Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thoughts unedited on self esteem

I keep thinking about conversations over the years about self esteem and how to gain it…  It is not something I have struggled with, for reasons that I can name and not name at the same time.  I am thankful for it, and strive to develop it in my kids – not self esteem so much really… more self love than anything.  Not that silly, self serving, self focused esteem taught by the world.  No, true self love, the kind that uses the lenses of Christ.  – the way he loves us.  How does someone get there?  Especially when the damage of years of self deprecating criticism has piled on?  After years and years of that kind of damage?
So I’ve thought about these things and pondered…  what is the answer?

I was packing for the beach and thinking about my bathing suit.  It’s getting a little worn out and isn’t nearly as cute as I’d like it to be.  My cellulite is even more unattractive…  then I thought to myself… “well, I rarely ever notice everyone else’s issues in this area, so no body is going to notice me… “  Two things strike me here:  1)  Some people DO notice  -- and when I mean notice, I mean beyond just recognizing…. I mean taking note perhaps even to passing judgment. 2)The same people that do take note are looking at themselves through the same lenses….
 And then I think so maybe appearance, weight and style aren’t my deal…  maybe those aren’t the things I’m taking note of and draw judgment… Here’s where I’m judging…  kahki pants, sperry’s, BMW’s, big houses…  I see those things and think to myself – I really don’t like that person… and for no other reason than that they have money.. or want us to think that they do… but what’s the difference, really? It’s not seeing people through the lenses of Christ…  That’s not REAL love – the kind John is talking about.

So I ponder on these things… and what is the answer?  What do we do with it all?  Is it just because we are human?  Is it just something we cope with?  And why and how do these two aspects (our view of others and our view of ourselves) correlate?

Then today during my quiet time I stumbled upon this: (Message version)
1 John 3:18-24
The Message (MSG)
When We Practice Real Love
 18-20My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
 21-24And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

Read it a couple times through…  it takes a bit to sink in.  and when it does, you begin to notice a sequence of cause and effect:

1)      First and foremost  practice real love.  What is real love?  The love of Christ, right? Through his lenses?  He loves the cellulite, the color, the person.  He loves it all.  He looks beyond the style of the bathing suit, the size of the person, the amount of tanning… all of it.  He looks beyond the khaki pants and Sperrys.  He sees the person.  The person He created in the first place and loves.  How often do we do that really? 

2)      Then look what John says next -  when we love this way, it gets rid of self criticism!!!!  The answer is to love—REALLY LOVE—others.  When we stop judging others we stop judging ourselves.  Every time we cast a negative thought about others, we are really doing it to ourselves.  So we have been taught in order to be truly helpful and really functional we have to love ourselves first.  And this is true, when we are focused on our selves, we can’t move beyond our world… but look, we can’t stop self deprecating until we really and truly love others..  And this is the part I really notice:  “even if there is something to it”  so even if it is true.  So he is saying we can shut down self criticism even when there are things to criticize…  So the answer isn’t we can love ourselves when the problem is solved… when the weight comes off… when we have a cute bathing suit… nope…. 

3)      This is where is gets good.  When those things are handled, when we can truly love with a real love and self criticism is handled, THEN “we become bold and free before God”  That’s when we are able to sit before him transparent and ask. 

4)      THEN>>>>>>>>  we can receive all he has for us. 
So what does this mean if we take what John says seriously???  We can’t receive from God everything he has for us until this stuff is solved.  We can’t receive everything God has for us until we Love with the love of Christ and that includes ourselves.  

I don’t think I can ever Un-Know this…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Who Eats Like This?

I've considered an experiment, but I'm afraid to actually follow through.  I just a few moments ago completed one of my continual rituals, completed at minimum twice daily.  I swept my kitchen floor.  I really can't wrap my brain around how 5 people can create so much mess.  Seriously,  I cannot fathom how my children can gain any weight at all. 

They all three must have CMS:  Cookie Monster Syndrome - look it up... for real, I'm not making it up.  OK so maybe I am, but I have grounds for the diagnosis.  Who eats like this?  Seriously.  How is it possible that more ends up on the floor than in their mouths?  It's disgusting. 

So here's the experiment:  I thought about instead of throwing out what I sweep up, I could collect it for a month.  I could probably start a composting bin in the backyard and fertilize all of the precious little backyard gardens in the county.  So what if there is a random lego or nerf bullet?   If I sweep it up, it goes. 

I know I'm not crazy... not yet...  But these little people are slowly but surely pushing me over the edge.  I did add sweeping and mopping to the boys' chores.  It's never a thorough or complete job, but hey... I'll take it. 

