On this Day!

One thing we all share in common with everyone on the planet is —  We all have a mother and no one else has been with us from the very beginning of life!

On a holiday set apart as “Mothers Day” we all have different responses.  Some joy in our relationship or in our role in life, or some with grief or sorrow because of the loss of this relationship or perhaps pain from issues or hurt overt he years.  As a daughter I am aware of all of these- unmet needs and expectations and also my often unloving behavior.  As a mom, I am aware of how hard it is to be the kind of mother I desire and my falling short many times, as well as how wonderful it is when it all clicks.

As a life coach, I am very aware of how mother issues effect many areas of our life. We all struggle with the balance of honesty about our pain, acceptance of our mom’s, honor, loyalty, connection and being our own person.  Personally I am so grateful for the issues with my teenage daughter which led me to seek help and deal with my own  mother issues.  This process opened the door to a whole new way of living, thinking and feeling.  It allowed transformation with all my children, my mother and my husband and really everyone around me.  People often avoid looking at these mother issues because it is easier to bury the pain and think it is going to be painful or dishonoring to her to go there.  What I have seen so many times is by being honest and bringing these issues to light (with the help of someone trained and experienced) we come out on the other side in a true place of love, acceptance of your mom!

For today, how can you be grateful for your mom?   If not for her, you would not be alive.  The unique person you are would not exist!  This if nothing else is a cause to celebrate this Mothers Day!  If she is alive be sure to tell her in some way.  If she is no longer on this earth, tell her anyway– You can say it aloud, plant a flower, sit in the sunshine —  Life is a gift and this is a good day to celebrate it!



Skating around the Circle of Life!

Yesterday was Titus/ Mimi Day!!  We haven’t had one in over a month and I had been missing him.    We went to visit  my Mother in Law and she so loved it.  She can’t remember who he is but knows he is special. Then, home where I had to remind my teenager to finish his English paper before attempting anything else.

Titus and his Great Gram!
Titus and his Great Gram!

Our lives are full of these moments of contrast.   It seems in relationships we have to constantly be adapting to different roles.  And within the role itself we must change as the years go by.   The role of mother to a baby is different than it is to a toddler, teenager or adult child.  The role of daughter as a child is vastly different than it is when caring for an aging parent with dementia.   Sometimes, I feel I have to adapt myself to meet these ever changing relationships and work to figure them out.   With plenty of time to ponder this, while playing in the sandbox, soaking up the sunshine and cuddles from the cutest grandson ever, I had an aha moment.   It is not really a change within me, that makes life much too complicated to feel I must constantly change (while of course I want to continue growing and learning also, it is a different feel than changing who I am, because a relationship needs to adapt.)

Then it hit me, Boundaries!!   This should not be a surprise, since I think boundaries are the most amazing freeing thing ever!! (Growing up as a youngest in a big family this idea took me years to implement, but once I got it, I really was able to live as if a huge weight had been removed from my shoulders.)

Maybe it is time to write another boundary explanation blog, but for today I will just say-  When you have a healthy boundary, you can separate your thoughts, ideas, feelings, acts, beliefs… from others thoughts etc.  In the  case of adapting relationships and roles I need to adapt how I respect others boundaries.   With a baby, whose existence totally depends on me, there really is little separation.  I do need to care for myself in order to remain sane and  healthy to meet all the needs this child has.   As a toddler, they are beginning independence, but with little experience and knowledge.  Yes, you can walk all you want on the sidewalk, but not in the street.  Do you want to wear the red pants or the green ones?   A teen is tricky, these almost adults who really think they are ready to run their lives.  I can release the boundary quite a bit, while showing there are consequences  for choices.  It is fine for you to blow off your homework, but there will be no workouts or video games until this grade is brought up.

