Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor.

Love your neighbor, not just the ones that are nice to you, bake you cookies, and lend you things. I'm blessed with neighbors like those, they're easy to love....

Love your neighbor, not only the ones that actually live in your neighborhood but the neighbors that live on the "other" side of town.

Love your neighbor, the unloveable ones who yell at their kids, are rough with them, and leave them unattended most of the time. And while you love on those neighbors, be sure to love on their children too.

Love your neighbor, the ones that do not go to the same church as you.

Love your neighbor, the one who doesn't go to church at all.

Love your neighbor, the neighbors that speak in a way that make you want to cover your childrens' ears.

Love your neighbor, the one who would NEVER vote for the same president as you.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor that drinks too often and too much and has difficulty finding their way home.

Love your neighbor, the ones that tell stories behind your back when they think you are not listening.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor who borrows money and "forgets" to pay it back.....more than once.

Love your neighbor, whose skin may be a different color.

Love your neighbor, the one who you can not understand because they speak a different language than you.

Love your neighbor, the neighbor who can fit all of his belongings in a shopping cart.

Love your neighbor, the one who looks like he spent time behind bars.

And love the neighbor who actually is behind bars.

Love your neighbor, the ones who have been orphaned or abandoned.

And this is a hard one, love the people you don't even like. The people who are unkind, who have built walls so high that you don't even want them to let you in. Love on those neighbors who have a chip on their shoulder so big, that you can see it a mile away. Yep, whoever that is you're picturing right now, love on them too. Most likely they are the ones who need it the most.

It is easy to love those who are just like us. Easy to love those neighbors with whom we share common backgrounds, values, and beliefs. But God says love your neighbor and we don't get to choose which ones. It is simple, love them all. Love your neighbor, even the unloveable ones. Sounds so easy but yet it is the most difficult thing we may be callled to do.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.”


Monday, September 24, 2012

Still Being Brave.....Part 2

I told you there were lessons in winning and in losing. And once again, I was the one learning the lessons.
And tonight I told my son that he worked hard and he deserved to win but that a lot of kids probably deserved to win. But sometimes there can only be one winner. However,  if we take the lessons that we learned and apply them to our lives, we can still be winners!

Try Anyways:
Yesterday, my oldest son told me. "Mom, me and this other kid do not have a chance." From the beginning of this whole school election process, Nathan did not expect to win. He knew the other kids. He knew they had a lot of friends and had been on the student council the previous year. He knew his chances were slim. But he never let that deter him from trying his best. He still worked hard on his poster and on his speech.

The odds are often against us in life. Give it your best effort and TRY ANYWAYS!

Don't Let Others Get You Down:
Over the weekend, he also told me that there were some kids telling him that they weren't going to vote for him because they would be voting for another boy. When asked what did he say when people told him that , he said, " I just tell them I don't care. I don't care if I win and then I walk away." ......And then I walk away. What wisdom! Imagine if we were all so smart as to just walk away when people say hurtful things to us.

People will be unkind. TRY ANYWAYS.

Face Your Fears:
Do something you're afraid of, it is a great way to build self confidence.

Be afraid and TRY ANYWAYS.

Be Hopeful:
Although Nathan was pretty sure he wouldn't win his election, he had hope. He would say things like, " I don't really care if I win but it would be nice if I did." He had hope. He prayed on it and he was hopeful but he was okay with either outcome. In life, sometimes situations seem hopeless but hope can give us peace and a positive attitude.

Be hopeful and TRY ANYWAYS.

Know Your Fans:
In life, if we choose to be brave then we should expect to win some and  will lose some. The important thing is knowing your true fans. The people who are by your side no matter what, those are your true fans. During his election, Nathan had friends who told him they would be voting for him. He ran against one of his good friends and instead of them being competetive about it, they just embraced the experience. And of course he knows we, his family, are his true fans. We are celebrating for him today. No he didn't win but we are so proud of him because he is our winner. We are celebrating his bravery, his hard work, his courage, and his great attitude towards it all. We are his fans, when he loses and when he wins. Isn't that what it is to be a parent?  And in life isn't that what it is to be a good friend.

I asked Nathan if he would consider running for an office again next year. This is what he had to say, " Yep. And next year, I bet you I can get my friend (don't want to say his name) to run with me. I bet I can talk him into it." So not only does he plan on continuing to be brave, he plans on dragging others along with him......including his mom.

Here is a short video of Nathan giving his speech

Friday, September 21, 2012

Being BRAVE.....Part 1

About a week and a half ago, I reamed my oldest son. You know when you just feel the ultimate need to lecture them and let them have it, whatever the "it" happens to be at that moment. Sometimes it's deserved and sometimes it just happens to be the time of month where you are hormonally unbalanced. I think in this situation it was a little bit of both.  Deserved and....well the other.

