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How Do You Decide Which Activities to Put Your Kids In?

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Gretchen Rubin explores many things in her home life in the book, “Happier at Home“. In the January section, she has goals surrounding Time. One of these is to Guard My Children’s Free Time. She discusses the very common dilemma we parents face when deciding what activities our children should be involved in.

 

This is the time or year for registering our kids in a myriad of opportunities. We want to give them access to all kinds of things to “make them a better adult”. We worry about what other kids are involved in and if our child will be left behind if they are not. We want them to get out and get involved in something so that they meet new people. We want to make sure that they are physically active and learning new things. We worry that if they aren’t in this activity or that sport that they will feel left out.

This is something that we have struggled with many times in our house. I worried about my daughter being involved in dance so much that she was missing out on other opportunities, yet if she didn’t do all the dances her friends were in, she would feel left out. I have forced my boys to do activities that they really didn’t like because everyone should know how to skate or to swim. I felt like I was a neglectful parent if my children were not involved in some sort of music or art class – after all, they would be left behind academically if they were not fluent in some sort of artistic endeavor. And oh my, what if they don’t have any friends!? Or what if their friends were able to go to this camp, but not my child and then what would they talk about? It would be horrible to be the one who was left behind!

And so we ran. We ran this way and that. I barely saw my husband except in passing or to make a demand that he pick so-and-so up so that I could get another one to that activity. I spent countless hours being the perfect volunteer parent. The one who always helped out. The one who always watched every activity. The one who organized this and picked up that for the team.

 

I threatened and physically dragged my children. I ignored pleas and tantrums because “you have to go”. Guilt trips and negative talk were the order of the day, especially during competition season. After all, this was what all the work was for, right!? How could you let your team down if you don’t go?

 

We were eating on the run, in cars and corners of a gymnasium or arena. Saturday mornings were rushing to this thing and money we didn’t have was spent on hotels and stuff we barely used before the season was over and the kid had outgrown it.

 

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It put a strain on everyone. I was yelling all of the time, finding myself saying horrible, mean things to my children, to get them to go, to get them to do better, to push them harder. It stressed us financially and our marriage suffered because we barely saw each other. So much resentment because I felt he didn’t help enough and he felt I helped too much. It strained our health from eating too much fast food and not eating together. The stress of the constant running around took a toll on my body. I began to forget things, or do something poorly just to get it over with and not doing it perfectly strained my nerves even more. I begged my friends each spring to remind me to not get so involved in stuff the next fall; but each fall I would repeat the pattern again. Each fall, the crazy life would start all over again.

 

And then there came a time when it was too much. My daughter hated the dancing that she once loved. She barely got enough sleep and spent almost as many hours at dance or travelling to it as she spent at school. She cried at night because her legs ached so much. I had to drag my boys along or to their stuff or ended up missing them completely because we were so busy. I’d forced them to do things from my own guilt because, well, they should have to do things like their sister did. It was only fair that they had opportunities too!

 

I broke down one morning, about 4:30 in the morning. I’d realized in the middle of the night that I had forgotten to do something very important for my son’s Cadets. I had forgotten a few important things recently and felt like a complete failure. I sat in the dark and cried and cried over my keyboard. I wrote a letter to a friend and fellow Cadet mom who had had to pick up the pieces where I’d made a mess. I couldn’t go on like this anymore.

 

That next fall, we didn’t do dance. Instead, we let our daughter try other things; things that didn’t take as much time and that she was curious about like fencing. I stopped forcing my oldest son to take swimming lessons or learn to skate. He hated swimming and was never going to pass that first level. I stepped down from many of my volunteer responsibilities and let someone else step up. I stopped forcing my youngest into groups like cubs where being around all those other kids completely overwhelmed him. I started to say no to activities and yes to guarding my children’s time (and my sanity).