So there. I feel better.  I've completed my rant ,and I will go on with my day.  I will feed my children lunch and then sweep.  We will gather around the table for afternoon snack and homework.  The crumbs will build up and one of the kids will attempt a sweep.  Then I will cook and serve dinner and will need to sweep yet again before bed.  The cycle goes on in this season of life...  But I haven't said it in a while... I'll take the crumbs and the finger prints and even the ink on the walls.  God love my babies.. I know I do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Have Lost My Mind

For those of you who know me - you know that I am a very busy woman.  I have my fingers and toes in a lot of projects and causes that keep my daily calendar jammed packed.   For those of you who know me really well, you know there is one arena I have stubbornly avoided.  I have seen the game and just watched from the stands...  Yes, I  have cheered with the crowd.  I have even been the bat girl a few times.  But I have REFUSED to play ball.  I have chosen to keep my life simple a little simpler and remain a spectator. 

But this year I have succumbed.  Perhaps I'm a little weak right now after a weekend away from the kids.  Or maybe I have a hormone imbalance.  Or maybe I have finally completely lost my mind.  For whatever the reason: weakness, PMS, insanity...  I have done it.  I have been drafted.  I have been handed the uniform.  It is official:  I am room mom.

So what's there to do now but don the uniform proudly, step up to bat and attempt to hit a home run.  Or at least not strike out.  I suppose I'll settle for a double or a triple.  Regardless, I will bat to the best of my ability...  and in the meantime can someone please come and dust my baseboards and clean my windows for me, because I'm pretty confident it won't happen until the end of May.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Time keeps a tickin' away. Sometimes I feel like I live in some alternate reality or some time warp - like a bad episode of the New Twilight Zone from the 90's - minus the b-list television guest stars, of course. For some reason in my house, there never is enough time for me. I saw a quote recently that basically said Einstein and Newton and Franklin had the same amount of time in their day as we do. I beg to differ. I'm pretty confident that if you threw three loud, active and opinionated children, some stinky diapers and house work into the mix, some pretty important ideas would have either been delayed or may have never been.

Yes, gravity may have still been discovered, but perhaps Newton would have made the insight after the apple had been dropped on his head by a four-year-old and only after, of course, he had to punish him and fight him over cleaning up the discarded apples. But wait, he can't stop and think about it now, because while he has been dealing with the apple thrower, the baby girl has taken off her diaper and pooped on the carpet. So Newton sucks it up and deals with the poop. But while Newton has apple-thrower in time-out and the poop is all cleaned up and wild baby girl is re-diapered, never mind putting clothes back on her at this point – seriously – the big boy seven year old is having a melt down because wild baby girl tore apart his latest Lego masterpiece. So Newton must put off his thought once more to handle the great Lego meltdown of the century. Meanwhile, "Daddy, can I get out of time-out?" is being heard across the house. "Yes!" is screamed back down the hall. The reply should be "I'm sorry, Daddy for dropping apples on your head" but instead it is... "Daddy, the wild baby girl is standing on top of the kitchen table eating bananas" Which would be all fine and good almost, except for the standing on the table part, but in this case baby girl is allergic to bananas. Sigh... Newton at this point would think to himself. I feel like I had an important thought.... but that will have to wait for another day...

I think I had an important thought yesterday...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Uh Oh

My life may never be the same.   In fact, I'm sure of it.  I already admit I'm not the best house keeper, and those of you who know me well, know this, and also know that I know this.  I also know that I'm not the worst housekeeper either - that is until I took the dive.

I've been sewing casually for a few years.  Then my sweet baby girl came along and my sewing got out of control.  The word got out, and I started sewing for others.  At first I to took Chickfila and fabric as payment, and I still will for that matter.  But, as my orders increased and people kept asking for prices and business cards and websites, I decided to dive in. 

I took some advice and pointers from my friend Amie over at Laffty Crafty, and I started an Etsy site.  and whattayaknow....  people actually bought stuff.  So then another friend implored me to let her take pictures of my stuff.  I begged cute little girls to come and bring their mommies so Abby could do her thing and make my stuff look super precious.  And she did and it is precious and I think I've done a bad thing... for my housekeeping that is.

I'm a crazy woman.  I do too much.  I have three children, two of which are home all day.  I have a part time job from home.  I now have another part time job thanks to my precious models and friends and my trusty sewing machine that deserves a name, but hasn't gotten one yet.  So what gives?  housework of course.  I have come to the conclusion that there are a few items that may never get cleaned again...  I have no time:

1) Baseboards -seriously, why must we have miniature shelves near the floor to catch the dust? 

2) Tops of picture frames - the way I see it, the dust adds an ambiance to framed art - especially those old family pics.  Shabby Chic right?

