Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bless Her Heart

I do this thing with my opinions on people and their actions, similar to using "Bless her/his heart" before an insult. In case you don't know this trick, if you add that statement, it makes it all better and not mean at all. Like "Bless her heart, her teeth are so jacked up". Half feeling sorry for her. Half busting on her. Mine is a bit longer than 3 words. Most of the time it is something like "I can't say what I would do, but I hope I would...".

As I age, I see a lot of danger in judgement, or opinions or what ever you call them. We all do it. I don't think my prefix/disclaimer to my opinion is a cop out. I REALLY believe it. I know what I would like to think I would do when faced with a situation. Most of the time I am taking mental notes. Using my time on this spectator side to remember how it looks and sounds from the outside while noting what works and what does not.

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path. - Paulo Coelho

When things are said like "That would never happen to my kid" or "My marriage is too strong for that to happen" those are your cues that the opposite is very likely to be true. Honestly I guess your chances are still about the same. My intention is to walk through trials with my head high and more people by my side because I don't look like a fool.

Let's take adultery for example. As much fun as I poke at Tiger Woods (Yes Tiger is still more fun than Jesse James even though he is the latest), I have no feeling about what his wife should do. I have never been through something like that. This is what I hope - if that life shattering event were to occur in my life, I want people around me that HAVE gone through it. How will I ever receive real counsel and really helpful stories if I push those people away by barking my ignorant opinion during their rough time? Even if I bark privately, it will be heard.

Addiction - this area is very specialized. These things get a hold of these wonderful people and turn them into something we don't recognize. Who am I to judge them as evil? What if it is your child? Does that speak to your parenting? Sometimes it may, but there are a lot of times it does not. We can come from perfect families with perfect intentions and still fall hard. Addiction Counselors will be there to help with the technical side of it. But no one can hold your hand better than another mom or wife that has had to search a room to keep them on the recovery track.

Raising children is another area that can be full of opinions. Seriously every kid is different. Why don't people understand that? If I had stopped at 1 child I would have considered myself the best parent ever! I am so glad that I have the reality that is #2. There are millions of battles out there and you have to choose your most important.

Battles I choose:
Saying negative words like "hate", "stupid" and "dumb".
Sleeping in their own bed consistently, not in mine.
Saying please and thank you
Car seat safety

Battles I do not choose:
Everyone eating the same thing for dinner
Limited Television viewing
Strict time lines on potty training
Accelerated Academic Performance

Now I know that there are reasons why parents don't choose the things I have. Everyone has their motivation. I especially understand the co-sleeping because frankly that would have been easier. I felt strongly about that bed being for just Carter and I so I stuck with it to make a routine out of sleeping in their own beds/cribs.
In the same manner I know why they choose the one I have NOT. Some children are very effected by television. Some moms do not enjoy being a short order cook at dinner. I don't really either but I just don't have it in me to struggle over food. The other two - well if you read my last blog you understand why those are not a priority.

"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you". Matthew 7:2

I want to offer others the same sympathy I would want. The same stares of love without turning my back with a smirk. The strength told hold my tongue and just listen rather than to advise in an area I know nothing about. When it happens, I want to feel supported, not judged.

Let's be honest...

Children are the best reflective surfaces. You can look in a mirror all you want but you will never see as much as you see in them.

My kids are notorious for being loud. Can't handle it? Don't invite me. I do keep a close ear on it but frankly I have volume issues myself. I know the whole "inside voice" thing. Until pre-school came around it was not as important for me to control it at all times. Children being loud when they are playing and having fun does not bother me. Kids need to have good times and don't need to be held to the same standards as adults.
Has anyone ever called me "quiet", "reserved", or "subdued"? Nope.

I have been complaining a lot lately about Natalie ignoring me. When Cara was Nat's age, and younger, she would almost immediately respond. We worked out a little "Marco Polo" kind of game when I needed to know where she was in the house. I would say "Cara say 'Mommy'? and would soon hear "Mommy" from some part of the house.
Natalie could care less. If I am out of the room and ask a question she will nod her head. How do I know that? I saw her do it from around the corner. Most of the time she will just sit there. Even if I am right in front of her I can ask several times and call her name... nothing. I have to touch her arm or block whatever she is entranced in a stare with. I know that boys can be like that. I think it is fine that Natalie is like that really. She is just different but it still throws me off. Until today...
I was walking through Wal-Mart talking to my Mom on the phone with Natalie in the cart. The past few days my mind has been anywhere but here. My mom asks what Natalie wants. I then realized that she has been saying my name repeatedly and I did not react. Just kept on talking and moving. I followed that up by saying "I just don't know where she gets the ignoring thing from".

Reading through some quotes on judgement I saw one that said Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”. That neat little tidbit is from Mr. Carl Jung. You may remember him from Psych 101 class. That could mean we may do the exact things that are annoying to us on the other side of the fence. It also could mean that we can learn about ourselves by how we chose our irritants. We do chose them ya know?! And that is just fine. They are what they are. You either have an apparent reason for it or you just don't know.

My husband is constantly asking me the "why" behind my opinions. Sometimes he gets a list of viable decision making material. Other times he gets "I don't know why, that is just the way it is supposed to be". At least most of the time I can bring myself to say "I don't know". I would rather that than to make up something or use an invalid point and cling to it. I don't like excuses to be used on me so I try my darnedest not to use them. If I find myself struggling to explain my position, most likely it is because I don't know. It is just the way I feel. Emotions cannot be explained. That is why they are generated in the "heart" and not the "head".

