Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's Up To Me

This life is the only one
You are given.
Look for opportunities to grow,
And never be discouraged
In your efforts to do so.
Replace your weaknesses
With positives:
Take life's broken pieces
And re-create your dreams.
Never measure the future
by the past;
Let yesterday become a memory
And tomorrow a promise.
Begin each day by focusing
On all that is good,
And you'll be in a position
To handle whatever comes along.
Take responsibility for your actions;
Never make excuses
For not being the best you can be.
If you should slip,
Be comforted by the thought
That we all do at times.
Determine your tomorrow
By the choices you make today,
And you'll find yourself living
In joy and triumph.
-Linda E. Knight


It's up to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Got This

My kids are all starting another school year.  They are excited.  All three kids are in brand new schools.  They will adjust.  The boys are already doing great.  Grace will do AWESOME in Jr. High.  But, Grace admitted to me that she is nervous.  "It's new, Mom.  What if I get lost?  What if I can't get my locker open?  What if I don't know anyone?  What if the kids don't like me?  Do you know how I feel, Mom?"  Yes, honey, I know those fears.  I reassured her, hugged her and told her that she is strong enough to handle anything.   And I reminded her that Daddy and I are always there to support her and help her tackle anything that comes her way. She walked away, with a new sense of confidence.

After she walked away, I sat there, thinking about the advice I had given my daughter.  Did I really believe what I said to her?  I have had the very same fears and asked the same questions, even today."It's new.  What if they don't like me?  What if I do fail?  What if I do it all wrong?" See, I'm learning that I have options when faced with these thoughts.  I can either, let them overwhelm me, or I can say "Thank you for sharing but be quiet.  I got this."  And lately, I have been choosing the second option.  I replace that negative talk with positive, encouraging talk.  I tell that mean, inner voice "Stop being mean to my friend, and I got this."   And do you know what happens every time I do this, I gain a little bit more confidence.  I feel a little better about myself.  And I get stronger.  And I feel wonderful about myself.

Don't get me wrong.  I still struggle daily with this but it's getting easier.  Because, "I got this."


Back To School

It's Back to School time!! I am getting ready to send my baby girl to 6th grade tomorrow!  Holy crap.  When did that happen?  She used to be this little...

Now, she is in 6th grade.  Oh my goodness....where has time gone?

My boys started school last week.  Yikes!!!  :-)  Anyway, with all this back to school talk going on, I wanted to share with you some helpful hints that have helped the mornings go so much smoother, along with teaching our kids to be independent.  

1.  Prepare everything the night before.  Including lunches, clothes, backpacks, coffee (for the parents...or kids....whatever floats your boat!)
2.  Set out all the breakfast stuff on the kitchen table: cereal, spoons, cups.  Pour a small amount of milk into a couple of water bottles.  Put these in the fridge, where the kids can reach them.  
3.  Line up backpacks and shoes in a handy location by the door.
4.  And the best thing that we have started this year is..........preparing a weeks worth of clothes every Sunday night.  What?!  How does that work?  Well, this was my husband, John, genius idea.  First, with the help of the boys, I set up 6 outfits for each of the kids.  That includes socks and underwear.

Then, I put them in plastic grocery bags.  Each boy has a different colored bag. :-)  

Each child's clothes are then put into a drawer.  Now, they are set for the WHOLE week!!!! 

Here's the morning routine:  Get up, get dressed, go potty, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on shoes, and sit on couch for a well earned TV show.  We practiced the morning school routine a couple of times and the boys now have it down!!!  It works great for our family and it has taught our boys independence!  

Back to school?  Bring it on!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...

  • Sunshine!  What wonderful weather we have been having!  I love this time of year.  It's almost fall.  I can't wait to curl up under a warm, fuzzy blanket, in my fuzzy socks and my hoodie and read a book.  Yay!
  • Mocha Coconut Frappuccino....need I say more?
  • Science Fiction.  Especially Dr. Who.  It would be awesome to travel time and space with The Doctor in the Tardis! And, yes, David Tennant is my favorite Doctor.  Yep.  I'm a geek.  
  • Music.  I just love music.  I love all kinds of music.  And I love cranking up the tunes, with the windows rolled down, while singing at the top of my lungs.   Yes, even in my minivan!
  • Singing and dancing.  Just put in ABBA and let the dancing begin!!! :-) 
  • Scrapbooking.  I really love to capture and preserve memories! Perhaps it's time to pick this back up again.
  • Baking.  Did you know I bake cakes, pies, and other various delicious treats?  And, I love doing this for my family and my friends.  I really should do this more!
  • Entertaining.  I love throwing parties!  Hanging out...talking, relaxing!  And having fun!!
  • Friends.  I seriously have the greatest friends ever.  They stick by me when times are good and when times are bad.  They speak truth in love to me, even if I don't always want to hear it.
  • My family.  I wouldn't be here without your support.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A New Day

It's a new day, full of new opportunities.  I intend to make the most of today!  
So, bring it!  I am ready! Every day is a chance to be made new!  


Friday, August 17, 2012

Caution: Raw Emotion

So, today hasn't been the best day for me.  See, I was expecting something to happen didn't.  And, these days, it doesn't take much for the negative thoughts to start racing in my head.   "You're not good enough."  "See, I told you that you couldn't do it."  "Why have goals when you aren't getting anywhere?"  "What's the point?  You are going to fail anyway."  "See, you are too messed up." 

Many days, I am able to silence those nasty, negative voices.  But today, I let them control me.  And, it got me nowhere.  Just more lonely, sad, and feeling sorry for myself.  I definitely did not take the role that I wanted to...

