Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Laughs

"When You See A Fishtank: Start identifying all the Finding Nemo Characters"


This could make waking up every morning a little easier. 
"Wake up to 120 different polite phrases. A British butler voice says things like, 'It appears to be morning. Very inconvenient, I agree. I believe it is the rotation of the Earth that is to blame, Sir.' "


This is kind of creepy and it would be weird, but at the same time it does look very cozy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hurray For Friday

This is a post I did for another blog I contribute to: We like to put up a fun link post on Fridays, and mine went up last week.

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Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to the end of a long week and the beginning of an awesome weekend!

If you need a date this weekend but don't have a lot of money, hopefully you can find a little love at your local library. Tell your librarians they need to do this. Or start your own little library! Share the love of books and reading with those around you.

Looking for the perfect name for your little ones, or writing a novel and need the best name for your characters? Ask the Baby Name Genie! Type in the last name, pick the gender or leave it a surprise, and make sure you block out some time because you'll keep clicking through name after name.

Need to keep yourself or some kiddies occupied while you're getting an oil change? Create your own word searches, cross words, cryptograms, mazes, and more with the puzzlemaker. You could make a lot of these and then bind them together to make your own puzzle books.

Still in a creative mood? Try Wordle! Type in your favorite words, or someone's name and things about them, or whatever you'd like. Then style it up with colors and fonts. This would make a fun present or wall hanging. Hint- the more you type in a word, the bigger the word will be.

Looking for a good book? Try my favorite author, Madeleine L'Engle. Remember reading A Wrinkle in Time in elementary school? Yup, that's Madeleine L'Engle. She wrote fiction, nonfiction, childrens, teen, and adult books, and auto-biographies.

You know all those times you had such good intentions and bought tons of fruit and veggies and then two weeks later you found bags of moldy squishy goop in your fridge? Well, your problems are all solved now! You can cut out these produce pictures or draw your own, then stick magnets on the back. After you go grocery shopping, put up a magnet of the fruit and veggies you bought, then you'll have a nice reminder of what's in the fridge!

And lastly, if you just need a big kick in the butt to get you motivated, here are 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person. PS- this article is not for the sensitive soul.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Positive Entertainment

There is an expression, 'You are what you eat.' If you eat healthy foods, you will be healthy. If you eat unhealthy foods, you will be unhealthy.

The same goes for entertainment, 'You are what you entertain yourself with.' If you entertain yourself with great books and movies, you will be great. If you entertain yourself with depressing books and movies, you will be depressed. What you read, listen to, and watch influences your thoughts.

I started and stopped a book recently, not because it was bad, but because it had a main character that was in an old creaky body with an old creaky attitude. The book had potential to be good, but reading the thoughts of the tired old lady was hard. I figure that when I get to be a tired old lady myself, I will pick up the book again because I will have more sympathy and understanding for the character.

We are influenced by what we read, listen to, and watch more than we sometimes realize. When reading a book or watching a movie, it's easy for me to think like the character a little after I'm done. Many people internalize their favorite characters and want to copy them in admiration.

I think that's why there are so many movies with beautiful young people falling in love and having grand adventures because those characters touch a spot in our soul that wants to be young, beautiful, and living a life of adventure and love. We live vicariously through these characters, these movies, these books. We fall in love with the leading man or woman, we travel the world, we live in a fantasy land, we perform magic, we find buried treasure, all from the comfort of our own home.

Since we internalize these movies and books so much, it would be wise to read and watch only good books and movies. Find entertainment that uplifts, inspires, and leaves positive feelings. It doesn't mean that there can't be hard times in the movie or fighting, but if the overall message is one of hope, then it will help.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Postive People


There is an expression, 'You are what you eat.' If you eat healthy foods, you will be healthy. If you eat unhealthy foods, you will be unhealthy.

The same goes for friends, 'You are what your friends are.' If you have great friends, you will be great. If you have depressing friends, you will be depressed.

The people you surround yourself with, whether in person, over the phone, or electronically will influence your thoughts and and actions.

People tend to have friends that are similar to them, or if not, then they slowly become similar to their friends. Growing up, adults always cautioned to pick good friends. They were right because peer pressure can have a great influence whether it be for good or bad.

