2014 in Review and My Hopes for 2015

New Year’s Eve 2014 is here. It’s the time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the next. For years, I’ve been working on accepting myself exactly the way I am and living each day in the moment, free of regrets from the past and worries about the future. This kind of thinking has led to great changes in my life, and I intend to further develop myself one day at a time.

What a year it’s been! There’s been a wide spectrum of emotions and experiences. Lots of pain and lots of growth occurred this past year. I got divorced after 14 years of marriage. It was hard. It was painful. It was complicated. There was a loss of a fairy tale and a loss of my family structure. I lost fifty percent of my time with my kids. We sold our big, beautiful house (that we moved to Texas for) and moved into rentals, a house for me and an apartment for him. While everything looked great from the outside, my ex and I had some serious personal problems that ultimately we were not able to resolve. We agreed to put the children first and to co-parent in peace. We agreed not to drag each other through the mud and to keep our personal business between us. While I lost half the time with my kids, he gained the other fifty percent of the time, and the kids are adjusting to their new lives well. They enjoy the one on one time they get with him now. And I think that while they might prefer we still be together, they see that life can be peaceful and happy even with the changes. It was a painful experience, but I’ve been brave and have learned a lot from it about being true to myself and taking care of myself. In the new year, I intend to continue using the time to myself for self-care. When I don’t have the kids, I sleep, do yoga, go to the gym, play guitar, do math etc. I use the time to take care of myself and continue growing in all my interests and hobbies. I miss the children terribly, but I know they are in good hands, and I am thankful their father wants to be an active part of their lives.

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For years, I’ve wanted to take college math classes because nobody ever made me take them when I was in school. I didn’t know I liked math until I became a teacher and started specializing in teaching math. So, this year I took advantage of the opportunity since I had time (being a stay home mom) and finally took Trigonometry and Calculus 1. I got an A in Trigonometry, so my professor let me skip Pre-Calculus. I spent the spring semester taking Trig and the fall semester taking Calculus 1. I struggled with Calculus and went from a C to an F to a B overall. I learned so much about what it feels like to struggle as a student and thankfully found an excellent tutor who supported my struggles and helped to make everything make sense. At one point, I considered dropping the class, but I’m not a quitter so I stuck with it. I learned first-hand that hard works pays off and I was thrilled to finish successfully and check that class off my bucket list! In the next year, my goal is to get back to teaching full-time. I would really like to teach high school math this time. I have my master’s degree in education. I’m certified to teach all subjects 4-8 and math 8-12, and although my eight years of classroom experience was in middle school, I’ve been tutoring high school students since 2001. I’ve been working as a substitute teacher this fall and have really enjoyed subbing in the high schools. I prefer the older students and the more advanced math curricula. I quit my job to be a stay home mom years ago, and it’s difficult to get back into a full-time position, but this will be my main goal for 2015.

I took an amazing trip to Aruba for a yoga retreat, another bucket list item. Click here to read about my amazing week with yoga girl Rachel Brathen in paradise. I’ve also been participating in a 365 day handstand challenge and intend to finish it in 2015. I am on handstand number 259!

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My yoga retreat group

 

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My kids are continuing to grow and thrive, and I absolutely love being their mom. I’m cherishing every stage of their lives even though it’s tough sometimes knowing that I don’t have little kids anymore. Those days are over, but they are growing into amazing older children and my oldest is officially an adult now, 21 years old and graduating from college this year. She’s majoring in Business Marketing and Management and plans to move back to the Dallas area to work after graduation. Her laugh is infectious; her sense of humor is hilarious. She’s an avid dog lover and has been helping me take care of my dogs some this year. In fact, she might be taking my Boston Terrier back to school with her for a few months this spring. She’s been working part-time at a hair salon and getting good grades. I’m so proud of her! In 2015, I look forward to attending her graduation, her 22nd birthday in May, and seeing how her adult life unfolds when she moves back to Dallas and starts working.

