It’s Gratitude Saturday

Matthew
 

For some years, I went to a Saturday morning meeting billed as “Gratitude Saturday.” With fond remembrance, I embrace the spirit of Gratitude Saturday with the following Letter to the Universe. 

I’d love it if you’d like to play along and share your grateful heart in the comments that follow. Love, Jennifer

Gratitude Saturday

I would just like to say I have everything I want and need. I have three bucket list items left and I can see all of them happening. But, for today, I have my health, my family, and interesting work to keep me busy. I have a great coffee shop that is the heartbeat of my day and good friends here and other places. All my children are well and working hard to make something of themselves. I’d love them even if they didn’t, but they make me proud and I smile when I think of them. I have artists whom I admire and mentors to guide me to my own greatest work.

My great hope in life is to bring comfort, love, and joy to others through my work. I can see glimpses of when that happens and I’m so grateful to my readers who express their love back to me.

Thank you, Universe, for your generosity and Grace. Oh, thank you especially for Grace. I know that I am no more deserving than any other woman who ever lived, but I am grateful and I will work hard to give deeply of myself so that others may find peace as well.

Love, Jen

P.S. Don’t forget to leave your gratitude post in the comments.

photo: flickr, Matthew

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What Midlife is Really Like

anwar shamim

I have to admit, I have it pretty good.

All of our boys have their health. The six of them live in six different states, though. Five of them – all of the ones of age – have jobs. So far, we have two undergraduates and one who just completed his Masters degree. We have two others who are on their way to finishing. And we have that one high schooler.

We’ve all had supper every day of our lives that we’ve wanted it. And we’re not in danger of that changing.

But tough stuff is happening, too.

Right now, in my own little family, we have one gravely ill person and another one recovering from spinal surgery. Oh, and we have mental illness, too.

We have two others living with life threatening diseases.

We’ve had one major car repair and one car accident in the last week.

This one sounds kind of silly, but if definitely adds to the stress: I have a new job and the back of my tooth fell off on Saturday, so of course I had to take time off to get it fixed while caring for surgical patient and making special end-of-school memories for that last one.

Among my friends, I have three who are dealing with advanced cancer. One is doing better than the other two.

I have unemployed friends, those dealing with infidelity, and all of us wonder if we’re going to be safe from financial and health worries in the coming years.

Those of us who are lucky enough are dealing with aging parents, the others have already “grown” to the top of the family tree.

The younger generation is old enough to experience broken hearts and they too have financial worries. And though none of that is within our domain of influence (or perhaps even business) their struggles weigh on our hearts.

Among my friends, I have a pretty standard “list” of challenges, worries, and concerns. Some are doing better. Some are doing worse.

The point is that this is a LOT to deal with on any given day, much less every waking one.

And yet we women at midlife soldier on. We’ve learned to be happy – or, rather, we’ve learned to insist on happiness amidst all the chaos.

We’ve learned that, if we don’t approach life with gratitude and a sense of wonder, we will never experience joy.

We can’t wait on pretty much anything anymore.

Not only is there no time, there is also no certitude – anything can happen to anyone of us at any time.

Therefore, love, the time is NOW.

Look around you and acknowledge the love and beauty that is waiting for you. It may not be the “kind” you seek, but it is there nonetheless.

Surround yourself with positive, funny, uplifting women. You’re gonna need a posse.

Fill your heart with gratitude and gladness. Let hopefulness be your morning prayer. Insist on joy and lo and behold, there it is.

You will find many of those things here, in our LAT community. Reach out to each other here (via our comments) and on our Reclaim the Sass Facebook page.

This is not the time to walk alone, love. Amidst the hardship and the difficulty there is much grace to be found.

I invite you to assume the serenity that is your birthright. Take on the mantle of matriarchy with ease and grace.

We are here for you, and we will continue to live it together.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Anwar Shamim

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Did I Ever Tell You About . . .

Hey Paul Studios

. . . that time I bought condoms for my son?

(WARNING: This post is edgy and may even be in poor taste. I’m not really sure, so read at your own discretion.)

Anyway, I always knew I wasn’t going to be the Kool-Aid mom. So, I went for Kool – okay, irreverent.

