don't feel like I "deserve" a mother's day where everyone caters to me on hand and foot is because I NEVER feel that I am the sole person responsible for caring for our family and tending to our household. I'm so incredibly blessed to have a husband that shares all of that work WITH me! We BOTH cook (so much for what the cashier said!), we both clean, we both do laundry... we split the work. I never feel unappreciated or that the weight is entirely on my shoulders to take care of our family.

Of course, dividing the overall work equally doesn't mean each person does 50% of each type of chore. There are some things that he owns while other tasks may be primarily done by me. But in the end, we both feel that the split is equal across all of the tasks. I think the format may be different from family to family - maybe one person works full time while the other cares for home and family (which is also a full time job!). Regardless of the distribution of work-work to home-work - the way everything is divided should be a conversation and an agreement between the two people involved. In our scenario, we both work full time so we split all of our home and family efforts. And we periodically discuss who will handle what, and ensure that we both agree that the distribution is fair.

Equality between a pair is an important part of a relationship's foundation, and is intertwined heavily with the respect you give to each other. This counts for marriages, and all other types of relationships, too. I will ensure that my daughters see how their father and I respect each other and treat each other as equals, so that they can apply the same expectations to their relationships (some day in the distant future... maybe I'll allow them to date when they are 25 or so).

And if you are wondering - yesterday was a fantastic Mother's Day. We ran some errands and found ourselves at a hardware store buying random things. We purchased and installed a bird feeder outside, and released 1,500 lady bugs into our yard (partially because they are a natural form of pest control, and partially to watch my girls' faces light up at the sight of 1,500 lady bugs). Then we barbecued, and played all afternoon. It was what we call a "no plans day" - we do whatever we feel like. And it was perfect!

Not an actual photo from yesterday - there were WAY ladybugs than this!


  • All relationships - not just marriages! - should be built upon respect and equality
  • If things are not equal - discuss and come to an agreement, together
  • Buying and releasing 1500 ladybugs into your yard is as fun as it sounds

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How I Met Your Father

Side note: There is one sad part to this post - my girls will probably not get the title reference.  But on the plus side, my story ends happily and AS EXPECTED.  Stupid TV shows and their terrible endings. Sigh.

Love at first... work assignment?

The story of how I met your father is not terribly interesting. We worked at the same place and he made me nervous. It was the first time in a long time that a guy had made me nervous. He'd show up and suddenly the temperature went up 500 degrees in the room, or he'd smile his charming smile and the next sentence out of my mouth made little to no sense. I always seemed to have the after thought of "why the heck did I say that?" when our conversations ended. Here he was, this intelligent,  handsome, funny, Brazilian guy and I felt like I couldn't even form proper words when I was in his presence. But none of that is interesting. What IS interesting is how he conned me into our first date - although, he didn't realize that is what he had done. But his unintentional con worked!

Can you feel the love tonight?

We had often chatted at the office, but it wasn't until about four or five months into me working there that we were given a project to work on together. We had made some progress, but we hadn't had many opportunities to sit down and focus on it. Our boss was out of town and due back Monday, so your father made the wonderful suggestion on a Friday afternoon that we go work on the project offsite so we could make some significant progress to present to bossman on Monday. Just us, no other co-workers to bother us with other tasks or issues. I agreed that this sounded was a good idea, and we decided that a local bar with wifi would be the most productive environment for us.

And, surprisingly, it was. We both clicked and realized that we were a great team. The ideas were flowing and the productivity was incredible. After several hours, we realized we were hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat. It was a great, productive work session and gave us the chance to get to know each other a little more. And, if you ask your dad, this was our first date. No way, buddy. Working together is definitely not a first date.

The misunderstanding and the REAL first date

The next week at work was a short week for your dad, as he was leaving for a month-long trip back to Brazil to visit his extended family.  On Monday, a coworker mentioned that there would probably be a goodbye happy hour in downtown before your dad left town. On my drive home that evening, I received a call from your father, inviting me out to downtown on Tuesday night. I said yes, thinking that this was just another invite to the goodbye gathering that our coworker had mentioned to earlier that day. Your dad's response - "Great, it's a ... plan!" Literally, this was his response. I had no idea that he had just asked me on a date and there was no group happy hour planned. To be fair - I would have said yes to your father either way! I might have caught on a little sooner if he had used the traditional phrase of "it's a date."

