Marriage

Marriage help

Boundaries Baby

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I have lately observed kids whose parents are victimized by them; worried that their child is mad at them, anxious that the child is uncomfortable or taxed in some way, and excusing bad behavior on account of it.  And I have seen those children crippled by their own power over the people who are trying to shield them from difficulty.  Crippled by it because they can wield it to get out of having to face their fears; because they don’t have to stand accountable for being snotty (that is still the best word I know for it!) to those they should respect.

But how can they respect those they can control?

We’ll be discussing boundaries for the next while, because we all need to get better at them don’t you agree?

Our guiding words are: kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM. The soft ones don’t get it done without the tough one, and being only FIRM doesn’t work without the balancing virtues either. So, in theory, these words sound good and right don’t they?  But really, how do you make your voice FIRM and gentle at the same time? This is a skill that requires a great amount of effort and self-awareness.

Do you know when you are being too gentle and not FIRM enough?

Do you hear it when you are being too tough and have crossed the line away from speaking and acting with respect?

I had a client that said, once you can incorporate these concepts and skills, you could be considered a Jedi master! And I agree!

I challenge you to listen to your own voice over the next 24 hours.  How do you sound? How does your family perceive you?  Do people take advantage of you (to their own detriment, if it happens to be your child) or do you bulldoze over others and lack kindness? Write out your thoughts for a greater level of self-awareness!

We’re going to explore the ways we can behave responsibly using all four of these guiding words together to find peace and interdependence in our family relationships.

Answering these questions and observing yourself is a great place to start.

My love and blessings to you!

Jacque

P.S. If you’d like “the textbook” to follow along, get the book, I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better, by Gary and Joy Lundberg. Don’t let the simplicity of this text fool you, it is brilliant and life-changing! Borrow it if you must, but buy it if you possibly can! It is written in plain language a child can understand, yet rich with meaning and depth. In my opinion, it is a must read for any family who wants to thrive!

Lavender Blue

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Do you want to create beautiful spaces that ring with order?

Of course we all understand, or at least are trying to understand, that order is coming and going every moment of every day. And surely, there is a large difference between chaos that is deep and wide and that temporary disorder that is a necessary part of creating, cooking, cleaning, crafting or the like.

Whatever your current state is now, I’d encourage you to work on your personal boundaries along with the cleaning and sorting and scrubbing.

Your boundaries will help your family to know what is permissible and what isn’t. Like is it ok to empty the toy closet onto the family room floor while playing with friends, and then leave the mess and go to the friend’s house to play? Maybe the boundary is getting out one toy at a time so that the chaos doesn’t get to the point of becoming overwhelming to put away.

Or, would it be alright to have a water fight in the house? Maybe, if the whole family gets to join in the fight and then also the work of cleaning up!

How about kids cooking in the kitchen?  What are the boundaries there? Or making things with paper or building things with legos or doing laundry or bathing the dog or a million other activities that happen in a busy home!

It is my thinking, that you get to decide what the borders and edges look like and what you can expect from everyone living under your roof. And it makes for clarity and comfort and security when everyone knows what the boundaries are.

So, put your pencil to work and jot out a few lines of how you would like things to go, and then share your ideas with your spouse. See if your thoughts make sense to him and if you can both agree on parameters that you can then set out to your kids.

The ultimate rule of boundary setting is this:

You will act with kindness, respect, gentleness all while being firm in your decisions.

It’s your home.  It’s your choice.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

I believe that children thrive on order and cleanliness, so when you get an area in order, you can let your family know that you will expect their help and efforts to keep the order you have achieved. Spell it out on a piece of paper or a chart so that everyone knows clearly and simply how to fulfill your wishes. But, careful to be kind.  Treat them with respect. Be gentle and yet let them know that you are firm in your request.

Creating and keeping order in a family system cannot be accomplished by one person!  So it demands that we work on our communication skills, our personal boundaries and our our own confidence!

If it were just about getting busy and rolling up our sleeves and cleaning out closets and drawers, we’d have it made! But it’s not really about that at all, is it?

What ways do you need to step up in your ability to lead? What skills do you need to work on to find greater cooperation from your family members? Though it may now simply feel like pain and frustration to get where you want to go, maybe the truth is that we have a great opportunity to teach and to be tutored by the people we love most.

May your efforts be blessed and multiplied!

Love,

Jacque

 

 

 

 

 

“Slow To Anger Is Better Than The Mighty”

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Today is one of those days that I have so much to say that I don’t know where to begin, and I wonder what kind of time it will take to make a stab at verbalizing all that is going on in my head!

