Confessions February 2, 2016

I am not Catholic, and I have never been to a confessional inside a church. I've been to church, just not a Catholic confessional. I imagine the experience to be like what I see in the movies, a booth with a window and a Priest inside wearing a Vestment. On the outside of the booth is a place for people to sit and confess their sins. I am respectfully curious about what the Priest offers in exchange for the confessions. Do you get a free Rosary when you are done? Yet again, I leave it to my imagination, which has me believe that the Priest says a prayer asking God for forgiveness on behalf of the person in the seat.

Even though I’m not Catholic, I believe that acknowledging our mistakes is powerful. I try to live aligned with the way that I believe Creation lives. I want there to be more moments when I am aligned than not; however, when I make a mistake, I want to connect with other people who live imperfectly perfect lives. I want to connect with people who understand and honor our humanness in all of its’ messy glory. 

So I am starting this weekly online confessional where I will admit the moments when I am fully human, not reaching far enough into my connection with Life. I won’t admit every error on this blog; I’m not crazy. I'll ease into my online vulnerability.

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Did he just say 'Navy'?

My step son is a senior in high school and 18 years old. We’ve lived together for the past eight years, and now he’s getting ready to take control of his own life and explore the world on his own. I catch myself just watching him as he moves around our house. Is this boy seen as a man to the rest of the world? He expresses an exceptional joy when he rides bikes with his younger sister, when he puts on a large inflatable bubble suit and rolls around the house, and when he talks with us about customized trucks. Will the rest of the world protect this joy the way I do?

Last year, we talked about his ideas of life after high school. The conversations were quite short and usually I did most of the talking. Recently, I insisted that we visit colleges, that he take the SAT and ACT and that he take an assessment to help discover his natural talents. Aren’t these the things that kids do when they are juniors and seniors in high school. I know these are the things that a lot of parents with kids around his age do. We’ve gone through the motions and made efforts for our son to conform with the momentum of life.

I felt his reluctance towards this momentum, but I wondered what would happen if he didn’t get on the bus labeled “College / Career.” Which bus would he take? What if he got on a bus that didn’t have a label; where would it take him? What if he got on a brand new, shiny bus that only had one stop - Self Destruction?

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Where I go when I feel like my 6 year old knows more than me.

I like to live in a neat house. It helps me function more calmly, but I don't always have the luxury of a neat house. Yesterday I said to Kennedy, "There is a pile of dirty white socks in the living room, but I like our dirty clothes to be kept in a laundry basket in the laundry room. Will you please move your socks?"

She says to me, "Mom, I want to tell you something." She looks at me closely and says "Socks in the living room are not a big deal in life. In life, it doesn't matter where socks are. You don't have to freak out about socks."

I know, I know.......she is right! Of course it doesn't matter in the BIG picture, but I do prefer socks, especially the dirty ones, to be kept in the laundry room. I find myself in situations like these regularly: a debate between what I want to happen and Kennedy's philosophy on life.

Keep reading to discover one of my favorite resources for help in this situation.

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What's going on with this blog?

Hello friends!

I said a big Thank You to the year 2015 today. It was the year that I received an invitation from Life to write. I discovered that I adore carefully selecting words, arranging them and creating meaning with the arrangement.

When I write for my blog, I try on different writing styles and subjects. Some stories feel better to write than other stories, and I learn which of my writing feels the most genuine and most natural.

I believe that the invitation to write was a gift. It was a gift full of lessons that I want to learn and some that I roll my eyes about having to learn. Writing encourages me to pay attention to every detail around me, like the color of the sky, the way the air feels on my skin, the clothes people wear, the texture and taste of my food and so many more details. It also inspires me to listen more carefully to my family, my friends and people that have something to say every day. And then the part that makes me roll my eyes, is that it requires more patience than I think I am capable of.

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Do you want to shop or organize a barn?

Friday afternoon Sam said that this weekend he is going to burn cedar trees, run the box blade across the field and start to build a new fence.

“I am so excited about the field work. What can I do to help?” He and I both knew that driving the tractor and digging holes was not really an option.

“You can clean out and organize the barn.” He replied.

“I am great at cleaning out and organizing. You got it. I’ll take on that job.” I felt enthusiastic and ready for the task.

I finished my work at my office, took Kennedy back to school for a movie night, and met my sister, Sally for dinner.

“Oh no, I forgot to buy the Christmas gifts I signed up for that I need to deliver to the youth home tomorrow.” I exclaim with a gasp. This holiday season is just as I remembered the ones before, full of activities and things to accomplish. So many times I sign up for something and think that there is plenty of time to get that done. And then, before I know it, the deadline is right in front of me. I will make a note to only sign up for things that I can accomplish the same day that I sign up for them. If I don’t have time to do it that day, I definitely won’t have time to do it on the day of the event.

“Maybe you can go to Wal-Mart tonight” Sally was quick with a solution to my obvious problem.

 

“Yes that’a good idea.” I agree with her, but don’t want to go to Wal-Mart after I pick up Kennedy from movie night.

