Center Stage

“The chief cause of human errors is to be found in the prejudices picked up in childhood.” — Rene Descartes

I read this quote again today. It really occurred to me how my actions, words,  judgement on others really has an effect on my children. I took some time to reflect on my parenting in this area.

In my opinion, society comes down  hard on kids. They are labeled, removed from schools, kicked off teams and sadly sometimes, kicked out of their own homes. Although it is quite easy to point the finger and place blame solely on “delinquent kids”, the question is, where are these kids’ parents and how and why did these children end up in like this?

Being a parent, I realize more and more each day the responsibility I have and the impact I will have on my children’s life. What are my morals like? Do I forgive them so they learn forgiveness? Do I love unconditionally so they learn to love unconditionally? Do I offer grace so they in turn can offer grace to others? Do I accept to them so they may be accepting of others?
How do I treat my friends? How do I treat my husband? How do I treat their siblings? And what about respect? The answers to these questions is where it starts for me. If I’m complaining, gossiping, being rude to them, their dad, their siblings, I set “the stage” to allow for that behavior and treatment to others. The kind of language I use will be the kind of language they use.  And how hypocritical is it if I scold them or ground them for behavior or language I myself am using?

These questions hold me accountable and help me to be a better parent. Clothing and feeding my kids is one thing, teaching and being an example of a good human being is another.

Was I always this way from day one in parenting? Good grief, NO!!
I have come a long way and at times white knuckled it through the change but I tell you, when I look at my kids now 15, 17 and 20,  I am proud of them and myself.  I see today, the benefits of those changes.

Parents, we are our children’s first teacher. The road we travel ultimately plays a big part in their lives. For me,  becoming aware and understanding the gift I have been given with my kids and accepting my role in life, helps me to be a better parent and in return I am  better able to let my kids go out into the world with confidence :)

Behavior change takes practice. It starts with our thoughts, words then action. For me, I got here one baby step at a time. (I’m still crawling in some areas ;) ).

My hopes for you readers today, may your day be filled with so much love and happiness. For today is a great day to be the best you can be :)

It’s all up to you. Yes, You!

The other day my dearest friend Delia was over. We were discussing a few things we would like to do in regards to helping others. As we were sitting at my kitchen table discussing money, I turned my oven on and opened the door to heat up the kitchen. (I’m always cold. Always. Yes even in the summer. Brrr). Well, Delia starts saying, “yeah but Chris, that’s what I question, if I give my money, is God going to give it back to me?” All of a sudden, the element in my oven burst into flames!! Delia screams, “Chris, fire!”, I say oh my goodness, I jump up and turn off the stove, the fire is out. Delia says, “Oh boy, that was God saying to me, “be quiet”” I turn to her and say, “Delia, don’t ever question God again”. We cracked up laughing!

That incident leads me to these questions. What do you want?  You want money? start giving it away.  Want extra time? Start giving your time. You want good kids? Be good parents. Stop criticizing your kids, accept them for who they are.  You want good relationships? Be the good half of those relationships. Stop expecting your other half or your friends to do and be what you want them to be. Stop gossiping, stop  judging, stop complaining. And for crying out loud, stop being so hard on yourself!! You want a fun life? Be fun yourself. Lighten up and stop taking yourself so seriously. Laugh, be silly, dance around, play with your kids, be a kid yourself.  Want to hear from someone? Pick up the phone and make a call. Miss someone’s company? Make arrangements to see them if possible. Want a compliment? Give a compliment. Here’s  a good one, need a break or time for yourself?  You have the power to give yourself that time.  You want respect, forgiveness, love? Start giving it away. It will be uncomfortable, it will seem unfair. Please know, I do not suggest anything I have not done myself.  Believe me when I say, your life will change!! It all starts right here, right now. It’s all inside you. We have the power.

