Nadine on Blended Families ~ a “How to” to succeed

Nadine on Blended Families…How to succeed.

We all either have one or we know someone close to us that has a blended family.

My first exposure was when my parents divorced. I was twenty-one years old. And my Daddy took on a newborn. At the same time my Mother married into a family with 4 children, who felt like cousins, since I had known them all since birth.

So there I sat…in the middle. An only child to ‘my’ parents; and, all of a sudden I had 5 siblings! What?

At the time of the blendings, I felt more like a Cousin or an Aunt than a Sister to these kiddos! I was twenty-one. And we all adjusted pretty well to this new wave of blended families.

Even with the demographic change I never called them anything other than brother or sister. For me there was no ‘Step’ or ‘Half’.

A number of years later my Daddy added one more sister to the count. She was four at the time. I was twenty-seven. Bringing the count to 6.

And then a Really strange thing occurred when Mawdine’s husband found his long lost daughter from Pennsylvania. The count now was/is up to 7!!!

Seven siblings and only one that I actually share DNA with. But guess what?! They are all mine. Because I made them mine. Because I choose Not to differentiate between blood lines.

When we talk about each other or make introductions we don’t call each other ‘step’ or ‘half’. We are just brothers and sisters.

And I don’t make a differentiation between my Mother’s husband either. When we make introductions…he’s just my Dad. People who know me well know the truth of the relation. And people who don’t know us well, don’t care.

When Jose’ and I blended our families we had a fourteen year old, a sixteen year old and an eighteen year old. Yes! I would say we were very brave in that adventure. And we sat them all down in the beginning and told them up front, “You are all brothers and sisters.” The End. They refer to each other as brother and sister. We also told them it was us against them in any argument or battle. Don’t even think about asking Momma if Daddy said no.

It’s all how you set up the model.

You too can succeed at blending if you give your new spouse the authority that goes along with their position in your family. Or you can fail if you don’t. Their authority in the blend must be the same as any other parent the child may have. By handing your new spouse their Parent Card you will establish an order. You will set them up to succeed. This is probably the most important part of the blend. And it will prevent your blended children from dividing you.

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt…twice.

Blendedly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

Nadine’s Free Advice Friday ~ 07/20/18

Nadine’s Free Advice Friday ~ 07/20/18

It’s FREE! As in No Charge. Nada. Doesn’t cost you one single thing. As head Queen of the Trailer Park and the Self-Appointed Life Coach to many, this is just another service I provide. Remember yesterday’s? …Embarrassing my kids and Grandkids.

So this week’s Free Advice is this: USE YOUR GIFTS! 🎁

Simple enough. Embrace your uniqueness and your marvelous ability to dazzle the world with your talents. Or your bullshit. Whatever…because your talents are a gift to you from God and the Universe; and they, like all gifts, were NOT bestowed upon you to hoard for yourself like a fat kid hoards Twinkies! They were explicitly given to you to use for the good of others.

Essentially, your gifts are your super powers.

And here is the rest of the advice…You better use them lest they be taken away from you for misuse or disuse.

And stop whining you didn’t get to choose them. (rolls eyes)

Here’s the good news. You can hone them and tweak them and make them your own. In fact! God, the Universe and I encourage you to do so.

Maybe your gift is cooking for the masses like my Uncle Hooter-Bob? Or my sweet Aunt Cuisine? Or my sister Grenadine? So then Cook dammit! You just get in there and make your magic in the kitchen or out on the grill! And then give that food away to people around you! You may want that triple chocolate cake. But you probably don’t need to eat all of it. #NotFatShaming Share the love. You feel me?

Maybe your gift is the creative arts. You sing baby? Can you sing like my baby sisters Kerosene and Grenadine? Then sing. Sing at church. Sing in a local choir. Join a women’s/men’s group as they are everywhere! You can act? Ok…go join the local Community Theater or volunteer at the High School. You can dance? Oh heck yeah! Go find a place where you can entertain or teach others your skill. And if you are a Triple Threat, like my sweet little Dramamine, then definitely get up off of your assets and go do you Boo! Or maybe you write? Or you should write? What does Uncle Chuckie always say? “Writers gotta Write!” @ChuckWendig @TerribleMinds.com. The world is craving your talents. It can’t live without them.

Maybe you are like Jose’ and can contact a Satellite with a colander, a potato masher and a car battery? Great! Go do that technical thing that makes you and other people happy.

