Friday, November 29, 2013

Rice and Mountains and The End

As I come to the end of my blogging about clicking journey I feel, down. What?! Get the clicker.

What purpose this positivity has given me. I have seen the simple act of clicking change my life and the lives of my family members. We are more aware of how we act and what that does to the feeling in our home. We are more grateful and happier in general. We needed this and I am blessed to have had the opportunity.

I hope you are a clicker. I'd love to hear your experiences with clicking!

If you aren't yet, you still have time to use the coupon AMY454 and get a free clicker including wristband and sticker with your paid clicker kit. (Good thru November 30, 2013)

And if you still aren't convinced that positive thoughts can bring out the best in you and preserve the pure in your heart, go here and check this out! 

Things I once struggled to train into myself come naturally now. If they are ever out of reach, my clicker isn't and it somehow creates a conduit to my best self. My best tone of voice. My best responses. My best listening ears. My best managerial tactics. My best and most frugal menu planner. My best me.

Be good to yourself and click your accomplishments, one by one. They will move mountains for you.

So, I'll say goodbye to my blogging assignment, but my clicker will have to break before I let that go!

Click on!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flick of a Wrist

Are you familiar with the trick of wearing a rubber band and flicking your own wrist every time you exhibit whatever behavior you are trying to train out of yourself. Ouch!

I have used this method and garnered good results. But, they have never lasted. Could it be that positive reinforcement is truly the only way to make permanent change? I am a believer. 

Give me a clicker. I'll take the positive visceral stimulation from feeling and hearing the click over the sting of a rubber band any day. It moves me to a place I come by easily during times of peace and quiet. I don't get much of that with 5 young children. Amazingly my clicker can transport me instantly, nearly every time, to that place of serenity that easily eludes me during the hustle and bustle of life.

Serenity is good. Pain is bad. 

My rubber bands will sit in their bag waiting for more worthy purposes such as attaching last minute Halloween costume pieces, keeping young ones out of cabinets they like to empty in seconds, holding jeans up during the awkward not quite showing stage of pregnancy, and of course holding a clicker on my wrist if someone steals my cute wristband for handcuffs. 

But that last one would never happen in my house. Nope, never. 

Get your clicker here with coupon code AMY454 and get a free clicker including wristband and sticker for free with your paid kit. (Good thru November 30, 2013)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Time Traveler

This morning was a doozy*. We had somewhere to be and we were on the heels of a couple of busy days. Everyone woke up late, including yours truly. The house was a wreck. The cupboards are bare. The grocery budget is gone. What's for breakfast? Could have been pancakes or muffins if I'd have gotten up on time.

No one could find their things to gather for class: homework assignments, snacks, maps, and such.

"Mom can you check your e-mail for my homework, Dad forgot."
"What?! We have to leave in a few minutes! We can't do homework now."

"I lost my homework mom. Can you help me find it?"
"Not unless I can clone myself, and quick!"
"What's cloning?"
"I can't explain it to right now. Go look for your rock and geology sheet in the basement by Daddy's desk."

It's cold, freezing in fact, and no one could find their cold weather gear. They'll be outside for the next three hours at science class. They just had it all yesterday afternoon for the field trip. Do you have a cold weather gear eating monster at your house too?

The downward spiral into negativeville was swirling around me fast. Deep Breath. Get the clicker. It can't possibly take more time to do this all in a more positive way.

Thank you for a wheat grinder and wheat. Click. Thank you for powdered milk. Click. Thank you for classes being paid through the end of the school year amongst forced retirement and joblessness. Click. Thank you for my children. Click. Thank you for health and energy this morning. Click. Another deep breath. Feeling better. Re-group the troops and ask for positive thoughts.

Before I knew what happened, a matter of seconds, everyone had rallied and we were all acting and interacting in much more peaceful and civil ways. These days have happened before and I am sure they'll happen again. In the past my thoughts were to just make it through and apologize later because there's just no way around it.

Now I am armed with my clicker. Who knew there was time to be found. No need to push through. Reset, rewind, travel back in time and try again. It's possible. I just did it. We just did it.

We made it on time. Enough cold weather gear was found. There were just enough eggs and pieces of bread to have scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. She with lost homework was helped by a barrage of loving comments and clicks on the way to class, along with a little clicker time of her own. Those with incomplete homework accepted responsibility rather than pushing it on the rest of us with ranting and outrage as per usual.

We found time to seek the positive and were blessed with time enough to do what was most needful. It is needful to be positive first and get things done in that energy.

Get yours here and receive a free clicker with wristband and sticker when you use coupon code AMY454 through November 30, 2013. Find your time and spread the phenomenon of clicker induced time travel. I am hooked!

* written October 25th, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Positivity = Love

It's easy to say I love you. But actions speak louder than words and some personalities/people are more easily matched with a persons ability to show love.

I am a very no nonsense type of person. I call it like I see it and move on. Mothering takes compassion of a sort that does not come naturally to me. The strange part is that I am a very compassionate person when it comes to other people. Perhaps because my children are, in a sense, an extension of me they get the short end of the stick, which is what I give myself.

It feels better when I afford my children the same compassion I easily give others. Why then is it a daily struggle?! UGH!

I decided one day to put my clicker to the test. Instead of clicking for my thoughts, I clicked for my compassionate actions towards my children. I stopped. I listened. I heard. Click. Click. Click.

The more I clicked the more I felt genuine compassion rather than the forced, because I should, compassion that I have been diligently cramming into my life due to my lack of natural and true compassion.

Don't get me wrong. I love my children and they get bandaids on their booboos and hugs when they are feeling down. It's just that it has been a constant struggle and act of daily diligence to offer those things when my natural tendency is to think, "It's not that big of a deal. Get over it." It works but it is a lot of work.

