Belated Gift

My darling sister is now home after a long week in the hospital. We brought our daughters to see her on Christmas bringing a little cheer. It is not the ideal place to spend the holidays but was necessary.
She is safe and sound in her own home.
We don’t know the future but will take one day at a time.
I promise to update my blog soon. Writing has been emails to loved ones updating them on her progress.
Thank you for reading and understanding.
Best wishes for a great 2011!

Kindness in the Least Expected

My heart sank when I reach the supermarket line-up and realize that I left my purse in the car (I hoped it was in the car). I pass around the line-up and head for the customer service counter to pull my kids out of the cart and let a staff member know the situation. A kind customer service lady pushs my cart off to the side and tells me not to worry.

My two-year-old wants me to hold her. So I hold her while grasping my purse and four-year-old as we trudge through the parking lot in the snow. I berate myself for being so distracted. At this very moment my sister is going through surgery. My best friend, outside of my husband, is going through a major surgery and I can’t be there until later. She has survived cancer before and if this is it again, I know we will get through it.

We reach my car as I click the auto un-lock button, I open the passenger door. Relief washes over me like a calm seaside. It is there. I zip it open to reveal that it is all there. My heart  beats again. We turn around to go back into the store. I reach our cart and pack them back in. I can’t get around because of the crowds that have since arrives getting last minute Christmas groceries. All I want to do is cry.

And then a warm staff member appears and pulls my cart around to a lane she opened to help me. The lady that helped us before is there to help unload our cart so I could hold my sleepy two-year-old.

 I cannot thank them enough. In a day of dark and gloom, their above and beyond kindness made me smile for the first time in a long time. They pack up my cart and get a bagger to help me out to my car.

I place the kids snug in their car seats. I sit and belt myself. I pause at the ignition, stunned. Without looking, kindness found me.  Happy tears fill my eyes as I start the car and pull onward to home.  Those two lovely ladies made my morning a little brighter. Plus I found out they are moms. Moms helping other moms. A delightful Christmas gift.

PS. I did let their boss know.

There may be grammar errors on this post. I just needed to get this out.

I am grateful for:

1. My healthy children. They continue to exhaust me and amaze me in one breath.

2. My long marriage. 18 years and going strong to my best friend.

3. My Kobo. I can travel anywhere through the day. One of my favorite places to read is the car when the kids are napping in their car seats.

4. My writing. Through the long, emotional year, my writing still keeps me grounded.

5. Twitter. Facebook has re-connected me with old friends. Twitter makes new ones. Twitter has been so kind to me through all day and night.

6. Anyone who has donated time and/or money to finding a cure for cancer. You may save my sister.

What are you thankful for this season?

Momoir Project

The Momoir Project came into my life when I was approaching the age that my mother died. I knew nothing of when I was a kid so it motivated me if I had the same fate as she did, my daughters would know the stories of their childhood. As a stay-at-home mom, I joined the online classes with Cori and loved being able to talk with the other women all the while changing diapers.

Since joining I have been published in many places. I am a regular contributor to The Momoir Project where I attend free workshops, coaching from Cori and even have ghost written a review for Today’s Parent. I began my own personal blog (www.justdworld.wordpress.com) to profile what I can write and to keep crafting my writing.

When I began interacting on Twitter, I got hooked seeing who was looking for writers. An average blog count out there is 300-600 words. I kept a notebook handy during the day so when inspiration hit I could jot a few ideas down and type them out at night when the kids were asleep.

I have blogged for The Yummy Club (no $ but great exposure and connections to terrific people). I have written for many great sites for the opportunity to be published where I have been promoted: Amotherworld.com, Sweet Mama, A Bit Of Momsense, 5 More Minutes With, Wonder Moms and Pro Youth worker where my teen story that was posted has helped other youths in trouble. I have been published on Oh Baby magazine online and in their print magazine which is distributed in nationwide Sears baby departments. It is not paid but it got my name in print.

When I first started getting compensation was through Mom Central through gift cards to Tim Hortons and Chapters. I am the main book reviewer for Women’s Post website where I am paid in free books and an average of $30 per post. I write SEO (Search Engine Optimization) web copy for Write Sourcing where I am paid an average $6.50 per 150 words per article. I have blogged for Microsoft Office 2010 this past summer on the Urban Moms website paid an average $50.00 per post. Other parenting site,  I have been paid $25 per post.

