An Exercise in Balance

Balance

Last week my siblings, their spouses, and all their kids came out to our home for a fun family visit. Among these 20 family members who stayed in our home, 8 of the children had iPhones. My sister, Maria, and I had a great idea that we implemented at the beginning of their visit here. We thought we would encourage good old-fashioned social fun and playing…some balance…so we collected all the kid's phones and told them that we were going to have a phone-free weekend. They were to fully enjoy their cousins without looking down at their phones the whole time. We recalled, as children, hanging out with our cousins. We played outside, invented games, laughed together, and truly enjoyed each other. We helped our grandparents, aunts, and uncles cook and clean. The older cousins played with and … [Read more...]

Surviving Summer Break

Summer

Two weeks into summer break and I am about to literally ship my girls off to camp. I am seriously wondering how on Earth anyone can home school their kids! No offense if you do home school…but I think the six hours a day my kids are at school is very healthy for all of us in this family! I am totally bewildered; during the school months, I have to practically drag them out of bed in the morning. The day after school lets out; they wake up at the crack of dawn. During the school months, they are on task getting everything done on time. There is a natural flow of making beds, brushing teeth, getting dressed, homework, showers, and chores. School is out for summer, and they become brain dead…relishing sitting in front of the TV for hours on end. That's it! TV is the one difference in our … [Read more...]

Leave Your Defense On the Field

Defense

Have you noticed that the more comfortable, confident, and sure of yourself you are about something, the more it doesn't matter what others do, think, or say? What I mean, is that when you are ok with your opinions, beliefs, desires, etc…the less you have to convince others that your point of view is correct. "Live and Let Live" comes to mind. When we are ok, I mean really ok, with how we live, what we think, what we believe, etc…The more we feel it is ok for others to do the same for themselves. I have been in a place before, where I felt I had to defend my opinions, my beliefs, and my views on something. I felt I had to convince other people that I was right in order to really feel like I was right. The fact that I had to defend it or try to make others see my side of things, made me … [Read more...]

Treat Me Like a Dog

dog

When I was in middle school, I recall a time (well, there were several times, but this one stands out) when I did something wrong. This incident stands out to me, because this was the first time I was confident enough to stand up to my dad and flex by boundary muscles. Here's what happened: My dad went out of town and I was staying with a friend of mine who lived just down the street. During my dad's leave, my friend and I snuck into my home one night, along with a few other friends, and had a little "party". Being dumb teenagers, we did not cover our tracks very well. We left the house a disaster, leaving evidence of our night everywhere. When my Dad returned home, "All Hell Broke Loose". My dad was so mad at me! I disrespected him and our home. I betrayed his trust. I let him … [Read more...]

Lose Control

control

Have you ever noticed that whenever people feel mad, frustrated, sad, guilty, disappointed, and so on…that it seems to stem from something else that's bothering them, maybe a deeper issue? It actually stems from their need to control something or someone. The need to Control is based in Fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the outcome, fear of failure, fear of letting someone down, fear of a missed opportunity, etc. Think back to the last time you felt one of these negative emotions. What was it all about? If you dig to the root of it all, it is because you were trying to control something or someone that you could not control. If you are frustrated about the traffic, it's because you want everyone to move out of your way. If you are angry because your toddler isn't minding you, it's because … [Read more...]

Which Character Do You Relate To?

Red Hen

My youngest daughter was reading "The Little Red Hen" to me for her bedtime story the other night. What a great classic story! The story is applied in teaching children the virtues of work ethic and personal initiative. If you haven't read this story, here is the brief plot: In the tale, The Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from the other farmyard animals to plant it. But no animal will volunteer to help her. At each further stage (harvest, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and baking the flour into bread) the hen again asks for help from the other animals, but again she gets no assistance. Finally, the hen has completed her task, and asks who will help her eat the bread. This time, all the previous non-participants eagerly volunteer. However, she … [Read more...]

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Is your life harried? Are you constantly running around, late to everything? Do you look or feel disheveled? Is your calendar so filled with errands, kid's activities, and juggling your to-do list that you feel like there is no time to breathe? Is your home a mess? Do you feel frustrated a lot of the time? Are there things you would like to do, but you just can't find the time or energy? I know that this is quite common, particularly if you have small children at home. I know that the tasks, chores, and duties pile high and can make you feel overwhelmed, as if you are constantly swimming upstream. It is easy to feel this way, especially when you add school-aged children's extra-curricular activities, homework, and requests to this heap. Dinner needs to be made, laundry needs to be … [Read more...]

Move Out Of Your Own Way

Move

The other day, three of my daughters and I were cleaning like Mad-Women. We were organizing the play room closet…and I mean organizing! We were cleaning out toy bins, finding missing game pieces, replacing, shifting, and throwing away. It was a mad overhaul. We spent hours working together. When we finished the playroom closet, we moved on to my youngest daughter's closet…we did the same thing there. When we were finished, we took four kitchen trash bags full to the "Black Can". We also buried an eighteen year old Lego table and a non-working baby doll stroller. Overall, it was a cleaning success. During this process, there was a "situation" that resulted in tears, yelling, and sadness: My 8 year old and I had a huge communication gap. I stepped on her toes and caused some hard … [Read more...]

Is It True For Me Now?

True

When we were small children, we were taught everything from the main role models in our life. It's not until our cognitive thought processes mature and develop that we can start to really think for ourselves. We are told a lot of things that are very helpful in keeping us safe and growing strong like, "Eat your vegetables." And "Look both ways before crossing the street." We are also told many things that we grow out of: "Don't talk to strangers." "Don't trust that person because of such-and-such." We outgrow these "rules", hopefully, because those were meant to help us when we didn't have the thinking capacity to make our own good choices. When we are grown up, we are perfectly capable of making those rules tailored to our needs and lifestyle. We were also told things as children … [Read more...]

How Do You React?

React

How do you feel when you find out someone has been talking about you and trying to make you look bad? It has happened to all of us…think back to a time when this happened to you…what comes to your mind? I think my initial reaction is to feel hurt and act defensively…what about you? I think it is natural to defend yourself, especially when you know you are a good person and that you "keep your nose clean". I read a quote the other day that I just love: "I must live so that if someone says something unkind about me, no one will believe it." I think this is so true and so powerful…if you are a person of great character…truthful, kind, loving, sweet, loyal, etc…and someone speaks badly about you…nobody will believe them. WOW…makes you self evaluate, doesn't it?! I like to think that I … [Read more...]