Create your balance. Design your life.

The Transformation of Fern Mayo

The Transformation of Fern Mayo

Mar 25, 2014

“First you need to know something about them. The beautiful ones. The Flawless Four. Everyone wanted to be them. You know ’em, they went to your school too. They totally ruled. The one in the green that’s Courtney. She was the leader. She was like Satan in heels. The blonde, Marcie Fox, a legend in her own little mind, known to herself as ‘Foxy’. Oh, the leggy one with the pig tails is Julie, doomed to be popular because of that face and because she was best friends with the one in the pink. That’s Liz Purr. She was special. Everybody loved Liz not just because she was beautiful and popular, and rich and smart. She was all of those things, but more than anything, she was sweet. Courtney ruled with terror, Liz ruled with kindness, she was like the Princess Di of Reagan High and that pissed Courtney off. Liz Purr was well, she was perfect. I used to dream about what it would be like to be her, Elizabeth Purr. Its a shame about what happened to Liz. That was no way to wake up on your seventeenth birthday.” These words are spoken by Fern Mayo, the ultimate nerd-girl. She is mousy, quiet and shy. In school she blends into the background and is snidely referred to as “Mayonnaise” by Marcie. The Flawless Four are worshiped by the student body of Reagan High and Fern is no exception. She looks at them with longing, wishing she could be like them. Especially Liz, who she considers the cat’s meow. It is this idol worship that is going to take Fern on a journey of self-discovery and her life will be changed forever. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week. The movie is “Jawbreaker” and the character of Fern Mayo is unforgettable. *If you have not seen “Jawbreaker” please be aware that this article contains spoilers. Courtney, Marcie and Julie kidnap Liz on the morning of her 17th birthday. It is a yearly tradition/prank with the girls. Courtney shoves a jawbreaker into Liz’s mouth and covers it with duct tape to keep her quiet. They tie her up and place her in the trunk of...

Feeding Your Real Hunger

Feeding Your Real Hunger

Mar 24, 2014

We talk about it constantly. We yearn for it.  We try to fill the void with other things to make dealing with it easier.  It is a hunger. What are you hungry for? Rachel W. Cole posted a great article about labeling yourself as “needy”  when you should be recognizing that same urge as “hunger.”  We don’t deny ourselves the opportunity to satisfy a hunger or thirst, so why do we deny ourselves the opportunity to fill up our other emotional cups? We are afraid of being needy, of going overboard, of taking too much. “Yes, it feels like we’ll never get enough.  Just like, when we are starving for food, at first, we think we really could eat the whole kitchen. Not so in either case,”  says Cole, and she’s got a great point. We are often hungry for love, companionship, friendship, touch, and being heard, as the article points out.  There are a few additional “hungers” we mislabel as neediness, that we not only need to satisfy within ourselves, but need to recognize in others: The need for attention. The need for recognition The need for acceptance. The need to belong. Don’t empty out your pantry without feeding yourself first.  It is OK to focus on filling up your plate with precisely what you need.  You are not being needy or selfish. When we see unflattering “attention seeking” behavior in others, let’s offer them a “meal” instead of criticism. Too many times, I turn to actual food when I am hungry for something else on my list. I have even forced myself on a bowl of ice cream, well after the point of fullness, just to quell some rising need.  How do we know what it is we really need?  Maybe the list will help.  Once we know what it is we really want, we can look for it in the proper place.  You don’t go grocery shopping at an office supply store!  Why would we look for belonging with crazy behavior?  Or at the end of a tray of Oreos? Cole recommends the following to treat our emotional hunger: Begin by renaming this ‘neediness’ with a more accurate term: hunger. Ask for...

