Stop or Keep Going

There is a quote by Gracie Allen that says “never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

I struggled with this quote for a long time. Trying to figure out when I should keep pushing forward vs when I should throw in the towel. Often times, we get confused on to quit or not to quit. You hear things like “nothing worth having comes easy” “you have to go through it to get to it” “Nobody every said it would it be easy.” These are the little motivating lines people will throw out to us when we find ourselves at the crossroads of wanting to give up.

The other side to that coin is “ask and you shall receive.” “when you really want something the universe conspires for you to have it” “nothing is to big for God” and so on. These seem to be conflicting messages.

Then there is the quote by Oprah “life always whispers first, but if you ignore the whisper sooner or later you will get the scream”

All of these quotes can leave any person confused. How do you know if this is a comma or period, a mountain you have to climb or a whisper you need to hear. But nothing is to big for God.

I believe all of these quotes are true. I believe when we are living our organic lives the Universe will give us exactly what we need to achieve our goals. I believe nothing is too big for God and God will use his power and strength to protect us from getting in the way of our organic selves. I believe sometimes we have to go through it to get to it and it’s not easy living an organic life in a world full of preservatives. I believe we have to listen to life whispers to know there is a period and the Universe is saying go the other way, God is saying stop.

But how Tanyell? How can I tell the difference?

The difference between a comma and period is challenge and struggle.

When God is saying not yet or the Universe is saying you’re going to have to go through it to get to it you may experience challenges. These challenges may throw you off, trip you up, cause you take a moment of pause. You may even question whether you should keep going and may second guess yourself. It’s going to feel hard, but not impossible. You may face one challenge and God opens a door of opportunity then face another challenge and the Universe gives you what you need to get through that one. Either way with hard work, determination, and tenacity you will get through those challenges. This is what a comma feels like!  It feels like pause, take a break, hold on, not yet, almost but a few more things. A comma lets you know you need to stop for a brief moment but more is to come if you keep going.

When God is saying no and the Universe is whispering stop, stop, stop it feels like a struggle. Struggles knock the wind out of you. No matter how much you push and pull there is resistance. You just can’t seem to get a break one thing after another. Rather than the Universe throwing you a bone, you have to make and create ways to try and move past the struggle. These ways may make the struggle even more difficult. If you are able to create a way beyond the struggle, immediately another struggle appears. It may be bigger and harder. A period let’s us know to stop this is over, something new is coming. It allows us to reset our thoughts and prepare for new information. A period says stop here but keep going in a different direction. This is the end of this.

See we look at these as road blocks as blocking us from our destination rather than, road blocks protecting us from danger. Road blocks are designed to protect us from accidents. These roadblocks may be inconvenient but they can set us on a path of beauty if we allow ourselves to be open to the new journey.

The thing about nothing being to big for God is true, which means God can place a period in our life at any given time. He can see us trucking along on our path and he may see a ditch up ahead.

So what happens?

Life whispers STOP. Some of us are so attuned with life that we hear this whisper and we are able to stop. Some of us aren’t as attuned and may continue to drive and then suddenly we hit a road block. From here some of us are able to realize this road block is a period we need to turnaround and figure out a new direction. While a few of us think this is simply is a comma. How can I get through this roadblock. What is a period now becomes a struggle because we refuse to stop and reset.

Suddenly,  you find yourself in a ditch trying to figure out how to get out.

The key to life is knowing and having faith that God wants us to live our organic lives he wants us to have the best, and when we are living our organic lives or on the path to our organic lives the Universe will conspire to give us everything we need. But when God sees we are setting out on a path that is not conducive with our organic lives he will do everything in his power to prevent us from moving forward.

The trouble is…. free will.

Help is on the Way

I was at my local grocery store and decided to use the self checkout lane. These lanes are designed to make our life easier and assist with us getting out of the store faster. However, like most things designed to make life easier, they don’t always do that. Sometimes you go through the self checkout and you find yourself thinking, I should’ve just stood in line.

Thats the thing about life there are no real shortcuts.