What I discovered was that clicking somehow brought out the best in me. I thought a lot about how I had been trying to become a compassionate mother. Guess what I found out. My messages were negative. Although I was attempting to change my behavior in a good way I was doing it with negative reprimands and pressure. Rewarding myself, clicking, for the good things I was doing, naturally brought about more good things. The best part was that it felt natural and not forced at all.

Exercising compassion and recognizing my positive efforts resulted in a deeper love for my children and myself. I am just beginning to realize all the good there is inside and what a powerful affect that can have.

Thank you clicker for gently unlocking something I have been hammering at for a long time.

If you'd like to gently unlock all the great things inside of you go here and use coupon code AMY454 through November 30, 2013 and receive a free clicker including wristband and sticker with each paid clicker kit.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Boredom Cure

Do you ever hear the phrase, "Mom, I am bored." or, are you ever bored? I hear it often and I used to get bored (or worse fill my time with useless things to pass the time, like TV!) Well, I now have the perfect cure. It works every time! At least it has so far and I tend towards the positive these days. So here's the secret; have a click-a-thon.

Here's how to play:
* grab a clicker.
* assemble in a circle.
* the youngest player always goes first!
* state your positive thought and pass it to the left.
* the game is done and you have all won when there's a smile on every face.
* please play often.

Boredom is just a fancier word for negative. Kick boredom to the curb with a click-a-thon and you'll be laughing and getting along better before you know it. At least that's what happened for us! There's just something fun about clicking!

If you are in the dark about clicking, go here and join the quest for a better you! Make sure to use coupon code AMY454 to get a free clicker, including wristband and stickers, with each paid clicker kit order.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stealth Bomber

Have you ever needed a stealthy way to bomb the funk out of your teen aged child's life? I had the best time the other day.

So my oldest was less than enthused about pretty much everything. He wasn't shy about letting the whole word have it. I had the thought, "What about the clicker." As I sat clicking outside his bedroom, feeling great myself, I suddenly became worried that this might backfire and work more like poking the bear rather than stealthily worming positive thoughts into his brain.

I squashed that worry with a few clicks after purposeful thoughts and kept vigil. I chose not speak when the queries and attempts to stop me came. "What are you doing?" "That's not going to work."

It didn't take long before I heard, "Sorry mom." After a hug he said, "Hey that clicker sure is powerful! It was really hard to keep the positive thoughts from taking over. After a while I decided to stop trying."

Thank you clicker.

If you have a teen aged child you might want to get them hooked on positive thoughts. It could save your sanity :) Get your clicker kit through November 30, 2013 using coupon code AMY454 and you'll receive a clicker with wristband and sticker for the one in your life in need of stealthiness for free! (a $4.99 value)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Migraine Cure?

Here is what I know:

I had a migraine. A doozy of of a migraine.
I couldn't move without feeling my head was about to explode.
I had a lot to do. Moms usually do.
I wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep, or die, whatever.

Here's what I did:

I saw my clicker hanging on the cabinet knob.
I thought, "You can make it to your clicker."
I did.
I clicked.
I thought, "I have a beautiful life,"
"I have a husband that will take over as soon as he gets home."
"That is a looong time from now."
No click for that one.
"I can do it."

About 10 minutes later I thought, "Hey, where's my migraine?" It was fading so fast that I could hardly tell it was there. Within a few more minutes I was good as new and had been going strong since a few clicks in.

This was amazing for me because due to a medical condition I can't take pain relievers of any sort. The drink something with caffeine method has never worked on me either. My migraines just have to run their course and it's a lengthy course, usually 12-18 hours.

Do I really think that a little plastic and metal clicker, so cute with its stickers, cured my migraine? No. But I do believe that it helped me access the positive energy within myself and facilitated the blessed miracle. Isn't that what faith is anyway? Believing in something unseen. Hoping for that which we cannot grasp.

Isn't that what our Savior tells us all the time? I love you. You can do it. I am here. I believe in you. He believes in us. This little clicker is helping me to remember to believe in myself and harness the light within. His light that makes all possible. Even healing a simple migraine for a simple mom.

You should get yourself a clicker kit and unleash the powerful beast within! Remember to use coupon code AMY454 (good thru November 30, 2013) and you'll get a clicker, wristband, and stickers free (a $4.99 value!)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


What if being tired is an illusion. What if we are full of boundless energy we just need to access it.

This clicking thing is teaching me a whole lot about myself. I remember a time, quite a few years ago now, when I heard a woman proclaim that she needed 13 hours of sleep per night and a few naps during the day in order to have energy. My thought was, "How is there anytime left to get anything done?"

This was in a classroom setting and there were many ideas as to how much rest/sleep a person needs in order to be healthy. Accounting for many different factors that effect a person's well-being and sleep needs I was content to let this woman have her sleep and understand that I felt much better if I just got myself up and did something when I felt I was tired and "needed" to rest.

Fast forward a few children, pounds, extreme life changes, and years later and I am now that woman. Of course I don't get the luxury of actually sleeping that long each night or taking any naps during the day, but boy do I wish I could.

I have been blaming lots of things on lack of sleep, time, and so on, for so long I think I could commiserate with a group of geriatrics for a fortnight.

So the other day I was done. Time to punch out on the mommy clock. It was 1:00 p.m. Did you get that? Not a typo there, that was p.m. not a.m. Yikes! Okay clicker don't fail me now. "I love my children" Click. "That deep breath felt amazing." Click. "Yes, I can get off the couch and play ball." Click. "I can rally the troops and get this laundry folded." Click. "Hey, I feel good. No, that's not the word. I feel happy. No, that's not it either. Energized! I feel energized! Thank you clicker." Click.

I am not tired. I just think I am. And there you have it, the cure for tiredness: a positive thought and a click ......

