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Elevate Your Relationship With Your Child

elevateyourrelationshipwithyourchild

Dear Parents,

As a former teacher, I’m writing to you from the heart.  As a parent myself, and a former teacher and as a humanitarian, yes, I’m going to suggest how you parent your sweet children.  You may choose to tune out here and click off my letter or maybe you just might want to read what I have to say to see if it resonates with you.

Let me begin by telling you I am not the perfect parent, teacher nor humanitarian.  Not by a long shot am I perfect.  But I feel the need to tell you honestly what I’m seeing and it’s not pretty dear friends.  You may or may not be aware of it, but it’s there – that wounded spot between you and your child.  You know the one I mean.  You sense it because you know that he’s mad with you and you feel guilty for whatever you’ve not done.  Or maybe you’re really as clueless about it as you seem.  But I don’t buy it.  I think you know, but you’re afraid to touch that wounded part of your child and yourself.

Example:  You are busy with work, your family, your life and all that’s around you.  You live in a tizzy of busy because you are doing the best you can to provide for your family, to work at your career, to be a good wife/husband, to parent, to raise your family and maybe even take care of your own parents as well.  You’re stressed beyond words and everyone knows it.  You are doing the best you can and I applaud you.  But I know you’re not happy because that wound rears its ugly head when it comes to your child.

You feel guilty because your child is wounded by you.  There, let’s speak plainly.  What you say, how you react, what you don’t say or don’t do, has built up a laundry list in your child’s mind to feel wounded by you.  What’s worse is that you think that what he holds against you may be true and if you had more time, if you weren’t working, if you didn’t have so many children, etc., you’d not have made those mistakes.  You’ve got a litany of excuses and guilt that he doesn’t want to hear.  But you’re not telling him that anyway.  You’re living with the wound yourself and it’s festering in your daily interactions with him.  It’s like a runaway train which at every non-stop at a station, gets worse and the momentum of hurt builds.

You must be willing to change in order for you and your child to begin to rebuild your relationship.  I’ve found that honesty works well here as it almost always does when it comes to communication between people, be it parent/child relationships or for that matter, any relationship between people.  Open communication is key.  Taking the quiet opportunity when there’s not a lot of stress involved between you, makes it easier for each person to hear what the other person is saying.  Blame is not an option here so don’t bring it into the conversation.  Explain clearly what you expect from your child and what he can expect from you.  Show examples of when he was successful and when you were as well and highlight the times when you worked together and succeeded at a common goal.  Remind him of the fun times together and let him know how you miss that connection with him.  Tell him plainly how you miss that connection and how you would like to reconnect and ask him for advice.  Let him tell you what he needs from you and you can do the same.  Be on the same page as a team.  Keep the dialogue open and be ready to hear how he feels even if it’s hard.  It may take a few conversations before he will open up, but most teenagers want to reconnect because they need you as much as you need them.  But you need to set the example for that give and take trusting conversation and not react to anything he says that you may not like.  You need to be the grownup and own how what’s happened makes him feel, especially when you may find it hitting too close to home.  It’s hard to accept when your teenager tells you the truth as he sees it and you may have to accept that he’s right and not give excuses as to why you did whatever it is that you did.  This is not to say that you need to take all the blame and guilt here either, for it’s a two way street in any relationship.  But in giving your child the opportunity to speak his mind respectfully, just as it will be when you are given the same opportunity, allows for healing to begin.

It takes time to repair wounds for anyone, but especially that parent/child relationship as it sets the stage for his future relationships.  Even the most wounded of us wants peace and forgiveness and to feel loved and respected.  I don’t think it’s ever too late to try, for you never know when you may succeed.

Relationships fall apart over time and don’t always heal quickly.  But with patience and kindness we can repair and reconnect with others in the most miraculous of ways.  It takes a commitment to reconnect, but I’ve found that it’s so well-worth it when we do!

Work on making your home a safe and loving environment where family means that we love each other and that we work together for the common good and love that binds us.  You role model that in your home – peace, love, kindness – so foster it in every moment!

Be kind to yourself, dear parent.  Sometimes life just happens the way it does, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our relationships with effort on both parts.  If you really feel disconnected from your child, make the effort and if it’s not too late, you may be surprised at the amazing relationship that comes out of your opening up the conversation to reconnect in the first place!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

 

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Sam and Me

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This is Sam and me!

Charlie’s foot is bothering him so now I’m riding Sam who is even bigger than Charlie, but he’s a smoother ride and starts out our lesson walking very slowly.  Charlie on the other hand is a bit more spirited out of the gate and harder to balance on so changing to Sam whose gait is smoother was a good change for now.  I am hoping Charlie heals soon though because he has a special place in my heart.

