Gratitude

It’s been awhile, I know. While ┬ámuch to say, I just couldn’t find the time to sit and write. But I have been processing…a lot. After four years of contemplating meeting with a counselor, I finally made the decision to talk with one. And she is perfect. Funny, she did ask me “So why are you here? You seem to have it all together?” My answer “Guilt. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.”

With my meeting Ellen (that is my new counselor’s name), my runs, my now daily sun salutation practice, my now daily meditation practice, and my overall being a bit more present, I have found a new place inside of me. However small, it’s new. And one strong realization of this place, is that as much as I feel more present, and I am able to think clearer, I am still very aware of my avoidance of feeling. It’s a blocking actually. Surely, it’s a defense mechanism. It’s an unhappy place and reminiscent of my past. And I so don’t want to go back to that feeling.

Which brings me to the purpose of my post today…gratitude. In the words of my yoga teacher “Find something to be grateful for, we are all fortunate people,” I am doing just that. Every time she speaks these words, my mind immediately thinks of my two boys and my lips curve into a smile. Gratitude does not have to come from something momentous. Find it in the smallest of spaces – like a cup of hot chocolate or a vase of fresh wildflowers or a warm fuzzy blanket. So much surrounds us, so many itty-bitty miracles. The only thing preventing us from seeing them is ourselves.

So in no particular order, here are 10 tiny, itty-bitty parts of life that hold space in my tote bag of gratitude…..

My adirondack chairs that welcome pause…my handmade tea cup molded with my manager’s hands and so thoughtfully given to me…my Runner’s Magazine for all it’s inspirational stories and words of motivation…my camera to capture so many amazing moments that I can reflect upon…my new sneakers because they make me feel like I am running on clouds…my barn door because other than being exactly what I had wanted design wise, it was built just for me…my thieves oil for starting my mornings with a calming smell…mason jars for their versatility and simple beauty…the candle in the window I plug in every night as a small gesture for our soldiers…my hair elastic for just simply pulling my hair back.

What are you grateful for?

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On Raising a Difficult Child

Oh I really don’t want to label D. But I must be honest. He’s difficult. With a capital D. He’s 16 and his favorite word remains “No.” Easy-going, laid back, lassie faire ….yeah so not D. Over his lifetime I have learned much however. And though I am far from an expert, I can offer these five tips/recommendations/suggestions when it comes to raising a difficult child.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. By all means do NOT go head to head with a difficult child. You know where that leads you? In a screaming frenzy-blood boiling-blood pressure elevated-crazy state of mind. Trust me. I know.
  2. Don’t ever give up. As hard and as challenging as a difficult child can be, don’t quit trying. We have a sign in my office that reads “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.” Know that being difficult can sometimes be a cover for something deeper. Have compassion. Maybe even some empathy.
  3. Continue to create opportunities….even when you know it’s fairly certain the response will be “No.” Perseverance, gentle perseverance. Lead the way.
  4. Always, always challenge the difficult attitude with love. Cliche I know. But it works.
  5. Be grateful. Yes, grateful. Why? Because raising a difficult child is an opportunity for you to become a better parent. Every situation is a chance to strengthen your parenting skills – albeit challenge your patience as well!

I have been blessed with a child who is difficult and a child who goes-with-the-flow. Both amaze me with their strengths. And, yes, they both have their weaknesses. After all, we all do. But how lucky am I to be their mom!

Do you have any more tips to add?

A New Decade…

Today I begin a new decade of my life. Aging has always been something I have struggled with. I have tried to remain optimistic, trying to embrace the changes that aging brings. I remember a friend of a friend once saying she loved each new birthday because she was so lucky to experience that new year. How true. So I repeat this to myself frequently throughout the year, but truly feeling it, is quite something different. With age, comes wisdom. Naturally. I have gained that many more experiences, I have made mistakes, I have felt pain, I have felt happiness. I naturally would have a bit more wisdom with each passing year, month, day. So this weekend I have been so present. I have allowed the feeling of being present soak my being. Yesterday I brought the boys to a large county fair. As my youngest and I stood in line for a ride – a ride that spins in a large circle first forward then backward playing loud music – we watched as an elderly woman rode with what appeared to be her older son. She was so full of expression, laughing, smiling, hair blowing from the speed of the ride, sliding to her left into the arms of her son. This was no kids ride. It was so amazing in so many ways to watch her. The boys also joined an elderly man on the Ferris Wheel. He was ahead of them in line. The worker stopped him saying he could not allow a single rider and asked if there was anyone willing to join him. My boys did. What a sweet, sweet moment. These moments in time exemplify their character. They are glimpses into their true being. So as my nine year old greeted me in the kitchen this morning dressed with a suit coat and dress shirt, took my breakfast order, made me tea, and played music all in honor of my Birthday, I smiled. I smiled knowing and feeling I am so lucky, so loved, and so, so very proud. I guess I don’t need a Birthday to mark a new beginning. But it’s a nice reminder that each day is a new day. And I have so much, I am so grateful, I am so blessed.