Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tough lessons

I think I probably knew this before...but the last couple of days have really convinced me. I react to the experiences my kids have as if they were my own experience. Is this what mom's do? Do we internalize our kids' good and bad experiences into our own emotional life?

As much as I have been writing about thinking on good things and making the most of every moment, I am in a funky that I can't really explain but is best put, "I feel out of sorts". I am hurting for my kids.

Without going into details, suffice it to say, my kids have had some tough lessons this week. I so want them to only have good never be get all that they want. I know that isn't reasonable for myself...why do I want it for my kids...why do I somehow expect it to happen? I dream big for my kids and I am left grieving when they hurt.

I realize there isn't anything I can do to "fix" the situation for them, but I want to. I can offer a listening ear and, if they let me, some insights from my years of valuable experience :). It seems that is all they need. If I get too upset about their "lessons", and internalize them, they begin to feel that they can't share with me or, worse yet, they take responsibility for my feelings.

So...all this I ponder what it means to personally "love the moment"...I need to remember the same rules apply to the kids. They need the good and bad just as much as I do. It helps shape helps them learn what they want from life...and it gives them belief in their own ability to handle life's ups and downs. I can see them confidently handling both...all that life throws at them. That feels much better than internalizing their hurt...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another take on "moments"

I haven't been sleeping real well lately...and last night was another one of those up at 1:30 a.m. times. I awoke with the thought that there are no wasted moments. Too tired to blog...I captured the thought and headed back to bed.

In the light of day...and I mean light of is beautifully sunny here in Oregon...I still hold to not wasting moments. However, I hear in my head voices saying...not all moments are wonderful...bad things isn't always possible to only have good moments...sometimes we can't help but focus on bad things. Yes, this is true...bad things do happen...and how we choose to process them affects our approach to living life.

My daughter recently came home with a mug she made, sporting the phrase, "Half Full!!!" She has been working on how she views life. Challenging herself to see things "half full" versus "half empty". It doesn't mean that there aren't any road bumps or sink holes in her life, it means that when she comes up against them she is trying to see the good in the situation.

All moments are gifts from God...both the good and the bad. The "bad" help us to recognize the "good". If we only had the "good" how would we know how good life really is? So while I recognize that it can be tough to overcome the obstacles in my life...I can make a choice not to obsess on them. I can look at them as the yard stick from which I measure how good life is...I can accept that the "bad" has made my enjoyment of the "good" so much sweeter... Cathy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wasting the moment

Tuesdays are a favorite day of mine because I get to go to my acupuncturist. I always leave with more things to think about than when I walked in. Today she told me that she recently caught herself pondering a difficult time in her life, something that didn't feel good. She stopped herself and said, "That is such a waste of a moment". She allowed herself to focus on a more positive moment in the present.

I love it. "Such a waste of a moment!" Our lives are made of many, many moments...but in the end our human lives are defined by a finite number of moments. We get to choose how to use them. We have a choice...we always have a choice.

In each moment...we choose our thoughts, our activities, our intentions. If we make the choice to focus our attention on the negative, on the bleak, on a rough time in our life, on a life without hope...aren't we just wasting the moment? I don't like wasting anything...I will be more intentional with my thoughts...with my choices...with my moments...Cathy

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Productivity will have to wait

My daughter shut the front door early this morning and we both heard a clanging noise...she looked at me through the window and shrugged her shoulders...I mouthed, "I've got it, you get going". I walked around the corner and discovered the deadbolt on the front door fell off. "Dang, this is too early in the morning for repairs", I thought, and went back to bed.

I'm up now...with coffee in my bloodstream and a strong commitment to be diligent with my time this weekend. Today I am going to get more done. Today I am going to be more productive.

So, here I sit, with my blank piece of paper, writing down all the things I "should" get done today. For added efficiency I assign a time for each task...I need 30 hours today if I want to have a couple of hours to have fun. You see, today I want to go bum around Tuesday Morning with Karen...and I don't have the time if I am going to be "perfect". Maybe I can steal from Sunday's hours. So I mapped out Sunday as well. Maybe if I go to church at 9:00 am...

I have been doing this single mom gig for a long time, and I am still not used to having to do it all myself. The cleaning, the college finanical aid forms, the taxes, the soccer team finances, the board member duties, the errand running, the laundry, the cooking, the front door fix-its...and oh ya, the nurturing.

Hmmm....the nurturing. That just popped out. It brings a smile to my face. Because that's why I signed up to be a mom in the first place. so I could All the other stuff is just that...stuff.

Heck with the detailed list...heck with being "perfect". I am signing off and going for a walk with my daughter. I'm going back to the why I became a mom in the first love on a child! Tuesday Morning will have to wait....- Cathy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unexpected grace...

Yesterday I told Karen that I would blog...daily. I don't know if that was such a smart idea...but here goes (don't expect essays...maybe more random thoughts).