As I was grooming Sam, he sensed my hesitation in cleaning a little bit of mud off of his face.  He stood patiently still as I groomed his body before riding.  But when I got to his face, he gave me such a look that it stopped me in my tracks.  I’m short, 5″2′ tall so he’s really big to me.  With every brush, I showed it to him before I groomed him.  I thought it was only fair that he should know what I was doing.  But being a seasoned veteran of lessons and of newbies like me, it didn’t faze him in the least.  Until I got to his face.

I was talking with him and commenting how he had a bit of mud on his face.  At one point, he turned to face me and stared hard into my face.  Those big eyes (you know they are the size of golf balls!) looked at me, but instead of seeing the full brown eye, I saw part of the whites of his eyes as he looked at me.  I was tentative and a little scared for some reason.  He’s so big that I got frightened even though he wasn’t doing anything but looking at me from the side.  I felt a pulse of insecurity which was on my part and stepped back.  Even as I write this, I only know that it was a significant moment because my fear was there.  Fear of what I’ve asked myself,  but there’s been so significant response.  Maybe I thought he was going to bite me?  I don’t know for sure because I’ve been told he’s not a biter.  But I didn’t know that then.

So I stepped back and asked one of the girls nearby to help me get the mud off of his face.  She calmly came over and brushed him, talking with him as I had done.  When she was finished, he seemed to look at me as if to say, Man up little girl and face your fears because I’m not scary.

I walked into the paddock to mount him and then we started to walk, but he stopped and wouldn’t move.  It was like he was testing me, not in a belligerent way, but in a have courage, do what we’re supposed to do and tell me what you want.  It took a good few minutes of him standing stoically before he began to walk (after my trainer clucked to him multiple times and I used my legs to urge him to begin walking).  Then he finally started.

Balancing on a horse was to me like playing the game Twister.  Reins at a certain height, put your heels down, keep your legs relaxed and not on his shoulders, sit up straight, hold in your core, but stay relaxed!  Yikes!  It’s hard work!  I tried (again!) the 2 point position that is the precursor to posting, but I was failing miserably even though Sam was so patient and gentle.  So my trainer took me off Sam and rode him, showing me what I wasn’t getting on my own.  What a difference that made!!

When I got back on Sam, because I could actually SEE what she meant, I was so much more comfortable and it showed!  I was able to keep the 2 point position correctly and for longer even though my ab muscles were getting a workout.  Sam, true to form, flowed with my learning curve, staying the course and making it easier for me to balance and concentrate on my form.

At the end of the lesson, for which once I finally was understanding the whole form thing, I begged to have another 1/2 hour because I felt in the zone!  But there was another rider’s lesson after me.  So when I dismounted, Sam and I had a few minutes alone while I waited for the next rider to come into the paddock.

I stood by Sam’s head and talked with him as we waited.  I’m probably being silly here, but the tears are flowing as I type.  Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but as I was thanking him for all that we’d accomplished today, he nestled his head onto my shoulder and into my neck so softly as if to comfort me and say See, we’ve got this you and me.  We’re a team and you can trust me and yourself.  He gazed into my eyes and I melted with love for him, bravely kissing his face and petting him with so much appreciation and love.  He nuzzled me again, rubbing his face onto mine as I cooed to him.  It was such a magical moment for me.  Truly.  What I’m writing sounds so hollow because it was so much more.  It was as if there were a breakthrough in healing for me and Sam helped me so much.

When the next rider came to take Sam, I kissed him good bye and thanked him.  As I passed some people who had been watching, they said they didn’t know Sam was such an affectionate horse.  I smiled and nodded because I had tears in my eyes, tears of healing and gratitude for my horse angel Sam.

Shine On!

xo

A Charlie Brown Christmas

ABC's "Charlie Brown"

Does this photo bring back memories of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas?  It does for me!  I love those old shows and I always watch them during the Christmas season.  That tree always makes me smile when I see it because it’s such a good reminder to keep Christmas simple and not fraught with commercialism.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.”

Linus then walks over to Charlie Brown and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

When I was looking for a photo for the post today, I found it here along with some fun facts about the movie!    Don’t forget to sing along at the end,

Enjoy!

Shine On!

xo

 

Connecting The Dots

ConnectingthedotsConnecting The Dots

Connection is one of my favorite words because I know that connections are important in this life.  To make connections with other sentient beings, with ideas and philosophies and through the heart, mind and soul, for me, is connecting the dots of being.