 

Now, she’s dancing again, but in a less competitive way more fun studio. She is able to try out high school sports she is interested in and work part time to support her own makeup artist interests. My oldest is away from home now and plays ball again, a game he’d begged me to let him stop playing as a kid. Now he plays again on his own terms, because he wants to have fun. My youngest isn’t involved in very many things except more solo things he’s actually interested in, like guitar lessons. He feels listened to and I understand that he thrives when he’s allowed to do what he loves instead of what I think he “should” be doing.

 

Yes, I am criticized sometimes and I’m my worst critic. Sometimes I worry that I shouldn’t let her do all the different things she does because she does way more than the boys and “it’s not a fair distribution of resources”. Many things, she pays for herself (like one of her dance classes this year). I think this does more to teach her responsibility than denying her. I am criticized that my youngest spends so much time online and doesn’t get out as much as other kids. It is what he loves to do and he does it with friends and his sister and his cousins. He plays guitar in his own time and reads books too. He enjoys the quiet and solitude of being with himself. It is who he is and I will no longer force him to be someone he’s not. I will encourage him to stretch out (and he has, joining a tech camp over the summer for example). He is willing to try things when we allow him to try them on his terms in line with his personality and recognizing his strengths.

 

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We are learning together how to better manage our time so that each of us is able to pursue things that light us up instead of stress us out. My girl is so like me in wanting to try everything, but she is learning how to manage her own time as I have her consider that if she says yes to something, she will have to say no to something else. She realizes that she cannot do it all at a way younger age than I was. And that’s a very good thing!

 

We are busy, but we also have time when we are able to eat dinner together and do other things… or even do nothing! We can sit and watch movies all Saturday or go on a date or just read a book. There is life outside of our activities and we are allowing each other to have that life. The activities are that much better because we have the time to actually enjoy them.

 

I know what it feels like at this time of year. How you desperately want to give your kids everything. How you are afraid of missing out. I am not condemning anyone who chooses to keep a very full schedule with your kids. That is your choice.

 

I am just advising that you consider the cost of these things before you say yes. Consider what you are saying no to when you say yes to one more thing. Remember what it felt like last fall and is that how you want to feel this year? Talk together as a family and really listen to what your kids have to say. Listen to what your heart tells you. How do you want to feel? How does your daughter want to feel? Your son? Your spouse? Then decide together what you will do to feel that way.

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Cleaning the Bathroom Sucks…and Other To Do List Problems

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There are just some tasks that really suck, don’t you think? Like cleaning the bathroom. It just gets dirty the instant you walk out the door. A-L-L…T-H-E…T-I-M-E!! You just look at the bathroom the wrong way and it’s dirty again! Having kids getting older was supposed to make it easier! The mess is just bigger, that’s all.

As you sit down with your gargantuan Saturday “to-do list” and a cup of coffee, decide which tasks will best serve your highest purpose. What will make you FEEL good (or at least better).

 

Is there stuff on there that you can just say, you know, I really don’t care that the book shelf gets dusted today, it doesn’t actually bother me that they’re a little dusty. I’d rather read one of them for a little while out on my sunny deck! Would that be more in line with how YOU want to feel today?

Are you cleaning things because “you’re supposed to” according to some “rules” someone created? Are you cleaning things just for the sake of cleaning them? Do you actually read or even want the books on the shelves? If not, wouldn’t your time be better spent gathering them up, donating or selling them and leaving that space for something else that you love (and doesn’t need dusted as much)? Gasp! What if you even were able to get rid of the whole shelf entirely? Then you wouldn’t have to dust it ever again! Hmmmm…..Less stuff to dust; less dusting! How would that make you feel?

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What about that bathroom?…it has to be cleaned for sanitary reasons. I get that. But, if cleaning the bathroom causes you stress, can it be delegated? Perhaps we need to let someone help us…perhaps we can let go of the need to be the only one who does everything around the house (I’ve never said that…yeah right, Miss Martyr…being a martyr feels so great….NOT!)