As I was checking myself out, I probably had way to many grocery for the self checkout, I heard the machine next to me saying “Help is on the way!” “Help is on the way” over and over. The lady using the machine was frantically looking around for said help. The cashier was busy assisting someone at that moment. The machine continue to sing out “help is on the way!” “help is on the way”. The lady tried to hit a few buttons, move her groceries around in the bagging area, but still nothing. She sighed a loud sigh and looked around again. I glanced at her and gave her a gentle smile and she shook her head in frustration, as she said “where is help when you need it. I can’t get this stupid machine to stop talking this is ridiculous.” I smiled a smile of it will be ok  and said “Yes these things can be frustating. I’m surprised at how busy it is today. I’m sure she will be here soon.” She sighed another heavy sigh, poked the machine a few more times, and then finally gathered up all her grocery, “I’m just going to go get in another line, this is ridiculous. I don’t have time to wait around.” And she sped off.

No Sooner than she sped off, help walked up!

The cashier looked around and said where did they go? “she went to another line, I responded” The cashier cleared the machine and moved on to the next person. This moment was so profound to me.

In the alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes about the universe testing everything we have learned right before we are about to reach our destiny. He says things will get really hard and this is usually when most people give up. They give up right before the thing they really wanted is about to come true.

In life things will get hard, the road to success will be a bumpy ride it is only those that continue the road who will reach the success.

The key to staying the course is being patient and having trust that help is on the way.

When we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to get agitated, irritated, frustrated. It becomes the norm to complain. in fact, people expect you to complain. They say things like I don’t know how you are dealing with that, that is crazy how do you do it, better you than me, I couldn’t imagine, maybe you should go back to doing what you use to do, that’s why you don’t do things like that and so on and so on. Often times, they will hop on the bandwagon of complaining and even lead the path. (steer clear of these people)

You have to trust that you are on the path that God has laid out for you, you have to listen to your heart and persevere, you have to be patient knowing that good things come to those who wait. You have to trust the universe and believe that the universe wants you to succeed. You have to trust the lessons you are learning and believe there is something to be learned in every situation. You have to trust help is on the way.

“one dies of thirst just as the palm trees appear on the horizon”-the alchemist

Believing these things will allow you to continue to forge on during the moments of difficulty. The lady in line was just a few moments away from being seen. Had she taken just a few more moments to be patient and maybe ask herself what can I learn in this moment as I wait, her journey may have been easier and in the end faster. On my way out of the store she was still standing in line. Although she may accomplish her goal (checking out) it took a lot longer because she wasn’t patient and she didn’t trust help was on the way. There are no shortcuts to life, we will be tested, we will struggle along the way, but if we are following our hearts the journey will be faster than if we derail from the path, try to turn around, or worse stop.

In the famous words of Dory…..

“just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

And believe help is on the way!

My Intent is to be Intentional

Happy New Year!

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What has your first week of 2017 looked like?

Has it started out in all the glory you envisioned in 2016?

Are you well on your way to a great year, a year of change?

Every year we make promises to ourselves that this year will be our year, every single goal we want to achieve we will achieve, we are going to make the changes we need to make. The first thing with these type of promises is that we wait until a new year to make these promises. If you know anything about me you know I believe in living now and if you don’t know then you need to head over to this post and read all about it!

The thing about change is we have to be intentional.

I’ve heard people talk about having a word for the year. I personally have never had a word for a year- after thinking about change and what it takes to make true change- I realized intention is everything and being intentional about your intention is key.

My word for 2017 is intentional!

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Let’s talk about the word intentional. According to the oxford dictionary  intentional means done on purpose; deliberate. When we look at this definition and apply it to change, we realize we have to be deliberate about our actions, we have to do things on purpose.

We can want change, but do nothing to get it.

When we are intentional about our actions, we are thoughtful and focused. We aren’t simply going with the motions of life, we are putting deliberate motions into action. We have ambition.

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Intention is defined by the oxford dictionary as a thing intended; an aim or plan.

What is your intention? What do you have planned? What are you aiming for?

Whatever it is you have to be intentional on making it happen. You have to be deliberate with your actions to make your plans happen. If you don’t know your intentions and you aren’t intentional, you will find yourself floating through life and making the same promises Dec 31, 2017.

I  challenge you to be intentional this year with everything you do. Go through life with clear intentions. Know what it is you are aiming for and then move forward with purpose. Walk with a stride that is confident and full of ambition.

