"That's Hockey, Mom"

My son is on a travel ice hockey team. He's played hockey for several years and it has been so much fun to watch him grow into a stronger player. Prior to my boy playing hockey, I knew nothing about the sport. It's been a slow process but I've been learning the more technical rules. Way to go Mom!

I understand that hockey is a contact sport. And I've had a few proud moments when my boy was sent to the penalty box (I never saw that pride coming). I've also had many Momma Bear moments where I get angry at some "punk kid" that is in your face aggressive towards my boy. I'm shocked at how common this is. My son is 11, he is not an NHL player...yet.

What disgusts me is how parents behave. Putting kids on the other team down and angrily arguing with the refs. I will admit to saying out loud, "even I know that was a penalty!" when the ref doesn't call an obvious penalty. I figure it's really bad if the novice hockey mom can see the penalty, so why wasn't it called?

It's no wonder the boys are so aggressive and physical. I don't think it's necessary for boys at this age to have to hold each other back to keep a fight from happening on the ice. If parents act this way, why wouldn't the kids act this way? I'm not saying the kids can't play hard. But why does it so often have to be motivated by malice?

This morning I read on the news that a dad was sentenced to 3 days in prison because he threatened to kill a ref after a game back in December. The man was said to be from a town about 2 hours away from our hometown. We could have played this team. The article mentioned this man's son played against the Junior Hershey Bears travel team the day he threatened the ref. My son belongs to this club. There are different levels based on age and ability but I know we played that club. It is very likely this man was at our game.

It is a game. Sports teach kids many good lessons that can be applied to life. Sports can be fun. Yes, it can get aggressive but why is it acceptable at such a young age? People always tell me, "it's hockey, Mom". So that makes it ok? I understand that a fight at a professional game is entertaining to some. But why are we teaching kids this is acceptable sportsmanship?

I do not believe it should be acceptable or normal behavior for kids or their parents. I'm not sure when the appropriate age for such aggressiveness would be. I think a lot of parents need to learn to control their behavior. They need to be reminded that we are there to support the players and watch as they grow in their ability to play the game they love.

What do you think? Is it simply a matter of "that's hockey, Mom" or is this a bigger problem?

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You Never Know Where the Path Will Take You

I graduated from college with a Bachelors degree. I was a substitute teacher for the first few years out of school. Then I stayed home with my kiddos for the next 9 years.

When I had to find work so I could support the kids and I, I was fighting an uphill battle. My resume outlined my accomplishments in the world of education. Then there was a 9 year gap with no "work related" experience. For several reasons, I knew I did not want to go back to teaching but I had nothing to help me find employment elsewhere.

I needed a job. I needed income. So I applied anywhere. Everywhere. I was not too proud for any job but I really did not want to work in retail. I thought working at a bank would be great because the schedule should work well enough with the kids' school schedule. But the phone never rang. I couldn't tell you how many applications I filled out. No response.

I finally got a call. Just one. It was to sell fine jewelry part time at a department store. I went to the interview and I accepted the job. There were definitely parts of this job I really enjoyed which was a plus. I loved being the opener. There was something about the quiet of the store as I emptied the safes and got my little part of the world organized for the day.

One day, I waited on a woman. While being the good retail worker I was, I asked if she was going to use her store card. She responded that she worked at a local bank and she was going to use her bank card. I turned to her and asked if they were hiring. She handed me her business card and told me to send her my resume. I took her card and handed her the items she had purchased. After she left, I couldn't help but think I had already applied to several banks with no response, why would this be different? I went home after my shift and thought nothing more of this exchange.

Two days later, my plans were cancelled. I was annoyed that my plans changed and didn't know what to do. So I decided to go ahead and email her my resume. It wasn't very long before I had an interview set up with a branch that was 10 minutes from my home. After the interview, I was offered the job. I was hired as a full time CSR (teller).

I loved being a CSR. I loved connecting to the regular customers. Hearing about their day, looking at pictures of the grandkids and being helpful overall. The surprising thing to me was that banking is heavily driven by sales. And I do not like sales.

I moved up very quickly at the bank, hired as a CSR, trained to be an FSR (account opener) and even became a loan officer with my very own NMLS number. But I was getting so tired of the constant push for opening CDs, opening credit cards and cold calls to get customers in the bank to open other products. Banking is a business so I understand the need for these things but they took the enjoyment out of my job and I knew I didn't want to do this forever.

