A quick poem

Dental Hygiene

I just flossed my teeth
And you bring me almonds
(Which I love…& I have been trying to eat more healthily, anyway)
Which, as I chew, fall into empty crevices of space where gums don’t quite reach around and hug the tooth the way they did when I was
Younger,
Pinker,
Perkier.

I toss another handful into my mouth and relish the sweet, white flesh as I decide I will happily
Floss again.

photo credit

You Gotta Work

So, with a little music bopping around in my head, I have a tiny piece of wisdom to share this fine morning.

I thought I was being nice.

I thought I was being helpful.

You see, up until the last week or so, I have been doing a bunch for my kiddos. I was never one of those women who thought that kiddos should be without responsibility…our kiddos have their share of chores and babysitting and tidying…but I was definitely doing more than I needed to for them. Like, if they didn’t put the cereal away in the morning, and they were rushing out the door to meet the bus, I would put it away for them. Or, if I was having company and one of them didn’t put clothing (that I lovingly washed, sorted, and sorta folded for them) away, I would do it.

Yes, as I write this I am feeling a little slushy inside…like I’ve known for a while that they are old enough to pull more weight around here.

Well, this morning, in no uncertain terms, I (lovingly) explained that I have done much for them…and that I enjoy doing fun things for and with them (like baking goodies or making treats or playing games and hanging out together)…and that they needed to show more respect to me in return.

Guess what? They were up to the task! I was surprised and elated to see that, as they went about their work and responsibilities with little guidance from me, they stood a little taller. By helping them get to work, they felt the value each of us feels when we ACCOMPLISH. And, I have to say, accomplishment is a great feeling. 🙂 I’m guessing that when they feel accomplishment and begin to understand their value in our family, in society, and in the world, that their self-esteem will grow, as well.

If you have kiddos, and they could be stretched a little more…to do more…to be more…then I say boldly, “GO FOR IT!!!!” You might have to use your words.  You might have to get a little tougher skin.  You will absolutely have to do more than just “teach by example.”  But it will be worth it.  Teaching them the value of work will stay with them throughout their lives…and, I dare say that the value of work is lacking in this world.

So get to work!

Cleaning House

While mopping my lovely kitchen floor this morning, I was scrubbing away at crumbs of dark chocolate brownie imbedded into grout lines, wiping away dots of milk from yesterday’s cereal breakfast, and I found something.  Guess what it was…?!?!?!

A dot of paint.

No one has painted the house since we moved into it (and we’ve been here awhile).  So, as I was on the floor, scrubbing away on my hands and knees this morning, that particular spot of paint spoke to me.  I have washed this floor many times in the same manner, and I would’ve almost sworn that I had covered every inch of the beige, textured tile with my hands meticulously washing away dirt from former residents and new dirt of our own….

A dot of paint!

I missed a spot…with my eyes…with my hands.  Alas, I am not perfect at mopping the floor.

I’m not perfect at anything.  I don’t know how long that dot of paint has been there…but today it is gone.  And I thought about life….

…and how we all have spots and stains and imperfections and dots of paint in our lives.  For some of us, we may be struggling with honesty; others may worry.  Some of us live with fear, instability, lack of self-confidence, pride, loneliness…and any other multitude of issues we would like to change.  As I scrubbed that spot away, peeling back its stubborn stickiness from the tile, I felt free.  I felt amazing.  I felt confident that the floor was CLEAN, PURE, SPOTLESS.

As we take a look at our lives up-close and personally, we can “clean house” of the issues, stains, and weight we are carrying and become free from whatever feelings may be hampering our progress.  I’m going to continue to ponder today.  Will you join me?  I like this blogging world so much better when we are working together! 🙂

Sending hugs to all of you as you continue on this journey we call life.  And, because cleaning (and changing) often go better with a little music, here are some songs for your enjoyment… 🙂
From Enchanted…. (though the roaches still make me cringe!!!)


Snow White is classic….

And Tangled is all about a girl changing her life and looking for more light!

And speaking of light…sending all of you love and light on your journey! 🙂

Do We Eat Words?

While chatting with the preschooler today over markers and paper, I noted the letters my little one was drawing in rainbow colors across the tablet of white.  I remarked, “I like your letters.”

Preschooler:  “I LIKE letters.”

“Me, too,” I responded.

“I like words.”  Then, looking up from the markers and papers, these words spouted from little lips:  “What do we do with words?  Do we eat words?”

I smiled at the innocent question. “We don’t eat words.  Sometimes we spit words.  Sometimes we say words….”

I know that sometimes people talk of “eating their words” when discussing having to take back words or admit they were wrong…but try explaining that to a preschooler.  🙂  The question has given me pause, though.

In current parenting circles and educational venues, children are encouraged to “use [their] words” instead of acting out with their bodies in frustration or other emotions.  Sometimes the phrase “use your words” is used to promote verbal communication.  I have used it many times myself with my own children and with other little ones.  I find words intriguing, marvelous, powerful tools!  I love to use them to describe, to console, to communicate, to empower, to compliment, and to strengthen.  And so I leave you with this same question today as you consider life, liberty, and your personal pursuit of happiness:

What do you do with words?  🙂

(And, because every post is better with music…here’s “One Word” from Elliott Yamin that I found on Spotify to share with you…because we all know I love a good, upbeat, positive love song….)

Parenting is Hard.

After an experience with one of my precious children this morning, and after some weekend reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion:

PARENTING IS HARD.

