Dear Little Boy

Dear Little Boy I love So much,

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You are taking a morning nap as I sit here writing my apology.

I have already yelled enough by 10am to last us for the week.

I had a full nights sleep, breakfast, I exercised, I prayed, read my Bible, my house is decently clean, the sun is shining, I’m not mad at anyone (except now myself) – this day that should have been fun and joyous has already been ruined (up to this point) as I sit here with tears in my eyes realizing how I’ve let you down again.

I am so sorry honey.

I let you down when I am impatient with my 10 year old for doing something wrong but you’re only 3!

I let you down when I stop you from messing up your little brother’s toys but don’t do the same for you when you’re trying to build a train track and they keep getting pulled apart.

I let you down when the combination of your tiredness and need for cuddles cause you to be naughty but all I can see is the naughty.

I let you down when I hug and kiss you less because I’m so frustrated with you.

I let you down every time I use harsh words and am quick to yell.

Today I have let you down repeatedly but I want you to know I won’t give up. This is not who I want to be. I don’t enjoy these faults. I don’t like to make you sad.

I can’t suddenly be a different person but I will never stop working toward being a better me, a better Mommy.

I will not give up fighting to be the person I need and want to be. To respond with more patience and love so you can grow up having learned a better way to express your anger.

You are my boy and I adore you. I will always say sorry when I’ve done wrong and fight to be the best Mommy I can be, to raise you to be a good man just like you are a GOOD boy!

Love Mommy

“…when we are fully engaged in parenting regardless of how imperfect, vulnerable, and messy it is, we are creating something sacred.” – Jimmy Grace

Daring Greatly

“Nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I am standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”Brené Brown

When we step outside of our comfort zone is when the magic happens and we are able to dare greatly!

This is how I imagine my life – just a little too uncomfortable with myself to experience the magic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy blessed and happy BUT I sure need to loosen up a bit a lot!

This afternoon, as I was thinking of who I want to be as a person, I looked up and saw Brené Brown’s book on vulnerability, Daring Greatly. Suddenly, the title had a whole new meaning to me.

That’s the kind of woman I want to be – I want to Dare Greatly – not only in vulnerability but in all areas of my life. I want to move out of my comfort zone and start taking the steps I need to become the person I want to be!

I always doubt. Am always unsure. Can’t quite wrap my mind around any direction or path I am supposed to be taking. In limbo is a good description of how I perceive myself as a person.

I dwell so much on what other people think of me. Do they like my writing? My art? Me? I always have guilt and get so uptight and stressed I unconsciously clench my teeth until my head hurts and my back is a bunch of painful knots.

The constant inner reflection of guilt, awkwardness, being scared, etc. is not the person I want to be. I want to embrace myself as I am, put all these fears on the shelf and be brave instead.

I want to Dare Greatly!

I want to call more and text less (I’ve always thought it was awkward to talk on the phone so I tend to avoid it).

I want to be a good friend even when I’m unsure where our relationship stands.

I want to do art whether I or anyone else think it’s beautiful or not.

I want to get out and water my garden even though my natural inclination is to let Caleb do it.

I want to eat healthy because I know I am capable! I know how to cook which solves a lot of problems.

I want to be active! I rode my bike across the U.S. and summited Mt. Hood so I know I am fully capable of pushing myself hard – even if it’s to get off my bum and take a walk.

I want to encourage other people with their goals and help them when I can.

I want to create the feeling of home no matter where we live.

I want to volunteer somewhere and serve.

I want to find God’s purpose for my life.

I want to be a better wife and mother.

I want to be more generous.

I want to be more loving and patient.

I want to laugh more and stress less.

These are all attributes I want my children to have – but how will they learn if I don’t teach them.

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“…who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.” Brené Brown.

I want to be an example to my sons so they too can lead a good life. I want to LIVE while I’m alive because there are so many who don’t get this opportunity.

I need to get out of the rut I am stuck in and stop dwelling on what I can’t do… and JUST DO what I can so I can BE who I want.

If I Want To Be, I Have To Do

No one changes without effort. So I choose to Dare Greatly.

“…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” -Theodore Roosevelt

Being Intentional: Sleep

I am TIRED!

Bet you haven’t said that before… ha!

This is my daily mantra – maybe even my hourly one.

The problem is as soon as my boys are in bed I get a second wind. I am FREE! To read, to write, to watch a movie, play a board game, to clean in peace (OK this is one is a lie).

Then when I start to fade I’m practically taping my eyelids open so I can finish the last page 200 pages of whatever book I’m reading.

If only my body stored sleep reserves like it does fat, I'd be sorted! (Or maybe not as it's 1am and I'm on Pinterest instead of in bed asleep, hmmm)

According to my Fitbit, my average night of sleep is 4 hours 59 minutes to about 6 hours. That’s not good…

I am more irritable, fatigued and discouraged just about every day following a too late night (99% of the time). Then I don’t have any desire to leave my house or socialize – which in turn makes me not want to leave ever – until I’m pretty much a crabby hermit.

