Choose happiness.

This smile = happy.

The squad and I have been talking about happiness lately. We’ve been talking about it a lot. One of them, when asked the question “Are you happy?” He responded with “I get by.” This made me kinda sad. But he’s a boy and they are programmed differently. This started much more dialog with the girls of the tribe and me.

For the past few weeks the girls and I decided to wake up and choose happiness everyday. We are all in very different places in our lives, both physically and mentally. We are all more than a hundred miles apart. And they are happily attached and I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed they are happy in their relationships with their significant others. All three have known heartache and they deserve to be in love. So, back to waking up happy.

None of our lives are perfect; far from it. But we have all chose to wake up every morning and give thanks for all we have and not dwell on the things we don’t. Things could have turned out a lot different for all of us. And the last 6 months have been hard for us all. But we kept our eyes on our goals. We all have different ones. And so far, we are all succeeding. We have all had some setbacks, but when that happens we just say, “Out of the ashes the Phoenix will rise.”

I can honestly say we are all happy. We might not be happy about everything, but we are all in a good place. The last two months have went very smooth for all of us. We cut out a lot of drama, cut some toxic people loose and concentrated on the important stuff. We define the important stuff as family, friends and work, in that order. We all work very, very hard. We all love our family and friends unconditionally. And we have learned that we can’t solve every problem every day. As long as we get up and get going everyday, then sometimes that is enough. We still have big long-term dreams that we are all working towards. And we’ll all get there. We all have some loose ends that will be tied up in the very near future.

We are already making plans for a long girls weekend on the lake on a houseboat like we did a few years ago. And we have all made a conscious decision to just breathe a little when things get tough. We have learned not to have a knee jerk reaction to unpleasant and unexpected bouts of bullshit. We pray more. We talk to each other more. We make a lot of lists and check things off as we go. We have also learned to ask for help when we need it. And then, despite our programming, we decided that emotions do not make us weak.

We are all optimistic about the future. We all know we have to work hard to get there. We have all laughed thru tears, gave and gotten a lot of hugs and also said, “just get the fuck over it,” more than once.

We are all far from perfect, but we are trying. We have been donating a lot of our time and some of our funds to charities we believe in. I haven’t said “fuck” in more than 57 days, but I still say “shit” way too much for my mother’s liking. We still enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time and we are eating a lot better than we have in the past.

We have been trying to decide when all this started. When did we all actually grow-up? And we haven’t come up with a good answer yet. But we have sure had a good time the past few months and we are enjoying our own definition of happy.

On a different note, I’m off to BBQ on the River in Paducah this weekend. I’m going to eat way too much good food and take my first trip in a helicopter. I’m reminded of what a different place I am this year than I was last year. Some things are better, some are not, but I still wake up happy every morning.

Grounded.

Ready to give up hotel life.

I’m having a hard time getting grounded right now. There are too many variables and too many options. One of the squad has literally been MIA for almost a week and my mental energy has been spent contemplating their whereabouts. I have four different job offers in three different states and the deadline to make a decision is looming. I am no closer today than I was a week ago when the offers started coming in.

I have always been programmed to believe money equals success, but I hate money. And trust me, I understand how the world works—the one with the most money always win. But at what cost? And who really wants to win? What is the prize?

I hate money. The lack of money or having too much money changes people. It turns them into people they are not. It changes their character, sometimes for the good and most times for the bad. I am as guilty as anybody of both offenses.

I am really trying to look at all the pros and cons of each job offer. I am trying to step back, think about the cities, the work load and all the responsibilities involved with each one. I know which one was my knee-jerk choice right off, but all the others have a lot to offer too.

As independent as I have always been, I suck at making major decisions. When I do finally make a choice I will second guess it into oblivion. I have already overthought it to death. As much as I trust the squad and their advise, I have intentionally left them out of this one. I’m 45 years old. I should be able to make this decision on my own. But now I think I should bring them in. They usually see something I do not, and right now that is what I need. I feel like I am missing something and hopefully they will see it. I need their perspective.

Although I have spent much of my professional career traveling and living out of my suitcase, I think I am ready to give that part of my life up. My suitcase has too many miles on it and I miss my own home to come home to.

I have crunched so many numbers trying to figure out the least amount of money I have to make to build my place at the lake, live there and have no debt. I am just not there yet. It is not the right time.

So, I have to make a decision about which job to take by the end of the month. Until then, I will keep my suitcase organized, enjoy hotel life and invite the squad for beer and pizza to seek their advise.
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Distracted.

I will admit it, I have been distracted lately by things that don’t matter. The Tina and Saul drama doesn’t affect me in any way, so I should just quit thinking about it and let law enforcement do it’s job.

