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What doing the opposite taught me…#givegrace

“Just do the opposite….right now, whatever you are thinking, just do the opposite…”

I was chatting with a friend who had stopped by to pick something up. It had only been a minute when the screaming from inside could be heard on the porch. Not the someone is hurt crying, which evokes a panic in any mother, but the screeching of two small people who just want what they want. They must think that their volume will determine the outcome.

I heard the noise and I felt the frustration building. Frustration fueled by the why in the world are they at it again?! The why do they do this over and over… The why is it when I have one minute of conversation time with another adult that they have to argue. Fueled by the why am I here, standing on my porch holding the door shut as my two daughters are screaming at each other while trying to pull the door open. All that. Building & growing.

I must have had that look. You know the one. When you can feel your heart break a little at the same time your eyes flash with the crazy frustration of parenthood.

My friend took a look at me and said, “Just do the opposite…”

I turned my head toward my friend, the snap of “what?!!” sitting on the tip of my tongue. What did she know. I was so tired. My girls were fighting for the hundredth time that day. I hadn’t had time to shower, I hadn’t had a single moment of peace. I was at the end of a very thin rope.

My friend gently touched my arm and said, “Do the opposite of what you are feeling right now…”.

I felt the tears well up. The opposite….I wasn’t sure I could.

I wanted to fling the front door open and yell. with as just as much volume as my 4 1/2 & 2 1/2 yr olds, for them to just stop yelling. I wanted to scream that screaming wasn’t necessary. I wanted to stomp and slam my way into the house with as much force as I could feel welling up inside me.

I looked at my friend.

She looked at me and said, “You can do it”.

In that moment I broke. I knew she was right.

She is also mom.

She knows.

She could feel my angst and as all moms know, she knew that any negative reaction I was thinking of could only end in hurt feelings and more heartache. Sometimes we forget in that moment.

She walked back to her car. I stood there a moment. I took a deep breath and I quietly opened the door. I knelt down and I opened my arms. Both of my girls fell into them.The screaming stopped.

As my tears fell I finally had my moment of peace.

Looking back, I see that in that moment my friend had offered me grace. She allowed me to feel all my feelings. She didn’t judge. She understood and she gave me grace.

I in turn opened the door and gave my children grace. And with that I found peace.

In a single moment I understood that when we do the opposite of what we are feeling when we are in the midst of fear, frustration or anger, we are in turn offering and receiving grace.

For this, I am forever grateful.

So parents, give yourself grace. Share grace with your children & others. Breathe & just do the opposite…..

❤ Megan

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A new look at the idea of Parenting

I am starting a new business offering parent education classes, community building activities and parent coaching. I am hoping to create the missing village feel for parents to be supported and have a safe place to share. It is taking up a lot of my time, which is why I haven’t been blogging much. I am busy building a website, working on curriculum, creating brochures and setting up class dates, times and locations. There is so much to do and my to-do list is long!

I am having fun though and feel like I’m in my element. I have a bachelor’s degree in education, taught in elementary schools for 6 years and teaching is my passion. My feeling is teaching doesn’t mean you know it all about a subject, it’s more that you have learned how to research, process and share information. I am really getting into the Breakthrough Parenting model which is what I recently received my parenting educator certification in.

One part of this model I connected with very strongly is the idea of perfectionism. Plato, the Greek Philosopher, explained that people think in the world of ideas. We have images of this ideal. It’s all related to what we personally think perfection is. It’s just how humans think. Unfortunately for us we are destined to feel let down because these ideals are in reality impossible to obtain with our children. The idea we have of who our child is going to be, what they will do, how they will act, will all be false.

Children will constantly surprise us as they show us their true selves. The truth is we do not know who these little beings are. Some people have an easier time letting go of their ideals, but others need a little help realizing that their child isn’t living up to their expectations because they can’t. It’s not to be hurtful, spiteful or with any sense of malice. It’s just impossible. Every child is their own person, they each have their own soul and have a destiny that no one can really understand or control.

