Limiting our Limitlessness

Hi.

Let’s talk a little this morning on how we limit ourselves. We all do it. Whether we are limiting our food portions, our snack options, our children from activities, ourselves from being who we are–we limit ourselves.

Here is a song that talks about being limited from the first line:

Now, I agree with speed limits (usually) and age limits (at least I do now, as a teen, I wasn’t too keen on them), and sometimes a good time limit serves a purpose (like when my children need to do their chores or eat a serving of unfavorite veggies off a plate). But, what I want to talk about is how we limit ourselves.

Have you ever said one of these phrases?

  • I can’t do that.
  • I can’t do that (because you are so good at it).
  • I can’t pull that off.
  • I could never _____________.
  • I could never do what you are doing.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep to do that.
  • I can’t deal with that today (or any day).
  • I’m done.

I’m totally guilty of the last one. I say it often…but thankfully not as often as I once did. If you are saying one or more of these phrases, will you stop? Do you know how to stop? Do you want to stop? Can you fill your mind with positive, “I can” statements?

Many of you know that I have half-a-dozen children. I do. They are really cool, and I don’t exactly take credit for them. People sometimes ooooo and ahhhh over my abilities. But they didn’t come into my home all at once. (Two of them came together–and that was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but that’s another story.) As I had one–or two–at a time, my capacity increased to be able to take care of my children. I was blessed with more insight and patience.

I am undertaking another stretching and creative experience right now. This experience, along with trying to manage my family’s increasingly hectic schedule, has been difficult. But, I have also been blessed to grow and learn with each new undertaking. With the traumas we experienced last fall, my capacities grew again. Right now, I’m working on community outreach with a Writing for Wellness program. With each new endeavor, I learn and grow and become more developed as a human than I was yesterday, or last week, or two months ago.

Certainly, life calls for times of rest and recuperation. Sometimes we are stretched beyond what we are able and we need to ask for help or let some less important tasks go. (Don’t ask me how clean my house is or when the last time I folded laundry was….) But sometimes we need to say YES to stretching ourselves beyond our current abilities. Once we decide to do this, we will have people and opportunities placed in our path where we can work “For Good.”

Will you do it?

Questions My Children Ask – a prose poem

Since April is National Poetry Month, I couldn’t let the month pass without sharing one of my new creations and loves–a prose poem. Here is one I wrote this spring:

Questions My Children Ask

When can I have an allowance? Will you unlock the computer so I can play? How come you get to be on your phone whenever you want but I have a timer on the iPad? Do you listen to me when I talk to you? What did I just say?

Can we get clothes from a real store and not a thrift shop? How do these jeans look? Are my thighs too big? Should I wear my cream Uggs or my black Converse? Or could you get me some Dr. Martens? Can I cut my hair? Highlight it? Dye it purple?

Why do you make this gross food for dinner? Don’t you know we hate lasagna? Asparagus, again? What is this green stuff? Peas or peppers? Why is it good for me to eat food I don’t like? I’m going to go play with Cain, okay?

Can we have a dance party? A game night? A movie night with popcorn? Will you make French fries again? Sweet chicky nuggets? Cheese pizza?

Will you read Corduroy to me? Skippyjon Jones? Tuck me in? Kiss me goodnight? Can we cuddle? Will you stay with me? What does “especially” mean?

Why do I feel like this —blech one moment, ecstatic the next? Am I just hormonal? Did you feel like this when you were my age?

Is this normal? Am I normal? What does sex feel like?

Why did you marry Dad? Do you still love him, even when you fight?

They cut her whole breast off? What does she look like now? Will she lose her hair? Will she die?

Will you die? Will I?

How do you know everything will be okay?

The Glory of Music

Over break, I needed to connect. I needed to connect with my children, with my husband, with family, with friends, and with my past. I introduced my children to the charming, music-filled drama, Beaches, which was my go-to movie when I needed a good cry at age thirteen (and it still works even though I’m now in my thirties).

I found myself singing along throughout the auditions, the rehearsals, the shows, and I was reminded how much I adore the soundtrack.

About a week later, kiddos had gone back to school, and no one had said much about the film or soundtrack until my little guy walked into our living room belting out, “That’s the glory of love!”

I did a double-take (especially since he fell asleep during the movie and didn’t even hear Bette Midler’s reprise of the song before the credits ran. I asked my older daughter if she had been singing it, but she hadn’t been. It was simply the power of music.

While looking for photos for another blog post, I happened on this article from Scientific American regarding music and training and the brain, which is a long-time interest of mine. Though I received limited piano, violin, bass, and vocal training, I am grateful for the brain connections I have because of music and for the love of music my parents, friends, and family share with me. There is glory in music and in love.