Maybe that isn’t news to you. If I stopped parenting long enough to think about it (which only happens in tiny little moments), I might have figured this out sooner. Maybe? 🙂

Anyway, these recent moments of reflection have shown me similar traits in my children to my own personality flaws (which are actually quite difficult to view). For example, remember when you have read a novel or watched a film and you find yourself identifying with the feelings or habits or personalities of a certain character? Those connections have been happening abundantly lately for me…only my children are not mere characters in a book or movie. They are my children.  And they are flawed (which I knew) like me (which is what is so difficult currently to view).

Maybe some of the difficulty is knowing the path they have ahead of them…and my desire to help them wake up to a realization that certain behaviors that I have wasted years of my life practicing can lead them to heartache and sadness.  I find myself defensively saying (in my mind) to them, “I’m getting over [that behavior].  Why can’t you?”

But, some lessons need to be learned from the inside out, not vice versa.

I guess what I’m saying is, after this weekend and this morning, I’ve got some work to do…both for myself and also with my children. And I’m wondering what I can do to change today….

Each of my children (and yours) is a gift, a life, an opportunity for love and learning and greatness. My children don’t need the fame of a Super Bowl ring, a Julliard degree, or a name in figurative lights to be valued and precious and productive in society. They are each amazing in their own spheres of influence as they develop and share their own talents and gifts with those around them.

I wish I had learned that earlier. I still find myself fighting feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness daily. But, at least I am fighting them (most days) instead of giving into negativity.

On the way back from taking one of our children to school (the one having a rough morning), my husband gently said my name, followed by the words, “You are a good woman.”

My immediate thought was, “If I was a good woman, I could cure more ills and take away more pain.”

As I fought tears in the thought, I saw something else, though…a smattering of light…of truth.

Pain is part of life and a tool to help us grow, just like a flower fights the adversities of gravity and wind to grow and stand straight and bloom.

So bloom. As a person. As a parent. As YOU. We can make a beautiful bouquet together.

I’ll Tell You What I Want…

The red lines on the clock form themselves into numbers I can read.  7:58 a.m.  The kiddos are off to school, husband at work, and I walk to the computer, move the mouse to the Spotify icon at the bottom left corner of the screen.  I have to think about which side it is since I still don’t know my left from right without thinking consciously about it.

I scroll through playlists, and a title on my daughter’s list catches my eye.

Less than a minute later, I feel the cold tile under my bare toes scraping back and forth as I do jumping jacks.  And I’m singing along….

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

My arms are burning (from yesterday’s arm workout) each time my hands sweep over my head and I want to cry.  Instead I yell….

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

I continue to the chorus as my body yells for me to stop, but I keep jumping and counting and singing and up and down and counting and yelling.

What in heaven’s name is a “zig-a-zig-a” anyway?  I don’t care.  I just keep moving.  Down to the floor for push ups.  I yell the mocking words that are echoing in my brain that someone recently said to me, “Before trying more advanced moves, maybe you should learn to do a regular push up first.”

I laugh to myself, and my shoulders buckle underneath me, screaming inside my skin.  I can almost hear them.  The weights I take in my hand pull me lower, lower, harder, stronger, but I lift them anyway; I raise them higher and longer and more than I ever have.

I drop to the floor, put my hands down to support me, and walk my feet up the wall for a handstand.  Tighten abs, I tell myself as I try to hang on for one more second.

A new voice half-sings, half-raps over the speakers about fish in the sea, and I am back on the tile with more jumping jacks.  Sting.  Ow.  Keep going.  A few more minutes.  You can do this.  (The endorphins must be kicking in somehow….)

Drop for another set of push ups.  More jumping jacks.  Squats.  Punches.  Punches with squats.  And I’m yelling with Hot Chelle Rae about a “really, really messed up week.”  I can relate to that line.  And I’m punching harder, and my shoulders are still on fire as my legs threaten to crumble underneath me, landing me in a pile of ruin like the photos of Pompeii I saw in grade school.

Maybe I should give my body a break….

Nope, to the rug for abs.  Crunch, one-two-three-four-five, (suck it in), seven-eight-nine, (watch your neck), ten-eleven, (dang, I forgot to pray for Dad this morning).  I holler an audible prayer through labored inhales and exhales in time with the crunches and lose count.  Bicycling until my abs are screaming.  I hope I can move tomorrow…or even later today.

One more shoulder move…one more song.

I know how I “Wannabe.”

Who Says?

So, this song has been running through my head this morning…along with a few thoughts I would like to share.

I feel like our family has moved often recently.  Having said that, moving has its pros and cons, as before this recent trend of moving in my life I had been in the same setting for a number of years.  I enjoyed the comforts of long-time friendships and the familiarity of the setting.  The place felt like home.  I felt like I had a long-term identity among those who loved me (or didn’t like me, or felt indifferent about me, etc.).

Well, upon one of these recent moves, I was feeling a loss of that identity…and with all the feelings that accompany that loss, I wasn’t myself.  I found someone in this new area with whom I felt I could identify…and this person became somewhat of a template for building my new identity.

Only it wasn’t my identity at all.

In a flash of inspiration, one of my sisters one day on the telephone boldly declared to me:  “You don’t need to be [insert name here].  That place already has a [insert name again].  You need to be YOU.”

Her words were cause for evaluation and thankfully revolution to find myself once more.  And, guess what?  I’ve found I am happier being me.  Go figure.  🙂

So, jam to a little Selena Gomez while you think about who you are and that no one can dictate who you are or how you feel but YOU.  In the immortal words of the German band Snap, “[You’ve] got the power!”