Can Do Attitude

It’s probably no surprise that a family of six with a single income can be strapped for money at times.  It was one of those times recently, and I was feeling stressed about it.  I had a prayer in my heart to find some guidance, and it wasn’t long before I was inspired.  I had the privilege of hearing Gary E. Stevenson give a talk during General Conference.  In his talk, he expressed his agony over all of his inadequacies, and then said, “I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do.”  While he was speaking in terms of his personal insecurities, my mind quickly applied this to our financial situation.  Then, as the week progressed, I saw how I could apply it to every aspect of my life.  Having a can do attitude is one of the ways I’m striving to accentuate the positive, as I wrote about last week.

Can Do Attitude

This is not a ground-breaking idea.  We’ve heard variations of this same concept countless times.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs reminders of simple truths, then finds them lying in plain sight.  When I was in therapy years ago, I would have these “ah-ha” moments and come home to tell my husband about it.  He would respond, “Isn’t that the same thing that I’ve told you for months?”  I would respond back to him, “Yes, but she somehow said it differently and it clicked.”  Or perhaps it’s just my belief in the “two makes it true” theory?  Who knows?  The point of the matter was that THIS quote clicked, and I’m going to share how all-encompassing this concept really can be.

My weakness is eating out.  Oh, how I love it.  A good cheeseburger is practically therapy for me, and so much more affordable.  But when money is tight, nothing is considered affordable, is it?  So, instead of feeling glum about not eating out, I thought about how awesome it was that we had enough money to get all the groceries we needed.  I began to think about how cool it was that I had dishwasher detergent already, so I didn’t have to hand-wash my dishes.  The more time that went by, the more opportunities I saw that I DID have in my daily life.  I could take my kids to the park and play.  I could go to the library and check out as many books as I wanted.  I could go on a walk with my friends.  There was so much that I could do!

Then, I went and did something dumb.  Well, it wasn’t dumb at first, it started out quite awesome!  My daughter was the “Super Hero of the Week” at school and each day provided something special for her to either share or do.  Friday was “Bring a Buddy to Lunch.”  Guess who got to be that buddy?  And guess who COULD be there for her daughter?  That’s right – me.  Lunch with my second grader and playing with her on the playground was the awesome part!  I happen to love going on the swings, so I made a point to get some swing time in.  The thrill of being so high that I go above the bar is the real highlight for me.  I was feeling pretty proud of my skills.  As I was slowing down, I underestimated how high I still was from the ground.  It should be noted that I do not normally jump off swings.  I’m a wuss that way.  I totally thought I was lower when I made the leap off the swing.  Oh, how wrong I was.  I landed unsteady, stumbled a bit, spun around, realized my fate included landing on painful wood chips, and fell flat on my back.  All I could do was laugh.  I was mortified.  I’m pretty sure only my daughter and a couple of kids saw me (or at least that’s what I told myself to keep intact whatever bit of my ego I had left).  My sweet daughter helped me up and brushed all the wood chips from me.  Thankfully, it was time for me to go, and I was able to escape my embarrassing moment.  Unfortunately, I could instantly tell that I had injured my big toe.  So, you see, it all started out awesome until my one dumb move came into play.

I quickly began cursing myself and realized that I had a painful situation on my hands (or more literally, my foot).  Walking became more and more arduous, as the adrenaline of the event wore off.  That’s when I fell into the wicked trap of “can’ts.”  I began to focus on all the things I could not do with the injured toe (like those walks with friends that I mentioned above that I could do even with low funds).  How grateful I am that the quote above was still fresh in my mind.  I decided to focus on all the things I could still do instead.  The most important of them being that I could still get down with my boys and wrestle that night.  I could still sit to fold laundry the following day.  I could still kneel for bedtime prayers with my family.  There were so many “cans” left that didn’t involve pain in my toe.

