It never fails to amaze me that despite the lack of media coverage or love for Midwesterners, Midwesterners rise above! As many of you know, my suburb of choice for 20 years, Bellevue, Nebraska was hit last week by a tornado and straight-line winds. You might be wondering how that could be a feel-good story, but it is…
I still get all the social media out of Bellevue, and let me assure you, there was a lot to feel good about. I watched as more and more of my friends posted they didn’t have power. One even showing their power pole was in the shape of a lower case e. Some just got power back on 3 days ago, but the hardship wasn’t the focus. The focus was that the Bellevue East football and volleyball teams showed up to clean up the worst-hit areas after practice. (I believe some kids from West did the same.) The focus was that some of the great food places like Roma’s (um, yum, btw) dropped off food at designated spots for workers and those without power. The focus was that neighbors with chain saws helped neighbors without. The focus was that people who did have power were offering their houses for freezer space, charging stations, and places to do laundry. The focus was that, despite lots of damage, Bellevue regrouped and had their field ready for the College World Series guys to still practice there. The focus was on figuring out how to move on, and not one person got hurt.
To be truthful, I feel bad that I didn’t even know to check on some of my friends. They probably would have taken some brownies or rice krispy bars off my hands! 🙂 I honestly didn’t realize how much of Bellevue was hit, but what struck me, and what reminded me why I lived there for 20 years, was a lady who posted on the Bellevue info page who said something to the effect of “Imagine if we all talked and helped each other out like this every day.” Yes, imagine…
I’m sorry it took a tornado to bring people together, but I’m not sorry it worked.
As you head out into your day or evening, think about that. Take your neighbor the extra brownies you’re trying not to eat! Haha. Mow a yard for that elderly couple. Simply chat with the people in line at the grocery store. The world doesn’t have to be an isolated, dismal place.
It can be a phenomenal place if we choose to imagine…
Got a great aftermath story? Tell it. Gonna go do something nice for someone? Let’s hear it.
So I promised you a series, and that’s what you’re gonna get. You’re probably going to continue hearing some of my other rambles, too, but I’m “finding the good” wherever it catches me. (We’ll assume it won’t catch me in a swimming suit!) 🙂
The crazy part is that I didn’t have to look that far. In fact, I have so many thoughts, it was hard to narrow down to what to use next.
I decided on this.
I’ll be honest, I’ve driven by a million times. I’ve looked at it, admired it, and thought how thankful I was that somebody went to the work of keeping it up, but I’ve never actually set foot in it until now. I’m so glad I did. Not only is it gorgeous from the road, but even better from within. I daresay it was Robert Frost-ish.
It’s a hot day out. I sat down on the bench and it was like a cool spring breeze under the cover of the trees. I couldn’t even believe it. And I read the signs of who donated things like the tree donated in memory of Chrissy Galitz or the railing donated in honor of Abe Pierce or the gazebo in memory of AC and Mary Ellen Vieth. I don’t know if I can truly put into words the emotions that were sitting there with me of all the people that make up our little town.
It’s like a John Cougar Mellancamp Small Town moment right here in Oakland, Iowa. I’ve got the American flag rep, the bench tucked away in the trees, and people who put a ton of work into making sure the plants grow, the mulch stays pretty, and weeds stay out (they deserve a place in heaven for that!), and they do it because they care. I am tired of the assumption that the people who do this work are those with more time than the rest of us. Rarely is that the case. They just choose their priorities differently. They are not getting paid. They are not inmates. They are just wonderful people with a desire to see our town look nice. It’s their little piece of giving back.
You just can’t put a price on that...
If you know all the people involved, feel free to share that info with me. I don’t want to miss anyone. I hope they know how much it is appreciated. If you’d like to share your love for this place, add your commentary. Have suggestions for me? Bring ‘em.
PS – If you haven’t signed up to get my “Find the Good” blogging, you can still do so. Just click on Follow Bolton Carley’s blog up at the top on the right. Thanks to all of you who did that already. You have no idea how great it feels to get a follower.
