Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So Tired!

So Tired. So Tired. So excited to shuffle off to bed and let the comfort of warm blankets and darkness envelop me. I climb into bed and realize I didn't write my blog. Oh so tired. Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow.  Everyone who would read it is sleeping now. Or at least they should be. I think they are so tired too.

Sick kids, door decorations for teacher appreciation, dinner for a friend, babysit for a friend, babysit for a job, work on my new book, dash to the store, Junior Jazz basketball for Daniel, Activity for Ella, Church activity for my house...cook more food. Oh so tired. The husband's working all night, giant untouched pile of laundry (which will most definitely remain untouched until morning), coach a basketball team, run suicides (or sweet sixteens, or ladders, or whatever you prefer to call them) with my team--absolutely crazy. Oh so tired. Worry about people I love, Clean the bathrooms--had to be done, too many loads of dishes, wash so much laundry, take a walk with a friend, help the kids with homework. Oh so tired!

So, when my son wanted me to fix his train tracks I sat down on the floor to help and realized "this floor is not going to get cleaned, and oh how it needs a good scrub" Discouragement. Bedtime arrives and the kid's homework isn't done. Discouragement. As the evening chaos hits I wonder, how can I get three people to the same place at the same time? Discouragement. The realization, "I never sent those emails." Discouragement. I don't think we should even mention the kids bedrooms. Way too much discouragement.

How can I keep up when everyday life makes me so tired?

One step at a time. One positive, "do your best Michelle" pep talk at a time. One, it's okay not to live all of life in one day, reminder at a time. One, it's good to wear yourself out doing what is important to you, reminder at a time. One deep breathe at a time. One silent prayer for help at a time. One reminder how great my life really is, at this time. One kiss and hug from the kids at a time.

Today, even though I'm tired, I can be better than yesterday, one positive, hopeful, active step at a time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Like Jewelry in Her Mouth!

My publishing company “Familius” Is filled to the brim with wonderful people. Every day they send out what they call a Minute Inspiration—You should check out their web page it is full of great things like this. Today I wanted to share the inspiration of David Miles. It fits in perfectly with our better today than yesterday series. Enjoy.
This year's winter is gearing up to be a tough one, and if you've heard the phrase "Polar vortex" anytime in the last week or two, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

We lived in Pennsylvania when I was a kid, and every so often some moisture from the South would combine with artic air from Canada and we'd have a classic Nor'easter: blowing winds, drifting snow, and no school! For me and my six siblings, that meant a whole day to play, a get-out-of-jail-free card—eight blissful hours of sledding, building, fortressing, and putting off homework.

For Mom, of course, "no school!" meant seven lunches to fix, seven missing boots to find, seven sets of wet footprints trailing around the house, and, a few snowballs and lots of tears later, at least one or two children to console. It meant a house full of hyperactive kids and lots of unchecked boxes on her to-do list.

And that's the remarkable thing, because Mom never seemed to mind. Snow days were a celebration! She made us pancakes in morning, took pictures of our snowmen, and was just as excited when the Weather Channel heralded another incoming storm.

In short, Mom could see things the way we did—and that's a magical gift. If you saw the world through your child's eyes, what would you see? Would their fears become more real to you? Their dreams more important? Their accomplishments more triumphant?

It takes some doing to adopt the eyes of a child, but the view down there is spectacular.

By David Miles, Familius Digital Director

What does life look like through the eyes of my three year old when he can't get his train tracks together and everyone is too busy to help? I would imagine it's frustrating and hopeless. What does it look like to my ten year old when she fills the house until brimming with the magical music of Disney's Frozen while singing at the loudest decible possibly audible by man? It's total bliss! Every part of her small frame is energized and invincible. What does it look like through my eight year old's eyes as he opens a new bow and arrow for his birthday? It's so exciting and the possiblities are riveting. What does it look like through the eyes of my five year old when the dentist puts a silver cap on her tooth? It's scary. But what does it look like when she see's it in the mirror for the first time? It's beautiful that's what it is! Like jewelry in her mouth! 

When we see through the eyes of a child, any child, we will undoubtedly be better today than yesterday. Not only because kids seem to live on a lighter and happier realm, but because we will have a better insight into their lives. We will be better teachers, parents and grandparents, and happier people. This week make life better by seeing through the eyes of the children around you.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today...I Ran!

I ran. Like real running. Heart-pumping running. Okay more like heart-pumping jogging. Either way I consider it a success! I know for many, running is an everyday thing but I don’t run. Ask anyone. I walk, hike, walk fast, ice skate, play volleyball, and swim, but I don’t run. Why? Two years ago in the midst of an intense workout my heart went crazy—palpitations and arrhythmia! My blood pressure spiked, I had intense pain up through my shoulder and neck and thought I was going to pass out. I did a little deep breathing, put my head down, and started praying I wouldn’t drop right there. I got out of there as fast as possible and I was scared!