What does this do for us and how can it help? As crazy as it seems, it helps by taking us out of ourselves, out of our self centerdness and out of our self absorption. It amazes me how everything, everything starts to fall into place when we take charge and make these bold moves. I will be very honest with you, I did not want to make changes like this. I felt I had every right to be mean, complain, have this self entitlement and say, “what about me?”, “why should I change”, “I deserve better”, “if they/he/she changes, I’ll change”, “do you know what happened to me?”. Etc… etc… etc… That my friends was driving me into a brick wall with all my relationships and I was constantly unhappy.

So how about, just for today, we make the change? Like Ghandi has said, “You be the change you want to see in the world”. Start in your  own little world at home, choose one thing you can change today. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the response you get and how you start to feel inside. That feeling is called joy. Ooooo JOY. A bubbly, happy, loving feeling deep inside you. So there it is friends, lets try it today.

As always, thank you for reading. I feel much gratitude for the time you take to read. Bless you :)

A Parent’s Horror Story.

I was talking with Bekah the other day and she strongly suggested I tell you this story I’m going to write about. Not a story, a situation. Parents, friends, anyone reading, this situation I will share, could be one of the worst nightmares, a horror story for parents. New parents, please know this may not apply to you or even come close to happening.

1999-2000

It was a a cold wintry day. The kids were on holidays from school. Bekah was only about two and a half years old. Maybe three. Rob and I decided that it would be fun to take the kids to the movies. We packed up and went to the movies to see Pokemon. Alex loved Pokemon. We arrived at the theater, it was PACKED! We found some seats right at the front. You know those seats where you get a cramp in your neck from looking up? Yeah, those seats. All was going well, we were enjoying our popcorn and the movie. A little ways into the movie, Bekah decided she did not want to sit and watch the movie anymore. Before she could pull a fit, I inform Rob that I will be taking her out into the mall to walk around. Quietly we exit the theater.

Rebekah and I are walking around the mall looking in stores and just hanging around. All of a sudden, Bekah sees a little boy sitting and getting wheeled around in one of those mall strollers. Those “cool” ones all the little kids want that you pay a dollar or something to “rent” while you’re in the mall. Bekah takes off running, I’m quickly behind her trying to catch her before she gets to the stroller. Now some of you may be thinking, how fast is a two year old kid??? Ohhhh, let me tell you, they can be pretty swift when they want something and Bekah wanted that stroller. She gets to the little boy before I could catch her, she grabs the stroller, starts to scream at the little boy sitting in it while she CLIMBS ON TOP OF HIM!! People, I cannot begin to tell you how mortified I was. So here’s my daughter, “attacking” a small boy because she wants his stroller! I grab her and start pulling her, she’s got a death grip on this stroller, she is screaming at the top of her lungs, shaking the stroller. Needless to say, people were staring at us. The boy’s mother didn’t know what to say, she looked mortified too! So there I was, wrestling with my two year old daughter in the middle of the mall. Finally, finally, I get her loose, the lady takes off like a bat out of hell as I am apologizing to her. At that moment, I release Bekah, she is spaghetti girl on the floor having one of the worst tantrums I have ever seen, even to this day. I managed to drag her down a little entrance way aisle out of the shoppers way.  People, I had nothing left in me. I just let the tantrum happen. As I stood there waiting for her to be done, a lady, a very nice lady, comes up to me, she says, “I had one just the same, he’s 21 now and not much has changed”. I wanted to cry.

I’m very happy to report Bekah is almost 16 years old and she’s awesome!! Does she still tantrum? Ummm, I wouldn’t call it tantrum. More like,  persistence, determination, stubbornness perhaps?  (ok at times, yes tantrum).

So parents, if you have a child who does this, I say, good luck and it will pass, we do make it out alive. I’m living proof. Hang in there and be sure to always do something very nice for yourself . And here’s a good slogan I wish I had way back then, “What other people are thinking, is none of my business” ;)

There you go Bek, hope you laughed again like you did when we talked about it.  Love u Beksickle! :)

 

 

 

Super Hero Mom

Alright so I’m having a lazy evening at home with the kids. Corinne’s friend Matthew is over and we get into a little conversation about moms remembering things our kids tell us two or three weeks ago. I say, “hey guys, come on now, us moms have a lot to remember, we do forget some things sometimes”. Well according to Corinne, that is a no-no. HA!