Children Do Not Require Much

“shhhhhhhhhh, shhhhhhhh, shhhhhh. Wait Charlie, It’s too hot!” I heard my little Major say to Charlie. I went to see what exactly was to hot and what I found was the two of them nicely playing with a box. “You want to take a bath?” Major asked her as he continue to make the running water sound. I decided to sit and watch them as they carried on with this pretend bath in this box. At that moment, I realized several things. In watching this innocent pretend play among my children, I had a moment of clarity and another brick from my wall came tumbling down!

Children do not require much.

Yep, you heard it here first! But just in case you didn’t catch it, Children do not require much. I have always known that quality time over quanity of things is more important for a healthy happy child; however, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the societal ideas of things and the idea of things my children should have. Rather it is educational toys, board games, electronic games, and the list goes on, I find myself running to the store for birthdays and holidays to buy these things, when in reality my children would rather play with miscelanous things they find around the house. Children are really simple beings, it is us who make them complicated. They only require and honestly, desire the basic needs in life food, water, shelter, and love. We, as a society, begin to put these other wants and desires into their minds and change them into something else.

As the wonderful Holiday of Christmas quickly approaches- and I for the first time in my life haven’t run out to buy up the entire stores for my children-still find my self struggling with this idea.

The noise of society swishes around in my head, “your a bad mother””what’s wrong with you” “you’re not in the Christmas spirit” “you need to get it together” “no gifts, what are you going to do for Christmas” and the noise goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying zero gifts (that many bricks didn’t fall, YET) however, I am saying quality over quantity. I am saying a packed Christmas tree is no longer necessary. After losing my mom in 2014, we decided to take a family vacation for Christmas. (A) to celebrate  what would have been my moms 50 birthday. (B) to get away and do something different after a really rough time. We skipped gifts that year and took a trip instead. Although we didn’t get to have a nice good ole fashion Christmas dinner, we did have a fantastic time. Memories were made that can’t be trashed, replaced, set aside, or forgotten.

Every Holiday we are told to go out and buy an enormous amount of stuff only to replace that same stuff with new stuff on the next Holiday. Slowly we either replace old stuff or begin to collect stuff that has no real sentimental value.

I want you to think about a thing that has sentimental value to you …………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Got it? No? Need more time?—————————————————

Ok, if you don’t have it by now, these next few sentences won’t apply to you so feel free to skip over them. For those of us who have the thing in our mind that has sentimental value, what makes this thing special? Why is important to you? What is the story behind it? What do you remember about it? Can you tell me a story about it? Sticking with the holiday theme. One thing that is sentimental to me is this little elf  we have on our tree. img_2118

This little elf is special because he has been in our family since 1978. He is important to me because he was on my granny Christmas tree, then my mothers, and now mine. I remember putting this elf on the tree every single year! I always put him on last and I remember I would get into trouble when I was younger, because I would play with him like a barbie doll with the rest of my barbies during Christmas. My granny would get so mad at me, but I absolutely loved to play with him. It was something about him that made me happy, probably the fact he is an elf!

You see the elf himself isn’t sentimental the memories around the elf are sentimental. The memory the elf brings back to my mind when I see him is what is important. Even without the elf himself, I would still have these sweet memories of putting him on the tree.

Is this resonating with you?

Are you getting this?

You see, the thing you thought of probably wasn’t opened in a sea of other things on a random Holiday full of gifts. The thing you thought of has a memory attached to it. I have bought my kids over a thousand items and many of those things they can’t remember. I believe this is because they were too busy opening the next gift and the next gift and the next gift. In a society were we are never satisfied and always saying give me more, give me more, Christmas has done nothing but to aide in this more, more, more attitude.

Think about how kids rip through gifts on Christmas, not having a moment to fully enjoy what it’s front of them, because they are looking forward to whats to come. Wow! Does that sound familiar. Sometimes as adults were are unable to enjoy what’s in front of us because we are looking for what’s next.

Learned behavior?

This Christmas we aren’t traveling, but we aren’t ripping through tons of gifts, we aren’t focusing on presents, but  we are going to focus on the present  and each others presence. I’m going to listen to my kids and give them exactly what their hearts and soul want and require connection, fully and wholeheartedly. I’m going to make memories with them that may become attached to an item they get this year, but it won’t be the item it will really be the memory! I’m listening with to my soul not to my society.

