Thoughtful Thursday – Your Tongue

My mom quit working when I was born.  One reason was because she and my father decided having her at home with me was something they were willing to sacrifice her income to achieve.  Another reason was because my dad was a street cop at the time, which required him to change shifts every few weeks – 3 weeks on days, 3 weeks on evenings, 3 weeks on nights.   My mother was very, very good at protecting our family time.  While I remember having to be quiet during the weeks that dad worked nights, I rarely remember feeling like my dad’s schedule interfered in our time as a family.  I am sure that took a lot of work by both of them.   I know that they both sacrificed a lot to ensure that I was able to benefit from their undivided attention. 

My question is how were they able to do that?  I look at my life, at that of my girls, and my husband.  Financially, there is no way to have me stay at home, given the fact that I carry the benefits for the family.  But how can I ensure that the girls benefit from undivided attention, that they don’t feel lost in the business of daily life? 

I am trying to adjust my schedule to be available for them.

I make sure that either I or Hubby is available to be at their activities (such as Girl Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, VBS, etc).

I demand an evening a week where we have either a family game night or family movie night. 

I attempt to cook meals and insist that we sit down as a family for dinner a minimum of 4 nights a week. 

But one thing that gets lost in there is time for me and time for my marriage.  How do I meet everyone’s needs?

One way is to follow my dad’s advice -

Put the tip of my tongue on the roof of my mouth and say “NO”

But that is often easier said than done. 

There are so many expectations….

I found this article very helpful.  She discusses not only what saying no means, but also what saying yes means as well. 

At this, the beginning of the new year and filling in of new calendars, I am going to commit to looking at not only what I say yes to, but also what I will be saying no to in that yes.  I commit to being much more intentional in my schedule. 

How about you? Are you going to place your tongue at the roof of your mouth and say NO?

Wacky Wednesday – Goals, Gifts and Memories

Goals

Yesterday I posted about a new goal that I am starting.  I even bragged that I had started a new habit.  Do you know how I know I have a new habit?  Do you even want to know?  Sure you do.

I use an online program called HabitForge.  It is a free program that allows you to set up your desired habit.  The program will then send you an e-mail each day asking if you followed-thru the day before.  It then has a little diagram showing how well you are doing.   I am one that loves to mark things off (to-do lists are my specialty, though I do have issues actually working them).  Being reminded each day keep me on track.  At the end of 21 days you have the option of continuing getting reminders for the next 3 weeks or ending it.

Gifts

No, this part is not about Christmas, or even about gifts for just me.  This is about the gift we can give our children – the gift of our time.   Kat over at Inspired to Action wrote about how to be a rock star to your children with 30 minutes and pink tablecloth.

Then she asked for readers to tell her things we do to become rock stars to our own children.  I submitted a few ideas.  Not only did she use them in her next article, Be A Rockstar…Today, but she even mentioned my name!  I feel like a celebrity!  She has 128 different ways to be a rockstar with your kids.  Check it out!  It really does not take much – but it means so very much to your child, and to your own heart.

Memories

The rest of this post is devoted to my youngest daughter and her First Mom.  Today our family celebrates that God blessed the world with the gift of our youngest daughter.  It is a bittersweet day for me and probably for her as she grows up.   I pray for everyone who ever was and is currently in her life. (Written last year on her birthday)

Misty weather in the low to mid 50s.

No indoor heat.

Labor pains.

The final push.

A girl – a healthy, perfect baby girl – lots of dark hair, little button nose, chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes.

A decision to be made within the next 48 hours. Not enough time to know who this little person was who had been growning inside her for 9 months.

Did she want to know this little person or was it easier to not know?

Does she cry for her little girl as her little girl cries for her years later?

Does she wonder about the woman who is raising her child as I wonder about her?

Does she wonder how her daughter tilts her head when thinking, or how she skips when she on her way to do something, or her ability to figure out math problems and sound out words?

Does she wonder what her giggle sounds like when her neck is nuzzled?

Does she share a love for all things pink and lavender with her daughter?

Today, as we celebrate with milk shakes after church, our table will filled not only with those of us laughing, but also by the shadow people – the people who gave her the precious gift of life, the people who live in the background only because we don’t know who they are and how to draw them out of the shadows and into the light of the love of our family, but more importantly, into the light of her eyes. They will probably forever live in the shadows because of circumstances beyond their control and our control – the victims of the politcal machine that controls the fate of so many in EBs birth country.