As most of you know, I’m an Iowa girl and a hometown girl and an Oakland girl. I’ve never pleaded to be anything but. We moved home for lots of reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that this is where we belong.
With that being said, I am here and advocating for my home. One of my favorite things about Iowans is that they live the Tim McGraw Humble and Kind song to a tee. The unfortunate part about that is that people forget the amazing, wonderful assets around them and start to take them for granted.
We currently live in a world of negativity. I can be more negative than most, but I know it is my fatal flaw, and I do my best to correct it each and every day. But there are far more people out there looking at the bad and focusing on it, and I hate that for everyone. I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who believe in good, do good, fight for the good, and find the good. I want to be one of those people, too. So I am bringing you the good. On a platter even.
This is the start of my Find the Good series. If you like it, go ahead and sign up to follow my blog over there on the right hand side, and I’ll send you a weekly reminder of what’s good around here. Or if you have suggestions, feel free to email me. Got a lot of great ideas right now, but who doesn’t want more?
This picture is why I love a small town. In the wake of an untimely and horrible death of a well-known man, people lined up to pay their respects. The lines were out into the street. Main Street was full of cars and trucks. Over a thousand people came to pay their tributes. That, my friends, is why you live here. Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you belong and are appreciated. A well-attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life…
I can’t believe it, but we have yet another niece graduating (and a nephew graduating from college but he’s not the sentimental type)! And graduation always makes me reflective and feel the need to impart my wisdom. Okay, my wisdom hasn’t gotten me a national TV show or a Pulitzer, but it also hasn’t landed me in jail or on a hit list (at least, none I’m aware of)! So here are a few tidbits I hope our niece comes to learn and maybe you can share these with some kid in your family that listens better to somebody they don’t know! lol. Or maybe you just need your own little reminder:
First off, say farewell to your frenemies. Do it nicely. High school (and the business world and the PTA and the bar) is all about the people you like on any given day, hate on any given day, are jealous of on any given day, and can’t wait to get rid of on any given day. Today, you get to get rid of them. Do so gracefully. Wish them well. Cry over what was and what will be in all its scary glory, and then keep your mouth shut. You don’t have to burn a bridge, you can just choose not take that route anymore.
Old Money is still the best Money
Secondly, remember where you came from. Be loyal. Friends and family are just like clothing. The new is exciting and fun and always nice to have for special occasions, but the old stand-by pajama pants and prom t-shirt from 10 years ago will be comfy and reliable and what you need on a bad day. Same with the people you surround yourself with. It’s okay to have new people in your life, but don’t ditch the old. Dance with the one you came with. They brought you here.
Don’t be a Hater!
Third, the world may be screwed up, but you don’t have to be. I really like that Mother Theresa quote about how the world may hate or do wrong, do good anyway. There are plenty of screwed up people, situations, and moments in life. Rise above.
Better to change your mind than to not use it!
Fourth, it’s okay to change your mind. Not 500,047 times, but when you need to, go ahead. If the major isn’t right, switch it. If the friends aren’t the right circle, ditch ‘em. If the job is somewhere else, try it. We all have a plan. Sometimes, we stay on that path. Sometimes, we take the road less traveled and that makes all the difference… (Yes, Robert Frost, you were right.)
Humble and Kind, just like Tim McGraw says. Please!
Fifth, be humble. Never think you’re better than. There are those that have a lot to put on their résumé and there are those that could but don’t have to. There will always be people telling you how great they are and there will always be people that are just great. Be the great. Don’t think you’re owed anything. Hope floats when you realize your cup runneth over. (Yes, love that movie!)
It all comes out in the wash…
Here’s the bottom line: there will be crappy times when people die, your basement floods, your kid gets sick, and you want to crawl into bed and sleep it off. There will be times when you sit with a drink in your hand, look up at the blue sky, look around you at the group of people talking and laughing with you, and you’ll soak it in. Life isn’t easy, but it is doable.
Take God with you.
Build the right relationships.
