Mothering

Inspiration on parenting

You Are Needed!!!

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I was reading a newspaper article today about drug addiction. The writer was highlighting a young mother who was getting her life back together after spending most of her 20’s with a serious drug addiction that started after a painful surgery.

He describes the place in a large city where hundreds of arrests have been made recently for the buying and selling of illegal substances. He quotes a police detective as saying, that the war on drugs is’t doing much for the underlying problems in our society that lead to chemical dependency. He goes on to write, “Jails, prisons and medications can only offer temporary fixes. The solution is so long, and so far-reaching, and so revealing about the limitations of our culture that it’s almost hard to believe.  You’ve got to teach people to love each other and be better to each other.  If a person feels connected and safe, they will behave beautifully.”

{I think that’s what the Lundberg’s have been saying for years in their book, I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, right?}

It’s what we’ve been talking about in Lioness! Validation is truly the anti-drug! But in order to offer validation to our families, we have to feel it ourselves!

Help! Our society is so mixed up as to what brings validation and happiness and fulfillment and contentment.

It isn’t stuff.

It isn’t a title.

It isn’t being signed-up for more lessons and clubs and groups.

For kids (and everyone else for that matter) it is belonging somewhere. It is being with those who care about them more than they care about life itself. It is in quiet moments when someone is really listening. When children feel that they are of worth, someone really cares and their feelings matter!

And where do those things happen best?

At home.

This means that home is the center of society and ideally, we moms are in the middle of home! And so it follows that we’ve got to get our head’s in the game and guard our thoughts, our time, our attention and our aspirations. If we want a culture that is moving toward positivity and hope, we have to do the ground work. We have to give kids a safe place to be. We have to be healthy in our minds so that we can be a safe place for them. 

No, we can’t create a social program that will give children what a family can give them. That’s what the family is for!

We can’t wave a wand and have the whole world turned into a safe place for our kids.

But by our efforts to bless and encourage the children in our homes or extended families or neighborhoods or cities, our efforts will ripple out and change the world for the better!

What small changes can be made to raise your personal level of health so that you can be most effective in your parenting? Or if you are an Aunt or an Uncle or a Sister, how can you make strides in your life that will help you to contribute positively to the children in your life? And then, how can you make yourself more accessible to the children you love?

I pray that we can see through the smoke and mirrors that are designed to make us feel discontented and or missing out or lacking in wealth or prestige or opportunity or whatever the case may be. In reality, our wealth lies in good health, in growing marriages, in raising or teaching children, learning and developing our skills and talents, in serving our fellowmen and in deepening and strengthening our ties to God. And more than anything else I know of, these aspirations require focus! And dedication! And strength! And endurance! And an abundance of love!

So just for clarity’s sake, if you’re looking out there for your life, you’ll be looking your whole life.

Turn around and look at the small, or not so small, people who are depending on you. The adventures you have with them will be the grandest memories you will ever have. Make this time count.

As I write the words, ‘turn around’, it reminds me of a song that my son sang with a group in high school. To me it was more a song about mentoring and loving a child than a romantic song. Here is a listen for you. {Sorry, apparently this picture isn’t of the guys who really sang this blast from the 60’s!}

Enjoy, and way to go! You’re doing so well! Keep going in your efforts to improve things in your health and at home!

Jacque

 

 

 

Speed of Life

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Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to live?

Ha! I know that sounds funny, but I was just having a conversation with myself about living at the speed of life, meaning, getting my mind to slow down so that I can take a minute to look through a cookbook or to write a note to a friend or to read a chapter in my book club book, or work on the little hand made Christmas gifts for my grandchildren- without feeling pushed to get on to the next thing!

And I am having this conversation because sometimes if feels that if I’m not running and doing “out there” then I’m not “getting things done!” Can you relate to this feeling?

When really, cooking takes time and shopping takes time and writing in a journal takes time and reading your religious text (books) takes time and pondering and meditating takes time and growing a garden takes time and cutting flowers takes time and going for a walk takes time and reading stories takes time and cleaning off the table takes time and sorting the mail takes time…..

Whatever tasks you may be doing today, I hope you can breathe and take the time to be present. Even if you’re doing the simple, living things that make a rich life for you and your family. {Which I might note, are not the things we see blasted at us through the media of our culture!}

Sometimes we have to consciously remind ourselves that building families and relationships takes even more than our time and energy; it requires our presence.

So when that hurry, hurry, hurry feeling grabs you, maybe you can smile, pat it on the head and tell it that you’re living at the speed of life and no faster.

Love you!

Jacque

P.S. And may I say that when I am not present while I’m working on the tasks of living, when I am doing something to cross if off a list, it turns out that I’m not really living at all! Where we are in our minds is where we are living. Can you read a book to a child and be a million miles away? Yes! But when you come to yourself, and think about and enjoy what you are doing and the person who is with you, everything is so much more full and rich and alive! We must be very cautious about keeping ourselves here and now, not allowing our minds to be one place and our bodies in another, thus separated from the present moment.

I challenge you to take a little data sampling of where you really are at different points in your day. If you’re spending a lot of time away from yourself, something needs to change!

Kind, Gentle, Respectful, Firm

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Part of self-care is taking care of yourself with other people.

Sometimes a gut-wrenching experience….for me, maybe it’s not for you.

When you are honest with yourself, do you see that you being treated poorly on a regular basis? Maybe not being treated with the respect you deserve?

Or do you quickly speak up to let others know how you expect to be treated?

Now, thinking back, can you say that when you are communicating these expectations that you are kind, gentle, respectful and firm?

It has been a long journey for me to get to where I know what my voice sounds like when I am using all of those attributes together.