After dinner, Sally and I met Sam and the rest of our family at the high school Christmas concert to watch my older sister, Kim’s oldest son perform.

During the performance, I whisper to Sam “Is there any way I can convince you to go to Wal-Mart after this. while I pick up Kennedy. I forgot to buy the pajama pants and wool socks that I signed up for.”

Sam’s face turned very familiar and he says “Wal-Mart on Friday night? It can’t get worse than that. Do you know the people who go to Wal-Mart on Friday night? I don’t want to be one of them.”

“Thank you; I love you so much.” I knew that despite his disappointment with our Friday night plans, he would help me. He always helps me when I am in a situation like this.

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What is a conscious parent?

"Conscious Parenting," what in the world is it?

If it means being fully aware of my son's messy room, my daughter's disinterest in bathing and our abundance of toys, then I'm definitely a conscious parent.

Do you also feel like sometimes you are watching yourself parent in a way that isn't exactly how you want, but you don't know the alternative? Last night I felt like I was looking through a window and seeing myself in the midst of a bath time struggle with my daughter, but I felt detached from it. I know that I actually engaged in the power struggle, but I also watched it and wondered what the alternative way to handle it was.

Click through to read more about conscious parenting.

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How to trade being a control freak for someone who has a lot more fun.

Good Morning!

I started this morning with a viewing of “Belief,” a documentary about different acts of religious traditions’, followed by a shower to the music of Wintley Phipps. I just wondered what it would be like to shower with some gospel music. I liked it. It is certainly well with my soul.

Today I will work at my office, directing the operations of my father’s design and home building business. I will also drift off into my imagination as I get another day closer to my families Thanksgiving celebration. I feel spirited and excited to collectively express gratitude for our family and our lives. I will anticipate what to wear, the preparation of the food and the fun we will have.

The last month of 2015, I will observe the areas of my life that will be the most challenging for me to practice nonresistance. I will take note; write them down and consider how I will relinquish the control. I am curious about the processes that have determined the flow of life for billions of years before I was born. I’d like to think that my glorious brain has been in control, but that would just be ridiculous. Rather, I believe that my life and all of life is a natural result of all of the forces of creation. And it’s time for me to flow with those forces and participate in creation.

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How many words did you speak today?

Ahhhh yes! I sit with my laptop tonight after a bit of a fall break from blogging. Most of my inspirational attention is focused on my upcoming book. I am gathering thoughts and developing my ideas. This past weekend I feel like I made progress.

“Sam, guess what? I wrote 3,500 words for my book.” I feel excited and confident that all of those words are quite an accomplishment.

“Siri, how many words are in a novel?” Sam needs to gauge my progress with realistic expectations.

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"Daring Our Kids to Thrive," a detailed statement of intention

I am bursting with enthusiasm to share with you a detailed statement of intention behind the "Daring Our Kids to Thrive" program.

The Hill Country Montessori School will begin their parent education plans with a dynamic conversation with Dr. Shefali, author of “Conscious Parenting,” international speaker and clinical psychologist. We invite the community to join us for “Daring Our Kids to Thrive,” a discussion about how we can encourage our kids’ success.

Our Program

How did you feel when you realized that you were about to have a child as a roommate? A child....sharing your living space? Did you wonder if your baby would be ok with eating out and staying up for your regular date with Sunday night's cable shows? Did you hope she would let you dress her like a doll for years? I did!

Very few of us enter into the journey of parenting with the tools and skills necessary. Our program will offer a detailed map to guide us through the complex emotional terrain we undoubtedly experience as parents and educators.

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Babies, Cats, Angels and Rats

Last night, I woke up at 3:00am. My stomach woke me up and kept my attention for a while. I decided to mosey on to my reading space and finish the last chapter of “Big Magic” since I wasn’t falling back to sleep.

At 4:00am, I hear the little foot steps come my way. I see Kennedy, squinting her eyes to adjust to the light from my reading lamp.

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A Few Things To Share

  • Recently I met a fellow blogger, and Kim Muench will forever be the first fellow blogger I met (online and on the phone). We connected over our shared respect for Dr. Shefali’s work, and have since shared our own personal work. Real Life Mom is a blog with deep feeling and courage. Kim sent me her beautiful book, “My Mothers Footprints,” and I read it this weekend. It’s a brave story about her development as a mother and woman. I am grateful for her trust and honestly.
  • I also recently read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Because of this book, I see writing as my spiritual practice. I know that I received a sacred invitation to write, and I accepted the invitation with trepidation and enthusiasm. I write so that I feel peace, and I share it so that we connect with each other. It’s my personal collaboration with Life.
  • And my favorite quote of the weekend: Kennedy, “Mom what was it like in the old days? Did people only ride horses in the 1980’s?”

P.S. Sam and I bought a new sherpa comforter from Walmart. It is on our bed, and it’s crazy awesome. I get really excited about comfortable blankets and sweaters. Really excited!

What is the difference between a 6 year old and a 16 year old girl?

Here I am in the midst of learning something new again. Life’s lesson isn’t over just yet, despite my appeal for a fall break. I’m still questioning, arguing with circumstances and not understanding why my six year old daughter reminds me of a 16 year old girl, I use to know. What is going on?

