Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pondering Deep, Deep *Freaky* Thoughts

I recently read this book by author Donald Miller, called something like a million miles in a thousand steps?  Or a million steps in a thousand years?  Or maybe it's a million miles in a thousand years...if you really want to know that badly you can google it.  I read one of his other books called Blue like Jazz (or was it red like country....haha, just kidding.) I really liked Blue like Jazz because it gave a different view of God than I have.  I pretty much have been terrified of God my whole life.  Like not in a biblical *fearful* way, but more in a panic attack, can't breathe kind of way.  I like reading books that show a different side to Christianity, a way that separates from *religion* and makes it a less scary, more humanity driven way of life. 

In this latest book, Donald Miller talks about living a better story.  He's learning how to build a character for a movie/book and he wonders, "Why can't I apply this to my own life and build a better story for myself?"  Now, I'm not going to lie.  I did think the picture of him on the back of the book wasn't so bad.  I also noticed he hails from Portland, which isn't far from me.  I noticed he's only a few years older than me and I also noticed he was single.  I thought of how convenient it would be to fall in love and marry someone who shares your last name.  Think of all the time it would save changing all your bank accounts and drivers licence and passport and credit cards (if you were allowed to have one...).  So, I was tempted to write a letter to this man, telling how his book really made me think, blah, blah, blah.

Side note:  this is my thing, lately...writing letters.  In the movie Stuart Little, every time the Little's get bothered by something, one says to the other, "Oh dear, we must write a letter."  This is what I say now, too...only to myself because there is no one else to write the letter with.  Sigh.

I googled Donald Miller and was led to his blog.  Which is not really a blog.  It's more of a website.  I think I was expecting everything to be a little more low key.  But it seems as though, since finding a better story, everything for Mr. Donald Miller has become a whole lot well, bigger.  I mean the guy has had at least two best sellers.  But what I liked about his books was that he was kinda laid back, lazy, and really wanted a better story.  I'm the same way.  I really want to change the world, but in a laid back kind of way.  I'm not about to protest on capitol hill or participate in a hunger strike.  I'm more about volunteering at a school and maybe becoming a Big Sister...change the world laid back style.  So, I was a little shocked when I found out that Donald Miller has basically created a franchise around "building your story". 

Now, I'm not judging.  And I'm certainly not saying it's a bad thing.  I'm just surprised.  I expected everything to be a little more subtle, I guess.  I expected it to be a small town, hand written thank you's, taking the bus everywhere revolution.  I guess everyone is looking for a better story.  Not just me.  I mean, it was an national best seller.  Why wouldn't conventions be a natural progression from that?  How many other motivational speakers are out there?  How many of them came from lying on their couch in sweats, eating tuna from a can?  What better way to sell a story than to be the product of an amazing one?

Anyways, needless to say, I will not be writing a letter about how this book really made me think about my life and how I could make it a better story.  It would only get thrown in a pile with a thousand other letters, and then given a generic letter back.  The wedding is also off, sadly.  Thank goodness I don't have to change my name back.  What a hassle that would be.

Fast forward to a conversation with a friend of mine who believes that God is in ultimate control of our lives.  Everything in predestined.  Our fate is sealed.  We on a road we may not know, but it has been written by God and nothing we do will change it.  We can only submit to it and follow the plan.

Wow.  More food for thought. 

I found myself thinking, if this is the case, then what is the point of getting off the couch and changing out of my sweat pants.  It's already been written, it's already known that this is what I do.  If my story has already been written, I can't rewrite it.  It totally blows my mind.  So God creates billions of people, creates a story for each person, then watches them act out that story?  Is this what life is?  Is this supposed to give me comfort? 

What if my life story is to lose my job, live on the street and freeze to death at 40?  That's my story.  Nothing I do will change the fact that it has been predestined for me to live out that fate.  I could stock pile money, I could find a great stable job, and this would still be my demise.  I cannot wrap my head around it.  My story could be that I never, ever get married so no matter how much I pray for it or yearn for it or even if I fall in love, if it is written that I will not get married, I won't.  No matter how many signs point otherwise.  All these months I've been thinking I'm not doing anything productive with my life, basically going through a midlife crisis, when this is exactly where the story is...a single mother, sitting at a desk in a post office, renting a house and living just within my means.