It's true. Whenever I think I have nothing left to give physically, I tell myself I can and before you know it I am off and running. Okay maybe not actually running, but moving about doing things with energy that I didn't have before.

Who knew I could make my own energy instead of sitting around waiting for some to settle upon me like a cozy blanket. I told you I think about naps a lot.

Think about children, typically positive little energy factories. When is the last time you heard a 3 year old tell you they just couldn't possibly go to the park because they were so tired? What do we all say to each other as we stare zombified as the little energy balls run around the playground? "Man, to be young again." "Oh, if I could just bottle that energy."

Now think about happy people. Positive people have more energy. Do they have a supplier? No, they make their own. One. Thought. At. A. Time. I am on to you now positive people, and I like your tricks!

Clickety, Click, Click, Click! Weeeee .....

Get your clicker kit here with coupon code AMY454 through November 30, 2013 and receive a free clicker including wristband and sticker with each paid order. (a $4.99 value!) It's way better that neon colored energy drinks. I promise!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Change Your Life with One Click

I think of myself as a positive person. Sure, I have my moments. Generally speaking I assume the best and look for the silver lining.

Of late I have been noticing that I am very good at outward positivity, but not so good at the inward. Guess what. What's in my head counts far more than I imagined.

I have enjoyed Hilary Weeks' music for a long time. It's gotten me through some trying times and kept me dancing when torrential downpours just won't let up. Being someone interested in what makes people tick, I was very intrigued by an experiment she conducted.

Hmm, if someone as upbeat and positive as Hilary Weeks has room for improvement in the positivity department, maybe it could benefit me too. And my family.

I am a clicker!

My cute little clicker is never far away and my cute little children are constantly checking in on my number and encouraging me with praise such as, "Four clicks this morning mom. Great job!" My words were, "Thanks sweetie." but my thoughts, which ultimately control my actions, betrayed me, "Only four clicks? I have been up for 3 hours!" Yes, indeed I am grateful for this challenge and excited to document my progress.

In just a few days I have noticed a conscious effort on the part of my brain to find something positive and formulate a thought to go with it for a click.

Could it be I am addicted to the click? I'll take it!

I am what I think and I have the power to think whatever I want. I am on a mission to train my brain and let positivity take over the world. Or at least my little corner of it :)

Get started today with coupon code AMY454 and get a free clicker (including wristband and sticker, $4.99 value) with each clicker kit ordered. This coupon is good from November 1st thru November 30th, 2013; plenty of time to get those powerful stocking stuffers for the loves in your life! My kiddos are begging for their own clickers and I don't think I'll be able to hold them off until Christmas, maybe a pre-Thanksgiving grateful month kickoff award.

Remember that favorite teacher in your life too. Just think what clicking could do for our schools. "I used my clicker with my third graders to combat bullying at school. Instead we clicked for kind words and actions on the playground at recess for about a month. My kids loved it! It was great for them to look for the good."  Mrs. Houser 

I am especially encouraged by this fellow clicker, as entering the young adult years has brought some incredible challenges and changes to our family dynamics. "My mom ran across this program and it has changed my life. After a long bout of toxic negative thoughts that plagued my life (funny thing was I did not even know it was happening) my little clicker helped empower me again. I have a strong and firm testimony of what these clickers represent...the power of having a positive outlook on life!"  Sam 

Having my oldest so enthused about my clicking has already propelled us further forward than I thought we'd get in years to come. I can't wait to see what happens when he gets his own clicker. There's just something amazing about the instant result and accompanying deep satisfaction of knowing we can create our own happiness. We can train ourselves to be positive and positivity brings success!

Join and enter your clicks, before you know it we'll hit a BILLION and your life will be even greater than you think it is.

Happy Clicking!

Friday, October 25, 2013

To Live

"Knowledge about life is one thing," ... "Effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another." - The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

Is there really any way I can expound upon that without ruining it? 

I find it fascinating that the louder I claim to "know" something the more life throws curveballs my way that disprove and poke holes in my know -it-all armor. I have yet to meet a person that benefits from my way of doing something because I know they will and tell them so. The reality I have found is that my life is much more peaceful and profound if I spend less time trying to prove my way is right to anyone else by any means, and more time effectively navigating my own path. 

It does make small talk, and even deeper conversations, a bit difficult though, as it seems the thing most aspired to, and acceptable, in our society is being right and having the most "likes" to prove it. 

I wonder how much peace awaits those willing to live in the silence of the moment and allow everyone their own path. I am finding more than I have had in quite some time. 

I am often amazed that truth really does speak softly and when it is screamed it has little value or affect.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Missing Out

I have thought a lot about "missing out" lately. I think I have finally figured it out.

We don't ever feel we are missing out until someone or something else points it out.

If cultural norms say you should be here or do that. We feel we are missing out if we don't.

If someone says, "Oh! You should have been there or done that! It was amazing!" "You can't miss that, it's too important." "You need to be here in order to ..." We definitely feel our life can't possibly be complete without it. Whatever "it" is.

What if we each have our own things to do and experience. What if there really is something to the idea that you can't do everything or be everywhere and we are each unique individuals with paths that are unique to our needs.

What if my life looks very different from most people I know. And oftentimes people, who mean well, are desperately trying to make my life fit what makes sense for them.

What if it is fabulously fine to have a different life. But, what if I spend a solid amount of time trying to convince myself of the fabulous in fabulously fine. I have learned a lot about "helping" and "meaning well". Hmmm.

I sincerely appreciate the efforts of those that mean well in my life. It does cause a great deal of internal strife for me though. I have gotten a lot better at asking for what is needed and smiling and saying "no thank you" a lot of the time.

Why is it that I can't internalize the smile that accompanies the "no thank you"? Why is it that I spend so much time second guessing?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Torn In Two

Have you ever experienced needing to be in two places at once? True faith is the only saving grace.