Maybe it can be less perfectly cleaned by someone else, and you can feel better about asking for help and allowing that you don’t have to do everything. (What!!??! I don’t have to do everything myself? Oh, but the taps won’t be perfectly sparkling! Have you ever taken the time to show someone else how to do it? Ummmm no, I haven’t, because that’s too hard…uh huh…so….it’s easier to freak out about having to clean the bathroom myself all the time? Hmmmmm….maybe not…)

If it can’t be delegated for whatever reason, then what about a different approach in how we FEEL about cleaning it. Can we change our attitude?

Yep, my attitude is in MY control. I can spend the morning being pissed off that I have to clean the bathroom again or I can approach it differently. I love how the mirror looks when there are no tooth brush crime-scenes splatted all over it. I can stop and admire that hot momma in the clean mirror when it’s done.

 

I can pull out the “good towels” and enjoy a clean, luxurious bath in the clean bathtub later when it’s all done. Clean the tub for ME! I love the smell of a clean bathroom. It just makes me feel good. How about I focus on that instead?

Or what if I got rid of all these almost empty bottles sitting on the counter/ledge so that it’s way easier to quickly clean these areas. I can control what’s in my bathroom. If there are a ton of knick knacks that always get dirty, why am I keeping them there? Do I even like them? If not, let’s simplify this whole bathroom cleaning job! That makes me feel waaaayyy better about cleaning the bathroom.

These are the ramblings of a to-do-list-aholic. Over the years, I’ve re-evaluated the whole idea of them and how I approach my list. I do still get a little Martyr-Crazy and scream and yell, but not as often. This is a process, not perfection. Join me today as you look at that list. Try just re-thinking ONE thing on the list:

  1. Re-evaluate – does it really need to get done NOW?
  2. Delegate – do you HAVE to be the one to do this?
  3. Re-frame – can you change how you approach this task?

Please let me know how this goes for you. Your To-Do list doesn’t have to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It can make you feel good. Feeling good is what life is all about in my opinion. #DesireMap

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9 Hours

What would you do with 9 hours in a week? Don’t think you have 9 hours? Let’s take a little look at some time wasting facts, Jack…

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1. Facebook…

We all do it. You know for a fact that you could be doing something else besides checking Facebook 10 times in the last hour.

“It’s only for a minute!” You say?

  • 1 X 10 = 10 min. per hour
  • 10 min/hour X 8 hr = 80 min in 1 work day…
  • 80 min X 5 days is 400 min (6 hours) in 1 work week!! Yep, SIX

For the sake of argument, let’s cut that in half…So…that’s 3 extra hours so far in a week. (and you know it’s actually more than that…)

2. TV Time…

And what about TV time? How much time do you REALLY spend in front of the TV? Let’s figure it out a little here:

The average person spends about 2.8 hours per day watching TV. What about you? Let’s again say that you only watch 1 hour in 3 days of stuff you really don’t “need” to watch. That’s giving you 3 more hours (of the about 20 hours per week you actually watch.)

3. Looking for Things…

How many times do you have to search for something in a day?

  • A form you need to fill out – 5 minutes?
  • Your keys – 2 minutes?
  • Her other shoe that isn’t where it’s supposed to be – 6 minutes?
  • The lunch kit from yesterday that needs filling for today – 3 minutes?
  • What you’re going to wear – 5 minutes? (at least)
  • More toothpaste – 15 minutes? (more if the store is farther away)

5 + 2 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 15 = 36 minutes per day looking for something. 252 minutes per week is 4.2 hours. Far fetched? Time yourself the next time you have to search for your keys…Again, let’s cut that in half for argument sake: 2 more hours you could use in a week! Get organized!

4. Email You Don’t Really Read…

How long does it take you to read your email? To delete them? Time yourself. Let’s say you spend about 5 minutes every hour during the work day dealing with email that are junk or unimportant:

  • 5 minutes per hour X 8 hr day = 40 min in 1 work day…
  • 40 min X 5 days is 200 min (3 hours) in 1 work week. 

That’s 3 more hours in your week that you could use if you setup some systems to deal with your email. You know that you likely spend much more time than that.

