Saturday, April 26, 2014

Nagging for the Future

My frequent view of my kids.
I hate being a nag. I really do. In fact, I often have to fight the tendency to clam up and keep things to myself because I'd rather be bothered than be the source of someone else's irritation. Except that’s called being a martyr and frankly, I’m a worse martyr than I am a nag. So speak up I must. 

I don't think life in our house is hard. We're simple and our routine is predictable.We wake, get ready, go to school, work and/or games, only to return home, eat again, bathe, sleep and repeat. It's a rhythm I've established in effort to foster as much harmony as seven people in 1,600 square feet can muster. It's a system and it works with little to no drama. Well, that is, as long as my kids cooperate.

What’s the deal with them? Why do they act surprised with how things run around here? For example, we do laundry on Sunday. Every Sunday I say, “Kids, take your laundry to the basement.
“Have you taken your laundry to the basement?
“Why haven’t you taken your laundry to the basement?"
and finally, “WHERE ARE YOUR CLOTHES?”

Perhaps they enjoy my nagging. Except how can they? If I annoy myself I can only assume I'm getting on their nerves too. So why haven't they figured out that if they would just carry their laundry down on Sunday, unprompted, that I would never have to get on them?

And then there’s the dishes. They go in the dishwasher. All the time. So why are there dishes in my sink?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Makes a Great Life is What Makes a Great Story. (ItalyPresentation Pt 2)

Recently, I wrote here parts of the speech I delivered at the EMERGENCE Women's Conference in Bari, Italy. (Yep, I'm an international speaker! BAM! I never, ever saw that coming!)

I confessed in my presentation that after fearing an onset of early dementia, I discovered that I wasn't loosing my memories - I just wasn't really making any. Sure life was good. But deep in my heart I felt something was off. Like I was missing something.
I was in such a disoriented state - I knew I couldn't move forward until I understood why.
So I mustered up every ounce of bravery I could manage and 
I dared myself to take a good long, hard, internal look at myself, my life, and what it is I'm doing with all of it. 

After some serious soul searching, lots of journaling and fist pumping towards the heaven, I learned that my life - my Tribe, my little town, my job ... all of it deserved more intentionality than I was giving it. I was trying so hard to 'just make it through today until the real life started' that I was missing the opportunity to actually participate in my own living. I wanted to stop letting my life happen to me and start living my own life. 

What I found with living intentionally was that life becomes more meaningful and certainly, more memorable. 

But first I had to let go of my old way of thinking.
When I did that the tension that I lived with, struggling to be happy with what I had  vs. feeling guilty for longing for more, was relieved.
No longer did the my mental pendulum swing:
Be grateful. Long for more. Stop being selfish. You're meant for better. Why are you so ungrateful? What about my dreams? How can I be great in this little place? Didn't God want me to be great? Do great? Didn't I have dreams? 

I didn't have to flip and flop in my own head anymore. No longer did I conveniently apply bible versus to twist God's arm into giving me what I wanted. I stopped my perpeual waiting on God to show up and 'do me a solid'.

(insert convenient quote)

That alone may have been the wisest thing I've ever done because turns out God's less interested in pulling clutch favors for me. 

After all this? After I was done being mad at Him for not doing want I wanted (in hindsight this sounds so childish) I was exhausted.

So I took a break.
I stopped fighting Him.
I stopped despising all of it and I jumped off the "poor me" track and found something new; story.

A book, in fact.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Menu Monday

I hope that this week is a wonderful week for you!
I hope that whatever is on your to-do list gets crossed off!
I hope that you make time to enjoy Spring!
I hope that you grab a cup of coffee with a girlfriend.
I hope you have enough laundry clean to get through the week.
I hope you eat well.
I hope you're happy.
I hope you dream.
I hope cooking isn't a stressor for you but instead, a means to an end; getting the ones you love nourished and gathered around your table.

This is what my family of 7 is having for dinners this week!

Enjoy Menu Monday: 

SUNDAY- this French Toast recipe, strawberries, bacon (made in the oven) & sausage 

MONDAY - HayStacks

TUESDAY - Italian Shredded Chicken (crockpot!) & french fries

WEDNESDAY - Buffalo Chicken Strips (I wanted to make these Buffalo Chicken Meatballs but ground chicken was not available at my grocery store), Asparagus & Oven Potatoes (so easy & so, so good! thinly slice your fav potato, melt 1/4 cup butter with little onion pieces and pour over potatoes. cover w foil and bake 40 min & add sprinkle cheese just before serving! we ate the whole pan!)

THURSDAY - Taco Bell Fake Out Crunch Wrap Supremes  from AmandasCooking (I made sure to prepare extra taco meat on Monday so throwing these together was a snap! Also, I used my George Forman grill to make them toast!)

FRIDAY - the family was YOYO

SATURDAY - we celebrated the warm spring day with Hot Dogs around the fire pit, chips & salsa and lemonade. And don't forget the s'mores!

If you love menu's and recipes be sure to check out OrgJunkie - her Meal Plan Monday link up is the biggest I've seen.
I appreciate you visiting my site today. Please stick around and read a bit. My post on Saturday was a huge hit! Over 200 page views because I admitting I don't fix my kids problems.