My 8 year old daughter had a big day this past week. A really big day. She was baptized. We had been talking and planning and preparing for weeks. She has very concrete ideas of how she likes things and how they should go. I did my best to accommodate her on her special day. Everything was in place for it to be the perfect day.

And then ...

My special needs toddler had been sick for a couple of weeks and we could, not get him better. He was not responding per his normal, despite our best efforts in his behalf. Everything came to a head an hour before I was supposed to be there for my daughter.

There was really no choice in the matter. Agency did not feel mine at all. I stayed home and cared for the toddler while other wonderful women filled in for me in various roles. I was angry, and sad, and doubtful. I was lost. Interestingly I was also at peace.

It was incredibly strange to be filled with turbulent emotion and yet feel at harmony with God. I was absolutely assured that I was exactly where I needed to be despite my desire to be somewhere else. It was a worthy desire and a worthy somewhere else. Just not where I was supposed to be.

There has been a great deal of that in my life since the birth of our fifth blessing. I struggle to understand why my prayers to be certain places or do certain things are not answered. I struggle to know how this is all going to work out. I feel stuck and chained and helpless, to reach where I want to be. I do believe that everything can be for my good. I hope that my journey for good does not deprive my children of their good.

I have no idea why things happen the way they do. I don't have the answers, solutions, fixes, skills, or wisdom to make things different from what is. I have faith. Faith is all that I have, for the concrete is not something I have a hold on in this moment of my existence. No amount of money, physical, mental, or temporal effort can change the circumstances. I have faith that the circumstances are exactly what is needful at the moment, even though it rarely makes sense or "fits" what I have in mind.

I have faith.

Faith; that my daughter will be sustained and supported by the Lord, and all those he places in her path, throughout her life, in spite of my inability to be there for her every moment.

Faith; that all the time and effort I am currently funneling in one child's direction will not hinder my other children.

Faith; that each of my children will have what is needful in life and that the Lord is there for them just as He is there for me.

Faith; that great people will continue to be the helping hand and saving grace for the Lord here upon the earth.

Faith; that our family life is perfectly suited for each of us, individually and collectively.

Faith; that life is worth living, even in the agonizing moments that cause everything to come in to question.

Faith; that I am enough.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Grandma Factor

What is it with grandmas? They seem to have endless patience, an ability to play games and read books forever, and be genuinely delighted by the paint on the wall, milk spills, and conversations about any such thing as the child is interested in. What is it about grandmas?

I have heard a few people, some close to me, relate how their grandmothers were influential in their formative years. Offering love and support in ways that seemingly escape parents and have real impact in the lives of young people. In all but one account it was mentioned how grandma would play games for hours.

Could it be perhaps that this game playing was a platform of sorts? A stage on which to build a relationship without time constraints, outside distraction and interference, and with a common goal. Possibly most important might be the absence of hundreds of ever-changing rules. Games are simple, even the most complex of them. Concrete rules that don't change on a dime to suit someone's emotions or situations. You can learn the rules and refer to them whenever needed, making sure to abide by them and perfect your strategy. Simply satisfying.

Yes, life is complicated. But grandmas seem to know something that we whippersnappers don't. They seem to understand that it really is about time. Time to get to know a person without so many rules. Children are people too. People just want to be understood and known for who they are, not who we think they should be or need them to be.

Perhaps those that have done what we are trying to do know something. Perhaps they see what we are too busy to understand. Maybe if we slow down and trust that our children will indeed eventually change their underwear daily without reminder, and be able to brush their teeth without smearing an entire tube of toothpaste across the bathroom, maybe then we can get some of that grandma factor for ourselves. Our families will be better for it.

Slow down. Trust. Play games. Read books. Love unconditionally.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Management; Unplugged

We just spent a week unplugged, Sunday late night thru Sunday late afternoon. It was fabulous.

I learned much:

* All the things I "run" by e-mail, didn't fall a part.
* Children really do need undivided attention and plenty of it.
* Quality vice quantity in relation to time with children is a fallacy.
* It is not possible to be present with a child whilst busy on a screen of any sort.
* Getting along takes time and effort, both of which are underrated in today's family life.
* No screen reads a book to a child quite like mom or dad.
* "Interactive" technology is no substitute for real interaction.
* What is lost in relationships can always be found if one is willing to wade through the discomfort and awkwardness without seeking the soothing comfort of coping mechanisms such as: tv, smart phones, computers, iAnythings, and busyness of mundane chores that really can wait.
* And much, much more.

In this "connected" world we live in we are often not connected with the right things. Being truly connected with our children takes time. Being plugged in is a supreme time sucker. It takes careful management to use technology and screens appropriately.

You never know when those precious moments are going to come that a child speaks to you about something that will influence their entire life. I have missed and brushed off many such moments because I was "busy doing important computer work." Intuition is best found when interference is at bay. There is much interference in today's "connected" world.

I didn't realize how much my lack of desire to play a game or read a book at a child's request was tied to my being elsewhere even though physically present. I thought I was just doing so much of it already that I needed a break, and that I had so many important things to tend to.

Is there really a limit to the good we can offer our children? Can there ever really be enough songs, books, and games? What is so important that it would take priority over my living breathing children? My desires have changed as well as my definition of "important things".

This here manager has unplugged and seen the light. Children need much less management when parents are present; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Managerial skills are best used to free up time for real life and interaction. Perfectly behaved robots that need you only when convenient or scheduled don't exist, but children are perfectly happy to be zombified by a screen when parents aren't willing to do the work and manage their time wisely.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Power of Friendship

A friend recently inquired of me, "How do you do 5 kids, one with special needs?!"

The answer is simple; friends, real friends.

Take last night for instance. Our youngest is sick with a nasty cold and wheezy cough and on top of that his disease flares up whenever it wants to. It chose last night.