What is the point of life if it's already planned out for me?  If this is what I believe, that there is a God and that I am created in his image, and I do believe it, then what is the point?  Believing in a higher power is supposed to give your life meaning, but I just feel like I've hit a brick wall.  I could set out to cure cancer, but if it's already known that I won't...what's the bother in even trying?  Imagine the frustration at having an over-achieving personality, but under achieving at everything.  Gah!

On the other hand, what is the point of life if there is nothing after this?  If everything we've done on earth is all we have and then we die and our souls die along with our bodies and then, boom, that's it.  We're dust.  We're forgotten in a generation - or two if we're really lucky or really amazing.  What's the point if my story has no direction at all, does that make everything possible?  Or nothing possible? 

I'm totally blowing my own mind right now.  I should be smoking pot or something.  Only of course I wouldn't, because it's illegal, and all...

Ideas?  Theories? What belief gets you through the day??? 

Q isms - Worth it

I've been battling a sore back these past 2 weeks.  It's been super frustrating because it's constant pain and I can get no relief (let alone satisfaction...hahaha).  Breathing hurts, sitting hurts, standing hurts, lying down hurts.  Sometimes the pain shoots down my left leg, sometimes it throbs in sync with my heart beat, but it is always a constant pain. 

I went to my chiropractor who usually makes me so, so happy but it just seems he's made me worse.  I went to the doctor and he gave me all these hard core drugs - but the side effects were worse than the pain and they didn't even manage to dull the pain, so I stopped taking them.  I'd rather have a sore back and no shits than a sore back and the shits.  The pills were only successful in making me so stoned I didn't care if my back hurt anymore, as I ran to the loo.  I also went to a massage therapist (who also happens to work with the Vancouver Whitecaps) and he gave some temporary relief, but holy moly, back pain is horrible.

I'm now into my second week.  I long for after work when I can take a Tylenol 3, not having to worry about being coherent, and plug in my electric heating pad.  I think this officially counts as being old.

The most frustrating thing is I cannot think of one specific incident that caused the pain, it just kind of crept up on me.  I now feel bad for all the times I suspected my employees were lying when they had a *sore back* - right?  Like we can't see the pain, so it's not there.  I still suspect some of them were trying to scam the system, but whatever, I can't prove it, right?  Oh, and my pain threshold is very low, I suspect.

The one thing that my doctor, chiropractor and massage therapist all agree on is that the route cause of all this pain is most likely the fact that I gave birth to a 10lb 6oz baby eight years ago.  One of them (and they're all men, btw) likened it to a 'wrecking ball' smashing through my girly bits and beyond (latter words mine, not his - that would just be creepy...), another compared it to delivering a butterball turkey.  To this day, when I hear pregnant women say, "Oh my doctor says my baby weighs blah, blah, blah..." it angers me to no end.  I was so big, strangers on the street would tell me I was huge and ask if I was having twins.  I had no neck for crying out loud.  Yet, MY prenatal doctor told me that there's no real way to tell how big a baby is...and then AFTER the baby was born said, "Geez, if we had known he was going to be that big we would have done a c-section.  It would have been way less intrusive."  I must have had the only doctor in the lower mainland who did not know of a little thing called an "Ultrasound".

I wonder if I can sue?

Suffice it to say, I am not even remotely tempted to have any more children in the next 20 years.  This is good, because it looks as though I will also not find a willing partner anytime within the next 20 years either.  See, everything works out in the end, right? 

So, Q hearing that he is the cause of my pain now...says....

"At least it was worth it, right mommy?"

And then about 10 minutes later...

"Eight years later, and I'm still coming back to haunt you."

Ahhhhhahahahahaha, he's a comedian. 

However, he did offer to keep an eye out for any of the multiple side effects the pharmacist rattled off.  He really is thoughtful like that.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Have a Dream (about a boat...)

I have been dreaming about being on a boat for weeks now.  Literally.  It's not exactly a recurring dream, because every dream is different, and every dream in super vivid. But I'm always, always on a really big boat with a lot of people.  Some people are strangers, some are from my past, some are from my present.  Sometimes my past and present mixes, sometimes there are only people from my present or only from my past.

