Potty Training….. Who does that?!

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I started using the bathroom at the ripe age of just 1 hour old! Yep, I was a smart little cookie. I have no idea how I knew what to do, but somehow I just did! No one had to teach me this must have skill, but yet I did it anyway. I can apply this to eating, crawling, talking, and walking, maybe I am a genius! Buzz… Wrong answer! Amazingly, as humans we are designed to learn, and sometimes without the help or assistance of others! Can you believe that, our survival as humans is totally and completely dependent on us learning and mastering new skills. This information and change in thought process changed my life when it came to potty training my children.

I remember with my first son, playing games like sink the tissue and with my first daughter giving her candy every time she would pee on the pot after sitting there for hours. It was a dreadful and tedious process. I literally stressed myself out trying to get them potty trained by the age of 2! By the time my fourth child came around,  I was over the idea of potty training. Everyone I ran into would recommend books for me to read they were appalled by the idea that she wasn’t potty training. Let’s just be honest does it really matter what age you were potty trained? Raise your hand if you remember what age you were potty trained.  Was this a question that I overlooked on my college application? Does being potty trained by a certain age make you smarter than the next kid? These are the things I began to ask myself. I mean really, what is the big deal? When son number 3 child number 5 came along, I decided I wasn’t going to potty train him. GASP!!! I said to myself as long as he is potty trained before he is 5, it doesn’t matter. My philosophy became if we learn how to walk and talk on our own who is to say we won’t learn to use the pot on our own. Who became the brainiac behind this idea of potty training, and where did they get this magic number from? I was no longer going to stress myself about this. People thought I had lost my mind when I would say I am not potty training him. When I explained our nontraditional potty training, I got remarks like “ok when he is 5 and still not using the bathroom you are going to regret this.” I knew my son was smart, and he picked up on these things pretty quickly. He loved and still loves to learn, is curious by nature, and wants to know and understand everything. Wait, isn’t that every toddler? So my thought was if he saw everyone else in our house using the toilet (more so daddy) then surely eventually he would want to do the same. If all else failed, he isn’t going to walk around in his mess forever, right? So the nontraditional potty training quest began!

I wasn’t going to potty train

When my husband would use the thrown, he would allow my son to watch, explaining that he was going pee in the potty. My son was amused by this feat! First off, daddy as a penis too! Secondly, Look what daddy penis can do! (boys have to love them) Soon my son started peeing  in the shower amazed by his personal feat,  I would praise him for this! Using statements like, “Wow you went pee” “Whoa look what you did you made a peepee” or “Great Job, now you can do that in the potty like daddy”! We would do this routinely with him. Never stressing over it or making him sit on the potty for hours with nothing happening. I allowed him to run around the house without clothing and without a diaper so he understood his little penis would make pee throughout the day. After just a few weeks of this non stress, nontraditional potty training, my little 21 month old started using the potty. He started at home on his own. One day he took out running for the toilet, when I followed behind to see what was going on, I was sure he was getting into trouble. To my amazement, he was going pee! He completely bypassed me and did it all on his own! I of course praised him and genuinely praised him because I was absolutely  amazed and shocked! I got the same feeling of joy I had the first time he took steps on his own! I am proud to say he is less than 3 years old and sleeps through the night without a pull up and doesn’t have any accidents, all of this without ‘formal’ training! Yep, he pretty much learned on his own. I couldn’t care less about the age, I am merely proud because he did it on his own and without me STRESSING!

For me this changed my view of potty training and teaching for that matter. Children are sponges and they love to learn especially visually and when involved.

“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn” Benjamin Franklin

Wheel of Happiness

Often times, life gets unbalanced and we feel an uneasiness about different areas of our lives. We may not feel as happy or drained. This is a clear signal that our wheel of life needs to be rotated and balanced. Here is a free tool for you to regain control over your life and happiness. Download and print off the wheel of happiness.

Choose 8 areas in you life that you want to be happier in. Then on a scale of 1-10 10 being 100% happy and satisfied score how happy you are with each area of your life.

After you have scored your wheel, it is time to take action! Use this worksheet to begin taking action on getting your happiness back.

Feeling stuck, enlightened, or want some encouragement to help you begin taking action. Setup an appointment today and let’s work together on getting back to your happy!