Maybe you’re a Mom? A Dad? A Cook? An Organizer? A Coach? A Teacher? A Nurse? A Granny? A Tinker? A Tailor? A Soldier? A Spy? I don’t know. But you do. So figure it out.

Because this life is too dang short. And your skills and talents are valuable in ways more than the dollar. It is the ‘Why?’ we are here. You keep wondering why we are here? It IS THE “Why?”.

Make a plan for this coming week. Do that thing that you can do a little each and every day. Because if tomorrow never comes at least you can rest your head tonight knowing you did your best thing today. What are you waiting for?!

Advisingly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

Coffee talk…with Nadine ~ Talk is Cheap

Coffee talk…with Nadine

Talk is cheap.

Anybody’s brains ever go from, “Hey, sweetie, maybe you shouldn’t say that?” to “What, the hell! Let her rip tater chip! Let’s see what kind of rise we can get out of them today?” Yeah. Me neither.

Anybody ever let their mouths write checks their butts can’t cash? Right. Me neither.

Some might say, “She’s lost her filter.” Or “She’s getting a little crazier with age.”

But maybe it isn’t crazy. Or like Ouiser, in Steel Magnolias, “in a very bad mood for the last forty years.” Maybe it is just putting the truth out there. For fun!

We have an underlying understanding here in the Trailer Park by the Sea…and that is, ‘don’t go dishing it out if you can’t take it.’ If you blaze a trail by saying everything off the top of your head then you might better expect the same truths in reciprocity. If you find yourself inclined to speak your mind, please don’t be mean spirited about it. You can’t go around being mean and not expect some of it to splatter back. Being mean will also get you kicked out of the trailer park. Anybody remember Fayline?

Rule #1 is don’t be mean in the first place. Also, don’t say stuff you don’t mean. Keep it to yourself.

Like Chaco the Macho Chihuahua advises, “Talk Purty. Says [sic] nice words.” Choose your words wisely. Speak them with very good intentions. Because you never know when people are listening to your crazy ass. And you might find yourself eating them…without ketchup!

And watch your body language. It speaks louder than your words. Body language should be consistent with your words; or, people just won’t trust you. Any Trailer Park Momma knows that.

Sometimes it hurts biting your tongue all the time. I know this!

But a little self-sacrifice can be worth it. Trailer Park Mommas raise their children to be seen and not heard. A character trait the dates far back to the early child development Trailer Park years. And tongue-biting is just one of many genteel southern behaviors modeled. With or without ostentatiousness.

It isn’t until the last half of the century when the filters become less dense and things just get said. Out loud.

But you don’t have to say everything that is in your mind. As Mawdine often reminds, “You don’t have to use all of your words today. It’s ok to save a few for tomorrow.”

Tongue-bitingly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

Coffee talk…with Nadine

Just where DO you park your high horse?

Once, in fun, I posed that very question on social media. One of my witty friends snappily replied, “Any damn place I want to!”. She made us all laugh at the pure irony.

I ask that question now in all seriousness; because, it appears to me, most of us are not a big fan of being judged. It is a common thread that binds us all. Similar to family ties, just not as binding or choking. And nothing compares to that lethal judgement that can be dispensed by us Trailer Park Mommas.

Being pulled up short is never fun.

No one likes being judged; and yet, we all judge others. And the people who HATE being judged are the ones I see doing it with increasing frequency. Sometimes for the slightest little things! Why is that?

Here’s my theory.

It is our little ethnocentric trailer parks’ nature to look at someone else’s flaws and place an invisible measuring stick against our own; and, if their transgressions are even a tad bit worse than ours, then we feel a little but better about ourselves (points finger at self).

We have all been there. Looking across the street and thinking to ourselves…Well, we might not have the newest trailer in the park, but at least we’ve got underpinning! Yeah?

Or how about this one…Well, at least all 6 of my rug rats have the same Baby Daddy!

Or…My black roots may be coming in, but not as much as hers! Giirrrllllll?! Stop spending money smoking that dang vape and go and get your har-did! Ring familiar?

Finally, my personal favorite and ever popular…Well, at least I have only had to get my husband out of jail once so far this year!

Am I right? Of course I am. We are all so busy riding on our little high horses that we fail to empathize with those of us less fortunate.

Our eyes are so blinded by the log in them. Don’t you see?

(Pun intended.)

In the trailer park we try to maintain a high standard of being non-judgmental. Emphasis on the word ‘try’. Because we are human. And we do not always get it right. Most of the time we don’t get it right. But we keep aiming.