Love Changes Everything

This morning, when the house was quiet and I was doing some research online, my husband switched on the white-noised vacuum. It interrupted my thoughts. As he approached our computer area, he asked me to move. I pulled my chair away, and the vacuum sucked up the dirt, dust, and crumbs under the computer desk. In an instant, he kissed my forehead as I scooted my chair back into its home…and I beamed. (I think I am still smiling.)

A young boy, a little hesitant, entered a classroom with walls plastered in bright colors. He didn’t know what he would find inside the doors. A teacher greeted him with outstretched arms and a welcoming smile, an opposite experience from his past year. Happiness followed.

A little girl looked up at her mother with uneasy eyes. She knew she had made another mistake to add to her already-too-long-to-enumerate list of mistakes. Instead of a forming a frown, her mother swept the girl into her long arms, encompassing a little body filled with worry and a little heart filled with sorrow. Her mother whispered into her ear, “I love everything about you.” The little girl’s furrowed brow released its hold as if her brain and heart were releasing fear, worry, and regret. Vector-Valentine-Heart-of-Hearts-10-by-DragonArt

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Love changes everything.

These Are All Just Nice Words Unless…

A friend of mine posted Ashley Judd’s 2012 comments and defense of her “puffiness” today on Facebook. Though I adore Judd’s sentiment, they are only words unless we act.

We’ve had more than two years since she spoke out against misogyny–and what have we done about it?

This may seem like a sidestep, but please bear with me.

My son adores Batman. He has two different Batman costumes, Batman pajamas, and for the last year, he has really, really, really wanted a Batman hoodie.

Well, I found a Batman hoodie about a week ago in a local store. It was his size, and in our price range. Even though I knew he would love it, I hesitated. The hoodie outlined a six-pack abdomen, and I knew it carried a message.

Batman Boys' Fleece Hoodie with Mask-Black
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Do I really want my less-than-eight-year-old walking around thinking he needs to have amazing abs to be a valuable person?

(Hopefully you already know the answer to that question.)

What we might find even more remarkable is that my son is on the high end of the sizes carried. I think the store had them as small as 2T (that’s 2-Toddler…).

And so I begin, on my little corner of the blogosphere, to raise a voice. A voice of action. A voice of love–for ourselves and for future generations. What will you do today to #ShareGoodness? To promote a positive body image–no matter the shape or size? To share acceptance?

Recently, I was assisting a local choir director with sizing choir members for costumes. As I placed a measuring tape around each of their bodies, I felt a tension equalling a sadness in many.

Though the numbers attached to each body varied, they were all beautiful. Each one has a gift to share with the world. Each one is valued and cherished. Each one is important.

I wanted to scream to them from a housetop: YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE VALUED. YOU ARE LOVED–JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

I hope you feel my love for you. I respect you as a fellow human–no matter how you look or what you wear or where you live. I love you.

We don’t need a six-pack (real or through a hoodie) to be someone’s superhero. We do that each day by simply living the lives we are born to live. (No, I’m not going to break out in “Climb Every Mountain“…I’ll let you do that yourself.) 🙂

I hope we can love ourselves and others enough to share this message of acceptance, in whatever sphere we may be. We are amazing, and now is the time to raise our voices. Now is the time to shine.

Apron Strings

I lay resting next to you–
Your heavy eyelids drifting
in and out of dreams
Your fingers wrapped around my
apron strings.
I gently unweave myself from you
tiny bone of my bone
flesh of my flesh
And move the strings out of your grasp
–but I like the way they look
Enclosed in little hands
new skin
fresh from Heaven
I want you to hang onto me forever

How will I know when to let you go?

-Karin Salisbury


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Architecture

Who hired me
as architect for your early life?
My experiences with Legos are hardly
Sufficient credentials, I think….

Still, I labor
Planning the experiences that will build
You.
Modifying blueprints as my
on-the-job training requires
Will you love soccer, ballet,
the trombone?
More importantly, will you love
Yourself?
Your fellow beings?
Your God?

With experiences as cinderblocks and
Love as mortar
We work together building the edifice of

You.

–Karin Salisbury

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Just Because We Do It…

Life gets crazy sometimes. Some things we can control; other things we cannot. Like, I couldn’t control my little guy waking up early last Saturday morning. He came in my room, full of morning exuberance as I groggily rolled over to check the time on my phone. The glaring white numbers read 5:47.

5:47 a.m.


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On a Saturday.

WHY?

Well, with a packed schedule for the day, I knew that going back to sleep wasn’t an option. (Now, I’m a believer in early morning productivity…just not that early…on a Saturday.) We cuddled in the warmth of the covers and discussed dreams and the lack of school for the day. Eventually, I rolled out of bed to get dressed.