In the past few minutes I was asked about baking a cake, taking vitamins, braiding hair and taking out the garbage. Not to mention conversations and opinions on certain worldly issues. Yup all this in a matter of a few minutes.

It’s as if moms are viewed as these super beings that can do and be all. Oh my, like we are Super Hero’s!! Ooooo what would my super hero outfit look like??? If my family is reading this, I would imagine them thinking or saying, “something with cats on it mom”. Hehehehehe.

So my dear darling kids, please know I am merely a human. No secret identity here. Or is there…..Muahahahaha…Meow.

 

 

Being in the moment

I was out walking my dog Oliver today. I was feeling cold so I was trying to hurry him up along the way so I could get home.  I would tug his leash and tell him, “come on Ollie, speed it up”, he looked at me walked slower and even came to a stop. When he did that I looked at him and I was reminded to slow down, not rush through our walk and to come back into the moment I was in.

Putting aside that I was chilled to the bone, I immediately took in the sounds around me, the smell of the air and appreciated the little snow flakes that were falling. I even stopped in my tracks to listen, and see a cardinal in the tree a few feet away from me. I listened to the birds singing so joyfully regardless if they were cold or not.  I smiled to myself, bent down to pat Oliver and said, “thanks buddy”.

This reminds me of when my kids were young. The days would get so hectic, I was so busy worrying about things like, bills, laundry, cleaning and heck, whatever else my brain could conjure up to keep me from the moment I was in. Living this way is very stressful. It’s aggravating to deal with your kids when we are too busy in our head. It makes parenting very difficult and our kids loose out on quality time with us. And kids can feel and know if we are really there with them regardless if we are there in body.

I needed to make some changes with myself. Changes such as, whomever I was with, even if it was with myself, I needed to think of what is going on at that very moment, taking in the sounds, smells, sights of that moment. That helps me stay in the moment. My mind still wanders at times, the difference now, I am more aware and I have a dog who reminds me to come back to the moment. ;)

So my friends, enjoy your moments. Enjoy the minute you’re in. If we just stop right now and be fully present to where we are, what is going on and what we are doing. Take it all in. What do you hear? See? Smell? Feel?  What are your kids doing? Playing? laughing? (mine are doing dishes, hehehe). Take notice of your breathing, feel your lungs fill with air. Listen to and feel your heartbeat. I take for granted that my body works to keep me alive everyday while I’m too “busy” going about my day.

Do yourself a favor, slow down and be present with each moment your given. It truly is a gift.  :)

 

 

 

 

We are all equal. Yup, all of us.

We just got back from church a little while ago.

I’m going to tell you a bit about the church we attend. It’s called Sanctuary. This church is not your typical religion following church. It is not a denomination of any kind. Their motto is, “everyone is welcome”. They stress on wherever you are in life you are welcome there. They make it very clear that God accepts everyone.  I have attended services there where homeless people and those who suffer from addiction were welcomed in, loved, respected and accepted for who they are in God.  This church also provides food, clothing and shelter for those who are less fortunate than most people.

Tonight we walked in as a memorial service for a man who suffered from addiction and was homeless was going on. The incredible love I saw there tonight and the care, the care for this individual who, most of society would cast out, was being remembered and loved. I was so overwhelmed with seeing Gods love in action. I’ve been to other churches where they have kicked people out, my family being some of those people who were asked to leave the church due to addiction and brokenness. I’m so grateful that I and my family know God through His word, through a personal relationship with Himself instead of through people who represent Him and do not follow His ways of loving and accepting all people. I have been so blessed to witness such a glorious thing tonight.

To top it off, (this was the complete highlight of my night), as I stood at the door waiting to go in, an older gentleman who, to me,  seemed to have been through the wringers of life, smiled at me and came up to hug me. It was such a genuine hug. As he walked away, I thought to myself, what have I ever done to deserve such love from a complete stranger? I was moved to tears. It did not matter or concern me that I seemed cleaner or better off, or whatever else it may have seemed. To me, we were equal human beings. We ARE equal human beings.