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My middle child is now 14, a high school freshman on the drill team at school and a competitive company dancer at a local dance studio. Watching her dance is one of my favorite things to do. She specializes in contemporary dance, and sometimes it’s so beautiful it brings me to tears with pride. We spent a week in Panama City Beach, FL in June for national competition, and it was a really fun vacation together. She just got her braces off and has a brand new smile. She is an excellent student and is well liked by her friends. I’m learning to give her more space to be a teenager and love it when she has her friends over to our house. In 2015, I look forward to another season of dance competitions and conventions, a week in Florida for national competition, and her 15th birthday in April.

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My youngest child, my son, is now ten years old and a vibrant, intelligent fourth grader who loves science and thrives on challenge. He loves reading books and playing games and doing all kinds of sporty things with me like bike riding, rock climbing at the gym, swimming, roller skating, and playing games of horse. I love his sense of adventure and getting out to be active with him. We have a great time. He is also really loving and gives lots of hugs and kisses, one of my favorite things about him. He is a deep thinker and asks all kinds of questions about life, nature, and the universe. I know he is destined for great things in the future and in 2015, I look forward to watching him play baseball, spending a week in Florida together, and his birthday in November.

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This year, I had the kids for Thanksgiving, my ex had them for the first week of Christmas, and I have them for the second week of Christmas vacation. In 2015, I look forward to having them for spring break and then for the first week of Christmas vacation. I am super proud of all three of them and want the best for them in the upcoming year with good health and lots of happiness.

This year, I ended a friendship with someone I thought was my best friend in town. She betrayed me, backstabbed me, lied to me, then called me ugly names when I confronted her. All I can control is me, so I ended it, and I’m really glad she is out of my life now as I can see it was really a one-way friendship for years. She is not really worth any more time or space on my blog, so I will move forward to the good news: I gained a new best friend in town this year. She’s another dance mom who has kids close in age to my youngest two kids, and she lives nearby. She’s been a great friend to me this year, someone who has a huge heart and does anything to help other people. She’s been there for me whenever I’ve needed a friend, and I truly enjoy her company! She’s funny, caring, and has a genuine personality. We’ve had lots of great times together this year. I look forward to many more good times in 2015 and hope to continue to develop my other girl-friendships with get togethers and outings.

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I fell in love again this year with a man from Virginia whom I’ve known since we were twelve. His dad caught us kissing when we were in middle school, and after that we were always dating other people but hung out together as friends all the time. He was in a near fatal accident in high school, and we lost touch after he switched to another school and then I graduated and left for college. The girl who was driving the car that night died, and I’ve always been so thankful that he survived. He has always been a precious life in my opinion. We reconnected at a funeral for a friend in 2007 and have been in touch ever since. He went to Aruba with me, and we’ve been traveling back and forth visiting each other in Virginia and Texas as often as we can. It’s been amazing to find love with someone with whom I also have a deep friendship and a long history. I’m super grateful the timing is right for us to be a couple and have enjoyed every single moment we’ve spent together so far. In 2015, I look forward to his February visit to Texas (to celebrate our birthdays – we were born nine days apart) and hope we can visit each other many, many more times also. Since we are in a long distance relationship, and we both have children to raise, people often ask us how we are going to work things out so we can be in the same place. I don’t know the answer to that question yet, and I’m not going to worry about it either. It’s working for both of us right now, and I trust that things will unfold exactly the way they should. I would rather have him in my life to talk and text with every day and see periodically than not at all. So, I am grateful, humble, and hopeful for the future.

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I intend to spend 2015 really enjoying every day to its fullest, loving people in my life, and taking good care of myself. When negative things happen, I will look for the positive lessons, and I will accept challenges as opportunities to grow. I will continue to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the many blessings in my life and face each day with courage, an open mind, and a positive attitude.

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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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21Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 12: Get Shit Done! #yogagirlchallenge

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This is an easy day for me as getting shit done is my nature. I do a great job of it on a regular basis. So today’s list wasn’t all that long thankfully (getting back to Aruba is on my list!). This is a picture of my son’s new shoes and lunchbox. School starts tomorrow, and my two kids are ready. My oldest, a senior in college, is also ready!

