#OneWord2017: Resolve

I know it’s January 2nd, so I hope I haven’t missed the picking-your-word-for-the-year deadline. Last year, my husband and I chose the word “Forward” for ourselves. We had some junk to move through and it seemed the best strategy at the time. We did move forward, sporadically. We also moved backward, sideways, did some dramatic twists, slides, and kicks. In my head, it resembled a tortured tango on more than one occasion. But we committed to the dance and we grew, continuing to do so, every day.

Resolve to be thyself: and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery.

Matthew Arnold

For 2017, I’m choosing a word for myself, based on the fact that I’m tired of my own damn self. I became too complacent for my own good. When life wasn’t fun anymore, I was too afraid to make a decision, too pathetic to feel like I deserved anything better for myself. My #OneWord2017 is RESOLVE. Once upon a time, I was full of it and it’s critical for me to locate that soul-source again.

oneword2017
Create your own inspirational sign at redkid.net.

It’s time to put my head down and do the work. I have decisions to make, I cannot hide anymore. Last month, as I drove to an office that I hate, to do a job that starves my sparkle, I came to the sobering conclusion – there’s not one project or goal in my life that I work HARD to achieve. In 2016, the energy to “just keep swimming” pushed me along for 12 calendar months. I kept my head above water but by year’s end, I was no closer to that special something that lights me up.

I’m having a hard time, even identifying what is special enough to be my something. Have you ever felt that way? How did you get through it?

I’m tired of whining and dreaming and wishing and feeling the painful regret of mediocrity. I don’t know what “it” is yet. My resolve will lead the way in 2017 and that already feels better than the static survival mode of 2016. I deserve more and I’m going to find it or make it – for myself. And when I do, I bet I’m a better tango dancer as well.

#LoveYaMeanIt

 

 

 

Healing Hearts and Rebuilding Lives at Primrose Hill

My Prim Goods Beauty Bundle

*I received a complimentary Prim Goods Beauty Bundle in exchange for the review of and blog about this unique skin care line. All opinions about the products are my own…and my hands are super soft now!**

Mother’s Day is coming up – have you mailed your card or shipped the flowers or made the reservations yet? Personally, I made my own brunch reservations for Sunday and I’ve been shopping for myself for a good week or two already. Although some of you may not think shopping for myself and making my own brunch plans are very romantic, it works for us. I feel so grateful to have the choice to celebrate Mother’s Day in my own way. We’ll be together with all the kids and grand kids next weekend, when we attend grandchild #5’s baby shower. Hallelujah! And really, how lucky is my husband? No pressure, everything fits perfectly and he’s happy to enjoy brunch, at one of Oklahoma City’s best restaurants, with his favorite girl.

In the life before I found my lucky husband, I was a struggling single mother. At the ripe old age of 25, I had a 22 month old daughter and a 5 week old son when my first marriage came to an end. I was working full-time and spending most of my paycheck at the daycare center. For the next ten years, I did my best at motherhood. On same days it was glorious, on others I just wanted to give up. And to be honest, there were lots of ways that I gave up…most of all on myself.

I compromised. I settled. I did lots of stupid things, because I was hurting and afraid. I had friends and family that would help me, but I was too proud to ask most of the time. And now, some 28 years later – I know that I was one of the lucky Moms. The story of our lives would’ve turned out very differently, had I made the wrong, stupid decision at the right time. I had regrets and so much guilt about my choices, but once I made peace with my past and forgave myself, I found the strength to make a better life for myself. As Maya Angelou said “…when you know better, you do better.” And I did.

Recently I had the opportunity to review skin care products with the Missouri Women Bloggers and because on my story, I jumped at the chance! Prim Goods is that line of skin care products, handmade soaps and sugar scrubs. Yeah, I know there’s a bunch of skin care lines in the world, but this one serves a greater good; it helps mommas rebuilding their lives. These products are made exclusively by young mothers, not much different than my 1988 self. These young woman live and work together to create a new future for themselves and their children.

Primrose Hill is a faith-based, 12-month residential recovery program in central Missouri. It offers young mothers, affected by drug or alcohol abuse, a second chance. It’s one of the few organizations in the country that allows women in a recovery program to keep their children with them. This project is affiliated with Teen Challenge USA and because it’s a non-profit organization, all this life-changing work depends on donations and profits from Prim Goods sales.

Speaking of these ladies, they’re learning new skills by producing this skin care line. Social, life, parenting, working…they develop all the skills! What is born from their recovery process is a lovely line of products. My Beauty Bundle included a lip balm, a colorful soap bar, a tub of brown sugar scrub, the most heavenly lotion and a matching shower gel. My bundle products, just like all Prim Goods goodies, were signed by the gals who made them. Hi Caila, Krista, and Jean; such a personal touch – thanks ladies!

