Friday, June 1, 2012

so how are YOU doing ?

yes you, I want to know about you !

I mean here I am sharing all about my life on this blog. But what I really want to know is how you are doing. You may be one of my friends or you may not be. That's ok either way because after all if you are not already that just means you could be some day.

In this incredible world of social networking, so many things are different. I am made more aware every single day of how different our world of communications is. I have reached out to so many people in the last 4 years, people I may never meet but I now have a connection to anyway. Because I joined Facebook almost exactly 4 years ago. 
Since then I have gotten support, given support, cried with my friends, laughed with them too. I have celebrated their lives' happy moments and been saddened by their losses. 

How has Social Networking changed your lives ? 

For me, it has allowed me to reconnect with some of my childhood friends and neighbors, no small feat when you live a whole ocean away from them. It has given me a chance at helping some of the people who share a love of greyhounds with me. I may once again never meet them but some of them I do personally know. The thing though is that if any one of us needs help, we are there for each other. I have seen it again and again. It is still happening right now. There are auctions being run, money being given, help in other ways, transportation provided all through the power of the Social Network.

So when the Facebook IPO happened, there were polls taken and the results showed that 51% of adults thought Facebook was a fad and that it too shall pass. 

How could we ever go back ? 

We have seen in the last few years how powerful the network is. It has toppled governments, found organ donors, reunited families. How could we give it all up now ? 

It is the way we make our voices heard in so many ways. Consumers change the way companies do business through it. Companies use it to change the way they do business. Could we ever give that up ?

Despite the constant complaints about the site and the never-ending changes imposed on us, how many of us really left ? well some did and they tried some other form of social networking with variable results. 

So what will social network look like in 4 years ? will Facebook disappear ? will it be replaced by other sites. 
After all MySpace had its glory days and they are now long gone. Google+ has not quite gathered the speed we may have hoped it would. Pinterest, well that's a different type of network, not quite as social. LinkedIn is all or mostly all about business. Twitter is doing amazingly well but I never quite got into it. Too hard for me to sum everything up in 140 characters. I am French, we are known for being wordy. Twitter has however been a great resource for most people and it too has changed the world we live in.

So my friends, what would you do without the Social Network ? could you give it all up and go back to not being in touch with friends, family and people who share your passions 24 hours a day ?

I know I could not go back. Because I want to hear how YOU are doing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On those New Year resolutions

'Tis that time of year yet again ! the time that brings us to reflect on the last year and what was good, what was bad, what we would rather forget and what made us proud.

I wonder why we tend to do this only as the New Year approaches. Why just at that time ? after all, shouldn't we reflect on this more than once a year. I mean maybe we should make our resolutions on our birthday. This would be so much more personal. We would not be following the crowds and we wouldn't feel pressured into making the same old resolutions. You know the ones...lose weight, start exercising, stop smoking.

So I will NOT be making resolutions this year. I never go through with them anyway. I will wait until a more appropriate time (for me at least).

But I can look back at this year and learn from it.
I can say that this year has been one of many challenges and many questions. One of great things and incredible frustrations.

One of the major highlights of this year was our cross-country move back to South Carolina. This brought so many good things and yet so many new headaches. Moving takes a toll on any family, usually a big financial one and some emotional ones. I have to say this was one of the most positive moves when it comes to the emotional level, at least for three out of four members of our family. I have seen some incredible changes in my daughter in the last 6 months. She seems happier and more confident. I have seen an improvement in my son's health (and mine) since moving away from the dust and pollution of Arizona.

And yet, this is the toughest year yet for us in other ways. We are facing difficulties we have never had before. The struggles are taking a toll. The things we had hoped would happen have not and we are sinking deeper than ever. Some sacrifices have had to be made. It is hard to stay positive some days.

On a personal level I am trying to reevaluate parts of my life, trying to find my purpose. I want to learn from the challenges and failures I have had in those last 12 months. I feel as if I am not as focused as I may need to be, or maybe it is that I have not found the right thing to focus on. I don't know. I want to figure out for myself how much I can change or at least how much I am willing to without changing who I really am.

The thing that bothers me the most is the feeling that I do not know how to fix it, how to make it better. One of my Strengths is Strategic so you would think I could find my way. But somehow I feel lost right now. I am not sure that anyone but me will be able to help me find the right solution. Maybe it is just a matter of time for me to find it. Or is is timing ?