And, while I want to be a grandma someday, I don’t want any baby daddies. (PC Sidebar: Not that there’s anything wrong that, as long as BOTH parties step up and parent forever and ever and ever and that means the money, TOO!!!! Don’t forget that MONEY cause that’s really important. Did I mention equity and money and parenting? Clearly there’s a small resentment here which points to a different story.)

Anyway, because of all that, it’s just too darn hard to be a Baby Daddy. So I don’t wish that on any young man.

And so, condoms.

Now, maybe you’re the type that thinks a kid ought to wait until they’re married to have sex.

Hold on a sec.

<ahem>

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

<ahem>

And so, condoms.

Anyway, I went to buy them and the first thing I confront is um, size.

I’m a proud mama, and so, of course MY kid – whom I haven’t “seen” (if you get my drift) for 14 years or so – MUST be a Magnum.

Er, check. By the way, have you ever noticed that they don’t sell small condoms? Nope, nor small underwear.

Men.

Now, I’ve lived a few years and I was not the one who waited until I got married (hahahahahahahahahahahaha) and I can personally attest that there is a market for “small” both of those things.

And so, condoms – magnum.

And now I’ve got a HUGE dilemma because all the rest of the choices have to do with “her” and “her pleasure.”

And my feminist side, which is all about a woman’s pleasure, is warring with that side of my that wishes they would wait just a little longer (hahahahahahahahaha) and I have to make decisions like —

“ribbed, for her pleasure”
“lubed”
“flavored”

Do I want to invest in the really thin ones “for maximum sensory effect” or do I think my kid should get a job and see if he wants to spend his hard-earned money on that little bonus nicety?

In the end, I just grabbed the traditional Magnums and a box of ex-Lax and made my way to the checkout stand.

I was so nervous, you would have thought I was a “first timer” buying them for myself, after marriage, of course – hahahahahhahahahahahaha

But the check-out person didn’t bat an eye. (which turned out to be a gift of grace as you’ll soon see)

I got home and emptied my bag and Mr. Delicious started laughing hysterically.

I didn’t get it.

So, he painted the picture for me.

Condoms.
And, ex-Lax.

Oh lordy, 50 shades of red.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr Hey Paul Studios

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Bootstrapping 101 – When Bad Stuff Happens

Vinoth Chandar

Well, the news is horrible.

Maybe that reminds you of something else that is wrong with the world.

After the world, you just gotta start thinking about work and all the things that are wrong there.

And, while we’re at it, since we don’t want to be in denial, we really oughta take a look at all the ways we’re screwing up in our personal lives, too.

Oh, and don’t forget finances – geez that’s a real hullabaloo!

Okay, the news has been bad. Horrible even, in recent days.

And, before I knew better, I didn’t know any better, so I allowed myself to allow bad days – whether yours, mine, ours, or the world’s – to influence the way I showed up in the world.

Like I said, I didn’t know better.

But now I do. And what I know is that just because I withdraw from life doesn’t mean that world events improve. In fact, when painful stuff happens and I choose instead to LEAN into my Big Dream, only then can I be a positive force for good in the world.

So, this piece is about the “Big Lean In” – and what’s required to pull that off when the world is breaking your one beautiful heart.

Today’s tip is gonna sound harsh – but it completely works. I got it from one of those “sales gurus” that come to talk to you at work.

Well, I suppose she was a guru, because I’ve always remembered this: When life gets you down, stand up, brush yourself off, and say, “So what? Now, what?”

Here’s how we use it:

“I didn’t make my numbers this month!” So what? Now, what? What can we learn from our work this month that puts in a better position to make our numbers next month?

“I made a big mistake leaving my day job!” So what? Now, what? Do you really want to go back to pushing someone else’s dream? Or, do you want to dig really deep and find out what your business is asking you to do differently?

“The world is coming to an end.” So what? Now, what? Is it coming to an end today?

Yes? Then, do as my grandfather used to teach us kids – go out into the front yard, bend over, grab your ankles, and kiss your (tush) goodbye. (Pop Pop was much more colorful than that, but you get the general idea.)

No? Well is there a little piece of healing that you can bring today to your little corner of the world?

To which you might say, “Yeah, Jen, I hear you, but what good is that gonna do in light of ?

Well, love. What good is it going to do if you DON’T bring even the smallest piece of the world solution?

What good is it going to do if you withhold your vision – your Great and Noble Work – from the world?

What good will it do you? What good will it do the world?

If you can answer that question fairly, you know what to do next.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Vinoth Chander

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