There are people who are always complaining about their problems, and other people, and life which is very draining. It takes a lot of energy to combat all the negative emotions they are throwing at you. If at all possible, try to take those people in small doses. As much as you would like to be the one to save them, just know that it might not be possible. People with bad attitudes are like rotten fruit, they can spread the bad.

That's why it's good to surround yourself with positive people. It doesn't have to be the cheerleading Energizer bunny, but just someone who doesn't drag you down. We all need to have friends that we can gripe with and talk over problems, but do the conversations end with you feeling better or worse? If your friends help you resolve your problems or at least buoy you up, and you do the same for them, then that's good.

Your friends will influence your thoughts which will influence your actions and your whole life. So choose good friends, gently discard the bad friends. Limit your time around people who are downers and spend more time with people who have your best interest in mind.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Positive Thoughts

There is an expression, 'You are what you eat.' If you eat healthy foods, you will be healthy. If you eat unhealthy foods, you will be unhealthy.

The same goes for thoughts, 'You are what you think.' If you think great thoughts, you will be great. If you think depressing thoughts, you will be depressed.

Karma, luck, the golden rule. All these seem to have an aspect of good begets good. If you do good, you will have good karma, and good things will happen to you. There are some people who seem to be lucky in whatever they do. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There are stories of people who have healed their bodies by the power of positive thinking and mental imaging. They imagine that their bodies are being healed and think positive thoughts and have amazing medical results.

It's something that you have to believe for it to work. Doubts are inhibitors, but are natural and hard to get rid of. It's a faith precedes the miracle phenomenon.

It helps to have others believe in you also, but it won't be enough if you don't believe in yourself. Believing in yourself will take you the distance.

Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "We do make things happen by what we think, so think positively ... not negatively. When you think you are beautiful, you are beautiful. If you believe in yourself, you will do well in your life's work ...."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Which Step Have You Reached Today?


Today I got all the way to the top! I have Wii Zumba and I actually did it today for my exercise. The last two days I only got to I want to do it, but today I got to yes, I did it!

There are days when we reach different steps for different goals. It's okay to not always get to the top as long as you are continually trying to there.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Diamond Personalities

Personalities are like diamonds, there are many facets to each. Best friends tend to have many common facets. Sometimes you see an unusual pairing of two friends, and it may be that they have only one facet in common but it is a big facet. Or their one similar facet was cut from the same experience.

I am good friends with some people who are good friends with others that I am not good friends with. My friends and I have similar facets, but they also have other facets in common with their friends that I don't share. It's not a bad thing, it just is.

Last night I was able to talk more in depth with someone who I thought didn't share many facets with me. We found out that we both have a big reading facet and so formed a friendship based on that. She is friends with people that I don't have any major facets in common with and so won't be friends (not enemies, but more acquaintances), but she and I found a big common facet that we can share.

Facets cut from the same experience can forge life long friendships between two people who have almost no other facets in common. This happens frequently in movies. Two or more people go through a harrowing experience together and come out friends for life, though they may not have much else in common.

Sometimes a small facet can become a temporarily significant facet. When people are in a new, unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable situation (new job, new school, new neighborhood, new church, a conference or convention, in a foreign place), and they meet someone who was a mere acquaintance before, a small facet of common past background becomes a temporarily large facet to help establish familiarity until they both become comfortable in new surroundings and meet others that have more facets in common.

Meeting someone new can be a daunting process but looking for common facets will help establish a friendship quickly. There may be a surprising facet you didn't know about before with those you already know. People can get new facets as life progresses too. Remembering that people are multifaceted diamonds helps make life easier, funner, and full of interesting potential friends.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Serendipity and Serenity

Serendipity and Serenity are two of my favorite words. The sound of them combined with their meanings brings a smile to my face.

Serendipity: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.*
Serenity: the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil.

Both of these words lead the imagination to a state of happiness. If one were to be the recipient of the actions these words define, it would only work to make the person have a better life. 

Some say that being a pessimist means you'll never be disappointed and sometimes you'll be surprised things didn't turn out terribly. While there may be some truth to that, there would still be no happiness because one would never expect happiness and so never see the happiness, it becomes pushed aside. The pessimistic surprise is not serendipity. Serendipity lends itself more to the optimistic side of things. Optimists can find joy in places that pessimists cannot.

Serendipity is discovering a five dollar bill in your winter coat pocket when the cold season comes. It is finding an extra french fry or two in your bag that fell out of the container. It's running into an old friend at the store that you've been thinking about recently. Serendipity is walking outside after a storm and finding a double rainbow crossing the sky. 

