quotes

Be the Rainbow

After recognizing my lonely state a few weeks back I decided I needed to be proactive about connecting with others. I realized I have a tendency to isolate and expect others to befriend me instead of reaching out to them. This may sound untrue to those who don’t me well because I believe “extroverted” would be on the Top 10 words people would use to describe me. Really I am extroverted, but only those who take the time to see past my surface and know me well, know that I tend to shut off the world, sometimes when I need it most.

Every human needs a place where they can honestly assess themselves. This blog is where I am choosing to be honest. I hope you don’t mind. { Time for some lyrics – I hope you don’t mind, I wrote down in words…how wonderful life is when you’re in the world.} Thanks for reading, if you are. Wow, there is power to putting words out there just for yourself. I pretty much don’t think anyone is reading this and I love it that it’s o.k. [I love that I got happy enough with myself to disable comments.]

So, back to working out the loneliness. I reached out. In the past couple of weeks, I did a bunch of out-reach. First, I went over and helped a friend move. I kind of forced myself on her. She didn’t seem to mind. I also continue to take the children of a friend on bed-rest on a weekly adventure to the park and library. Then I went over and helped another friend move. She also didn’t seem to mind. I got really brave and requested from the ladies from church that come on assignment to visit me once a month that we go to lunch. They seemed happy to oblige. I kept looking for ways to reach out and offered to bring another friend’s children home from swim lessons. I was already there and she lives right around the corner so it was nothing really. Another silly little thing: I answered my phone when a friend from high school called and found out that we will be having a great reunion dinner coming up very soon. I can’t wait. (I would normally just ignore something like that. – Should I admit that?) Last, I sent some giftcards via facebook to some family members who weren’t expecting it. Just for fun. Just to get outside myself.

rainbow

Guess what happened? I got immediate and tangible payoffs. Do you want to hear them? Well, you don’t really have a choice because I am telling you…isn’t that the point of this here blog?

I had fun with the first friend moving. She made me laugh. She also helped me to understand that it’s o.k. to not have a spotless house all the time when you are raising a large family. In fact when her kids came over the other day and our house was less than pristine, I was totally able to relax about it. That’s huge.

I had the privilege of being with my friend’s kids the day that their baby brother was born at 28 weeks –  he wasn’t supposed to come that early. I got to see their faces as they saw his first picture posted on facebook. What could possibly be of more value than that?

I got to have a powerful moving experience at the other friend’s moving day about the roles of women and men. I will share more about that in it’s own post in the near future.

I had a great lunch out with two fabulous ladies that are fast becoming some of my greatest friends. I only have one friend that I do lunch with since moving back to Utah, so to add two more feels pretty darn good. Lunch with the ladies is a great source of joy.

My sweet friend for whom I took kids home gave me a gift-card to my favorite restaurant. It was so unnecessary and undeserved but it made me feel loved and it helped me recognize how well this friend knows me and how wonderful it is to have a friend like her.

And last but certainly not least, I got dubbed as the coolest aunt ever for sending a gift-card through facebook. I even got my own post. Kylie is my newest niece (gained my marriage) and she is a gem! Check out the pic.

aunt

The moral of the story: Maya Angelou may have not always been an angel, but she sure knows what she is talking about when it comes to being a rainbow. It is pretty awesome being a rainbow!

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Cat and Dog on Relationships

Recently Updated3A friend just posted a cute video of her pets and I had one of those moments of recognition. I borrowed stole some still-shots from the video for visuals. First, her mean kitty came up to the new kitty’s cage to hiss at her. Then the sweet sweet dog came and chased the mean cat away and hovered over the kitty to let her know she was safe.

While watching I was like, “Crap, I’m the mean cat.” I want so badly to be the hovering loving protective dog, but if I am honest with myself, I guess I should be honest with you too….I might reach nice dog status 30% of the time. The other 70% I am definitely in the cat-scratch-your-eyes-out mode.

I’m just cranky. People threaten me.

As I watched the mean kitty all defensive and aggressive, the principle that the therapist has been trying to teach me came to my mind’s forefront:

I have to rid myself of the fear of abandonment if I am ever going to have fulfilling close relationships.

In plain terms – I can’t be scared of other people because if I am I will use aggression, control, and other ineffective defense mechanisms to save myself from being hurt. Acting in such ways just causes me hurt because it pushes people away and that is what I was afraid of in the first place.

Funny sidestory – I am just remembering my kids showing a video from their ipod of Caroline crying the other day. One of my kids said matter-of-factly, “Caroline has abandonment issues.” Their 9 year old playmate was like, Wha? What is abandonment issues?” Yes, this is the stuff we talk about at our house.

Back to the dog and the cat. Remember my recent post about feeling lonely. I’m learning how vital relationships are to living a happy fulfilling life. We all need to connect. Joy is found in connection. I believe  progress will be easy if I can let go of the fear.

To gain greater connection with others I will be working on seeing others as harmless little kittens that need my love and affection, not as threats to my stability and way of life. All the pet owners in the world have room for another pet….even the cranky cats.

“Yesterday I was a dog.
Today I’m a dog.
Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog.
Sigh!
There’s so little hope for advancement.” ~Charles M. Schulz

Don’t listen to him…there’s always hope for advancement.

Motherhood: less work, more joy.

joy of motherhood

I had an epiphany this morning as I sat on the couch watching the girls get ready for school. One of the reasons I am not enjoying motherhood is because I associate it with work. Someone always wants something from me and I feel depleted much of the time.

I am a really hard worker. Work is an escape for me in a way, so when I am not happy, I just work harder and try not to think about stuff. I use my physical body as a barrier between my emotions and my reality. As they say, “I power through.”

This week at work has been especially exhausting. Tonight is my last night and the relief I feel to mark off this stressor in my life is a lot bigger than I had realized it would be.  This morning after our morning family time, I gave myself permission to just sit and do nothing because I am physically and mentally drained.

I watched as Abigail ran out the door. LG came and gave me a kiss and slogged out to work. (I smiled knowing that he will be tired all day because spending time with me last night was important to him) Then Sophia ran out of her room  and down the stairs to fetch a pair of pants from her laundry basket in the laundry room. She was in a newly acquired shirt (hand-downs are great) and just her undies and socks. Watching her backside try to stealth-fully trot made me smile. She was so cute with her little bum hanging out. It reminded me of when she was a baby. How those baby bums are delightful.

Then Bella came and asked me to braid her hair. It’s not a task I particularly enjoy and because I am usually in bed or running around like a chicken with my head cut off, she doesn’t ask it of me. Just being on the couch made me available for something that makes her happy. In that moment I felt joy. I felt the joy of motherhood.

My epiphany: I am missing out on the joy of motherhood because I allow myself to be too busy to feel it. I have to slow down. I have to quit working so hard. I don’t need to use all my time as a mother working, I need to use a lot more of  my time as a mother to breathe in the beautiful people in my life.