So… the other night I stayed up nice and late reading the book Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra.

And it hit me – I need to be intentional not only in filling myself with words of wisdom and biblical truths, eating healthy, exercising and doing art but also in getting rest! I need SLEEP! Even if it means going to bed at 9:30pm to be up with my early rising boys by 6am.

No this does not thrill me BUT if I’m more energized and a better mother (less irritable) then I know it will be worth it. It could be the key to a little more joy and peace in my life. Also I’ve read it helps you lose weight which would be a nice bonus too…

In the theme of Chopra’s book I will state my intent: For the next few weeks – starting Sunday (since we will be off visiting family) – I am going to take my sleep life more seriously! I hope to see quick results because it’s going to be a tough road and I just may fall off the bandwagon… wish me luck!

Lol....I remember this time. But I'm blessed with a baby that enjoyed sleep as much as the hubby did. But those for couple months were rough. Gotta love this quote though :)

If I Want To Be, I Have To Do

My new mantra is: If I want to BE, I have to DO.

So often I think, say, or ask myself (and others): What do I do?

I want to be an artist. What do I do?

I want to be a photographer. What do I do?

I want to be a singer/ songwriter. What do I do?

I want to have a cleaner house. What do I do?

I want to be healthy. What do I do?

I want to be active. What do I do?

I want to be a good mom. What do I do?

I want to have friends. What do I do?

I want to sell stuff on Etsy. What do I do?

I want to be a more loving wife. What do I do?

There are tons more I could list but these are some of the main questions applying to me…

I’ve realized something though. The answer is pretty much always DO.

If I want to BE (blank), I have to DO the work – like the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.”

So here are some answers for you (and me):

I want to be an artist – so DO Art – draw, paint, color, cut, create!

I want to be a photographer – so Do it – take pictures, pictures and more pictures – whether you have a nice camera or not! This isn’t even a good picture but it’s a PICTURE! It’s a start!

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I want to be a singer/ songwriter – so DO it – write a song about anything – your breakfast, a unibrow – then sing it, practice, write more, sing more!

I want to be cleaner – so DO it – stop laying on the floor with your teddy bear reading that awesome book and wash the dishes, sweep the floor, get rid of clutter, put your cup in the sink, rinse off your plate!

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I want to be healthy – DO it – make changes, eat less processed foods, stop when you’re full, drink water!

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I want to be active – DO it – go to the gym, go on a walk, a run, yoga, biking, hula hoop, swim in this crazy heat!

I want to be a good mom – DO it – we are good parents but can always improve, read up on it, ask questions, practice patience and practice it more, pray, learn to find joy in the mundane… in a sweet baby smile!

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I want to have friends – DO it – be friendly, become part of a community where you can meet people, get involved, volunteer, smile more (from your eyes), be a friend!

I want to sell stuff on Etsy – DO it – make stuff, collect vintage items, do art – then list, list, list and wait (while making more)!

I want to be a more loving spouse – DO it – hug your hubby/ wife when they walk through the door even if you’ve had a bad day and subconsciously blame them (yep, I didn’t greet my man yesterday), do a chore, buy a gift, spend time, hold hands, play a game, laugh!

I want to be a better person – so DO it – make the changes you need to better yourself, push yourself to accomplish things you normally slack on, DO, DO and DO! We can only improve if we DO the work to BE better.

These are all things I need to remind myself too! We need to stop asking What To Do and Just Do!

Let’s say goodbye to that old self and bring on some action and change! If we want to BE, we have to DO!

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“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson

A Lesson On Gratitude

This past weekend we took a mini vacation to the Seattle area. It was a fun break as well as an opportunity to see a close friend who was visiting from the East Coast.

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One of the best parts of our trip was exploring Whidbey Island.

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Jeffrey, as well as most children I assume, loves to stop and look at everything when we are out and about. It’s a constant “come on Jeffrey, hurry up, let’s go, come on buddy.”

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As we headed toward the beach we passed through an area covered with dandelions. Jeffrey kept stopping to look and pick them – but we hurried him along so we could see the next thing – and besides, they’re “just weeds”.

DSC_0533Fast forward to our return home…

On a walk yesterday afternoon, with a combination of being tired and hot, Jeffrey didn’t stop to look at anything around us.

Within a day he went from finding joy in the dandelions to being totally unaware of his surroundings.

A wave of sadness hit me, I became aware of how fast my “baby” is growing up and how his young toddler curiosity will one day be gone.

Then it hit me – flashbacks of all the times I rush my little boy.

And I realized – every stop to look at a weed, pick up smooth colorful rocks, or point out a water fountain in a neighbor’s yard – is an expression of gratitude. He is actually “seeing” the beauty in everything and is present in the moment – completely aware of what’s around him – which does not hold true for myself.