I have had fun writing and having the thrill of being published. Writing has kept me sane during the all-nights, tantrums (mine and the kids) and is therapeutic. Every writer tells me that if you write for money it is not as organic. I write what I love and enjoy.  I am not getting rich in dollars but am making a very modest part-time income. My scrapbook is full of the mom stories and technical writing that I have done. I am rich as writing fills a creative void that I didn’t know that needed filling until Momoir.

#bekind to Twitter

Rocking my cranky two-year-old in our rocking chair in our dark living room, a glance at my iPhone states the lonely hour of 3 am. I have been up for over an hour and it feels likable that I will not be sleeping anytime soon. The rest of the family is sleeping above my head so turning on the TV is not an option.

Out of the corner of my eye I see my white rectangular friend now sitting on the table next to me.

With an adrenaline jolt I grab my phone and tap on the Twitter app to check updates.

Because of the beauty of the world-wide network I begin conversing with another mom who is having had a bad night. We connect over our love of coffee.

It has been a year since I joined Twitter and it has been a lifeline. The kindness and support I have received alongside the stay at home mom life has been amazing.

I tweet with many kind, all famous and reality superstars. What got me solidly hooked was sitting in the hospital room with my oldest daughter when she was battling pneumonia. Out of bare necessities I played on my phone while she slept. My heart swelled with the virtual friends who checked up on us. People I never met were sending us love through cyberspace.

Since, I have been able to realize a dream to write because of Twitter. I now freelance write from home due to the connections of Twitter. I have even been sent gifts for my girls via @Clippo, @Huggies, @ScholasticCanada.

There have also been the negative nellies who attempt to rain on my parade. Once they realized I did not follow their views, they un-followed me. I couldn’t be happier for it.

Recently, when my sister found out that her cancer was back, the tweets of support helped me vent and enabled to be there for her and my household.

When I read about people raising money to help children (@HeelingHunger @Huggies Diaper drives), it inspired me to pay it forward. Be it a kind word to a tweep, or just saying ‘Hello. How are you?” We routinely purge our house looking for toys, clothes and books to donate. I have offered my time to encourage anyone who needs a pick-me-up, as I have been fortunate enough to receive.

When I hear my non-Twitter friends ask me why I ‘waste time’ on Twitter, I smile. Twitter is like the friend waiting in the wings. It’s there for those who treasure friendships as a two-way street.

Before I know it, the other half of the family is awake ready to start the day. My once foggy brain has cleared.

Thank you Twitter for being you.

#bekind to Twitter and it will be kind to you.

Snowy Days At Home

What does a non-crafty mom do?

I stare outside my kitchen window and all I see is white. The streets are covered in the fresh snow that arrived overnight. Great. I will not be able to get the car out of the garage for errands that I need to do until the snow plow comes to clear our townhouse complex. One glance at the clock reveals its 8 am glare. The day stretches out in front of me too long by not being able to leave the driveway. We do not get many snow days in a year. That is the beauty of living in the Fraser Valley in B.C.

My four-year-old pops beside me and squeals in delight that there is snow. I clear up the dishes and hustle my two daughters to get dressed so they can go outside in the powdery wonderland.

We step outside and my two-year-old waddles around in her thick snow pants and boots. My older daughter and I shovel what we can. We pile a hill of snow for the kids to pounce in. We build a snowman.

I step back and watch my two snow angels run around, noses pink from the cold and smiles wide. I ignore the time and think of what else to do to make our day go great. I am not a crafty mom and am clueless how other moms do it. I plot our day in my head.

  1. Play outside for as long as possible. It’s what the kids want to do. I am cold but can take it.
  2. When they are ready, we will go inside and build a fort in the playroom. I All it will take is some sheets and chairs. I will make a favorite snack plate of muffins, milks and cereal to have a picnic in the fort.
  3. When they tire of that, I remember that I have a Betty Crocker cookie mix we can whip together to eat after lunch. I will get my four-year-old to help me put the cookie balls on the baking sheet.
  4. Lunch will be grilled cheese and tomato soup with goldfish crackers. Always a favorite.
  5. Chances are the two-year-old will not nap today. She is growing out of them. So after lunch will be DVD time (aka. Mommy down time).
  6. The rest of the afternoon, until getting dinner prepped, the time is a blank. I realize I will just have to wing it. I have many boxes of art supplies. It will be fun to get messy together and just create.

I smile as I realize this will be a fun day with just me and my girls. It does not take a Martha Stewart to make a snow day fun-it just takes a bit of mama smarts.

After over an hour of snowy winter wonderland fun, my girls start to slow down. I bellow the question of who wants snacks. Their faces brighten and they bound up the front steps. My panic of what to do today subsides. I know I just need to take it step by step. And that is just what I do.