I’m finding that a can do attitude truly is a beautiful way to look at life.  It doesn’t need to be used simply as a source of motivation, it can be used as a method of comfort.  I suppose that’s the difference I found in Stevenson’s quote versus any other variations I had heard prior.  What I can do does not have to be limited to achieving goals or benchmarks.  A can do attitude can be a pulse check to all the good that already exists in one’s life.  I know that’s the affect it’s had on my life these past couple of weeks.  It hasn’t always been easy to avoid thinking of the “can’ts,” but it’s amazing the level of peace I feel when I recognize how many more “cans” are in my life.  I even got to thinking about how this month’s First Friday Find: Zach Anner was another great example of a can do attitude in motion.  He may very well be the epitome of this way of life.

Honestly, it’s been pretty fun to acknowledge all the things that I can still do despite tight funds and a sprained toe.  I really have a lot going for me.  So, the question is, what CAN you do?

Advertisements

Accentuate the Positive

Lately, the amount of negativity in the world has left me unsettled.  Social media and the news being the biggest irritants on the matter.  Surprisingly, neither of those were the source, when I became truly fed up with this issue.  The other day, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Not a Liberal.”  Simple statement, right?  Not much worth fussing over.  However, I was struck by the verbiage of that remark.  Why say, “Not a Liberal?”  Why not state that you are conservative?  My takeaway was that this driver is so against being liberal, that he would rather state how much he is not liberal, rather than celebrate what he is supporting of in life.  I see no benefit in shaming another point of view to state the beauty of your own.  This is the way life seems to be delivered to us now.  We’re given news through a series of one liner blurbs that either leave one feeling great about who they are or shaming them for their opinion on a matter.  Why can’t we simply “accentuate the positive,” as Gordon B. Hinckley states in his book, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes?  As much as I would like to copy and paste the entire chapter, Optimism in the Face of Cynicism, from this book, I will refrain.  But, oh, what beautiful things we would see in our world, if people took the time to nurture the ten neglected virtues mentioned.

Accentuate the Positive

The concept of focusing on the positive first struck me when I was kneeling in prayer with my husband years ago.  He was saying the prayer and asked that our children be protected from harm.  Perfectly normal thing to pray for and I echoed his words in my heart.  However, I began to realize that when he asked that they be protected from harm, my mind drifted off to the terrible harms that could potentially come their way.  When it was my night to pray, I began to switch around the wording to ask that our Heavenly Father watch over our children or keep them safe.  Omitting the word “harm” kept my mind in a more positive place.  I do the same with my children now, as we kneel in family prayer and it’s my turn to say the prayer.  I ask that they all have sweet dreams and get a good night’s rest.  Whereas, when my children pray, they ask that they not have any nightmares.  We want the same thing, but the manner in which we present it makes a difference, I believe.  One of my daughters will sometimes even pray that, “no fires will burn our house down and no bad guys will steal [them].”  I want to be fire free and kidnap free even more than she does, but those words trigger dark images in my mind.  Our words have a great impact on our attitudes and outlook.  Such a simple change in verbiage can either lead me to greater peace or greater anxiety.

This topic of optimism is so far-reaching that I don’t intend to wrap all my thoughts into one post.  Tonight, I simply wanted to encourage us all to contemplate how we are approaching our daily activities and experiences.  Are we expressing ourselves in a negative manner or potentially conjuring up negative thoughts by the words we use?  Are we stating who we are by stating who we’re not?  I’m a Christian woman with the understanding that we have a Father in Heaven, a Savior, the Holy Ghost, and then Lucifer standing on the opposing side.  I don’t give Lucifer the privilege of crediting his name by saying, “I’m not with Satan.”  Instead, I say, “I know my Savior lives and loves me.”

A relevant and real life example of the change we can make in our approach is how the city of Roseburg, OR handled the recent mass shooting at Umpqua Community College (UCC).  The community asked that the gunman remain anonymous.  Instead, the focus was shifted to Chris Mintz who was noted as a hero for having been shot seven times, as he was rushing the UCC shooter.  This is a tragic event that I cannot comprehend enduring nor do I intend to discuss further.  I simply find the action of accentuating the positive virtues of one man, in the face of calamity, as admirable and inspiring.