So, with just those four time wasters: Facebook (3 Hours) + TV TIme (3 Hours) + Looking for Things (2 Hours) + Junk Email (3 Hours) = 11 Hours total in a week! I only mentioned finding 9 hours, so let’s even take 2 hours off of my already generous actual hours you spend wasting time to make it 9!

What if you spent 9 hours of your wasted time in a week doing some of those tasks on your list? What do you think you could get done in a week? In a month? A year? It really adds up, right!? At 9 hours a week, you could do a lot of those things that you always wanted to do!!

I’m not saying that these things aren’t fun. But how much do you really want to do something else? What are you really missing out on? How much better would your life be if you stopped doing some of these things even for just ½ the time you normally spend on them? Where would you be then?

It’s time for you to stop settling for less than what you deserve. You are better than that and you know it! Stop wasting YOUR time.

I’m creating a course for setting goals and making shizzle happen. It’s about frickin’ TIME that you live the life you deserve. Be the first to join the course by registering here: Goals Goddess eCourse and let’s conquer those time wasters together.

Goals Goddess eCourse – starting in April – Register NOW to be the first to know.

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Meditate – Eyes Open

I’ve been exploring a different way to meditate and I am in love!

Sometimes, I find it hard to sit with my eyes closed and observe my thoughts. I’m often tempted to open them to make sure no one is there. I guess I’m still working on that trust thing.

However, with this new meditation program I’m doing, it “fits” better with me. So far, it’s less about the “ooommm’s” and more about intention in the moment. It’s more about FOCUS – with my eyes open. Focus isn’t easy, but so far, doing it this way works way better. This example in the picture is focusing on the word on the page. Listening and being absorbed in each line as I create it. Being aware of the word coming to life as my pen moves across the page. Focusing on something like that, I am less distracted. I am actually focused!

I wanted to share this really wonderful idea with you today. If you struggle with taking the time for you; with taking the time with “meditation” (or have any ‘fears’ around doing something like that); I highly recommend Annika’s program. It’s something different and a comfort for me in the wee hours of the morning to help me focus my day. Plus, she has a beautiful voice to soothe your soul 🙂 Visit Eyes Open from Annika Martins to sign up!

Do you have any recommendations for meditation? What kinds of “tools” do you use? I’m always open to trying new things! Let us know in the comments!

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Setting Goals Goddess

I’m working on my first “real” webinar called: “Go Goals Goddess” I’m really excited about it because I have learned a lot over the years in my different careers and as I’ve been raising my kids. I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me and what does. Of course, being techie, I’ve found and tried lots of different tools. But, as you can see in the picture above, I also love a pen and paper.

My current system is a combination of a few things; web based and on paper. I find this works really well for me. In the past year or so since I’ve been doing it this way, I’ve tweaked and refined it and come up with a way that I’m able to keep track of things and forget less and get more done. Saying that, I also DON’T get things done! So, the other thing I’ve been learning is how to let those things go. It used to really bother me, but I’ve been much better about that.

The Go Goals Goddess webinar will give you helpful tips and tricks on setting attainable goals. I’ll show you lots of different tools and give you ideas on what works best. It will help you set goals, get some done and be ok with the rest! It’s this Thursday, March 20 at 7:30.

Register for the webinar here: Go Goals Goddess Webinar (it’s free to join!)

How do you feel about goal setting? Share your comments below!

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A Love Note to Myself

This was a love note that I created for myself on Valentine’s Day. “I love you Shawna. You are everything to me. I will cherish the beautiful soul you are.” was the inscription

It’s Sunday, a great day to make a habit of self-care. Self-care is NOT selfish! You are a better Mom, Lover, Sister, Friend when your cup is full. Do whatever it takes to fill it up!

For me, tonight, I have plans to connect with fellow Goddesses for the latest Goddess Gathering (connecting is one of my Core Desired Feelings for 2014). I will also be curling up and starting a new book (I have several to choose from!)

Leave a comment and let us know!

