Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life IS Good...Even IF it's Not Perfect

I do find inspiration for this blog in the strangest places! HA!!

But, today, at lunch, I had to send EG to her room for throwing a fit.

"Why was she throwing a fit?"

I thought you'd never ask!

Her biscuit was broken (read: crumbly).


It wasn't perfect.

This is a thing for her.

At McDonald's, she becomes ballistic if the meat patty & the bun are off-centered, or if the bun has a "crack" in it. I know. Cute, really, but annoying when you have to stop eating every few minutes to um, rearrange her burger or convince her that her food will still taste great even if the bun isn't ideal.

Another of my children, when they were very small, ~REFUSED~ to use a restroom unless it was immaculate. Great! Cleanliness is next to godliness, right?!? Not at Wal-Mart! They don't pay me enough to clean THOSE stalls for her to use their facilities (in fact, they don't pay me at ALL!)

I could go on.

You may be wondering what the big deal is, just make adjustments for the child to be happy, to stop screaming or to get them to do what you want, & go on, right?

Well, yes & no.

How many things in life are perfect?


In my life...not much.

Well, my life *is perfectly wonderful*, but there are many, Many, MANY imperfections, too. This is particularly frustrating to a perfectionist.


My mind is a life...not so much. Over the years, I have had to.....let's way of thinking - my standards, even.

At first, I was just like EG. Screaming, kicking, throwing one righteous FIT!!!

NOT becoming of a lady!

Did that change the way things were going?

Yes! In fact, it DID!

For the worse.

I was more miserable. Everyone around me was miserable. It was not good.

So, back to my original story. Do I make adjustments for the kiddos when things aren't going just as they would like for them to be, no matter how trivial? Usually not. Don't get me wrong. I do let my sweeties pluck my heartstrings periodically. I'm not totally heartless! However, when I see that something is becoming a habit, I try to consider what the root issue is, and then deal with them accordingly.

Ultimately, as I've said before, my goal is to raise healthy, well-adjusted adults.

Is 2 or 3 too early to begin learning that life doesn't always throw you the balls you were expecting?


The early, formative years are the perfect time for making adjustments, to learn to go with the flow.

I cannot tell you how many vacations I have planned for our family. Wonderful, fun-filled, activity-packed, family-bonding, scrapbook fodder.

That. Never. Happened.

After a while, it became almost a hobby to plan a trip for ten...just to see if I could.

I can.

At first, I would become despondant. Depressed. Angry. Then, the moral of the experience began to sink in: make plans to enjoy your life, then live it as it comes, oh, and: don't make plans that you can't get your deposit back on!

Now, I never know for sure if we will do something until we pull out of the driveway. We don't even usually have hotel reservations until the day we leave!

Ewwwwww!!!! I still hate that!!

Why do these events fall apart on us? Kids. Sickness. Work. Money. You name it, it happens. Does wailing, gnashing my teeth or wallowing in ashes help. Nope. Life goes on, AND it is still good. My response, though, determines HOW good it is. Oh, and: HOW I respond directly affects how my children respond.

(Mom throws a fit + kids throw fits) x anger = REALLY bad results!!!

Soooooo....EG goes to her room or doesn't get a biscuit if she cannot learn that life is still good even if her meal isn't Food-Network-perfect!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is It a Habit??

I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is determining what is wrong with our child.

Early on, they can’t say, “Mommy, I have a headache.” or, “Dad, my stomach hurts.” Even if they could, they probably wouldn’t admit it when the reason for their crying is, “Hey Mom, I’m just wanting to see if you’ll come running when I scream!” As humorous as that may sound, that is exactly what those little boogers do to us sometimes!
How, then, do you determine which cry is which?

Well, with experience, you WILL be able to determine what their cries mean. Just as we use different punctuation to determine what type of sentence we want to use, a baby uses different pitches (punctuation) of their own. As you develop a relationship with your baby, you will learn his sounds. Maybe a whiny, little cry means, “I’m wet/dirty”. A sharp, loud cry could mean, “OUCH!” A lingering, continuous cry may mean, “I don’t feel good”. A loud-pitched, angry cry complete with balled fists, probably means, “I’m MAD!”

In our house, this is "MAD"!!

No one will know your baby’s cries like you do. How many times has a well-meaning (but slightly annoying) person suggested, “Honey, I think that baby needs to eat.” When you know that he is clean & fed, he just needs his nap!
Ok, so now you’re learning his cries, you’ve gotten him on a regular schedule, and he’s doing great!

Yay you!

Yay baby!

Then…..he does something irregular: he wakes up crying when he’s supposed to be sleeping. Hmmm….what’s he up to? You KNOW he’s not hungry. You’ve checked…no poop. He’s warm/cool enough, and he’s not in pain. That little darling of yours is testing his limits!

Yes, I know, it sounds foolish. How can such a tiny little cherub be manipulating his parents like that??? Well, obviously, he doesn’t KNOW that’s what he is doing, but, nonetheless, that is exactly what he is doing.

He wants you to cuddle him, maybe give him a little snack. After all, who doesn’t like a midnight snack? The problem with giving in to him is that he will learn VERY quickly that this little trick works like a charm!