Maybe you have practiced and have a solid grasp on the art of this, and if so, I’m glad! The world certainly needs, desperately needs, people who can work through differences with civility; who can cultivate a team mentality when working with complex issues and mulitple perspectives; who can lead with decisive action while keeping relationships strong and loving; who can set an example of offering clarity while showing extra love.

In my view, these abilities are the epitome of principle centered leadership, the attainment of which is a worthy, life-long pursuit.

Practice, practice, practice. Ask for forgiveness when we get it wrong. Move forward. Practice, practice, practice.

I wish you great success!

Love,

Jacque

P.S. There is no justification for yelling, threatening, name-calling, withholding love, hitting, belittling, or any other bad behavior.  These behaviors are simply a red flag flying to tell you that boundaries need to be set, or that a boundary has been crossed by one or both parties. Consider how you can correct that situation using kindness, respect, gentleness, all while being firm.

 

 

Alice Carol

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a great lady.

 

She was loved by many because she loved many. Funerals, which seem to show us the things that really matter when all is said and done, are so instructive to me, and Carol’s was no exception.

I took notes so that I could write all of the inspiration I received in my journal, and so that I could share it with you.

But first, an experience I had on Sunday.

I’ve been praying for opportunities to talk to women who are ahead of me in their parenting and grand parenting.  I want to learn what they know, to hear what they have discovered and how I can apply myself to learning how to create the experiences I want for our growing family.

I had such an opportunity when Julie and her husband knocked on our door Sunday afternoon! I hadn’t met her before, but after a few short minutes of visiting, while our husbands were busy in a conversation of their own, I asked her how she feels about being a grandma and how she does it. She told me about how she has grown and how her outlook has evolved; how she has come to find ways to keep her grandchildren close by inviting them to work with her or to spend time with her one on one.

The magnificent take-away for me was when she wisely said, “You just find ways to share you with them.”

That sentence has given me a week’s worth of thinking. How can I best share myself, my life, my interests with my grand children, while also finding joy in who they are, in their interests and talents?

Then on top of that food for thought, I got to attend the funeral of my dear friend, where I got to see exactly how she “shared herself” with her children and grand children! It served as a great illustration!

Her daughter spoke and gave many of her memories, along with memories from her siblings:

“She spent all of her time serving us. Mother was talented. The best time was walking in the door from school and smelling her bread baking. She had a green thumb. She loved her raspberry patches. She loved her flower gardens. She loved having a vase of fresh daffodils on the table. She always had music playing, and if there wasn’t music playing then she would whistle! If you had to get up and go somewhere you didn’t want to go, she’d serve you apple crisp and ice cream for breakfast! There was always a mystery drink in the fridge..what ever was left over mixed together, nothing was wasted. She was a hard worker. We always lived in a clean home. She made lists. She was organized. She made cookbooks for everybody. Genealogy books were done for children and grand children. She sewed my brothers up when they hurt themselves, numbing the spot with ice first. She chewed us out when we did something stupid and hurt ourselves. She loved humming birds and preying mantis and we would have to go look at them with her. The dog she loved the most was the dog of whichever child’s house she was visiting. When we drove we sang songs. When traveling her motto was, “never pass up a bathroom opportunity.” She showed an out pouring of love when her children or grand children made mistakes. I will miss her long hugs. She had a quiet confidence and was a good example to others. She listened without judgement and gently encouraged us.”

These are some of the memories spoken by a grand daughter who was representing all of the grand children:

“She always put Altoids in tissues in her pocket. She was always rubbing your back or hands or feet.  She told me all kinds of stories out of her imagination. She wanted to know how my life was going.  I will always remember her homemade bread! She loved me. She made me a ninja mask. She always had a hug and supportive words. I took her on a ride on the four wheeler and her hair was all puffed up and we laughed like crazy! I helped her fill her humming bird feeders. I liked watching her sew. She was an example of love and service. When I think of her, I think of service. Family always came first. She made us special boxes when we turned 12. She was patient with me when she taught me how to cook. We loved her hugs and kisses. Warmth, smiling and waffles.  It all comes down to a feeling of comfort when being around her.”

“After the prognosis last week, that she had only a few weeks or possibly months to live, the family left the doctor’s office and walked into the hallway. Mom said she had accomplished everything she wanted to do and had no regrets. The next morning, she said, “it’s time to get going,” and she died that afternoon. She was gentle and frail in so many ways but so strong in many others. She loved the rain and hated the snow. She is, and will continue to be brilliant as a teacher and as a testifier.”

Can you see how her personality, her likes and dislikes, her talents and interests became the treasure she gave her children? She shared herself and that was the perfect gift. She didn’t seem to spend her time trying to be someone else, or putting herself in competition with others. She gave who she was, and that is inspiring and liberating to me.

Thank you Carol for your love and friendship. And mostly for your walk as an outstanding wife, mother, grand mother and friend. I will miss you so much!

Love and hope on.

Jacque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Draws Support

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It was brought home to me very powerfully this week, to hear a sweet young mother giving thanks for what she has and adjusting her outlook to the parameters that are her reality right now.

Her gratitude, in the midst of what has been frustrating circumstances in her life, was like a call to all who know her to rally to her aid and rejoice with her in the blessing she acknowledged!

That beautiful energy of light and inspiration came through her words and touched my heart.

What beauty surrounds us as we find ways to accept the things we cannot change and find the strength and courage to seek out the good and give thanks and appreciation for the blessings that are always overflowing, whether we notice them or not.

Have a wonderful, counting blessings week ahead!

Love, love, love,

Jacque

Thanks for the inspiration Bree!!

“I love my life.”

“I am decisive and prompt.”

“I give thanks in all things.”

“I receive insight in the midst of offering gratitude.”

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