Our oldest son happens to be one of those people who doesn't always perform to his potential. He likes to do things that come easy to him and if something is going to take a lot of work and practice, he really isn't that interested. He has started different sports and activities and hasn't really stuck with anything for a long length of time. So on this particular day, I was having a "talk" with him about doing "hard things". I was explaaaaining to him that often things don't come easy and we have to practice and put in hard work in order to get better at them.  And I was strongly insinuating that he didn't like to do things that were even a little bit hard. He probably just heard blah, blah, blah! I honestly didn't think he was listening to me at all. He was looking at me as  if he couldn't wait for me to stop talking. And his silence seemed to say, "If I don't say anything she will stop talking and this will be over soon."  Not my proudest mom moment ever although some of it needed to be said, could have been done a little better.

Anyways, I didn't think he was listening. But that night he went out to dinner with my husband and this is what he told him. " Mom told me I don't like to do hard things. She says I don't try things that are hard."  Geez, that made me feel real good." OUCH! So then I felt horrible. Of course, I began replaying in my head what I had said to him and imagining all of the therapy he was going to need in order to undo the damage I'd caused to his self esteem. I made a mental note to myself to try and remedy this "situation", meaning I wanted to lessen the mom guilt that I was feeling. But it was late at night and the next day flew by with all the busyness of mom duties and I just never got around to it.

I do not know how much, if any of that "lecture" led to the following events. I only know that my son went on to do some very hard and very brave things over the next week. You see he had been wanting to run for the school elections. You have to pass a test in order to run. Last year, he didn't pass the test. Not because he wasn't capable but because he didn't study enough. Our "talk" happened to be the weekend that preceded this test he was supposed to pass. On Monday, he took the test. On Tuesday morning, he found out he passed the test. On Tuesday afternoon, he came home from school to tell me that he would be running in the school election........for President.

For President?
This is the same kid who last year wanted to run for the position the least amount of people wanted because it would give him a better chance of winning. The kid who didn't pass the test last year. The same kid who is frightened to speak in front of large groups of people. THE KID who wanted to throw his class spelling bee on purpose because it may require him to be in front of lots of people. Now don't get me wrong, he is not shy but he is not what you would consider outgoing either. He doesn't want anyone to catch him being too different and he likes to blend in.

So over the course of this week, he has spent a weekend creating a poster to hang.  He gave up a lot of his weekend time to work on his poster, without any complaining (which is a big deal). He asked us if we would get him a shirt.  For the first time....he wanted to stand out. He spent free time after doing homework working on a speech, again with no complaints.  He thanked us countless times for helping him with his poster and his speech.  And on Monday, he will give a speech to half of the school at an assembly. He is being brave.

Great! Right? My "talk" must have really hit home. Nope, I don't believe so. I believe that my child has always been brave, I just needed to take a different perspective. You see, he has tried many different things. He has tried the guitar and various sports. Maybe he needs a little work in the area of perseverance but brave is trying things that are new, things that are hard, and things that make us uncomfortable.  Sometimes we find weakness in others that is not there because it is the weakness we we see in ourselves. It becomes the filter through which we see things.

Nathan doesn't expect to win, although he says, " It would be nice."  There is a girl running and he is positive all of the girls will vote for her and the boy votes will be divided among the 3 boys. Not only is he brave, he is smart. He already understands girls and politics,,,,ha!ha! But he is brave because he is putting himself out there anyways.

Anyways, if the 10 year old can be brave then so can I. Once again, I tried to teach my child a lesson but instead he has taught me. What areas am I being brave? What things am I not doing because they may not work out the way I expect them to? What am I afraid to try because I may fail? What makes me uncomfortable? Well, I have some of those answers.....I'm just not quite brave enough to share them yet. But I do know last week, he inspired me to do something out of my comfort zone and I think it's going to work out quite nicely.
So here's to being brave.
And it's only Part 1 because there's got to be more  lessons to learn......whether you win or lose.

And I think this says it all....


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


1. n; the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness.
2. n; truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness.
3. n; freedom from deceit or fraud.
We begin telling our children at a very young age not to lie. Most people value honesty and try to instill that particular value within their children. We encourage them to tell the truth and that the consequences will be less severe if the truth comes out before a cover up story, otherwise known as a lie.  Honesty is not only vital in a  parent-child relationship. There are so many other relationships where expectations of honesty exist such as employers, spouses, friendships, etc.
So my question is, if honesty is important enough for us to  instill in our children then why are we constantly showing them dishonesty?  I don't mean that we are lying to them purposely. But when we look at the definition of honesty it not only consists of being truthful,  but of being.....sincere and frank.  So although, we may not lie intentionally to those around us..........are we truly displaying honesty? Are we being sincere?  Are we being forthright with how we feel and what we know/feel to be true? No, for the most part, I think not.  I believe that most the time people are not honest due to fear of judgement and disappointment, disappointment that comes from others. Because for some reason it is in our human nature to judge others.

