family

Growing Up

My babies are growing up. Some faster than others. My little baby Bear that I picked up weighing just 4.5 pounds is now weighing in at 35 solid pounds. She is full of so much love though. Furry, cuddly, and sweet. That’s how I would describe this little pup. At just a hair over 5 months old, I can surely say she has been a great addition to my family.

My caboose of a kid is ch-cha-changing. Finding her way to adulthood. From learning to drive to scoping out colleges. She is on the move to bigger and better things. Some days I see her more. Some days I see her less. Some days she’s nice. Some days she is a bear of sorts. No matter her mood or her busy life, I keep finding ways to support her in her journey. Some days I cheer. Some days I guide. Most days I listen. Growing up is different for every family member.

My little Teddie girl. My sweet but sassy golden doodle has matured so much this year. From teaching her sister the ropes inside the house and outside to being that tiny little watch dog with a ferocious bark. She tilts her head when you talk to her. She listens. She knows where her leash is. She know what it means when you say outside. She knows when it treat time. She knows when to sit patiently to wait for a reward. She has led by example for the new pup. She had such a grow up year yet she didn’t physically grow at all. 

The first born. Educated. Experienced. Determined. On his way to top of whatever mountain he wants to climb. Chipping away at his goals. Setting his bar higher and higher. Looking for travel to experience new places and faces. Encouraging his siblings. Giving his time to others. Such a great time to watch one grow and become a self-sufficient adult.

Just a little in between. The space before adulthood. The space after high school. The place where you find yourself. That’s where my middle cherub is. In the middle of deciding: 

Where to go

When to go

Who to take with

What to do

Why all these decisions 

When teens know it all and their brain isn’t fully developed, one can linger in the in between stage. It’s truly young adult trials and tribulations. It could be the changing of your major 20x in college. It could be moving apartments over and over again. It could be the revolving door of dating. It could be laziness. It could be any combination thereof. This is not my favorite season of growing up for many reasons.

In the end a mom is always cheering on her babies. From the first poop on a potty to the first sleep through the night for your four or two legged crew. I’m sure my mom has watched me grow up, glow up, fall down, pick myself up, and so much more. In the end I know she has enjoyed the journey as do I.  As I grow I know my life has provided me much. Each baby gave me new meaning in life. New memories. New adventures. New stress. New attitude. Stay grateful. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Celebrate the ones you live near and far. No matter what stage they are in. Life is fragile.

family

Hi Dad

It’s Father’s Day 2021. My second official Father’s Day without my dad but truly the first that I grasp as we were just parting ways with my dad in 2020 amidst a pandemic. With the celebration of life so close to Father’s Day it still seemed liked we celebrated in a way.

This year is different. No dad to call on the phone. No gift to buy. No note to write. Nothing. I got to thinking of how I could celebrate Father’s Day.

  •  I could do all the things with my mom that I would with my dad since she is technically playing a dual role of mom and dad to me in the current day.
  •  I could spend the day going through memories from previous years and celebrate what was.
  •  I could write a list of things I missed most about him and add to it each year.
  •  I could honor him silently in something I do today.

What will I actually do? The day is still young but I am thinking. I will do a little walking as my dad liked to take walks. I will laugh some because he was always a jokester. I will talk to or exchange smiles with a stranger at the park because that’s what my dad would do. I will have a cup of tea and toast him as he loved a hot cup of tea.  I will look for a cardinal today to see if one passed by. If not a cardinal maybe I’ll see a sign he is watching.

I think of my dad often. I truly miss him. He can never be replaced. My mom is lonely without him. He wasn’t really a guy who gave lots of flowers but he was loyal to the core.

Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there. Whether by blood or by choice, dads have an opportunity to leave their mark on many in the world. I’m one of the lucky ones. I had a good daddy. I am forever daddy’s little girl and proud of it. Just shy of the 60 years of marriage mark at the time of his passing. He was truly one of the good ones. red heart

I hope another dad somewhere appreciates my Father’s Day post since I can’t have my dad for an in person Father’s Day. 

perspective

Spanking

Do you believe spanking children is a form of discipline or would you consider it abuse?

I have never been a fan of spanking. I wasn’t spanked as a child and I turned out okay. However I know others who were subjected to spanking in their early days and speak of how it made them obedient.

Does the fear of harm or pain equate to obedience? If so, what does it teach a child?

-to fear things in life?

-to accept the way things are and never challenge or assert one’s beliefs?

-to respect those who raise a hand to you?

The latter makes me cringe honestly. To teach young developing minds that you respect anyone who raises their hand to you is just some thing that turns my tummy.

When I was raised I knew right from wrong. I didn’t always make the right choice but I knew what was right from wrong. I didn’t need the whooping of a belt or stick to understand. I heard disappointment in my parents’ voices and that was all I needed.

What happens if you are raised with spanking and your spouse is raised with no spanking? What path do those two take with their kids? Is one right or wrong?

This is a thought post. I don’t think spanking is necessary to teach youngsters. It’s a fear tactic. If it was a best practice wouldn’t schools use it? 