And, I happened to wear heels–these great heels from my friend–with my brown pants and pink tshirt/sweater combo. I was happy with the outfit as a whole and was prepared for a busy day.

(Did I mention I was wearing these great heels?)

So, we were off to two appointments that went well, then to an activity involving doughnuts at church (how could you go wrong with doughnuts?), and out to visit some neighbors. Of course, we also had to drop kiddos off at parties, hit the library and a couple of other errands, and pick up some milk. (Yes, we were on our last gallon…how did that happen?)

As my handsome husband pulled into a parking space at the local grocery store, my feet were throbbing. Screaming. Aching.

UGH.

I asked him if I could just sit in the car. He asked me why I would choose the shoes I wore that day. I told him the reasons (they go with my outfit, I was trying to look professional, I didn’t think I’d be on my feet so much, etc.). I got out of the car and started walking in to the store. He said, “I think you just don’t like going to the grocery store.”

I thought about his statement. (Can I call it an accusation?) I didn’t want to go to the store in that moment. He was accurate about that. But, on “normal” days–whatever those are–do I really hate going to the grocery store?

I followed that train of thought through shopping. Do I hate to shop? No. What about cooking? Do I hate to cook? No. I actually enjoy cooking. Do I hate walking around the store and greeting fellow shoppers? Nope. I like to chat through the store. Hmmmmmm…. What is it, then?

Actually, I hate planning meals. If someone would provide a menu that worked for my schedule each week, then I would happily follow it, buy ingredients, and cook. I do my best with planning, but I don’t enjoy it. I don’t even like it. In fact, I kind of hate it. But I do it anyway.

As part of our conversation, I had this thought: just because we do it doesn’t mean we like it.

Do you like having little people wake up at 5:47 (A.M.!) on a Saturday? Do you like having to form cognitive thoughts that early? Most days I don’t. But I do it. I do it because that’s what I signed up to do when I decided to have children–whether I knew it then or not.

Why?

The bottom line for me is love. I do what I do because I love my family and I want them to feel loved.

Red Love Heart Full HD Wallpaper Wallpaper
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Last night, we had a beautiful meal together. My oldest and I spent the morning in the kitchen preparing a crock pot with roast, potatoes, and carrots (which I picked up, incidentally, at the grocery store on Saturday). We also made a baked dish of macaroni and cheese along with rice. After church, we made gravy from the drippings in the crock pot and also threw together some delicious rolls. We had family dinner together which filled our tummies and our spirits. My kiddos even went back for seconds (which is rare), and the evening which followed went smoothly because our hearts were happy.


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As I put myself out there by planning and preparing a meal that I didn’t really want to plan (I would’ve been okay with having something like frozen pizza), I was blessed with a wonderful evening…and part of me began to like the planning aspect of cooking. (Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!)

What do you do that you don’t like to do? What would have to change for you to like it more?

A Poem: “Slumbering”

Lying awake in the contrast of warm covers combatting cool air
Listening to the rustle of
Sleep and the uneasy breathing of
Children

Wondering how they slumber without watch care, and yet
Wake each morning, perfectly embracing their imperfections

Arresting the Dawn.

(imperfectly perfect)

They were born to build kingdoms, to slay dragons, to learn love.

And we each have our own miles to go today before sleep comes again
With all the worry and wonderment of dreams

Maybe the
Angels really do
Watch over their
Slumbering?

Always Teaching

Whether actively or passively, we are always teaching: teaching others about ourselves, teaching others how to treat us, teaching others about our ideals, teaching principles to govern life, teaching faith or the lack thereof…simply teaching.

Maybe you have not considered this possibility. I really didn’t until I had several of my own children in my home and I watched the way younger children would mimic behavior of an older child. At that time, I coined this phrase in our home: “You are always teaching.” I have tried to help our children learn that they are always teaching others in every interaction (or even in the lack thereof) each day.

I teach them, too. Though I am not part of the homeschooling community, I do agree that what children learn at home–the most basic of lessons–helps to shape and mold their lives in myriad ways. My parents were teaching us Robert Fulgum’s Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten lessons before we ever set foot in a formal school, and I have tried to do the same for our children.

I find that sometimes the most passive teaching can be the most effective–words passed through daily chores together such as clearing a table after breakfast or cooking dinner together. I find conversations come up in queries regarding song lyrics or film topics, school happenings or world events.

We take time to formally teach, too, through a time set aside on Monday nights for a specific family evening of lessons and music and activities and a treat. We have a goal to create moments of discussion with our children, individually, regarding each one’s concerns and triumphs.

We are always teaching!