Children struggle along this path and we as parent see the struggle. Sometimes we feel the struggle, we take part in it and we feel like we might be the struggle. This is where old parenting ideas get in the way. If we throw those out and view ourselves as a steward, a guide in our childs life, the struggle lessens. There are no specific expectations. We see our children in a new light. They are individuals and we are learning about them as they learn about themselves. We guide and help give information, teaching responsibility and lending support while always showing love.

Our children ultimately are the only ones who will live their lives and it will be up to them what they make of this gift. As a steward we can let go of any control we feel we need to have over our children. It will not work. Compassion, love, respect, understanding and acceptance will allow everyone to feel happy and worthy.

Ahhh….the learning continues 🙂 BusinessCardLogo

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Finding a lump…

12/8 I found a lump. My heart sank and my breath caught in my throat. Every woman’s worst fear, one of the big ones anyway. I don’t even know what to think. I know I need to call the doctor but I don’t want to. I get dressed and go downstairs. I look at my three-year old playing and I know I’ll call. For her and for her sister. I don’t tell anyone. Why worry them until I know.

I made my appointment. I will go get examined on the 15th. Ugh, this will be a long week.

12/15 I made it to my appointment.  I was examined and it is decided I should have a mammogram to get pics of the lump that I had almost convinced myself I had imagined. I kept thinking that maybe she wouldn’t feel it too. Maybe her fingers would know it was nothing to worry about. Maybe I’d get a pass. But no. Next step. The Comprehensive Breast Center. 12/23. Another week.

This time I told my husband but tried to make it seem like not that big a deal.

12/16 It finally hit me that evening. My anxiety is rising. I messaged a friend who I knew had gone through this too. It felt better & worse to say it out loud. I’m laying in bed thinking I should feel for the lump again but I can’t make myself. I just don’t want to know. I don’t want to feel it. I lay there holding my arms across my chest and try to sleep. It is not easy.

12/17 I am an anxious wreck. I finally told my husband that this is really hard. He has been great. He took the girls to gymnastic class tonight so I could take a bath and relax. I sat there for over an hour reciting the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to accept the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Right now there is nothing I can do. I will make it till next Tues. I will go from there. Tomorrow is my 9th wedding anniversary.

12/18 Happy Anniversary to my husband & I. I am hoping for many, many more!

Waiting, waiting, waiting….why does this type of thing seem to happen often before the holidays? I want to ask for support, but during this time of year I feel like that is somewhat selfish. Plus I don’t know if it’s anything bad. Who needs possibly unnecessary worry over the holidays. If anyone would begin to feel even a bit like I do right now, I don’t want to share.

12/23 Today is my appointment day. Sat in the waiting room and I could feel the heaviness in the air. So many women waiting. The silence was deafening. I was called in and given a robe to put on. I changed in a dressing room and sat down to wait some more.  My turn came for my mammogram. It wasn’t to bad. Not comfortable but not painful. Then into another room to wait some more. This room had tea and coffee, a soothing waterfall, quiet music. it would have felt relaxing, if not for my beating heart. None of it helped. I was called again to head for my ultrasound. I was asked to feel the lump to show where it was. I didn’t want to, but did it. The images were taken and the technician left. The results came back in about 5 minutes. The longest 5 minutes I have felt as I lay there.

Good news! Wonderful news! A blessing! It is just a cyst that should go away on it’s own over time. No need for a biopsy. I breathe out for the first time in what feels like forever. I am more than grateful. I know that many women do not get these same results. I have a friend who has a close family member going through breast cancer treatment currently…I can’t imagine. My heart aches for these women and their loved ones.

Oh, and I think maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was selfish for me to not allow people to show support and be there for a friend. After I finally told about this scare I received so many stories about others who have gone through this too. So many friends wishing I had told them. Many lovely sentiments about how these are the times friends are for, to lean on. I learned a few valuable lessons through this experience!!