Maybe we have crawled up there and can’t remember how to get down?

It IS easy to be the critic. It is easier to arm-chair quarter back than to actually play in the game.

Here’s a suggestion…instead of being so darn judgmental let us come together and be a little kinder. Show some compassion. Put a hand out. Crawl back down off that high horse we have been riding.

Even if we think they don’t deserve it.

Judgmentally yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎

Coffee talk…with Nadine

Coffee Talk…with Nadine

~ The importance of choosing wise mentors ~

Raise your hand if you have at least five personal mentors. (raises hand enthusiastically)

I am so grateful to have such a blessing of in-laws and out-laws who are willing to mentor me on a regular basis. Their advice is not only sage, it is priceless! Seriously, there is no price tag you could ever place on the following advice:

“Never underestimate the power of a hissy fit.” ~ Glowdine

“You don’t have to make a lifetime decision in the next five minutes.” ~ Mawdine

“Eat some Chocolate. Here! I’ve made you a ho-made mayonnaise cake. From scratch.” ~ Cuisine

“I think we need to go ride.” ~ Ohmedine

“Let ‘em! Just let ‘em go!” ~ Quiserdine

See what I mean? Sage. And we are not talking about the spice.

Each one of the trailer park queens above have given me countless tips over the years about life and the culinary arts. Without their advice how could this blog be possible? And how else could we have a trailer park test kitchen?…with a cookbook in the making.

My mentors are all wonderful examples of fine trailer park Mommas and their wisdom goes waaaaay beyond their years. Their advice has made it possible for me to succeed in life, love and careers.

Whenever I find myself in a pickle I can call upon any one of them to bounce an idea around. And they never steer me wrong.

Here is the main point…YOU need at least 2-5 people like that in your life. Because if you are navigating this life course relying solely on your own wits, or those of your best friend, you may find yourself twirling in circles. And that’s not good. Not good for you or any other lives you may be responsible for.

When making your mentor selections make sure you consider a few things.

Be careful in your selection.

Do choose mentors who Don’t always tell you what you want to hear. Those people are literally called ‘friends’. They mean well. Instead, choose people who will kindly tell you the truth, in love. With Your best interest at heart.

Do make sure you have more than one mentor so you will have multiple sources. It is good to have a few options to consider when making major life decisions.

Do take a look at their own past track record of success…and/or learn from their mistakes. This one is very valuable.

Do use the time you need to reflect on their advice. Do not be in a hurry.

And here’s the advice from me…”Before you speak or commit…Do your own research and roll it around. Give anything that is important at least 24 hours of consideration before you make your decision.” Write it out in a piece of paper…pros vs. cons. And then pray about it.

Unless it is making a decision about black shoes…then go to the store and try on 3-4 that you like in your size. Pick the one best pair. Buy them and leave the store knowing you made a good selection. Obviously this story has a back story…for another time!

How do you know a mentor is great? You will know they are great because they don’t tell you what to do…they show you how it’s done. They all know that the best part of life is not keeping sound wisdom to themselves…it is pouring that wisdom into others. Without my mentors I would be lost…twirling and spinning in my own trailer park! I am grateful God has blessed me with five.

Thankfully yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

As The Trailer Park Twirls ~ The Terrible Toothache

As The Trailer Park Twirls ~ The Terrible Toothache

In the trailer park there live a variety of people.

Some of them are stubborn.

One such people is a grumpy old navy bird who shall, for now, remain nameless. All I’ll say is he is married to my sweet Saint of a Momma, Maw-dine. And he has a toothache.

In the feeble attempt to offer as much homeopathic medical advice and expertise as I can legally, and just a few seconds short of the ‘have you tried the pillow treatment?’, they have arrived at the ‘lets call the provider’ option. A treatment option that was suggested almost 24 hours ago! Go figure.

In the trailer park we already know that ‘I told you so!’ has a brother and his name is ‘Shut the Hell up!’ What we didn’t know until just now is he has some cousins, ‘Coulda,’ ‘Woulda,’ and ‘Shoulda.’ And they play a starring role in this episode of As The Trailer Park Twirls.

Just a mere 24 hours ago it was humbly suggested they ‘could have’ called the provider. He refused. It was also suggested that he ‘would have’ considered using an over the counter anti-inflammatory and an ice pack to the affected area. He refused. And finally, it was suggested that he ‘should have’ gone to the emergency clinic on Friday afternoon instead of mowing the back forty!!! He refused and alas, our heroine was ignored on all three counts.