I’ve learned that changing the wording of my prayers has brought me greater peace.  I no longer use verbiage that amps my anxiety or lets my fears take over.  Now the goal for me is to understand where else in my life I may be expressing myself in a negative fashion.  As I sit here contemplating where I can improve on this matter, I’m reminded of the quote by Tom Peters that I shared in Musings of a Mom, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.”  Perhaps it’s time that I see how I can uplift my children more by accentuating the positive rather than focusing on the negative?

As I mentioned, this topic of optimism could infiltrate so many aspects of our lives, and tonight is not the time for that.  Tonight, I close with a plea for each of us to accentuate the positive!  If you have an experience where you made this shift in your own life, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Happy Weekend!

First Friday Find: Zach Anner

If you’re new to my site, let me briefly explain what First Friday Find is about.  Every first Friday of the month, I like to share an app, website, or idea that may not be widely known.  I don’t get any incentives from any companies or individuals that I mention.  I simply like bringing goodness into others’ lives.  It’s a fun way for me to share things that have either helped streamline my life or lifted my spirit.  This month is a find that brought about the latter.  One of my friends is seriously the funniest woman I have ever met.  There has never been a time when speaking with her that I have not laughed hardily.  So, when she posted a link on Facebook to Zach Anner’s video on YouTube with the comment: 1. I want to be friends with this guy. 2. I don’t think I have laughed this hard, ever. This is no small statement. 3. I love people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Made my day! I knew I had to check it out.  Zach did not disappoint, which is why this month is First Friday Find: Zach Anner.

The first video I saw of Zach Anner’s was the one that my friend had linked to that was called Baby Steps – Workout Wednesday #2.  I’ve watched this one several times and I laugh equally hard each time and am simultaneously inspired by Zach’s uplifting words and positive outlook on life despite his challenges.

On Zach’s YouTube About page, he says that he, “makes videos for your enjoyment and [his] embarrassment.”  I would definitely agree that it is for our enjoyment, but I would add that it is for our edification.  I’m reminded of the quote by Michael P. Watson, “Strong people don’t put others down…they lift them up.”  In my mind, Zach Anner is one of the strongest men I know.  He has uplifting words to share in each of his videos.

Strong People

I thought about including more links here, but it’s hard to pick out my absolute faves.  Instead, I’ll stick with sharing his High Five Friday #1, which is a great example of him lifting others.  I mean if he can dish out a high-five for someone going Vegan, he’s definitely doing his best to make the world a better place.  Seriously though, the person that deserves a high-five on this Friday is Zach Anner!  May we all learn to live life with as much humor, determination, and optimism as this man does!

And that, dear friends, is our First Friday Find: Zach Anner.

5 Steps to Better Forgiving Others

Last week, I spoke in a church meeting on the topic of forgiveness.  The feedback I received immediately afterwards was so overwhelming, it made me wonder if maybe more people need to hear this message.  I spoke about forgiveness from a different angle than I usually hear it.  Customarily, I hear the importance of why we should have a forgiving heart.  The two largest reasons being – first, so that the Lord will also be forgiving towards us (Matt 6: 14-16); and second, studies show that an unforgiving heart can be unhealthy for our physical and emotional well-being.  Regardless of your spiritual stance, the latter reason makes it imperative for all of us to be forgiving.  My talk wasn’t about why, I wanted to know more about how we go about forgiving.  After reading a few articles, I settled on five ways to help become a more forgiving person.  Because I am Christian, some of these steps will be faith-based.

5 Steps to Better Forgiving Others

1. Sincere Prayer

I read a fascinating speech given in 1997 by James M. Harper, a marriage and family therapist.  Harper stated, “Our attitude in prayer will help transform our grieving, angry hearts into forgiving hearts.”  His statement is the perfect way to show that forgiveness begins with the softening or changing of our own hearts.  I’ve found that when I pray sincerely, it is not that I need to forgive, but rather that I need to ASK for forgiveness from someone.  That is the beauty of honest prayer, it helps us to become humble.

