One of the blogs I follow is written by author Elizabeth Lyons. I have been reading her books since I found out I was pregnant with the boy’s. Her humor and ability to keep it simple keeps me coming back for more. Her most recent post was about revealing unknown facts about oneself. This is a practice that I have been involved with since starting my journey of recovery. She invited her readers to dig deep and then share:
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1. I love cooking….this is a new discovery. I thought I hated cooking but really I was just lazy and didn’t want to clean up after.
2. If I had to identify one thing in nature that allows me to feel one with God it would be water. It’s part of everything living and is even in the air we breath.
3. One of my new favorite show’s is “Teen Mom 2″ on MTV.
4. I really enjoy dancing with my boys (that doesn’t mean I’ll be going out dancing anytime soon).
5. I have a difficult time identifying with other Mom’s at times.
6. I struggle at times meeting my children where they are at, even though that’s want I want from everyone else I have a relationship with.
7. I spend WAY TOO MUCH time researching kids items
8. I find it very helpful to find out “why” someone is behaving the way they are, it is easier for me to elicit some compassion and lay down my judgments
9. I would really love to adopt a little girl
10. Sometimes napping is essential to everyone’s survival.
I had been waiting for that question among many others that I cringe at the thought of being asked. The conversation a few weeks ago went something like this:
Clay: “what’s that building Mama, a castle?”
Me: “No, honey that’s a church”
Clay: “what’s a church”
Me: “a church is a place people go to learn about God”
Clay: “who’s God”
Me: holding my breath and hoping he forgot the question
Clay: “WHO’S GOD MAMA”
Me: “Did you see that bird over there?”
For those who have known me my whole life, my reaction and avoidance may surprise you with my long history of going to church, christian schools and camps. Yet, it’s my history with all of those that led me to my reaction. I don’t want my experience and understanding of God to be my childrens’ understanding. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for all of that knowledge, it has come in handy a number of times in my life. But that was all it added up to be when my world started crumbling, just knowledge. It hadn’t been an experience or a practice. At some points during my emotional adolescence I would have told you that I had a spiritual experience and that I had a personal relationship with God. What I had was some prayers that I threw to the sky when I didn’t have the answers and I was scared. I didn’t believe or trust that I was going to be taken care of, or that I was unconditionally loved. I didn’t come to believe and trust that until after I turned 30. I hope my children don’t have to wait that long.
When I hit a bottom in my life and started a path of recovery. I was told that I needed to find a Higher Power of my understanding. That I could define and name that Higher Power and that it could be as complicated or simple as I needed it to be. I knew I didn’t want the God that I remembered from some of the schools, churches and camps I had attended. That God was a judging, vengeful entity that already had my life planned out for me. Therefore all of the bad things that had happened in my life had been a result of that God. It was suggested I write out a list of attributes that I wanted/needed from my Higher Power (who I now chose to call God). But when I sat down to write that list I remember crying, I didn’t feel like I deserved to ask for what I needed. So I wrote a list of attributes I couldn’t have in a God. Then I wrote a list of all the times I knew that someone or something had been taking care of me. It became a freeing and fulfilling journey, that I am so grateful for.
Yet, I still don’t have words to explain God to my children.
p>Recently on one of discussion boards I am part of a video was linked up and I thought I’d share:
I clearly remember the moment about 4 years ago I decided not to wait to find the “perfect someone” to start a family with. There was a sense of empowerment knowing that other women had gone before me and successfully conceived and raised children on their own. I am so grateful that in those moments I didn’t project the worse case scenario’s which is my usual default, instead I ran with that intuitive notion and now have two beautiful boys to journey with.
p>What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. Birthday’s, Christmas, family and friends. All wonderful things but still time-consuming. So to recap:
The boy’s birthday party was wonderful. Family and friends joined us to celebrate with love, laughter and cake. The boy’s enjoyed the audience and of course the presents. The got a train table, books, clothes, puzzles and so much more. I have already started putting things away to pull out on a rainy/snowy day.
Christmas was magical. They really got into the concept of Santa and the story behind that. I also started introducing the biblical story. In fact at the boy’s birthday party Reese kept calling a friends baby, “Baby Jesus”. We all got a laugh but it also warmed my heart to know that he was holding onto some of what was being said. Christmas morning at 2:00am I was woken up by both boys and informed it was morning. They were sent back to bed. When morning came we were greeted by Mimzy downstairs and the stocking/present opening began. I was both overjoyed by their excitement and somewhat saddened at their constant want for more presents. I’ve been told that is normal and they will get the idea as they mature. We visited family that afternoon and had a wonderful time. We were all beat by that night.