I just experienced an unexpected bonding moment with my teenage daughter. Tonight she validated my motherhood. I have often told myself that maybe when the kids were 30 or 40 years old they would see that I had their back, tried the best I could to be stable, offered a compassionate shoulder to cry on, and did the best I could to lessen the impact of divorce. I never imagined I would receive a glimpse of that grace when she was 15 years old.

Tonight we sat in the car and talked...about the divorce...about the ugliness. She was 7 months old when we split up. She says she doesn't know the truth about what happened...meaning who left who. Frankly, I don't know if the truth is that easily explained any more. It's probably a little bit of my truth and little bit of his. She says she will never know the truth, because there are "two sides", "two perceptions". She seemed okay with that. So did I.

In the midst of the conversation she looked at me and said I had "moved on", "grown up". My 15 year-old, so very much in the present, helped me see that I have mostly let go of the past. I don't need to fight...I don't need to explain my side...I don't need to make sure she gets how hard I try to be a good mom. She sees it. We live it.

So tonight, in a very unexpected moment, we both grew up. I could see in her eyes that she is going to be okay, and I felt the same for myself. It is so hard to know if we are doing a good job as moms. Especially when the kids are teenagers and they start to exert their independence. My lesson learned: just live true to who you are...and know that one day they will see the sacrifices and love you give them. That grace may come sooner than you think. -Cathy

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Little Bite of Reality

So. Cathy said I should blog. I would not have, frankly, without her prompting but she brought up a great point: This is what life looks like a lot of the time. At least be honest about it.

I got a call this morning before 8 am on my cell from my main boss-lady (I am a freelancer with several boss-ladies and a boss-guy). When that happens, I know something has gone terribly awry. Not one but two last-minute projects kinda blew up my day--this day...the day I'm supposed to working on Eve's Daughters stuff. Stressing to get my girl to school, I tried really really hard not to rip off her head and scream down the hole when she suggested she leave several dozen math problems (her least-favorite subject) until late tonight when they're due early tomorrow. Other little "mice" as my friend Kathy calls them--niggling little obnoxious things that go wrong at bad times--occurred, such as the kitchen faucet screen coming loose enough to spray water like a clown with seltzer all over my windows.

In the midst of this, I called a young women with whom I was to meet today--a single mom who's struggling. She asked apologetically if we could reschedule. I mouthed thankyaJesus so I could put out all the newly erupted fires. But then I thought: I know I need to be doing Eve's Daughters...I just don't know how I can be doing Eve's Daughters when life is crazy a lot of the time. I'm not in a position to be turning down paying work; again, as a freelancer, you have to take it as it comes. But am I working for money or God? I wish it truly were the latter but I'm telling you, He's got to pay better, you know?

So there's my honest confession, courtesy of Cathy, of saying reality kinda bites sometimes. I believe I know what I've been called to do; it's just that life gets in the way a lot of the time. And while I'm pretty sure that God will someday judge our progress with Eve's Daughters and proclaim me a major disappointment (because He always liked Cathy best), I try to remember to get out of my own way and not give myself too much credit--that I'm so terribly important that the world might just spin off its axis without me. You know. More or less.

So later this afternoon, when the fires died to embers, I took myself out for a walk and enjoyed the blustery smells. Then I made some dinner and wrote my to-do list for tomorrow and realized it will all keep going--Eve's Daughters included--with or without me. Em may be up late tonight doing math problems and learning a valuable lesson about time management. I probably don't have to micromanage that.

I wish I could wrap this up cleverly but I'm fresh out. Just know, moms, that we're all trying to figure it out. But at least we have each other. And we're keeping it honest.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Yesterday I did what I haven't done in ages...I visited a self-help section at the bookstore. Not just any bookstore...but Powell's downtown! I am amazed at how many books there are on how to fix myself. Get happy...get skinny...get smart...stop letting people take advantage of life with intention...find the man of your dreams...the list goes on...

Why was I there? I'm not really sure. I think I wanted to heal my life. What I realized in walking up and down the stacks of an endless number of that I have all that I need to heal my life right inside of me. I don't need books. I just need me...and my God.

God knew what he was doing when he picked Paul to be one of his "go-to" guys. Saul/Paul...a man in need of some self-help if ever there was one. Until that road to Damascus...then his life an instant. God changed Paul...and Paul's words can help us change.

I don't know if God works such "in your face" miracles these days...but I do know that God can make the difference between a dreary life and a joyful one. It isn't something that just happens though...we need to do our part. We need to participate.

As the new decade unfolds I am committed to uncovering God's teachings on how to lead a joyful life...beginning with Philippians 4:8:

"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

At the highest level, it begins with God...and continues with understanding our place in Him. In its practical form, it begins with changing our thoughts. Changing what we think about...what we meditate upon.

What I realized when I walked out of Powell's without making a purchase is that I have the only book I need...I just need to read it...and meditate on it. I have God's Word...the Bible. The best self-help book around. - Cathy