Find your little piece of happiness and live in it.
Laugh when the wheels fall off. Then, put ‘em back on and bolt those sonofabitches down and take a roadtrip.
Happy Graduation, little girl! May life always treat you kind…
Any words of wisdom you’d like to share? Any of those ring true with you? Got a graduation you’d like me to speak at? lol. Tell me.
Mother’s Day is looming. I haven’t handled Mother’s Day yet for either mother, mine or the husband’s. I know what I want to do but making it happen is a whole ‘nother ball game. The funny part is that I forget that the day is for me, too, now. It’s weird. I guess I still think of my mom instead because she is most definitely a great mom.
I, however, am not a great mom. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for platitudes. I try. In fact, I try really hard, but my parenting fails are vast and many. So instead of telling you how glorious motherhood is and how wonderful the whole experience is, I will do my usual and keep it real.
Parenting fails – I don’t even know where to start on my list:
#ParentingFail #599 – Most nights, there’s more food on the floor at Chez Carley than in her mouth.
#ParentingFail #600 – Yes, she still sleeps with me.
#ParentingFail #695 – No, she is not potty-trained yet at 2 ½. No, I do not feel bad about that.
#ParentingFail #789 – I have already had to restrict her YouTube usage because she was going to inappropriate sites, like ones that had spiders on them and ones that involved laughing after farting. No, no nudity, but spiders are bad enough. Thank you.
#ParentingFail #1050 – My daughter may, or may not, have been known to eat a brownie for breakfast, but in her defense, she saw me doing it first.
#ParentingFail #2000 – My daycare provider is counting the days till she is rid of us, partly in hopes that my daughter doesn’t break a bone on her watch and partly because we don’t follow rules well.
#ParentingFail #2999 – Sometimes, I yell when I get mad or growl in attempt at not yelling. My daughter now grrrs… Clearly, I need to rethink my attack. However, I will consider it a parenting win that she hasn’t said any cuss words…yet.
And those are just the ones that come to my head today.
So here I am trying to remind you that parenting is hard. You shouldn’t feel bad if you think so, too. And, your mom, well, she deserves a new house, car, grand reception, and a mini-bar, but if you can’t make that happen, at least give her a call or a card. They gave us life and we gave them problems and insecurities and, with any luck, some happiness along the way.
That’s how it is for me…
Everyday, I worry about what I screw up. Everyday, I try to be better. Everyday, I know that my daughter doesn’t have it bad and that all I can do is love her the best I/we know how. Everyday, I hope that it will be enough. But everyday, in spite of the things I get frustrated with her for, I see that little face asleep on my arm and I hope I am doing her justice because for every naughty thing she does, she is still my precious little puddin’ pop, and I am blessed that she’s ours.
I’m not really sure that Mother’s Day covers the years of hard work, but it’s a good place to start.
So, thank you, to all of you who try hard, who put food on the table, and give your kids a moral compass. It isn’t easy. I have 2 and a half years under my belt and I think I could use 50 to be good at it. In the meantime, give yourself an umbrella drink and a night out with a babysitter if that’s what life requires right now. You’ve earned it.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Got any #ParentingFails? Got any #ParentingWins to brag about? Got something else to share or say? Let’s here it.
Do you ever have that shining realization that work is easier than the rest of your life? It’s been happening to me lately. No, I don’t blab it all over Facebook because I’d rather blab it in person to the select few in my path, lol, but seriously, I wouldn’t want people to think my life is perfect. I don’t do perfect. Never have. Hoping someday I will. Lol.
Work is routine and I can do it. Don’t get me wrong. Working with teenagers is never “easy.” In fact, if I told you what’s been happening at my school, you’d be like, “Seriously?” but at least there is predictability to my job – it’s always going to be unpredictable. I’ve done it for 20 years, and I kinda know how to handle it. Whereas the rest of my life, well, it’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster. Not that I would expect anything less, but I was kinda hoping. Crazy me!