Take a MENET and Enjoy the Moment

Have you ever watched a baby learn how to walk? Have you ever watched how a baby seizes the day and every single moment? Have you ever marveled at how babies are able to continue on after the difficult times in their lives? Babies are a perfect example of how we are suppose to live our lives. What we are designed to be. Imagine if we immersed ourselves into every single new day focusing on what we were learning at that exact moment. Imagine if when we were blessed with a new day we never looked back at yesterday. Imagine if we focused only on today as though there was no other day.

It’s amazing to me how when babies begin to walk they don’t revert back to crawling. (well most times) No matter how many times they stumble or how wobbly they are,they continue to press forward with walking. They don’t fall and say, “to hell with this, I’m going back to crawling”. They pick themselves up and continue to wobble forward laughing and marveling at the new skill they have learned. They don’t think about the ‘good ole days’ or ‘when things were easier’ They don’t focus on running or what they will do next. They are simply focused on putting one foot in front of the next! Isn’t that simply amazing!

The problem with adults is, we get stuck in the past. We get stuck with the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. We get stuck with the remember when. No matter where we move in life, the past somehow continues to creep up. Unable to not only forget the past, but also unable to move forward, we are frozen in what use to be. To add to this dilemma, adults are  delusional and have a false reality that they are getting a tomorrow. Adults just automatically assume the future is a promised thing. (entitled much) Post on entitlement of the future coming soon!

What is it about the past that is so enticing? My theory is it’s because we have the capability of looking back without futuristic vision. We are able to have an unobstructed view of the past. We are no longer in that moment only to be thinking about the future, so we are able to separate our feelings and really see it for what it was. But the funny thing is the past is happening right now. It’s unfolding taking place even as I type these words. The 1st paragraph of this topic is now in the past. Isn’t that amazing!

With this new found information, can you begin to grasp how important it is to embrace every single moment as it is happening and live it out to the fullest? Where are you right now in your life? Maybe not exactly where you want to be, and that is ok. Like a baby you may have just started walking, still wobbly, and not quite as fast as the other toddlers around you, but YOU ARE walking!! You did it, you stood up on your two feet and took steps! How amazing is that. Immerse  yourself in that feeling of goodness. Applaud yourself for your efforts. I guarantee you, when you start running, you are going to find yourself thinking about when times were simpler and you were just starting to walk. You are going to want to take yourself back to this moment of time, partly because you didn’t allow yourself to really and fully enjoy it when it was happening. While you were learning to walk, you were thinking about how hard it is, how you keep falling, how you should go back to crawling, how you can barely stand and you wish you could run like everyone else. The moment you start running, you will be tired and tired of running wishing you could go back to days of just starting to walk. See this vicious cycle?

The past wouldn’t be as glorified in the present if we actually were present in the past. And the present wouldn’t appear so unpleasant if we were fully present in the present.

Ok, Ok Tanyell I get it I need to focus on the present. This isn’t new information, I have heard this all before. You got me there! However, you still aren’t living in the present. Why is that? My theory, glorified partial past and glorified promised futures. See society has a way of making us think we are suppose to reminisce about the good ole days. Even the word reminisce definition is glorified.

Thesaurus definition: Reminisce – indulge in enjoyable recollection of the past.

Wrong.

My definition: Reminisce-  indulge in a filtered recollection of the past.

Yep filtered because we are able to filter out the bad or filter out the good to meet our needs. Don’t believe me? How was your day yesterday?

Why do people come together to talk about the good ole days, when they should be focused on the time they are spending together at that moment. Society has a way of making us think we are all promised a tomorrow. Save for the future, better days are coming, try again tomorrow, you will get it next time. All these little catch phrases that were designed to encourage us, however, they somehow prevent us from enjoying this day. Basically our today is never good enough until it’s our yesterday.

This same backwards thinking is often tried to be pushed onto to our innocent little babies.

