Because I’m Happy . . .

July - Happy blog 2

I just feel happy today and wanted to share it. No particular reason. I woke up this morning, and decided, I’m going to be happy today. Full of joy. Full of peace. Grateful to God for this life that I live. I decided to think happy, simple, thoughts. Nothing complicated. Nothing heavy. Here’s a few of the things that make me happy.

1. Rain against the window
2. Yellow flowers
3. A laughing child
4. A rainbow
5. Ice cream
6. Chocolate
7. A nap
8. Reading a good book
9. My favorite sitcom
10. A kiss

Champion Kids Nuggets – Head it off at the Pass

July - Kid Stress Image

The past year has been life-changing for me. I’ve learned not to stress so much. It’s been a process, complete with prayer, God’s Word, sleeping, TV, reading for fun, and figuring out “no” is not a bad word. I’ve been happier, healthier, and probably more pleasant to be around. I hadn’t given much thought to how all of my changes have been affecting my little guys.

That is, until I noticed my oldest son trying to pile on and do more and more and more – read more books, do more activities, fold more clothes, then become upset when his long list of items didn’t get done. Now some of you may think, big deal, be glad he wants to get things done. And I am. However, I also recognize the signs of starting to pile too much on yourself unnecessarily. Maybe I’m over-thinking it. But just in case, I’m going to put a few safeguards in place to help him handle stress positively, and head the negative part of it off at the pass.

1. Make a manageable list. For him, that should be two things he really wants to accomplish with his day. This will not be a mandatory daily list, but any means. But on the days I see he seems overwhelmed, I’ll pull him aside and offer this solution.

2. Make sure he is getting enough rest. Boy oh boy, are my little guys ever cranky when they don’t get enough sleep! As an adult, this can increase the stress factor tenfold. I’m going to ensure he knows how important this is right now.

3. Make him have fun. Yes, I said “make him” have fun. I’ll put on a song and we’ll dance around the living room. We’ll have an ice cream eating contest. We’ll play hide and seek in the house. In the process I’ll be teaching him that when tension mounts, a merry heart really does do good like a medicine.

We’re still early in the process, but that’s the entire point. I want to teach him tools to cope effectively now, so he can sail through later.

Hiding … for the sake of Chocolate

July - Chocolate Cake image

I’d been eyeing a piece of chocolate cake for hours. It was a small slice, and the only one left. My youngest son, who recently developed a propensity for the finer things in life (like chocolate), helped me demolish the other two, earlier in the week. So I knew there was no eating this slice without him seeing it. So what did I do? Waited until he went to bed … then enjoyed every last crumb by myself. Indulgent? Maybe. Selfish? Definitely. Delicious. Absolutely. LOL. It made me think what other things have I hid from the kids to enjoy by myself?

- Potato chips. Lays are a hot commodity around here.
– Ice cream. You scream. We really do all scream for ice cream.
– Watching TV. Seriously, my son likes some of the same shows I do (Cosby Show, 19 Kids & Counting, Til Debt Do Us Part). If I wanna watch in solitude, I have to hide.
– Read Facebook. Sounds funny, but I never know when a little person may sneak up behind me. And some people have different ideas about what’s appropriate to put on FB, know what I mean?

How about you?

Goodbye, Little One

Holding baby finger

A few weeks old, you filled me with joy.
Fun guesses … will you be a girl or a boy.
Excitement, giddy with thoughts of you.
A blessing for us, full of life anew.
An answer to prayer, cause to celebrate,
Time to prepare, for this wonder so great.

Yet the moment was fleeting, happiness so real.
The sudden turn left feelings … unexpected to feel.
I knew you, I felt you, you were mine from day one.
It doesn’t seem fair. Life hadn’t even begun.
As I fight the tears, through gripping pain,
Some days I can’t move, others I sustain.
My heart is broken, only God can heal.
Thank Him for His presence; I know He is real.

