Author Archives: sandrabeck

Bouncing with Style: Reverse Forgiveness by Sandra Beck

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by Sandra Beck

One of the things that strikes me on a weekly basis is how I can in one week forgive my ex-husband for his cheating and abandonment of me and then the next week I’m back to hating his guts and those of Bozo his mistress. Am I bitter? You bet. Angry? Totally. Able to let it go and move on….not so much.

What I have found with forgiveness is that it’s not really a one-shot deal. Now sometimes it’s because the original sin is aggravated. When my ex gave my child’s mother’s day card made in his kindergarten class to his mistress I wanted to rip his and her heads off. I went into this crazy mommy spiral thinking how could Bozo as a mother accept that card? It created a litany of personal wrongs that whipped my non-forgiving spirit into full force. I got all caught up in a tangle of withdrawn forgiveness for my ex, for Bozo and for myself because it most scenarios there’s more than one thing to forgive and one person. It’s hard just to forgive like rain off an umbrella all the individual betrayals that make up an affair. And when one forgiveness is challenged, it can cause a whole hailstorm of memories that require forgiveness.

But sometimes, without apparent warning, reverse forgiveness just hits you. I hear this from my friends who were in long term marriages and relationships and their partner cheated on them and left. It affects both men and women. The cheating is bad enough but then to be left with your hat in hand is like salt in a paper cut. Many report the same things as I am expressing to you. There are good days and bad days with respect to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an ongoing struggle – like laying off the potato chips. It’s awfully tempting to relax into bitterness. It’s quite frankly a whole lot easier being bitter than moving on. Being bitter is sort of fun at times. Mean snarky things come out of my mouth that make me and others laugh at Bozo and my ex. It creates a temporary albeit memorable fix. It’s a lot more effort to take the high road, be the bigger person and to let things go.

I think its important to not only teach each other that forgiveness is a process but also that forgiveness is not a permanent state of being- at least it was not for me. I have to admit I kind of expected the sun to shine down on me, angels to strum their harps and I would magically lose 30 pounds all because I had found forgiveness. Well, it didn’t and it doesn’t.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to be realistic with yourself in your expectations of what happens when you finally “forgive” that person. Know that you can and probably will take it back especially when they do stupid and hurtful things to you. Know that you can reverse forgiveness and then find it again. We are human and do the best we can. And it’s much harder to be on the forgiveness train than the cheater bus.
Don’t believe me? Check out Amazon and see how many books there are to help the person who was betrayed. Thousands. No so much information out there to help the cheater recover. Why? Because they had fun running about and cheating while the rest of us stayed home and raised the kids and paid the bills. I read the cheater posts online, but somehow it’s hard for me to feel empathy for their guilt that they spent the night in a five star hotel with someone else’s husband – especially when family trips were spent in the Holiday Inn.

Hmmm…See? I’m back in my reverse forgiveness bitterness mode. But thankfully I have an outlet like writing and supporting others in their recover journey. I encourage you to find a healthy one for you. Because, after all, you can recover, you can rebound or you can Bounce with Style.

Sandra Beck, owner of Motherhood Incorporated is the host of three popular radio shows Military Mom Talk Radio, Motherhood Talk Radio and Poweredup with Beck and Franklin.

Compassion and the Art of Gum Chewing by Sandra Beck, Bouncing with Style

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Sandra Beck Bouncing with Style

Sandra Beck Bouncing with Style

Recently I met up with a friend who I had been seeing. Separated from his wife with three kids in college and another two in grade school, he confided in me that he was moving back in with his ex-wife because he couldnt affort the three tuitions, separate living expenses. He assured me all was well with that financial decision.

Inside I was screaming. What??? I’m a single mother sole supporting with a big fat mortgage after paying out a big fat settlement to my ex. I was furious. He went on to explain he could use that rent money to pay down his credit and to position himself better financially.

It was a sound financial decision that crushed my heart. Being the emotionally stunted computer geek that I am did I rant? Did I rave? No I just pulled out a stick of gum as one loan tear rolled down my cheek. Yes, like that Indian in the 70s commercial when they pollute his forest.