Every time you take him out of his bed (and, might I add, he immediately stops crying), he’s won the battle.

Now, this may seem like but a small sacrifice to make now, after all, he’ll only be a baby once, right? Now, fast-forward 3 years to the cranky child who is throwing a fit in the grocery store because you have told him no on the sugary cereal. Do you give in to his wishes/demands then? He’ll only be 3 once… I could really go on throughout his childhood & teen years painting a rather undesirable picture of selfishness & a demanding attitude.

As parents, you have to think past the crib!

This is a sad, pitiful manipulative cry.

God gave us the responsibility of raising adults, not children!

How do you know if your child is forming a habit? Well, I’ve listed a couple of signs to look for:

1. Do they exhibit the same behavior at the same times?
2. Do they immediately stop their crying/fit when you pick them up or otherwise give them what they are wanting?

I am sure there are other signs, but these are the two that really stand out.

Once you’ve determined that yes, your child has developed a habit that is unhealthy for him (and you), what do you do?

Well, this is the hard part.

You must remain as consistent in your behavior as he has been in his! Even just one weak moment will cause the whole process to take longer. Trust your parental instinct. You will know.
A 3 month old should be sleeping 7-8 hours at night (at least). The time will gradually increase until he reaches a full 12 hours of much-needed, restful sleep (my 6 month old has been doing this for about 6 weeks now). Any less, you will have a grumpy baby, not to mention grumpy parents! God created us with a need to rest. Our bodies do not function well without the proper re-charging time. I know that I must have at least 8 hours to be at full potential. My husband doesn’t need that much. Children need about 12 hours plus naps. The naps gradually start to go away as they get older. This rest time is not negotiable! It is a need, just like their food, water & shelter! They however, don’t know that, so it is up to us as parents to enforce a healthy sleep pattern & to teach this good habit to our children. That is the beauty of a cyclical eat/wake/sleep/ schedule for our children. They learn to recognize when they are hungry & sleepy & naturally just do what their bodies tell them it is time to do. God created us this way, isn’t it wonderful?
If your child has made it a habit to wake up when he is supposed to be sleeping, you must not allow him to be rewarded for that. If, at 3:00 a.m., he decides that he would like your attention, please, the only attention he should receive is a quick check of the diaper and a determining of is he too hot/cold, and then, walk away. This should be done in low light with no interaction (smiling, cooing, and talking) with the baby. If you interact with him, it will only cause him to become more stimulated, and, therefore, make it more difficult for him to fall asleep again. We all have sleep patterns that bring us close to wakefulness, but a healthy sleeper will learn to calm themselves back into sleep. If a child learns that, if he hollers, mom/dad will come running & help him back to sleep in his favorite manner, he will never learn the healthy habit of soothing himself back to sleep. This creates an unhealthy dependency on someone or something else in order to sleep.

Yes, it is hard to listen to your sweet angel cry, but this will not be the only time in his life that you will have to let him cry for his own good. Many, many, many situations will arise in your parenting where you will have to make a decision that your child will not like because it is the best decision for them.

They will cry.

You will cry.

It’s never easy, but it IS necessary. God does the same thing for us. He will allow us to be uncomfortable because He knows, in the long run, it will actually be better for us. So, buck up, you CAN do it. It is for your child’s own good.

Be consistent!

Give it some time & lots of prayer.

You will start to reap the benefits of your labor soon, and it will be so worth it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food for Thought

Do you like to eat?

I know...dumb question, but the other day, my pastor made a comment that really, um irritated (?) (probably) me.

He said, "I don't care much for food or what I eat."


People feel that way?

He seems so normal....

In all honesty, I think the reason it struck me is because of envy (great trade one of the 7 deadlies for another).

I have had a love/hate relationship with food since childhood. I love to eat it & hate to stop. LOL I was a....uh....chubby kid. You know the one. Clumsy, jiggly, bad hair. Yeah. That was me. I also talked too much & was clingy, but that's for another post. I had some self-esteem issues as a result of my appearance. So, I sought comfort in a nice cold bowl of Blue Bell ice cream. Great results.

Somewhere in my earlyish teens the chunks gave way to curves & I felt pretty ok about me, although I was still fat in my own eyes. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be that fat again. I was a blimpy 120 pounder when I said, "I do", and thought I should have been smaller. Unfortunately, one of the things my new hubby & I had in common was a love for good food. As a result, we have struggled for most of our nearly 20 years of marital bliss with our weight.

Right now, I am paying Weight Watchers every month to send me reminders to track my meals. I don't. I buy Lean Cuisine meals....and Blue Bell. I get so very aggrivated with myself when I "fail".

For the last year, we have been going to WW meetings & were doing very well. However, I marveled at nearly every meeting at the number of people who were in that room discussing how we all could manipulate the system to get as much food as possible each day & still lose weight. It seems so....messed up. We spend our time & money to discuss how to do something in moderation that is NECESSARY for our existance!!!

I am a stress eater. I have a large family. Figure it out.