2.  Accept that forgiving the offender, does not mean you excuse their behavior

Quoting Harper again, he said, “I have seen survivors of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse struggle with the doctrine of forgiveness. They often feel that if they were to forgive, it would let the offender off the hook or would minimize the hurt and damage. Yet they fail to realize that transforming their heart to a forgiving heart is a gift they give themselves. It will do far more for them than it will ever do for their offender.”  Having experiences of being hurt by someone, I know in some instances, I wanted the offender to hurt, as I hurt.  Karma, if you will.  I’m not saying this is right, but that is what my instinct wants to do.  Forgiving them feels like I’m freeing them from consequences.  How bold of me to think that I am somehow their judge, when there is only one judge they have to face and my decision to forgive has nothing to do with their salvation, but merely mine.  In the book Beyond Ordinary by Justin and Trisha Davis, it reads, “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior; forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.”

3.  Avoid storytelling about an offense

This one piggybacks the last item for me and is my biggest weakness in failing to forgive.  When I’ve been hurt, my impulse is to discuss the matter with my husband and my friends.  First, I like to check in and see if I’m out of line for feeling the way I feel.  Then, honestly, it’s to round-up my support group that I hope will have my back.  The support group’s role is to make me feel justified in my feelings and to come to my aid when necessary.  Again, not right, but that is my tendency.  Upon learning more about forgiveness, I’m realizing how detrimental and counter-productive this is to forgiving others.  I justify my storytelling as okay, because I’m merely looking for support, but I am perpetuating the offense and adding fuel to the fire.  Harper states, “In retelling a story about how we have been offended, we can tell it in such a way that we either push pain, anger, and grief deeper into the cells of our heart or we free ourselves…Don’t let the negative storytelling consume your relationships with others…Don’t put energy into unforgiveness; rather put it into transforming your heart.”

4.  Avoid dwelling on the offense

I have met people who struggle with this step, and I admit that I have faltered here a time or two.  I have spoken of and recounted offenses in my mind that I have claimed to have already forgiven.  Sadly, I have even held disdain towards certain offenders, even though there were no recent events that would give me any reason to do so.  In being around other people who, like me, have perhaps not completely let go of hurtful events, I see the pain and strain that it causes in other relationships in their, and my own, life.  As we dwell on our offenses and rehash them in our own minds and with others, we prevent ourselves from healing.  I recently saw a quote that drove this message home, “To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it.”

5 Steps to Better Forgiving

We often hear this message in a similar phrase, “Forgive & Forget.”  I read a study, known as the White Bear Experiment, by Social Psychologist, Dr. Wegner, that speaks about forgetting or suppressing a thought.  The study concluded that if you try to focus on NOT thinking about something (or forgetting a sin or offense in this case), you actually end up thinking about it more. So, while you may have good intentions of “forgetting” the offense by trying NOT to think of it, you’re likely bringing it to the forefront of your mind even more so.  A solution would be to try to replace the thought with something more positive.

I have been hurt by “repeat offenders” before and I find that I am most at peace when I focus on the good that the individual brings into my life.  None of us are perfect, and I find that replacing my negative feelings or frustrations with positive experiences not only improves the relationship with the offender, but it also frees me from dwelling on the offenses.  Plus, this shift keeps me from retelling the offense, when I’m naturally focused on it less.

5.  Do kind acts for the offender

I have to admit, this is one concept I had not even thought to do. It wasn’t until I read an article in a children’s magazine called “Janie’s Seventy Times Seven,” that it even occurred to me.  To summarize, Janie is frustrated with her little brother, Jimmy, constantly breaking her crayons, bugging her, making mistakes, and so on. She goes to discuss the matter with her Mom and says, “I forgave Jimmy for getting into my stuff and told him to keep out of my room forever. He didn’t Mom. He’s wrecking all my stuff.” Janie’s Mom asks Janie to read a scripture about forgiveness, then Janie replies “It says to forgive seventy times seven. That’s way too many times. It isn’t fair at all.” Janie’s mom replies, “Wouldn’t you want the Savior to forgive you more than once? Think about it. Maybe you could try teaching Jimmy how to take care of things. Jesus Christ said to do good to those who offend you—even your enemies.” Janie then takes a notebook and starts tallying all the times she has to forgive her brother, since she’s convinced that she doesn’t have to forgive him anymore once she reaches 70 times 7 (or 490 times).  But with each mistake her little brother makes, Janie does as her mom suggests and either teaches him the right way or does a kind deed for him.  After a few days, her tally gets to 12 out of 490 and she throws the paper away.  She later tells her Mom that she didn’t need to keep track of the times she had to forgive him because, “Jimmy doesn’t seem as annoying as he used to.”

