I like Tea

Some days it’s really clear. Some days I feel like I have been riding a merry-go-round and I get off and everything is spinning.

Who am I? I think I forgot. I think I changed.  Well… I like to be alive, I like to smell fresh air, I like to move my body and I like to dance a lot. I like people, I like big groups and I like talking. I like serving food and making people smile. I like high energy and loud noises. I like silence and stillness. I like talking and writing to myself. I like hot showers, I like hot baths and I like to read. I like to sing and perform very energetically when I drive. Currently to Adele, but not Hello. I like to laugh, I like to snort and I like to be silly. Sometimes I like to cry, I like to feel all the feels and then I like to move on. I am loyal. I am honest. I care. I care too much. I like when others win. I like to show people how shiny they really are. I don’t like sitting around, unless deep in thought, conversation or cup of tea. I don’t like coffee. I wish I liked coffee. I do like tea. Sometimes I like cream in my tea, but just sometimes.

I have boundary issues. I let people in quick. I let myself become what they need. And then sometimes I realize I forgot who I am.

Rest easy daughter. I know who you are. Come to me and I will show you bit by bit. You are safe here. And now I am figuring it out. But it will take today. That’s okay, I have today.

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I found a time machine

Image

Challenge: Write something without stopping, you have 8 minutes.
Note: This is a rambling, mumbo jumbo, messy thought cloud. Read at your own risk. Not much editing, lots of poor grammar, punctuation, etc. but this is how my brain works 😉

I want to redo school. No, I want to undo school and do childhood again. I am so thankful I get to. Although I don’t have a time machine, I have three littles to raise and I am doing it differently. Sometimes I think I am selfishly doing it for myself.

Have you ever picked up a book, maybe one with the worst print job ever (the colours are totally misaligned) and worried it was a waste of money? And then you start that book and 5 minutes in you never want to put it down. It happens all the time, well usually the covers look better than the book I am currently reading.

I have long been a basher of reality TV. I am not exactly sure why, probably because someone who I respected or had a life I wanted bashed it and I guess I think I should probably go along with them. I had a revelation tonight… I friggin’ love reality… I love reading about other people, how they do life, what they love to do, what inspires them, what they accomplish, what they fail at and what adventure is on the horizon. I love the ideas, I love the “aha” moments, I love being challenged, I love thinking they are off their rocker and I love test driving some of the ideas. Annnnnnnd what I really love is discussing it with other people. So now I am wondering what is wrong with reality TV, isn’t what I am doing the same thing? Ohhhhh…. but TV rots your brain and wouldn’t you rather live your own life than watch someone else live theirs? I have said all of these things and believed them very full heartily, but now that I am back in school but not anywhere close to it (insert maniacal laughter), I am beginning to ask myself why I have thought those things. I get sucked into TV, that has always been my claim to not wanting to watch it because it would waste my day, but I get sucked into books too,is that a waste of a day? I bet most people consider those that read often to be more “intelligent”, but really how is it different if your brain is turned on? Maybe some people don’t turn their brains on? Well, that is a whole other blog post. I guess I can’t have my book reading in the background… but yes I can – BOOKS ON TAPE, Hmmm… other than Narnia I don’t have many of those.

Boy I love thinking again.

I love having a sliver of a thought and sitting at my old dirty white Macbook and tippy-tapping. I also love that when I am writing something that thrills me I smile and sometimes I even find myself mouthing the words. Of gosh this is exhilarating! Why didn’t I start this before! God totally knows me. I have always loved to write, no, I can remember at the beginning I loved to write. I am so thankful he has given me an opportunity to try my hand at it again. On that thought I have always loved to sing and dance, but for a time in my life I heard that I wasn’t very good at either of those things. I have always secretly wanted to be in a musical. I love to be loud, I love to make people laugh, I love to sing from my belly and I would love to be an amazing dancer. If you have known me for more than 35 seconds you know I love to preform. No, I don’t currently sing and dance, well not in public, but I certainly do around my kids, but I make faces, I do voices (although my husband seems to think they all sound strangely South-Asian) and I talk with my hands A LOT. I love to be with people and I love when people are having a good time. I am so glad to have my kids, they are my audience, they are the audience I needed to gain a little confidence. I think with this new found confidence I might just take over the world, I mean because what else would be worth my time?