This too shall pass … though hurt I won’t deny.
As I say to my precious little one gone too soon … Goodbye.

I’m A Kid Again

Me and Dad

It all started about 10am Saturday morning. My husband told all of us to be dressed by noon. He had a special friend coming to visit, he said. I asked a few questions, but he obviously wasn’t giving up any information. So I didn’t press the issue, and decided to let the surprise unfold. I obliged, and was ready on time.

When the doorbell rang, my husband told me to get the front door. And as soon as I saw who it was, I screamed. My Daddy! Visiting all the way from Virginia. It was a fantastic surprise. Only a few weeks before I had talked to my husband about wanting to bring my father for a visit. And here he stood before me. He traveled hundreds of miles of highway … just to see me.

Saying I felt special and honored is an understatement. We talked, we laughed, we reminisced, we shared. It was a short trip. He didn’t have a lot of time to visit because he had to get back. But he’d come all that way … took all that time … made all that effort to arrange a surprise … just to see me.

My Daddy. I’m a happy little kid again. :)

What Did You Just Say?

I’m enjoying a moment of quiet, reading my emails. The boys are quiet. Not sure what they’re doing, but nothing’s on fire and nobody’s screaming, so for now I’m going to take it. Suddenly, I hear, “how to have better sex in your marriage.” I turn around to see my 7-year-old reading over my shoulder. Nevermind that it was an email from Marriage Today or that he has no idea what he is saying. I’m mortified. “What did you just say?” I ask. Just as calmly, he repeats himself. He goes on to read a few more emails, then skips away, just as quietly as he crept over.

Times like this make me thankful for the purposeful insulation my husband and I have provided for our children. When they hear words we don’t say at home out in public, like someone swearing or saying mean things, it doesn’t faze them. Mostly because they don’t know what the words mean. And when there’s no negative meaning assigned to the word, it doesn’t elicit a negative response. Doesn’t mean my pressure doesn’t rise or I don’t tense up, just means I’m thankful he doesn’t quite know what’s being said.

I know, soon enough, it will be time to start explaining what certain words mean and why they matter. I’ve already had to explain how it’s possible for someone to be pregnant with a baby as a teenager (my little guy didn’t understand how someone who wasn’t married could be having a baby). I’m thankful for his innocence, and will just pray for the right words and the right time to help him understand … exactly what he is saying.

The Awesomeness of Validation – It’s Not What You Think

I read a post on Jada Pinkett Smith’s facebook page that moved me to tears. Then I heard similar sentiments come from Shonda Rimes. I’ve even heard the gist of the meaning from Oprah Winfrey. Now if you’ve read my blog any length of time, you know I’m not a name dropper just to “name names”. Doesn’t do much for me. However, the names in this instance gave me something critical I’d be wanting … validation.

Validation in the sense of solidarity. In the sense of knowing I’m not alone in this thing. I’m not the only one. What did these ladies say that so inspired me? In essence, they all conveyed that a woman cannot do it all. It’s just not possible. No matter what people say or what lies have been sold, there’s no such thing as achieving the perfect “balance” to make it all work. (Shameless plug: I have an article called Imperfect Balance addressing this very issue with Gospel Today magazine every month at gospeltoday.com – search for LaKeisha Fleming). Jada talks about not being as far in her career because of sacrifices made for her family. Shonda mentions that when she’s flourishing at her career, she’s missing a big moment with her kids. And vice versa. Even Oprah has said, “I always say moms have the toughest job in the world if you’re doing it right.”

I’ve doubted myself. I’ve known I could have made huge career leaps and have missed attractive opportunities, because I didn’t want to miss time away from my boys. I felt like in several instances I had to make a choice – so I did. I chose family. I’m not saying you can’t have family and the career. Both Shonda and Jada have shown how to do so successfully. But what I am saying is you won’t “have it all” both ways. Something’s gotta give. Just make sure it’s the area you want to be giving.

