Wednesday, February 23, 2011

top 5 wednesday

today i am thankful for

1. tweezers

2. children who love books

3. this ridiculously slow computer

4. the freedom to slow down on our activities while we are sick

5. the ability to print priority mail postage from my house (LOVE the USPS!!)

looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

top 5 today

to honor my mission to do more (though the meaning behind that has somewhat changed) I am writing a 'top 5' of things I am thankful for today (and each day I write in, I'll add my top 5). 

1. health care

2.  sunshine

3.  fresh snow

4.  promise of spring

5.  a day filled with ill but happy children

it's really hard for me to hold back from adding more details; explaining exactly what is behind each one, but i have a ton more to do today.  Stuff that really deserves to be finished.  So that I can move on tomorrow with more things i can finish.  because i am worth it.  and it feels so much better to finish all that i can...

Monday, February 14, 2011

honoring the push to do more

Creator of Everything,
Ultimate Being,
Earth Mother,
Dude who Abides,

Help Me out (again.)

I fell into step with this life a little too easily.

Forgotten were the steps needed to maintain a positive trajectory;
to keep up, not with the "Joneses," but with our own dreams.
I got lazy.  (yes, again)

I swung out of balance.

Help me get there again,
to meet the challenges I've put myself behind.

You've given me a great endurance for stress,
and a slow but steady pace to meet up with all those challenges I meet up with
(so many that I have placed in my own way.)

Thank you for being that so small; sometimes loud voice rising from the deepest part of me -
pushing me toward the life that will make me happiest.
never first, never best, never the most of anyone else, just the happiest I can be.

You are really pushing me right now. 
Timed perfectly with the warm air and melting snow of this false spring time.
I thank you for putting the trust in me that I am capable of taking on these incredible tasks -
especially the trust that I will do better this time around with keeping all these things in balance.

You rock. 

Always a big fan,

Friday, February 11, 2011

a moment or two of humor...

Today I am thankful for humor.  Aside from chocolate and caffeine, it's really what gets me through each day.  The first photo was taken from a blog titled :   So true.  It's one ad in a well designed ad campaign for a job search website.  Who knew  Germans could be so witty?  As you look through the post about the ad campaign, know there is one picture of a man's "somewhat" naked butt.  So take care around those who you'd rather not talk to about what the ad might be about...

All these were found online, and I would like to share great thanks for everyone who notices, documents and shares these items that add a touch of light and laughter to everyone who sees them.  Each of these people makes life on this planet so much better! 


And my favorite thing to laugh about is the surprising lack of manners and common sense that so many display.  I think we also saw these posted in the state parks in Michigan, but maybe not.  I'd love to display these around our property & adjoining neighborhood park.  Or find where some of these people live and 'regift' their doggy presents.  oops, staying on topic...

I love to read other blogs - and my favorite funny blogs, those kind that your pulse races and you quietly click on whenever you see they have a new post.  NOT blogs where you see videos or photos of people doing stupid things.   No one getting punched, smacked or nailed in the balls.  I'm not 13 anymore.  That stuff just isn't funny, or at least not most of the time.  These blogs take the cerebral function up a notch, and leave you laughing till it hurts.

Cakewrecks is amazingly funny!!!  "When Professional Cakes go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong!" Some are appropriate to share, some you'll need to check your surroundings for.

For anyone living the pregnant life, check out Frankly Pregnant.  I found it during my second pregnancy, AFTER spending some 'up close and personal' time with my very straight forward, no humor OB.  This blog made me laugh, understand more and feel slightly less freaked out.  (That is truly high praise!)  And I then stopped flashing my nether regions to my OB quite so often.  {After compiling a book of her work, and giving birth to her final child, the author stopped adding to this site, but maintains it as a beacon of hope to all pregnant women.  So thankful for this woman!}

A new treasure is How Not to Act Old; which I loved even more when she commented on not being able to "act 38 anymore".

She used to live here in the Twin Cities, but she moved with her family to Ohio recently.  Still keeping us up to date with all that's going on in her world, Sheletta , through her blog, still must be the funniest woman in the Twin Cities!

For those who want to understand just how good their own life is, check out FMyLife.

And I've gotta share Attack of the Redneck Mommy.  Often hilarious, occasionally teary, a Canadian mom shares a glimpse into her life.  Always worth a read.

 A couple of funny (or at least humorous) blogs that compliment each other- Stuff White People Like  and  Stuff Parisians Like .

And a love letter/knee slap to motherhood brings us to a close today at Dooce.  She is first an amazing writer, second a loving mom and third finds humor and joy in so many moments (big and small).

You are here right now; today.  Find the joy in that gift.  Celebrate yourself, and LAUGH!! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Identity in Balance

The identity of one changes with how one perceives reality. 
                                                                      ~Vithu Jeyaloganathan

Being a stay-at-home parent in general equates to a new identity (both as someone who works within their own walls, and as the parent of someone small).  Now I've had a lot of identity changes in my life... adolescence, dating, marriage, college, religion, friendships, travel, the list goes on and on.  A person's identity is always based on who and what they are involved in.

With parenting, I think the identity of the stay-at-home parent can get enmeshed in the identity of the child(ren) so much so that the parent loses part of who they really are.  This is beginning to sound too clinical.