Follow Stephanie Sikorski's board For My Recipe Box on Pinterest.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Learning to Duck

Getting along with people is hard. It has been my whole life. As a toddler, stuck in the throes of the terrible twos, no one understood me and even up until, well just yesterday, I have found people difficult to deal with. And it’s not just me. It's everyone. With so many different types of people and their unique personalities, it's no wonder we have disputes and lawsuits, grievances and cold wars. 

Getting along with people is hard and yet we have a responsibility to do it. The optimist in me would like to believe we all know this and thus practice workplace professionalism or strive to be good neighbors. It’s not that easy though. If it was we'd love where we work and live. 

That’s what's tough about life. Wouldn’t it be easier without all the other people mucking it up? We’d be lonelier for sure, but at least things would go our way.

I was reminded of this when I recently intervened between two fighting preschool students. One complained, "She won't play with me!" and the other said, “She won't leave me alone!". Neither understood why the other wasn't complying and the tension was mounting. "I don't want you to play with me!" "But I want to play with you!" Round and round they went. 

I suggested that one child walk away. "If you don't want to play," I said, "then don't. You may choose to go find something else to do."

So she did.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is Your Story Being Written as You Hoped?

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Italy. As an associate with the NLI Network I attended Summit and, while there, our EMERGE team hosted a one day Women's Leadership Conference. It was my honor and joy to speak at that conference. 

I was asked to speak on Story; Is Yours Being Written the Way You Hoped.

Well, don't I know a little about that?

You see a while ago, when I was floundering and flopping through my own life, I was forced to take a long hard account of myself. I was grieved with the answers I wasn't getting to some soul searching questions:
Why was I so disappointed with how things were turning out?
What about my dreams?
and most harshly, Did I even like where things were going?

First, it's painful to admit not being okay with one's own life and secondly, facing that truth left with me no choice but to engage the wrestle. And if you're a fan of Jacob you know his wrestle left him with a permanent hitch in his walk.
Not cool, God.
Not cool.

This was a very stressful time because on the one hand, I felt obligated to be thankful for the I've had. To complain that I didn't like the way it was going seemed disrespectful to the Maker of the Universe. The last thing I wanted to do was appear to be a selfish, ungrateful child. Yet, I knew something needed to change. I talked about all this and more in my presentation at the EMERGENCE women's conference in Bari, Italy.

I confessed, through the help of a translator, that it all began the time I felt sad because I was unable to remember some things, facts if you will, about my life.

My family would say, "Do you remember that time we took that trip?" and honestly, I would think "No."
And other times my mommy-friends would talk and say, "I'll never forget when my baby smiled for the first time!"
But me? No!
I could barely remember what it was like when they were babies! How could I remember smiling? or Cooing? or any of those super cool baby book kinda things?

This absolutely concerned me.
First, I was grieved.
Then I became a hypochondriac believing I had an early onset of dementia. 

That is when I really began to tailspin into fear.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Monday

Here's what is on the Menu at our house.
It's not fancy.
Nor impressive.
But it is planned out and prepared with love.
Its one way I take care of my family.
I hope your kitchen is warm and your table full of those you cheerish.
Feeding my family isn't glamorous but its a responsibility I've learned to do as a way to serve them, nourish and care for them.
Plus, they're always hungry so somebodys got to do it! Bon A Petite!

Sunday - Brunch Enchiladas, Fried Potatoes & Doughnut Holes

Monday - Tacos
  • Nuff said.
Tuesday - Cheddar Chicken.

  • While this is hardly a quick dinner it was FANtastic! Served it up with some mashed potatoes and honey glazed steamed baby carrots. Delish!

Wednesday - Chicken Tenders & blue box macaroni & cheese.

  • I needed a quick dinner and the kids love this.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mother's Super Powers

My kids think I have super powers. And I'm okay with that. In fact, it's tradition where I come from. My mother used to tell me she had eyes in the back of her head. I believed her until I caught her watching us in the reflection of the kitchen window. I thought she was busy doing dishes but truth is she was spying. 

Hopefully I'm a little more sneaky than my mom. Nevertheless, I have a feeling as my kids get older they might wise up to me. Until that day, I plan to use and promote my paranormal powers with great candor. 

What is this super power I speak of? I'm like a walking human lie detector. My kids absolutely and emphatically believe that I can tell whether or not they are being truthful simply by looking at them. 

Crazy, right? 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Queen of Routine

Everything I read back when I was a first time mom emphasized the importance of establishing a schedule for your child. Routine, apparently, was a major key in raising well-adjusted kids.

So that’s what I did. We ate on a schedule. We potty trained on a schedule. We even turned our bedtime routine into a ritual so ceremonious that, in hindsight, border lined ridiculous. 

I was only doing what I thought was right. This is what any of us mothers are doing at any given moment, right?

However, I certainly wish some case studies would have accompanied that routine advice, because I may have created little monsters. I don't really want to call my kids anal, er, persnickety but if the shoe fits ...

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