The great thing about kids is we gradually can let go and with adult children, they are the  ones asking for advice and rather than controlling them, I can encourage their decisions and support them even if I do not agree.   I do tell myself someday they will be handling all my affairs and be changing my diapers at some point!   It is hard with elderly parents to be going the opposite direction.  Slowly taking more and more control as life circumstances dictate.   No, you cannot drive anymore.  This is where you must live.  I will take you to the store and you can choose what to buy, but I will handle all the money.   It seems so strange to treat another adult this way, especially knowing I will be taking more and more responsibility rather than less.   This is the circle of life and while not easy, it happens.

Through it all, I don’t have to change.  I can still be the same person, with my ideas, values and purpose.   I will always be loving, full of faith, and having fun in every relationship.   This simple rethinking helps me to relax and release the pressure and overwhelming feelings that come when  I am running around from one life event to another.     There is nothing better than a sunny day in a sandbox to bring clarity and new insights!

Where is your highlight reel of 2012?

“We  compare the highlight reel of others lives with our unedited everyday life.”

How true is that?  We never hear about all those moments of lost gloves or sitting at stop lights, but we see the long running uncut 24 hour a day vision of our own existence.  Our own highlights get lost in the midst of all the everyday normal stuff.  No wonder others live’s seem more interesting!    The end of the year is a great time to step back and look at the highlights of your own year.  What were the exciting things?  What were the painful things you learned?  Taking the time to write them down along with what you learned helps you to bring greater perspective and empowers  you to allow room for more  excitement  and growth in the future.  It is really a fun exercise!!

From my highlight reel: (not for you to compare, but to motivate you

  • Birth of my Grandson: 3 days in the NICU———-I learned there is a deeper strength in us all. Everyday can be an adventure and in learning to walk you have to fall down a lot- but keep trying (good for any new skill)

  • Mission Trip to Jamaica- School for the Deaf——— It is good to get our of my comfort zone, set a goal beyond my ability and ask for help in achieving it.  Giving to others comes back and enriches my life beyond what I have given.
  • Unexpected death of my brother in law————-We are never promised tomorrow.  Appreciate our times with those we love.
  • Power of Princess Weekend————Never give up on my dreams, even when they take 10 years to accomplish.  Keep pushing forward and take a risk.
  • Starting my Blog!!————-It is challenging to stay consistent and it is sometimes hard to find the words for what I want to say, but the discipline is good for me and forces me to reach deeper and grow.

Thank you for walking this journey with me this year.  I hope it has been encouraging and helpful to you!!

Now it is your turn.  Grab a paper or computer and write your highlights and learning experiences.  Send them to me if you like.  I would love to rejoice with you!!

This was one of my early posts last year. I think it deserves another round. What are some things you would love to experience this season this year??? How can you make it happen??

Sing - a - Sonja

Here it is, one week until the big holiday time. We thought we had it all under control, or at least on target for getting it done.  Maybe it is the candy…the commercials, the too busy schedule, the shopping or just feeling all the pressure of expectations…. But for me this is the time I  start to panic.  My focus shifts to can I do this?  What have I forgotten…? Can I just skip over to the new year?

During this time we want the feeling of thankfulness and peace on earth etc… yet, we get stressed out instead.  We tend to totally freak out and  withdraw from it all and miss special times with those we love.  We know there truly are gifts that come with the season, yet somehow we begin to lose focus and and wonder if we can make it there.

Maybe we could used a…

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Beliefs on Winning (and losing)… Do they motivate or discourage?

Friday night found us driving to Temple.  The town of Temple in Central Texas. It was the ultimate Friday Night Lights experience with the blue moon overhead; Braving the traffic, mosquitoes, heat and dust, cheering our boys to attack and knock each other around.   According to the score board, it was a dismal loss for our high school team.  Looking beyond the surface there were many positive bright moments, considering it was the first game playing 11-man football with only 24 players on the team.  We sat in front of the grandparents of the boy who scored the one and only touchdown and participated in rejoicing as only a grand parent can!   There definitely was a good showing of spectators on our side considering the long drive.  The feeling of community and common purpose was strong as we cheered for each small and large success.