I really try every single moment of every single day to silence those voices.  But, unfortunately, they were too loud today.

Now at this point, I have a choice.  I can stay and wallow in self pity and keep beating myself up.

Or, I can do the brave thing...and pick myself up, seek help from my wonderful support team, and keep going...and realize that those voices are not speaking the truth.  And, I can try again tomorrow. 

It's my choice.


A Starfish Parable

A man went to the beach one day to take a walk.  When he arrived, he noticed the tide was unusually low and thousands of starfish were scattered over the beach exposed by the strange weather pattern.  The man looked out and saw a child amongst the sea of starfish, gathering them up and returning them into the ocean.  "What are you doing?" asked the man.  "Putting the starfish back in the ocean." the child replied.  "If I don't, they will die."  "But there are thousands of starfish beached out here and you're only one person.  You won't be able to save them all in time.  Your actions won't matter," stated the man.

The child responded, "It matters to the ones I save."

Just a thought...what I do matters to those around me.  So, how am I going to make a difference today?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Running Away?

My seven year old son, Jeff, decided the other day that he was going to run away from home.  You see, things weren't going the way he thought they should go.  He wasn't getting his way and people weren't responding the way that he wanted.  So, he came to me, and asked me to get him a suitcase.  So, I went and got him a backpack and I said that he could take anything he could carry.  He started putting things in the bag (Legos, shorts, stuffed animals, juice bags....you know....all the essentials!).  He gave me a kiss, told me that he loved me, and then walked down the street (while I was watching him the whole time).  After only a short time, he came running back and he threw his arms around me and gave me the biggest hug ever.    

 Do you ever feel like running away?  Today was a challenging day on many aspects...work, home, and relationships.  And honestly, it has left me feeling very emotionally and physically exhausted.  Days like this really make me want to run away from it all.

But, I didn't.  And that is a BIG change from the "old" me.

What did I do?  I pushed the limits and stepped outside of my comfort zone.  I faced the issues head on, deciding to play a different role and reached out for support. By facing issues head on, I am not allowing bitterness and resentment build up inside of me, which in turn would sabotage the kind of relationships I want to have with those around me.

And you know what?  I feel powerful and strong. 

And I like that feeling. 

So, I think it's time to put away my running shoes.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Choose...


Too often lately, I have been focusing on all the things that have gone wrong in my life....all the mistakes I have made...all the things that haven't gone the way that I wanted them to go....what I didn't have...what I have lost.  And, doing that has left me hopeless, lonely and caused me to push away and not embrace the plethora of love, support and the amazing things that I have in my life.  

So, today, I choose to focus on the positive.  

1.  I have a wonderful, loving husband who loves me in spite of my weakness.
2.  I have great, talented kids!
3.  My husband found a JOB!!!
4.  I have amazing, supportive parents and in laws.
5.  I have a wonderful support team, who is willing to tell me the truth,
     even if it's hard to   hear.

6.  I have a Savior who loves me unconditionally, and who died for me so that
     I can have hope.

Today, I choose joy.  I choose to focus on the blessings.  

What will you choose?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Take A Risk? Everyday?

As I was busy scrubbing the bathroom today (my least favorite chore, I might add), Lil' John came in and asked if he could to the neighbors house to see if Nick could play.  Of course, I said, "Yes, go ahead". He bounced out of the door, off to take his big risk of the day. (You see, my son, Lil' John has autism.  So, social interactions are difficult for him.) 

I continued cleaning but my mind was SPINNING!!!!  I was SO nervous for him.  Thoughts like, "Should I go with him?  Should I stop him?  What if Nick is mean to him?  What if Nick says no?  What will that do to my Lil' John?"
As I waited for the outcome, I started to realize that there was no fear in this for Lil' John.  He just wanted to play.  He was willing to take the risk, no matter what the outcome. 

I wonder if I am as BRAVE as my little boy....

There are SO many times that I have avoided risks, just because I was afraid of the outcome.  I was too consumed by my own fear.

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with some AMAZING, LOVING people who are helping me to realize that by taking risks every single day and not living my life in fear, I can become the person that I want to be.

And I want to be BRAVE, STRONG, and FEARLESS!!

My Lil' John taught me to be BRAVE today.  What happened with Lil John's risk?  He came back and said that Nick wasn't home but that he'd try again another time.  He wasn't upset.  He NEVER gives up. 

Way to go, Lil' Buddy.  I want to be just like you. :-)


Friday, August 10, 2012

What Kind of Eggs Do You Prefer?

It seems like such a simple question.  What kind of eggs do you prefer?  Poached, scrambled, over easy, omelet, hard boiled....You would think that this would be an easy question to answer.  However, it hasn't been easy for me.  You see, when I have been asked this question, I typically answer, "Whatever you like is fine."  As silly as it sounds, I didn't want to offend you by choosing the wrong type of egg.  I just wanted to conform to whatever you wanted.  Why?  Because I want you to like me.  I want to make you happy.  So, I was afraid to speak up and really share my preference.  But it's just eggs!!!  But it's not!  See, this has been true in my life, for more than just eggs.  Well, I think it's about time I find my voice and speak up!  It's only when I use my voice that I can truly shine.

Perhaps, in many cases, I don't even know what kind of eggs that I like.  Well, it's time to find out.  Not only about eggs....but today, I begin my journey to discover what I like and don't like, my favorite things...things that make me who I am.  

And I am going to share that journey with you.  So, welcome to "Learning To Shine".  Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but ALWAYS TRULY ME!!!  

And to begin, my favorite way to have eggs is over easy! :-)