Over twenty years ago when chatting on the internet was just starting for me, I met a woman named Jeanne in a cat chat room.  I was newly married and we had just gotten a rescue kitten.  Jeanne was a seasoned cat owner and when I had asked a question on the forum, she answered.  By sharing her knowledge and with me hungry for answers, we began to write back and forth and our friendship blossomed via email.  We talked about life and love and friendship and family….and of course, cats!

Fast forward 20 years and we are Facebook friends, having found each other again on the internet highway.  Occasional likes and messages have kept us in contact even though we had lost touch for many years.  When I asked a cat question on Facebook and quickly Jeanne answered, thus began our re-connection.  As we were messaging on Facebook, and then moved to emails, it was as if no time had passed.  We began catching up over the past years, quickly and easily.  The best part was that we knew what a blessing it was to reconnect again.

We’ve never met in person, yet Jeanne and I have been friends for years.  Life is so different from when we were children, as back then, our friends were limited to those we knew in person.  Much like modern-day pen pals, I guess life has evolved to internet friendships.

So today, I’m grateful for all of our connections, internet and otherwise.  I love how blogging has expanded our friendships globally.  I can now count friendships with all of you, in many different countries and across the USA.  We are gratefully united through friendship and caring.

Have you felt that instant connection with someone whom you’ve never met except on the internet?  Was it through blogging?  Please share!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

whatdoeschristmasmeantoyou

In a month’s time, Christmas will be over.  Can you believe it?  Have you started decorating or shopping yet?  Have you felt the excitement in twinkling lights and frosty weather?  I am a Christmas lover as you can probably tell.

I like simplicity during Christmas.  I love to put up the creche and remember what the holiday is truly about – love and peace.  The warmth of a roaring fire and loving family surrounding me fills my heart with gratitude for life itself.  Peace and love hopefully will reign supreme this holiday season with human kindness spreading its gentle wings upon the earth.  At least that’s what I’m praying for this year.

I love to go to church during the Christmas season and sing all of the old hymns.  When I was younger, I was in the church choir and I adored singing at Christmas masses more than any other time of year.  The magic of Christmas love has stayed with me even though I’m older.  I’ve never quite lost that childhood wonder and Christmas spirit.

Even as a child, I didn’t wanted to grow up during Christmas.  I never told my parents when I stopped believing in Santa as I loved the magic of Christmas morning and I still do!  I don’t know why I’ve always been so enraptured with Christmas.  It’s just innate in me.  I often wonder if I should move to a Christmas village and live there year round or if by doing that, it would make me jaded for my favorite holiday?  Do any of you live in a Christmas village?  Can you tell me what it’s like to have Christmas everyday?

So back to my original question, what does Christmas mean to you?  Sleigh bells ringing?  Snow falling gently on the ground?  Merry moments with family and friends?  Hot toddies by the fire with a special person?  Wrapping special presents to delight and show our love for others?  Unwrapping special trinkets bought by others with us in mind?  Showing the sanctity of the holiday?  Feeling grateful for all that we have?  Sharing what we have with others through giving?  Blessing others and sharing our heartlights?  Surrounding ourselves with peace and love?  Forgiving the past and sharing The Presents of Presence?

Please share with me!

Shine On!

xo

 

Thanksgiving Blessings

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“Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure
of our thanksgiving.”
~ W.T. Purkiser

On this Thanksgiving morning, let me reach out to wish you all a day filled with love, with blessings, with gratitude and with being surrounded by loved ones.  Be more patient today.  Be kinder today.  Be loving today.  Be grateful for all the goodness in your life – from the biggest to the smallest of blessings!

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

Shine On!

xo

 

Home Is The Nest You Make Yourself

homeisthenest

I love the quote:  Home is where the heart is because it’s simple and direct.  Home is anywhere you find yourself comfortably surrounded by love.  Be it a hovel, an old drafty farmhouse, a small nest or a McMansion.  It’s home because your loved ones are with you.

It’s about being together and being able to be YOU with all of your goodness, your quirks and your insecurities, knowing you are loved for who you are.  Home is the comfort in being accepted for yourself.  Home is knowing you are safe in being vulnerable there.  Home is knowing there are arms to hold you in a strong hug with support and kindness, gentle kisses and soothing words.

There’s no place like home dear friends.  May you remember with gratitude the home and loved ones with whom you share your life.  No matter where you travel, near or far, may you always have a home filled with love and kindness.

Shine On!

xo