Many, many years ago, I condemned people who were on the streets or who suffered with mental, emotional or spiritual illnesses. I had absolutely NO compassion for another human being, today I love people. I strive to see what’s inside their heart, and I remind myself on a daily basis that God loves them just as much as He loves me.

As I reflect on tonight’s events, I see how God has delivered this man who passed away, from the bondage of addiction. Addiction is a powerful, cunning, baffling, emotional, spiritual and mental disease. And through this man’s trials, God led him to a place where he found love and people. People who are remembering him tonight. The people remembering him tonight are those who know that, God’s love is for everyone. For everyone in every walk of life. Why and how can they/we offer such love to another who seemed so “bad” ? Because, we are ALL equal human beings. In my opinion, if we all change our thoughts towards others, there would be a heck of a lot less competition, fighting and hatred in the world. I know in my heart, that is what has happened to me.

I’m grateful to God for allowing me to witness His love in action tonight. I am so grateful that God got a hold of me and changed my heart so I, in return have been able to, as a parent, teach my children the value of another human being. To teach my children that we are all equal. We are no better than anyone else and no one is better than we are. Our humanness has nothing to do with anything we do or don’t do, it has everything to do with who we are in God.

Thanks for reading. It is always , always very much appreciated :)

Fly away…..

Corinne is graduating High School in a couple of months. That is two out of three kids so far. I cannot begin to tell you how ecstatic I am. Being a teen mom and seeing my kids beat the odds of what society says most kids born from teen moms become or not become, has me so grateful to God for their accomplishments. As many of you have read this road has not been easy but we are here together, moving forward.

This afternoon after grocery shopping, Corinne and I went out to look for prom dresses. How exciting!! I never did graduate from high school so this is a first time experience for me and I couldn’t be more overjoyed than I was in the dress shop with her. We found, well actually she found,a beautiful royal blue dress that she had been eyeing for some time. To our pleasant surprise, it is the only one like it and it is her size! The dress now belongs to Corinne :)

Corinne is a very independent young lady. She was talking about moving out when she turns 18. That my friends is in a couple of months. We discussed things around it like money, school, work and how she would like to take our two little kittens with her when she goes. Oh good grief, now she’s messing in the wrong area. hahahaha She spoke about how she would like to move out, not to get away from us, but to be independent for herself and start her own life.

I like to encourage my kids to live their life and try new things as long as it is edifying to God, to themselves and it does not harm others. As much as I like to support and encourage my kids, listening to her talk about moving out, I was proud that she feels confident enough to do that and I also felt some anxiety around it. I became aware that I have been a parent for over 20 years. 20 years! It’s funny because I’m only 37.  I have been a parent longer than I have been a kid or teenager. My goodness, I can’t believe that! Wow. My kids are growing up and that means my life will be, and is already, changing. It’s a good change. I feel confident that through Gods grace and help, I have been able to provide loving, caring, patient and understanding parenting to my kids that enables them to feel secure enough to go out into the world and spread their wings. Is it hard? yup it is. Does it pull at my heart strings? ohhh yes!! But those are my issues. If I hang on too tight, I will suck the life out of her and that is not what I would ever want to do for  my own selfish reasons.

When our kids are so young and things seem so tough through the days we use to say, “when they are this and that age” or “when they get older things will be easier”, we look forward to the days when they become independent. What we don’t realize is, we don’t ever think that the day will come as fast as it does.

Missy, I admire your confidence and your courage to want to do what you want to do in your life. Know that I will always, always and forever support you and be here for you. Love you!! smooch!

Does this mean the cats can have your room when you go?????? ahahahahahahahahaha ;)

For the love of pets!

It’s Saturday early afternoon where I’m at. I’ve spent most of the day cleaning up with a couple of breaks to have some breakfast with Corinne and enjoyed a quick coffee break with my friend Delia who popped over.