Tuesday evening rolls around, and I head to your dad's apartment as he had suggested we ride to downtown together. We had a briefly confusing conversation about who else was going (no one!) and then it hit me. There was no happy hour - this was a date! That stinker (and also, woohoo!).

That evening was the best first date I'd ever had - and, the last first date I would ever have. We went out to a delicious dinner at a Spanish restaurant, followed by some yummy gelato and a moonlit walk on the bayfront park. Then, we finished the night with a few rounds of pool. It was romantic and fun and it felt so natural, as though we had always been together. The conversation was easy, the laughs were frequent, and we seemed to have the same stance on so many topics. A night that I thought would be just another happy hour with coworkers ended up being the most magical date of my life. It was the best misunderstanding I could have hoped for - because it led to our happily ever after. Although, remind me to tell you sometime about how your dad asked me to move in with him. That was another fun misunderstanding (and again, obviously worked out well!).

romantic date with future hubby + gelato in hand + stroll through this park = heaven

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dr. Suess - from an enjoyable writer to a man with a message

When my oldest daughter was born, we started to accumulate books - lots and lots of books. We made reading a regular part of her bedtime routine, and today, it is routine for both girls to be read to before they nod off for the night. I remember feeling very excited when we got our first batch of Dr. Seuss stories. His books were always imaginative and fun to read.

What I thought was particularly interesting in re-reading these stories as an adult was - the stories weren't exactly as I remembered them. Prior to my daughters being born, I can't recall the last time I had read a Dr. Suess story, but I must have been fairly young. Reading them now brought an entirely new perspective. Dr. Suess was a genius! Sure, the crazy creatures, tongue-twisting sentences, and pictures without straight lines were all still there.  But there was one more amazing component to the stories - the messages hidden within them.

How did I not realize this before? I missed out on the subtexts as a child! Green Eggs and Ham was MORE than Sam-I-Am trying annoy the other character (anyone know his name?) to eat the green eggs and ham in random ways. At the end, it turns out the other character LOVES green eggs and ham!  If he had only tried them sooner, he would have known! Moral? Don't knock it until you've tried it.

And Sneetches - those duck-looking creatures that either have stars on their bellies or don't. The ones with the stars treats the ones without stars like they are inferior. They continue acting this way until a scam artist comes along and inadvertently makes them realize that they are all the same, stars or not. Moral? We are all equal. Don't discriminate.

The Lorax is a little more obvious - the Onceler shows up to a beautiful paradise and begins decimating it to turn a profit on some ridiculous clothing. Not only is the environment ruined, but animals go hungry or get sick and have to find new homes to survive. Moral? We need to be more responsible for the environment.

What I'm attempting to point out is that time changes us. We can look back on old things with new eyes and see a refreshed perspective. Whatever thoughts or feelings you may have had in the past does not necessarily mean you will feel the same way now. Open your mind, try to see things from another angle or even from someone else's perspective - in doing so, your life experiences can be more comprehensive and robust.


  • Dr. Seuss is a literary genius (duh).
  • Because humans grow and change throughout life, experiencing something a second time may not yield the same perception as the first encounter. Try to approach things with an open mind, and your eyes may see it differently the second time around.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Infamous Intro Post

Here it is.
The infamous introduction post. What is this blog all about? Who is this person? What the heck does the title even mean?

I have two daughters, and at the time of this post, they are fairly young - an infant and a toddler. I often find myself imagining future conversations with them. I think about topics that may come up, and what I would want to address within the topic. Sometimes, I recognize that I have a few good points and then I say to myself, "Gosh, I hope I'll remember to say that in 10 years!"

But, I don't NEED to remember any of it in 10 years, let alone 10 days. I'm going to use this blog as a place to share my thoughts with my girls. It will have the dual purpose of allowing me to start logging advice for the them as well as providing them with a glimpse into my mind.  Through the process, I'm sure I will enjoy sharing my thoughts out into the world and with any luck, a few people out there will enjoy them also.

As for the title of the blog... I think every possible combination of "mom" and "journal" and "musings" and so forth was taken. I found myself in a thesaurus rabbit hole and saw the word "flock" as a synonym for offspring and family (and funnily enough, a new word for me: "brood" - a cluster of children). At this point, I was getting frustrated with my quest to find a blog and out of nowhere, my brain thought, "oh, for flock's sake!"  ForFlocksSake was available so, I went with it. And it cannot be changed so I am stuck with it. I suspect the name will grow on me over time, and if it doesn't, I guess that's my flocking problem.