If you need ideas, I created a simple little download for the Divine Goddess Circle (www.divinegoddesscircle.com) if you’re a member, grab it out of the Free Downloads section. if you’re not a member yet (why not!?) you can still grab a copy here: Self-Care Ideas

 

 

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3 Ways to Cope with Overwhelm!

Dear anxiety, please leave and go elsewhere. Sincerely. Me!

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed at times? I am sure that we all do; especially this time of year. Sometimes I forget to look at all that I have accomplished and hyper focus on all that I have left to do. Then I get anxious and that is never a good thing for anyone around!

This little monster may creep up when we least expect it. For example picture this… You are in the middle of laundry, cleaning up lunch, trying to get everyone out the door to go grocery shopping and the phone rings. You answer it and get caught up in the conversation. The kids are waiting by the door with their coats on, (impatiently I might add!) So you wrap up the conversation. Oh then you remember that you have to fold that load of laundry in the dryer before it gets all wrinkly. So you send the kids into the yard to play for a minute. Finally you are ready to leave, you go to head out the door and realize that the dog has peed on the floor. You. Lose. Your. Mind. You deal with that mess just in time for your little one to come back in the house and let you know that he has to pee. Off come all of the clothes. Super. You realize that you have just spent an hour trying to get out of the door and you are going to be late for a dinner party. You still have to make an appetizer! Your heart races, you can feel your body heating up, you almost feel like you are having an out of body experience. Then the tears roll down your face. You don’t think that things can get ANY worse.

That situation may be on the extreme side but has definitely happened to me. I am getting better at handling these situations which can really happen to anyone. Here’s what helps me control myself when I am uber frustrated. 

 

1) Stop. Think. and Breathe. This is what we would tell our kiddos when they were little. It makes sense really. Shallow breathing contributes to panic. By taking long, deep breaths we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest. When we are calm. It basically works opposite to our flight or fight response. When you begin to recognize the panic feelings, you should remove yourself from the situation long enough to take 10 slow, deep breaths. Breath in deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. When you breathe in imagine that air is going up to your head and when you are exhaling imagine that the air is going down your spine and out of your body. In with the good and out with the bad. Now chances are you can think clearly with a little more perspective.

 

2) Perspective. Ask yourself this: will it matter in a month? a week? or even a day?  Is it a mountain out of a mole hill scenario?  Sometimes I will stop and use the phrase, “In the scheme of life, does this really matter?”  Nine times out of ten it does not.

 

3) Accomplishments. So no you didn’t get out the door in a timely manner and your list is still big BUT what about the laundry that got done, the dishes that got cleaned and the kids that are taken care of? All of those things count. Make a list if you want to. Cross off all of the things that you have finished, even if they seem trivial. You will soon realize that you are a rock star!

Just remember that we all of been there. You are not alone. Take care of yourself because believe it or not that is the most important thing that you can do. Do it for yourself and for your loved ones.

 

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Blessings,

Krystal

Firsts

It was a day of firsts yesterday for the Cevraini’s.

  • First day of high school for my girl
  • First day of flying solo at the middle school for my boy
  • First time the 3 of them went to the grocery store to pickup our groceries
  • First email for our biz sent with our new tool

A day of firsts to be proud of, that’s for sure. But I have to admit that I have also had so many worries along with these firsts:

