I read, My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Chicken Soup for the Day

It was the kind of splendid September day when sending kids to school just feels wrong. Fortunately, that year I was home schooling and calling the shots. Plus we were living in California, an hour from the Pacific Ocean. For all I knew, it could have been the last day of summer, and we wouldn’t want to miss that. So it was off to the ocean with five children under eight―Josh, Matt, Ben, Zach, and Sophia.

Together, we cleaned up from breakfast, prepped the car, and then gathered beach blankets, umbrella, towels, swimsuits, diapers, sunglasses, sand toys, first aid kit, sunscreen, a cooler full of snacks and drinks―ay yi yi yi yi! Hello, motherhood; goodbye spontaneity. I loaded the assorted car seats and strapped, snapped, and buckled five wiggling bodies into Big Blue―the 1989 Suburban we outgrew only a few years later. We were on our way.

With everyone else in school, the whole beach was ours. I staked out our territory close to the water, hauled everything down from the car, and set up camp. For five hours I served as personal valet, sunscreen slatherer, weather advisor, recreation director, swim instructor, lifeguard, EMT, food concessionaire, manners consultant, bus boy, interpreter, peace negotiator, psychologist… not to mention keeper of the lost-and-found.

Finally, I hauled everything back to the car, strapped, snapped, and buckled five sunscreen-and-sand-coated-but-no-longer-wiggly warm, limp bodies back into Big Blue and headed for home. The sun through the window was soothing, and the car was full of contentment. It had been a wonderful day and I was pleased with myself as a mother. Then, from the back seat, I heard Zachary clear his throat, and in his deadpan four-year-old Eeyore voice ask, “Mom, when are you going to get a job?”

“This is my job,” I said, somewhat amused and just a little edgy.

Homeward bound with the kids falling asleep one by one, I was left alone with my thoughts. I began to see the beauty of Zach’s question. Somehow―even though it could be hard work and even though I had my testy moments―my kids didn’t think of motherhood as a job.
And I decided that was a good thing because it’s not really a job at all, but a calling. And callings just don’t look like jobs, because they require more of a person than a job requires. This is particularly true of stay-at-home mothers whose days are spent conquering mountains of laundry, creating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and kissing owies.

We live in a world where success is measured by progress, as recorded on report cards, sales reports, performance reviews, pay raises and symbolized by ribbons, trophies, and merit badges. In our lifetimes, our husbands and children will bring scores of these items home and make us proud. We’ll put them in scrapbooks, sew them on uniforms, frame and hang them up for all to see.

But I don’t know of any special awards for teaching a child to tie her shoe or come to dinner when called. No raises or praises when a mother drops everything to drive someone out for poster board―”your project’s due tomorrow? But it’s almost eight o’clock!”

Every day this goes on with everyday moms doing everyday things―sometimes struggling with feelings of inferiority or even worthlessness―just being obedient to their calling.

But while motherhood can look easy (after all, it certainly is not rocket science), the irony is this: while lots of important people in important places conduct lots of important business every day, the truly most important work in the whole world is really going on at home, where the CEO is mommy.

I guess if we got disgruntled enough from lack of appreciation, we could start a Mommy Power movement with bumper stickers that say, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

We could sue people who put us down at parties and maybe even become a protected minority.

But that wouldn’t be very mommy-like, would it? Because there’s something about mommies that should be soft where others are hard, kind where others are cruel, patient where others can’t wait. We may not start out that way at all, but there’s absolutely nothing like motherhood to change anything about us that needs to be changed.

At least, that’s how it’s been on my motherhood journey. I set out to make a home, to grow a family, and to help my children reach their potential.

The most amazing thing is that while I was helping them reach theirs, they were helping me reach mine.

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I read

Stress Busting Ideas

I found this article  helpful in several ways.

By Tom Hopkins, June 17, 2009

Let’s face it, on a list of high-stress careers, selling has to be up there with tightrope walking. Haven’t you had days when you felt that you actually were on a tightrope? I know I did.

To survive, and, more importantly, to maintain a healthy balance in life, we need to be proactive about releasing our daily stress in creative ways.

For some people, exercise is the best way to relieve stress. Physical activity is a civil way to release pent-up frustration without risk of causing harm to yourself or others.

Another idea is to schedule a brief decompression session each day. Go somewhere calm and peaceful where you can simply relax with no further demands on yourself. Once you’ve taken a few deep breaths and calmed yourself, this is when you’ll renew your dedication to your goals, your purpose, and your faith. This could take as little as five minutes of your time to have a positive effect.