The first dream was a few weeks ago...I was on a cruise ship with my mother.  Everyone was receiving gifts just for being on the ship, before they left, but we (my mom and I) did not get a gift.  They were really nice gifts, pearl earrings or diamond necklaces, so we really wanted ours.  Next thing we know, they've set sail and we're stuck on the ship for another week, without a gift.  The under carriage of the boat was see-through and we could watch hundreds of enormous whales swim by us, both amazing and terrifying.

My second dream was two nights ago, again on a boat.  But it was an old wooden boat, just like a pirate ship...huge, with many levels, doors and secret passageways.  We were getting prepared to go on a two week voyage, but I really didn't want to go.  Q couldn't come with me, and everywhere I looked all I could see were my employees.  I couldn't imagine being on a ship with my employees and no Q for two whole weeks.  It was a game within a game, and we were all pawns on a game board that each had to take our turn, and do whatever was asked of us.  At the last minute I got off, relieved.

My third dream was during a luxurious two hour nap on a rainy Friday afternoon.  Again, a boat.  A bit older than the last, still wooden, and I remember stairs.  Lots and lots of stairs and railings.  We were in rooms with bunk beds, separated by gender.  We all had rations for the trip.  If you used up your water rations, you were done, even if others had some left.  So, you had to watch how much water you used to brush your teeth, or how often you flushed the toilet, because that was all included in your water rations. 

My most recent dream was last night.  I remember seeing people from the airport when I worked there 5 years ago.  It was kind of like a dating boat, because you had to go on dates with people from the boat.  You were sent off to an island for a day on a date, then came back to spend the rest of the time with everyone.  It was really awkward, because everyone had been on dates with everyone else, and then graded the date.  Needless to say, tempers were high.  I don't remember any dates, or feeling particularly attracted to anyone.  I remember being more the mother hen.

Of course, I think that everything happens for a reason.  Everything is a sign if you only look deep enough to see its meaning.  SO......what do these dreams mean??  I haven't been on any boats lately, but it has rained solid for 2 1/2 days.  Maybe it's a sign I should build a boat.  A big wooden boat.  Boats aren't particularly fast...they rock from side to side, maybe I'm in a lull?  Maybe it's a sign I need to take a risk, jump from the boat and take on a new challenge?  I haven't read about any boats or watched any movies about boats.  It's all very odd, but I'm looking for a change.  Maybe one of these boats can take me and my Q to a beach somewhere warm with sand that feels like silk and pina coladas on tap :) 

Just sayin'

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What's Pissing me off This Week

True to form, I am a raging hormonal mess.  This is what is pissing me off this week.

1.  The City of Surrey.  Usually I don't hate a whole city, so this is big even for me.  The last week of September I came home to three large garbage cans, each with a different lid colour.  They are so big, they don't even fit in my garage.  I have to let Q out of the car, then park Lola, then squeeze out the drivers side door..  There was an instruction booklet that didn't even begin to describe what was expected of us.  I had to research, research how to separate the garbage, how to make biodegradable origami garbage collectors, which days what product was collected.  I invested some time in this, let me tell you.  I didn't mind, though, because Surrey had committed to reducing garbage waste in landfills by 40% over the next number of years.  I thought I could do my part.  I separated the gross left overs from the packaging.  I washed the gross recyclables.  I put up with the fruit flies.  I dealt with the rank smell of fermenting organics in my garage.  I was proud when, in a week with a holiday, we filled one kitchen sized garbage bag of garbage and the rest went into the recyclables or organics.  The first week I put out the garbage, recycling and organics because I didn't know which they would take.  All they took was the garbage.  The next week, by chance, we found something in the newspaper telling us exactly what they would be taking, so I put out the recyclables and organics.  By now, the organics had been sitting in my garage during an abnormally hot week for October in B.C.  There was condensation on the inside from the fermenting of foods, there was rank mold smell, it was disgusting.  I came home from work...and they had picked up the recycling.  Seriously.  I put out the organics the next morning, hopeful they were just a little behind.  After work, I dragged it back in the garage.  Thursday, they pick up the organics.  The organics that were sitting inside my garage because I thought, "No way they'd pick up organics three days late without communicating it to anyone..."  But yes, yes they did.  So now in my garage sits the fermenting, moldy, smelly mess for a third week while Surrey gets it shite together.  I've done my part.  I've done what Surrey has asked.  Surrey has not followed through.  I am so mad.  Q says, "Mommy, if you're really that should wait 24 hours before you call them to complain.  Then if you're still mad, you can call."  Smart kid.  He's like the mini conscience outside my head when I need it most.