3) The top of the fridge - I never cleaned this until to my Horror and Utter Shock when we were hosting my husband's entire extended family for Christmas, I realized that sweet 6 foot plus I-don't-know-how-many Charles was clearly able to see what I could not.  When I climbed up a step stool and saw what he saw.....  I'm just going to stop there... it's just too painful of a memory.

4) Under the beds - it's better to not even look

Please don't come to my house and look in my closets or under the cabinets or beneath the sofa cushions... I assure you, it will not be neat, it will not be clean and it might possibly even qualify for a science experiment.

So until the day when I sell enough of those ruffle pants or baby carriers or frilly rompers to hire a housekeeper, it is what it is and this too shall pass... one day.... 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

3rd Time Around

This is our third time around.  I can't say it's a charm.  I'm not really sure what to call it.   Our first time bringing a child home was more of a cautious experiment.  This time it's more of a total lack of caution.

I think back to that precious baby boy over seven years ago.  If I remember correctly, we actually rinsed the paci when it fell on the floor.  I'm pretty sure he was dressed, out of his pajamas before 10:00am.  And I'm fairly confident that we even had something called a schedule - play time, snack time, nap time, reading time.... I even remember that at dinner time, he had a separate meal catered to his desires until he was about 3.  Granted, we deal with food allergies, but seriously?  The world revolved around him.  The sun rose and set on his precious dimples.   

Seven years later, plus two more babies, boy have things changed.  "This is what's for dinner kiddo, eat it or go hungry."    "Paci fell on the ground you say? Great! soil has great probiotic qualities.  Throw that sucker in her mouth!  Besides it's her fault it fell anyway.  Time to teach this 6 week old personal responsibility."   "I don't care -- you better get back in bed!  You know you are only allowed to get out of that bed if someone is bleeding, or if vomit is involved!"

Forget daily baths.  As long as I can't smell them when we are sitting at dinner, we're good.  Never mind, that precious Sweet G had a bath every night with toys and bubbles and quality time.  Nowadays, we'll take quality time on the couch and forgo the efforts of baths if at all possible.  Really, I feel that if we can get them in pajamas and in bed without tears (I'm talking about me crying - who cares if they are) and with no major injuries and sufficiently fed (never mind if they ate it off of the floor or a china plate), then the day is a success.

So today, I sit and type.  Baby girl is swinging from my drapes in a t-shirt and a diaper.  Wild man J is screaming his version of "rock and roll" while, of course, in his PJ's.   Laundry is piled at the foot of my bed (I know, shocking isn't it?).  There is cereal on the floor.  And dishes in the sink.  The day begins.  Hopefully, by tonight, my children will get bathed, we will avoid too many snacks picked up right off of the floor, and perhaps even get our bedtime devotion done with a quality prayer time.  But regardless,  we will make it through.  We've managed this far...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Please Not the Denim Jumper

I used to be stylish.  I used to care a lot about what I wore.  Let's face it, when you are "plus sized"  if you don't pay attention to yourself and if you didn't get blessed with "such a pretty face" (that quote will have its own blog one day) you really can't compete in the world of vanity...  So, knowing I had to compensate for the extra this and that around here and there, I was a good dresser.

Then 3 kids later, a stay at home job - two of them to be exact, and chasing two of three of my children for most of the day,  fashion has taken a backseat.  I really didn't think it was too bad until my friend Cheri told me that by 3:00 if I haven't at least brushed my hair and put on at least some semblance of an outfit, even if it was sweats and a semi-matching t-shirt, she was going to stage a major intervention.  I don't know, but if you ask me, that in itself was a sort of passive aggressive intervention...  and there ain't nothin' passive aggressive about Cheri. 

But then I observed the world around me.  Maybe I'm not as bad off as I thought.  OK, so I only have one pair of jeans, and I have too many over sized swing cardigans (we lumpy women are so thankful for this fad).  but THANK GOD I do not have a denim jumper in my closet.  Why oh why people?  Please put them away.  They hide nothing.  They are ugly, and I don't care if you have let yourself go, there is no reason in the world to punish yourself for becoming a mother.  Please, go to Wal-mart or Cato or a yard sale for goodness sake and update yourself.

So, there, I've made myself feel better.  My hair still isn't brushed and I haven't changed clothes yet and I certainly have not had a shower, but I AM NOT WEARING A DENIM JUMPER!!!  And if any of you ever, ever catch me in one of those things, please do more than a gentle reminder.  Stage a full-on intervention, with locked doors, tissues and tears and perhaps a Visa gift card preferably minus Stacy and Clinton.