As I am cleaning up throw up and preparing for who knows what over the next who knows how long, I remember; the older 4 children have a 3 hour science class about 20 minutes from our home this morning, hubby is gone, and the van tire is flat. I can't possibly do it. There is simply no way.

Late last evening I sent an e-mail out and within moments received a "Sure, what time shall I be at your house?" reply to my desperate request for help to get the children where they needed to be. She came out of her way, started her day considerably earlier and took my children along with her 3 to their classes.

Many such friends have helped me out tremendously over the past few years. There have been none so great as a select few, that for the past two years have literally kept things running for my older four while I tend to the special needs baby, now toddler.

True friends are hard to come by. I am so thankful to be blessed with enough. They are a powerful force in my life and I couldn't do what I do without them!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love Language and the Circus Clown

If you've heard of love languages, you are quite likely in the same boat as I am; adrift. The practical application, especially with multiple people to love correctly, is abstract. Sure there are plenty of ideas on how to do it perfectly well. I don't live in a perfect world.

I live in a world where the very things my children are "needing" to feel loved are often the opposite of what I have to offer in a given moment. For instance:

1) The child that needs to be listened to; 24/7. I don't have 24/7. Do I have more time than currently offered, probably. Does it ever seem to be enough, no.

2) The child that wants to throw sand, mulch, pies, you name it, in my face and have the loving gesture returned. I don't ever like anything thrown in my face.

3) The child that wants to play the invented game for hours on end. I don't have hours on end. Should I? What I do have, isn't ever enough.

You get the point.

I am working on it, I am. But I most often feel like a circus clown; running around trying to please everyone while there is a fire under my feet, water about to dump from a bucket somehow suspended in mid-air always positioned perfectly above my head, and a series of hoops primed with petroleum jelly just waiting for me to jump through. No wonder I have plenty to repent for at the end of each day.

I can think of One who loved perfectly. It seems the formula might just be; be my best self, look for the good in others, genuinely encourage and praise that best part, be responsible and hold to simple truths, and make sure there is time to talk things out rather than hurriedly discipline in order to get on with life.

One thing I have implemented and is working nicely is an hour for each child each week. Depending on the child we may: color while chatting, walk and talk, visit the pet store, have a tea party, play a game, whatever the child wants to do. It's not my time, it's theirs and they get to use it. Their love meter gets pumped up and I get patience and understanding from them when I can't fill the need exactly as they wish exactly when they want.

Life is discipline. Clowns have a tough job. Lots of people make lots of money on self help books. Overload comes in many forms. There is usually one source, whatever you may call it, that centers and grounds. The best is already in each of us.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Perfectly Absurd, or not ...

Around here we start our day with devotional. Its a brief few moments where we can come together and get our bearings before the day rushes in. We love it. The grounding effect it has is crucial to things going as planned. Now that was funny; going as planned.

Yes, in a perfect world our days go as planned. In our world they go as they go. Devotional does ground us and keep us from getting too far off the path. We even have a catchy little jingle to call everyone together. Our 2 year old loves to sing it with me and then dash to the closet to get the hymn books.

We sing a hymn, read a daily scripture, discuss the day's business, have family prayer, and then we're off!

Today looked something like this:

* Children fighting
* Children still in pajamas
* Children fighting
* Wardrobe malfunctions of dramatic proportions that prohibit sane behavior
* Children still fighting
* Mother that wonders if she is still sleeping and having a nightmare
* Children still fighting; bloodshed imminent

I finally gave up trying to micromanage (it never works btw), sang the jingle, and proceeded with the 2 year old. Today's scripture; Psalm 127:3-5

"Lo, Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. "

As I sat listening to the fighting and chaos, I thought, "My quiver runneth over!" And then I saw that there was nothing absurd about the circumstances I found myself in. No, in fact, it was perfect. A perfect reminder to cherish.  

Soon there were beautiful choruses of, "sorry mom" and dressed and happy children ready to participate in our day of learning, study, and growth. Perfectly absurd.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Strong Enough

Grandma graciously gave us some bulbs last fall and we have been anxious to see if they will grow. As spring slowly starts to show its marvelously hope filled head around hear, we are seeing signs that our efforts of digging and planting and hoping are not in vain.

Yesterday my daughter and I were excitedly noticing some little tiny purplish points poking out of the ground. These were part of a new crop that we had forgotten about on a different side of the house than the rest. It was thrilling to discover what was already there. In her exuberance she started pulling back dirt and digging around to see more of the plant coming up and help it grow.

Have you ever made efforts to change and grow as a person only to forget where you planted those efforts. I have. When I find them I am usually in much too much of a hurry to bring them out and show them off. Problem is most of the time they aren't ready for flaunting. I get damaged in the process because I feel failure instead of progress.

I am not suggesting that we don't take our newfound qualities and attributes out for a spin. Or hide them under a bushel. Maybe just that some things are better left protected for a while. Left under that ground just enough to be nourished and grow even stronger and then push up out into the light.

Notice I didn't say fully developed, just strong enough. There are little purplish points in all of us, just under the surface. We can always get better and improve upon what we are. We just need to be kind and nurturing to ourselves before we expose ourselves to the sometimes harsh conditions of this world.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flying High and Going Nowhere

I saw this bird the other day. It was going nowhere but flapping its wings so fast I half expected it to jump into cartoon mode and zip into another galaxy (we get serious wind round these here parts often). That's when it hit me.

Sometimes we aren't supposed to be going anywhere at all. Sometimes it really is about flapping your wings as hard as you can to make the best of the moment you are in.

Maybe even most times.

I am not opposed to goals and dreams. I have noticed that balance between those things and reality is foremost in my pursuit of happiness.

I flap my wings pretty hard most days. I am going nowhere fast and there's not much I can do about it. I sure am finding the wind whipping through my wings quite enjoyable. As long as I choose to feel it  that is.