While the main character of this episode continues to suffer…and she is so sweet and such a good and sympathetic nurse…the supporting character remains dug in.

So, after 36 years of married bliss she knows enough to give him a kitchen pass and just let him stubbornly suffer and come to his own decision to seek medical intervention…all by himself.

A Saint that Maw-dine is!

One thing for sure…Toddlers, Teenagers, and Geri’s all have in common is given a choice between a viable option and an adverse one they will finally…on their own… come to the right choice!

Mother to Toddler, “Do you want to pick up all of your toys? Or do you want a spanking?”

Parent to Teenager, “Do you want to clean your room/do your homework/change into an outfit that is more appropriate for church? Or do you want to give me your I-pad/cell phone/car keys?”

Wife to Stubborn Spouse,

“Do you want to go to the Doctor? Or do you want to continue to suffer and die here alone while I step out to go shopping/play bridge/see a movie?”

Easy-peasy really. It’s all in how you word it.

As our heroine considers the ‘pillow treatment’ and the ‘Jackie Gleason treatment’ as her final options to ease her pain and put him out of her misery, she has humbly asked for prayer.

God bless Maw-dine!

I’m praying on it. Y’all please pray too!

Twirlingly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎

Meet Nadine’s Trailer Park Family

Meet Nadine’s Trailer Park Family

Who was Hooter-Bob?

There once lived a man who was the most Renaissance man I have ever had the fortune to know. His street name was Hooter-Bob. He had street creed. And Cooking for the Masses was his super power.

He had a lot of super powers back in the day when super powers were abundantly distributed to one person. Nowadays, people are lucky to have one, maybe two. Hooter-Bob had many.

He could take a 1950 A-D Chevrolet Loadmaster, 261, 3-on-the-tree apart and put it back together. He machined his own replacement parts. He could hunt, clean and cook his own kill. He served gratuitously in the U.S.Army during Vietnam. He was hilariously funny. He was educated, book smart, street smart and he was well-read. He had a head so large that all of his hats had to be custom made. And a heart that was even larger.

Everything he ever cooked that Anyone ever ate was the best they had ever had. If he made BBQ chicken, then it truly was the Best BBQ Chicken you had ever had.

If he made brisket, then it was the Best brisket you had ever eaten.

And IF he made RIBS!!! Oh Praise God and pass the Ammunition!!! They WERE the very BEST ribs you had ever eaten in your entire life! Not kidding. His food was famous.

But, Hooter-Bob didn’t have a restaurant; he just had an early trailer park test kitchen. He would cook in his test kitchen, package it up, load it up and then deliver to his friends. Yeah. He did that. All the time.

And the side dishes? He could make a side dish better than any Baptist Pastor’s wife. And in half the time!

He could do things with a casserole dish that would make an entire ladies auxiliary stand at the ready with forks in hand just to gather around the dish for one bite!

Desserts? He could do those too! Homemade, name your fruit, cobblers…With!!…homemade ice cream. Just looking at them made your mouth water.

But the very BEST thing that Hooter-Bob created in his Trailer Park test kitchen were Hooter-Bob Burgers. Delicious. Nutritious. And just damn messy. The secret, he claimed, was in the sauce. But anyone, who knew him well, knew it wasn’t the sauce at all. It was the love.

You see, Hooter-Bob loved food alright. But he loved people even more. And he spread that love through the gift of food. It was his primary super power.

Reminiscingly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your Very BEST friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

Nadine’s Free Advice Friday

Free Advice Friday

A letter

***Note from the editor***

MAY CONTAIN ADULT LANGUAGE

~Sorry Maw-dine

Dear ANNOYING Teacher-Colleague in my most recent professional development class,

Just a few suggestions for you as we co-attend a summer workshop intended for everyone to interact and learn from each other in a professional setting.

Seriously. Don’t make me cut you because my Momma, Maw-dine, says she doesn’t have enough bail money.

1- Please do not feel as if you are the only person in the room who has questions. It is ok to leave a few questions for others to ask. Really it is. Please also consider that the Instructor might just cover that information later on in the presentation. Do hold your questions for the end of the session.

2- It is also ok to only ask one question.

3- While we are on questions…Please do not continue to ask questions when the instructor has already told the group we will be getting out early for the day! If you want to stay and ask 1,000+ questions be our guest. Jesus! Mary! And Joseph!!! Just f-ing shut up already so the rest of us can leave.