If you notice in the definition of serendipity, it says an 'aptitude'. An aptitude is an ability. Optimists have an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident, for serendipitous moments, because they can see the good in a situation. They take notice of the joy in the world around them. It's a happy person that has the gift of serendipity.

Serenity is a state of peace and calm. The feeling you get lying the in warm grass watching fluffy white clouds float by. The feeling you get looking out over the valley from a mountain top. The overwhelming emotion of being unconditionally loved and accepted. Serenity is being calm, peaceful and tranquil without terror, anger, sadness, or turmoil. It can be hard to have serenity in this chaotic world, and it may only come in patches, but those patches of serenity get us through the hard times.

Malcolm Reynolds, in the show Firefly, names his ship Serenity. I think it's probably because flying his own ship that can take him anywhere in the immensity of space is probably a feeling of freedom and serenity. There's a sense of serenity in being able to be free to do what you like, when you like, where you like.

If one tends towards optimism, there can often be serendipitous moments and feelings of serenity.

*Definitions provided by 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Still At The Beginning

Earlier this year we decided we would get some family pictures done in June. I decided that by then I should be able to lose a little weight. Well June has arrived and I'm still at the same size.

Getting healthy (achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating right) is about changing your lifestyle, not going on a diet. I've been slowly making changes in the way we eat and exercise. I have to remember that what took more than a month to put on will take more than a month to take off.

Even though I am still the same weight, I feel stronger. I'm trying to work out several times a week, and I can tell that it's making a difference, even if you can't see it yet. I love that it's summer now because I always feel like I have more energy and enthusiasm for being healthy when it's warm and sunny outside.

Good things I'm doing: Drinking lots of water and not drinking lots of soda or other drinks. Trying to incorporate fruit and/or veggies into every meal. Trying to exercise at least 3-5 times a week. Going on lots of family walks.

Things to work on: Portion control and not going back for more food, unless I really need it. (If I wasn't such a good cook, it wouldn't be such a problem! ;) ) Take time to enjoy my food more, slow down, savor the bites, chew it more. Exercise more frequently and more intensely. Keep those fruits and veggies replacing the chips and cookies!

Other health tips: Chew some gum when you want something sweet. Eat veggies and dip if you want something crunchy. Drink lemon water if you want a flavored drink. Get exercise dvds so you can work out at home. Make goals, then keep track of how you are coming along. Walk to the store, the park, or your friend's house instead of drive- a mile really isn't that long of a walk. Have good posture- think how you would stand if you were royalty or a movie star.

Most important- don't give up. It doesn't how matter how many u-turns you have to do on your path to becoming healthy as long as your headed in the right direction over all. As Henry Ford said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wait, That's Mine!

We put out four solar lights at our son's graveyard, and two of them were stolen. The tall flower and hummingbird lights in the picture are now gone. Apparently items being stolen from cemeteries is a fairly common problem.

Some people probably justify the stealing by saying the dead people aren't using it. They may think that because it's in a public place it's up for grabs. Or they may just be so selfish that they think they can just take whatever they like with no regard for the feelings of those who placed the items with loving care.

After I told my friend about what happened she said that though the body is there, his spirit is somewhere else, so everything you put out there is really just for you not him. That may be somewhat true, but we are putting it out there for him too. We want him to have a light in the darkness. It's the same reason we put a blanket I crocheted and a picture of us with him, along with a little teddy bear.

My friend that has her baby buried next to ours said that she doesn't put anything out there that she would want to lose because they've had so much stolen from them. I know of another person who finally started writing, "Stolen from the grave of (name)!" in permanent marker on everything to help stop the thievery.

Yes, they are just physical items, but there was a lot of thought and love put into the choosing and placing of them. There is strong emotion attached to each item. There was hard earned money spent on buying something nice to memorialize the loss of loved ones.

We've known many people that have had their yards and houses broken into with much being stolen. Cars are broken into frequently. People's own identities are stolen and cause much grief, hassle, and expense. Accounts are hacked, money and possessions stolen, lives altered, and seeds of discontent planted with each robbery.

