Body Language

June 25th, 2019

Did you know that the average woman smiles 62 times in a day and the average man smiles only 8 times? I admit that seems like a huge difference but I have to say it’s not surprising. Women tend to be held to a higher judgement when it comes to expression (IMO). If we didn’t smile several times a day, someone would ask us what’s the matter?

When you’re trying to connect with someone, I mean…really get their attention, how do you do it?

Do you smile when you speak?
Do you make eye contact and seem interested in what they are saying?
Do you look away as they speak?
Do you put down what you’re doing and lean in?
Do you make facial expressions? Frown, squint your eyes, furrow your brow?
Do you fold your arms?
Listen with an answer on the tip of your tongue?

Our bodies say way more than our mouths in just about every conversation throughout our day. Scary, huh? I’m cursed with an outgoing personality! It causes me to come on too strong a lot of the time. I blurt out exactly what’s on my mind (not always a good thing) and I’m honest to a dang fault. I also talk WITH MY HANDS!!! I have tried, really tried to keep from using them but those suckers come out a waving every time I’m in a good conversation with someone. I’m passionate and animated. Which can leave me with a feeling of “does this person NOT like me?”.

Body language is everything. It can heal relationships and it can wreck them. If you think about it, the way you carry yourself gives off a very important vibe regarding your inside emotions. If you’re mad, people are going to know it. If you are feeling warm and loving, they’ll know that too. Even people that are rather good at hiding their feelings show something isn’t alright through their body language. It may be a tiny glimpse but it will show in some way or another.

I heard recently that if we want to grow in our relationships, we have to be very aware of our body language. If we want to improve with our spouse or family….even outside relationships, we must reign in what our bodies are saying without us using our words.

For me, I know what I say with my facial expressions is key. I am my mother’s daughter. She never let you wonder how she was feeling and I tend to be just as bold. Shame on me! I regret picking up that habit. I can really love you and care about you…..and deeply wound you with just my facial response. It hurts me to admit. Sorry, family.

I don’t have a magic potion to this whole body language thing. But, I will take heart and I hope you do too…that what I say with my body matters. So, I will S L O W down and think as I’m speaking or listening to others. I will be more mindful of how I’m listening and what my body or face is saying when in a conversation. I will try to show interest, kindness and patience with my mind, heart and body. I want to make others feel loved and cherished, don’t you?

5 Ways to Use POSITIVE BODY LANGUAGE:

1. Smile. (This goes for men too)

2. Make eye contact. (I hate talking to shifty-eyed peeps)

3. Lean in. (This doesn’t mean invade another’s personal space)

4. Relax. (Don’t fidget, shift or wiggle around)

5. Show honest emotion. (Lying or deceit is easily detected)

Now, go on…get out there and be friendly!

Changing My View

June 24th, 2019

Do you know anybody not hurting or struggling in some way or another? I don’t. Every person has something. My something probably doesn’t look like your something….but, I can assure you both feel painful.

Just when I think I’m on the up…

A challenge appears.

I don’t care how good or easy your life is, hang on…something will come along and threaten your joy/peace/happiness. I’m not in a funk (today) but for a while now, I have wandered around in my own desert complaining about the bread & locusts. I know that I know what I know. There is someone somewhere hurting a whole lot more than me, always!

I wonder why we aren’t more tender to one another. Instead, we lose patience or shake our head in disbelief that you or I cannot dig our way out of the pit. Some pits are darker than others and I bet you get it when I say….I don’t want to be in the pit and I certainly don’t want to take anyone else in there with me.

My hubby and I have been climbing mountains a lot lately. Real ones not the kind that masquerade as life issues. Every time, we chug our way up…..clinging to the sides of the mountain! I hang on to my seat and cardoor as if either of them can save me if we happen to tumble over. I know they won’t but still I hang on for dear life. Sometimes, I even catch myself holding my breath.

I do the same sort of thing mentally when I am struggling. I squeeze harder to the issue threatening to bomb my comfort or peace. I roll it over & over in my head. I ‘what if’ it to death. I dwell, oh Lordy do I dwell! I get so wrapped up in MAKING whatever it is that hurts stop hurting that I hurt myself more. Sometimes, even taking others with me.

If you’ve ever made it to the top of a high mountain…you know how spectacular the view is once you’re there. Every time I finally hop out of my car and twirl around, I see it. Miles and miles of beauty, gorgeous land, animals…..life! All peacefully lying below as if I didn’t just come from that very location. Nothing’s changed except perspective.

