Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Courage Takes Flight

I do not like to fly. No let me say that again. I HATE to fly. The first time I remember flying, I was fourteen. The next time I flew was when we traveled to Jamaica for our honeymoon. I wasn't so sure of our chances on the brightly colored airplane that seemed outdated by at least ten years. I remember vaguely holding on tightly to Curt's hand and knowing that we weren't coming home. Irrational, right? But that's how I am when I fly. On that particular trip, the plane felt like it was going to drop out of the sky at least 5 times. Curt kept telling me it was turbulence but I was convinced there was something wrong with the the plane's engine or some other important part that would keep the plane from staying in the sky or prevent us from landing safely.

After that I didn't fly for a very long time. One thing that doesn't help my fear of flying is that I have these awful dreams where I see an airplane crash or I am in the airplane that crashes. I have these dreams randomly, they don't always coincide with when I'm getting ready to fly. The whole thing is completely irrational.  I know it's irrational and my chances of being in a car accident are far greater than me being in an airplane crash. But my mind still has a hard time wrapping my head around the statistics. I get stomachaches, am not able to sleep, have bad dreams, and feel nauseated or anxious days before having to fly.

But I soon realized if I ever wanted to go anywhere exciting in life or see my family then I would need to get over my flying issues. The next time I flew, my oldest son was about 15 months old and we flew with my family and my sister's family. It was the first time I had flown since 911, which by the way had only compounded my fear of flying. I cried as the plane took off. I am not lying....... I cried. Not the embarrass my husband wailing kind of cry but my eyes filled up with tears. And on the return home........ I had a stomachache two days before we even had to leave. So, yes I hate flying. I don't like it, even a little bit.

Once, I told my friend that she could have my son's toys for her son if we didn't make it back. Oh goodness, I'm ridiculous. Then there was the time I was completely convinced a terrorist was on my plane. Seriously, I wanted to report it to the stewardess. There was a man wearing all black with tattooed letters on his fingers spelling H.A.T.E. And he kept reaching for his shoe and he was incredibly rude to people around him, was on his cell phone when he shouldn't have been. I know.....I'm completely irrational. For that entire flight I couldn't take my eyes off the "terrorist" that sat catercorner from me. I don't even think I ever told my husband because I was so embarrassed. But these are the crazy thoughts I have when I fly. I don't love being in crowds and so being in an airport and then on a plane is just about as horrendous as it gets for me. People who know me may be surprised to hear this because I'm normally an easy going person who is rational, most of the time.........hormonal times do not count.

My kids, up until recently, did not sit with me when we would fly. It was easier for my husband to take care of them as I felt petrified almost the entire flight. So they either sat with my husband or my dad or whoever else we suckered into flying with us. I also preferred them to sit with their dad because I didn't want them to inherit my anxiety or fear of flying. 

In the past 10 years, we have probably flown about 7 times. So I must be over my flying issues, right? No, not quite. You see now we have too many kids for dad to sit with them all. And actually, I find that taking care of the kids is a great distraction to my irrational thoughts. You have to pack a million snacks and toys for them, keep them occupied so they don't bother anyone else on the plane, worry about all the rude people giving you "the look" and  hoping you're not sitting next to them, and then of course there's the frequent bathroom breaks. I am an odd person who actually enjoys flying with my children because they distract me enough to lessen my insane thoughts. So I have gotten better but not "over " it.

My best trip was when I flew with (at the time) my 4 year old and my grandmother. It was the most peaceful flight I had ever had. If you knew my grandma, then you would know why. She was simply the most amazing person I ever knew. She had a sense of peace and calmness about her that I will always remember. And she always said if it was her time, then so be it. If it was God's will that the plane crash then that was God's will and she had said her prayers. Literally, she said her prayers on the plane. And when we landed her first words were Thank You Jesus. I love that woman. If she was alive today, I'd bet money that she'd be flying with me. I swear I was a better flier since I flew with her. When I grow up........(if that ever happens).... I want to be like my grandma who was not afraid to go anywhere. She was a woman who was always ready for the next adventure!

You see the thing is I LOVE our families more than I HATE flying.
Tonight I will fly for the first time in my entire life all by myself. I am on my way to have some sister R & R time. And it just so happens this week is proving I truly need the rejuvenation! There will be no husband, no dad, no grandma, and no kids. Just me.......all alone. And yes I started feeling yucky about flying a few days ago. And last night I felt a little panicky too. But I refuse to let it get to me because all I keep hearing is, " Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous." I am going to have to live up to my ONE WORD today. And that's what I'm going to focus on. And of course prayer, the peace that is given when you give your anxiety to him can be amazing.
I don't want to just get to my destination this time, I want to enjoy the journey!.
After all; isn't that what life is all about, what I want to remember about parenting, and what I truly want my kids to learn? It's not always where we end up that counts but how we get there.

So my bags are packed and I'm ready to go and armed with all the courage I can muster up but I'd still love prayers for a peaceful and safe journey!!