I don't understand what makes people steal. How could they be so arrogant as to think that just because they want it, they can take it without working for it, without paying for it. It's a prideful, deceitful act which often goes unpunished by the victim. The only comfort that can be taken is to think that karma, a higher being, or the balance of the universe will right the wrong, will justly punish the criminal.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Psychology and Me

I had my first real introduction to psychology over a decade ago in high school, and I have been hooked ever since. For my Bachelor's degree, I added in some sociology and anthropology for a Behavioral Science major, but with an emphasis in Psychology, my favorite. Several areas in psychology stuck out to me- group therapy, play therapy with children, music therapy, marriage and family therapy, theories of personality, and positive psychology.

I like to listen. In sixth grade I received the "Best Listener Award". Listening isn't just about letting someone talk while keeping silent. Listening is hearing what people are saying with the intent of trying to understand them. It's processing their words without having background thoughts of what you'll say to them or what's going on behind them or what's for dinner. Reflective listening in particular is about listening, then repeating back the ideas put across to see if they were understood correctly- a deeper way to listen and understand.

My senior year of high school I had an Army recruiter endeavor to enlist me with the goal of becoming an Army psychologist. He offered free college schooling, bonus pay, promise of an office not combat position, and other enticements. A good student with ambitions of being a psychologist was just what he was looking for. I declined because it wasn't right for me.

I talked to several social workers during college, and they all thought I should definitely go into that field. There are so many children who are victims of neglect, abuse, poverty, and ultimately their parents, that need help. It's heart wrenching work but the children need protectors. I knew I could do some good in this work, but it wasn't right for me either.

While taking a class on mediation, I thought that it might be what I would like to do. Most business will make you sign an agreement to try mediation before a lawsuit. Many divorcing couples are recommended to try mediation also. It's a place where a peacemaker like myself could find a fulfilling job, but it wasn't quite right for me either.

Close to the time I had my first psychology class in high school, I started a job at the public library. My family grew up going to the library, and I had volunteered there in the past. My two learning loves in life from high school on were psychology and libraries. I've volunteered at two libraries, and worked at three different libraries. I strongly considered getting a Master's degree in Library Science  vs. a Masters/PhD in Psychology. Neither of these options have been ruled out for the future, but nor are they part of the plan right now.

My deepest desires and goals in life are not fame and fortune, though I would not mind the fortune. They have always been to be a wife and mother, and to be a comfortable person. Right now I am living my dream of wife and mother and loving it. Growing up people would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, in regards to what schooling and job I would like to do. I would mention psychologist or librarian, but ultimately I wanted to be a wife and mom, and I would tell those who I thought would understand what I meant.

As far as being a comfortable person, I mean I want to be the kind of person that others feel comfortable around. I want to be a person full of charity, not in the sense of solely doing good deeds, but in the sense of being full of love and acceptance for others. When I meet people, I want them to feel I like and accept them. I want people to feel they can talk to me. I want to be known for kindness and happiness, not in a proud way but in a comforting way. I want to be able to help people in their times of need. I want to be able to help people have better lives. I want to be a person that leaves people happy after they leave my presence. I want to be a friend.

My background in psychology, along with religious studies and life experience, has helped me become this person. I've learned to be more understanding, forgiving, compassionate, non-judgemental, and accepting. I use my education to be a better person for myself, my family, and those I meet.

After we lost our son, we worked closely with some people at the mortuary to arrange the grave, graveside service, and headstone. One woman in particular was exceptionally comfortable. When we go to memorial services, she tries to speak to us, and to all those she's worked with, though it has been several years.

Someday, after my kids are older, I think I might like to use my education and life experiences  working for a funeral home. Not in preparing the bodies, but working with the people who have lost a loved one to arrange a memorial for them. I have felt deeply the loss of a loved one, and I would like to help others as I have been helped.

For now, I enjoy being a wife, mother, daughter, sibling, aunt, friend, reader, and blogger.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Self Check

My friend from Women's Wisdom ( posted the following: 

'If you saved a dollar a day for a few years, each day it wouldn't seem like much, but after a few years you'd have a nice little savings. If we apply this to our health and the health of the world, we learn that even a small choice everyday DOES make a difference. It adds up and in a while you'll see the difference that choice made.'

I really like this thought because it seems very attainable and sustainable. It's easy to put off a life change when the change is too drastic from what you are currently doing. But if you can do a little bit every day and change gradually, it merges with your lifestyle so that every day you are becoming a better you.