The same goes for struggles. If I just change my perspective a tiny bit, everything that hurts begins to sting just a bit less. I see things that my lying eyes/heart missed while it was wrapped up in pain. Life begins to look a whole lot more wonderful.

Wherever your view is today, I promise….there is something wonderful in this life that God has JUST FOR YOU! Keep looking.

Lord

I believe everything is in your capable hands. You do not need me to worry or wring my hands over a single issue in this life. Thank you for taking care of every detail and not holding me responsible for what YOU have already planned for my life.

Amen

The Day I Beat Up My Emotions

June 13th, 2019

It’s been a long and fun week working in VBS! I haven’t crawled around on the floor like this in many long years. It’s like a game each morning to discover what body part is going to rebel upon rising out of bed! Who knew VBS was such a killer? Or perhaps, I just NEED TO GET INTO S H A P E !!!

My body isn’t the only part that has stretched and grown this week, so has my old lady heart! Little children have a way of reacting change inside of us. It’s like they have a human game controller that pushes all the buttons of our minds & hearts. I don’t spend time with little people….however, I am immersed in teendom and there is a huge difference in the two groups. Little people are very active in their imaginations still. They react and move according to whatever pops up in their heads. I like it, now that I’m re-familiar with it. Which leads me to point out just how much I operate in MY OWN DANG EMOTIONS!

On night 1, the Lord in all His HOLY GOODNESS sent me a Mariela. Mariela doesn’t listen or follow instructions. She wiggles away, dances to her own music and has an over-zealous opinion about every topic.

If it sounds familiar….. I am Mariela.

I can’t sit still in my emotions. I take off and run wild in my thoughts & imagine the worst in life situations. I dance to my own music and oftentimes I fall down on the dance floor as if I’m boogying on a ruffly blanket. And, don’t get me started on how many opinions I have about….well, everything!

On night 2, Caleb & his tied to his back “back-pack” jumped on Gunnar’s back and set the whole group into a tail-spin fall. Boys will be boys, right? It’s hard to sit still and listen!

If Caleb seems familiar…..I am Caleb.

I am quick to pick & choose what I wear and carry in my heart. I will turn to the most unhealthy of things in a split second — food, how I spend my time & where I focus my energy! Oh and I will jump to conclusions and wreck your plans and mine if I’m not very careful with my emotions.

Day 3, Axil took off and did her own thing every chance she had. She couldn’t be bothered with whatever everyone else was doing, she had her own plan. If I tried to bring her back to the gang, she would go limp (hence, my killer aching back). Even gentle threats of calling MOM didn’t stop the shenanigans.

If Axil makes total sense….I am Axil.

I don’t have time for what everyone else is doing. I set my own schedule since I am an adult but for the most part…..it’s wasted and useless time sucking stuff. I race away from relationships, time with people that matter and convince myself that MY TIME IS MORE VALUABLE than whatever task begs for my attention. I will even ignore God when HE tells me clearly to go, seek and do! Yea, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Day 4, sickness hit the whole VBS building.

People went home, tummies were wrecked and threats of more illness loom amongst the rest of our people.

If being sick of _________? sounds familiar……I am sick.

I am infected with sick emotions. Isn’t it funny (not really) how easy we are set off by a rude comment or a misinterpretation of what someone says or does to us? I can dream up in my own head all sorts of stuff that never even exists. I can vomit ugliness and I pray I’m not the only one to do this but I want a vaccine to stop the spread of my toxic emotion sickness. Don’t you?

Here’s what I know:

I can show love by not jumping to conclusions about someone else’s words or actions. God can & will handle them if they are in the wrong. Since I’m not God…..have at em, Lord. Help me to be more like you – and less like Me!

I can offer grace by withholding my true feelings in situations that are begging me to respond. God is endlessly gracious to me. I want to extend such a good & loving grace too.

I don’t have to run from my feelings. But, I don’t have to wear them like a ripped up t-shirt and tan leggings to Walmart either. A good rule here is to PRAY! PRAY PRAY PRAY before blasting the world with my f e e l i n g s!

I can be healthy with my emotions. It isn’t an accident that God put me with the cutest little gaggle of preschoolers this week. Oh no no no, it isn’t. God knew just how much I needed to see myself through some of the funniest little antics of these children. Just like each of them, I need to grow and mature before I am who God desires me to be.

Lord,

I thank you for the little children you shared with me this week. In each of them, I see myself. Perfect and yet….not exactly where I’m supposed to be. Thank you for reminding me to kick to the curb everything that doesn’t belong inside of me.

