Monday, September 17, 2012

Being Mom ...

* is being the keeper of the gate.

* is nurturing beauty in a garden of adversity.

* is cooking, cleaning, and planning.

* is being a teacher -- of skills, of knowledge, of wisdom.

* is loving someone or more than one someone so much that it feels like there's not room enough inside for all the emotion.

* is hiding chocolate and gum -- for sanity's sake and financial necessity.

* is being a one person hazmat crew.

* is being the homework police ... and the bedtime police ... the personal hygiene enforcement agency ... etc.

* is pushing yourself to your limit and then scraping along even further.

* is giving up sleep at another person's demands.

* is being the end all/ be all in a little person's world.

* is being wrapped in an abundance of unconditional love and sticky snuggles.

* is remembering that no matter how angry or frustrated or overwhelmed you feel now, in about fifteen minutes -- an hour if it's really bad -- you'll ache with gratitude over the little ones you are there to guide and guard.

* is having the power to heal wounded hearts and soothe aching souls.

* is being the embodiment of home and safety, no matter where you are.

* is being a partner with God not just to create life, but to nurture it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thankful fors:

* A job
* Co-workers that I can like and learn from
* The opportunity to work to enjoy people that I would not by nature be drawn to
* The opportunity to work with kids to improve their reading and possibly math skills
* An education
* Blogging <3
* My little apartment
* A functional washer and dryer
* My dishwasher
* Clothing that fits
* Overcast days
* My babies
* Music
* Singing
* Fun surprises in the mail
* Opportunities to serve
* Scriptures
* Uplifting quotes
* Learning opportunities
* Indoor plumbing
* Family
* Friends
* Books, books, books
* Running
* Sunlight
* Humor
* Church
* Pictures
* Chocolate
* The chance to try and be better
* My Savior
* Happy days
* Quiet time
* Kind neighbors
* A cleaning schedule
* Menu planning
* Free time
* Functional vehicles
* Pinterest
* Social Networking
* Pianos
* Peace
* Hot cocoa
* Soup
* Homemade bread
* Brownies
* Irony

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering That We All Have Filter Fails ...

Most of us were born with a little filter that jumps in at the last minute and says, "Don't say that, Dear." Most of us have really talented filters. Some of us have the refurbished models that occasionally go on the fritz. A few of us have filters that hibernate about 75-90% of the time. No matter how amazing a person's mental filter may be though, sometimes we all say things that were better left unsaid.

As a single mom, there've been times when I was on the receiving end of those unfiltered thoughts -- usually before people know me -- and those thoughts aren't always kind. I've learned that I need to be proactive about my own approach to those moments. I decided a long time ago that I don't have to allow myself to be upset by those remarks. Did they hurt? Sure. Are they going to sting for a bit? Perhaps. Do I need to let them define me or make me into something I'm not? Not a chance!

When those remarks lump me into a certain stereotype, I try to remind myself that that person doesn't know me, and their opinions will change once they do know me. When people say hurtful things about my failed marriage, I try to chalk it up to a lack of perspective -- and, in my less kind moments, I see it as perhaps a slight bit of delusion as well. Sometimes such remarks are just born of ignorant minds. It's easy to say you'll never do something or certain situations will never happen to you in your life. It's harder to actually control what life throws at you.

One of my favorite quotes is by David A. Bednar. He states:
When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it is ultimately impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.
There are times when this is an easy principle for me to abide by. There are times that it's gut-wrenching work to let go of the heartache that comes. But, I've found that when I'm able to live by this principle, I'm a much happier person. People will say and do hurtful things. Most of the time, I believe that such remarks -- however ill thought out they are -- are well-meant. Sure, there's the occasional remark issued from a speaker as malicious as their own words, but usually it's just a poor choice of wording. It's a process, and part of that process -- for me, at least -- is learning what baggage to pick up and what luggage I should leave at the train station.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the hunt for a steel-reinforced umbrella ...

Yesterday, I ran across this pin on Pinterest:

After I laughed myself silly, I sat back with a deep sigh and thought, "Yeah, some days ... "

For the most part, I tend to be a pretty laid back person. I'm usually able to roll with the punches and move forward with faith and fortitude. :) At least, that's how I see myself. I'm not usually all kinds of crazy rolled up in a neat, little dysfunctional bundle, but occasionally ...

This last seven months have held some interesting challenges: the car died, and died, and died some more; the borrowed cars died here and there too; the money that I had thought would tide us over through the summer months went towards a new engine -- for the car that's still trying to decide if it would like to be reliable; I got engaged; I got unengaged (believe it or not, this isn't actually a habit for me, but there's a first time for everything ... ;) my kids grew into all the exciting preteen drama; I sang my first full vocal solo in twelve years; and my dishwasher broke. On the plus side, I was not working, and my fall classes hadn't yet started.

There've been times during this craziness that I've smiled and pressed on with faith and happiness. There've been other times that, well -- those other times could only be called epic fails. Those are the moments when I feel like there'd be more sanity if I had my own padded room and a "hug yourself" jacket. It's not that I haven't learned from these fun experiences; it's just that some of the things I've learned are not always the warm, fuzzy kind ...

For instance, I've learned that my faith has a breaking point. This car likes to alternate between using that breaking point as a tight rope while it does the tango and marking off a spot on my faith fault line to practice the flamenco. (Pretty spectacular for a vehicle that's spent the better part of the last seven months immobile on blocks, eh?) When I hit that breaking point, and my car starts dancing, it's really tempting to start blaming others for my problems or to just curl up in a ball in the middle of life's path and refuse to move -- ever, ever again ... Really, painfully tempting ... During those times, only sheer habit and willpower help me dodge that particular car wreck. It's certainly not because of my stellar attitude.

I've learned to grit my teeth, smile, and be thankful for things that -- by nature -- I'd just rather not be thankful for. I've always thought of myself as a pretty thankful person, but sometimes -- especially in these last months -- it takes an extra dose of humility and some stern self-talk. Apparently, it's a weakness of mine, and I'm not particularly humble ... Who knew? ;) Don't get me wrong; I truly am grateful for those things, but sometimes when it's not the needs that I think God should meet, I find that I have to work a little harder to overcome my inclination to say, "Yeah, but ... "

It's a process, but I'm learning that sometimes the lessons I need most are to be more mindful of where I fall short. Sometimes, it's only when my faith and abilities utterly fail that I remember what it truly means to be completely dependent upon the Lord. Perhaps I don't need that padded room after all ...