So here’s to a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of hope, health, love and friendship ❤

My letter. Something to celebrate!

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A Mother’s Love through sickness and in health…

Sick kids have to be one of the hardest things about being a parent. The hopeless feeling we feel when we know our kids have to experience the illness by themselves.  Us, standing by, watching, unable to fix them, but hoping our comfort helps some.

Whenever I take my daughters to the doctor I feel guilty. Guilty that I haven’t protected them enough. Every time my stomach turns and I feel horrible. I am grateful we can go to the doctor and have pretty wonderful insurance, but it really is one thing that just is so so hard.

This week we were at two visits in 3 days for my daughters eczema. First her pediatrician and then a pediatric dermatology specialist. We have been dealing with it for a long time now and when we seem to get a good routine her skin decides to switch things up. It’s extremely frustrating and disheartening to watch your child want to crawl out of her skin. My daughter has eczema on her eyelids, the corners of her eyes, her nostrils and by her mouth. It itches horribly. She tries not to scratch during the day, but at night when she’s asleep I hear her start to itch on the monitor. I run in to her room and snuggle up to her and hold her hands with one hand and gently rub her face. She is sound asleep, but I feel like she must not be getting good sleep if she is subconsciously so aware of the itching that she is aggressively scratching in her sleep. We have a new bathing regimen, new creams to try and lots of good old Vaseline.  Our follow-up appointment is in 3 weeks and I’m really hoping it starts to get back under control.

My heart breaks for her and yet again I wish I could take her place. Sigh….Guess the only thing to do is to continue to love, comfort and care for them through it, every time. ❤

My daughter has a little boy in her Kindergarten class who is battling leukemia (ALL). When I feel disheartened I think of him and all the mothers with babies who have illnesses that are life threatening or requiring surgery and recovery and I am so grateful that this is all we are dealing with at this time. I hold this little boy and his family in my heart. I remind myself that there is always something that could be worse. I say the Serenity prayer, reminding me what I can control and what I cannot. I breathe in and pray for healing.

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Building a Parenting Community! Hearthstone Parenting LLC

My new business Hearthstone Parenting LLC is moving right along. I have submitted my workbook and final exam to be graded and assessed, then I will have a final meeting and receive my certificate as a parenting educator. I am really excited to become certified and another step closer to opening!

Why the name Hearthstone? Well, picture a warm place where people gather to find community support, friendship, all sharing and learning together. The hearth as the symbol of family and the stone being the solid platform to build upon. So many parents I know look for advice on the internet, in parenting chat rooms and by buying parenting books.  But then it becomes a solitary pursuit to gaining new parenting skills because of the disconnect between actual people in your community. People who would also love someone to build a lasting relationship with.

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In this day and age in the U.S. there is the lost sense of community for many where neighbors don’t know each other’s names. Long gone is the village that once helped parents raise their children. Families are spread out around the country and the globe, not living in the same house or on the same family homestead. Many new parents sit at home wondering what to do when their idealistic idea of being a parent seems to crumble with every tantrum or tear from the sweet little ones. Parents of teens sigh when the door slams shut or they sit alone while their teen is glued to technology, not knowing how to bridge that gap and re-connect with their child. Parents of grown children who never seem to grow up sit isolated in their thoughts of “where they went wrong”, feeling that they may never have a healthy connection with their child. Many parents feel like there is no-one to talk to or commiserate with and nowhere to turn to gain new parenting insight to change the relationships they have. Some parents just wish for other parent friends who have children in the same stages as theirs to compare notes.

I hope to use parenting education and support to strengthen the parent child relationships by building upon the already formed foundation of their family. It is never too late to learn some new strategies to help build healthy respectful relationships with children no matter their age.

I would love to hear from parents, grandparent and anyone else their thoughts on what they wish was available to parents both new and seasoned.  What classes/workshops would benefit parents and do you think this would be a service you would consider…I would love to start gathering ideas before I begin to design my curriculum, class roster and activity schedule.