Our family flying with my dad to North Carolina

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Time To Color

Carson's Coloring
Carson was creating one of his many crafts today in the preschool room. Holidays lend themselves to extra craftiness for him and he was coloring on heart doilies that he will probably eventually give to our neighbor. I sat down next to him and started to color one of the Valentine pages in front of me. He stopped coloring for a minute and looked at me with questioning eyes.
Then he simply said, "Grown ups don't usually color."
And I asked him, " Why do you think grown ups don't color?"
His answer was simply this, " Well grown ups are busy. They have lots of things that they have to do."
I didn't really want to ask this next question but I did. So I asked, " What do you think grown ups are busy doing?"
He said, " Grown ups have to do things like make dinner. They have to clean the house. And they have to fold laundry and wash dishes and sometimes they get to drive to the store to buy the food to make for dinner."
Sigh. My son sees me as a grown up who is too busy to color. I wonder what else he thinks I am too busy to do.
What do you think I did for the next 20 minutes? I colored.
I wonder when I forgot to color? Was it when I was trying to save money at the grocery store, or attempting to make healthy dinners for my family or perhaps it was when I was focused on keeping the house picked up for my husband? Maybe I forgot how to color when I was paying the bills or helping with homework?
I think I need to learn to color again, it appears I may have forgotten.
Please know this post has very little to do with coloring .......

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Courage: When Quitting Isn't the Same As Giving Up

When I wrote my post of my  ONE WORD and how it chose me, I wasn't thrilled about the word. And if you think you are going to read this post and get to the end to only realize I have fallen in love with my word.......well you should stop reading.

I still don't like my word. It's not an easy word. I was worried it would force me to do things I wouldn't normally do. Therefore making me uncomfortable in my very comfy world but it has had the opposite effect on me this month. It has become apparent to me that acting with courage not only encompasses doing hard things and embracing things that we would normally fear. But instead; courage can be taking out things that may be important to us, taking out the things that we know hold value in our life. Sometimes, courage can be knowing when it's okay to abandon our original plan.

So with that being said, I have quit something that is important to me. A  year and a half ago, when I quit my job I had just ended the busiest year of my life. Over involved, overextended, and I was over it all. God had asked me to simplify. I removed almost everything "extra" from our lives. I think the only activity my kids may have done was AWANAS and I said no to a lot of things.  I try to be careful what I commit to and what I allow my kids to become committed to. Whenever I added something new to our schedule or life it was after prayer and careful consideration. And this year, I have been able to say yes to many things. And it has been wonderful. But it is just in my nature to overextend, to want to do more and when I do that he kindly reminds me (usually through my health) that I need to do a recheck of the simplicity in my life.

I volunteer for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).  Children who are assigned a CASA are either in foster homes, are back home but are returning home from a foster home, or are in group homes, etc.  I have a heart for advocating for children. Seriously, if my husband let me I'd have a houseful of children who don't have a home they can call their own. I think it's important to be a voice for children who are not able to have a voice of their own. When you sign up to take a CASA case, you are supposed to be committed to the case for 18 months. I've never taken a case that lasts that long. However, they often do take that long or longer.  I was assigned to be a Co Casa to a case in September and it was expected to dismiss in November. The case didn't dismiss. And right after this I lost the baby, we had company, and it was the holidays. I was having a really hard time fitting in any visits or doing any of the things I should be doing as a responsible CASA.

When it was mid January and I realized I still had some gifts from the CASA office to give away that I hadn't been able to deliver, I realized maybe it was time to resign from my case. But I'm stubborn and the last thing I want to be called is a quitter. I HATE not being able to finish what I start and I also like knowing that at least some part of my life was being spent giving back to the community. I also couldn't imagine quitting because I felt like I had been called to give back in this particular way. Without getting into all the details, I continued to try and make the time to keep the case.  Circumstance after circumstance made it clear that I just was not going to be able to provide what was needed to the case right now.  At this time, I need to focus my attention on something new that our family needs and my  husband works almost an additional 15-20 more hours than he used to.  It took a long time to send my resignation email but after I sent it I felt relieved. And I didn't realize it at the time but it took a lot of courage for me to quit. I know it seems odd that quitting can involve courage but for me it was more courageous to quit because I equated quitting with failing or giving up. When in reality, quitting was just what was needed at the time in order to keep my life in balance.
I think it's acceptable to teach my children that sometimes quitting is not the same as giving up. And although I don't want to raise a bunch of "quitters", I want the boys to know that sometimes quitting IS the best answer.  Sometimes quitting might mean "not now" or "it's not for me after all". This was proven true right after Christmas for my oldest son. He has been super involved this year; basketball, oral language, spelling bee, running for office, band, and choir. He had been learning to play the trumpet since the beginning of the school year.  He had a bumpy start with his brother accidentally smashing his instrument (a whole other story) along with some technical problems. But he stuck it out, he went to class each week, and for a few weeks he even went without an instrument and he also participated in the winter concert. However, he never practiced at home and he didn't seem to enjoy it. Two of his grades dropped this quarter, not bad but he was upset they weren't A's anymore. And finally I said to him, " You know you can quit. You tried it for awhile and if you don't really enjoy it, it's okay." He didn't say yes right away but when it was time for him to go back to band class, he told his teacher that He was going to quit because he didn't really like it anymore and that  he was glad he tried it.

I want them to know they can try new things but if they want to quit it is okay.  If they decide to quit something I hope to instill in them that they are still good enough, quitting isn't always the same as giving up, and quitting doesn't make you a failure. Of course, there are times when we need to encourage them to see things all the way through. But as a parent it is my job to decipher when to encourage them to get to the finish line and when it's okay to throw in the towel. And I guess as a grown up, it's my job to practice what I teach. Now, I have a feeling my son will not be playing the trumpet again. However, I am hoping that I will be able to take another CASA case again. So for him I think it was more of a case of "it's not for me" but for mom I'm hoping it was more of a case of "not at this time".
And now I need to go make arrangements with my Co CASA to give her the gifts that are STILL in my car......

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