Maybe a good starting point is the word, anger.

And a question: what triggers you to anger and what do you do about it when you realize you are experiencing anger, or when you are trying to do something with it other than feel it and deal with it?

I’ve been studying several subjects together, because they fit so well in broadening my understanding of each other, as complimenting variations of the same theme. A Christian view of emotions, particularly, the emotion of anger, back pain and the subconscious components of pain; codependency and principles of addiction recovery.

I am amazed how interlaced these topics are and how they support one another in helping me to understand myself, my weaknesses and my strengths, my goals and my ultimate aspirations.

But back to the question, what do we do with anger?  For today I’ll tell you what I have been thinking and reading about emotions as far as faith goes. First, I realize that I have had it in my mind that it is unholy to feel angry.  And yet I have been angry on many occasions and have felt quite justified in responding to a perceived injustice, and haven’t felt unholy, but moved to clear, and most often, decisive action that has been productive. Of course that hasn’t always been the case!  There have also been times when I have acted rashly and presumptuously and have regretted my thinking errors and the behavior that followed, for which I have had to apologize and repent! So I have been looking at the words of Christ through the lens of that belief I have had, that we shouldn’t be angry.  And this is what I find:

That it is wrong for parents to provoke their children to anger.  That the humble and charitable are slow to anger, and are difficult to offend.  That contention is evil and that the evil one stirs people to greater contention and anger. That we are commanded to put bitterness and anger away from us.  And we are warned that anger can be a sign that we are acting pridefully when someone speaks truth to us by way of correction when we have been in error.

 

What I see is that there is a difference between feeling anger and being angry, or maintaining anger as a state of being. Holy writ, as I perceive it, acknowledges that while there are things in this life that will be hurtful or threatening to us, and though we may respond with hurt or anger, it teaches that we must strive to move forward as quickly as we can by acknowledging our responsibility in our choices and by forgiving ourselves and others constantly and consistently.

More tomorrow…in the mean time I welcome your constructive comments!

Love,

Jacque

Clear It

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We got to visit an old pioneer home today.

It was built in the West, to be a fort of protection for white settlers from Indians in the late 1800’s. It was, in a sense, a simple time to live.

We women listened to our guide tell us that the dozen, five pound bread pans were used every day to bake bread for all of the travelers that would pass through on the stage coach.  We heard about the 11 year old girl who was in charge of the milk from 30 cows every day, churning butter and helping in the kitchen and the laundry.

Then there were the gardens! We saw pictures of the little boys and girls playing marble games and looking through spy glasses to see the visitors as they were afar off.
I’ve been thinking of all of the tasks and stresses of our day and how they differ from this representation of this earlier age.

Seems that in many ways we would be better off if we were eating more like they did!  Food from their gardens and milk from the cow in the barn.  Seems that they had a lot of together time, working and learning and playing together day in and day out.

That said, being under the gun to cook for 30-40 guests every day does not float my boat at all!  {I’ve been making bread all summer for just three people and it has been enough to keep me busy along with the usual cooking.}

While I am extremely grateful for my mixer and electric oven, I feel inspired by what I have seen today as far as letting go of the “fluff” and “stuff” that takes my time to care for and keep track of.  Less, so often, truly is more!

As you inventory your home and schedule, what things and activities are you identifying as non-essential that might be best discarded so as to free up your time and space?

I hope you’re feeling freer and clearer!

Love,

Jacque

Emotions & Stuff

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In the “lightening our load” process we inevitably find that we have emotions that are attached to our stuff.  You agree?

I just want to give a short bit of inspiration on this point.

I heard this today, but I don’t know who was quoting whom, so I’ll add to the confusion and quote it too.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Could it be that when we look at things with an eye of gratitude and awareness for what that “thing” represents, that we can then let it go either: to free us up for the future; to bless someone else; to act as a touchstone that says we are ready to move on; or simply to acknowledge that time passes and we must make decisions and move on.

Other thoughts for letting go:

Can you take a picture of something that is sentimental and hold it in your memory that way, instead of keeping the “thing”?

Can you gift it to someone who could use it telling them how much it has meant to you and that you give a bit of your heart with it to them?

Can you replace something that is no longer useful to you, but sentimental, with something that IS useful but still represents the meaningful thing?

I think you are doing extremely well!  Don’t quit, keep going!

Love,

Jacque

Picture: It’s an old vase that was an old gift, now gone to hopefully brighten someone’s birthday.

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