 

Thank you!!! ~ Megan

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Thanksgiving Graces

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for thanks and a reminder to be grateful for all we are blessed with. Gratefulness to me is feeling content in the moment. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It’s about being aware now, in this very moment, this second. That feeling when you look around and just breathe deep. Feeling thankful for me is connected to that feeling. It’s realizing that your life is your life and cherishing what is there. It’s being aware the future may hold new adventures or challenges and that it’s okay because you’ve made it to today.

I don’t know what the future holds, I do know what my hopes are dreams are though. I am grateful for those. I am thankful for where my life has taken me so far. Thankful for my supportive husband, my beautiful amazing daughters who have made me a better person.  I am thankful for my friends who accept me as I am and encourage me to keep growing. I am thankful for my family who is there, ready to offer encouragement.

During this season I think it is easy for some to be caught up in the trap of more being better somehow. The idea of Thankfulness dispels that somehow. It’s  amazing, family and friends getting together to share food and company. No materialistic expectations, just love. I hope that this feeling weaves its way though out the holiday season into the new year.

I am blessed. ❤ Happy Thanksgiving!

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A new business and a new busy!

Domain names purchased, email set up, UBI number from The Office of the Secretary of State, my filing is in with the state business department and next will be my city license.  Hearthstone Parenting LLC “strengthening families through education, support and community” will be up and running in 2015. Offering parenting education workshops, parenting community connection activities, parenting plans for divided families and private parenting coaching.

Parenting education is my passion. I feel that with the lack of the village feel, a strong community for parents is lacking. We all need support and there should be no stigma attached to a parent asking for help! No-one should feel alone. Parenting is beautiful and hard at the same time. A wonderful experience where the rules keep changing.  We look for knowledge in every aspect of our lives and classes are abundant, but parents look up advice on the internet and read parenting books by the arm full- alone. There should be open communication and community tied to parenting and all the hurdles and successes met along the way. Hoping Hearthstone Parenting becomes the warm welcoming parenting education center I dream of 🙂

I am busy, busy, busy…and equally excited!! I promise I will be back to blogging!!!

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Can someone explain to me why time flies by so fast once you have kids?!

Ok, so I need some answers. Why, pray tell, does time seem to fly by faster than I ever thought possible since the birth of my children?

I do have a few speculations:

1. You are no longer thinking about yourself. I think that once we become responsible for these little humans we cease to be so egocentric and instead become hyper focused on our children thus time also ceases to exist. So BAM! All of a sudden hours have flown by while we sat on the floor playing dolls, trains, cars and dinosaurs…

2. Our hearts begin to beat outside our bodies and in our little loves. Like literally these tiny humans take our hearts right out and start walking around with them in their little hands. I’m sure that has something to do with time beginning to speed by in the blink of an eye once we are parents. It’s because we no longer have control of our hearts, they do.

3. We’re older. For some of us we waited a long time to start a family and it was something that always seemed “way off in the future”, but now that t’s here our “future” is marked by points in THEIR futures, not ours. Their first steps, first words, first foods, first birthday, starting preschool, starting kindergarten, learning to read, learning to write, more birthday milestones, school milestones, etc.. All the way to the wedding and families and lives we hope they have someday. All that projection moves time, I swear!!

4. We’re tired. I know lack of sleep can do some funky things to the brain so I know all parents of children of any age are sleep deprived. We never catch up because there isn’t time so we stay perpetually tired. We are all still trying to find that lost 2,347th hour from when our children were 18 months old…Oh, did you get a sleeper? Well, that’s ok, you’ll lose sleep with your teenager…Paybacks are sweet! Ok, I’m just kidding, I’m glad some of you aren’t as tired as I am, and if paybacks are true, I will be not sleeping while both my GIRLS are teenagers due to my karma from just being a teenage girl myself a loooong time ago (which probably seems like yesterday to my mom).

