Friday, February 19, 2010

"Um, could I get a lobotomy over here?"

Sometimes it's so easy to be a woman. Well, it's easy to be a woman when you need an excuse for something. It's easy to blame things on hormones, fatigue from raising children, and not being able to find my Dunkin Donuts gift card. The past few weeks I've been feeling sort of down, lackluster and overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness that were infiltrating every thought. I've been a deep thinker all of my life, pondering the most miniscule of topics to the greatest questions that this life could raise in my mind. Although I'm an eternal optimist and have an innate hope that can never be quenched, I still sometimes experience being what my dad used to call "a positive person with a negative brain".

I've been consciously retraining my mind to create new habits of thinking. I keep reminding myself not to dwell on anything unless I'm currently right smack-dab in the middle of doing it. That means not worrying over what someone said three days (um, weeks, years...) ago, not planning and replanning an event a few months away, and definitely not tackling any mentally-demanding project before bedtime. My zzzzzzzz's and my creative energy just don't seem to mix. Forming new thought patterns is one way that I'm finding much more inner peace. It's simple to blame external factors - being a busy parent, living in a materialistic culture, having a case of the Januarys (even though it's February...) - for not being able to find a higher level of contentment. Disconnecting from the obvious reasons and retraining our minds to let go of negativity helps bring us lasting, substantial contentment.

As I said, being a woman affords me plenty of excuses for why I sometimes feel like a loser or adopt an attitude that would better suit me if I were green, in a trashcan and had a puppeteer up my back (um, no thanks). More than being a woman, being a human being, affords us the greatest excuses for not tapping into the transformative process that God so graciously begins in each of us when we come to Him. Our sinful minds, which some people like to refer to as "ego" in psychological terms, separate us from our heavenly Creator. They keep us bound to these bodies, this world, these ways of thinking and feeling. All it takes is pushing ourselves to grasp the world in a different way, from a different point of view, and we can shift our energy around to receive the Holy Spirit upon us and embody more fully the way we appear in God's eyes. Remember, our physical self is not what ascends to heaven. It's our souls that make that journey home. I firmly believe that God's salvation doesn't only include a ticket to His Paradise but also the tools necessary to become a good traveler - the ability to attain His peace, His happiness, His love and His grace here on earth.

I have so many more thoughts on the topic of accessing your God-inspired peace, and I'll write much more after I've had a chance for God to direct me in what I need to say. It's just amazing how taking the time to create new habits in how I process thoughts, cracks appear in the walls surrounding my earthly mind, letting in the brilliant shine of His glorious heaven. Remember, you are here because He made you. Don't walk this earth thinking (and acting) like you only have a purpose if you choose to. Don't be melancholy because you can't figure out what you're supposed to do or who you're destined to be. God didn't make anyone who wasn't a part of His plan. He created you because you're supposed to be here. You don't need to prove to yourself or to anyone that you deserve to be. Let your thoughts and intentions stem from that truth, and you'll see yourself and your time here on earth in a whole new Light.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's your passion? (longing after iced coffee doesn't count!)

I put that part in the parentheses up there for myself.

Mental slumps stink. Seriously. Putting our all into motherhood and serving our families is one of the greatest responsibilities and most blessed roles that we can have as women, but it's also exhausting and, at times, stifling. I thank my Jesus daily for the joy of my husband and children, in between praying that He keeps me from eating all the dark chocolate in the house because Libby just accidentally punched me in the eye or Grace is having a 3-going-on-13 drama day. Raising a young family makes it hard to find time to take deep breaths and let God permeate my heart, refilling my joy tank with His simple peace. It's also hard to evolve as a woman when my biggest daily transformation is making a poopy diaper turn magically clean (with the aide of a trashcan, of course). So, when I think about what my passion is as a person, it makes me feel guilty to ponder anything outside of the realm of family life. But, that's mama guilt making me all willy-nilly. I need to turn on the mute button.

Recently I was in a mental slump, and one of my good friends pointed out that we were created by The Creator in His image, so we are creators ourselves. I just wanted to smooch her and then bronze her bust (statue of her head, thank you very much). When we move through life in a spirit of following instead of creating, of being transformed but not sharing, then we're lacking a very vital piece of who we are. God created us to be artists whether it comes through painting, calculating, talking, thinking, being, staring, walking, writing, jumping, traveling, cultivating, decorating, baking or any other -ing that produces that thrill and zeal inside of our hearts.

I once read in a magazine that one of the ways to tap into our true joy is to think about what activities made us happiest when we were around the age of ten. For me, it's reading and writing. I used to long for Christmas Eve not to anticipate the gifts on the Lord's Birthday but to stay up all night long speeding through the pages of those mega-huge "special" books in The Babysitter's Club series (how badly I wanted to be Claudia...then Stacy...then Claudia...then Stacy!). I've also written for as long as I can remember and was one of those kids who always placed in the Young Author's competitions in elementary school. I even dabbled in journalism as a college major and was asked to take the next level class by my journalism professor, who I admired greatly, but was really touched when his response to my telling him that I was pursuing an education degree instead was, "the world needs more good teachers". I agree, and it's cool that today I'm able to write (blog) and teach (my daughters).

So instead of feeling guilty for contemplating a passion outside of the spectrum of serving my family, I'm going to revel in the passions that make me feel more joyful and complete so that I can serve my loved ones and my God better.

We were created to create. I like that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Free massages

I've finally stumbled on a way to get a free massage in the middle of the afternoon.

Wait, I said massage?

Well...

It's actually called "being kicked by your wiggly nursing one-year-old in your right bicep muscle that's tight from working out".

Is it sad that feels kinda good? I mean, really, who's gonna work out my kinks for me? I'm still waiting for my personal photographer to show up, and wherever is that chaffeur? I have no idea (Hi, Ed, honey!).

I'll take a few good leg whacks in the arm from Libby. After all, I just realized that I don't really work out my bicep muscles at the gym. They're tight from - you guessed it! - holding one sweet little sugar lump of a baby (very worth it!).

Kick away, child!



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Thursday, February 4, 2010

You know you're a mama when...



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...photos of yourself posing in the fabu new dress you just got for your hubby's company party feature not only your but a room full of toys and little people's clothes in the background - and a baby running toward you to nurse.

Good thing this dress ain't a turtleneck. Sheesh.



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But, oh my word, how could a mama resist her? :o) (The initial donut icing face painting was my Alice's idea, but her father took it to a whole new level...you see the eyebrows and daddy-esque mustache and goatee, right?)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toy Recall

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ALERT: If you have one of these spin-the-wheel barnyard sound toys with a scary picture of a daddy mug shot (a.k.a. passport photo) return it immediately to the store. Moms will be quite frightened. Children, on the other hand, think it's pretty much hilarious.

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Ahh, daddies. How they keep us entertained!

(Passport photo, wink)

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