Well here I am, two years and lots of tests and doctors visits later. My friends keep pestering me to go back to the gym with them but I just can’t do it, and finally I admitted my fears to them.  I don’t want to have a heart attack. You should know that that infamous workout wasn’t the cause of my heart problem just the culmination of it’s manifestation. You should also know I am pretty healthy and could have started running long ago—accept for the fear that grips me every time I think about it.

I found myself on the treadmill this morning for my daily walk, thinking to myself, “Just do it. Just run.” Of course my evil angel was telling me to give it up before I even started. I only half listened, and I selected the harder workout telling myself I could always slow down. But, when the treadmill sped up so did I. I did it! I ran! For 5 minutes. Maybe not such a big deal to some but to me it was a big deal. I did a hard thing, something I feared. Even better than that, my kids watched me do it.

I know that my kids will become in some ways a reflection of who I am. I want them to know that I can do hard things. I want them to know that I faced my fears. I hope it will help them to have the courage to do the hard things they fear. I hope they will try out for school plays even when they don’t make it the first time. I hope they will practice the piano even when they are not good at it. I hope they will try food they don’t like. I hope they will play soccer again after they break their nose doing it.

You see, this post isn’t really about running. It’s about doing something I was afraid to do. It’s about being better today than I was yesterday.

Twenty -four years ago, we had a fire in our home that stemmed from faulty wiring that had melted behind our fireplace. Once our home was repaired and we had moved back in we did not have any fires in the fireplace for what seemed to me a long while. I remember my Dad getting off the couch one day in a bit of a whirl. He threw the ice bag he had been using at the fireplace and walked out to the garage. A few minutes later we had a fire in our fireplace. Big deal right? It was a big deal to him.
I know we all have our own demons, big or small. I challenge you to pick just one and face it today or this week, even if it is for 5 minutes. Maybe those five minutes will be enough to light a fire in you.  I will bet after doing so you will find yourself better today than yesterday. And I will bet some day even if it is twenty-four years from now your own children will remember and follow your example.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Welcome to our new series: Better today than yesterday. Each post for the next little while will focus on something we can do to be better today than yesterday. I am a firm believer that one of the best things we can do to improve our families is to be better today than yesterday. I hope you enjoyed the first segment of our series.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Day at a Time

The holidays have been good to my family and me. Wonderful in fact, but for some reason, possibly lack of motivation, I find myself less than enthused about new years resolutions this year.  Maybe—with the kids home from school—my house has been a mess for too long. Maybe all the holiday fun just wore me out. I’m usually a very goal centered gal but history has shown that I am often failing to meet or even get past the paper stage of my goals.

I would love to be softer spoken with my kids, more intimate with my husband, and spend more one on one time with everyone in my family. I would love to have a perfectly organized and clean home, finished and decorated to match the dream in my mind. I would love to have the patience of a saint, the knowledge to help my kids in all their struggles at school, with friends, and with life, but I already know I will fall short of such perfection. After all, a year is a long time to be perfect in so many areas—and I’ve only just begun.

Before you all start falling into a Michelle induced troubled and discouraged state, let me tell you about my redeeming moment today. I was talking with a friend who confided her desire simply not to “lose it” with the kids. She was trying so hard only to find herself feeling unappreciated and disrespected. This of course is a hard thing for any parent. As she talked through things with me she said, “We just have to take it one day at a time.”

Well it’s true! Life isn’t about eating the whole pie in one sitting—or brownies if you prefer—it’s about enjoying it one bite, one piece at a time. I don’t have to be “perfect” for a year, or even an entire day. New year’s resolutions always fill me with the need to attain perfection within such a small window of life. Perfection is a misleading word anyway. I would like to redefine perfection from the idea of never making a mistake, to the reality of simply working to be better than you were yesterday. I am still definitely a believer in goal setting, but it seems a lot more doable when I take it one day at a time.

What does all of this mean to me? It means that even though yesterday I had a “my house is a disaster and no-one’s helping” breakdown, today I can vacuum the floors, scrape up the food that’s leaching onto my tile, and keep up with the laundry (I was shy of completion by one load—and a pile of unfolded laundry on my couch). It means that even though I spent too much time and energy cleaning this morning, I can do better spending time with Ella on her homework tonight and more time reading with Julia. It means that even though my husband hurt my feelings yesterday, today I can forgive, give him a kiss and be happy. It means that when Jackson wipes curry all over my white shirt at dinner I can be patient in that one moment—I think I did a pretty good job. It means that when I get upset at the kids for arguing I can take the next moment to apologize and teach them. One moment at a time, one day at a time, working for a better me and a happier family.

Hmm, I think I’ve come up with my new years resolution. Enjoy life with us, one moment and one day at a time!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I hope the new year brings great opportunity for hope and joy for you and your family. My blogs will now be posted on Tuesday's. Happy New Year!