Of course this works for good and bad. You can so gradually deteriorate that you hardly notice until it is almost too late. Luckily, it's never too late to change. It might be too late to repair something without blemish, but a whole body with a scar, or a whole vase with a sealed crack is better than shattered pieces. You can't fix the past, but you can create a beautiful future and pay it forward.

Doing periodic self checks can help immensely to keep yourself in line with who you want to be. First you need to figure out who you want to be, then consistently perform self checks to keep on track.

A self check shouldn't be a burden, but a fun reminder of how awesome you are, and a great reminder of all the potential you can release on the world. If correction is needed, do it gradually. What took a year to put on, will take at least a year to put off. Check yourself, love yourself, and be awesome!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Screen Free Week

I know several people who do Screen Free Week every so often. No tv, no computer, no video games, no tablet, no ipad, no ereader, no internet on the phone. I've never felt a strong compulsion to do this.

I need to check my email consistently for work, and I like to be able to look things up quickly on the internet. I love/hate Facebook- I like that I can keep up with people's lives that I don't see all the time, but I don't like all the stuff I have to scroll through to get a few important items, especially the new advertising. I love writing on this blog, and I've got my Etsy store. Pinterest is always fun, as well as Goodreads, and reading other people's blogs. I keep track of several accounts online, like the bank, library, etc.... As far as tv goes, I like the Today show, Rachael Ray, Studio 5, Jeopardy, and catching other shows here and there, and Netflix. My daughter likes Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger, Super Why, and pretty much any cartoon, but those are the ones I don't mind. We really don't watch that much tv, it's just catching a show here and there.

When my family took a trip to California earlier this year, we were hardly in front of computers and tvs. I didn't really miss watching tv, or playing on the computer. I did miss writing on this blog though. I really enjoy writing blog posts.

For those like me, with lots on their minds, it can help to write it out. Getting a journal, a diary, a blog, a website, some scratch paper, or a note pad and writing your thoughts can be very cathartic. You can share or can keep it private. Writing down your thoughts acts like a pensieve in Harry Potter. You can put your whirling thoughts and memories down onto paper (or screen), and then you don't have to worry about remembering them or thinking about them.

It can help to solve problems also. Sometimes when you get writing, more thoughts flow out than you expected. You may surprise yourself with your own wisdom. The best psychologist is yourself. When you don't have a person to act as a sounding board to bounce ideas off, then you can use yourself. Write down all your thoughts, then come back to it later. Sometimes a little time is all you need to solve your problems, or at least to gain some new perspective.

When in doubt, write it out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Confessions Of A Non-Animal Lover

I wrote this post for another blog I contribute to:

There are so many people who love animals, love pets, love any creature that crawls, wiggles, runs, or flies. Admittedly some animals can be very cute and adorable, especially when they are babies. But, I just can't love them.

I don't like how animals shed. Dog and cat owners are frequently covered in hair, as well as their couches and carpets. Snakes and tarantulas shed their skin and leave ghost snakes and tarantulas behind.

There is always poo and pee to clean up, and it doesn't smell good. Though we don't own any animals, we have had to do our share of cleaning up the yard from various neighbor dogs. We're also pretty sure that the next door cats have left some 'presents' in our unplanted box gardens.

I shy away from picking up animals because it unnerves me when I can feel their ribs through a fluffy coat of fur. They wriggle and squirm when picked up also, and I'm worried about dropping them.

Major confession: When I see you pet your dog, then reach into the potato chip bag, then lick your fingers after your chips, then pet your dog, chips, repeat cycle.... it makes me never want to eat potato chips again. Also, open mouth kisses with your dog? Ewww.

We had two rabbits and a guinea pig growing up. It was really fun to feed them, but I didn't enjoy cleaning up after them. When I had to pick one of them up, I would wrap them in a towel first. It's calming to pet animals, but I always feel like I have to wash my hands afterwards.

I do enjoy looking at animals though, especially the zoo. It's fun to see all the different types of animals and learn about their amazing lives. I do appreciate also that people can get much love and comfort from pets, and I'm grateful that those people have animals.

I also have a mildish fear of dogs. The small yapping ones aren't as worrisome because I know I can kick them away if they bite me. But the big dogs, especially German shepards and pitbulls are slightly terrifying.

Many times I have gone the long way around to avoid a dog on the loose. When I'm with my husband and a dog starts barking and running towards us, I squeeze his hand and try to remain calm. Everyone says dogs can smell fear- is that actually true? Also, they say to not bare your teeth at them because it's a show of aggression.