I am so good at getting shit done that over the years I’ve learned to chill out and be ok with it, not feeling guilty that I should be doing something or calling myself names if I feel like being lazy for a change. It’s one thing to be able to multi-task and be productive, but it’s also valuable to learn to relax and just be without judgement or guilt. I enjoy both ends of the spectrum and strive to find the balance in between.

I’ve been through a lot of changes this year and feel proud of all the shit I’ve gotten done. Besides going through a divorce, I managed to get an A in Trigonometry, tutor math privately, sell and move out of my house, move into a rental, and continue being a happy healthy mom to my kids. Not to mention I’ve gotten about 180 handstands done for the #handstand365 challenge. When I put my mind to something I do it!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Daybook

FOR TODAY: July 25, 2012

Outside my window… Powder blue sky, a few lonely clouds, green grass, oak trees, manicured lawns and big brick houses.  It’s still hot although it’s 7pm.  I’m nestled in my comfy neighborhood back in Texas after a week in Florida. 

I am thinking…about so many things…the kids..the bills…my schedule…  I’m thinking about Brent at boot camp and wondering how he is handling all the challenges in his training.  We heard from him about a week ago, and he sounded good. He said he is learning a ton.  The Colorado theater shooting happened while we were on vacation, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot too.  The shooter…the victims…guns…going out in public etc..

I am thankful…Sierra made it safely on her first solo drive to Lubbock.  She and I are so different with highway driving.  I learned how to drive in Washington DC and have always been a confident driver.  She is scared of driving on the highways and has never made the trip by herself.  She looked up an alternate route that kept her on major highways without a lot of interchanges.  She went back to school early to get a job before rush starts and found a job waiting table right away! 
     I’m thankful Zoe and Sierra are getting along better now and have come a long way in developing their sisterly relationship.  I’ve always wanted to have a sister.  They are lucky to have each other.  They are seven years apart, so it’s been kind of rough sometimes with both of them in different stages most of the time.  I think this summer they both realized what it’s like to be in the other one’s shoes and are starting to understand how lucky they are to have sisters even though there is a big age gap.
     I’m thankful for getting to spend today with Thomas (since Sierra left for college and Zoe is sleeping over at Joe’s mom’s).  He is such a good sport when I want to drag him around for girl stuff like getting my nails done today and registering Zoe for dance classes.  We had some lunch and went to the pool.  He said, “hey mommy – win/win – you can swim laps and I can go down the waterslides!”  He joined me in the lap lane for a while and then we played in the family swim area too.  He is working on going all the way across the pool and today asked if I thought he might be able to become an Olympic swimmer one day.  I told him he can be anything he wants. It just takes work and practice.  He seems turned onto the idea of exercising today.  That’s awesome. 
     I’m thankful for Joe.  He is my rock, my soft place to land, and my person.  He is the strong husband and father in the family.  He takes care of all of us. He works really hard to support us and the lifestyle we have.  He loves me just they way I am and supports me in whatever I want to do.

I am learning… to develop my blogging habit.  I’ve been working on it off and on over the years and now that I’m home full time again, it’s fun to get back to writing down some of the many thoughts that run through my complicated mind.  It gives me a way to structure my thinking and to share my thoughts with my friends. 
     I’m still learning guitar.  I downloaded the Ultimate Guitar app on my iPhone and I love looking up songs that I hear to play.  I’m getting better, but I still have a long way to go.  I would still love to get better on my electric guitar, just need to carve out more time to practice.
     I’m also learning Trigonometry.  I need to write a blog about my love affair with math to explain my history, but suffice it to say I didn’t know I liked math or was good at it until I became a teacher.  I want to go back and keep taking classes as time allows.  I’ve downloaded the Trignometry class from Khan Academy on my iPhone too, and I watch the online lessons and do the practice problems.

In the kitchen…grass fed beef is thawing.  Thomas wants Hamburger Helper Stroganoff tonight (yuck!), so I will probably stir fry some veggies with the meat separately and then make the stroganoff with the rest of it. 

I am wearing… my bikini (we just got home from the pool), black nike shorts, and a lime green tank top that says LIVE LOVE SURF Pensacola ❤

I am creating… this blog!  Working on writing about my life and my thoughts without fear of who reads it. 