I am so grateful to be awake to my life today and have the gift of living these moments through my children’s eyes.
One of my favorite things to do is take pictures of my boy’s and share them with others. I had great intentions of doing baby books but it just never happened. Instead I put together a montage from one birthday to the next and I am having copies made for both of them so someday they can take them when the grow up. Here is the montage for this past year. If you want to see the prior one’s there are links on the right of my blog. Enjoy!!
With the holidays here and the catalogs and commercials in full swing, I have really started contemplating how gratitude is taught. I am also taking an online class and following a blog by the author Christine Carter of “Raising Happiness” and she talks about fostering gratitude. I know from my own experiences that gratitude was hard to find sometimes in life and it wasn’t until starting on a path of emotional health that I truly understood why it is important.
Early in recovery and even now when I am stuck in negativity it is suggested to write a gratitude list at night before I go to bed. I always find that my perspective shifts after I am done. Something happens when I stop focusing on what’s wrong and start remembering what is going right. As I reflect on this, I am reminded that people modeled gratitude for me . Seeing the glass as half full does not come natural to me. I hear frequently that negativity and complaining is a habit. If that is true, gratitude and happiness can also become a habit.
I feel strongly as a parent that it is my responsibility to teach them genuine gratitude and not develop a sense of entitlement. I see so many kids today who have too much stuff, including my kids. Having their birthday and Christmas only 8 days apart contributes to that problem. As they get older I am going to encourage more gifts of experience, like Children’s Museum memberships, movie tickets, magazine subscriptions etc. This year I am putting some of the gifts away and taking them out throughout the year.
I have found a few ideas that I would like to start incorporating into our lives. First I would like to start naming three things/people we were thankful for during our day either at dinner or before bed. Second I would like to start doing bedtime prayers with them, with the focus being on thanking God for the day, for the people in our lives etc. Thirdly, I would like to start going through their toys, books and clothes before their birthday and holidays and have them be a part of passing those items onto other. Either kids younger or families in needs.
To start the process this year we gave some baby toys/items to a friend who is having twins. We also made gratitude trees. I printed some trees and leaves off the internet. Then we sat down and the boy’s named people in their lives that they are thankful for. They don’t completely understand what thankful means, so I inserted the word “love” when it got confusing. Many of their favorite people were named, but also “Woody”, “Buzz”, “Santa” and “Lucky the Elf” made the list. After making the list, I wrote names on the leaves, then we glued the leaves on the trees. I took pictures for memory sake. It was a lot of fun and a tradition I would like to continue.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and I am grateful you are all in my life!
One of the very exciting activities going on over here has been the construction of ”The Climbing Cube”. Mimzy being the wise woman she is, thought it would benefit the household to have a place for the boy’s to climb and play during the long winter months. If I had to guess I would say it has taken her about 1.5 months to create this all from a vision in her head. The boys are mastering it quickly and I am enjoying watching them. Thanks Mimzy, we love you!
One of the things I have counted on during the holidays is getting photo cards from family and friends. I love keeping them and looking back at how much people change over the years, especially the kids. After the boy’s were born, I learned about Shutterfly and all the promotions that they have throughout the year.
When the boy’s first birthday and Christmas came along, I knew that I would share with family and friends as they have shared with me over the years. I fell in love with one of the Holiday cards that allows the use of up to 9 photos and gives lots of space for a message. I have used that photo card for the boy’s last two Birthday invitations and I plan to do the same this year. What I love most about it is that I don’t have to settle on just one picture and I have had many recipients cut the message part off and keep the pictures as a keepsake. After the boy’s first Birthday party, Shutterfly was having a big sale on photo stationary so I took one of the pictures of both boys and used that for thank you cards.
The cards are great and convenient but I have to say my favorite Shutterfly products are the photo mugs. Last year I gave them as gifts to some grandparents and I had one made for myself. The boy’s love seeing their pictures on the mugs and it’s a nice memory that I get to share with them.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up:http://bit.ly/sfly2010
I get many things forwarded to me, almost on a daily basis and I try to take a look at them. This video was forwarded to me this morning and I just had the chance to look at it. I was touched, inspired and I’ll admit it, I cried. I want more people in the world teaching our children these values. I want these to be our commercials, not what products are going to improve their live but how they have the ability to decide how to perceive their lives.