What would you do if you could have a do over?
If you write a messy thought cloud in 8 minutes, I WANT to read it, please send it to me.

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I am recovering control freak.

I have been challenged over the last week to figure out how to do my daily life focusing on connection rather than perfection. So here is the thing, I like to be in control. I’m pretty sure I am always right and I like things that are linear and in order. I like when things go my way and I like everyone to think, “I’ve got it all together”. I like when my house is clean, when all the laundry is folded and put away. I like when my children “behave” -what is that anyway, when they clean up all their messes and follow instructions happily. I like when my husband wants to spend endless hours talking about the latest book I’ve read after he has finished the supper dishes ;), I like when everyone treats each other nicely, there are no arguments and all disputes are solved with calm conversation. I like my family all together, getting along, enjoying each other. I am trying to figure out how to enjoy this wild ride of life when most of these things are not happening in the same day, let’s be honest, I might get one thing to go my way. Which brings me back to connection, how will I keep it all together if I need to spend so much time connecting, the simple answer is I can’t.

I regret that I have made most of my parenting decision based on how it would reflect on me. What I want to be is a mom that makes her decisions based on what is best for her child and what is best for our connection and our relationship. Turns out what is best for them always seems to be what is best for us, but not necessarily what is best or convenient for me.

When I am so busy trying to get it to look perfect, I forget to focus on the journey. I forget to smell the flowers, to laugh when someone messes up, to hear the funny jokes between my kids, and notice when my kids go out of their way to help.

I have had the great honour over the last month to spend many days with women, mothers and friends I really aspire to be like. I love being around people that spur me to examine my own heart and my own method to see if it is really working. I love watching other moms with their kids and seeing the heart connections they share. I love to be around women that talk highly of their spouses and highly of their marriages. I love being challenged to be better and also to be more of myself.

While driving 5800km in a green mini-van with 2, and then 4 children, my pregnant road-tripping girlfriend was sharing how in one of her counseling session they talked about her core (being her immediate family), the front row (those in her extended family and her close friends) and the rest of the audience and how her job was to protect and foster her core FIRST. This totally struck a cord with me. I can remember thinking, yes of course not everyone will agree with you, but that’s okay, then that thought turned into, but do I care most about my core? I mean  I love my core more than anyone, but do I care about them more than anyone? For me caring for someone is the real work of love. Feeling emotionally attached and invested is easy for me, I love people, I really do, but actually taking the time and focusing on connecting with someone is different, it’s love with feet. She continued to share advice her mother-in-law gave her when she was challenged with family dynamics, “You can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself and your response.” Right. We all know this but sometimes when you hear it again for the 300th time, the penny drops. My mind was churning and trying to make sense of this new information, how is related to my life and how was I going to file it. The first half of the trip was done, we had arrived in one piece (nothing short of a miracle) and were still friends. The next few weeks would prove to line up perfectly with what we had discussed.

A few days into the trip I had the pleasure of spending two full days with a great friend and fellow “unschooling” buddy (you can read all about her journey on her blog)

http://growinglovingliving.blogspot.ca
and my paradigm shifted again. After observing her kids in action I was challenged to shift away from wanting fully compliant children that were easy to handle. Now don’t get me wrong, her children are delightful, as are mine but I think it is from two different perspectives. As I observed her children, they were fully engaged in life and thoughtful but without being forced into it. My littles are amazing, but the experience ignited the question in me, are they thoughtful because I make them, do they do the right thing because they fear my response or because they want to? Are they just going through the motions without having the right heart behind it? Please understand this is not me knocking who my kids are, they really are very fabulous little people, but I wondered is there is more to them that is being stifled because I wont let them just be themselves. My children and I have always been close but does my hard mom approach create a disconnect? Am I a hard mom because what I want is to appear to have it all together? I know that at the end of my life, as well as everyday until then, what I want most, is to have a strong heart connection with each of them individually. I want them to know they can trust me with their hearts, even the pieces that are not polished yet. I want them to love people and do good because they see me doing that and they want to be like me. I don’t want them to fear doing wrong because I think fear will paralyze what can go right, I want them to live from a place of love and mercy not perfect and right.

