Thursday, May 19, 2011

Who do YOU let in? -- a great link to check out.

I follow approximately a gazillion craft and DIY blogs, and one of my faves is Kimba's a Soft Place to Land.  Today she posted about the difference between "Upstairs Friends" and "Downstairs Friends."  It's really not about home decor at all -- it's about whether or not you let others see your imperfections, and about how doing so opens the door to real friendship and understanding.  Check it out!  It's a short little post, but it gave me a lot to think about today!  Click HERE to head over.

Have a great day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Life is Too Short.

Last week a girl that I had known since junior high passed away without warning. One moment everything was fine, and the next moment she was gone, leaving behind a husband and three kids. I didn't know her very well, just enough to smile and say hello when I saw her in the hall at church, but the sudden devastation of her death has forced me to think about the fragility of life. To quote a line from one of my favorite cheesy chick flicks (Where the Heart Is): "Our lives can change with every breath we take." 

The overriding feeling I was left with is that life is too short. 

Life is too short to hold a grudge.  You never know when it will be too late to forgive, or to ask for forgiveness.

Life is too short to judge others, to deprive ourselves and them of what we could share with one another.

Life is too short to waste time on what matters least.

Life is too short to limit your own potential.  How much time do we spend telling ourselves we can't do it, we're not good enough, we shouldn't even try?

Life is too short to stay in your comfort zone.  We need to push ourselves, to take risks, to have adventures!

Life is too short to only see the darkness around you.  Yes, there is always darkness in this world, always hurt and hunger and injustice.  But there is also so much beauty and love.  Embracing the light gives us power to combat the darkness.

Life is too short to withhold love -- from our children, our family, strangers, any human being.

Life is too short to live in regret.  We can't go backwards, only forwards.  We have to be honest with ourselves about what we regret, do what we can to fix it, and live in peace with what we can't. (See #1 about asking forgiveness...)

And finally, life is too short to live in fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  This is a big one for me.  I am so paranoid that something catastrophic is going to hit our family, like losing a child or my husband.  It's as though I feel we are so blessed that something must be lurking around the corner, just waiting to broadside us when we least expect it.  And the truth is, it's probably true.  Every family is faced with loss or hardship.  That is part of our journey through this life as human beings, and none are immune.  But we can't live in fear of the unknown.

Yes, life is too short.  It's true whether we have another 5 minutes or another 50 years to live.  If we live with purpose, whatever time we are given will be exactly the right amount for us to create a beautiful, happy life.  If we don't -- if we let life pull us along without choosing to be what we want to be -- 1000 years wouldn't be enough.

P.S.  I just watched a video on TED by a man who survived that plane crash into the Hudson River, and what he learned from being faced with death.  It's worth a watch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Motherhood Matters

Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful women out there, both those who are mothers in the traditional sense and also to those who bless the lives of everyone around them with their mothering influence.

This past week I have been participating in a challenge created by our local lifestyle show Studio 5 called Motherhood Matters, which they describe as "a campaign to inspire, encourage, and remind ourselves why motherhood matters." I can always use a reminder to find the joy in motherhood rather than getting sucked into the mundane, and I have really been enjoying completing the challenge each day.

The other day the challenge was to make a list of the skills and attributes that you bring to the role of mother, and for some reason I found that very challenging. What strengths do I bring to motherhood? At first, all I could come up with were my weaknesses. I get mad a really really lot more than I should be, I'm ridiculously disorganized and forgetful, I let them watch too much tv... the list could go on and on. So before I got too bogged down in berating myself, I decided that I would commit to posting here about my positive strengths and attributes so that I have it in black and white. I haven't really started coming up with anything yet, so we'll see how it goes:

1. I am willing to admit when I'm wrong and ask my kids' forgiveness. I try really hard to own up to my part when things go amuck.
2. I tell them I love them a gazillion times a day. So far they are not old enough to be embarrassed by this.
3. I try to tell them specific reasons why I think they're great and why I'm proud of them.
4. I try to give them lots of opportunities for creativity (both in the artsy-crafty way and also just in their thinking).
5. I believe in God and Jesus Christ, and I am working hard to create an environment where their Spirit can be felt.
6. I am not "too cool" to run around and play and be silly with them. (Of course, if you knew me you'd probably say that I'm not in grave danger of being "too cool" for anything...)
7. I will never, never stop trying to be a better mom for them.

I am not trying to toot my own horn here. I know that for every one thing I get right, I probably make two giant mothering mistakes. Or miss some huge opportunity to love and nurture the way I should. I'm sure we all feel that way. And Mother's Day, for some perverse reason, frequently just makes moms feel more guilty, like we somehow don't measure up to all the praise. But this Mother's Day, please stop berating yourself for all your mothering imperfections and take a moment to appreciate your mothering strengths.  You have them, I guarantee -- otherwise, God would never have entrusted His precious children to your care.  Give yourself the gift of actually thinking about it and writing it down.  I'll bet you'll find you're a pretty awesome mom after all. :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Oh, and if you need a little encouragement, please watch this beautiful video about our true value as mothers:

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Civility Experiment -- a video

This video really touched me today -- it demonstrates so well the power that comes from getting to know someone instead of judging them by their outward appearance or what you think you know about them. I believe that if more of us (myself included) took the opportunity to really get to know the people we are judgmental about (whether it's an individual or a whole group), we'd learn that underneath the surface we are all just human beings. Imperfect, yes, but all of us having something to give and share with each other. Worth the watch!