Witnessing horrible relationships have made me appreciate the great ones I have in my life. I have some amazing friends who swarm in when they need to. They never judge and they truly understand unconditional love. And I love them too. And I think I have finally convinced my heart to listen to my brain for once. They say that the best comes from the worst and that is where I am putting my faith right now. So far it’s working, and if it doesn’t, I’m OK with that too.

This has been a long week. I have more questions than answers and I wonder just how much of everything I have been told is a lie. Just because I don’t respond doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means I can’t. I can’t because it will only make things worse. I will not relax my morals. I will not relax my standards. And I definitely will not sacrifice my happiness. Things are going too well for me right now to get off track and confuse real love for fake love. I like everything real and that is where I am going to stay.

There is no room in my life for fake anything. I work hard, play hard and love hard. And so far, this chapter has the makings of the best one yet. And, I let him hold my hand. Yep, that’s progress.
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Ready for next year, after another nap.

Relay
Immediately following the Survivor Lap and Caregiver Lap. Walking the Team Lap with mom. She is incredible!

Yesterday morning after being up for 32 straight hours and driving 2 hours, I happily dropped into my bed and took a 5 hour nap. The 2014 White County Relay for Life was Friday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. My team, “Seitz on a Cure” raised $10, 713 and the total for the event is approaching $70K. Lots of teams are still turning in money and I am hopeful we may actually reach $75K. I am sleep deprived and it is one of the best feelings I have had in a very long time.

At 6:15 Friday night, the strongest woman on the planet walked the survivor lap for the second time—my mom. Last year she walked it for the first time. When I look back on last year’s pics I remember how so very sick she was. This year she was a lot better. She walked it with all the other proud survivors and they rocked it! Sadly, my friend and survivor Karen Thompson wasn’t able to walk this year. She is a 14+ year survivor and because of her fight she was unable attend, but she will be next year. And I missed seeing Jeannie Heibert walking the Survivor Lap. Heaven gained an angel this year—a brave, beautiful angel.

Mom was honored to help carry the Survivor Lap banner and my dad was a banner carrier for the Caregiver Lap. I do love these laps, but my favorite has to be the next lap—the Team Lap. My team is so incredible and we were so well represented. With our signature safety green tshirts we are always easy to spot on the track. I am proud of the fact we had somebody on the track at all times. We are the only team that can claim this. Next year’s Relay is only 360ish days away and we are already talking about what goals to set and how we can achieve them. Don’t worry, I will keep posting and I will keep asking for donations.

Also, each year my dear friend Jack Baker lovingly donates his time and talent as a photographer to capture some amazing images from the event. Click here for just a sampling of what he captured this year (and buy some). I can’t wait to see the rest!

Our county co-chairs Barb Walters and Patty Hodgson are amazing. They keep all of us Committee Members on task and motivated. They also believe we can do anything as a family, and now we are all one great big family. We have big dreams for Relay in White County and I feel so thankful just to be a part of it. I can’t wait for next year!
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The lake called, and I went.

Lake

Here I am on a beautiful boat with lots of friends and I am writing. Of course I am writing. When I think, I have to write, so I am writing. Maybe I was destined to be a third-rate writer instead of a grade-A graphic artist. I do love what I do, but all I really want to be when I grow up is a writer.

Anyway, me and the girls are all here on beautiful Kentucky Lake soaking up the rays and probably drinking too much wine. We have been laughing and we have cried both happy and sad tears. It’s good to get away sometimes. Although I could live like this permanently. All of us seem to have relationship issues and all of seem to be very hard to live with right now. We are all contemplating reinventing ourselves, but can’t seem to figure out how we want to do it. I am contemplating going back to being a 9 to 5er. Everybody else seems to have self-image issues.

I’ve been dreaming alot lately and not while I am sleeping. I have had a dream in the back of my head for as long as I can remember. Now I think I might want to change my dream. But how do I do that? How can I suddenly change the entire course of my life and believe that my dream might come true? And when do I finally decide that it won’t, and just move on?

I really am having a great time with the girls (and the two husbands who evidently thought we might need some supervision). But my mind isn’t really here right now. I am trying to live in the moment, but I’m failing miserably. I swore last week I would quit making plans, but damn, that is a tall order to fill for me.

I think we are all going to head into downtown Paducah tonight. Paducah may never be the same. Dinner at Whaler’s Catch is always delicious. And it’s fun for me to show my friends my new adopted home town. I may even take them by my dream building, or maybe I won’t. I don’t think I can look at it without someone holding my hand, at least not right now. There’s a lot going on on Broadway tonight, so if you’re  in the area stop by. There will be live music at almost every bar and the weather is going to be great. I’m pretty confident you will be able to spot us—ten middle-aged hot chicks will be hard to miss. And some of us might be a bit loud—really loud.
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