Guess what the best part is. As long as you are flapping, you actually do get somewhere, as soon as the wind dies down. Even if it is just a few feet forward, or a couple inches for that matter.

Forward progress is often made while you are going nowhere, really fast. Perspective is everything.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rushing River of Change

We have a river in our back yard. It wasn't there before the spring thaw. The change has been most wonderful for the children. In their exuberant exploration they have enlisted the help of the canoe and been to new lands, discovered many wonders of nature and laws of physics, and they have grown.

I don't like the river. Its muddy and messy. Its full of grass clippings and burrs, and living organisms. Its wet and I only have one vent with which to dry boots. Did I mention its wet? Snow pants are a very poor substitute for waders. We don't own waders. I am resistant to change.

I can't ever recall a time when I leapt with joy at the sound of the faint rumblings of change on the horizon. I have always been able to feel it coming. Perhaps it is a blessing to allow me to prepare for the coming discomfort and resistance. Perhaps it is karma coming to call. Perhaps it is life offering me an opportunity. A possibility of better things, however far off in the distance they may be.

When you stretch a rubber band wide enough and long enough, it does increase in size, ever so slightly. It seems that this is the way of change and growth most often. The horrific trial that brings your world tumbling down, only to return almost back to what you were after the dust settles. The ebb and flow of life and stretching does bring us closer to the best end result, but it takes a while. Most often a long while.

The rushing river is magnificent and deceiving in its instant transformation of landscape and life.

I don't like change, but as I grow in spirit and maturity I am learning to approach it differently and allow the stretching. Oh, but I do long for the days of almost back to normal predictability and comfort. I suppose one does not grow that way.

For now, I dry the boots, and snow pants, coats, gloves, hats, and noses. I make warm soup and listen to tales of wonder. For now, I watch and hopefully I learn.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Murphy's Law

Murphy, Murphy, Murphy; why oh why must you be so right.

We live for tax return season. Hubby gets them done as soon as the W-2 is available and we have it earmarked months ahead. We used to be able to do fun things with it, not so much for the past few years. Murphy has been with us for a long, long time now.

This year Murphy has been especially good to us. So good in fact that we finally made up a room for him in order to serve him night and day. There is no choice really. You see, the more you fight this guy, the more power he has over you.

The day after we decided to get a new mattress, after 10 years of sleeping on squeaky brick dude, our washer broke. Yes, I did say washer. Later the same day our vacuum broke. Can you even imagine what life with 5 children is like without a vacuum? STOP! It'll give you nightmares. Did I mention that the microwave had already been down for the count for 2 months. Living without that blessed appliance was a challenge to say the least. Please don't try any of this at home.

As a parent you make choices; bread and milk or a new microwave, underwear and highly beneficial classes or a new microwave. You choose in the moment and then you go crazy when it takes 30-40 minutes to warm up leftovers for lunch and you have starving children at your feet. You pull your hair out when it takes you several hours at the laundromat every couple of days to launder clothing for your family. You begin to believe that things can't really get much worse.

And then you go shopping with your new best friend Mr. Tax Return. Take that Murphy!

The vacuum is duct taped and limping along. The new microwave is busy always. The washer and dryer are beloved. The new mattress is heavenly. I guess the debt will just have to continue sucking our souls until the money tree in the back yard starts producing fruit.

As far as Murphy goes; your bags are packed mister, don't let the door hit you on the way out. It's time for a big time out for you buster! I hope he listens.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Below The Surface

On the surface we are pristine and beautiful. On the surface we chat and laugh and share insignificant details and frustrations. We might even be so lucky as to find like minded individuals that we have occasion to dip a bit below the water spiders with. But then we make ripples in the network. Networks don't like ripples so much, and they detest waves.

Networks: school,work, church, neighborhoods, etc., are great for some light social interaction. A place to feel comfortable and like you belong, until your life starts to look a bit different from the acceptable surface, and then things get interesting. Networks ask us to provide a narrow piece of ourselves and suppress the rest. The network will deliver efficiency in some limited aim. This fragmentation creates diminished humanity.

I get judged, a lot, since the birth of my 5th child. His disease has changed my ability to be what others want from me on the surface. I can't split myself apart well enough to achieve network greatness while remaining whole for myself and family. It's painful to recognize how shallow one's associations sometimes are within the context of a network. Even more painful is the realization that what you thought was a community is really a network. A fabulous network, but a network nonetheless.

Even families fall prey to network superficiality and forgo the true community aspect intended to strengthen and build up the individual. "Good fences make good neighbors" Mending Wall byRobert Frost. It is okay to create a sanctuary wherein we can thrive.

Communities on the other hand are collections of souls who find significant meaning in their associations. They offer opportunity for true growth and development of the whole person. Highest quality of life is promoted through engagement and participation over time and in all human variety, the good the bad and the ugly.

Society is lacking in true community these days. We run around joining groups and social networks hoping to fill a void. Strange isn't it that the void just keeps getting bigger and the problems grow from slight crevasses to chasms, seemingly overnight.

My husband was present for a discussion recently that went like so, Question: "How can we determine each other's spiritual needs?" Answer: "We don't have friends anymore. We don't know each other anymore." A bit later a younger gentleman chimed in telling frustrated tales of he and his wife trying to get to know neighbors and make friends in their new environment. His summation was: "We don't have friends, we have FaceBook! We don't have neighbors, it's awkward."

I get teased for my long voicemail messages and "too personal" and detailed e-mails, blog posts, and conversations. I am desperate for community and I seek it everywhere. Some take the bait and join me in my community of depth. Thank you :)

Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto

Friday, April 5, 2013

Its All Your Fault

Parents are to blame for everything. I mean everything. There is no hope.