Think about it. Your beautiful baby is born and you enjoy that first month, but then you start saying things like I can’t wait for them to sit up by themselves. You will even prop them up to sit up. The race is on for them to sit up at 3 months. But baby just wants to suck eat, drink, sleep, and poop. Baby isn’t in a hurry to sit up. Baby doesn’t even know that there is a such thing as tomorrow. Then the day comes they sit up, for like two seconds. The next day you are trying to get baby to sit up again, but baby forgot that it sat up yesterday. Yesterday is history. They are only concerned with the little piece of paper in front of them at the moment. Finally, finally baby sits up for like 2 mins and does it again and again! How awesome is this. Clap, clap, clap, clap! Your ecstatic. But a short three week later, you are pushing for them to crawl. They sit up, they clap their hands, they laugh, they smile, still excited about this new thing they are doing. You. Crawl baby crawl. Baby sits up, claps hands, laughs, still amazed at what it can do. You. Put baby on belly, crawl baby crawl. A few months later. The baby begins to crawl! Hallelujah! You rejoice, you post pictures, you call family members, you show everyone. Your baby is finally crawling. I mean they are only 4 months (they must be a baby genius) or It  took forever they are like 7 months. (what is wrong) Either way, they are finally, finally crawling and you are thrilled! Until you find out baby g down the street is walking. (gasp) Now you are pushing for baby to walk. Walk baby. When will my baby walk. All the other babies are walking! Then one fine Friday morning your baby finally walks! Everyone is soo  excited. The day has finally come! You have been waiting for this moment forever. Your baby is walking. (he is only 8 months baby genius) Your baby is finally walking (she is 15 months, something is wrong) But then suddenly and unexpectedly a sadness comes over you, and you remember the day that your now walker was first born and so tiny. Where did the time go? Those same people who were asking you if they were sitting up, crawling, walking are now saying to you, don’t blink time goes by fast, you better enjoy it they grow up fast, before you know it they will be grown. You now want THOSE days back. You wish you could slow down time. You know it’s only a matter of time that this now walker will be running. You long for the good ole days. You wish your walker would let you cuddle them. Now your filtered memory has forgotten the late nights, the colic crying, the spilled milk. What you have filtered through is all the good and you want it back.

Tell me, when were you ever fully present? At any of these moments did you get down on your knees and crawl with your baby? Did you marvel at how their little knees hit the floor? Did you see how their belly would drag along the floor as they slid across it? Did you wash their facial expression as they crawled day after day. Sure you have tons of pictures, but when you see those pictures can you recall the smells, the sounds, does the picture come to life? Sure you were excited, but did you feel your heart beating, did you feel your babies heart beat? Where you fully present? Did you ever fully enjoy that tiny milestone? Do you remember when your baby had you up all night crying and crying, what did your baby smell like? What did their cry sound like? What did their tears taste like as you tried to calm them and kiss their tiny cheeks? What did their skin feel like, their tiny heart beat, their hair on your lips? What did their face look like, what did their eyes say to you? Or do you just remember how miserable you were.

Let me ask you. When was the last time you stopped and looked into your chid’s eyes. I mean literally looked into their soul. Your partners eyes. Your eyes. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and looked into your soul? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and actually heard what their voice sounded like. The way they  pronounce certain words. When was the last time you tasted every single flavor in a food or a drink? When was the last time you felt someones skin and felt how soft or rough it was? When was the last time you felt the air on your face.  Being present, is more than just putting your phone down. It’s about taking in the moment with every single sense that God gave you. Think about the caveman days. They had to live in the present or the dangers of the world would have made humans extinct. They didn’t have time to reminisce about the yesterdays. They couldn’t worry about tomorrow because they were too busy trying to stay alive today. There is a reason we have five senses, but most of us only use one them. Can you guess which one?

Babies live in the very essence of the day. They use every single one of their senses every single day. When they look into your face they examine it intensely, they touch it, they smell you, they listen to your words with such intensity, and then they go in for the kill and taste you! (we call it kisses) They are fully immersed in you as a being and that exact moment with you. They aren’t distracted with anything else going on. You could have just let baby cry it out. (I hope not) Yet, baby isn’t mad or concerned with what just happened they are focused on the right now. They aren’t worried that in a few minutes you are going to put them down for a nap. They are only thinking about this moment. How incredibly beautiful is that.

If you haven’t figured out how to live in the now, after reading all of that. I’m going to tell you now. Every single day take a menet and be present with what you are doing. Umm you spelled minute wrong. Nope, not that kind of minute but a Mouth, Eyes, Nose, Ears, Touch menet! (if you don’t know by now, I’m cheesy) 😉 But you won’t forget it!

No matter what it is you are doing take some time and use your five senses! Sure you don’t want to walk around tasting every single thing, but you can take a moment and realize the taste you have in your mouth during that moment or the sensations in your mouth. Is your mouth dry or watery. However, when the opportunity fits, use your mouth and taste. I remember my now 13 year old daughter eating dirt one day as she was playing. She wasn’t a baby, but much older. I said to her why did you eat dirt. Her response, I wanted to know what the earth that I was playing on tasted like. How profound!