Watching Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer show has helped a lot. He tells the dogs that he is the master, and they always end up giving in to him because he is the alpha dog in the relationship. He has an amazing way with dogs, and I'm glad he's willing to take so many dogs in and train them.

Just growing up and being in charge of others has helped as well. When I'm alone with my baby on a walk, I can handle the dog situation much more rationally because I am in charge of her safety. I have to take care of her, so I do.

My daughter seems to have taken a fascination to animals though. Whenever there are animals of any kind on tv, she stares and gets excited. She loves to pet cats and dogs. I'm pretty sure she'll want a pet when she's older, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Narrowing Path

My devouring of books lately is being reflected in my blog posts with many book quotes. I've just come upon several good books that I've wanted to share with you.

This latest book of mine is A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. The reference to a mage in the quote must be taken in the context of a wizarding world.

"You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do...."

I believe every child has wanted to be an adult at one point because then they could do anything they wanted anytime they wanted, or so they thought. While there is some truth to that wishful thinking, there is a lot of truth to the above quote.

Honestly, if we didn't have to have a job and work, how many of us would? Not many. Or we would just work a little here and there. How many of us would go to bed at a decent hour, mop the floor, and weed the yard if we didn't have to? Not many. We would do it sometimes but probably not enough.

A child's concept of adult life is like a Peter Pan Never Land imaging. When you're an adult you can go to any restaurant you want any time. You can watch whatever you want. You get to tell other people what to do. Nobody makes you eat your vegetables. Nobody makes you do homework.

As children turn into teenagers, they test their new found freedoms with mixed results and learn from experience. They learn to be responsible, hopefully, and a good contributor to society.

As teens turn into adults, they learn that technically they have the ability to choose to do whatever they want, but there are consequences to all choices and making the right choices, though potentially boring, seems to be the best way.

Many people find rules, laws, religion, regulations, demands, and instructions to be prohibiting of the free lifestyle their inner child still craves. In truth, like the quote, those rules show a path where one must go and do if they want to achieve true happiness and peace.

There are as many variations of this path as there are people, but there is still just a narrow road that leads to true happiness versus temporary indulgence and amusement.

Regardless of any laws, commandments, and rules, can I stay up all night tonight while drinking and having unprotected sex with strangers and throwing rocks through windows? Yes, I can. Yes, you can. Yes, anyone can do that. Can I do that without any negative consequences? Absolutely not.

Any person at any moment can choose to do bad or good, but most choose to do good because they have learned that all choices have consequences. So can I go do drugs tonight to relax my mind after a long week? Yes, but more importantly, will I? No, because I don't like the consequences associated with it.

Can I go to bed at a decent hour after eating vegetables with my dinner tonight? Yes, but more importantly, will I? Hopefully, because I do like the consequences associated with it.

Yes, we all have the power to make infinite choices of good and bad at all times, but we stick to the narrow path, not because someone told us to, but because we know it leads to true happiness, which is always worth having.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To The Parents Of Small Children

To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud -- The Actual Pastor

I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages five and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week when Isaac told my sister-in-law that “My daddy has hair all over.” Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, “Daddy! I have a beard just like you!” Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, “Daddy and Ben time.”

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day. 

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants — exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes it’s the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look – with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it’s exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate.

There are people who say this to me:

“You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!”

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold them under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children — especially if your children are now teenagers or if they’re grown – please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do.

She’s obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they’d be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You’re not a terrible parent.

You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next President who knows how to read when she’s three and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it’s time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it’s like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they’re not so tired, for heaven’s sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

You’re bone tired. I’m not sure when it’s going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You’re not alone.

In my earnest desire to share my thoughts, you may think I'm really good at everything I say. Well, I'm not. Life's a learning process, and I share what I have just learned or have learned in the past. Life is about ebb and flow. Concentrate on one or two things, but not everything all at once or you'll collapse. Live life, not as you were dying, but as if you are living!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Laughs

Sorry I'm late.
What happened?
Nothing, I just really didn't wanna come.

Trailer Trash Boob Job Kit
Inflate, tie and insert into Bra.
Caution: Avoid Sharp Corners

Bonus joke: Where goes a general keep his armies?

In his sleevies! Haha! Happy smiley first day of summer Saturday!