This is part of the reason why I blog. If I bless one other person who feels like I do, who struggles as I have, who’s proud of achieving a victory I’ve attained, or who just wants to be heard, I’m happy.

Thanks ladies. We are all on the same team. And it’s not just me. ;)

Freedom

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate this nation’s fight for freedom, and the prize of independence. I am grateful for it. I have a more personal battle for freedom that I’ve won, and am also thankful for.

My freedom to be … me. I can’t believe I went so many years without exercising this freedom. I worked hard to fulfill someone else’s notion of who I should be, to do what someone else thought I should be doing, to achieve someone else’s dreams for me, and attain their thoughts on my success. And you know what I found? It was exhausting! LOL. It is too hard trying to embody someone else’s visions of you and what you should be. So I finally looked myself in the mirror, decided I liked what I saw, and decided to obey God, love Him and love me. Ah, what a feeling!

Many people have the opportunity to enjoy true freedom, but instead opt to live caged in by someone else’s expectations. To clarify, I’m not talking about disregarding rules governing society or anarchy or any extremes like that. I’m talking about not being free in your mind to express your God-given talents, abilities and gifts, in the way God has given you, because you’re afraid of what someone will say or think.

Don’t continue to fight that battle. Be free. Be who God created you to be. And appreciate it.

Happy Independence Day.

Two-Faced Momma

We’d just settled into our hotel room. All of us were very excited to be there. I’d put together a little mini “staycation” on the other side of town, marrying together free event tickets and a free hotel room stay (I’ve blogged before about checking into freebies – SO worth it!) Anyways, I’d started my usual routine of spraying EVERYTHING with Lysol, wiping countertops, etc. The hubby and kids already know what’s up, so they go watch TV until I’m done. I was in the bathroom doing my routine when my oldest came in. For a while he just stood and watched. I sprayed the soap dish (yes, the soap dish). “Mommy, do you spray everything?” Me: “Yes, everything.” Him: “Wow, you really like to clean up things. Except when we’re at home.” And with that, he was gone.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or be stung. I decided to laugh – basically I am a cleaning freak at the hotel, and I do my best to maintain cleanliness (and sanity) at home. Sometimes the two are not mutually conducive. But me being me, it caused me to think a little deeper. My son probably didn’t mean anything by his little comment, but it made me think about what I’m teaching/showing my boys. Am I being two-faced?

I’m probably over analyzing. Not like I ever do that (lol). But it did make me want to do my best to be consistent in every arena, knowing those little eyes are watching everything.

Here’s to my efforts to not being two faced in every arena – including keeping my house as clean as the hotel. LOLOL. Even I have to laugh at that one.

Champion Kids Nuggets – You Can’t Hurry Love (or Kids) … No You Just Have To Wait

My youngest son is almost potty-trained! Now for those of you scoffing at that notion or thinking what’s the big deal, you try going head to head with an adorable yet strong-willed 3-year-old, who is quite happy to have you keep changing him and not go to the potty by himself, thank you very much. It’s not the easiest of endeavors, I assure you. You take him to the restroom, he doesn’t go, yet two minutes later he’s peeing on the floor. “I didn’t have to go then,” he asserts (hmm, okay). Or you try to change him to big boy underwear, and he pushes it off, asking for his pamper (well if you’re old enough to know the difference…) But I digress. We’ve fought the good fight, and we’re almost there. Not as soon as I would have liked, but thankful for progress.

That’s the way it is with kids. They have their own timelines. You can wish, hope, pray, beg and plead, but sometimes you just can’t rush them. People told me to stop rocking my oldest to sleep after a few months. I didn’t listen. I enjoyed every moment. Now, I did it probably longer than I should have – I think I stopped when he was 2? Anyways, we stopped, started laying him down to sleep by himself, and a few nights later, it was working. Same with my youngest. No need to hurry them … enjoy the moments … let them go at their own speed. I’ve decided to bask in the moments I’m getting. From what I hear from the parents of teens, these little kid moments are all too fleeting….