  • She is so excited for high school, but I worry about the pressures she will have there. I still have a lot of reservations surrounding that high school and it’s location, it’s methods and whether it’s the right “fit” for someone as special as my daughter. I picked her up from an after school volleyball meeting and she was standing alone. I worry about her “fitting in”; yet at the same time, I don’t want her to be part of the “in” crowd. I know what it was like being on the outside looking in when I was in high school. Yet I am so glad that I wasn’t. Besides, she’s much stronger than me at that age.
  • She has another group meeting that she wants to attend this morning. And volleyball after school tonight, and work on Thursday and a hike on Saturday…it goes on…already. She wants to be involved in so many things – this is why high school is so exciting for her. She is not yet 14, and I worry about her becoming overwhelmed with doing too many things. I fear for how much she is like me in that. How it’s so hard to say no when you want to experience everything. I’ve done that so many times. I fear for her. What if she has to learn the hard way that she can’t do it all? What if she can? What will that mean?
  • My youngest is a quiet one and content to just be. I worry about him not getting involved enough! And then he spoke up yesterday and told me he wants to go into the boxing club. What did I do? My initial reaction was that it would interfere with Cadets – which he’s half-heartedly into. I know what Cadets did for my oldest son, I want the same for my youngest. But I worry that I’m not letting him be HIM. He is not his brother. I worry that I shelter him too much because he is they youngest and we all protect him. We forget that he doesn’t need protecting. He may be quiet, but he is determined and quite capable of anything – mostly because he watches and learns and doesn’t make the same mistakes that everyone else does. He pays attention to the details. Yet, I still worry and I still cast him in the same mold as his brother.
  • It was a big deal sending them for groceries. I had to release control that I cannot do it all. I had to release responsibility onto them to make good choices and follow the list that we came up with. I had to allow them to make mistakes. That’s really hard for the Martyr Mom who I can often be. If I don’t do it, then it won’t be done right. I had to trust my 23 year old with my credit card. That was really weird. I worried about that, though he’s never shown ANY sort of issue with handling money from me before. He’s never given me cause to worry or distrust. It was still very strange and made me a little anxious. But I had work to get done and I needed their help. Then I beat myself up that I should have enabled them to be more helpful in that past. Why had I waited so long to trust them to help me?
  • He’s moving out today, and that has made me worry all the more. It has been great to have him here – most days, but I’m torn between wanting him here and wanting him to move out. He doesn’t cause trouble here, but at the same time, I know that I have been an over-protective mom and he needs to fly the coop. I have not taught him much of anything for how to look after himself. Last night was the first time he’d gone grocery shopping by himself! Not good. I should have let him do that a long time ago. How will he manage on his own? Will he know what to do? I feel so often like I’ve failed him. Especially on days like this when I realize what I haven’t taught him yet. I feel like I’ve left him unprepared for the ways of the world. What if the world is tough on him? What if he fails? What if he doesn’t?
  • I’ve invested a lot of money in the new tool we’re using for our business. I want so much to take it to the next level. I want to help thousands of people. I made the decision without really talking to Krystal or to my husband (both of whom the money affects directly) and I have a tremendous amount of guilt feelings surrounding that. I am trying so hard to make it work so that they won’t be disappointed in me. Mostly to justify what I’ve done. Like it’s some horrible thing to be ashamed of. Yet those feelings keep popping up for me. Both of them say it’s OK, but I am my own worst critic. I am so scared sometimes of what success will mean for me. What if I am suddenly helping thousands of people? What if I can’t handle it all? What if I don’t – what if I’ve got nothing to offer? What if I’m just full of crap and I help no one? It goes around and around sometimes.

I have had a lot of questions these past few weeks. I get like that sometimes. I am so grateful that I have my husband, my BFF and my family for support. Good God! I could never do this alone! My poor hubby has held me as I’ve cried soooo many times. He’s reassured and contradicted my negativity as I try to sabotage myself. K has spent hours texting or talking to me to bring me back down from my anxious flights of insanity.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we constantly critique and belittle the beautiful people we are? Everyone else has the same firsts. The same worries. The same fears.

I guess if we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be human. To be human is to strive for – not perfection – but for contentment. For happiness. To truly matter to someone else. We fear that we won’t matter or that we’ll make too many mistakes so that they will turn their backs on us and we won’t be important in their lives. I, for one, have given them plenty of reasons to leave me. Yet, here they still remain. Not in spite of my mistakes, but because of them. It makes them feel like it is ok to make them and that it is so important to be afraid because it is in overcoming those fears that makes us grow. I am an example to them, in all my imperfections, that it is possible to rise above, fall down, and then rise again. Each time a little higher.