The drive home provided a great opportunity to discuss beliefs concerning winning, success and losing.  We discovered quite a few conflicting messages in our heads.  Clay, growing up with a coach for a dad, had quite a few interesting ones.  You either win or win, the is no other option. Another coaching favorite was, ” If you loose you didn’t try hard enough.” I admit I am very competitive.  One of my earliest memories is of learning to play rummy on the bank of Lake Geneva and beating everyone!  I do think competition can be healthy, when it makes you stretch and grow and go beyond what you think is possible. I n my life the fear of failure is so strong, I tend to play it safe most of the time – Only setting goals where I know I can achieve success and therefore taking very few risks.  This leads to many successes  but not to challenging myself and growing.   Setting larger goals outside of my comfort zone and going for them, has led to more failure and not meeting my goals (which is painful for me), but it also has shown me I can do more and go beyond what I previously thought was possible.  This produces a strength of character within me that I can draw on in other areas of life.  Since sometimes life throws challenges at me and risks I would not choose to have, this added courage has been very wonderful.

It is such a freeing thing to look at beliefs we hold and analyze them.  Is this motivating me toward my life of purpose or demotivating me toward of life of mundane mediocrity?  If it is not serving me, I must adapt and change it.

My new belief is – ”  If you haven’t failed lately, you haven’t been trying”

How about you?  What are some beliefs you could tackle concerning winning or losing?

Update:  This weeks game found us way behind again.  There was one point I thought, “Just let it be over before it gets worse”.  However , our boys kept fighting and never gave up.  Coming from behind for a 64-62 victory in the final seconds of the game!   Hopefully this moment of pressing on and achieving their goal will stay with all of them as an example of perseverance!!  I promise not to blog about every football game this season, but this was a great learning experience!

Forgiveness is like a Potato!

This is a repost of a message by Pam Young.  Her motto is “Make it Fun or it won’t get done”.  Is there any doubt as to why I love her?

This will crack you up!!!

1 and a half russet potato with sprouts. Slice...

The Potato Report

A few years ago I wrote an essay about the challenge I had of forgiving a couple of people I’d had ill feelings toward. In the essay I told about cutting a potato in half to represent each person and carving their names in the halves to keep on my desk until I could forgive them. Here is the report that came after that.

My Potato Report:

February 25: Halves have been on my desk for eight days. They are very scary looking, and are starting to smell like dirty feet or dirty laundry that’s been in the hamper too long.

February 26: Halves are getting soft and dark. I had an Aha Moment! It is as ridiculous to be mad at the potato halves on my desk, as it is to be mad at the people they represent. There is NO difference.

Is it the potato’s fault that my office smells like dirty feet and there are gnats circling? No, the potato halves are just being what they are— rotting potato halves. If I allow them Potatoes infected with late blight are shrunke...to stay on my desk it’s my fault. Is it the people’s fault (who the potato halves represent) that I’ve been upset and angry? No, they are just being who they are. If I allow the people the potato halves represent to pull me from my joy, it’s my fault. The rotting potato halves on my desk have done nothing to me that I need to forgive, anymore than the people they represent have done anything to me that I need to forgive. There is nothing or no one to forgive, but me for having bad feelings about the potato halves and the people they represent.

In fact the potato halves that represent the people have been taking up way more energy in my mind than the people they represent. That tickles me! It shows me how silly this whole thing was in the first place and is now. Every bit of this has been in my mind! Who can I blame? ME. Who can I forgive? ME! Who loves me? ME.

March 1: The potato halves are still on my desk only because it is very interesting to observe. It is still teaching me some stuff in a very humorous albeit smelly way. Right now I am actually enjoying looking at them! They are funny!

March 12: I have to report the potato halves are still on my desk! They have dried up! They don’t stink and there are no longer any gnats flying around my office. I think the potato halves are in the process of petrifying! Maybe when we get our petty grievances out in the open (as I did with my essay and cutting open the potato) those grievances get a chance to just dry up! It’s when we keep things secret and pretend we’re fine that things fester and decay. One of my readers sent me this: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”— Anne Lamott


A perspctive on purpose!!