My take away from the story was that Jimmy didn’t stop making mistakes, none of us do, it was Janie that worked to have a change of heart.  It’s her change of heart that brings us full circle to step 1 – sincere prayer. Sincere prayer is the first step to forgiveness, as it teaches us to heal or transform our own hearts, so that we have the strength to forgive, even when it may not be easy, or even when someone might not even ask for forgiveness.

I don’t know where I fall on the forgiveness spectrum.  I’d like to think I’m a forgiving person.  However, studying more about forgiving others, I’ve learned I have room for improvement.  Storytelling of my offenses or dwelling on them is something I struggle with, while doing kind deeds had not even been considered before.  There have been times where I had practiced the replacement of negative thoughts with positive ones, and there were times where I learned to hold my tongue regarding offenses.  In reflecting back on those moments, I realize that I was more at peace with myself.  That is the place I want to be in my life, and studying this topic reminded me of that.

Hopefully, reflecting on these 5 steps to better forgiving others will help you, as it did me.  May you find the calming peace that a forgiving heart brings.

Never Give Up

I was helping my second grader with her reading homework the other day.  I was assisting more with her understanding the meaning of a verb, rather than intervening.  It’s important for a child to do their own work and come to their own conclusions.    Of course, it’s tough for me not to swoop in and direct her to the right answer, but that doesn’t allow her to learn and grow.  Plus, it gives me no indication of where she is academically, if I’m doing it for her.  And, I’m so glad that I got to listen to her thought process as it pertained to the open-ended questions.  Her assignment was based on Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare.  A common one for sure, with a moral that “slow and steady wins the race.”  However, that was not how my daughter saw it.

After she found her verbs and circled her adjectives, she came to the open-ended questions.  The first question was, “What did you learn from this fable?”  She was quick to answer with, “Never give up.”  I thought about trying to have her think more about the story, but then I realized the question wasn’t, “What do you think Aesop meant for the moral of the story to be?”  It was, “What did you learn from this fable?”  And she learned a powerful message.

Never Give Up

It got me thinking how both the tortoise and the hare finished the race.  They had different approaches and there was only one “winner,” but they both finished.  The Hare didn’t wake up and say, “Screw it.  I already lost.”  Neither of them gave up.

Now let me add, before we focus too much on the word never, that I know it’s not right to speak in absolutes, such as always and never.  There are things in life that may seem to be giving up (such as divorce), but may instead be one or both of the people deciding to not give up on themselves.  Not that I am pro-divorce.  I am simply stating that I recognize that there are instances when “giving up” is a healthier solution.  It’s these instances that I am not speaking about today.

Today I am speaking about never giving up on yourself.  Having experienced multiple times when giving up on life sounded like the optimal solution (a post for another day), and seeing what blessings have transpired after those dark and dreadful moments, I feel confident on this matter.  I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if I’m the Tortoise or the Hare, as long as I finish the race by crossing the proper finish line versus creating my finish line.

On a much less depressing note, I am learning to never give up on other matters in my life that could use a little extra focus, love, and appreciation.  This blog is one example of that.  I have wanted to throw in the towel in regards to this blog more times than I can count.  While there may come a time when that is what is best for myself and our family, today is not that day.  So, stay tuned, and never give up!