Now that we have went through all of that. I want you to go back and reread this, only this time take a menet while reading it!

Why Not Say Yes

“May I have some candy?” NO! “May I watch TV?” NO! “May I have a pb&J Sandwich for Dinner?” NO! WHY NOT!!!! What is preventing you from giving your kids a yes?

I recently had the privilege of taking a parenting class for parents who are parenting children from hard places aka parents of adopted children, known as Empowered to Connect. The information given in this class is from the book The Connected Child written by Karen Purvis. To say that the information I was given in this class was wall breaking, is saying the very least. As a mother of both biological and adopted children, I feel like this information should be given to every parent, because let’s just face it, we all come from hard places. Being birthed alone is traumatizing and hard for an infant.

While taking this class, we were given different parenting tools to try and explore, one of the tools that impacted and knocked down so many bricks in a wall I didn’t even know I had built, was a day of yes.

Many times, we think as parents we have to provide structure and protect our children from this big bad world. While this is true, it is also important to connect with our children and build a secure attachment with them. One of the ways to achieve this goal is allowing your children the opportunity to learn they can talk to you, but more importantly trust you. Saying yes to our children could provide them space to not be afraid to come to us in difficult times and ask hard questions, because they know you will answer reasonably and fairly. They learn how to accept no better and with ease. They begin to understand the whys behind the yes and no. If you are a parent that constantly says no to your children, you risk the possibility of them shutting down and shutting you out as they get older. No does not provide opportunities for experiences, growth, or connection. 

For me, this day of yes seemed daunting, I mean I have 9 children at home 8 of them can talk and ask for things. My initial thought was this could and probably will get out of control, they are going to suck me dry. What I found, is that my bigger kids had become so complacent with me saying no they hardly ask for anything. My oldest at home, didn’t ask for anything, and my younger ones while they asked for things constantly; their request were fairly reasonable and within acceptable boundaries. If this was the norm, why was my go to usually no?

I found, I typically say no out of pure convenience and selfishness. Not only was it easier for me to say no, but sometimes I simply didn’t  want to share or stop doing what I was doing to say yes. Examples? Well, on our yes day I fixed a nice breakfast for the kids as they ate breakfast and I proceeded to sit down at the computer to do a little prep for the remainder of the day. My 4 year comes to me and says can I have an orange? Now my go to would have been no eat breakfast. It’s an orange people! Relatively healthy and again an orange. Not a bag of chips or piece of candy.  I said yes, he was ecstatic, he did a little happy dance as we went into the kitchen so I could peel his orange. As I analyzed the situation, I realized I wanted to say no because I didn’t want to stop what I was doing and get up to go peel an orange. Now there are times I would have said not right now, when I finish this, in a minute, etc etc. These are all acceptable, however, many times it’s just easier to say no. No is final! I don’t have to hear now can I have one, are you done yet, is it a minute, blah blah blah. However, yes is final too! It took me all of 30 seconds to peel the orange and he was happy and content and I could go back to what I was doing and actually get it finished. Yes was better than no. Another example, I will usually treat myself to chick fil a once a week. It’s my treat just for me no one else. I came home  with my Arnold Palmer and set it down. I only had a few sips left.a few min later here comes my 5 year old can I have this mommy? My gut turned into knots as my lips started to form no, that’s mine. (I mean can’t this mommy have anything to herself.) That’s what would have went through my mind.  Instead I formed a smile on my face and said yes. Her eyes lit up and she drank the last few swallows. She was a happy girl. In my self analyzing, I realized sometimes, ok most times, I don’t like to share. Had my cup been full I may have been more likely to fail this yes, but the reality is  I could have easily poured her some in a little cup and we both would have been happy. Win win. 

When you have multiple children, you are bombarded with questions all day long. And saying yes to all of them all of the time isn’t realistic nor healthy parenting, however, taking a moment to discern can I say yes to this is what’s important. Understanding the why behind your No.