Deep breath...

2.  I am a Canadian citizen who really, really, really loves Grey's Anatomy.  It is the highlight of my week, watching Grey's.  I look forward to it.  I think, "I wonder what will happen on Grey's this week."  So, when I go to tape it on Thursday, so I can watch it on Friday night without distraction while Q is with his dad, I expect to find it and NOT the Vice Presidential Debate.  Seriously, bumped not for the Presidential debate, but for the VICE Presidential Debate.  I do not care to listen to old men sitting around talking about how they'll do this or that, and then don't do either this or that once voted into office.  I want to see how Arizona is dealing with her missing leg, I want to see how people are dealing with Mark Sloan's death.  I want to see if Derek will get his operating hand back.  I know.  I'm a little weird.  But's one thing I look forward to.  One thing.  I did find out though, that I can watch it on line for free!!  How did I not know this?  What century have I been living in? 

3.  I had some training this week for a new process that we're rolling out early next week.  Here are a couple phrases I do not wish to hear from the trainer...

a) That's a good question (aka I do not have the answer...)
b) Why isn't this working?  Why isn't this working?
c) Oh wait...let's try this instead.

...I expect the trainer to not read word for word from the training manual the whole morning.  I can read from a training manual.  The guy had no idea what he was talking about.  It was obvious he hadn't done any prep work for it beforehand.  This is a particular sore point for me, because I applied to be a trainer and was told I didn't possess the *basic* requirements for the job.  False.  I can read, so I obviously do possess the basic requirements.  Then I was going to take a certificate program, so I could qualify and the woman who supervises the department told me that even if I did get the training she wouldn't even consider me because I don't have hands on experience.  I told her I train all the employees in my area on new procedures, etc. and she said that I would need to volunteer for a school, teaching a class.  Which is...uh...impossible.  How many schools do you know of that are looking for volunteers to teach?  Not many, in any at all.  So then when I have to sit in a class with some yahoo who hasn't the *basic* skills either, I get a little miffed.  Just a little.  I can feel my blood boiling as I type this. 

4.  Recently, there was a young girl who posted a video to either YouTube or Facebook, crying out for help.  She was depressed, lonely, sad, bullied.  A week later, she committed suicide.  Facebook R.I.P pages start popping up, with thousands upon thousands of people *liking* her, and hating bullying.  People say how much they loved her and miss her.  Radio stations, news stations, Internet websites are playing her story over and over.  Don't get me wrong.  It is a really, really sad thing that happened.  Bullying is horrible.  Tearing someone else down just to build yourself up.  It is terrible.  It is so sad to me that she felt there was no other way out.  Here is what is pissing me off though....all these people who say now that they love her and are creating these Facebook pages for her...where were they while she was alive??  Where were they then?  Why did they wait until she killed herself to tell the world what a wonderful person she was.  There are signs, there are always signs, and no one chose to see them until it was too late.  No one cared enough while there was time to do something about it.  What?  Does creating a fb page make you feel better about your indifference while she was alive?  Guess what?  It's a lame attempt.  She was a person.  The disregard for human life in our society makes me sick.  Creating a webpage, posting a video on You Tube, liking a Facebook status is not a humanitarian deed.  Get up off your ass and DO something about it.