Couldn’t pass up sharing and re posting this wonderful reflection on the importance of purpose in our lives!!  Thanks Ron


Reflections from a Hospital Room

May 23, 2012   Category: Blog, Ron Luce   18 Comments comments

Thank you all for praying for Hannah – I can’t tell you all how much it means. Hannah went through a 5 ½ hour surgery yesterday. The doctors said she did very well, and they did a lot of skin grafting. The whole process causes extreme pain for her, so since the surgery, she has been pretty heavily sedated. She is on a ventilator again and for the next couple of days, and tomorrow she goes in for another skin graft surgery. We think that may be the last one she’ll need to have.

I stayed the night in the room with her after her surgery, just to be with her, and she slept very well. A few times she woke up, and of course with a breathing apparatus, she can’t talk. So, she’s trying to write notes, expressing what she needs or how we can help her.

I anticipate in about another 10 days or so, we may be able to bring her back to Texas to be in a hospital in Dallas where she’ll be able to do rehab and physical therapy for the next month or two.

As I’m sitting with Hannah hour upon hour, watching every sort of technology known to the medical world connected to her body, I observed a paradox. As I’m looking at each device one at a time, I wondered about each piece and how much time, money, and investment it took to develop just THAT piece of technology. All of those devices and their various cords and lines are connected to Hannah to help her recover. Things are beeping, screens are flashing. Numbers are going up and down based on each of the tubes and wires connected to her, and I’m thinking about all of the people over who-knows-how-many years who have spent their lives doing research, and then refining their research, and about all of the money and time coming to bear right at this moment to restore Hannah’s health.

Then I think about the people who spend their lives becoming doctors and medical professionals to administrate each of those pieces of technology so that they’re used properly to restore Hannah. Then I think about the patient next door and the scenario is the same for that person, and for every patient on the entire floor of the hospital, and for every patient in the entire hospital. I think of all of the money and effort that’s been spent to save and restore those lives. Then I think of the thousands of hospitals across America and around the world, and the millions of medical professionals in various specific professions within the medical world.

Then I think about the multiple billions of dollars that governments and research agencies have invested all with the hope of saving a life. It seems like a massive investment, and it is, because we as the human race value life so much. People from all different religions and all different walks of life value life so much, somehow they think it’s worth investing in the medical industry, whether it’s medicine, or technology, or time, or learning the practice in order to save a life.

Then I think about a recipient of all of that technology and all of that investment. So here’s a patient with all of the cords plugged into them. Then I think about how many hospitals save how many lives every day and then restore lives to healthy functioning, and I’m wondering if that patient really understands the value of the investment. Sure, the hospital bills will come due, and insurance covers a lot of that in most cases. But even then, does that patient really understand that somebody valued them so much for so many years so that all that investment could be poured into them in that moment when they needed it the most? And once they are restored and out of the hospital, do they live in such a way that shows that they know that they were valued?

In other words, do they value their own life in such a way that they live to make it meaningful, or do they just think to themselves, “I sure am glad I have been given a few more years to live,” but then sit in front of the TV or a computer screen for the rest of their life?

I thought, what a vast juxtaposition. People who don’t even know these patients value them so much that they would give their life’s work, their careers, their money, and their passion to save the lives of strangers. And yet, so many people live without purpose and without making any kind of contribution. Even though their lives have been valued by others, they don’t value it themselves. They merely exist.

As Christians, you can see the metaphor clearly. God so valued us that He made a huge investment in us to save and restore our lives. Do we reciprocate? Do we value what He’s done in us to the point that we refuse to live a purposeless life? That we refuse to take that investment He’s made in us for granted?

As I think about this, I’m inspired to live a life that is more worthy of the sacrifice and the value that was placed on me. We could never live up to the value that was placed on us, or the whole sacrifice that was given for us. But at least we could attempt to live in a way that demonstrates our deep appreciation of the value God places on us. Our response should be to refuse to take this life for granted, but instead to live a life that makes a difference because we understand we were saved for a reason.