Often, when you tell people something or share something personal someone will say, " I thought I was the only one who felt that way, " or " I'm the only person I know who has been through that".  There is no way you're the only person who has felt that way.  I've found time and time again, after sharing personal information with people that they have had similar situations or they can totally relate to how I'm feeling or things I've been through.  God has used people over and over again in my life to help in tough times and vice versa.

Often people are not displaying honesty by being sincere and frank with one another. They are only showing others what it is they want them to see. Take Fakebook for example (Facebook), a social media website where people can share their "status" or show pictures of their families or loved ones. Now, I love facebook, it's an easy way for me to share pics and what's going on in our lives with family members that live far away. But sometimes doesn't it seem like your "friends" lives are so much more exciting. Like they're always on vacation, their kids are always smiling, their spouse is wonderful, and the list goes on. Yet is only a snapshot of what people want us to see. Trust me, you might see the cute pinterest project I made but you are not going to see the huge mess that it left behind, or the destruction the toddler caused while I was creating it. You know when you log into your Fakebook account and at the top it says "What's on your mind"? How fun would that be if for one day, everyone actually put what was truly on their mind. I bet it would be surprising, or maybe not. Maybe it would just be surprising that so many of us have more in common than we thought. Perhaps most of us would have the same worries, concerns and issues. Today, my "honest" status would have said something like this, " Toddler woke up on the wrong side of his mattress.  He has been driving me crazy all day; making messes and crying over every little thing." or " I can't wait for my husband to come home so the 2 year old will have someone else to torture."

I'm not saying everyone should over share, which sometimes I tend to to do. There is a place for privacy and certainly there are things that should be kept close to our heart. But I love it when people are just plain honest. I cherish those moments when people are transparent.  I believe it is in these moments that true friendships are formed. When people let their walls down and tell it like it really is, it is an amazing opportunity for us to relate and to help one another. I feel incredibly blessed to have women in my life who love me for who I am. Friends who know I'm not always patient with my children, who see my house when it's at it's messiest, who know my fears, can see my insecurities,  and have that knowledge of yucky stuff from the past......The friends who know if I'm eating cream cheese frosting, I've probably had a pretty crappy day ;) I am so thankful for the people in my life who have let down their walls and created a safe place for me to take mine down as well. Anyways, maybe next time you're not sure if you should share something or let someone know how you're really feeling; give it a try, maybe it will be the beginning of an "honest" friendship.......

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Read or Don't Read......

I haven't written in forever...........this is due to a combination of MANY things such as an incredibly busy summer, everyday busy life with 3 very busy boys, etc.  And although there have been many things on my heart, I just haven't had the words to say what it is I want to say. I sat down to write a few times during the past month but the screen remained blank each time. So instead of writing on my blog, I wrote in my childrens' journal or went on to some mundane chore such as laundry or whatever else needed to be done around the house.

As this week went on, I just had an urgency to write something, anything. It was then that I realized part of my so called "writers block" was stemming from the fact that I would be writing something that I would allow others to read. For some reason, I was thinking of who would read it,what would they think and so forth. And then I realized it didn't really matter. Sometimes many people will read what I write and other times almost no one reads what I write.  But I started this blog as a way to slow down and pay attention to what is happening in my life and my family's lives. Hence, the title.....In Front of My Eyes. I chose to share my blog with people who could either relate or family because it is a great way for them to keep up as many of them live far away. Some family members find our lives entertaining....I think entertaining in that way where it's funny as long as it's not happening to you.

Anyways, it's time for me to put my fingers to the keyboard again. Not because I think I'm a good at writing, not so that others will know what is going in our lives, not because I like to over share or because I care what others think. But I need to write again because to is therapy. Some people like to run or exercise to relieve stress or  help themselves feel better. I like to write.  It's the best tool I have for expressing myself and it allows me to hold onto memories that would otherwise fade away because let's face it, sometimes we're just too busy to stop and remember.

So  I could write and just keep it to myself, that would be the safe thing to do. No one to judge my decisions, my parenting, my thoughts, or well my writing. But although it can make you feel vulnerable, it can also be very freeing. So here it goes, maybe you'll read sometimes and maybe you won't, maybe you'll think I'm crazy, and maybe every time I write a post you'll skip over it. Or maybe you'll be able to relate to some of my insecurities, our family's struggles, my good & bad decisions in parenting and so forth. But read or don't read.......I've got to get back to my therapy :)