4- When assigned to small groups it is ok to allow the other group members to participate in the work. However, it is NOT ok to silently write out the project and then shove your idea to the center of the table and proclaim “Here! This is what we are doing! Now, pay attention!” I swear this one almost put me over the homicidal line.

5- In a room full of Alpha Males and Females (we are that way for a very good reason…we are all teachers) it is professionally wise to share the spotlight. You are not the only one doing work here. Please stop presenting to the large group that you are the only one working or I will make good on my promise above.

6- Please do not try to teach the class. Dear God, we are all professional teachers here! But only one of us should be the workshop teacher. And surprise!!! It is not you!

7- Please do not try and shame or belittle the rest of us with your Strongly held opinion during a group exercise where we stood next to our Strongly Agree-Agree-Neutral-Disagree-Strongly Disagree signs based on opinions. When in Rome…just follow the directions and do like everyone else does by stating your group’s opinion in one sentence. Group exercises are not the place for your soap box dissertations. And don’t be patronizing. Because you suck at it.

8- Please STOP having chronic sidebar conversations.

9- Please STOP re-verbalizing everything the workshop instructor is saying.

10- Please do not be THAT person. You know the annoying know-it-all who asks too many questions, holds the class from dismissal, is bossy, presents like a martyr, tries to take over the class, is belittling and shaming of others’ opinions, chronically talks and re-verbalizes everything the instructor says…In a word…STFU!

Advisingly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

P.S. And please do not crush your plastic water bottles while the Instructor is talking. Thanks in advance.

Preparation is Key

Preparation has several meanings. It can mean planning ahead, making ready for, being prepared or it can even mean a ‘concoction’ or substance. I know what you’re thinking. You went straight from zero to Preparation H didn’t you? That is NOT where I am going with this.

An old phrase comes to mind when I hear that word. It is a line from the poem “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns : “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

What DOES that mean in layman’s terms? Or in English for that matter?

It means that many times the plans we have made, the make ready or the concoctions we have conjured up might not work out as we planned them.

They might not. Do not be discouraged…

…because, they might work out…just not with the outcome we expected. And that is ok. I correlate plans that do not work with ‘Divine Sparkle’. And we have absolutely no control over that.

Usually if it is easy…it will go quickly and without a hiccup. This is how ‘you know’.

You may be, like me, one to never hold back from walking through a door that was opened. I’ve never held back! And if the door was closed then you might go on and crawl through the window (read, many times)! Sigh.

Just know that sometimes the door may be closed for a really good reason. Pay attention. Or you will just keep walking into the door and you will hurt yourself.

The best laid plans might not work out. One day you will be grateful. And you will understand it was for a very good reason.

Which is why you should be in preparation. For your future. Be ready. Have a backup plan for things to come. Because the best laid plans of mice and men can and do work out with a plan B…C… or D.

Preparationally yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎

Summer Mind Detoxification

Summer Mind Detoxification

Hello! Welcome to the seventeenth day of summer with drizzly skies and promises of indoor activities or maybe a trip to the local Book Shop. Possibly a chance to snuggle on the couch under a quilt and watch an old movie or two? Or maybe reading a novel until we slip off to a dreamy sleep.

Very much the opposite of the sixteenth day of summer where it was sunny and warm. Longing and remembering the first day of summer? Remember that first day of the season that you really feel warm? (big heaving sigh)That deliciousness when you lay or sit in the sunshine for the first time of the season and you can literally ‘feel’ your bones thawing from the inside out? Yes. That.

Welcome.

And while there may be that errant bug that lands on the part of your back that you can’t reach… and as long as he doesn’t bite you really don’t mind as you reach for your book and a sip of frosty deliciousness in your new plastic beach-proof martini glass.

The first days of summer always make me reminiscent of riding bicycles or swimming till dark thirty. And laying in the grass absent mindedly pulling St. Augustine from the lawn, blade by blade, while talking to your BFF for hours. Yes. That too.

Relaxing times spent in hammocks and wonderful novels. The aromatic smell of ribs cooking on the BBQ grill.

Welcome.

Peace of mind.

All IS right in your world.

While the coming of Spring is filled with new birds calling, cleaning out and planting of gardens and flowers and intermittent rain showers…Summer is full of birds at play, gardens and flowers in full bloom, glorious sunshine and walks on the beach at dark thirty.

Welcome Summer.

Glad you keep coming back! Rain or shine.

Radiantly yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