I am going… to PT tomorrow.  Still having lots of back pain, working on core stabilization and spinal strengthening. 

I am reading…can you believe I’m still on Hunger Games? I think I started it months ago. I’m almost at the end, but I hate reading fiction!  HAHA.  I like to read, but I gravitate to non-fiction.  I have to work on my fictional reading habit just like I have to work on my writing habit.  I’m so much more of a math and science person.  I read a ton of news articles and non-fictional stuff every day, but I admit reading fiction is like pulling teeth.  I saw Hunger Games, and I liked it and heard the books are better, so I’m trying.  I’m toward the end where Katniss and Peeta are still in the cave. She has the extra supplies and his leg is healing, but they are still there.  I’ve seen the movie, so I don’t really care to finish the book, but I heard the book is different, so I do still want to finish it sometime.

I am wondering… how to handle a situation with my mom.  We’ve had a long history together, and although I know she loves me, I am not able to have a relationship with her.  We haven’t spoken since Thanksgiving. She came here and got really upset and changed her ticket and left early then blamed everything on me.  It’s very complicated. I hate that we don’t have a relationship but I don’t know how to fix it.

I am hoping… to lose about ten pounds.  I will write a separate post about diet and my allergies.

I am pondering… what makes some people so into facebook and others not.  The other day, Joe and I were talking about facebook like we often do.  I’m a big fan and am an active user.  I have lived in many places and experienced many things, and I know people all over the world whom I communicate with via facebook.  I’ve always been an extrovert, so it makes sense that I love social media.  I connect with people in real life too, but seriously I have many friends who live in facebook land, and without facebook I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch, see pictures of their kids, or hear about their lives.  I frequently tell Joe about things I post and ask him if he has seen them.  His usual answer is no.  If something’s important, I’ll ask him to go and look at it and tell me what he thinks about it.  Since I’ve been blogging again recently, I decided to also create a facebook ‘fan’ page for my blog…not so much to amass fans (although that would be great) but to have one place for all my blog posts instead of having them mixed throughout my timeline obscured by other posts about what I’m doing or what I’m listening to or links to other interesting sites or pictures I’ve posted.  When you create a page, you invite people to ‘like’ it so they will get your posts in their news feeds.  I invited all my facebook friends to like my page, and I noticed my husband, my most important person in the world didn’t like it yet, so I asked him if he got the invitation or if he had read any of my recent posts.  His response was, “I never think to check facebook.”  I was speechless.  The words echoed in my head again as I struggled to understand them.  We don’t live on the same planet.  I have to try NOT to check facebook too much.  How can people never think to check facebook?  My first impulse is to explain it by saying he has both his parents and had his needs met as a child, so that must be why he doesn’t reach out to others as much as I do.  (I didn’t have both parents, I didn’t have my needs met as a child, and I’ve always reached out to friends for connection and validation to compensate).  I’ve always been a “friends” person.  These days many of my friends live in the computer, so I’m always thinking about connecting and learning things and sharing ideas and expressing myself.  If you’re reading this, you are probably like me. You’re online on facebook or have arrived at my blog through twitter or the daybook or what have you.  I truly ponder what makes people so different on a basic level like that.  Why is it so easy for Joe to never think of facebook?  His answer is that he is too busy in the real world to care about the virtual world.  He reached over, poked my leg, and said, “I like you Susanne and I like Susanne’s World.  I just like Susanne’s real world.”  That meant a lot.  It’s real, and it counted way more than getting 100 likes on facebook.  I’m sure there is a happy medium between never checking facebook and checking it all the time.

I am hearing… Alaine, “Sacrifice”  I still remember the first time I heard this song, on the way down the mountain on our last day in St. John, USVI in 2007.  I thought it was Madonna!

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A favorite quote for today…”Be yourself. The world worships the original.”  Ingrid Bergman

One of my favorite things… got a mani/pedi today!  Thomas was happy to come along with me because the ladies let him sit in a massage chair. He loved it!

A few plans for the rest of the week: PT and allergy shots tomorrow, allergy shots for Thomas on Friday, a little shopping to get the kids ready for soccer camp next week. Grocery shopping at Sprouts!

A peek into my day