So today I send out prayers for the family who has no idea who this child has become, for the family that had to make a decision that I cannot even hope to comprehend from my warm and comfortable house in a country that does not have the same social, political, and filial pressures as theirs. I pray for peace in their hearts and in the heart of our little girl, for while she lives in my house, calls me Mama, loves me as unconditionally as I love her, she is not just mine, but theirs as well. I will say prayers of thanksgiving that they chose to bring this little girl into the world when her life could easily have been snuffed out.

Our little girl has so much to offer this world of ours. She is incredibly smart. She has a wickedly funny sense of humor. She is sassy. She is loving and giving. She is physically beautiful – saucy eyes, soft hair, long, strong limbs. She has a gentle heart, though it is often hidden by her childish desire to ALWAYS get her way. She loves to avoid manual labor, but will work for hours on an art project. She knows how to push her sister’s buttons and drive her crazy, but will staunchly defend her if someone is picking on her. There is so much of all 4 of her parents in her it is impossible to separate the characteristics that each of us have given her. Together we are creating and molding such a sensitive, wonderful young girl.

So when the flicker of the candles’ light illuminate EB’s face as she makes her wish over her cake, I know I will catch a fleeting glimpse of those people standing in the shadows. Maybe one day the light will reach far enough that they can step out of the shadows and we can fully share and enjoy this miracle that is our daughter.

 

 

Motivation Monday – Disagreement

Today’s quotes obtained from Book of Famous Quotes.

If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secrete of getting along — whether it be business, family relations, or life itself.
Bernard Meltzer

When you run into someone who is disagreeable to others, you may be sure he is uncomfortable with himself; the amount of pain we inflict upon others is directly proportional to the amount we feel within us.
Sidney J. Harris

Boxing gloves

Image via Wikipedia

I understand that many times people do not have the same opinions that I do.   I recognize that opinions are difficult to express constructively, especially in writing.  Writing often lacks “tone”, which can make words appear to mean one thing when they are actually supposed to convey a totally different meaning.   I spend a lot of time reading and re-reading posts on several of the blogs I follow, just to make sure that I am not misunderstanding what people are saying.   I then hesitate, many times,  to make comments, for fear that what I am trying to convey will be lost or misinterpreted.

This month  is “National Adoption Awareness Month”.   As I understand it, the month was originally set aside to make the public aware of the many children whose first parents’ rights have been terminated and are in need of a stable,  permanent family life.  It has now taken on a life of its own and is used to advocate and glorify all adoption.   I am going to go out on a limb here and say that adoption can be a wonderful thing.   It can be a blessing for everyone involved.  That is not saying that adoption is not painful.  It is.  It is based on loss.  The loss of the very first relationship a human knows – the mother/child relationship.  Sometimes it is also created through the loss caused by infertility on the part of the adoptive parents.  For every family affected by adoption there is a different story.

Many of the blogs that I read are adoption related.  I read them for support – to hear that other people are going through some of the same things that I am going through.  I read them for education – how other families are coping with certain issues, how adult adoptees feel, how first mothers feel.  I read them just for the joy of reading about children.  But this month makes me tired.  This seems to be the month where everyone weighs in with their opinion of adoption.  But they don’t just weigh in, they attack.  They attack like bullies on the school playground.  Their very important messages get lost in the dust of name calling, accusations, and prejudices.  I have found even the most even toned blogs become rancid during this month.  It is not that I don’t think each person is entitled to their opinion.  It is how that opinion is presented.   These opinions do not foster dialogue, they do not provoke thought.  In fact, the people who write don’t even have the common decency to own their own opinions.  They state their opinions as fact.   And while the writers have knowledge about their personal stories, they don’t have any knowledge of my story, or of my daughters’ stories.  Yet they appear to  feel they have the right to speak for or make judgments on  everyone.  And for that reason, I pity them.  I used to try to understand.  But I can’t even do that anymore.  I pity them that they seem to carry so much pain that they can’t see anything else but their hurt.  I pity them that they present themselves as having been so stunted in their emotional growth that they can’t begin to constructively work towards change.  So many of them  scream and drown each other out, they don’t or can’t hear the whispers of those who want to create lasting change in the adoption system.

So here are my guidelines for blogging – they are the same rules my husband and I have used for 20 years to communicate.