Well, I could go on forever.  Bad Drivers?  If I wrote about every time they pissed me off, we'd have to change the name of this blog.  The price of gas?  Highway robbery!!  In a few days however, none of this will seem so dire and I will blissfully return to a state of calm.  Pray the state of calm comes quickly - for those around me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hockey Themed Party (bout time)

Better late than never, Q had his first birthday party in over two years. 
I know, it looks like I'm a terrible mother, doesn't it?  The problem with having a summer baby is that during the summer, everyone is away.  Everyone.  Last year once the school year started, everything was so busy and then there was Christmas and then there was my brother's wedding, so it was going to be June and then the little monkey decided he wanted to have his party in September.  Only problem, we couldn't have a party in June and in September...parents would uhhhh, figure things out, ya know?  But don't go all judging me...he still had the *family* party during the summer.  Okay?  I'm not that bad.  I mean, how many birthdays does a kid need?  The night before, he was so excited he couldn't even sleep.  He sounded like he was in pain, "ohhhhhhhhhh,"  moan, sigh, groan..."I'm so excited I can't sleeeeeeeeeeeeep!"  Don't you wish for excitement like that?
He wanted to take a bunch of kids to a minor league hockey game, but can you say "Chaos" and "Crazy" and "I Don't Think SO"???  Can you imagine being in a huge place with thousands of strangers and 8 hyper 8 years olds running around?  Can you imagine?  I would go crazy.  So, I talked him into having a hockey themed bowling party and we had soooo much fun!!  The bowling alley was like walking into 1982, I half expected to see old guys smoking at the tables.  Everything was that burnt orange and brown colour.  Despite some initial *heated words* with some die-hard bowlers about all the rowdy kids and some uber strict bowling rules, we had a great time.  And having it in this venue instead of a hockey game was great because all the mommas stayed, and the amazing babysitters came and stayed and I was reminded of how many awesome people love and support my son.  We are so, so blessed.
Invitations:  Obviously hockey sticks.  Goalie hockey sticks because there is more room to write.  Instead of hockey tape (I was too lazy to go to the sports store) I used black construction paper and regular old tape.  I think they turned out fantastic.

(We had to represent the hometown team - aka the Calgary Flames - and the home team - aka the Vancouver Canucks. )

Goodie bags:  The good old paper bag is our friend.  Big to fit lots of loot, easy to dress up, goes with everything, and recyclable.  To fill the inside, we bought hockey cards and hockey stickers.  A bonus to having a party close to Halloween is lots of small, yummy, goodie bag sized candy :)
Gah.  If I had more time, I would have done so much more.  I would have made personalized hockey cards, with the kids pictures on it (oh.....maybe a thank you card...)  A balloon art in the shape of some hockey emblem (needle thread through the tips, Canucks would have been really simple, but time consuming).  Mini hockey sticks for prizes for all the kids.   
Super abnormal thing about Q (when comparing him with other 8 year old boys) is that he acknowledges how much work it takes to make all this stuff.  He wants to help.  He tells me to take pictures so I can post them on facebook and pinterest.  How much do I love this kid?  How amazing is this kid?  Happy Birthday, my fabulous boy :)  I so need to be a stay at home mom so I can have time to organize, plan, and prepare my kids birthday party!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Giving Thanks, I am.

Well, it's Thanksgiving here in Canada.  I sit here in front of the computer completely overwhelmed, finding it hard to write about what I'm thankful for.  Not because I don't have anything to be thankful for, and definitely not because I'm not thankful, but because I'm struggling to find the words that will adequately and eloquently describe the depth of my thankfulness.

First of all, I am so thankful for my son.  He is beautiful and kind and smart and insightful.  When I look at Q, I know that God is real, because something as amazing as this child could not be purely scientific and the product of a *big bang*.  He was lovingly created, with qualities both quirky and wonderful all mixed together to make him an unique individual who literally amazes me everyday.  I love his innocence.  I love his ability to believe in things that adults, jaded and heavy laden with baggage find unbelievable.  I love that he is a cuddle bug.  I am so grateful that he is healthy and hasn't had as much as even a cold in the past months.  I love that he sometimes seems to me a genius and at other times I wonder, confounded, what on earth he was thinking.  I love that I can see pieces of me, pieces of my brother, pieces of my mother in him.  I can see generations of hopes and dreams coursing through his veins and it makes me proud.  I'm so excited to see what his story will be, who he will become, and what his mark will be.