Either way, I can only hope that 2012 brings some clarity in my life and my mind.

I have to say that no matter what, I am grateful for so many things. I should not complain as so many others have it so much worse than I do. I should be grateful -and I am- that I have my family, my dog, a good job, a roof over my head. And that as bad as things seem at times, in the grand scheme of things they could be so much worse.

I am grateful that the last year has brought continued friendships and new ones. Grateful that I have been given new opportunities and chances to grow in ways I didn't expect just as I thought others had been taken away. I am grateful that I can smile every day because there is always someone there to give me a smile or hello or a hug. I am grateful that I myself can make someone's day by helping them one way or another.

I am grateful to the customers who tell me how much they appreciated my help. They make me feel like I am on the right path.

I am grateful for those I work with who make me feel part of a team and brighten my days. I am grateful for the ones who lend an ear and share their concerns with me because they make me feel like I am their friend and I trust them and they trust me. I am grateful for those who made me feel that way in Arizona also. I miss them everyday and love to hear how they are doing.

Overall I am grateful that in 2011 I was still around to see it all, take it all in, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am grateful that I am able to celebrate another New Year with my family and friends.

I only hope for all of my friends and relative that the New Year brings more joys than sorrow, more positives than negatives. I wish all of them a great year filled with love, friendship and dreams fulfilled. And please don't worry about those pesky resolutions. Who ever keeps them anyway ?

Wishing for Peace this New Year !

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Postively emotional

Have you ever wondered how much of your personality is determined at birth, how much is determined by your upbringing and how much is within your control ? I know I have on many occasions.

The last couple of days have brought back to mind this question for me.
I was told by a couple of people that they see me as a very positive person, someone in the realm of the warm and fuzzy, in fact they questioned whether I could ever have the tough talks sometimes needed by a leader. Now granted these folks have only known me for a couple of months so they have never had to see the tough, serious side of me that most have had to witness in the past.

But this discussion led me to a realization: I have come a long way.

I did not grow up in a positive environment. I grew up in a family where my top grades never seemed to be good enough, where I never heard my parents tell me they were proud, where little affection was really shown.
I am not saying my parents were horrible, just that they probably didn't know any better. My mother probably never got much affection from her own mother and so didn't know how to show it to her own children. I quite often felt as if I had not really been wanted by her.
When my parents got divorced, I was 15 and dealing with my own troubles.
This may have been the first time in my life I realized that I had a choice to make: I could either let the wave of negativity swallow me or I could decide to ride it and get above it until I reached a more positive blue sky.

This has been a difficult path. So much has happened to me that lead to despair at times, depression several times and ultimately an awakening. I have a choice.

I have the choice to see the glass as half full or half empty. I have the choice to see the thorns or the roses on the rose bush. I cannot control certain things but I can control how I react to them and how much I let them affect me.

I have been knocked down many times, hurt many more, violated once but I decided that eventually I would have to find that famous silver lining every one talks about.

I have also decided that I cannot always be positive. No one can be happy 100% of the time. And that is ok. I am giving myself permission to cry, get mad, get sad every now and then. It is natural to feel that way and you need to let it out. But what I will not do is let this last for more than a short while.Or let it make me bitter. Because if I do, then I am giving the power to those emotions to take over. And I will not let that happen.

If you ever have a conversation with someone who came to realize their own mortality, you know how grateful they become for the simple things in life. Just living becomes a very powerful and positive experience.

So why should we wait for the moment when we get sick, almost die or lose someone. Why can't we learn to appreciate those things before the bad things happen ?

I can say that I am amazed when I look where I started to be able to hear now someone calling me a positive person.

And I will take this as a good thing, a great thing, an accomplishment.

So tonight was rough, I cried, I got frustrated and wondered what to do next.

But this will be a temporary thing. I will pick up the pieces and keep going. And I will stay positive because for me that is the only way to go :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Since I last posted to this blog, so much has taken place for me and my family. After having moved cross-country from South Carolina to Arizona in 2006, we made the trek back to South Carolina a month ago.
This feels very much like coming home. I am not from South Carolina but it has always been the place I have loved and considered my favorite place. Both of my children were born here and even tough they spent five years in Arizona, they always claimed South Carolina as their home.