So you know how they have those charts of how to measure when you have a lot of stress? And they have a list of things that might cause you stress like deaths, moving, new children, natural disasters, new jobs, etc. Yeah, I might have a few of those checked off. Let’s see:
*I’m retiring from my job after 20 years.
*I moved to a new house and town.
*I am trying to sell my other house in another town.
*I have ants in my new house.
*I have a two-year-old.
*I have a two-year-old who burned her hand on a garden tiller.
*I am commuting for the first time in 20 years.
*I am commuting with a 2-year-old.
*We have family functions every weekend till June.
*And, don’t forget, I am still employed, too.
Um, yeah, I think I might have some stress. In fact, let me assure you that if you see me, you can probably plan on me looking a little white-trashy with a cold sore or 5. That’s what stress does to me. But I know I’m not alone. EVERYBODY has stress! It seems to be a constant in our day and age, and I kinda hate that for all of us.
However, there are 2 saving graces to my week. One – I am going to see the Loop girls on Saturday and see horse racing for the first time ever! Secondly, even though I don’t need more to do, I am going to prep for one of my favorite holidays: May Day!
Why? You ask. Because the best way to get over yourself is to do something nice for someone else. Will it be full-scale? Probably not, but it will be something for at least a few. If you don’t know what May Day is or how much I love it, click here. Welcome to the magical world of a Happy May 1st in a world where we do too much working and complaining and not enough “loving thy neighbor.”
So if you are stressed and on the brink of insanity, pick up a basket or a bucket or a gift bag and shove that thing full of a little piece of happiness for the next guy.
Happy weekend, everybody!
Got a great May Day story for me? You have something good planned? Stressed out and have more on the list than me? Let’s here it, boys and girls!
So we are officially two weeks into living in our hometown again after 25 years in the ‘burbs. It’s kinda weird, but I’ve already realized a few of the reasons we are back on home turf, more than just raising our little girl in a small town and being close to the fam.
First off, I went to the locker in Hancock on Saturday, got me some dried beef and Colby cheese, drove back, went to Dollar General or “DG” as the locals call it lol, got my hooks to hold my hairdryer and was back home in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken me to even drive to Target, let alone shop and drive home! Oh, the efficiency! Yay!
Secondly, I’m outside Sunday trying to lasso my child back into the house when my former, I know better than to call her old, English teacher shows up at our door to welcome us home. Can I just mention how sweet that is? Now, I’m sure she has a few ulterior motives, but I’m game.
Third, a couple of nights ago, I had an actual conversation with my neighbors IN THEIR HOUSE! I have not hung out with neighbors just to shoot the sh** since I was in college. I feel like I should show up at their house with Domino’s pizza and Bahama Mama (if I could even find it) to celebrate!
Fourth, I went to pull out of my very soggy driveway yesterday morning and see a guy using a flashlight to look around on the ground in the cul de sac. No need to panic! As I suspected, he was simply gathering nightcrawlers! I love living in a place where people put a priority on fishing! Yes, ma’am.
Finally, I won some silent auction items at a Relay for Life event a couple of months ago in which I got babysitters for 3-hour blocks. I texted the first one this week to see if she might be available this weekend and she was! And she even sounded excited to babysit for us! Dude, if you have ever had a 2-year-old you know how damn happy that can make a person!
PS – we will be attending the Betterment Committee’s Murder Mystery Theater Saturday night if you’re interested, go here to buy tickets!
Seriously though, I will be honest and tell you that after it has rained every day for the entire time we have lived there and commuting, I was starting to have reservations… Starting to doubt my decision to load up and haul my hubby and baby out of the city. I may, or may not have, had a few meltdowns along the way, but I know in my heart, I was meant to be back home. Bon Jovi and I, we know these things. So here’s to my discovering even more great reasons to be home and here’s to all of you who continue to put up with me no matter where I live. Love you guys.
What great things have you realized once you moved? Or is there something you really love about small towns or the ‘burbs that you want to share? Are you mid-life-changes and got advice for me? Bring it on!