However, I am truly of the frame of mind that overeating, and gluttony are sins that are not really addressed. Yes, there are worse sins, but self-indulgence is blatantly against the self-sacrificing message of Christ.

I don't murder.

I don't commit adultry.

There are many of the "biggies" that I don't partake in. Yay me.

Yet, I still have sin in the camp. Yep, right under my "tent" dress, there is the obvious result of my sin. It is, at times, humiliating. I have even wished there were something medically wrong with me, so I could blame my weight on that. No luck.

Is this post depressing? I don't mean for it to be. I am being honest. In our world of "foodies", junk food, drive thru, &'s no wonder we are an obese nation. Our lives are crazy busy, so we eat to survive while we live a life that's killing us.

One of the few things in my home that mean something to me is a little sign in my living room that says, "Simplify".

That's it.

Nothing else.

It's not a suggestion, it's a command.

If my life were more simplistic, I would have more time for relaxation which would, in turn, reduce stress, which should then cause weight least for me.

I am feeling more & more convinced that I need to put some real focus on this. In past weeks & months, I have let myself slip.

It is summer, after all.

I've stayed up too late, slept too long, skipped breakfast, ran around town, skipped chores, forgotten dinner....and gained weight. Again.

I saw something today that hit home, I think it was by C.S. Lewis (or maybe Albert Einstein...anyway, someone smarter than me). It said,

"Insanity: doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results."

That's it!

I'm insane.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shallow Thoughts/Deep Thoughts

Hello! I may need to reintroduce myself as it has been *like* forever since I've posted anything. LOL
I would like to say that life has been just >TOO< boring to write about, but it's actually totally the opposite. Have you ever disillusioned yourself into thinking that *SUMMERTIME* is a wonderful 12 week span of time where you stay up late, sleep late, & do very little except what you REALLY want to do in between?
Yeah, me too.



Well, maybe. When you're a kid...a very little kid.

Reality is this: Summer is the time when you sweat profusely every time you move...and you simply MUST move...A LOT!!! Since school has let out, we have done the following (this is by no means a comprehensive list):
*had 2 birthdays

*planned, sewed & packed for 3 trips for various members of the family

*taken an impromptu trip to Houston (3.5 hours each way) all in one day with everyone including the Grands in tow for a funeral.

*planned (still planning) for 2 weddings which has included: making the maid-of-honor's dress, making flower arrangements, decorating, sewing a vest & tie for a handsome fellow to be the ring bearer.

*5,425 trips to the library, McDonald's, Hobby Lobby & various other "Must Go's"

*swim lessons

*last-minute-let's-invite-everyone pizza parties

I really could go on, but let's face don't really care.

Our lives are busy. Very. Busy.

Sometimes, I love it. Sometimes not so much.

Would you believe that noise drives me insane. I know. God has a vicious sense of humor. :)

Seriously, though, while I do periodically long for peace..and quiet...lots of quiet, I truly love my life. Each day is the same, and completely different all at the same time. My kiddos make me laugh, drive me crazy, make me angry & make me want to cry. All within a 10 minute span of time! LOL




They do.

*Hee blog, I can just be random if I wanna... *

Yesterday, we made a whirlwind trip of 7 hours (total) drive time to Houston for the funeral of a wonderfully godly man. I have known him & his family for my entire life, and have been saddened by his passing. Not so much for the loss of life as the passing of an era. I know he has moved on to his reward, so, while he will be missed, there is also joy in knowing his race is complete.

In the past 20 years or so (not that I'm that old), I have noticed (since I was, like 2) that our funeral services have changed. They aren't always about grieving. More often, they are a celebration...of a life lived, and a new life that is waiting. Yes, I cried yesterday. I cried for his children as they wept. I cried for his friends as they expressed how they would miss him. But, mostly, I cried as I felt the spirit of the Lord give witness to the testimonies of how this man's life had positively affected others for good. I cried as I watched a video of him preaching his "farewell" message a few weeks ago as if he knew his race was completed. I guess, I can say that I cried for joy. Weird to many, I know, but true, nonetheless. When we sang, "It Is Well With My Soul", I knew it was. As his whole family, from his wife down to his 4 year old greats joined together to sing his favorite song, "The Reason I'm In This Church (I Don't Wanna Be Lost)", I knew he wasn't. He loved the moving of the Spirit of God, and, when it moved in his funeral, it only seemed natural to clap, to sing, to cry, & yes, to dance in celebration of a life lived wholly for God.
In the hours of quiet (BAHAHAHAHA) on the drive home, I pondered...
....there were 1,000+ people at that funeral! Wow! What a witness to a life lived right!

...there was rejoicing! What?!? Yes!

....there was peace! That passes ALL understanding.

I told my 11 year old son that he should aspire to have a funeral like the one we were in. In fact, I should aspire to have that kind of funeral! One that is a testament to a life lived rightly...for Jesus. One that brings joy to God. One that feels like a promotion rather than a demotion!

Such deep thoughts for 100+ degree weather! I just might need some cold sweet tea, & a ceiling fan to help me ponder farther. However, if you give a southern girl a glass of sweet tea & a fan, you may just find her resting her eyes while thinking on the meaning of life.....