Kennedy likes routine. She likes the expected and the familiar. She’s learning to adjust to change and surprises, but it’s not an easy adjustment for her. This might (very likely) mean that I am the same way and together we navigate the unknown with anxiety.

On Monday, after picking her up from her grandparents house, she says “Mom, why didn’t you tell me I was coming here today?” Obviously, she wasn’t paying attention when I told her. Or did I tell Sam and hope she over heard so I could avoid her protest? My memory isn’t totally clear about this.

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I couldn't believe it, myself....and so the excitement begins.

I write a recount of this week in detail to always have a written memory of the events and feelings that happened. It was a marvelous week.

The story of my marvelous week started on the previous Friday when I was pondering about the Hill Country Montessori School’s mission. I looked right in the face of our mission and said out loud “this is hard work.” It’s hard to embody our belief that children are individually unique and that they possess gems of inspiration deep within them, waiting to be discovered. It’s a challenge to support an environment where our children explore their own spirit and empower themselves to soar; it’s a challenge today in education to accompany our nation wide public school system when our philosophy is diverse.

How can we create an environment of self discovery without abandoning the idea of control? I don’t think we can. If we commit to providing an environment that offers space, movement, materials and freedom to follow innate curiosity, than we can watch our children develop their lives with purpose.

Stay with me, I’m getting to the events of the week, but I have to take you through my mind first.

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Plaid joggers and graphic tees.

I might have written about my 6 year old daughter's strong fashion opinions before, and if so, than today is no different.

I consider my style to be "classic comfort." I like to wear black, jeans, sweaters, dresses and pearls. And you know how I feel about loafers and driving moccasins. Today I chose swank, and put on plaid joggers. This is not me in the picture, it's the Ann Taylor Loft model.

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Wild Ideas on Wednesday

Hello friends! How is your week going? It's Wednesday now, and most of my creative energy is going into my book. Wow - it's an invigorating feeling. Stay tuned, next week I might write about how scary it feels.

What is invigorating you these days? Here are some wild ideas I've wanted to share with you this week.

Wild Idea 1

Have you heard of Kris Carr and her new book "Crazy Sexy Juice?"  Seriously, it's not about some new sex trend called "juicing." It's about actual fruits and vegetables in the juicer or blender. It's way more than recipes, though. It's such a good book full of information - get it and let me know what you think.

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How I went from rigid to flexible this morning?

4:00am: My bladder knows no courtesy. Never mind that I was sleeping soundly and quite comfortably. Grumble. I had no choice but to pay attention to my bladder’s calling and so I did. Then I went to the couch. After all it was only 1 1/2 hours until I normally wake up. I didn’t intend to fall back sleep.

5:15am: I heard the littlest feet coming down the stairs. I smelled the perfume she dowsed on last night, that is still lingering behind her the way her blanket drags the ground and goes every where she goes. Kennedy and her blanket climbed up on the couch with me. She was clearly wide awake; I noticed with all of her wiggles and noises. Somehow she managed to firmly land her head right onto my eye.

“Ouch” I said instinctively (I’m not sure what tone I used here but I don’t think it was a gentle one).

“What? It’s not like I did that on purpose. Geez.” Were Kennedy’s first words this morning.

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Do your thoughts run around a shady neighborhood after dark?

“When I feel good I sing, and the joy it brings makes me feel good. And when I feel good I sing. About the joy it brings.” - Jason Mraz, The Freedom Song.

How does he do that? How does he know exactly how I feel about something and sing it so beautifully? If I ever make a list of sages (which I have), Jason Mraz will (does) hold a position at the top.

Just as he describes, writing brings me incredible joy and when I feel good I write about the joy it brings. My writing exploration started earlier this year, and I didn’t expect it to change my life. I don’t usually like to refer to something as “life changing” because I don’t like the implication that the initial life was unworthy. However, I intentionally write this now....that my pilgrimage with writing is changing my life.

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What to carry to help you stay organized and looking good.

Every morning when I begin the exercise of planning my day, I write down what I'm feeling grateful for or happy about. Sometimes I feel grateful for health and healing, writing, creation, weather, cardigans and other fun things - some important to life's big questions, some important to walking through life as a woman.

Today I am grateful for "pretty organizational tools." It's true; I find joy in bags and organizing. They make me as happy as a happy face.

I have 2 bags from ThirtyOne Gifts that I use just about every day. 

Do you wonder why I carry two bags?

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Have you ever cried in the strangest moment?

Today I'm going to share with you something unusual and almost embarrassing. It's only almost embarrassing because I also feel pride that I connect so passionately with something like cheese.

As I write this, I wish I had some enchilada sauce stuck in my back molars right now. Anyway.

Do you ever find a tv show that hooks you emotionally and you find yourself thinking about it during the week and wondering what will happen next? Sometimes I think that a show is a part of my life, just like my real life friends. I don't mean any disrespect to my real friends; none of you could actually be replaced by a tv show, but I can get emotionally connected to a character or a story and feel like I belong in it.

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