little beaver smile.  look at those cheeks with dimples from nana and papa's eyes

contemplating life
I'm thankful for my family.  I have been blessed with an unusual family, in that we all actually all really like each other!!  My mother, I call my friend. I love her and respect her and for quite some time now, she has been my significant other.  And while this will change soon, I look forward to the new adventures our relationship will experience.  My brother, oh my brother...I am so proud of the man he has become.  In the past couple of years, he has really grown up to be an incredible man.  He is strong, but kind.  He would do anything for anyone.  He is a man of his word.  He admits when he is wrong.  He protects his family.  Since becoming married, he leads his family with a wisdom that astounds me.  His wife, my beautiful sister-in-law completes our family so wonderfully.  She is the sister I never had, but always wanted.  She is funny and sweet and so giving.  I am flattered that people think we are twins.  Because this woman is stunning.  Stunning.  Inside and out.
Stevie photobombing momma

he's reading to her.  so, so sweet
I'm so thankful to be happy.  Really, truly, genuinely happy.  After suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety over the years, I know to not take happiness for granted.  Some say happiness is a choice, and yes, on most days it is.  But when you're in the throes of depression, caused by an imbalance of chemicals in your brain, there is no choice.  I've been happy for a while now.  I'm happy with me.  I'm accepting of my body, my face is familiar to me, familiar like a good book and cup of warm coffee...that does sound strange, doesn't it?  A good book and a warm cup of coffee are two of my most favourite things in this world, so it's a good thing.  I like my sense of humour (heck, I think I'm fricken hilarious).  I like my values.  I love my faith.  It's good to be me. 

I'm thankful for being a woman in Canada.  Here, for me, the possibilities are endless.  I have freedom of speech and religion without fear of persecution.  I have the same rights as the man beside me.  I have the same opportunities that anyone else has to succeed in the business world, if I choose.  I can raise my child without fear of war, threat of death or disease from simple, curable illnesses.  I can put healthy food on the table, as it is fresh and overflowing in my country.  If I am struggling financially, the government has created an infrastructure that will allow me the basic necessities.  If I am sick or hurt, I can go to the doctor or hospital without wondering how I'm going to pay the astronomical hospital bill.

can you believe i live here?

here!  i live here!!!
I am thankful for the company of women, the honour of which I have to call my friends.  God has blessed me by putting amazing women in my life that strengthen me and support me in ways they don't even realize.  I don't see any of them half as much as I'd like to, because life gets crazy and busy, but when we do meet, I feel renewed and just blessed.  I have a wonderful woman who takes care of Q before and after school.  She is sweet and kind.  She helps him with his homework, she heats up his lunch when I forget to and hand her a bag with his food all just thrown in there (I appreciate this probably more than she knows, because it's totally not in her job description, but she always takes the bag with a smile).  She nurtures Q's creative and athletic side, she brings out his outgoing side when he tends to be painfully shy.  She takes him snowshoeing and snowboarding, which is good because I never will.  I could write a whole post entitled, "Ode to Stephanie"  and maybe one day I will.

I am thankful that I have blessings beyond compare.  I'm thankful that I have hope.  Hope for a future filled with love and happiness.  Hope for a future filled with stepping out of my comfort zone and making a difference in the lives of others.  For stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things that scare the pants off me, but are amazing and spiritual and proof that I am living.

I know I haven't put my feelings to justice, but suffice it to say I am grateful every single day for the life I've been given.  I hope to never lose the awe I feel for a sunrise, the new bud on a tree, a newborn baby, autumn, a warm sunny day, the beach, pumpkin spice lattes, a fabulously written book, a comfy pair of jammie pants, puppies and kittens, sleeping in on a day off, the smell of freshly cut grass, a harmony in a song that gives you goosebumps, laughing really hard, the power of a smile, a sunset.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things I Would Tell My Daughter (if I had one...)

You know, now that I'm almost 35 I just feel like I have so much...wisdom. 

Did you laugh? I know I did.  If I had been drinking milk I would have snorted it out my nose.  But seriously, if I had a daughter I would tell her so many things that I know now.   Or if I could travel back in time, I would tell my younger self to smarten up.

1.  Date the super nice guy in high school.  For me, it's the one...the one who's last name I can't remember, but he sat next to me in home room.  He was shorter than me, but guess what...who cares???  Who cares!!!  I remember how he would take you to his grandma's flower shop and let me pick any flower I wanted.  We could just sit and read alone together and be completely content.  He was sweet and kind and thoughtful and didn't want to change anything about me.  Ya, that's the guy you want to date and then hopefully marry.  He's the one that is awesome husband material. 