You Gotta Love A Lot

You Gotta Love A Lot

Mar 20, 2014

By Mo Breden On Monday morning we arrived in Gainesville for Erin’s first radiation treatment since her last radiation treatment twelve years ago. If you don’t recall what I’m talking about, please see last Thursday’s, Life with Mo. I followed her through the double doors, we sat down and they called her almost immediately, but not before I gave her a kiss on the cheek. Not unlike her first day of school, when she got on the bus and did not look back, Erin went when her name was called into the radiation therapy room, and did not look back. I on the other hand immediately started crying, as she disappeared from my view, also not unlike her first day of school. I could only think of how scared she must be, knowing how serious her condition is, and that this is her only hope of continued sight. The only word that came to my mind was brave. My daughter is a brave soul in addition to all of the other things she is. At this writing the first week of radiation is almost over. On Monday her oncologist spoke to us and explained that the radiation dosage normally prescribed is between 45 and 55, however research shows no advantage to 55 over 45 and thus far no disadvantage to only radiating to 45, therefore, Erin will only be exposed to 45 in the hopes that it will do enough damage to the tumor to stop it, while hopefully preserving the vision she has left. We have the utmost confidence in her oncologist and believe that God has had a hand in guiding her to him once again. The upside here is that instead of a six-week course of radiation, Erin will only have four weeks and that brings us to April 10 as her last day of radiation. Yesterday while Erin napped (the radiation saps your strength pretty rapidly) I went and swam for ninety minutes at the Gainesville YMCA. Swimming is something I can control, and I needed to do something that I had some power over and pushing myself in the pool is a great release from these things that I...

Tips and Truths for Coping as a Part-Time Single Mom

Tips and Truths for Coping as a Part-Time Single Mom

Mar 19, 2014

I am married and a single mom. I’ve started this post so many times…. Parenting is not easy, regardless of your partnership status.  Lately, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the unique challenges that face moms who parent by themselves, but are still involved in a committed relationship. Perhaps your spouse is in the military, deployed for months or years. Maybe your spouse is in a career requiring frequent overnight/48 hr. shifts. In my case, my husband travels for work and is home, at best, only two days a week.  Whatever the scenario, you’re married and alone with your children. The permanence of my situation is just settling in, and I haven’t really found anything helpful in the vastness of the internet.  It is such a strange feeling–like a loss but not. Divorce but not.  Alone but not alone. Certainly, I don’t have the added fear of my love being in a battle-zone, on dangerous beats, or fighting fires.  Even so, the worry about his safety during travel and the long stretches where we don’t speak creeps up and settles around my heart like barbed wire. I waited to start this post until I had answers about how to cope effectively.  Certain I would figure out how to be less lonely, devise an amazingly simple routine, and learn to jump out of bed singing “Sisters, are doing it for themselves!” I waited to offer you my amazing system! I have none. Instead, I’ll share what I’ve been told and how the advice has worked for me: Take care of yourself. You’re all you’ve got, so you have to make sure you keep stress low and your health a high priority.  I exercised last week and started taking Xanax. Practice mindfulness and living in the present.  Make sure you are not focusing on “what if’s” and imaginary future situations–those only cause anxiety.  My recurring paranoia: what if something happens to me, and my oldest (age 4), doesn’t know how to enter the password on my iPhone and navigate to the number pad to enter 9-1-1?*  How long will it take for someone to find my children?  Will they be OK while I’m dying on the floor…naked…in the shower…?...

Class is in session.

Class is in session.

Mar 18, 2014

I had someone tell me recently that they were having trouble understanding my column. They didn’t understand why it was called Movie Bad Girl of the Week yet they were seeing characters like Sue Snell from “Carrie”, Riff Randell from “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” or Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City.”  So I figured I would give a little refresher course in Movie Bad Girls. This will be short and sweet and I hope you enjoy the lesson…there will be a surprise pop-quiz later. What is a Movie Bad Girl? A Movie Bad Girl is a female character that has qualities or traits that give her  self-empowerment. She then uses that self-empowerment however she feels she needs to. This doesn’t mean she is evil or a villain. It doesn’t mean she is tough and can kick ass. It means that she is strong enough in herself and her abilities to do incredible things in the movies we watch. This spills over into television and books as well and I plan to take you to those places as well. They are females who have ideals and hopes and dreams. They have emotions and the capacity to love or hate. They most of all are able to show us qualities that we can use in our own lives. Some of these characters don’t have the empowerment and will find it along the way like the ladies of “The Walking Dead” did  when they are suddenly thrust into a world where the new norm is fight and kill or die. She may already be someone who kicks major ass like the ladies of the “Kill Bill” movies. 3 of those ladies are villains, one is not. I would not want to get in a fight with any one of them. Those ladies are tough as nails and practically pick their teeth with the bones of those they’ve killed. They might kick butt in other ways like Erin Brockovich, a woman who saw a huge corporation make people in the town of Hinkley very sick with hexavalent chromium in the ground water. This woman through dedication and a strong sense of right and wrong helped bring a multi-billion...

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