 My challenge to you is to pick a day and on that day say yes to your child/children  (within reason)for an entire day. You don’t want your child being put in harms way, so please use discernment and common sense. Push yourself beyond your limits and say yes to as much as possible. No matter how bad you may want to say no, if you can say yes, say yes! While doing this challenge, keep track of your feelings and emotions. Remember it’s only for one day! A day of yes is an opportunity for you to not only build a stronger bond with your children, but it also provides you with an opportunity to understand yourself and why you parent the way you do. Saying yes can be enlighting as well as freeing. It opens up doors that you may have never knocked on let alone set foot in. It provides you with the chance to grow beyond your comfort zone, and what happens when we grow beyond our comfort zone? Walls come tumbling down! So, get to it…. Happy Yessing!! 

I’m the Parent. You will Respect me.

When you think of respect, what comes to mind? What does respect mean to you? How would you define respect? 

According to the merriam dictionary, respect is defined as having a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something for their abilities. With that definition, how does respect fit into parenting? 

When I was growing up, respect meant I better do what my mother says or else, it meant saying yes mam/yes sir, it meant looking at my elders when they were talking to me, it meant staying in a child’s place (which I am still not exactly sure where that place was), it meant doing things simply because my mother said so. I remember thinking when I become a parent, I am not going to make my kids do all these things and I am not going to act like this. What I found was, although I may not parent exactly like I was raised, I still had a definition of respect in my head that didn’t fit the definition of what respect really meant. I still had the same ideologies about respect as my parents and the world. I felt like my kids should respect me simply because I was their mother. I mean, I could argue that being their mother is a pretty admirable thing, right! Aside from the fact I am admirable, if I take the definition of respect literal, the reality is my kids are not obligated to respect me. Gasp….. 

Ok, have you closed your mouth and regained oxygen to your brain? Great, let’s keep going!

I have learned two things that have moved me beyond the walls when it comes to parenting and respect, 1. my kids are not obligated to respect me and 2. the things I deemed as respectful were simply things that helped my ego and pride. I know that is heavy stuff. Let’s look at the terms yes mam and yes sir. At one point in my parenting career, I required my oldest child to say yes mam/yes sir to all adults. I felt this was respectful, because my parents made me say it and taught me this was respectful. But, hold on a minute, didn’t you say earlier you vowed you wouldn’t do things your parents did? Yep, I sure did, but again I got trapped behind the walls of life and society and I found myself doing things I didn’t really want to do nor did I understand why I was doing it. But I have digressed, back to topic. 

So, I was requiring my child to say yes mam/yes sir, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. I tried to convince myself it made him have manners, and he got a lot of attention and I got a lot of praise for his “manners.”Yet and still, Who said that these two words were the be all to respect and the cause of his manners. I mean honestly, I met a lot of other parents who didn’t require their children to say yes mam/yes sir and they were very respectful children with excellent manners may I add. I began to really research and I realized this term was geographical and mostly used in the south. I also realized the brutal history of the term yes mam/yes sir and the reality that the terminology was used to show authority, belittle, and control. It really was a prideful thing. I am your boss you need to say yes mam and no mam to me simply because I am bigger and better than you, that’s it no other reason. I quickly released this idea of requiring my children to say yes mam/yes sir a simple yes and no would be just as efficient. It became as simple as use your words, don’t shake your head at me, open up your moth and speak. Well, this is all fine and dandy if your child has the language and cognitive development to say yes and no. For some children, a nod or the shake of their head may be all they can give and they can still be just as respectful.

This new ideal of thought blew up my thought pattern and required me to question all my ideals surrounding respect. Is respect set or fluid? Is it individualized or universal? Is it earned or given? I believe society likes to tell us respect is set, it looks like this and anything different is disrespect. It’s universal, it doesn’t matter the person or situation respect is respect. And respect is simply given to people in authority, they don’t have to earn it you respect them simply because of who they are. Society doesn’t feel there are levels to respect it is what is and it certainly isn’t a feeling you feel it is a requirement you do. I, however, believe there are two types of respect there is earned respect or the big R and there is given respect or the little r. Given respect is set and universal. Earned Respect, however, is fluid and individualized. Given respect you do, earned respect you feel. Just for fun, let’s call the little r respect SURG (set universal respect given) and the big R Respect FIRE(fluid individualized respect earned). Come on humor me! 