Do you feel like that sometimes? I feel it more often than not. It's a personal challenge to allow my children their own "issues". I am learning it is paramount to their existence that I do not accept the blame. I am excellent at accepting the blame. Blast!

Here is what is working for me; loving them. Seems easy right. I would venture to say that we all think we love our children unconditionally but there are spots, sometimes giant holes, in our ability to do so. Generally those spots have everything to do with us feeling glaring eyeballs from society screaming at us that we must have messed up for them to do that, or, for them not to do this.

Case in point. A big event played up for months. So and so has a royal melt down complete with physical infractions on another's personal space. So and so must stay home. There will not be another "event" such as this in the child's life. It is devastating for parent and child. Although said child sees it as cruel and unusual punishment. Parent struggles and attempts to justify and save child from self because it must somehow be my (woops!) the parent's fault. Ultimately, the responsible things to do is keep the child home.

Upon arrival to big event, "Where is so and so." Speculation abounds when the simple answer, "You can ask him/her if you'd like." Does not suffice. "Are they sick?" "Did they get in trouble?" "What did they do?" Huge amounts of pressure on siblings and parents to explain or justify something that is not theirs to justify.

Maybe you have never dealt with something of this nature. I talk to a lot of people that have. I am one of them. It is difficult for me to love said child when screaming eyeballs and probing questions laden with ulterior motives are worming their way into my psyche.

I have learned that the responsible choice is always the loving choice. I am working really hard at being responsible over being liked and understood by those in my networks.

We live in a society that is steeped in abusive cycles. I am not saying we all run around punching our children. There are forms of abuse, hidden within this lovely word dysfunction, that seriously hinder our ability to love, and their ability to learn to function in healthy and appropriate ways. We have become so desensitized that behaviors are tolerated, medicated, explained away, and simply ignored as normal.

There is hope and it is as simple as unconditional love. Separating love and trust is easier than I thought, and has done wonders for my relationships. Read this book, it will change your life; How To Hug A Porcupine, John C. Lund.

In a way, it is all my fault, but I can do something about me and hopefully inspire others to do something about them. But again, changing others is really not the point.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting Ahead

How far behind do we set our children when we strive, with fervor, to get them ahead in life?

Do children really need to play instruments from the time they can walk? Do they need "educational programs" to prepare them for the rigors of Kindergarten? Do they need Kindergarten? Do they need to start their professional sports careers in cutthroat athletic programs? Do they need to dance and sing and make it big at 5 or 8 or 12?

OR do we need pictures for the relatives, and bragging rights, and validation?

I find it valuable to consider the motivation before assuming societal norms are best. It is easy to choose things for our children because it reflects well on us. That's a mighty big mountain to place in the paths of our children.

A society of overachievers looks fabulous on the surface. What's below that surface is alarming.

We push insignificant things on them earlier and earlier. We test them before they have the self confidence to choose learning rather than memorizing to please. We stuff their mind's with images they can't possibly process and then wonder why core values and principles seem to be lacking. We create a mini-me, rather than nurturing individuals.

We "get them ahead" and leave them far behind. They are without essential life skills and values paramount to the pursuance of their own happiness. Their own goals and dreams are lost somewhere in the thick fog of societal, familial, and peer pressures. Worse yet, they don't even know what goals and dreams are; there is no space or time for them to formulate any of that. We do it for them. Just ask school and Google.

We are obsessed with "information". We tweet on twitter, we attempt to validate our lives on Facebook, we blog perfection, we watch YouTube and hold it as a mark of success. We always think we know everybody else's business. We are obsessed with empty "achievement" that brings outward recognition and no inner satisfaction. True success has been hijacked and we now have "in your face awesomeness" running rampant. Abiding satisfaction is lost somewhere between entertainment and meaningless awards.

Children need to play and discover. They need to be exposed to many wonderful and wholesome things so they can be in awe and wonder. They need time. They can survive without "screens" (and so can we). They can learn and grow and be very, very happy. They can thrive. A pleasing and simple childhood can offer a lifetime of stability, come what may.

There is a lot of come what may these days. Do you wish you would have had more demands on your time as a child, or less? Do you wish your family would have spent less time enjoying one another and developing lasting and healthy relationships, or more?

We are not getting anyone ahead. Despite what their "test scores" and "achievements" might say.

Some Excellent Reading:
A Call to Brilliance, Resa Steindel Brown
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto
Deconstructing Penguins, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
How to Hug a Porcupine, John C. Lund
Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, Oliver and Rachel DeMille

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diapers and Golden Calves

There is only one great tragedy in a mothers life. To run out of diapers. Let's discuss possible substitutes: paper towels, towels, lots and lots of big brother underwear, commando, prayer. Yeah, I'm not so hip on any of the aforementioned items.

A mad dash to the store is the only choice here *. Good thing it's not quite Armageddon and the shelves are still stocked. A mad dash it was. A quick diaper run. Nothing so difficult about that eh? Not so fast.

Upon entering the store, and I mean smack you in the face at the entrance, couldn't avoid the thing, I was quickly overtaken by this TV that was at least the size of Texas and possibly Alaska. Does anyone that shops at the stores I shop at even have a wall big enough for that monstrosity anyway?! No matter, it was the TV to beat all TVs.

So I worshipped. I got sucked in and found myself needing the fool thing. How is that possible? Hypnotic and cunning its power was alarming. Disturbingly, the alarm only came after I managed to escape from its grasp. Lucky me, I did escape.

In a world inundated with the next best thing, and all the technological toys a person could ever desire, maybe we should dig up some dirt, and plant some seeds, and take a walk, and see what's real. Maybe we could choose to live beyond the screen rather than to the screen. 

The Golden Calf was a welcome gesture towards fun and entertainment without consequence. Its hypnotic powers promised safety regardless of behavior. Masterfully deceptive are the golden calves of our day.

