Priorities

The Waltons

Image via Wikipedia

During this time I have been recuperating from surgery, I have taken some time to look at things in my life, as I alluded to in my post yesterday.   Much of my time was spent in front of the TV, as my surgery took my right arm and hand out of commission. 

I am a serious sucker for TV shows that were popular when I was growing up.  In particular, shows that portray life as I would like it to be.  One show that I never grow tired of watching is “The Waltons”.   There are so many things about that family that I would like to include in my own family. 

First, let’s start with the things that I would like to include but will probably never happen.  The chances of me living on a mountain, surrounded by family and friends is probably not going to happen.  I would be content with about 7-10 acres that contain a small woods, a stream, a large yard where I can plant a garden, and farmhouse similar to the one the Waltons lived in, but with a few more modern amenities – a couple more bathrooms,  and a gas range/oven.  Being a SAHM to a large family with a husband that worked from home is probably not in the cards either, but I can still dream. 

Now for the things that I can incorporate into my family.  Slowing down.  Being involved in every activity at school and church is not something that our family must do.  Family dinners.  There is absolutely no reason that my family cannot sit down to dinner at the table, say grace and share our day with each other at least 5 times a week.  Turning off the TV.  A lot of people will say that watching TV is the modern version of listening to the radio.  I sincerely disagree.  The TV is something that seems to suck my children into it.  There are many other activities that we can be doing – listening to music, listening to books on CD, reading books out-loud to each other, playing games with each other.  All of those activities encourage interaction with each other.  Choosing activities that support our Christian beliefs.  There are a lot of worthwhile activities that my children can get involved in through school.  But there is an edge to all of them – fund-raising, competition, and interacting with lots of children who don’t share our value of respect.  I am not saying that I want to totally shelter my children from these things, but I think elementary school is a bit too young for it to infiltrate every part of their lives.  Talking to my children.  I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the day, bouncing from activity to activity, getting homework done, getting chores done, I realize that I have not really talked to my girls.  I am missing golden opportunities to get to know them, to help guide them to follow Christ, to become compassionate, respectful adults. 

So, things in my house need to change.  No they are going to change.  Step by step I am going to reclaim my family.  I am going to take a step back in time and enjoy the simple things.  It is not going to be easy.  It is not going to be without some withdrawal pains.  But I think my family will be the richer for it.

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Motivation Monday – New Year Attitude

Unknown Person
Image via Wikipedia

Julie, over at Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss wrote something in  one of her first posts of the new year.  I honestly don’t remember what the rest of the post was about (click on the link to find out – poke around over there if you have a chance, she has some really neat projects and thoughts), but this line, I find –

inspiring

freeing

hopeful

Oh – I guess you want to know what that line was, huh?

BUT- there’s an exciting year ahead of us,

full of things that have never been.

Sit with that for a moment.

Does that line make shivers go up and down your spine or does it fill you with dread?

Does it open vistas that you never imagined or does it make you want to climb back in bed and hide?

Does it encourage you to charge out your front door and find those things, or do you want to lock the door in fear that what is to come is worse than what has been?

Last spring I would have answered dread, bed, and worse.  But as I have written in the last few months, there was some sort of switch that was clicked in me this past year.  I know that God had a lot to do with it.  You see, I am a slow learner when it comes to His lessons and I was trying to take charge of my life without consulting Him.  He was allowing me flounder, to learn some lessons.  When I finally looked up at Him and asked for His help, gave Him the problems to fix instead of trying to fix them on my own, allowed my heart to be fully embraced by Him.

Now I am eager to find out what is in store for me this year.  I am looking forward to identifying the blessings that I am given each day.  I am anxious to set out on the path called 2011 and see where the journey leads me and who I meet and what I see and do.  I am really interested to discover who I am going to be at the end of the year!

So how about you?

What sort of emotion does the phrase create in you?