I dont want to get married. Im not looking for a committment. As I chewed that gum down to a paste I started to feel the compassion for my friend. I am free. I don’t have to take in a renter. I don’t have to go back to live with my ex. He might have to but I will never open that door – i might as well put us on a cruise on the Titanic 2.

The longer I chewed and he droned on the more I felt compassion rather than anger. Who wants to live with their ex? What kind of stress will that bring? In this economy I see my friends doing that more and more…or staying because they can’t afford to leave.

As I spit out the pulverized Trident I thought how grateful I am to be beholden to no one. To be able to make my way in the world without having to live with anyone but those people I choose. Had I not had that stick of gum who knows what thing I might have said.

Compassion and The Art of Gum Chewing is something i bet no focus group ever brought to Trident.

The Inexhaustible Resource by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated and Military Mom Talk Radio

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Sandra Beck - Boucing with Style: Starting Over but not from Scratch

Sandra Beck – Boucing with Style: Starting Over but not from Scratch

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated, Military Mom Talk Radio

 

I am not an inexhaustible resource. I didn’t say these words until I turned 40. I really think that before my life collapsed I really truly thought I could do anything I set my mind to, that I would find the time in my day to do the things that were important to me and I would somehow find the ways and means to get my programs, ideas and books out there.

 

Yeah right.

 

Two premature babies later. One mom buried. Two dogs cremated. One foreclosure, two liquidated cars and to just top it off, I gained back the 25 pounds that took FOREVER to lose.

 

I used to hear people say things like “you need to take care of yourself,” “you need to put yourself first,” and “you need to be at the top of your ‘to-do’ list.”  I checked all my lists and my day planner and the only place I could find something that even related to me personally was on the bottom of my grocery list under the pseudonym “chocolate bars.”

Even that was scratched off most weeks as the scale continued to climb.

 

It was only when I fell apart after my divorce. That pitiful time where I cried every day at least once for 43 straight days. Was I depressed? Probably. Did I medicate? Probably should have but didn’t. I simply felt every feeling that was bottled up in the past 15 years and it all had to come out.  Once that storm passed, I felt drained – inside and out.

 

It was then that I had to pick up the pieces of my life and rebuild. It was then and only then that those phrases above got through my thick head. I needed to take care of myself first. My mom was dead. My husband left. There were took kids looking at me from bouncy seat and high chair respectively and they needed someone who could do this.

 

I read a book about the proper care and feeing of husbands and all I could think about what about the proper care and feeding of me? I started scribbling all my little ditties about what I needed to do and when Dr. Laura said it’s the wife’s responsibility to set her time so that she can take care of her husband and her children a light went on. I realized that it’s not my responsibility for them but for me!

 

I am not an inexhaustible resource for school functions, soccer leagues, church events, kids clothing, yard sales and whatever is on my plate this week. So every Sunday night after the kids go to bed I write down in my planner what I can do this week. Not what I need to do, not what I am guilted in to doing and not what I think I should be doing because my expectations of myself are unrealistic at best.

 

I also write down every week in my planner three things:

I am not an inexhaustible resource.

I have the same 24 hours as everyone else.

The world will not fall apart if I say no.

 

I hope you learn from me and don’t wait 40 years for this to sink in. But if you do, and you wait to 40, 50 or 60 you will be fine – just tired, cranky and overworked but fine. Because we all learn what we need to learn just at the point we need to learn it most.

 

Sandra Beck is the host of two popular radio shows, four books and the single mother of two children. She currently lives in Los Angeles on a ranch with her 4 rescued dogs. She volunteers for many national charities and struggles with saying no as demonstrated by her biography.

Gratitude, Sink Water and a Broken Maytag by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Talk Radio

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Sandra Beck - Boucing with Style: Starting Over but not from Scratch

Sandra Beck – Boucing with Style: Starting Over but not from Scratch

By Sandra Beck

 

It’s been hot. And not just sticky icky yucky steamy hot but fry potatoes on the hood of your mini van hot. Baking sun, hot dry desert breezes…oh wouldn’t a cold drink be nice right now?