Someday, Major and Charlie will see a box and they will laugh and they will get a warm and fuzzy feeling. I imagine they will say, “I love boxes! I remember when we use to collect boxes and make up games to play with them. Now every time I see a box it makes me happy! Such great memories”

 

Live Inside Your Walls

After brushing my teeth, I begin to put the few things away that were straggled on my counter. As I cleared the things, I stumbled across a spiderman toothbrush cover. I picked it up held in my hand and begin to smile. It was covered in old, hard toothpaste. It must have fell behind my counter, because the kid that adored this toothbrush holder was now in college. I sat down on the edge of my bathtub and listened to the silence. The silence that was once bliss and desired more than anything in the world. Tears begin to stream down my eyes as I held this tiny toothbrush holder in my hand. I looked around my bathroom and it was spotless. Not a thing out of place. I had spent yesterday cleaning it which explains how this tiny treasure had surfaced. I had longed for so long the desire to have a spotless bathroom, you know the kind that you see in magazines. And finally the day had come, and I was sitting in my magazine worthy bathroom balling tears of sadness. Why was I so sad? I pulled myself up and got dressed. Life was so different now, my house stayed clean, I had ample amount of quiet time and I was never short on me time. My career was thriving, yet my heart wished for the ‘good ole’ days. The days when I had tiny feet running about. The days when I had people storming into my bedroom asking me for help. The days when I had tiny arms wrapping around my neck and pecking me with little kisses. The days when my days were full of joyful chaos. Why had I rushed those sweet days away? Why was I in such a hurry for things to be different? Sure, I loved my life now and I enjoyed how things were, but there was still those sweet memories of yesterday.

What is it that makes us rush our present, in hopes of a better tomorrow only to get to tomorrow and wish for another yesterday?

I find myself, as a mother of 9 children at home, hoping for better tomorrows. Hoping that one day I don’t have to fuss as much. Hoping that one day my house will stay clean. Hoping that one day I will have an hour to myself. Hoping that one day I will get a moment of peace and quiet. I find myself daydreaming of these tomorrows. The problem is while I am daydreaming of these tomorrows the today is a blur. As a mother of 1 child out of the house, I find myself wishing for yesterdays when he was tiny. I know all to well what is to come, wishing for yesterdays; however I still find myself hoping for better tomorrows.

It’s almost as though society has arranged it for happiness to be impossible. The system has been setup to never be satisfied always wishing for something. It would have us believe we are incapable of living in the present. We have been programed to be living in the past or looking to the future rather eagerly or anxiously.

I have spent a lot time talking about kicking down walls and living outside the box. But for a moment I want us to live in the box. I want us to stop and look around our tiny little box and recognize the beauty of our box. Not concerned with what is going on outside the box, not wondering how we got into the box, but simply enjoying the box. For a moment we aren’t going to try to rip down the walls and get to a better place, instead we are going to say our box is our box and it’s enough! Can you make up your mind Tanyell….. I know, I know it can seem confusing. But, part of living beyond the walls is recognizing that our walls are our walls.

Let me explain. We take the time to build our perfect little four walls. For me my walls consist of my husband, 10 children, a dog, cat, a few small animals, my private practice, our inflatable business, our spirituality and view of the world, and a few other bricks. I have been careful with building these walls, being very strategic with each brick. However, inside these walls is chaos, craziness, madness, messiness, laughter, yelling, love, tears, laughter, and a plethora of other things. People will often come inside my four walls and begin to tell me what I need to change what I need to do different. I sometimes find myself comparing my four walls to other people four walls. And slowly, the beautiful bricks that I have strategically placed and the perfectly carved wood I have placed, I begin to chisel and hammer down. I find myself beating my bricks up and cutting my wood up with should and could. I find myself saying I can’t wait until this brick is gone or this wood is moved so I can_________ fill in the blank. My once perfect walls slowly get destroyed piece by piece by piece. The light shinning through isn’t a bright happy light of promises of freedom. The light shinning through is a blinding bright light that forces me to cover my eyes. My walls are crumbling and it doesn’t feel good.