I just finished sweeping up the floor when it dawned on me. There are toys strewn all over the floor. Play tunnels, stuffed animals, balls etc…. I had a flashback to when the kids were so young and the house was FULL of toys. All sorts of toys. You see, Rob grew up very poor so because of that, our kids did not go without any material thing. Clothes, shoes, toys, toys and more toys. There were toy boxes and shelves and even a toy room!! Sheesh! Anyway, as I was sweeping and looking around, not too much has changed. The kids toys have been put away, given away or thrown out. The toys I speak of are from my pets!! Comments have been made in the family that we have too many pets or there are a lot of toys around that makes the house look messy. Well, I would be offended, how dare they say a word about my pets! My pets could run the house and they could do no wrong. Yuppers, whatever the pets wanted they could have. Jump on the counters, kitchen table or sleep where ever they please. As far as I was concerned, this was their house and we lived in it. Oh my!  HAHAHAHA!!  I refused to see or believe what my family was trying to tell me. Today, I see it. Yikes!

My pets have provided unconditional “safe” love for me over the years. This was an area where I can totally love with abandon and feel the love in return. It was safe. I was safe to extend love without getting hurt. I will share something very funny, and sad too I guess. If my pets were in my bedroom when I was changing or undressing, I would hide from them so they would not be able to see my body in fear of being judged by them. That has changed, I no longer hide from them.

As I have done much work around my sexual abuse, I read about how survivors tend to have many pets. At least three cats. Friends, let me tell you when I read that, I started to laugh because over the years, my son would often ask me, “mum, why do you feel the need to have so many cats?”. I have four cats plus one stray who comes around from time to time. We also have a dog. I “collected” them over the years (hahaha). Our front verandah was also made into a “motel” for cats with boxes, blankets and food. I have taken that down, oh, mind you, I recently put a small box and blanket out there for our stray cat. No food though. Progress friends, progress.

Anyways, back to the toys and pet “stuff” around the house, I have decided put some “stuff” away today without feeling guilty.

It’s good to know where the “need” came from and have an explanation of why I have a “collection” of pets, hehe. Interesting eh? Just DO NOT ask me to give any away. That my dear family and friends is not happening.

I would like to personally thank my family for their gracious patience with me over the years. Love you guys to pieces!! :D

The price of beauty?

Alright friends, here it is. Yesterday afternoon, Corinne and I decided to have a little self care and get our eyebrows waxed at the salon. I met up with her after school and we walked to our usual place. To our dismay, the lady we prefer is on holidays until Saturday. Well, we did not want to wait until Saturday as we felt we were in desperate need to have our brows done. We started to walk home and saw a new salon that opened up. We contemplated going in. We asked each other, “do you think it will be ok?” We went in. They took us right away. Corinne says, “you go first”,  I’m thinking and shoot her a look of “great, I’m the guinea pig”. Something inside me said, “I’m not too sure about this” but I went on with it anyway.

Here we go, the hot wax smeared across my eyebrow. No turning back now. Rrrrriiiiippppp! OUCH! I look at Corinne who is wide eyed starring over me. I don’t say anything except pray in my head. God please don’t let this turn out horrible. I catch Corinne’s eyes, I’m trying to speak to her through the tear streaming down my face to get some sort of idea what my eye brow looks like. She says nothing but smiles and raises her own eyebrow at me. Big help there Missy. Ok so both brows get done, I look in the mirror, I am pleasantly surprise. The lady did a great job!! I take it one step further, I ask to get my upper lip done. I’m really pushing it now. The lady has no problem with that. On goes the hot wax. This time to my utter surprise and mortification, the wax ends up UP MY NOSE!! YES UP MY NOSE!! Now something is just not right with this, before I can say anything, the paper is on and rrrriiiipppp!! Oh my gosh! I saw Jesus on the Throne with that pain! The look on Corinne’s face, was priceless. Mouth opened, eyes wide, with no words to say. I finally say, “if my nose is getting waxed, you know you have a problem”. Who does that??? Is that normal?? Personally I didn’t feel my poor nose needed or deserved such harsh treatment.

Needless to say, Corinne changed her mind about getting hers waxed. Yeah, thanks Missy, hahahaha.

We got home and I spent the night “nursing” my nose with polysporin and tissues.