2.  The guy who has been married twice, makes you fight for time with him, and always has a bevy of ladies around him?  Ya, he's not going to change.  He is NOT going to change.  He is not good husband material.  His bad boy image, while it might be totally attractive now, is NOT appealing when you're 8 months pregnant and he's making plans with all his girlfriends for a Friday night.  His ways will not change.  You will not change him.  You WILL NOT change him.  Be with someone who wants to be with you, not with someone you have to beg to be with.  You will be sooooooo much happier.

3.  Make peace with your body early on.  It is an amazing vessel that sustains your life.  It is capable of doing incredible things (like, say, pushing out a 10lb 6oz baby with a 14 inch head and shoulders like a linebacker).  So love it.  Treat it well.  Be easy on it.  Everyone has cellulite, stretch marks and scars.  You are beautiful beyond compare even if you have a 5 o'clock leg shadow.  If you get that early on, you will save yourself years of unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy.

4.  If you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, and you find yourself out of high school and in University....take Business Management.  Seriously, these are courses that will come to save you in the future no matter what you end up doing in life.  I seriously wish I had taken those courses instead of the Philosophy courses and History courses and English Lit courses I ended up spending thousands and thousands of dollars on, before I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  Coincidentally, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I really wish I had some management techniques to show for all that debt.

5.  Learn how to do some really cool things for yourself.  Example?  Learn how to change a tire, fix a vacuum, some basic plumbing skills.  It's super empowering to know you can do it and don't need a man.  Then when you find a man, you'll know you love him for him and not for what he can do for you.  Seriously, when the power went out and I had to reset the garage door opener so it would open???  I wanted to tell people, strangers on the street, that I could fix my own garage door and I didn't need a man.  It was awesome.  When I put together the elliptical we decorated with lights at Christmas time (as I didn't actually use it....), ya...super amazed and proud of myself.

6.  Have a budget.  Save money.  If you cannot afford it, do not buy it.  Simple.  I wish, to this day, that I could listen to and follow this advice.  It eliminates a load of worry and needless stress.  And how amazing would it be to buy a house or condo at 25 with a 20% down payment?  Am I right?  You cannot live in a Coach purse, even if it is Fuchsia pink and lovely.  You will just end up selling it again on e-bay so you can spend that money on something a little more practical.

7.  Listen to your intuition.  Your intuition is God's way of communicating with you.  I truly believe this.  The *many* times I have not listened to my intuition, I always have regretted it.  It is a gift that lets you know you might be in trouble even when everything else around you seems completely legit.  I'm not saying be a paranoid freak - I'm saying if, deep down, you feel awkward, frightened, or's okay.  Listen to it, and do something about it.

8.  Your feelings matter.  Like, a lot.  The importance of this is two fold.  First of all, people in this world will like to tell you you're over reacting.   "I don't know why you're so angry about're over reacting."  No.  No, you are not.  If it's what you feel, it's what you feel there is no apology meant.  However, this brings me to point two...while you may not be able to control what you feel, you CAN control what you do with that feeling.  For example, it's completely okay to feel angry with some guy for standing you up on a date.  It is not okay to use that anger to spray paint the side of his house or key his car.  That would not be appropriate.  Use the anger to fuel growth and healing instead.  Jail would not be fun, I'm assuming.

9.  Googling a crushes name is not stalking.  It's researching.  It's important to be informed about the choice you're going to make.  I figure if companies can google a candidates name before they hire them, we can google a potential boyfriend.  Driving by a crushes house at two in the morning to see if they're a night owl like you?  Ya, stalking.

10.  Be the nice girl.  Be kind to everyone.  Smile.  Don't gossip.  Be the girl who, if a horrible rumour was going around about you, no one would believe it because your actions speak louder.  People might hate you anyways, but it's so much more important what you think of yourself than what others think of you.  You might be the sweetest peach in the bunch, and still find someone who hates peaches (Courtesy of Dita Von Teese). 

Any tips to your former self?  To your daughters? 

Uh....any tips for me??