Amen

The Mom I Wish I’d Been

May 11th, 2019

What good does wishing do, right? I’m not whining and beating a regret drum, I promise. Simply reflecting on a few ways that I might change if I were given my mom days again. I’m in a great and happy place today. My kids are grown, I like all 3 of them and the people they’re married to and I’m proud as proud can be of every single one of them.

But if I were wishing…

I wish I had relaxed more.

I was wound up banjo tight for most of my mothering days. I worried too much, held on tighter than I needed to and managed to invent nonsense reasons to get all stressed out. Looking back, I wasted so much needed energy on crazy stuff that NEVER HAPPENED!

I wish I’d taken better care of myself.

I worked myself into a frenzy most days. Which was not only tough on me, it was hard on my kids. I could’ve sat reading another story instead of mopping my way to bed. Kids just don’t stay little long. The housework never leaves!

I wish I had chilled out more.

I confess, I was high strung. I didn’t need to be so intense but my personality is just like that naturally. I am pushy, bossy and well….a bit queenie like. I suppose I wanted to make some kind of perfect life for everyone (didn’t work) but if I had it to do over again, I’d let all kinds of stuff goooooooooo.

I wish I had forgiven myself more.

I tried so hard to get it right that inevitably I messed some things up. When I fell short, I took it hard. I beat myself up and challenged my capabilities to extreme. It was a dumb form of self-punishment. I didn’t deserve any of it.

I wish I’d shown more grace.

I could point out that I did not mother like my own mother and puff myself up for that tiny victory but the truth is….I was tough on my family many times and missed opportunities to show grace. Not always but enough that it stings a little to think back on.

I wish I had given my kids more jobs.

I didn’t want to throw all my work onto my kids like my mom did me. I thought I was protecting them from a life of slavery. The reality is that I raised up kids who couldn’t do a lot of things (not everything) once they moved out. I learned way too late that jobs around the house are very important character builders. It doesn’t kill anyone to help out in a family.

I wish I hadn’t compared myself to other moms.

Who cares? Who gives a rip, really? What works in my house may not in yours and vice versa. Stop worrying about who does what better. It absolutely will not matter once they leave your nest. Just ask your grown kids. No one cares. Beverly Goldberg’s kids will grow up and leave and so will Mommy Dearest. Note: Please don’t whip your kids with a coat hanger.

I wish I’d have known how quickly time would fly.

People told me, I didn’t listen. When you’re in the trenches of being a mommy to a pile of kids, the days are l o n g! But dang it, the years just whiz on by. I would love to have all three of my kids sleeping under my roof just one more night. It is the peace-y’est my mama heart has ever felt.

Wishing just doesn’t cut it though. My course has run. I won’t mother the same ever again and that’s okay. I’m not in a war with what I did or didn’t do. I’m confident that what my kids needed, I provided. My role in their lives was to be the best mama I could and to love them unconditionally. I tried to do just that. I believe each of them know I could’ve done better but none of them hold any shortcomings against me. Life goes on whether we are good at it or not.

I feel privileged to be a mother and even more so that I have made it to the other side…..I’m getting ready for my new role as a grandmother! October can’t get here fast enough! I cannot wait to look into the face of my 1st grandbaby! Who will this person be? How much love can I smother all over him or her?

Look out world! I hear this is where the parenting thing takes a back seat and grandparent life takes off like a rocket ship! I AM READY!!

I Loved You First

March 6th, 2019

We’re 3 days away from the wedding day of our Sweetboy. He’s no longer a boy of course, he’s 28 years old. It’s been a privilege to mother him and to watch him grow up to be who God intended him to be. I’ve spent this last 28 years leaning hard into God on his behalf and this morning, like many other mornings….I thanked God for all the ways He showed me love, gave me direction and protected my relationship with my son. He may be just an ordinary person to the world, but he’s not to me.

He is MY son. I loved him first.

Without planning to this week, we had a few conversations about all that is taking place right now in his life. Marriage is so big! It’s one of the most important decisions we ever make. Choosing a spouse is very special but it’s also extremely difficult. No one goes into that relationship with any intentions of destroying the other or leaving if things get hairy. Most who marry want forever and yet, so many never make it.

I have been praying for Kelsey before she was placed in her mom & dad’s arms.

Parenting is challenging, there’s no way I would’ve ever been a mother worth a hill of beans if I had not buried myself in God’s love first. I knew I had to turn to Him and that I would never be able to love like God but I could surely come very close with his help.