SURG respect is the kind of respect we give to people with titles or who hold certain positions. Examples would be police officers, teachers, government officials, parents, and so on. Some of them may not deserve our Respect and some surely haven’t earned it; however we will show them a set and universal amount of respect simply because of their title. What is set and universal respect? Why I am so glad you asked. Let us turn to the big book of the bible. Although the bible doesn’t use the exact word respect, it does have some pretty good advice on giving and showing respect. Matthew 7:12 treat others the way you want to be treated. Well, Tanyell how is that set and universal? We all may want to be treated differently. Nope, every single person wants to be loved and honored. (Universal) So universal respect shows love and honor for a person. How that is done may look different, but the end result will always be the same (set) the person receiving the respect will feel good after being in your presence. You know how to make a person feel good, because you know what will make you feel good.  FIRE Respect is different, you may have Respect for your mailman because of the admiration you have for them, therefore, you may do something different or extra for them to show your respect. You may give them a card, you may address them by mam or sir because you know that pleases them and out of admiration you want or have the desire to please them. You may greet them at the mailbox every evening and say hello and ask them how their day is going. Your level of respect and how you choose to show it may change day to day (Fluid) and the way you respect them may be different from the way you respect your neighbor (individualized), whom you admire and adore just as much. 

So, how does this work with parenting? First, my kids must know there are some people who they must have a certain amount of SURG for. So, as their mother they may not feel I deserve respect or have an admiration for me, but I did give birth to them and therefore they will show me respect. This means when I am in their presence I want to walk away feeling good. I don’t want to walk away feeling degraded and bad. You can speak to me in a respectful way, you can look me in the eyes, you can acknowledge me when I am in your presence, you can answer me when I speak to you. Don’t talk to me a way you wouldn’t want me to talk to you. You want me to give you my attention when you are speaking so show me the same courtesy. It’s teaching your child to value other people the same way they want to feel valued no matter how they may feel about that other person.   The other side to this is every day I am working toward earned respect from my kids. I want them to admire me and adore me and have a desire to show me FIRE. The type of Respect that goes deep. For me, what many people deem as disrespectful as a parent I do not. My child expressing to me that they are unhappy about their chore and they don’t like doing it, isn’t disrespectful they have the right to express themselves; however, because I hold the title of parent and I provide a roof over their head and food on their table they will do the chore. Why? Because, that is how they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. At the same time, when my children enter into a room I greet them and say hello or good morning. I don’t wait for them to acknowledge me first. Many would deem this as them being disrespectful because I am the authority, therefore they greet me first. However, because I am trying to earn their Respect I treat them with SURG. I want them to greet me when I walk into a room; therefore, I will greet them when they walk into a room. Treat others how you want to be treated. For me, respect is a two way street. You can’t demand a person gives you big R Respect, child or not. You can’t demand a child says yes mam/yes sir and expect them to continue this behavior out of love as an adult if they don’t truly Respect you. 

What does this mean? Are you saying that I should just dismiss my ideas of respect and let my children run wild? Not at all, I take you back to my original questions when you think of respect, what comes to mind and what does respect mean to you?I challenge you to break down your walls around respect and redefine what respect means to you without the world defining it for you.  Are you giving your children the same type of respect you are requiring of them? Are your definitions of respect prideful and egotistical or are they unpretentious and humble? Should you be respected out of authority or admiration? Ask yourself am I a parent worth respecting rather than fearing. Does your child obey out of fear or respect?  I have a saying, when children are young they follow the rules out of fear, but when they become older they follow rules out of respect. 

Be careful not to confuse control as respect, one is earned through admiration the other demanded through fear. 

Feeling intrigued, inspired, or even irritated hop on over to I’m a great parent , my kid is busier than yours for more indulgence! 

Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers

Always remember what’s important to you in life, for every person that may be different. Keep your eye on the ball.

Jamie Lee's Crystal Connection

Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, When 24 hours
in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty
mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the…

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Please Don’t Disturb My Peace

Define peace. The dictionary definition is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Seems pretty straightforward right? So, why do so many  people struggle with finding peace in their lives? Rewind back to the definition and you will find the answer. Still unsure? Ok, I will tell you. Freedom from disturbance. Well what’s a disturbance?

Disturbance: the interruption of a settled and peaceful condition.

Yep, that’s correct! Often times, people struggle with finding peace, because they have too many disturbances in their lives. I’m not talking about disturbances like your children, job, or other everyday responsbilities. I am talking about disturbances that show in up in the form of O.P.O (other peoples opinions) or O.P.T (other peoples thoughts). These little disturbances interrupt people from being able to achieve peace in their lives. How so, you ask? Well, let’s break it down with an example.