Then I think about the military and those raised in military families. Soldiers are expected to be obedient and follow directives. If one steps out of line they have some Sort of punishment that is normally physical in nature. Not a spanking but physically daunting in one way or another. Is spanking more prevalent in these households or those with military backgrounds?

I just wonder about many things and today my wandering mind visited the topic of spanking. I wonder if I’m a bad parent for choosing not to spank my kids or if I qualify for saint hood. What’s your take on spanking? I would really love to read private comments on the subject.

As we blog we cover many topics. Some topics are appreciated more than others. We don’t shy away from difficult topics and we hope you don’t either. Drop us a line any time on this post or another. We do review all comments we receive.

mental health

Kindness

In the past week I have seen kindness in many shapes and forms. Each instance was in plain sight. Could everyone see the kindness? Would anyone react and create their own kindness towards others?

Some interesting questions I asked myself. Instead of wondering about the potential domino effect of kindness that could happen, I decided I should write a blog about kindness hoping kindness would be multiplied around the world.

Today some friends went caroling for the holidays. They visited a few sweet elderly ladies. One was struggling after the loss of a spouse of a lifetime. The other battles dementia. The music lifted their spirits. No matter if it was lifted for seconds, minutes or hours. The kindness lifted spirits of those who needed it most. Examples like this show me that hope is still alive today. 

Last week I witnessed an elementary-age school girl who wanted to raise money to buy kids toys for Christmas who were less fortunate. She drew hundreds of pictures and her parents helped her sell a digital copy of her art to buy the toys. So many toys were bought. This little girl’s kindness will make the holidays extra special for so many children. In addition she restored hope in many via the internet of goodness in the air. What an amazing story to share. 

Then there is the kindness in friendships. I am so lucky to have friends who are always there to support you when you need them most. The friends who help you in tough times but also celebrate with you in good times. Kindness and friendship work together in unison. 

In a world of chaos why not be kind? Kindness matters. Please read this short post and think of how you can offer kindness in your area. How can you support the elderly? How can you volunteer at a food pantry? How can you help guide somebody who is struggling? Think kindness today. Set a resolution for kindness in 2021 and every year thereafter.  

Be purposeful. Be intentional. Spread kindness like you would spread butter on bread. Offering kindness is free!

friendship, giving

Longest Night

When became an adult, got married, moved into a house and had kids (not necessarily in that order), I joined a Methodist church. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school, so this was a big change. One of the first new traditions I embraced was the Longest Night. Each year, on Winter Solstice, the Methodist church had a service that focused on the darker times of the past year. People came who had experienced loss, depression. grief.

At that point, I had recently lost my mother. I had a new baby, a new home, and was overwhelmed and heavy-hearted. I joined the bell choir and played for that service. That first year, I remember just crying through the whole thing.

As you can imagine, the service is not just about loss. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. Once Solstice is over, brighter days are literally ahead. So the service is also about finding hope. About persistence. About the triumph of good and light.

I love symbolism so this service always meant a lot to me. I like the idea of things getting better. Of marking time. The cycle of increasing light. And it always comes just before Christmas, a time of frantic preparation. It is a moment to just be still and reflect.

I don’t attend that church these days, but I still take time to reflect every Solstice and remind myself that lighter days are ahead.

This year the Solstice seemed both especially poignant and especially necessary. COVID has wreaked havoc on many lives. So many in my circle have lost loved ones this year. Some due to COVID, others for other natural reasons, but COVID took away our ability to gather and mourn in the way we all want and need to. Still others are hunkered down at home to protect themselves and loved ones, which brings all the pain and challenge of isolation, disruption of routine, and more.

It has just been a heavy year.

I started hearing about the “Christmas Star” (or Great Conjunction) a few weeks before Solstice. Again, the symbolism of Solstice, this unique astronomical happening, and the stars were literally aligned.

I also had it in my mind to go caroling this year. I say every year I want to sing for people more (and not just the poor people at the gym who have to hear me sing along to the soundtrack when I’m squatting). I don’t know why I expect opportunities to be a backup singer for Yacht Rock Revue to fall out of the sky. This Solstice I see I need to create those opportunities.

Who could I bring some light to? We decided to visit two special Moms who have had challenging years, each in their own ways.

I loaded my car and started the night by going out to see the Christmas Star. I went to a parking lot in a remote park about 15 minutes from my house. I was surprised to find about 25 other cars in the lot, all there to view this planetary wonder. I just took some time to quietly look and think about this year and its gifts.

Then, it was over the river and through the woods to the first grandmother’s house. A couple of friends and family members joined in. We dressed silly, I brought my sleigh bells and song books, and off we set to spread some cheer. Our living room concerts brought laughter and tears, smiles and singing along. We took requests. We flubbed the lyrics and stumbled over melodies. We jingled our bells, giggled, swayed and twinkled. In the end, we brought cheer and good tidings and light. On the way to grandmother two’s house we saw lights and so many other holiday sights.

Both these women have lived through this challenging year. They’ve made the most of it. I hope we brought some light and hope to their lives this December. I know their smiles and delight lifted me up. As one of them put it, when we said our goodbyes, “same time next year!”

It’s a date.