In order to repair the holes in my walls, I must begin to plug them with memories and moments of the present. Take time to enjoy the tiny moments that are happening within them. The heftiness of life and all of it’s imperfections. It means allowing my littles to sleep in the middle one more night while my husband and I hold onto the edge of the bed. It means wiping tears and cleaning non existence booboos. It means stepping over toys and framing literal wall art. It means listening to the yelling and screaming and the details of who did it. It means putting the phone down to make eye contact and fully engage in a 20 min story about a teddy bear and barbie doll. It means reading one more bedtime story.  It means walking into a bathroom with tissue hanging off the roll and toothpaste spilled across the counter top from little hands brushing little teeth.

Sometimes life beyond the walls means remaining in our four walls. Sometimes it means not allowing others to come inside of our walls and try to tear them down with their ideals and opinions. Life beyond the walls can mean seeing beyond our walls to know that everyones four walls are different and the beauty inside of each of them is to be held by the person living inside. Before you begin to chisel down the walls in your life, make sure they aren’t your four walls that you built.

After brushing my teeth, I begin to look around at the toys in the bathtub from last night baths, the toothpaste splatters on the mirror from big spits, the clothes on the floor that lead into the closet were pajamas were kept, the tissue dangling from the roll from someone who needed a piece to clean their nose. I looked around at the beautiful mess of life, fun, and memories. I took a deep breath, put my toothbrush away, and walked out of the bathroom leaving the mess for another moment. I went out into the living room and embraced myself for all the mommies and feels that were going to flood me before I could make my way to the coffee pot. I took the time and hugged each and everyone of them looking deep into their tiny eyes and feeling their tiny arms try to wrap around me. I hugged my bigs and remembered their tiny arms. I took mental pictures of this moment and listened to all the dreams and the plans for the day. I didn’t think about the dishes, the work load, the better tomorrows. I held onto this moment and closed in the holes of my walls so no light could get in and I could focus my eyes on the beauty of what was happening inside of my walls. And at that moment I begin to live life beyond the walls within my walls!

Hello, Can you hear me?

Funny thing about communication is everyone is talking about it but no-one is really doing it. Want to learn about communication, better ways to communicate, how to communicate with your spouse, how to communicate with your child, how to communicate at work, how to communicate your feelings you can easily walk into any bookstore and find 100’s of books surrounding the topic of communication. Don’t feel like stepping foot in a bookstore enter communication into the magic google bar and be ready to be overwhelmed with 1000’s of results on the topic. To lazy to type then push that magic button and ask siri and she will have tons of wisdom for you. If you rather talk to a real person, ask the person next to you about communication and they will have a wealth of information for you. You get it. Basically, information on communication is everywhere and everyone is talking about it, even me! However, many of these people aren’t doing it. It’s cliche, I know, however it’s time that we start communicating. Not just any kind of communicating but TLC.

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What does the word communication mean? If we look at it’s latin roots, according to dictionary.com communicate comes from the latin word communicatus which means to impart or communicare impart or inform. However, like many things over the years, decades, and centuries the definition changed. Today communicate can be defined; according to merriam-webster.com, to get someone to understand your thoughts and feelings. Hence, this is what communication looks like for many conversation-799448_640Awww, this explains so much. Let’s begin, shall we?

Many people communicate with the intentions to get the other person to understand their thoughts or perhaps to try and sway or change another’s persons thoughts. There are many books that will even proclaim they can teach you how to do just this type of communication. Here is the problem with this type of communication, you aren’t communicating.  Convincing possibly, swaying maybe, judging plausibly, debating probably. The issue with this definition and style of communicating is you aren’t simply informing but you are trying to get the other person to sway or understand your side.

If we stick to the basic definition of communicate, to inform, we can change the entire way we communicate. Inform is to simply give knowledge. What the person does with it, doesn’t really matter to you. Thus the saying agree to disagree. The type of Communicating I want to discuss consist of Talking, Listening, and Connecting. Yep, taken from my beautiful initials TLC. I base the principles  of my therapy and coaching around this form of communication. Today I am going to break it down for you.