Why do we put ourselves through such torture? And come to think of it, what kind of self care is that? Couldn’t that be categorized under self abuse instead?  Hahahaha ;)

Long road here continued…

Hey, thought I’d share a bit more of my story on how I got to my life today. I don’t recall if I ever shared about Alex’s biological father. I won’t mention any names as that, I feel, is not fair.

July 1992.

Where was my baby’s father in all of this turmoil I was going through? Dad was too busy hiding from his parents. You see, I was not too popular with his parents because of my nationality. While I was going through my own hell, he said nothing at all to his family. I was four months pregnant and his family knew nothing. I didn’t know if he thought that this situation would just disappear or if he had no intention of sticking around.

We were very good friends before we started seeing each other romantically, in the fall of 1990. One thing led to another and our young relationship grew. We were both fourteen years old and went to the same high school when we met. About a year after we started dating, I had met his family. For the most part, they were pleasant. His mom realized we had been together for some time, she made it known that she did not approve. She preferred her children to date within their own heritage and I wasn’t part of that. Hence, they rejected me.

My mom had asked me one day if his parents knew and I came out and told her, no, they didn’t and I proceeded to tell her why. Mom was appalled. She had me call him to find out if his mom was home and off the two of us went to his house to meet with her. The nerves that attacked my stomach were outrageous. I started to hyperventilate,, my mom was on a mission, and she was out to give his mother a piece of her mind. Thinking back, my mom, no matter what she was going through or how she was dealing with the situation, was there for me, ready to defend.

We arrived at their home. His mom invited us in, we had coffee, actually my mother had coffee as I had stopped drinking it when I found out I was pregnant. Thankfully my mother broke the ice and started to speak. She went on to speak about how and her son and I had been dating for some time now and unfortunately we had gotten ourselves in trouble. I highly doubt his mom was expecting to hear that she was going to be a grandmother. My mother told her the news. I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide. I realized that no parent takes this easily, and his mother freaked. First, she did not believe it was his baby, and then she went on to blame me, that it was all my fault. That is when my mother lost it. She firmly and sternly told her it was both of our faults. Not one person over the other was to blame. After a short silence, we got up and left, and with not one nice word to say about her, we walked home.

I didn’t speak to him for a few days. The stress was overtaking me and everything seemed like a blur. The utter exhaustion was too much to bear. The next few days I spent mostly in bed, trying to hide away, slipping into deep sleeps and hoping and praying when I awoke all of this would be gone. But we all know, no matter where we may try to hide or run away, there was no escaping what was happening.

My baby’s father came to see me and we sat on the porch and talked for hours. I’m sure he was dealing with his own horror. His parents wanted nothing, absolutely nothing to do with me or with this baby. They were willing to pay him $25,000 to convince me to get an abortion. I was mortified. I was aver four months pregnant, a baby was living inside me, a baby whose heart was beating, and they wanted me to destroy that? Never!  He didn’t approve of that idea either. He told me he informed his parents that he would not do it.

I can’t even begin to tell how I was feeling. Physically I was drained. The pregnancy was really taking a toll on my body. By this stage I had lost almost twenty pounds and I was very weak. Emotionally I couldn’t even feel anything anymore. I didn’t care if he stuck around or not. All I knew at this point, I had no more tears to cry. There was nothing left inside me.

As the weeks went on, we stayed together till it seemed I was growing in more ways than one and he was the ball and chain I was dragging along. I was busy preparing for our baby, making lists, going to the doctor’s appointments, and dealing with the changes of my sixteen year old body. Everywhere I went, people stared at me. I had to deal with the gossip and stares, and I felt, he went along on his merry way.

Back to today. It’s hard enough for a teen to deal with such a life changing situation but to have a broken relationship on top of it takes it’s toll on you. I have no idea where this family is. I did give Alex their information, we did call and left a couple of messages a couple of years ago but there was no return call. Too bad for them. Part of me just wants to gloat and say to them how awesome this child has turned out to be. And how grateful to God that I found someone who took him as his own, loved and raised him. That is a true man.

Rob, I will forever be grateful for what you’ve done for us. I love you!