Motivation Monday

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

William A. Foster quotes 

There is a lot of talk about intentional living on blogs that I follow.  Me, being not quite as quick on the uptake as many people, took a long time to understand what they were talking about.  But when I finally understood, it was like flood light went off in my brain.

Some people make New Year resolutions, others set goals.  But I think the smartest thing I have heard is to pick a word for the year, and make decisions based on what that word means to them.

I have several words that I want to use this year – peace, thanksgiving, hope, faith, joy, growth, organization, simplicity….

When I review that list of words, I realized that all of them could be met through intentional living.  By choosing how to live my life, instead of living reactively, I can find peace, I can find things for which to give thanks, I can see the hope,  I will  be faithful, I will have the space to grow, my life and home will be more organized, and my life will be more simple.

So my word is officially –

INTENTIONAL

What is your word for the year?

Motivation Monday – Taking the time for the imporant things

One doesn’t fall in love one grows into love,

and love grows in him

(author unknown)

Holding Hands shadow on sand

Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend Hubby and I had the chance to go on a couple dates.  The girls had a sleep over with a friend one night and then had a pizza party at my oldest’s Tae Kwon Do school the next.

Hubby and I did nothing terribly exciting.

We went to dinner where we imbibed in an adult beverage.

We got to eat while our food was still warm.

We rented a movie that was not rated G.

We slept in the next day.

We went to a restaurant and drank endless cups of coffee and compared our date-books and dreamed and schemed about paint colors and decorating ideas for the house.

If you had asked me 21 years ago what a perfect date was, I would have rattled off some grandiose evening with flowers and a fancy dinner and dancing and………

Now I have learned that my perfect date is about time and undivided attention.  It is about holding hands while saying grace over the meal.  It is about sharing jokes only he understands.  While falling in love with him was wonderful, growing in love with him is amazing.

Motivation Monday – Personal Growth Update

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

 

Well, I did it.

I made it through the church social function.

I drove there – BY MYSELF

I entered the venue – BY MYSELF

I walked around all the tables and looked at the decorations – BY MYSELF

I initiated a conversation with a woman I had never met before – BY MYSELF

And you know what –

I had a great time.

A friend of mine showed up a little later and we sat together.  We had been friends at our old parish.  I did not realize that she was part of this parish until I ran into her dropping her son off at VBS a couple of years ago.  Life had gotten in the way and other than saying a quick hello, we had not had the chance to reconnect. She had encouraged a mutual friend of ours to come along to the event. All three of us sat together, drank wine, ate, laughed, and listened to an awesome presentation.  I even won a door prize!

After the scheduled part of the evening was over, my friend and I stood around and chatted for another hour.

We laughed some more, cried a little, learned how much we each grown over the last few years.  The years fell away as we shared as only women can.

Snow Falling at Night

Image by ♥ Crystal Writer ♥ via Flickr

As I walked out to my car it was snowing.  The world was quiet as it only is when blanketed by snow.  The flakes glittered as they passed through the street light beams.  I walked along, quietly humming Christmas carols, occasionally trying to catch a snow flake on my tongue, and praised God that He had given me the strength to meet this personal challenge and allowed me to find Him the heart of another woman.

Motivation Monday and a Blogcation

Hi all –
I promise I have not disappeared. Just when I promised daily posts I go off and leave! We went out-of-town for a long weekend at my parents’ house where there were 6 of us sharing 1 computer. Needless to say, I did not get much internet time. I do have my Thoughtful Thursday post almost ready (it will be late but it will be posted) from last week. I also have a great item that I want to talk about for my Family Friday, as well.

I don’t have a whole quote for today. What I have is a set of words.   Sunday started Advent for many Christians – a time of anticipation and preparation of our hearts for the birth of Jesus. There were several words that popped out at me during the homily yesterday. I am just going to write them and let you sit with them. They are going to mean something different to each person during this frenzied time leading up to Christmas. I would love to hear YOUR feelings about these words…

Waiting

Preparation

Anticipation

Lists

Patience

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.