So I interviewed to work in the billing office for a local healthcare company that has long term acute care, inpatient rehab hospitals as well as outpatient physical therapy clinics throughout the United States. I loved this job. Sometimes it was stressful but I loved this position. It was perfect for my personality. And it did not involve any sales. This was a full time job that I truly enjoyed. But it did not pay enough for me to support my little family. So I worked hard and kept my eyes open to other positions within this company. After all, I did have a college degree which should open some doors, right?

It's funny how things happen. A friend of mine from college moved his family into the area and we met up for dinner one night. As I sat there talking to his wife, I asked what she did for a living. I could not believe when she told me the company she worked for, because it was the same company I worked for. She was in another building on the same campus. I started asking about what she did and for a second I was interested. Then I realized it was an IS job and I know almost nothing about computers.

She said I should apply, so I sent on my resume. I figured the worst that could happen is they aren't interested and I still have a job I enjoy. I submitted my resume...and heard nothing. For weeks. When I returned from vacation, I had an email asking if I had taken the Epic test (you have to pass a logic test before you can interview). I responded I had not and was then scheduled to take the test.

This was the hardest test I've ever taken in my life. To my surprise, I got the call stating I passed and was asked if I wanted an interview. I was still unsure if I wanted an IS position but decided to take the next step forward. Even if they offered the job, I didn't have to accept it, right?

During the interview it struck me, one of my self proclaimed strengths is problem solving. If you had asked me a year ago, I would never have believed this about myself. But the job in the CBO taught me that not only am I problem solver but I feel great satisfaction from finding solutions.

I was offered the job and I accepted. Although, I was very nervous about this new twist in my career path. I was such a novice. I went to all my trainings. I passed all my tests and projects. And now I am an Epic Implementation Specialist. Some days I feel like I am catching on so slowly. Other days I feel so pumped because I feel like things are clicking into place. Most days I face challenges. But I am proud of what I do. Both facing the tough stuff as well as literally, what I do. I feel like what I do from my desk makes a difference in the patient experience and that feels good.

I never, ever saw myself working in such a technical field. But I am thrilled to be here. It feels like I've done a lot of job hopping since 2012 but as I sit here today, I'm amazed at what I've been able to accomplish in 3 1/2 short years. It seems each step of the way, I was taking a completely different path from the one before. Looking back, I needed each turn to be able to learn more about myself and gain the skills I would need for the next turn. I'm happy with where I am today. I hope to continue to grow and learn. My path has definitely not been straight. But it's led me to a very good place and for that I am grateful.

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Change is Hard

My kiddos are growing up. They are currently 9 and 11. As they grow, our family dynamic changes. It's supposed to change. But sometimes, it's very hard. I'm sure on all of us. But this time, it's hard for Mom.

I have my kids every other week. Friday evening until the next Friday morning. The week they are with their Dad, I look forward to my Friday with such eagerness. I've missed them so much it hurts at times. With the technology available today (FaceTime) it helps but it's not the same as being with them every day. So when I get them back, my heart breathes deep and all is well.

Until they get in the car and ask to go play at a friends house. Then I'm crushed. I know without a doubt they have missed me too. I know with certainty that it's normal to want to be with their friends. But I cannot help but feel so disappointed because I end up picking them up and running them to someone else's house.

I want them to have friends and I want them to want to be with me. All of which is normal but it doesn't make it suck any less.

I've considered saying Friday's are our special night. This way they don't ask to go. Which means I don't have to say no and be disappointed or say yes and miss out on the evening I've waited all week for. I worry this is selfish of me.

Change is hard. It is normal. But it isn't a bad thing. I'd love to hear any ideas or suggestions on how to get through this. I know I'm not the only Mom that has this struggle.

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5 Signs I'm Getting Old

The following is a short list of reasons I know I'm "getting old".

1. I just celebrated my 39th birthday. Although pushing 40 makes many people shutter, I'm happy to admit that I love birthdays and I don't feel like 40 is old, it just sounds old.

2. Many of my co-workers are fresh out of college. I graduated from college 16 years ago!

3. I drink a lot less coffee than I did 4 or 5 years ago. Not only do I drink less coffee, I no longer enjoy the flavored coffee or creamers. Please pass the regular coffee with a little sugar topped off with half and half and I'm a happy girl.