8 Fun Ways for Kids to Serve!

As Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, it seems so has our Summer.  School starts this week for us and, as a result, we have been busily finishing up our 50 Fabulous Summer Bucket List Items.  We recently completed our “Day of Service” item.  Since I had put a bit of time researching just the right opportunities for my kids (ages 1 through 9) to spread kindness, and it turned out so well, I thought I would share my 8 fun ways for kids to serve!  We didn’t have a chance to do all eight of these ideas, but the ones we did do had some surprising results.

Take cards to the assisted living home.

We have done this a few times now and my kids are getting more comfortable at going up to the residents and delivering their handmade cards.  Sometimes it is difficult for young kids to feel comfortable walking up to strangers, let alone strangers who may have disabilities or ailments that may make children uncomfortable from their lack of understanding.  I admit, when I was a teenager and served in our school Community Service Club, visiting the local retirement home gave me anxiety.  I digress, as this post is not about me and my insecurities.

We usually invite other families to join us so that we can have a card making party and be armed with more cards to give out when we arrive at the assisted living home.  I’ve learned that the best time to arrive is around lunch or dinner time, to deliver cards while they are all gathered for meals.  On times when we have arrived outside of these hours, we have merely placed the cards on the tables for the residents to see when they arrive.  Our cards usually include little notes wishing them a nice day with a drawing and some stickers.  I think it’s fun to include the ages of the kids who are creating the cards, to personalize the experience a little more for the recipient.

Fun ways to serve

Leave “lucky pennies” for children to find.

When I was a little girl, my Mom used to say, “Heads up, pick it up.  Give it away, have luck all day.”  I’ve heard variations on that, but the common thread is that a penny with its head facing up is considered good luck.  But, let’s be honest, a kid doesn’t care what way a penny is facing.  A penny, in their minds, is as good as gold.  My friend and I sent our kids out, with pennies in hand, to go place “lucky pennies” along the pathway where we were eating our lunch picnic during this year’s Day of Service.  As soon as the kids were done eating their lunches, they all ran off to check the status of the pennies they had placed.  Such a fun and simple way to spread joy!

Deliver baked goods to your local fire station.

This one is ALWAYS the highlight of my kids’ Day of Service.  It’s probably because the fire fighters in our town are all too willing to give them a tour of their vehicles, particularly their engine.  What child doesn’t love getting up in a fire engine?  I feel like we’re on the recipient side of this act of service, as they seem to stop everything to teach our children and let them explore.  The best part is, as an adult, I actually learn new stuff about their role in our community every time we go.

 Attach a bag of coins to a vending machine.

After our assisted living home stop, lunch break, and fire station exploration, we headed over to our local hospital to do two more acts of service.  Before heading out for our Day of Service, we had placed a dollar worth of coins into six separate baggies with a note that read, “Spreading random acts of kindness.  Enjoy a treat on us!”  Upon arriving to the hospital, we sought out the vending machines and taped the baggies to the machines with packing tape.  Since we had six bags and there were only two vending machines, we ended up taping four and delivering two to patients waiting in the Emergency Department.

Place coloring books and crayons in hospital waiting areas.

This was our second act of service within the hospital, and the most surprising one to me.  Being that we were two women with eight kids between us, I don’t imagine we appeared dangerous, yet some adults and kids were quick to refuse our offer of crayons and coloring sheets.  I was shocked by a mom who sharply declined our act of kindness and kids who seemed confused by our offer.  In fact, nobody would take any from us.  We ended up placing the items on tables near the waiting families and informing them that they were theirs for the taking, should they change their mind.  Some kids quickly went for the coloring pages once they were laying out.  I suppose many of us have come accustomed to believing that there is always some sort of catch to something being “free.”

The three remaining items for 8 fun ways for kids to serve were not done during our Day of Service, but I had intentions of doing these as well.  Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to do them for one reason or another.

Leave positive messages with sidewalk chalk along walkways.

I really wanted to do this one, but I forgot to buy the sidewalk chalk.  My hope was to have the kids leave smiley faces along sidewalks or perhaps little messages that just said, “Have a good day,” or “You’re beautiful.”  Sidewalk chalk messages and drawings seem to easily catch the attention of others.  How fun would it be to know that others might be lifted up by such a simple message for days to follow?