 

What’s the puddle in front of the fridge I ask myself. Living in the desert there isn’t a puddle for 15 miles. I open the freezer everything is soupy and goupy.  My fridge smells swampy and there is a damp film on everything. It’s disgusting.  We haven’t been home for three days. Clearly the fridge hasn’t done its job either.

 

I actually rolled in my city trash can into the kitchen figuring I would have to mop the floor anyway. I tossed probably two hundred dollars of food in the trash. I call the repair company – there is only one that serves my community under the warranty and it’s going to be three days to come out and then they will need to order the part come back and install it.

 

Haha! I am resilient mom so I pull out my cooler, head to the gas station for ice.  Milk, eggs, OJ that’s all the kids and I need.   NINE DAYS LATER I am ready to shoot myself.

I am tired of hearing “I don’t want to drink sink water.”  “I’m too tired to go out to dinner I need to finish my homework.”

 

Personally I am tired of sink water too. I am tired of running down to McDonald’s to buy milk for each kid every morning or Orange Juice only to have them take three sips and have nowhere to store it. I am tired of coming home from soccer with two dirty kids who want a long cool drink and they get “warm sink water” as my 9 year old put it.

 

I thought back to when I was a kid and all we had was sink water. It came from our lake, pumped right out of the bottom. I admin that I am really spoiled now with chilled water and ice from our fridge – icy cold and filtered.  I thought of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought of all the families in third world countries without clean water to drink. Well this is California for God’s sake and I am sitting in the stinking heat drinking warm lemonade. I’m soft.  I’m spoiled. I like my chilled drinks.

 

The doorbell rings and there he is… my hero.  The Maytag repairman. No, not Gordon Jump rest is soul but a man with a tool kit and the part I need.  Hours later I am at my kitchen table sipping my cold drink and I was full of gratitude. I realized how much I took just having cold water for granted.

 

I am thankful for the refrigerator that makes my life exponentially easier. I gave it a little blessing. I went in and thanked my air conditioner, my washer, my dryer and my oven for their service.  It’s only when these items break down that we realize just how lucky we are living in an industrialized nation with a washer so we don’t have to beat our clothes on rocks and drink the same water.  I wonder if the kids there say “I don’t want laundry water!”

Mayonnaise Jar & Coffee-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan     

 Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #40

I cannot take credit for this story, but I would like to share it.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee…

 A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

 The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

 The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

 “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.”

 

The golf balls are the important things-your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions, your faith – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.

The sand is everything else-the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

 Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Reality Sucks-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan      

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #39

Like most people who watch the news, I have been following coverage of the Trayvon Martin story, the young teen inFloridawho was followed, shot and killed while walking home.

Reactions are emotional, strong and varied and everyone seems to have something to say. 

I am white.  As far as I know, I have never been racially profiled in a department store, at the airport or walking through a neighborhood.  I have not been the target of racist comments and honestly, I don’t think much about my skin color on a daily basis. 

My oldest son has an olive complexion, black hair and dark brown eyes.  He has broad shoulders and stands about 6’2”.  He is a professional and he travels on business… a lot…. 

EVERY time he goes through security at the airport, he is stopped, taken aside and searched.  At first we thought it was coincidence, but it never stopped and still continues today.  My son’s skin color results in additional security checks (I am assuming it’s not his suit or laptop).  

My daughters are Mayan and have brown skin and jet black hair.  Out in public, we have received the following comments from people who feel it is their right to comment about my children …… “What are they?”…..”What are they mixed with?”…”Are those immigrants here legally?”….”They can’t be your daughters, you’re white”….. 

My preschool son is Native American and African American.  He has brown skin, curly black hair and is completely adorable.  In public so far, people have been kind with their comments…..”He’s so cute”…..”What a handsome little boy”…..”I love his hair”…Some people, however, are less friendly.  They look and turn away uncomfortably or stare as we walk by.  I often wonder what they are thinking, but in general have the feeling that it’s not good ……

I watched the news again tonight and saw a young boy’s shocked and grieving parents.  I heard their sadness.  I felt their overwhelming pain in my heart and I went to bed with the awful realization that I am the parent of children who face the reality daily that they will be profiled, commented about and possibly murdered simply because of the color of their skin. 