Either way, I usually win the fight because I think and talk faster :P

What I want to see reflected in my kids are not rigidly well behaved pint sized adults. I want it to be natural. I want them to be constantly learning. I want them to be polite and caring with others. I don't have goals for them to be perfect students, prom queen or soccer captain. Those things don't serve any purpose for me. I don't care where they go to college, just that they go and pursue a passion.

I am not a rigidly well behaved partially full-sized adult. I could never expect that from them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Can't Spell the Runny Poop Word and Other Insecurities: Part 2

Just as the title says - I struggle spelling the word diarrhea. Ok so I did spell check on that one. Before that I was SOOOO close though! "diarhea" was the first thing I typed. I wish I could say I was even consistent on misspelling it. I flip flop every time. One thing about me that is strange and at times helpful - I can retain a boat-load of information. What reason is there that I can't hold on to the proper spelling of that word? I can remember that Elmo's moms name is Gladys in one DVD we own. How much sense does that make?

Other words I struggle with are the words that end in "-iage" like Marriage and Carriage. I am constantly ending them in "aige". Being married and having children, having 3 miscarriages and being active in email groups/discussion boards. Not being confident about my spelling of those words became an obstacle. I used a lot of abbreviations and spell check and using other words. That is also what I do with the word diarrhea. Below is a list of substitutions I have used:
-Runny Poop
-Hershey Squirts
-Dookie Soup

I am positive now that this cat is out of the bag, I will retain the proper spelling of the words. Mostly because you will know what I am covering up.

In my 20's I prided myself on my spelling. In fact I made a huge deal out of things being misspelled. I do feel strongly that all legal documents need to have correct spelling. Especially if it is someones name. In fact I feel strongly about names in general even now. It is a NAME. What could be more important than a persons name. It is their identity. OK I am done with that. I guess I still have a little bit in me because I headed toward saying. . . I don't feel the need to make a big deal out of it anymore. My theory on myself at that time was that I considered myself better than other people because I could spell. Did that make me a better employee, wife or friend? No. In fact it made me annoying.

There was no way that made me smarter. The belief that it did made me condescending. Do I make the rules that another person should be measured by? Absolutely not. Belittling people for their inability to perform in an area you feel you succeed in is ignorant. Observe that you have weaknesses, be self-aware first.

Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

I can trace back the reason I act like that to my upbringing. You HAD to be right. If you were right then no one could tell you that you were wrong. Being wrong was the worst thing you could be. My Dad was always right. But he wasn't and I believed what he said though. Now I look back and think "wow he made that up!". He strived to be correct no matter what the cost - even if it meant spontaneously inventing his supporting information. Another reason I pushed to do the right thing was so I would not get in trouble or get yelled at. That RARELY paid off! But I did it for the wrong person. I did it for my Dad and not for God. My Dad was supposed to be my example of God.

I've learned not fall into the easy trap of measuring yourself against others. Using the "well at least I don't.." argument is wrong. As the verse above says, look at yourself closely first and measure yourself against what God has set as the goal.

Can't Spell the Runny Poop Word and Other Insecurities: Part 1

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

- Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles

Thanks to not changing the channel when the West Coast Playhouse Disney programming was over, I am watching "Akeelah and the Bee". That quote is part of this movie.

It took me by surprise. I have known for the past few days that I have been struggling with insecurities. There are places and things that I can go/do or talk about that are always sure to bring those feelings out. If I were to name them, that would do more harm than good.

It's not the fault of those places or things. It is a tool that is used to keep the darkness up and the light down. Although, I would love to blame them, taking the heat off of me. I am not making excuses so I don't want it to look that way. I think I am about to open up a can of worms and allow them to be seen, that does not feel fantastic. Take a deep breath and hope that this all comes out correctly.

Show of hands . . . who weighs more now than they did in High School? Before marriage? Before kids? Who looks at those pictures from those previous phases and thinks "I can't believe I thought I was fat then?!" Ponder that for a second. For me, that says to look at the pictures of me now and enjoy them. Even if I never lose weight, I am getting older. There will be something that I will miss about the way I look now. Photos are a great way to look at yourself and fix what you don't like. Seeing the way an article of clothing really fits vs. what you think looks good. Hair, I've caught myself in photos in terrible need of a hair cut.

Unfortunately - photos are not X-rays. What we should be focusing on, is the inside. Believe me, when you do, it shows on the outside. I know this because I wear my struggles on my face. I also know this because God says so.

Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

That does not mean that I cannot be charming or beautiful. Well I don't know about charming. Charming is not a word I want to describe me. I feel that charm is temporary and can be turned on. When people describe me as talkative or funny - I can't turn those off. There have been times I have tried. In church, around my husbands boss, co-workers or his friends, neighbors family - it ALWAYS slips out. Someone always sets me up for a good one liner and WHAM! It comes out. Timing is everything in comedy so my mouth has no time for my brain to pause for appropriateness. If it is funny or even a bit of information that needs to be said it will be said.

The Bible tells us to look closer at our hearts and actions rather than what can be externally viewed with just the eyes. OK so I may have a bigger problem on my hands than being over weight! LOL

I need to consider the source by which I am measured. Who tells me to strive to be "good" and do good for others and who tells me that I need a tummy tuck? Ok more than a tummy tuck but I did not want that sentence to be too long.

James 1:23 - "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror."

I don't want to judge myself by my own reflection. What I think I do is not worth much if it is not what I really do. Just like those old photos, I did not see what most people saw back then. I only saw what a few people and my perception of society said I was. Now I should look at photos and say "Yep I had about 4 chins in that picture because I was laughing so hard"