Return shopping carts to their stalls.

This was another way that I thought my kids would have fun serving.  However, after further thought, I realized that my kids are a bit too young to be gathering shopping carts and pushing them through busy parking lots.  Plus, my kids kept worrying that if we did this task, then we would end up putting the workers who normally do this undertaking out of a job.    I imagine once they’re a little older, they’ll understand that the “shopping cart retrievers” have other responsibilities to ensure job security.  Perhaps then we can give this act of service a go?

Leave a small present or a note of appreciation in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

My Mom used to give the garbage man, the mail carrier, our dry cleaners’ owners, and our gardeners a box of See’s Candies for Christmas, as a sign of our appreciation.  I always thought it such a nice gesture.  While I don’t have the ability to give such generous tokens, I thought it might be nice to drop a note of gratitude or perhaps grab a candy bar and leave it in our mailbox for our mail carrier.

::COMMERCIAL BREAK::  You may notice that I am being very PC in referring to our mail carrier.  This is because I once addressed a card to my BFF that said, “Dear Mailman, Please deliver this card to the best friend in the whole wide world.”  When the card arrived, the mail carrier had left a note on the front of the card, slashing out the word “man” portion of Mailman and putting “woman” instead.  Since then, I’ve tried to be more considerate about the gender of a mail carrier.  Normally, I’m not very PC, but if I’m going to show my appreciation, I certainly want to be sensitive to their feelings.  ::NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING::

All of these 8 fun ways for kids to serve almost seem too easy.  By the time we had done five of these eight acts of kindness, it seemed like we had hardly done anything at all.  But who is to say how far these acts may go?  They weren’t big at all in the grand scheme of things, but if they changed the outlook of even one person’s day, then I think we’ve had a success.  Heck, I even got a little happy when my daughter delivered a card to an elderly gentleman playing the piano at the assisted living home, and he noticed her name on the card and said that it was also his sister’s name.  Perhaps just triggering the memory of a loved one brought joy to him?  I know remembering my mom can be bittersweet, but each memory is a reminder that she lives on in me.

As parents, we have the responsibility to teach our children so many things; at times it feels overwhelming.  However, teaching my children to look beyond themselves is towards the top of my list.  As a Christian woman, my focus is to teach my children of Jesus Christ.  What better way to teach of Him, than to teach them how to be charitable, which is the pure love of Christ?   I hope they remember these days that we set aside every so often to serve, and seek out their own ways to lift others through their daily activities.

Most Important Work

I’ve felt a bit blue recently.  I am not sure what to attribute it to in my life.  Things are all going well in our world, so it’s definitely something that is coming from within.  I could chalk it up to the mental illness I battle, but that doesn’t make it any easier to face it.  In trying to figure out what positive insight I could share this week, I decided I needed my own inspiration and hit my Worth Remembering board on Pinterest.  The quote that hit the spot was the one that reads, “Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work.”  You may have noticed that I did not credit anyone as having said that.  That’s because, there is debate on who was quoted as saying this line.  You’ll see credit given to C.S. Lewis and John Trainer, M.D..  C.S. Lewis fans say that he was never quoted as saying this, so I guess that leaves it to John Trainer, M.D.  Regardless of its origin, it was what I needed to read.  The one thing I have been trying my best to do this past week is make the most of the last days of my children’s Summer.  While I feel like I’m failing in many ways, I have focused on the most important work, which is my children.  I need to remember this, because usually I feel like a failure in the department of parenting as well.  I’m not claiming to feel superior as a parent, but I’m feeling more confident than usual as I place my focus more fully on them.

Most Important Work

 

With that being said, I’m keeping this short and sweet.  My week has been filled with loads of fun memories being made with my kids.  As a result, many other things got pushed to the back burner, and that’s okay.  This time in our lives will end all too soon.  Now is the time for my children to be my most important work and, may I add, my most important play.  So, work and play we shall do!