Reality sucks.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee Kiernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Womanhood-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan     

 Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #38

 

In the past week I have heard the stories and experiences of some women…..Some that I’ve known for years and some that are new to my circle of friendship.  I am humbled and in awe of what people are going through in their lives and their ability to regain their footing and bounce back……Amazing.

A woman is in the middle of a divorce and custody battle.  She was married for 6 years. Her husband, it turns out, is a compulsive liar who in the six years of their marriage managed to deplete their joint savings, partake in multiple affairs (while his wife was pregnant), fathered a child with another woman (denying paternity and any involvement in the child’s life even after DNA proof) and actively engaged in addictive behaviors.  They have one son who has been diagnosed with Aspergers.

A woman has two children and is happily married.  This woman has dreamed for years to have children and be a stay at home Mom……She confides over lunch that she is bitter and angry mother who resents her children and how they have drastically changed her life.  Her babies are 2 & 4.  She is tired and longs for a time when she can meet her own needs, have fun and not be responsible for anyone else.  She loves her children and has incredible guilt over the fact that she feels this way.  She secretly admits that she is especially hard on her oldest because he was her first, and the one who took her freedom from her.  She longs for the day when her children are grown and she and her husband can escape to a time that she knew and loved before kids.

A woman has been a stay at home Mom and raised her two sons, now in their early 20’s.  Her husband travels for work and has been on the road for much of their life together.  Her sons live at home…And are, for the most part, unemployed.  This friend has recently been diagnosed with Lupus.  During a phone call this week she told me that one of her boys is struggling with drug and alcohol addictions.  She told me that her son has openly hated her since high school and now has been stealing her car to go out drinking at night.  He is, she said, a mean drunk.  Her husband, who has provided little emotional or parenting support to her during the raising of their children, is no different now.  From the road, he shares his opinion about all that she could be doing better.  He blames her for their family’s state of affairs.  She is contemplating divorce, but feeling trapped, is frozen in fear of taking the first step.

A woman in her 50’s relinquished her daughter for adoption 34 years ago.  A few years ago, the daughter searched and found her biological mother.  Their reunion has been rocky and filled with raw emotion, rejection, anger, sadness, love and questions.  Since choosing adoption for her infant daughter, this woman has gotten married and had another child, a daughter, who is now 15.  Each day is a step toward the future…..An uneasy road of relationship building filled with hurt, sadness, guilt and hope.  This woman does not regret her decision so long ago to not parent her child.  She was too young and not able to be the parent she wanted for her baby.  Her daughter’s adoptive Mom was nervous felt very vulnerable about inviting this woman into their lives.  Would her daughter love her biological Mom more?  Would she lose her daughter to this stranger who had chosen adoption for her child so many years ago?  The adoptive Mother never told her daughter that she had been adopted.  She thought that she would never find out. But, of course she did……And just as these three women were beginning to piece together their lives and move forward in their new roles, the adoptive mother passed away suddenly on Saturday.  What a spiral of craziness……a tangle of paths…..an interruption of a fragile, blossoming relationship trio.  Another life altering loss in a circle of women who are clinging to one another and trying to find their way on this emotional journey of motherhood and daughterhood together.

A woman has worked her entire life to start her own business.  She is in her 40’s and has chosen to remain single over being married, healthy lifestyle over unhealthy, career over relaxation and saving money over spending……This woman has worked hard forever and a few years ago, finally realized her dream of starting her business.  A few months into her business start up, this woman became ill and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.  Today, she relies on others to slap her back to help her lungs clear so she can breathe.  She relies on government insurance to go to the doctor.  She relies on medications to keep her alive. She relies on her inner strength to wake up and get out of bed in the morning. She bounces to not give up.  She says that she has worked too hard to give up now.

I am humbled and in awe of what people are going through in their lives and their ability to regain their footing and bounce back……Amazing.   Share a kind word, a hug and hope.  Reach out to those in your circle and beyond.

 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com