Hubs and ‘his soap’ 

That lucky husband I mentioned earlier, he made off with the soap bar, almost immediately. It’s okay, I plan on ordering more anyway. The lotion I received is the Primrose scent and I love it! It’s light and sweet; I wish I had a travel-size bottle. The Prim Goods line features 7 different scents but all the products are available in a fragrance-free version a well.

Thank you Missouri Women Bloggers for this blogging opportunity.

A big hug and thanks to the women of Primrose Hill, for treating me to the fruits of your dedication and recovery. I believe in second chances. I’m a happy and healthy result of second chances and I believe in you! Keep up the good work, you can make a difference in this world by becoming your best self and raising healthy children.

For more information and product details, please visit the Primrose Hill Teen Challenge page and read the stories of these brave and determined women.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas. Just like the ladies at Primrose Hill, I believe we are “Made better by our story” and we can lift each other up, by sharing those experiences.

#LoveYaMeanIt
Rose Marie B

Leap Year with the Oklahoma Women Bloggers

Leap Year comes around almost every four years, how did you celebrate the bonus day this year? I registered a new company name in Oklahoma and filed for a federal tax id number! I went a little crazy by taking a leap for me.

I can’t take all the credit or blame for this impetuous decision; it was the Oklahoma Women Bloggers who convinced me to do it. I attended their first mini-conference this weekend and they gave me the courage to invest in myself. Between their impressive speakers and nurturing pep talks, I believed enough in myself to crawl out of my recent personal and blogging funk.

Oklahoma_Women_Bloggers, Mini_Con, Swag
Conference Swag: Links to conference sponsors below.

“You do you” they waxed poetically. My silly entry in the caption contest won a bottle of wine, how fun is that? I met brilliant women bloggers of all genres and their camaraderie gave me permission to claim my own creative self. Inspired by their accomplishments, I was reassured of my own talents. There aren’t many phrases more comforting or empowering than “me too.”

Oklahoma_Women_Bloggers, Prize, Wine
A wine called Cupcake? Don’t mind if I do. Thanks to Moore Liquor for this donation!
Oklahoma_Women_Bloggers, RoseMarieB, OKRoserock, selfie
#OKWBSelfie

Reflected in their confidence, I saw myself in a new light. We shared common goals and insecurities, so by the time we took our group photo, I felt my self-imposed isolation steadily fading away. We were a small group this year but I’m hopeful that’ll change next year. I’ll be there. I’ll have stories to tell and accomplishments to share. They have no idea how much they saved me from myself…I’d almost quit believing. Thank you ladies!

#LoveYaMeanIt

Oklahoma_Women_Bloggers, Mini-Co, Sequoyah_State_Park
2016 Oklahoma Women Bloggers Mini-Con at Sequoyah State Park

Big thanks to the 2016 Oklahoma Women Bloggers Mini-Con sponsors:

Arkansas Women Bloggers (I loved meeting our conference Fairy Godmothers – Stephanie Buckley, Debbie Arnold, and Jackie Wolven)

Riceland Foods

Oklahoma Agritourism

Prairie Bloom Bodycare

Vacant Wheel

Dining With Debbie

Also a special thanks to Sequoyah State Park in Hulbert, Oklahoma for their cool bunkhouse and southern hospitality.

Moving Forward: Oklahoma Women Blogger Conference!

In keeping with my 2016 #OneWord, FOWARD – I just registered to attend the first (and I hope annual) Oklahoma Women Bloggers Mini-Conference. I’m excited to connect with other women bloggers and learn more about moving forward with the development of my blogging skills and knowledge! Come join us, won’t you? 

The One Word, 2016 Edition

The blog world is obsessed with picking its ONE WORD for the year. After I explained the concept, Hubs was surprisingly intrigued and decided we needed a word this year and I would blog about it. First, I checked my past January blog posts to ensure we didn’t pick the same word, that would be embarrassing.

Start was my word in 2014; admittedly I DID start a few things. Starting’s never been my problem; knowing myself, I’d have been wiser to chose a phrase like Follow Through.

In 2015 I didn’t choose one word, instead welcoming the new year with a hashtag – #Organize2015. It was all the rage on Facebook and although my intentions were good, I only managed to organize the 2 smallest closets in the house and make a Goodwill donation before the inspiration vanished within days. 

So for 2016, Hubs and I decided we clearly needed a more descriptive word, a word with some oomph, a word with expectations attached to it – not some esoteric, pansy, feel-good word – we needed a kickass word!

‘Progress? Meh.’
‘Finish? Nope.’
‘Forward? Oooh that’s a good one, what do you think? Yes…FORWARD! It’s time we get some shit done!’
 

Forward with joy and a cute rose purse.