I used to occasionally hear part of 'Dr.' Laura's radio show.  (The Dr. is in quotes 'cuz she's not a doctor of what she talks about - she's a doctor of physiology or anatomy, not therapy or mental health).  She used to tell women to identify themselves as their child's mother.  Though I understood that she was essentially pushing back from the selfishness of some parents who put their own happiness/wants/interests above their parenting duties, I really hated that idea.  Staying home to care for and raise your children is isolating, with years of "waiting" to reconnect with what you used to do in your "free" time.  So many days, I feel I've lost myself within this daily list of tasks and the rather rigid schedules of a young child's life, there seems little room left for Me.

But I've always struggled to maintain my Me-ness.

My own last name is hyphenated.  I love my husband, and his family, and added his last name to my own as a sign of honoring my new membership into their family.  But I am not ever going to be OF my husband's family.  Let me put that a second way.  I am always going to be from my family.  No matter how long I am a part of my husband's family, I will still feel like an 'ex-pat' - like Craig Ferguson is now a citizen of the United States, but will always feel different because he is from Scotland.  He sounds different when he talks, he is passionate about being an American in a different way than I could ever be - because he chooses to be here.  I will always interrupt, speak too loudly, lose my train of thought as I listen to others; all because that is how my own family communicates.  This stuff is normal to my family, but not to my husband's.

Now, another voice has added to the fray of what identity a parent can take on.  Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" brings up many great ideas.  Though I still have her book on my "to read" list, I have discussed the book with many who have read it, and have read countless articles responding to her work.

 I love her idea of not letting a young child decide when it's time to quit an activity (if I would agree to that, I'd be shelling out buckets of cash all over town for sign up fees with the attendance to one or two actual sessions of things my son would then say is boring, makes him too anxious, or whatever).  My own parents allowed me to quit both gymnastics and tap dance when I was very young.  I remember hearing the teachers talking about an upcoming recital or performance for parents, and feeling anxious and self-conscious; and then telling my mom & dad that I was "not going to go anymore".  They let me quit!  What a powerful day for me!  But then, I missed going to those classes, and wished I could go again.  Even then, I secretly wished I would've continued on.  Even if I had missed the big show, I would've loved to learn more about how to confidently move my body, and build it's strength. 

I applaud her for expecting her children to do their best - extra credit, high quality craft/art projects, and well-practiced musical performances.  (How could I ever keep all the drawings, designs, crafts and writing my own children create?  I'd need to rent storage space, and they're only six and three!)  I love that she has set her children up to understand how important hard work, perseverance, and focus are in every aspect of life. 

And I enjoy how she opens her own life up for discussion by those she doesn't know.  She shares her stories with wit and humor - and sometimes shocking honesty.  Kudos. 

My trouble with her parenting style is that she focuses so much of her own time into her children's activities.  I mean, I understand attending a piano lesson here and there, and paying attention to how the child practices at home.  But there is no way I would ever feel comfortable or valuable sitting in on every lesson and then working as the "stand-in teacher" for practicing at home.  It seems to me to be a short side step from home schooling*.  Why bother paying someone else if I need to work so hard to be their equal? 

*I understand that many adults who chose homeschooling for their children do so with only the best interests of their specific children in mind.  These exemplary adults act as champion-advocates for the needs of their children - who would otherwise find failure and frustration in the public and private school options available to them.  I live in an area with high quality public schools, which provide me with the opportunity to work for pay outside my home, and for my children to experience a variety of teaching styles in their community of peer learners. 

I have always fought with myself on what my own identity really is.  And I guess that's why this new book, and the older topics from above, have touched a nerve with me.  I know how much I LOVE being a mom, a wife, a woman.  But I don't want to lose more of myself in the interests and activities of my children.  I don't think I would be doing my children any good by modeling how to be a door mat mom.  And no, I don't think anyone would ever consider Amy Chua one of those.  But I think it's such a fine balance.  A child's interests vs. a parent's.  There are only so many hours in a day - and I don't have any hired help to make my own valuable time any easier to come by.

I don't want to find myself sitting on the sidelines of every practice, rehearsal, scrimmage, run-through, whatever for my children.  I'd need to find something to numb my obvious disinterest, and that would only cause me more troubles (and doctors surely don't hand out Valium like they used to!)

So today, I am thankful that I am aware that I need to continue to place my own interests into the jumble of daily life; along with the interests of everyone else in my family.  I am thankful that Dr. Laura, and Amy Chua are honest enough to put a good part of their identity out there for the world to pick at.  And I am also, thankful to be a Western mom.  I have the freedom to make choices - both as a parent and as a woman - for what my family will do with our time.  And I am thankful that I don't have everything (with myself or the world) totally figured out just yet. 

If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?  ~Chuck Palahniuk

Saturday, February 5, 2011

like mindedness...

I'm a woman who is filled with both passionate opinions and the forceful attitude that those opinions often need to be shared.  Though this trait has caused me to damage relationships, at times, it has also brought me to the place that I celebrate it.  I can only do so much with this personality I've been given, and that's a great thing.  Someone wanted me to be here on this Earth, noticing, critiquing, empathizing, sharing, loving and disliking.  And I don't think it was solely to be a giant pain in the tuchas to those I come into contact with.

On that note, this post found on "Kind Over Matter" was so lovely, and joyful, and truthful that I had to share it here.  Know that all that makes you the person you are; the body you inhabit, the personality you possess, the relationships you develop, all are there to be thankful for.  For all those pieces make up your life.  And your life is a gift to celebrate each day.  So go!  Celebrate!