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It is so easy for me to hurry along life – even with no pressing demands. Because of my inability to stand there, wait and see new things for myself, I am teaching my children to stop looking for the beauty. I am training them to be like me and so many other adults – those of us who don’t see the loveliness in an abundance of bright yellow dandelions, pink and purple pebbles in someone’s yard or the many black sprinkler heads peeping up through the grass… the things that matter so much to our little ones!

I don’t want my children to lose this wonderful quality – gratitude – the ability to really “see” everything.

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Immediately I started pointing out things for Jeffrey to look at – things I would normally miss myself – flowers among weeds, the cool breeze brushing against us, a decorative teal bike hidden in the bushes of a creative person’s yard.

We need to embrace and affirm the wonder of our children and how they perceive the world around them. To consciously slow down and let our kiddos take the joy of life, living in the moment, and “seeing” beauty into their adulthood.

DSC_0525 “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” – Ann Voskamp, “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”  

“The Way of Serenity”

I’m reading through a stack of non-fiction/ self-help books I picked up at the library.

The first book I read was “The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer” by Father Jonathan Morris.

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Father Morris breaks down the Serenity prayer… I’m sure you know it:

“Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have always known the Serenity Prayer but after reading the book I’ve come to realize what a simple but perfect daily prayer it is.

There are days filled with challenges we cannot change, caused by other people, our circumstances, weather, etc. To avoid succumbing to it all and suffering through another “bad” day we must accept them, and find the courage to change the things we can…even if it’s our own mindset and how we handle the situation.

Last week I woke up so crabby – even though Jeffrey was in a cheerful mood I felt annoyed with everything he did – both boys were up before 6am and I was tired!

I am doing my Orange Rhino Challenge – to Yell Less and Love More – and being irritable does not help in this “no yell” zone.

I knew the only way I could “survive” the day – especially with no yelling – was to change my mindset. This is when I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer… but in my own words…

“Lord, I cannot change the fact that my boys are up so early, ready to start the day, whether I want to be or not. Help me to make the changes I need to – to get through this day patiently. And give me the wisdom and insight to know when Jeff is being a happy, energy-filled 2-year-old and when he is being a naughty one so I have no regrets dealing with each situation.”

It actually worked. I focused on getting some stuff done to wake me up – while my boys played – and gradually I had some new energy. It ended up being a really fun day… if you read my April Fool’s Day post you will see what I mean!

I like to share the books that really mean something to me. Some books are filled with words of wisdom and it’s hard to apply everything to our lives but as Father Morris says in his book,

“Are you getting wiser as you read? Even if you don’t feel it, my bet is that you are. That’s the way God seems to impart wisdom. He feeds us truth in bite sizes, and even as we are processing it some of it sticks to our spiritual bones and becomes part of who we are. Without realizing it, we begin to think and judge differently. We start to give greater value to important things. We become more patient and trusting in God’s power and will to intervene when we can’t. We become less concerned about what others think of us and more attentive to how God sees us.”

These are the types of things I want to fill myself with. I want to live a simpler life with less of the pointless books I read and the TV shows I watch. I want to fill myself with words to inspire me and to help me grow in Godly wisdom.

I hope you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I do. If you have any good recommendations please share!

I Wouldn’t Have You Any Other Way

This song Anchor, by Mindy Gledhill, is one of my favorites. It’s sweet and romantic and I like to think my husband “wouldn’t have me any other way.”

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Today, as I was reading my Bible, this song came on and I started to compare the words to how God must feel about us.

I have always been quiet and when I was younger, very shy. This was a big deal to me – I still have moments I struggle!

I’d see other people with an abundance of friends and a million things to talk about. Yes, it made me jealous and sad! I was lost in a world of people who could socialize better than me!

I dreamt of being a person everyone wanted as their friend – to have all the words needed to get through a conversation.

The problem is I wanted to be someone else! Something had to be wrong with me so I could only hope I would wake up one morning changed – a DIFFERENT person.

Funny enough the song says, “There are those who think that I’m strange; They would box me up and tell me to change” – and I was the main culprit! All I saw was a strange and inadequate me.

It’s not what God sees.

“… you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb…Body and soul, I am marvelously made… Psalm 139:13 (MSG).

We are marvelously made.

The truth is it’s OK to be quiet, it’s who I am. But as my mom reminds me every so often, “make sure you have friendly eyes.”

My fears can make me appear unfriendly but this little change in myself has made a big difference.

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We all have character traits and habits we can improve upon while embracing ourselves. To work on patience as a parent, love in relationships, optimism, kindness, budgeting, organization, self-control, “friendly eyes,” etc.

I don’t need to be a different person to have friendly eyes – I can be me – and consciously try to make myself better as a person – with God as my anchor – and proudly be who He made me to be. As the song says, “When I’m lost I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down.

You can label yourself as inadequate, a version of “strange” or a “clown” but God will “hold you close and softly say that He wouldn’t have you any other way.”