Category Archives: cloud nine girl

Sunday Reflections: Patience

Every Sunday I plan to post a recap of my week. What I did to pursue my goal. Whether I followed it, attempted it, and maybe, I even flopped at it. Your comments are always welcome and if you’d like to share something you did this week with me, I’d love to hear it. 

Monday Makeover Goal: Patience 

I tried hard to focus on Patience this week. Patience with my kids. Patience with my dog. Patience in the work world, and patience with myself.

The Good 

I took quite a few breathing breaks.
    My kids like to wrestle. They like to wrestle with my big dog. And I’m a momma who likes to coach others into their own self-realization, so after several warnings that someone might get hurt, sure enough, they did—either by the dog stepping on their feet, or scratching them or grabbing on to each other too tight. I closed my eyes. I held them and comforted them and we talked through what happened. We assured each other no one intentionally hurt one another, and I feel pretty good about that.

The Great 

I controlled my voice in a few moments where I might have normally fired off a little loud. ;0) I’m human. I yell. I don’t like it when I do. But there were a few times I caught myself. I apologized. I teach my kids we always apologize and why. I often say, “Mommy isn’t perfect. I mess up I shouldn’t have been so upset and I’m sorry. I love you. I always love you, no matter what.” We talk about emotions. We talk about the what and the why. I tend to be a little over explainer, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. My son makes me smile. He pipes up right back, “It’s ok mommy. It was an accident. I love you!”

And The Incredible Wow! 

I have two examples to share:

    Ever dealt with a really difficult person who saw the world just as they lived it? Always through their own eyes? I know one. I had a run in with one. This past Thursday, they didn’t like the way I hung up the phone. They stood there staring at me, “Erika are you mad?”
    “No, why?” I asked.
    “Because you slammed the phone down. I figured you were mad.” They went on with how rude it was. I felt the heat begin to rise. I used to teach Customer Service classes, and I’d never ever, try to be rude with anyone looking for answers. They went on with their personal story. How if they were on the other line, they’d be really upset with me.
    I took a breath. The heat kept rising, and I will never forget the words, “but I’m not criticizing.”
    I responded in this way: “I am energy. Everything I do is full of energy. I didn’t mean to hang up the phone so loud. I don’t own a home phone, and I forget if the other person even hears the sound of the phone being hung up. I doubted they did. And there is something else, I had to hang up the phone loud, because the call right before, I did it too soft, and I accidentally left the phone off line for a couple of minutes until I noticed.”
    I could be wrong. In the moment, I really wasn’t happy, and I did say thank you a little more sharp than I should have. They stood there and I guessed, maybe they wanted me to apologize personally to them. I don’t know. That’s the story that ran through my head. Stories are never good when we don’t have all the facts. I didn’t continue to pursue them, but in the moment, I feel like I handled myself well.

And my novel? I am beaming with sunshine! I had a really great conversation with my step-dad about a chapter I couldn’t get past. I’d been stuck in it for almost a month and he freed me. We had a great brainstorming session and I flew through two chapters in two days! So in my writing, I am so glad I stuck with it. I stared at that pesky chapter every day. Every morning when I woke up I kept reading and rereading my words, going back a few chapters, getting into the motives of my characters. I didn’t give up, and that thought makes me so incredibly happy with myself.

And what did I learn?

I still have a lot to learn. ;0) And that’s ok, because I know, I am a work in progress.

Friday Flashback: You can’t force a first kiss. I know. I tried.

…Now I see where my daughter gets it. ;0)

I think I was eight or nine, a boy crazy girl. We still lived in a small Kansas town, so I couldn’t have been much older than that. My older brother was a social butterfly and the boys in the neighborhood congregated in our yard or our house quite a bit. I had to beg and plead to let me play with them. Most of the time, I was the sucker who did all the chores as a bargaining chip—but then when I was done, my brother pulled a Houdini. GONE.

It was a warm day. A sizzling summer afternoon. The boys were in the house and I stood in the hallway connecting the bedrooms with the kitchen. One of the much older Kevins’ stood against the glass door across from me with the sunshine lighting up his back. He looked at me with some curious look probably squinting with his arms crossed. I smiled. I can’t remember exactly what I said or if I leaned into him with my lips pressed and ready; I know whatever I did had to do with a kiss, me moving into him. He stood there surprised, pulling way back to the door, and then he laughed.

I felt my cheeks grow warm. In two seconds I turned around in the kitchen and grabbed a broom and ran him out of the house.

I chased after him around the neighbor’s house, and I finally remember letting the broom fall from my hands with me falling on the dried up grassy hill, laughing until my belly hurt. He laughed. We shrugged our shoulders and moved on pretty quick.
I’m sharing this story today, because I’m pretty embarrassed by it. I can’t believe I actually chased a boy with a broom, dusting him right out of the house. But then I think, it’s part of my past. It’s a learning moment for me. Because I’m not perfect. I’ve done some bizarre things like everyone else. It makes me chuckle a little, I’m even smiling a little too.

Day 12: What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

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When you were sixteen, do you remember what was most important in the moment?