5. Talking to other parents. I think this just cements the time conundrum. Other parents tell us ALL the time how fast it goes and there is power in those words. We hear it and we believe it. They must know right?! Their kids are older than ours. Our parents say it to us. The great grandparents say it. “Just wait, it will all be over in the blink of an eye”. “Enjoy the time while they are growing up, it goes so fast”. “Just relax, every stage is just a short minute in the longer time of life”…I mean geez, if hearing that all day everyday at least 50 times doesn’t make time seem faster, then I don’t know what would. It’s the power of suggestion! Totally real!! And to make matters worse we share these sentiments with anyone whose kids are younger than ours to just keep this time warp moving along at the speed of light.

So here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to hang on and enjoy the ride. I’m going to make each and every fleeting moment last as long as humanly possible. I’m going to cherish all the bumps, hills, valleys, high points and straight stretches along the way. I will do my very best to live in the moment and let the future take care of itself while I love these two sweet beings with all my heart. Yes, the very same heart that they full well know they hold in their sweet little hands ❤

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I’m pre-occupied…it’s a good thing!

So… I’m pre-occupied. More than usual anyway because what parent isn’t pre-occupied almost all the time?? Kids do that. It’s sort of mandatory to be pre-occupied when our hearts begin to walk around outside our bodies…those kids take up a lot of brain & heart real-estate! But what has taken me sort of on a tangent thinking path is the idea of a sole proprietorship.

I’m starting to think about what I may want to do part-time when my 3-year-old starts school in a couple of years. The wheels are turning and I think I have a general idea but the planning is taking up a lot of my free time. Free time which used to be reserved for writing this blog. Seriously, my free time is limited!

I will have to start sharing my ideas and gathering input because most of you who read this could give me some great insight for real, I’m sure!! I’ll give you a clue. It has to do with parenting education…..I’m pretty excited and have even bought a few domain names in preparation. They happened to be available so I went with it. I’m hoping the business name I like isn’t taken already.

Well, I’m off to study and read and plan and write some…along with the 7 million tasks I have rattling around in my head at any given time! Crud! I think I just remembered a dentist appointment on  Tuesday. Hmm…I’m pretty sure it’s mine since I just wrote about my daughters experience. Her appointment took up some serious heart and brain real-estate for a while. You can read about it here if you happened to miss it.

I’m blaming Oprah! I have been chewing on this idea for a while, but I’ve decided that there isn’t any reason it couldn’t work out. I am going to write about Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend but I am waiting for some awesome photos to be sent to my inbox. Stay tuned and good night!! 🙂

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Fall is here…no really, in my house :)

It’s Fall…so far so good. I like this season along as I can stay inside and watch the leaves blowing around. Wait, actually there are leaves blowing around in my house because my daughters bring them in by the handful. On our walks home from school they are collected by the dozen with plans to make leaf crowns and tiaras. The leaves are being glued to paper, cardboard and left on the table, floor and the furniture. I am constantly picking them up.  I don’t really mind. I’m still inside most of the time so I’m happy! The weather has been pretty beautiful lately so I really can’t complain too much about the times I am outside. I also finally figured out if I buy the right gear for the weather such as rain boots, warm boots, waterproof warm jackets, hats and an umbrella it isn’t so bad. Yes, I said umbrella which I was told by a woman up at my daughters school that people from Washington don’t carry umbrellas. I had asked her if she would like to stand under mine one afternoon when it was pouring and she was the lone soaked person within a sea of umbrellas and she laughed at me. Like out loud and told me that is why she lives here and that real people from the Northwest don’t use umbrellas. I just smiled and said ok. I did not tell her that I am a native of this area, as are my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. It sure doesn’t mean I have to like getting thoroughly soaked. I am blaming her rudeness on her obviously water soaked brain. A simple no thanks would have sufficed. Anyway, along with being warm and dry I find my solace in yummy fall scented candles. I have stocked up. The candles and my fireplace are burning brightly, I am warm and cozy, my chai tea is spicy and lovely. I am happy 🙂

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