A third idea is to take up a hobby–something that uses different parts of your body or your brain. If you’re a parent of young children, I suggest a hobby that you might be able to share with your children. Or even better, make your children your hobby. Find out about something they’d like to learn, and learn it together. This method serves two purposes: you learn something new, and you create wonderful memories with your child. (I have to insert though, that while I do have hobbies with my children, as a full-time teacher and childcare worker, I do feel that having a hobby without them from time to time contributes to de-stressing; maybe I’m just the kind of person who needs to be alone pretty often in order to stay sane, heh)

Insulate yourself from the killing pace of change. Granted, we have to keep up when it comes to business, but do we really need to strive to have the latest and greatest in all aspects of our lives? My answer is no. We don’t have to be trendy in every aspect of our lives to keep up. On the contrary, you’ll find it easier to run at the front of the pack if you keep your life simple, and if you keep in touch with who you are and where you’ve come, rather than what you own.

Train yourself to look at time as a precious resource rather than a merciless taskmaster. I am a firm believer in time management–managing to enjoy my life while conducting business, rather than filling in every gap with a meeting or project that will get me further ahead.

Hang out with people with whom you have fun. Seek out and make friends with people who accept and affirm your worth as a person.

Accept your human nature. You’ll never have the perfect answer to every question. Don’t lead yourself or others to believe you do. Make a habit of searching for challenging new concepts and opinions contrary to your own to help you develop a better understanding of your world and how to live well in it.

Develop your own list of things that make you feel good. Keep that list handy and apply at least one item to your life on a daily basis in order to keep the negative effects of stress at bay.

I read

New Blogs

My brother has a blog! Hope you update again soon…

The energetic and amazing Shaz.

I found this amazing site. I visit at least once a day as no matter where I look, there’s a great quote that just applies. There hasn’t been much new stuff lately, but I still enjoy going through the archives and finding the quote (or quotes) that hit the spot.

I’ve gotten a few links already to this site. I’m so impressed by her faith and am praying for her every day, are you?

I read

The Angel of Bang Kwang Prison

It’s been a while since I had time to read a book through from cover to cover. Someone lent this one to me and I found plenty of time to read during our long commutes to and from the place we face paint at (thankfully it was just this week, and thankfully most of it is on the highway so I can read!). I found it very inspiring and motivating. This precious woman is proof of the ‘Change the World’ theory that drives most of us in the Family. She helped start the prison ministry in Thailand and it made it even more interesting when I found out that the people here used to live with her there.

I love how she tries and does whatever she can despite the fact that it might seem small to those looking on. But she does change lives, because anyone can make a difference; we just have to try.

I read

Chicken Soup

True Love

By Barry and Joyce Vissell

Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of the well-known German composer, was far from being handsome.  Along with a rather short stature, he had a grotesque hunchback.

One day he visited a merchant in Hamburg who had a lovely daughter named Frumtje.  Moses fell hopelessly in love with her.  But Frumtje was repulsed by his misshapen appearance.

When it came time for him to leave, Moses gathered his courage and climbed the stairs to her room to take one last opportunity to speak with her.  She was a vision of heavenly beauty, but caused him deep sadness by her refusal to look at him.  After several attempts at conversation, Moses shyly asked, “Do you believe marriages are made in heaven?”

“Yes,” she answered, still looking at the floor.  “And do you?”

“Yes I do,” he replied.  “You see, in heaven at the birth of each boy, the Lord announces which girl he will marry.  When I was born, my future bride was pointed out to me.  Then the Lord added, ‘But your wife will be humpbacked.’

“Right then and there I called out, ‘Oh Lord, a humpbacked woman would be a tragedy.  Please, Lord, give me the hump and let her be beautiful.’”

Then Frumtje looked up into his eyes and was stirred by some deep memory.  She reached out and gave Mendelssohn her hand and later became his devoted wife.

I read, My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Of kissing and such

After a long day face painting, there’s nothing like logging into NLU and seeing that BFS had posted a lovely compilation on one of my favorite subjects…got her permission to use it here again.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
~ Song of Solomon

I ran up the door, opened the stairs, said my pajamas and put on my prayers – turned off my bed, tumbled into my light, and all because he kissed me good-night! ~Author Unknown

A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years. ~Rupert Brooke

‘Twas not my lips you kissed
But my soul
~Judy Garland

“May I print a kiss on your lips?” I said,
And she nodded her full permission:
So we went to press and I rather guess
We printed a full edition.
~Joseph Lilientha

Kissing is like drinking salted water. You drink, and your thirst increases. ~Chinese Proverb

And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea: –
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Love’s Philosophy

Give me a kiss, add to that kiss a score;
Then to that twenty, add a hundred more:
A thousand to that hundred: so kiss on,
To make that thousand up a million.
Treble that million, and when that is done,
Let’s kiss afresh, as when we first begun.
~ Robert Herrick

“You may conquer with the sword,
but you are conquered by a kiss.”
~ Daniel Heinsius

“Where should one use perfume?” a young woman asked. “Wherever one wants to be kissed,” I said.
~ Coco Chanel