For me, life, dreams, the promise of getting out and doing something on my own. I wanted a career. To go to school and find that perfect job that would make me feel proud every day. Where I could afford my perfect place to live and go skipping down the yellow brick road from my house in my sparkly red shoes—no Toto—but an equally nice boy to spend my days and nights with, and then everything perfect would fall into place.

It didn’t fall perfectly into place.

I’m still searching for my perfect job and I’m still not in my dream home. It has taken me a long time to find that equally nice boy, too. But I’m getting there. I’m feeling grateful for the work along the way, because I know, when my perfect job comes along, I’ll say my prayers and be grateful to live each day doing something I LOVE.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?

I’m cycling back to a six-year-old wish (after the desire to be a bird of course). Writing. Writing fiction. Writing Young Adult Fantasy. I’ve always been a writer and a dreamer, painting really great stories about hope and peace and conquering the impossible. Because at times in my life, I feel like I’ve faced the impossible, and writing has always been the best escape.

I have had my struggles like everyone else. I’ve faced death, love, broken hearts, a broken marriage. It’s hard to swallow the broken marriage piece at times, but it happened. And I’m taking all that I’ve learned in each of these struggles and I’m building something great. I’m going back to the pull I’ve had in life, to make a difference, not just for myself, but on a larger scale, and I want to make a difference to others, and to help create dreams when you feel like you don’t have any left.

At 30, I thought I almost had the perfect job. Corporate training. Teaching new managers how to be better managers—I felt like I impacted lives. I made the decision to leave it behind and take care of my family. I found something close to home and welcomed a son and two years later, a daughter, too. Having my babies filled me with so much love again. They brought back my urge to write and dream, and at 36, I found my six-year-old sparkle again. I have the family. I have a home. I currently don’t have red slippers, but I’m sure I can find some an And I am working really hard to make my dream job come true. It’s happening for me. It’s getting so much closer, and I believe I will be a professional full-time author someday. If you dream it, if you work for it, I honestly believe that miracles and dreams become life.

If you want to read about a place to start asking about your dreams, here’s a post where I answered some questions about where I started. And if you are looking for something deeper, here’s a link to a post on how to begin to think about a personal mission statement. I also have one. Please feel free to check out my words I try to live by.

Give your dreams life! “Don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted in life.”


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Monday Makeover: Oh, patience, where did you go…

This past week was a test of my patience. Deadlines at work. Ones where I am the planner, the detail checker, the layout designer, and I have to make sure everything is perfect. Public Relations is a profession of perfectionism, and with many hats to juggle, it’s a daunting task to stay on top. And there’s days and certain weeks where I’m sure we all feel, we’re running as fast as we can to get work done, but our steps are just not fast enough.

Then something happens. An unexpected event. You throw on the brakes way before you’re ready to stop, and you don’t know what to do.

Tuesday night rolled around, and suddenly my little one started to cling. She wanted mommy. She wandered in the bed at night and she couldn’t get to sleep. The next day the doctor said nothing was wrong besides her fever, so you wait and you hope and you pray that’s it. But sleep became harder to steal with the little one in the bed every night, rolling around every hour, screaming and crying and I felt so bad. And being the momma, life stops until all is well again in the family, including work. Thank goodness for Grandma. She came to the rescue a few times when I needed it.

Friday arrived and the fever skyrocketed. Another doctor visit. Tests were run, but nothing turned up right away, until her oxygen levels were checked, more than once—the verdict? Pneumonia.
 I won’t lie. I’ll just say it. Sick babies wear you down. You love them. You are there holding them, but your best becomes way less than that, and your feel like a zombie. 
Sunday saved me. Finally back to a routine with her sleeping in the bed, and eating solid food again, we had a major meltdown. My sweet little girl tends to turn into an instant tornado in a blink of an eye. This time it was over breakfast and sitting in my lap. She worked herself up into a giant fit, erupting, and crying and holding her breath. My calm Sunday mood hit the floor and I had to do something different before I lost it all.

We all have our signs. For me? Instant tenseness. I hold my breath. My words get short. And I try so hard not to yell.

So what do you do?

Music works. Breathing works. But there’s a point when you just need it all. I needed a complete change in my environment, so I dressed the kids and we drove straight to church where I could listen to the music, feel the energy, and above all things, find my faith. It worked! 

But my patience is still running a little thin. So I’m making it a focus this week. I read a really great article on patience and in a nutshell, here’s what I plan to do based on what I read: 
Identify my common triggers. What are the words my daughter says that set me off? What are her actions? What can I do to keep them from getting out of control? What can I do at work to focus my attention and maximize the time I spend in the office, since now, my second little one is home sick.
I’m following a mantra: “You’re doing your best. Hang on,” and I’m hoping it helps. I’m also remembering to breathe and to close my eyes to shut out the moment.
 I might sing a song or empty the dishwasher. Strangely enough, emptying the dishwasher is the first thing I do when my patience fizzles. 
I also plan to look for humor and remember a whole lot of love. Because looking back, these moments can be a little funny, and I won’t ever get time or love back with my babies.