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And so, I will continue to strive for Firsts. I will continue to fail. I will continue to worry about those failures. But I will also find that sometimes I won’t fail. I will celebrate both.

 

 

You are the woman we love…regardless of the firsts or the lasts. Just for the way you show up today.

Whimsy

Today, I am feeling whimsical. Remembering special moments and how much fun I’ve had in my life. Remembering to have fun every day.

I had a plan for today’s posts. I was feeling so organized. Then, I couldn’t find the stuff I needed. I was ticked off. I was disappointed. I was bummed. So I did yoga, had some tea and went to bed. Sometimes, you just gotta throw the plan out the window. Which is easy to do when it’s written on a paper napkin.

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Just for today:

  • Read Calvin & Hobbes and remember your imaginary friend (I know you had one)
  • Revisit the inscriptions on your favorite books – my Nancy Drew hard covers given to me by my great grandmother at this time of year “for passing”; the year marked in the front
  • Smile and remember your favorite movie. Swiss Family Robinson. We sure loved to pretend we were them out in the treehouse
  • Drink a Margarita on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s 5:00 somewhere.
  • Sleep naked ’cause pj’s aren’t as much fun 🙂
  • Star Wars. That just never gets old. I still have my storm trooper figure I got for Christmas in 1977
  • Dance around like a wild woman while you’re doing dishes. Belt out a few lyrics. Makes dishes less boring and the kids embarrassed. Who doesn’t love embarrassing their children?
  • Get up in the morning and walk barefoot on the grass. Dig your toes in the dirt. Smile at the neighbors. Suddenly remember you slept naked…
  • Chew bubble gum. Remember that time it got stuck in your hair?
  • Sweet Tarts. Enough said.
  • Eat a DQ dipped cone – the biggest you can get and as fast as you can before it melts. Don’t share with anyone.
  • Wear a revealing outfit, kiss him like a hussy and “sassy-walk” away. See if he follows.
  • Sip coffee on the deck, even if it’s raining again. That’s why they made umbrellas.
  • Blast your favorite songs on the stereo. Leave the TV off and just rock out.

I’d love to see your whimsical list!

 

Simple Joy

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I’m talking a lot about joy these days. I’ve been working on a few ebooks & workbooks and basically everything reminds me of the same thing: Practice Joy every day. It really is that simple. When we look for joy and do things that bring us joy, everything else just falls into place.

There was a time when I yelled and screamed…a lot…and at the wrong people. I looked in the mirror and despised the woman who looked back at me. If I could even look her in the eye. There was a time when headaches radiated from my neck all the way around to my forehead. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be.

I thought, if he just loved me more or if they would just listen! If I kept a better house, if I wore nicer clothes, if I put make-up on my face…then…yes, THEN…everything would be perfect. I went to work every day, dragging myself because that is what people do. I got “busy”; I drove kids this way and that, yelling at them to hurry up to go to a practice or even a game that they didn’t even want to go to any more.

But when I dared to look her in the eye, I did not see happiness. I did not see joy. I saw a lot of worry and I even saw pain. I remembered the girl who loved to draw. Who talked to her cows or her dog. Who loved to feel the grass between her toes and touch the sticky branches of the “climbing tree”. Who read books and wrote stories and poems by flash light when she was supposed to be asleep. Where did she go?

Slowly, but, indeed…surely…she is being reborn. That young woman is excited to go to work every day and help people feel better. She goes roller-skating or tobogganing or does something crazy whenever she can. She doesn’t yell as much, she “lets it go”. She reads books, she plays on the computer. She goes for a walk, barefoot on the lawn sometimes. She digs in the dirt and plays Lego long after the kids are done.

She is finding her joy. She notices the little things like the robins singing or the first ladybug there in the grass. She’ll put down the phone and listen to what you have to say. She makes time for friends and makes love like she’s twenty-something. She laughs more and cries lots too because it is OK to feel every emotion. To feel is to be alive and I certainly am…and for that…I am joyful.

 

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