I know it’s only Day 8 of 2016 but I feel a palpable shift. Every day we’ve moved a little closer to our goals. It’s a shame how complacent we’d become in our day to day lives. How can you grow too comfortable and neglect the gifts, for which you’d wished upon every star?

With each encouraging text we exchange, our one word is included, using goofy hashtags to inspire ourselves. Every tiny step and commitment kept is celebrated as a team. I’ll continue with more blogging and we’ll tackle some much needed home improvement projects. We’re pursuing higher aspirations for ourselves, both personally and professionally – all daring moves that’ll test our courage. Choosing FORWARD over fear is intoxicating and I’m excited to share our adventures with you throughout the year. 

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbitt

 Photo credit – Untitled, Dmitry Ryzhkov Courtesy of PhotoPin via Creative Commons


Auld Lang Syne 2015

Happy New Year! Better yet, good riddance to 2015. I intended to write a post last night to release my struggles of the past 365 days; dumping the pain into the last calendar day of the stupid year, but…

…instead, Hubs and I made chili and watched our Sooners lose the Orange Bowl game. After a quick change from football t-shirt to basketball jersey, we cheered our Thunder team to their New Year’s Eve victory from the comfort of our recliners, nibbling holiday candy leftovers.
We discussed scary, last-minute issues of 2015, agreeing to take an optimistic approach to the solutions that will come in 2016, watched New Year’s fireworks on TV, kissed good night at midnight, and went to bed.
This morning when I picked up my phone to write a New Year’s post, I scrolled through my iPhotos, surprised by sweet memories. In my mind – 2015 was a bully. One thing after another, hit after hit – 2015 beat the crap out of me.
We lost my stepdad Bill in May, June brought major plumbing issues, July took out our washer and A/C, a ridiculous office move taunted me in August, September cost us thousands in foundation repairs, October broke my heart, November’s ice storm destroyed our trees, and December killed our fridge and backyard fence. UNCLE!! I’m done with you 2015, I fucking hate you!!!
But after I studied my iPhotos and pictures shared by my sister and daughter, I clearly witnessed and declared- I beat 2015 after all! I won this battle because…
…month by month, I found joy.

I recognized wonder.

I celebrated love.
I didn’t give up.

On this first day of 2016, I carry a renewed faith in my heart. I don’t know what the next 12 months have in store for me, but I’m stronger for the struggles – more resilient than I credit myself. Knowing that I won’t be defeated, 2016 holds infinite possibility for me and hey…I even get an extra day this Leap Year, so yay! 

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns
Love ya, mean it.  ❤️

Teeninetsy Courage

Teeninetsy, meaning the smallest insignificant measure…this word (?) has been tickling my imagination for the last week. It crept in when I noticed an itty bitty rose standing defiantly on the east side of our house; the bud no larger than my thumbnail.
Each Spring, rose bushes rise high from the shady place they were planted by a previous owner. Stretching toward the sunshine, the roses grow tall and unruly just outside my kitchen window.
I look forward to late Summer when tenacious vines twist and climb up the rose branches. Their lovely periwinkle faces greet me when I make coffee each morning. I adore them…but not this year. 
First the hopeful rose bushes and then the baby morning glory vines were repeatedly mowed over by a careless lawn guy. Then the foundation work was done on that side of the house and plants were replaced by steel piers driven deep into the earth. Well, maybe next year, I said to myself. 
The rose wouldn’t be denied, roses are stubborn that way. Inspired by the rose I bet, a single morning glory vine escaped the scraggly fence line and snuck under a 2 foot wide cracked sidewalk all by herself, seizing the last chance to bloom before the seasons changed.
Teeninetsy changed a landscape and my perspective. And now I honored the sneaky word by taking a small step back into my creativity.
Metaphor, analogy, whatever…I get the hint Universe, thank you.

#LoveYaMeanIt,
Rose Marie B


OK GOP: Feeding the Animals and Food Stamps

First of all, here are three political truths about me, Rose Marie B, proud Oklahoma citizen.

1.  I’m not the most politically savvy person in my state or even in my household but I am a registered voter and cherish the rights given to me by the United States Constitution. We’re all about “by the people, for the people…” right?

2.  I don’t read the newspaper every day and I shy away from political discussions; mostly because I’d rather find common ground than argue party lines. More importantly, I know how I feel about mankind and some political views make me feel super blue, even though I live in one of the loudest red states in the union.

3.  I’ve never been a fan of straight party voting but in the last state election, I voted against every incumbent on the ballot to demonstrate my displeasure with current conditions and exercise my democratic privilege…even though it felt like it didn’t matter.

Yesterday, the Oklahoma Republican Party posted this on their Facebook page.