* I am not an equal opportunity diaperist. Cloth diapers were not mentioned for a reason. I nannied with them and never jumped on that bandwagon as a mother. However, I have nothing against them and shout hurrah to those more environmentally diligent than I. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Super Mom

Sometimes I want to scream, really, really loud, "I AM NOT SUPERMOM!" Whew that felt great.

I don't believe there is such a thing. Furthermore, I think it inhibits the accused supermom in her ability to be real and ask for help when needed. It discourages honesty and meaningful friendships because one has an image to uphold rather than a friend to rely on.

To inflict a label on someone is rarely edifying. Placing another on a pedestal discourages self appreciation and encourages depression when such abstract ideals cannot be met or "showed forth".

Here's a thought;  pay a specific compliment if you feel so inclined, but leave the impossible out of it.

And for the record, I am not bitter, just absolutely not supermom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cultural Pressure

What do you do when you are part of a large group that says at a certain age your children are supposed to do certain things and there seems to be little acceptance/tolerance for variance?

What if the subgroup of which you belong does not have such a stellar "program" to "move on" to and you feel its not the best fit for your child?

What if you are weary due to growing pains, of this same nature, for the past few years and you feel done offering your child as a guinea pig?

What if?

There seems to be little room (if any) for individuality within the confines of group culture. I am not finding it simple to encourage authenticity and individuality with the ever looming shoulds, peer pressure, and accusations of passing judgement on others, because something might not be a fit, at the current time, for my child.

I don't want to upset friends. I don't want to be seen as the incessant squeaky wheel. I don't want to offend anyone or claim to be making a declaration for the entire group. I do want to do what is best for my child.

He sees incongruence between what the program and its leaders profess it to be and what it actually is. The current program is devoid of all but entertainment. The world runs amok with entertainment. He is looking for substance and meaning in everything around him.

There is also concern that another endeavor, more worthy of his time, and individually, as well as socially, satisfying, will be slighted due to time commitment and conflicting schedules. The more he is desensitized by wasting his time being entertained, the more he begins to feel as though what he desires is unattainable. Mediocrity is popular and the comfort of it can be addictive. Not a message I want to perpetuate in my children's lives.

I suppose the more important question is; when and how, as a mother, do I separate myself from my own insecurities long enough to make a decision best for my child. A decision that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with encouraging him on a path that is best for him.

I am having a difficult time navigating the waters of social non-acceptance in relation to motherhood. I am at a loss as to how to encourage individuality within this particular group.

I've got nothin'.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Be a Good Mother

What is that anyway?!

A wise woman once told me, "If I can live so my daughter's highest aspiration is to be a mother, then I have done my job well." Amen. Here's the best part. Every mother gets to determine what that means; all by herself.

What happened that we are so eager to tell everyone else what it means to be a mother. And worse, what it means to be a "good" mother. It even seems at times that the eagerness has escalated into a rite of passage required for womanhood. Of course this applies to all women, not just mothers, but I am a mother and that is the perspective from which I live and write.

Tis a sad day when feminism declares war within and refuses to be compassionate enough for all women's voices. We should be able to share what matters to us without hearing about how insignificant we are as part of a group or how menial our life's work is thought to be.

How about we all get down from our perches, stop yelling our declarations and passing judgement on each other, and simply be the best we can be. It's going to look different for every single one of us. Be honest with yourself. Define your life's mission by yourself, with nary a thought or slightest concern for what your bff, or anyone else, is doing or saying. No matter how loud they are. 

Validation isn't all it is cracked up to be. Unless of course you are talking about self validation powered by a source that is higher than any pedestal one may be perched upon with their bullhorn.

Be yourself. Be your best self. Inspire those around you with that simple quiet message; it is much louder than you think.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Dawn of Positivity

It's just under the surface you know. Waiting for you to bring it into being. You can't see it. You can't touch it. But you can access it. You can.

As I was sitting with my special needs toddler in the early hours of the morning, I saw the sunrise. We have had a long road with him, much longer than expected or has ever been documented for his particular disease. We have been awaiting the miracle. I have seen thousands of sunrises, but my heart was troubled and the Lord opened a window for me.

Guess what happens while we are waiting? We miss things. The glimpses, the progress, the billion micro-miracles that precede the crown jewel, the shinning moment of sunshine illuminating our whole world.  My friends, that is life. Life is the glimpses, the progress, the billion micro-miracles. Each and every little click is what makes the shinning moments feel so wonderful. It is easy to take the brightness of day for granted. Seeing the sunrise opened my eyes to the beauty of the process.

Have you ever savored a sunrise? Have you noticed that you are surrounded by darkness and slowly the hue changes from pitch-dark to hazy gray. Then, when you least expect it, out pops this sliver of amazing brightness and color. But it is only a sliver, a tiny little peek at what is coming. Amazing Grace.

With each new pop and sliver of color and light comes an acute awareness that hope is here and good things are coming. That awareness feels good. It awakens our soul and, if acknowledged, can set the tone for our day, our life. Our thoughts can cause a conscious acknowledgement of the glimpses of hope that are present in each and every life. That awareness brings the dawn of positivity to the forefront of our consciousness and encourages us to continue on its path. Amazing Grace.

The hours of darkness that block out the sun can be overcome. The slow haze of gray awaits. The splash of color to follow is not so much a splash, but a gradual unveiling of careful brushstrokes on the masterpiece. The sun does indeed come and there is so much beauty to drink in before illumination.

Seek the sliver of color and light. Acknowledge the glimmer of hope. Before you know it your sky will be filled with more light than you knew possible.

Behold ...

The Positivity that is in You.

Monday, February 25, 2013



Are you into complicating things? I seem to be. The more I open my heart and recognize that it is truly the simple things that make life wonderful, the happier I am. SMILE. Life is good.