The last few months have been extremely stressful and yet very rewarding. My husband moved here 8 weeks before we did and had to find us a house. This is now at least the fourth time that I have to leave that responsibility to him (we have moved 8 times in 17 years). Thank goodness for technology to help us share pictures, listings and plainly communicate so I can still feel like I have a say in the process. But no matter how great he is, it is always challenging to walk through a house for the first time on your move-in date. And yes he did well given the small amount of time he had and the obvious challenges of finding a house that would meet our needs.

The added challenge with this move was that for the first time I had to try and transfer within the same company while hopefully getting a position at the same level.
This experience became a frustrating, challenging and also surprising time. After interviewing for several positions over the phone, I ended up leaving Arizona still without a job.
The surprising part came when I found out about some amazing people trying to help me out in my search. These were people I had never met and in some cases never been in any kind of contact with. They were people who had found out about my situation and thought me worthwhile of a little help. Saying that I was touched by this will not cover how I truly felt. My heart was and still is full of gratitude for these women and I will never be able to express how much this has meant to me. I may never know how many people were involved in this but they have reminded me how powerful a network of great people can be. And you can be sure that I will pay it forward.

A few days after I moved back, I was able to line up two more interviews and that exact day I had found a new job at a new store. Talk about a whirlwind !

I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. I am convinced that the timing was right, the opportunity was exactly what I needed and that the people who decided to take a chance on me are fantastic.
I am lucky to now be part of a great crew that has welcomed me with open arms.

What does the future hold now for our family ? well hopefully a little stability. I promise you it would take a heck of a lot for us to ever move away from South Carolina again. In fact the only move I can foresee now is the one that will take us out of our rental house and back into a house we own. This may take a couple of years but it will happen someday.

I will finish with this quote I found recently that brought back to mind all the things I just went through :

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

I'll let you guess which option I chose. Peace !

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Am I going crazy ?

Oh boy, that is a weird question, I know it ! and I think all of us have asked ourselves that at one time or another.

Why am I asking ? because the last few weeks have been challenging in a way I never experienced before. And the crescendo was when I pretty much had an emotional breakdown.

So in the last two years I have been aware of this little thing in your body called the thyroid. In fact two years ago or so I had been checked for issues it could cause because of some symptoms I was having. Sadly back then, I took the doctor's opinion that since my numbers were only slightly elevated, we shouldn't do anything but wait. And so I did...two whole years.
What can I say, I am a woman and as many times as I enter a doctor's office for my kids, you would think I would also do it for myself. But not, because I am a woman. I always take care of others first.

So for the last two years I have been feeling a bit off, very tired, having issues with my weight, having troubles focusing or remembering and getting emotional, especially in the last few weeks.

So 7 weeks ago I broke down, tired of being always tired and I finally got myself to the doctor. And I found out that that little piece of me is affecting me a great deal. That thyroid of mine was out of whack. Once again I had to wait though, a whole 6 weeks because we needed to see how things would progress before deciding on a path.
So the last 7 weeks have been tough. It seemed that all of a sudden I was noticing more symptoms...the hunger, the irritability and horror...the weight gain. Ok it may have only been a couple of pounds but when you are already overweight and have already been heavier, those two pounds seem the beginning of a decline that you dread.
And then the end of the 6 weeks came and I reclaimed a bit of my sanity. I was NOT crazy. In fact I noticed more symptoms because I had gotten worse. My numbers came back even more out of whack. The sense of relief was immense. It now explained my complete meltdown.
If you are a woman and you have had to deal with PMS or pregnancy, you will understand what I am talking about. That feeling that your behavior is completely irrational and yet you cannot stop yourself. Yes that feeling... And if you are a man, well you know it if you have ever lived with a woman.

Where does that leave me now ? looking forward to some relief. I just started medication this morning with the hope that it will help bring me back to the person I am supposed to be - one full of energy and with a sharp mind and one who still may get emotional every now and then but not in a hysterical way.

I look forward to the journey, knowing full well that the medication may only be the beginning and that there will be more challenges to come. Knowing now that there is an answer to why I have felt the way I have, I am empowered to move ahead and learn more about this little piece of my body that manages so much of what goes on.