During my three week whirlwind trip I also had the pleasure of great parenting conversations with a near and dear friend. She has such a strong connection to our Heavenly Father and is certainly the gal I call when I need a good dose of prayer. She shared with me an experience she had with her daughter and some fellow moms at a soccer field. Her daughter was upset because the other children didn’t want to do exactly what she wanted (this little girl and I have so much in common) and had come to my friend and asked is she would please make the other kids do what she wanted. Oh course my friend explained that she couldn’t do that and suggested she might like to go do something else and play by herself. Notice she did everything “right”, but her daughter EXPLODED… in front of the other parents. My girlfriend is a champ and calmly embraced her daughter and reminded her of how much she loved her even if she says hurtful things. A few moments later, another mom commented on the outburst, she didn’t compliment her on how well she had handled it but rather on how rude her daughter had been. Here is where my friend blew my mind, she stuck up for her daughter. She didn’t stick up for the outburst but she stuck up for her right to be frustrated and be a child. She praised her daughter by saying how she does everything at 150% whether that was caring and loving on her family or being frustrated. She was more concerned with keeping her daughters heart than gaining the approval of a spectator. When she shared that story with me, my heart grew, I realized that keeping the connection is primary and if she could do it, so could I.

So what have a learned, what has brought me closer to living for connection rather than perfection?  I have learned as I wade through this journey of parenting, that letting go of perfection opens the door to connection. I have learned that in making sure the needs of my CORE are met, perfection is in not even on the horizon, but it is tangibly richer. When I am not trying to make everything right I have time to experience the brilliance of my kids and witness their beautiful hearts in action. I have learned that when my daughter is having a melt down, she can move on more quickly if I sit and listen to her rather than just shout for her to calm down. I have learned that my husband likes being around me more when I don’t always tell him to. I AM learning to be less annoyed because perfection is no longer my standard. I have also learned that my relationship with God is the same thing, He just wants connection, I don’t have to be perfect first, phew! I have been ACTIVELY working at building a connection for a few weeks now and I am already seeing results. Tonight my daughter was carrying plates to the table for dinner, she was being a bit goofy and dropped them all on the floor. One shattered, she didn’t even have a scratch but she was crying. Gut response, I wasn’t mad (WHAT!!? that is a big deal for a perfectionist), I just picked her up, checked her feet and assured her it was no big deal. She was crying because she felt so bad and was worried I would be mad. That was a sobering moment. I am glad that we are forging ahead for connection rather than perfection, we are creating new responses and I believe one day we will both just laugh and clean up the mess together.
I am recovering control freak. I am a woman on a mission to change myself and serve the world starting with my core. I want to care more about what my core thinks about me than what my front row and most certainly what the rest of the audience is thinking. I want my “children to raise up and call me blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her; ‘“Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”’ (Proverbs 31:28-29) I want to be a woman that chooses connection over perfection every time.

After all, what I want is legacy not golden statues.

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Poop can be the best gift

I have been asking God what he wants me to do next and funny thing is, He REMINDED me that He asked me to start a blog three years ago. I didn’t of course because everyone has a blog, what good will it do anyone, I don’t like writing, I’m not very good at it and so on and so on. But last week, I was reminded again and I was given great insight from an amazing woman, Monica Prescott, to do that “thing” that we are called to do even if we are not prepared, He will equip us along the way. So I did the first thing one does before they do the “thing”, I wrote it on my to do list. And there it sat for 7 days. I was just waiting for some free time, for something exciting to write about, some great revelation to give the world and so it sat, undone on my to do list.

Until this morning, when things didn’t turn out the way I planned and I ended up having something to share, something to think about and the time to put it together. It didn’t happen the way I wanted but I have realized when things go smoothly, there is not much to share.

It was a beautiful morning, sun streamed in through the curtains, birds chirped and my precious son smiled at me. “Oh buddy it’s too early to get up” I whispered as I checked my watch, 6:28 am to be exact. I could smell he needed to be changed, phew, there was still a good chance I could enjoy another two hours of sleep. I was thankful my little guy goes back to sleep easy peasy with a fresh diaper.