4. My son tends to speak in another language. No matter how hard I try to follow along, I often find I have no idea what he is saying and look around for a translator.

5. My hair is becoming more and more Sparkly. There are some people who choose to say they have gray hair but I choose to believe my hair is Sparkly. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Getting older is a privilege. I look forward to watching my kiddos grow into the adults they will become. I also look forward to the many adventures I will have as each year passes. Sometimes, I have the aches and pains that come with aging but for the most part I'm ready for each new day and I am going to enjoy all the little things along the way.

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Joy in the Journey

Joy in the Journey....

This is a little something I painted last year as a reminder. Life is tough. There is good and there is bad and everything in between. I'm not sure why I'm drawn to the image of dandelion "wishes" blowing in the wind, but I am. I'm not an artist but this little canvas makes me smile often.

Try to remember, there is joy in the journey.

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Looking for Advice...When to Tell Her

Easter is fast approaching. This year has been much easier to prepare for because last summer my younger Mini, at age 8 learned the Easter Bunny is not real. Not a real big deal, this revelation is a part of life right? Well she was shocked. She was mad. She turned to me and said, "You lied to me!" I felt like such a traitor and it was awful. I explained the Easter Bunny is fun for children but it is make believe. Now that we made it through the discovery, I'm not going to lie, it was great this year, that I didn't have to make the extra trips to the store to buy treats for the baskets, sans kids.

Fast forward a few months and she asked me if the Tooth Fairy is real. I was not going to lie to her so I explained the Tooth Fairy is also not real. To my relief, she was not too upset over learning this fact. All kids eventually learn these truths. My baby knowing the real story is a sign my kiddos are growing up and that is a little sad. With that said, this Tooth Fairy was relieved that the nights of climbing into bed, beginning to relax and then shooting out of bed because I forgot to leave the money and take the tooth are now behind me.

The only one left is Santa. Any my girl does not want to know about the Man in Red. This past Christmas, I flirted with the truth to test her reactions. She wants nothing to do with the truth. Time and time again, she emphasized her belief. I think deep down, she does know but she wants to believe. So when should I say the words? She will be 10 years old this year. Part of me feels if she wants to believe, let her. But a huge part of me is afraid of her reaction when she accepts the truth. After the anger over the Easter Bunny Betrayal, this Momma is scared. I don't want her to be the last to know. But I also don't want her to give up the last of her innocent childhood beliefs.

When do you think will be the best time to break the news?

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Ready to Write Again

Every day, on Facebook, I get an "On This Day" notification. I don't remember how I started getting this notification but I really enjoy it. Most of the time. Every once in a while, I get a reminder of days I've put behind me and would be happy to forget about. More days than not though, I see adorable pictures I posted of my kiddos over the years and I smile at the memories while I wonder where the years have gone. I also see old posts from Java Talk. I have found myself reading these posts. And each time, I have been surprised by how much I miss writing.

My life is still full of daily lessons. I am still learning so much about myself and the world around me. So I'm just going to do it...I'm going to get back to writing Java Talk. It's going to be different because my life today is nothing like the years when I began this blog. I hope you will take a few minutes and follow along.

As I mentioned, life for me is very different today. And if you ask me, that's for the better. I have a career, I balance a budget and pay my own bills. My kiddos are becoming more and more independent and continue to amaze me in new ways. I am in a healthy relationship where I am valued and accepted as I am. And I have an overall contentment with where I find myself today and the people who are in my life.

My depression is a memory. I have no idea if the darkness is gone forever or just for now but I'm changed because of it. I have lived through what I hope are my darkest days and I see things so differently today. Mostly, I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my success. As a woman. As a mother. As a professional. I'm thankful for life, for every day I get to experience. Not every day is great but it is a new day that I am privileged to have and for that I am thankful. I'm thankful for good health, mine as well as my loved ones.

I used to think my life was busy but my life now is a whole new level of busy. There are no more play dates, now we are off to the barn or the ice hockey rink. Now I have my kids only every other week. Now I live in two homes as we work to combine two families. Now I work full-time. Now my house isn't spotless and I don't always cook from scratch. But now I know the woman in the mirror so much better. I am better able to balance the many things of this life that pull me in so many directions. My life has definitely changed and there are still so many things for me to learn and share and I am going to do this through Java Talk.

I'm excited about this new journey, both in my life as well as with Java Talk. Thank you for reading this post. Please read, comment and join me on this adventure.

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