And I will make sure to tell all my friends about it. Maybe, just maybe, someone else will benefit from my experience. And maybe, just maybe, someone else will get their answer without waiting two years and feeling this bad. And that is a goal my friends...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my heart breaks

For those who may have read my previous post about family, I am sorry to have to add this to it. The missing plane was located and sadly Ginger is now mourning her husbamd and three boys. I am absolutely heartbroken that the story would end that way. I can only hope that she will feel the love that we were and still are sending her way.
I cannot imagine the pain she is feeling right now at the loss of four of her family members in one swoop. There is no way I could put into words how much I hurt for her, a woman I never had the pleasure of meeting but nonetheless feel I know because so many of my friends know her.
I also think about my own friends who also are hurting from this loss. They in fact knew Ginger's family and to them this is a great loss too.

Last night as I lay there before going to sleep I mentioned to my husband how tough the day had been with the kids. At 12 and 14 they know how to push your buttons and they sure drove me crazy maybe more than usual yesterday. But then I also told him how much I imagine Ginger would give to have one more disagreement or fight with her boys. It really does put things in perspective doesn't it ?

So I have to learn to be grateful for even the not so fun things because after all it is better than not having them around any more. And Ginger's boys were 12 and 14. How's that for a reason for me to feel so deeply about her story ?

Monday, November 1, 2010

family and six degrees of separation

I recently have been thinking about what the meaning of family is. I know, I know, it seems pretty obvious, the ones who are related to you make up your family.
I feel though that there is so much more to family. I believe I have many families, not just the biological one or the one I married into.
For instance, when I get on Facebook, I have access to a large group pf people I have organized in what Facebook calls networks. What if indeed these were their own little family circles.

One of my networks is comprised of greyhound adoption folks. I can absolutely 100% tell you that most of these folks feel like family. I have cried with them when they lost a hound or got a devastating cancer diagnosis. I have rejoiced when they added one more to their pack. I have cried and gotten mad alongside these people when reading stories of abuse and missing greyhounds. Just like any family, we all pulled together in a crisis and helped raise money for severely neglected hounds in Texas.
Like any family, we have our disagreement and subjects we know to avoid if we do not want to start a fight. But all in all, we are one big, huge family.

One of my other networks is Best Buy. I have after all worked for this company going on three years now.
Granted I do not know every single Best Buy employee but somehow we are all linked in our passion of helping customers, living with technology and keeping this company great.
So last week a former employee's family went missing during a flight over Wyoming. I knew Ginger by name only. I knew she was friend with a lot of my friends but I had never personally met her. And yet, I felt as if she was part of my family. I had to send a request for prayers and good vibes hoping it could make a difference. Will I ever meet Ginger ? probably not. Does it matter ? not at all. She is a part of my friends' family and my Best Buy family so I will keep hoping for the best for her.

And what about that whole Six Degrees of Separation thing ?

Last week I got a request to become friends with someone. It turns out she appreciated some of the posts and comments I had made to another friend. She thought we had some things in common so now we were friends too. Then she posted a link she got from one of her friends about Male Breast Cancer. I am all about sharing that kind of information because I truly believe awareness and education are the best tools we have to fight diseases.
So I took that link and shared it. Now the friend of my new friend, the one who posted the original link, decides she want to be friends with me. So I do as always when I get a friend request...I check her out. And lo and behold, this woman who lives in Florida is originally from New Jersey. But not just from New Jersey, from very close to my husband's hometown in New Jersey. And as I talk to my husband about this he asks me her name. And then tells me that there was a family in his hometown with that name and they owned a little grocery store and he worked there as a teenager. So of course, I decide to ask her if she is related to this family. And yes she is.
So because I know Bonnie (who lives in Arizona) and posted to her wall, I became friend with Sandra (who lives in Florida) and then through Sandra I became friend with Kriss who despite living in Florida is really a Jersey girl who happens to be from a family that owned a store where my husband worked as a !
That is what you call a small world.

So now I may consider Sandra and Kriss part of my extended family. In fact, since Kriss sent me some stickers about Male Breast Cancer, I will proudly display them when I take part in the Making Stride Breast Cancer Walk. I will pass on this message that is so important to her. Because now she indeed is family :-)

I want to believe that somehow we are all truly one family, one humanity and that we are linked in more ways than we are different.

I can only hope that my family will keep growing and that I can be there for all the members of this family and maybe someday they can be there for me too if needed.

Right now, I can mostly think of Ginger and how scared she must be for her family, her husband and three kids missing and also the rest of her family that is affected by this crisis. So once again I ask the members of mine to keep her in mind as all of you are after all now related...through me.