Talking – to communicate exchange ideas through speaking (Dictionary.com)

In order to properly communicate you must actually speak to the person. What I can’t send a text? Nope, you  have to open your mouth and allow the beautiful sounds and words come out of your mouth. Let me pause for a second, and discuss this whole idea of communicating via text.texting-1490691_640

There is a time and place for communicating via text. Want to send a quick message, sure you can text that person. Already have a strong foundation of communicating, understanding, and a secure attachment, then sure you can communicate some things via text. The problem with texting as a foundation of communication is; I can’t hear your expressions and I can’t see your face. I can, however, misread and misinterpret your words that I am reading. Think about it, when we read a book, we all read the characters voice in different ways, we interpret certain things differently, we allow our imaginations to run free this is the beauty of reading. So, what makes reading a text any different. If I don’t have a strong foundation and secure attachment to you, then chances are I am going to misinterpret your text every single time. You text K, I read they are mad, they don’t want to talk to me, they are busy, they don’t care, and so on and so on. When in reality, you simply meant OK. Nothing more nothing less. You text, hey, how are you. They read, they really like me, they were thinking about me, this is going to be My future spouse, they are feeling me. When in reality, you simply wanted to say hi. You get the idea. Without the ability to look you in face or hear the expressions in your voice, I don’t really know what you mean. What this type of communication leads to is the new age communication debating. Trying to convince the other person of something, usually what you meant by the text and/or what they read.

Ok, hit play.

When you talk to someone you are telling them all about yourself, you are sharing your views of the world with them, they are learning how your mind works. Talking, when done properly, is a way of sharing your inner thoughts, your soul.

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How do we effectively talk? The idea of talking is to converse without expectations. It’s a moment when you can allow yourself the freedom of expression without judgement. (we will get to that in a moment) I ask each of my couples to spend 15 min each day talking. I usually give the stipulation of not discussing kids, money, or work. Why do I give such a stipulation? Because this type of talking isn’t soul connecting. Many times people will have filler type conversations. You know the kind of conversations you have with someone while waiting in line or with the grocery cashier. You aren’t exactly bearing your soul to these people. Well, some of you may. I call this type of talking filler talk because you are simply filling space and time. You aren’t interested in really talking or listening to the person and you surely aren’t trying to connect with them. When I take out these 3 topics, many couples say, “what the heck will we talk about then Tanyell?” How about yourself, each other, your relationship, your dreams, your sorrows, and the list goes on. What many people fail to realize is that we are forever changing. Yes, you hear all the time. I am who I am, I can’t change them, I haven’t changed, and blah blah blah. If we didn’t evolve and grow, we would die. We would cease to exist as a species. If you haven’t changed since you were 20…. you get the gist. By constantly talking to each other, we are constantly connecting and learning.

Listening- to give attention with the ear. (dictionary.com)

Can you see how texting in the context of TL C communication isn’t effective. If you are communicating via text, you are reading with the eye, not listening with the ear. I won’t pause again to lecture on texting. Listening is an important part of communication, in fact I would say it is probably the most valuable part. When we listen to a person, we are simply hearing the information they are giving. We aren’t waiting to reply, rebuttal, report, refute, review, restate, or any other r word that I can’t think of right now! Wait,  I have another one, respond. (I humor myself) We are simply listening. When we truly listen to a person speaking, we are able to hear their soul. A person who is being listened to doesn’t feel the need to convince the other person to see things their way. They feel heard and when they feel heard they feel secure enough to talk. See what I did there? (insert emoji wink) Missed it? Ok, let me break it down. In order for a person to feel secure enough to talk to you they must feel that you are listening. This is why filler conversations will take place in lines, because honestly,  who feels secure enough to actually talk to the person in line with them. (yes, I put a period. That wasn’t a question. (inert emoji side eye))

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How do you know you are listening? When you are listening to a person, they don’t feel the need to change their communication style to convince.  In order to listen effectively, you have to hear the person without judgement. A lot of times, when we are listening to a person talk, we are judging. Listening for certain words and key words. Listening with an intent to respond. When you are listening in the context of TLC, you are hearing the person. There aren’t any distractions. This means no cellphones, no tv, no video games, no cleaning, no chores, no computer, and definitely no kids. (the ultimate distraction) You are focused whole heartedly on the person speaking. Giving eye contact. Asking non judgmental or accusatory questions. Really hearing the expression in their voice. It isn’t about you. Ok, I am going to attempt to give an example of this, but remember reading vs listening is different. Here it goes!