A soon to be mother, decides she wants to breastfeed her baby and not only does she want to breastfeed her baby, but she wants to breastfeed on demand, allow them to self ween, oh and she wants to breastfeed in public without a cover. Yes, she has determined this is exactly what she wants to do when her precious bundle arrives. She is at peace with this decision. And then she shares this decision with her sister, mother, friend, husband, coworker. They say, “breastfeed, on demand, until their 2, in public, without a cover!” “You are nuts.” “Breastfeeding, might be ok.” “But on demand, your baby will be spoiled, they are going to use you as a pacifier, you won’t be able to get anything done.” “Self ween, don’t you know that babies don’t need breast milk after the age of 6 months, and they surely should’t be breastfeeding with teeth, AND definitely not when they are walking or able to ask for it, that my dear is INSANE.” “And, what is this, you want to breastfeed in public without a cover, no one wants to see that.” “You need to be modest, that is so inappropriate, there is a time and place for everything.” As a new mother she takes all this information in. Their thoughts begin to interrupt her settled condition. She begins to self doubt her original plan. I mean these people are her loved ones, they wouldn’t steer her wrong, right?

Her bundle is born and as she begins that most sacred and precious moment of breastfeeding, the opinions and thoughts of others begin to rush into her mind and she suddenly feels uneasy. The first time she breastfeeds on demand she feels tension and she wonders if her baby is just using her as a pacifier, she begins to think about the laundry she could be getting done if she wasn’t being a human pacifier. The first time she attempts to breastfeed in public she remembers to put her cover on first, but her little one is screaming. As she puts on her cover, and try to position it so she can get her little one latched on, people are looking at her, and suddenly the tension is back and she thinks, “maybe I should’ve made a bottle, breastfeeding in public isn’t right”. She is suddenly stressed! She is constantly thinking all she wants is a little peace in her life. She thinks peace would come from quiet and tranquility because her bundle is always crying, but she refuses to be a human pacifier as “they” called it. She thinks peace would come if she didn’t have the disturbance of this little one being so demanding and still wanting to breastfeed at 7 months when she is now trying to ween them, because they have teeth. All she wants is peace.

Pause. Peace is right there; lingering in her lost desires. Think back to the peace she felt when she made her decision. That is the peace she is yearning for. This example doesn’t only apply to being a mother and breastfeeding, it applies to every decision that a person makes, feels peace about, then changes their decision because of disturbances.

Disturbances show up frequently in our lives. They can show up when you are trying to decide on a career, which school to attend, or if you should attend school at all, what outfit you should wear, what house you should buy, if you should have kids, where you should live, if you should get married and so on and so on. The saying opinions are like butt holes is true, everyone has one. What we must do is use discernment on what we want to listen to. It’s ok to hear, but take caution in listening. Test everything and hold onto what is good.  Thessalonians 5:21 How do you use discernment? Simple, you have to be SNOB. You have to be nontraditional, organic, and bold. When you think of someone who is a “snob”, they aren’t concerned with what other people think of them. They are only concerned with themselves and their happiness. This could be looked upon as negative, but it can also be a great positive. Not being concerned with what others think of you gives you the opportunity to really listen to your heart, intuition, gut whatever you may call it and decipher what it is that YOU want. Chances are, your desires aren’t going to look like another persons desires this makes you nontraditional. When you begin to honor these desires, you are being organic. (Something is organic when it doesn’t have added artificial agents). These two things make you bold. So, when using discernment listen to yourself first, then hear other peoples thoughts and opinions, contemplate them and ask yourself does these thoughts nurture my organic self or are they adding artificial agents. You will know if they nurture you because you will feel peace. Sure there will be some rough days, but even in the thick of it you will feel peaceful. A flower planted in nurturing soil, continues to grow even in the storm. The flower doesn’t waiver or filter because this storm isn’t disturbing the flower, instead it is watering it’s soil and nurturing it; bringing the flower peace. If you are feeling restless, stressed, or simply do not feel at peace in your life check for disturbances, interruptions, artificial agents. If you find yourself in a storm decipher if the storm is disturbing or nurturing. Once you complete your checks, purge and balance. Purge the the disturbance and rid yourself of any interruptions. This may mean expressing concerns, setting firm boundaries, and/or ending relationships. Whichever direction you go, understand breaking down the walls isn’t easy, but life beyond the walls is beautiful and peaceful.