  • Use “I” statements and be responsible for your own opinions and feelings.
  • Don’t drag up things from the past.  Talk about the present issue.
  • Don’t make generalizations – speak only about that which you have personal knowledge.
  • Don’t put words in someone’s mouth, and don’t assume what the other person is feeling/thinking.
  • Refrain from name calling of any type.
  • Stop talking long enough to listen.
  • Listen twice – once with your head and once with your heart.
  • Take a deep breath before starting to speak.  If unable to speak softly and gently take another breath.  Continue breathing until the words can whispered.  Volume does not improve the listener’s comprehension.
  • Remember that once the words are spoken/written, they are forever.
  • Choose battles wisely.
  • Remember that saying “I’m sorry” or “You are right” is a sign of strength, not of weakness.  Humbly accepting those words is as difficult as saying them.
  • Agreeing to disagree is not losing, it is acknowledging another person’s uniqueness and is an opportunity for honest dialogue without the competition of “winning”.

 

In this world of  “rights” and “freedom of speech”  it seems our society has forgotten how to be nice and play fair.   We have become a group of people who believe our individual rights take precedence over that of anyone else.  We no longer look for the common good.  What I see are people saying or doing “something for the good of others” as an excuse to say or do hurtful things.   What would happen if  everyone took a minute and thought about  what they would feel if what they wrote was directed back at themselves?  Somehow I think the blogosphere might be a little kinder, with a lot less garbage floating around in it.

 

 

Setback

OK – I won’t say failure, though I am fairly sure that is what I currently am regarding my intentional movement goal. That is, unless 3 games of Candy Land and polishing the 10 fingers and 10 toes of a 6-year-old count. That was my evening yesterday – oh, and listening to her read her homework to me.
Today I am not doing much better. I got 4 minutes of movement – the amount of time it took to walk the girls to the bus stop and then walk back home. 2 minutes were uphill, though. That should count for something!

Ellen over at Fat Girl Wearing  Thin talked about exercising today.  Her description of trying different exercise videos is priceless.   She has a recommendation on there.  I will have to check it out, since I don’t like to exercise, especially when other people see me sweat and turn all red and attempt to suck in breath.

So tonight I am going to rest and address this challenge again tomorrow.

Have a great night everyone!

 

Pillows are so friendly!

3.365 - Not a morning person

Well, it has been several days now.  I will tell you that getting up is not getting much easier.  My pillows are so friendly in the morning.  They cry out for me not to leave them.

I am committed to doing this, though!

Pam In Missouri commented:

Did you see what was on the ITA (Inspired to Action) site yesterday? I love her comment about the morning not needing to be the

main time for praying, exercising, or planning. I struggle with an idealized version of what mornings should look like versus what really happens for this night owl/non-morning person.

I was very glad to have seen that post, as well.  I am, by nature, a night-owl.  But I really do need to change that for the well-being of my family.  The hardest part is trying to force myself to get to bed on time.   I also have to remember that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I have been doing this less than 7.

I am headed down to help get my oldest motivated to finish her homework and then spend some time with Hubby, then off to bed on time!

Walk with me!

Welcome Fellow Seekers -

I am on a journey.

It is a journey of discovery.

I want to discover  how to recognize God’s gifts that are found during moments in my day.  I want to slow down so that I see them, savor them, and be thankful for them.  I want to store those gifts in my heart so that I can pull them out when I need them – to ponder, to admire, to recognize God’s hand.

But right now – I can’t.

Right now my house is over-flowing with clutter.  I can’t enjoy the loveliness of my house and the special items I cherish because it is hidden by unimportant junk.

Right now my children are out of control (not really, but it feels like it). I can’t set up the routine that I know they crave because I can’t figure out what to do first.

Right now my body is neglected – I don’t eat right,  I am overweight, I have joint pain – because I have not developed the self-control and personal strength to stop putting myself last.

Right now my schedule is overflowing with things that I am not even sure are important. Those things sure seemed important when I said yes.  Yet I can’t find the time to spend a few minutes of alone time with God.

So I am setting out on a journey.

It is a personal journey, but I hope I have some company.

Journeys are much more fun when they are shared.

I am not sure exactly what path this journey is going to take, but I do know the destination  - a serene home, which is built around the priorities of my relationship with God, respect for myself, and the nurturing of my family.

Over the next few days I am going to explore the route I am going to take.  Please  let me know what path you are on and what route you want to follow.