Oklahoma GOP’s Facebook post, July 13, 2015

When I saw the discussion on Twitter about this post and read it last night – I didn’t need political prowess or even a newspaper education to recognize the flippant, smug, degrading, and borderline hate speech aspect of this “lesson in irony.”

I’m not saying that our current system is fool-proof or that no one abuses it. But in my opinion, this post wasn’t about encouraging change as much as creating waves of judgement, separation, and blame. As soon as I read it, I felt sad, ridiculously angry, and deeply humiliated for the 46 million people who had been compared to animals being fed by the superior humans at a national park.
 
This post is divisive.
This post is elitist.
This post offers no suggestion for solution.
All this post does is negate the genuine needs of the constituency of the Oklahoma Republican Party; for instance the elderly, veterans, children and the disabled.

After I expressed my disagreement with the statement and the ideology behind this post, my social media accounts were systematically BLOCKED BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF OKLAHOMA. (I had to type that in caps, because it’s hilarious.) My dissenting comments were deleted, along with hundreds or maybe thousands of others from citizens who felt the same way. This wasn’t a discussion or an open dialogue – this behavior was a poorly executed PR disaster and simple cowardice of the person responsible for the post. You can dish it out but you can’t take it? The best hashtags of the night were #NotOKGOP and #ThisIsWrong.

So today, this post was FINALLY uploaded to the OK GOP Facebook page…it breaks every rule of a sincere apology; what do you think?

To paraphrase – I’m sorry you were offended by what you thought you read.

So here is my response to Randy Brogdon, author of both Facebook posts and Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party:

If you want to start a conversation, start one. Don’t try to be clever, because you clearly failed. Don’t hide behind your screen, a faceless bully, posting incendiary and hateful opinions in a public place like Facebook and then deleting/blocking the responses of those who disagreed with you. You truly missed the opportunity to engage and facilitate an intelligent conversation on the subject but I don’t think that was your intention either. I notice you didn’t sign your name to the first post, why not?

From what I can tell and thank goodness you DON’T represent your entire political party in Oklahoma. There were those Oklahoma Republicans brave enough to stand up against this clearly intentional stab at those less fortunate and I applaud them for taking a stand.

I’ll be sending a copy of my post to every legislator who represents my area of the state, including the governor. I want them to know how I feel as a citizen of this great state, how wrong I think this type of party propaganda is and why I think it’s a mistake to have someone like yourself in charge of the social media accounts. You are not doing your party or MY state any favors in the public opinion or news arenas. Once again, our state appears hateful and backward and small-minded. 

As a proud Oklahoman, all I can ask is that we act decently to one another. We don’t have to agree on everything to be respectful of one another. For the greatest strength, we need to work together to correct the problems in our society. This post was wrong and surely I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Republican, Democrat, Independent…I don’t care what you are as much as what you do for others.

“I’m mad as hell and I’m NOT going to take this anymore!”

Rose Marie B

Writer’s Workshop: Zombie Salesman in 15 Lines + a PS

(This story is true and was created for Kat Bouska’s Writer’s Workshop. Well maybe the Zombie part is a stretch but…)

A salesman boldly appears at our badge-entry, employee-only office door, calling my phone to let him in.

“I can never get anyone to answer the phone here, so I flew into Oklahoma City to meet with someone.”

I tell him no one’s available to meet him without an appointment and he says “I can meet with you and then I know someone” so I politely relent.

I’ve spoken to him before on the phone, explaining the protocol but he never emailed the requested press kit. He denies ever making contact with anyone in our office “after 20 calls”, he’s lying and I regret being polite.

True to his story, he’s dragging his luggage with him, standard black carry-on with a black satchel hung around the neck of the handle. When he hands me his business card, it feels as flimsy as his no-one-ever-answers-my-calls story.

He wears a Glen plaid sport coat with a stripe of blue to match his dress shirt; a hint of Bill Paxton but not in an adorable way. The gap between his front teeth is devilish instead of endearing and the blue of his shirt is reflecting strangely onto his face…he looks oxygen deprived or undead. I jokingly think to myself – he’s a zombie salesman!

I listen to his spiel and he makes a veiled threat/joke to have the governor call on his behalf so that we’ll make an appointment with him. I guess Zombies are not good salespeople.

Back in my office, I type in the web address for his company…it’s a WordPress page, devoid of any content, at all! Only a Zombie salesman would hand out business cards with a ‘web address’ like this, right?

Zombies are rude,
Rose Marie B

PS  Here’s the point of this post…why are there people in this world that know less than me but are doing more? This guy’s card has PhD after his name but he’s not savvy enough to know the basics? He listed his phone number like this; +1 (area code) 555-1234 – who does that? His address on the card includes an apartment number. Oh my gosh…why am I answering phones and not Queen of the World already? Any suggestions are appreciated.

Photo credit: Steve Rainwater (license) via PhotoPin