I reached around for a clean diaper and the pack of wipes… shoot I was out of wipes. I headed straight to the bathroom as stealth as possible for those handy Kando toilet wipes. It was a success, the four and six year old didn’t notice, although they often sleep with one eye open. Slightly annoyed at having to actually get OUT of bed, I seated myself in proper cris-cross apple sauce style and prepared for a lightening speed diaper change. Diaper off. Check. Poop. Check. I pulled out the first wipe and realized how much smaller they were than regular wipes. I wasn’t sure at this point if my tested veteran mom wiping technique (TVMWT) would work as well. Nope I needed back up…AH they were stuck! My wiggly six month old was attempting his escape, I fumbled with the wipes for the next twenty seconds and then came the sound no parent wants to hear when their kid is bare bumming it. Gghugh. I panicked. Next thing I knew a mustard torpedo shot out from between his cute little cheeks and I had lost that round. Eighteen inches of digested breast milk and sweet potato crossed my bed. Not only had my very expensive sheets felt the blow but my white duvet cover, my pajama pants and my toes. Gross. Poop between my toes at 6:30am.

Okay now I was more than slightly annoyed, I was angry! I picked up my baby, hands covered in poop and shimmied off my bed from cross legged position with toes and pants also covered in poop. Looking back, if I had slowed down and just grabbed a few more wipes to clean myself up first it could have gone much smoother, but then again I wasn’t sure when the next mustard torpedo was ready to fire. I “heeled” (like the opposite of tip toed) to the bathroom as ninja as possible to avoid waking the first and second born. Thankfully our bathroom, our ONLY bathroom is directly across the hall from them. Very gently, and with great care to be silent, I laid my son down on the bath mat, I popped up to grab a face cloth and I saw a beautiful six year old face smiling at me over the top rail of he bunk-bed, “Happy Mother’s Day Mom”. “Oh Jewel go back to bed it’s only 6:30am (as if she knows how early that feels for me)”. Am I glad my first response to this sweet child was annoyance, no I wish I had already been laughing about the whole ordeal.

I finished cleaning up the baby, took off my pants, wiped out my toes and then headed back to my room to strip the bed. We had been awake now for 30 minutes to get everything sorted out so there was no going back to sleep. My dreams of a Mother’s Day Sleep-in were dashed and I needed to figure out how to spend the rest of my morning. And then I remembered I was supposed to start a blog, well if there was ever a good time, first thing in the morning while you want to be sleeping seemed like a good idea.

Turns out writing requires you to stop and think about things in more detail.

As I was writing my morning adventure out I started to wonder what was making me so angry. Was it that he pooped on my really expensive sheets (what mother in her right mind uses expensive sheets when she has three small kids) or that I had washed these same sheets two nights prior after a mass puking incident or was it that I didn’t get to have my desired sleep-in on Mother’s Day, a sleep-in I should have been entitled to. The truth is I felt guilty for for being angry. I felt guilty that I was angry for having to do my job, for having to do what I always dreamed of doing, being a mom.

I am a richly blessed woman, I have three vibrant and healthy children. I know at least a dozen women that are struggling for different reasons today, Mother’s Day is hard. It is hard when your heart’s desire is for children and it hasn’t happened yet, or it has and you didn’t get to hold them or you did and it was such a short time and now they are with Jesus. I know they would gladly trade places with me and take 15 minutes of inconvenience and lost sleep over the countless moments of heart ache. So in that moment I chose thankfulness instead, I chose to pray for those that are hurting and I choose to make the most of the following fourteen hours with my precious littles.

Today ended up being an amazing day. I am glad I didn’t choose to let the inconvenience of one moment spill into the last fourteen hours of fabulous moments.

So I guess perhaps having to write about my life is really for me, to help me navigate why I feel a certain way and then choose wisely how to respond. I guess writing helps me gain perspective and perfect lives don’t make for very interesting topics. I hope next time I don’t have my writing “moment” at 6:30 am, but then again where would I find the time if I was always up at 9 am 😉

But just in case you want to be as grossed out as I was… here it is… Image

And the three littles that melt my heart and are teaching me to leave selfishness behind and choose joy…Image

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