P, "How was your day?" 

J, Breathes hard, "Long." 

P, "Wow, it sounds like it. Anything happen in particular today?" 

J, "Not really, I had a report due today, and it wasn't quite right. So, I had to reconfigure some things and it just consumed my entire day." 

P, "Awe, Sounds like you spent your entire day redoing work that felt like you already did. That seems like it could be frustrating." 

J, "extremely frustrating!"

P, "I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it?" and the band played on

What would usually happen in this conversation is A. P would ask how was your day. J would respond with long. P would get irritated with the short response because they missed the exasperated breath J took and the look of exhaust on their face. or B. P would begin an interrogating round of questions because P has an interior motive of trying to figure out why J didn’t answer their phone or text earlier. See the difference? In order to effectively listen, you have to be selfless. This part of the TLC isn’t about you, it’s about the speaker. You had your chance or your chance to talk  is coming. It’s their chance.  When you remove yourself from listening, you are able to effectively listen to the person talking. And you will be able to officially hear what it is they are trying to inform you about. This leads us to the final and most beautiful part.

Connecting- To join, link, or fasten together. Unite or bind latin- tie (dictionary.com)

Feeling connected to someone is one of the most important human needs. love-806375_640Connection comes in many different forms for humans. There is emotional connection, physical connection, mental connection, spiritual connection, sexual connection. Communication can provide all these types of connections. When you Talk to someone and Listen to someone, it ties you together, it unites you. You feel a connection to them. When a person opens their soul to you, and you receive it, an exchange happens that allows you to connect to the person on a deeper level. Keep in mind this is a double lane road, it isn’t a one way street. This is the difference in a relationship, say with a, therapist. Sometimes a person will begin to feel a connection with their therapist, but that connection can’t be solidified or deepened unless the therapist crosses boundaries and begins to talk to the client. Without both persons being active participants in the T and L, you can’t have the C. How will I know I am connected? Because you will feel it… ok, ok, ok…. I will give detailed answer. You will know you are connected because you will feel secure. You will be ok with a text message that reads K. You will be ok with those short  conversations via text. You won’t feel rejected when your phone call isn’t immediately answered. You won’t get defensive when your talking and they are informing. You will feel secure, safe, satisfied. The feeling of connectedness is individual. We can’t tell a person when she or he feels connected, but we can see it. Actions are different when people feel connected. The entire purpose of communication is to become connected. You communicate to inform to connect. Communicate is equal to connect. Definition numero 2 of connect, according to dictionary.com, is to establish communication between. I want to connect with you, I want to communicate with you. You can’t have connection with communication and you can’t communicate without connecting. They are joined at the hip.

Finishing it up…..

I saw a funny post the other day.

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Whoever wife calls first, pays the bill. 

The thing about this post is the husband who wins, probably, gives TLC to his spouse. They have a secure attachment to one another. More than likely he has already effectively communicated with his wife and she doesn’t feel the urge to call him, text him, dm him, FaceTime him, snapchat him, message him, or whatever else she could possibly do via phone. The wife who calls first, unless of course there is an emergency, more than likely is lacking TLC. So you see, you can’t define connectedness, but you can see it. It shows up in actions. More than likely the moment the rules where stated, the husband with the best communication skills, cheated, and informed his wife about the game! No? Ok, I guess we are the only ones that would cheat…. (insert embarrassed emoji)

This post inspired this blog. I see the couple who lost in my office and I hear the partner exasperation when they say to me, “I called and text him all night and he didn’t answer!! His excuse, he was playing some dumb a@$ game! A game was more important than calling me or answering my calls?!” I hear the defeat/confusion in his voice when he says, “I didn’t know this was going to cause ww1. It was just a game, it wasn’t that serious. They knew I was out, where I was, I don’t understand. I was only gone for a couple of hours.” This is the result of lack of TLC. Rather than  the husbands laugh, high five, and poke fun at the husbands who lost and got a phone call, they should be turning to the husband who  didn’t get a phone call, and asking them about communication.

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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