As I watch my son take all these exciting steps and life changes, my #1 prayer is that HE LOVES GOD first and then Kelsey and the family they will someday have together. Why? Because I know a secret.

No one, not one person is ever good enough to make or have the perfect human relationship. We are broken, flawed and rather selfish naturally as people. We get so many things wrong and it’s pretty easy to find fault when you’re feeling jilted or frustrated with the ones you love. Our hearts are fragile and a lot of times wicked. God knew that and He made a perfect way for us through Jesus. Every marriage needs to come with a FORGIVENESS button. We hurt each other (not because we are just jerks) but because we selfishly skip important moments that require forgiveness and mercy.

Many marriages, parent/child & friendship relationships can be destroyed by anger and unforgiveness.

For my own life, I KNOW what I KNOW about navigating life with others. If I don’t clear up wrongs and offer or ask for forgiveness, it will crash and burn.

So, here I am…watching the next big steps of the sweetest boy God could’ve ever given me. He’s ready. He’s found the one. He knows what he has to do and he’s jumping in with both feet. My heart is at peace and I know that Kelsey is a gift from God. Our family is so excited to love her and watch her life unfold as she cares for our son and someday the grandchildren she will mother.

I’ve loved Gavin for so long and I plan to continue (I’m his mom, for goodness sake!) but my new role is riddled with change. Some of it weird and other parts awesome! One thing I can cling to is that God in his powerful and loving wisdom, picked me to love him first. Nothing can change that and because of that high position…. my biggest prayer is that I would not squander the important spot God has placed me in his & Kelsey’s new life together.

May I be a mother & mother-in-law they can trust and one that prays for them daily.

Oh Great God,

Thank you. Thank you for this man I call Sweetboy. You made him and you shared him with me. I am honored to be his mother. Thank you for the beautiful woman you have created just for him. May what I’ve invested into him be useful to this next step in his life. Help me to mother & mother-in-law with grace & goodness throughout all the years to come. I’m so blessed & I owe it all to you, Lord.

Amen

Gavin,
You are so precious to Dad & me. We love you with an everlasting love that no one can take away. We are so thrilled to welcome Kelsey into our family. She is exactly who we’ve been praying for all these years! I know, she was worth the wait!

WE LOVE YOU WE LOVE YOU WE LOVE YOU

Mom & Dad

Growing My Own Wings

February 18th, 2019

Two weeks have gone by since we brought home our puppy, Beck. I’ve been consumed with him and every living moment has pretty much revolved around him in some way or another. He’s 9 weeks old and no matter where I take him…..people gasp and come running over to meet him because there’s something really special about new puppies and babies.

He’s our empty nest baby.

You can laugh, it’s okay. I know something inside me needed him. I have a deep wild desire to be needed, by someone or something. A dog at this age in my life seemed to be the healthiest direction for me to go. So, here I am…mothering the cutest yellow lab ON THE DANG PLANET!

In 2 weeks, my oldest will marry his dream girl. In 2 1/2 months, my middle will marry her true love too and the baby…well, she’s been married almost 2 years! It’s a lot. All coming at me rather fast. But, I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for these days my whole life. Still, mama’s don’t stop being mama’s. My role has been evolving and revamping for the last 6 – 8 years.

They don’t need me to do what I did during their school days. No cupcakes for the class or to pick them up after band practice, but they still need me. They don’t need me to wake them up or to make macaroni & cheese, they just need me to grow my own wings.

It sounds crazy but children aren’t the only people to grow up. Parents are on a path of growth that no one seems to mention when sitting beside you at the basketball games or as you gather to pray for the youth group leaving for camp. Strangely enough, you don’t even notice you are growing — until you stand face-to-face with a young adult and hug them goodbye as they leave to go back to THEIR OWN HOUSE!

It all happens in baby steps.

Without meaning to, mama’s wrap all of who they are around the children they raise. I remember the first time I realized they were gone, like…really gone and not coming back. I was dancing around in my kitchen to Stevie Nicks belting out Landslide when I started crying at the words.

I knew they’d leave.

Still.

I BUILT MY DANG LIFE AROUND THEM, you guys!

I’m not the first mama to let go.

So here I am reflecting back on them and realizing that while I was investing in them and teaching them confidence….God was hatching my own little sprout of wings. I can fly too!

Lord,
What a gift to be a mother. I never knew all the things, so many things that would happen in my heart just by watching my children grow and go. I am so proud of each of them and I owe them all a huge thank you. I have courage to move forward and to take on the next great things to come in my life. I have my own wings and I’m excited to use them!
Amen