|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
The ball has dropped, the fireworks have faded, and the Thanksgiving to New Year's season is in our rear view mirror. Now we run the gauntlet of life until the next holiday provides a change of pace. Those of us with school-aged children gaze longingly at the horizon of time eager for the end of the school year to come into our view. By February, we wonder if we will last that long. By March, we wonder if our children will!
Many of us look in the rear view mirror of time and feel a twinge of angst. We see all that we did not accomplish: weight not lost, projects not completed, relationships not mended. Before we know it, the combination of failed resolutions and dark winter days sap us of momentum and rob us of our optimism. Sprinkle the gnawing day to day crises of life into the mix, and it is easy to feel that one can never meet the demands of the day with any satisfaction.
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative - 2011|
As I've pondered the media blitz re New Year's resolutions and Facebook chatter about the pro's and con's of those efforts, I've felt both excitement and trepidation. This last year has been full of healing restoration. Bit by bit, I feel a foundation coming together that will allow me to accomplish more than I'd ever imagined. Being the fraidy cat that I am, it doesn't take long for me to doubt myself. I am not a goal setter nor a list maker. What am I thinking?
In the last year, I have realized that I feel two emotions with excessive intensity. I feel exceedingly responsible for things over which I have no control and for things that rightly belong to others to 'own'. That heightened sense of responsibility often leads to a sensation of being blameworthy...as if I'm waiting to be found deficient in some way for some thing.
I am not a perfectionist, but I carry enough Type A persona in my genes that it is easy for me to stack the deck against myself. The cycle becomes vicious. My Type A self takes responsibility for too much for too many leading me to feel blameworthy if anyone is frustrated, uncomfortable, or unhappy. Isn't it easy for moms to feel that way? The joke goes: if mamma ain't happy, nobody is. The truth is: if anyone is NOT happy, neither is mamma!
With all those thoughts in mind, this year I have resolved to be kinder and gentler with myself. I am working toward making our family feel like more of a team by finding ways for us to work together. To that end, my sons now trade off sole responsibility for laundry, kitchen, trash, and bathroom upkeep along with other projects as needed.
Imagine my surprise when Son #2 asked, “Hey, what else are we going to get to do with this new plan.” Yea. I fainted dead away. Who'd have thought one prefers doing the laundry over the kitchen and trash duties and vice versa. What a happy coincidence and win-win for us all!
|2 are better than 1....especially when both write|
There is method to my madness. A friend and I have agreed to support each other and hold each other accountable for growing our freelance writing businesses. The fellas understand that they are on my support team. Their efforts free me up to focus more on growing my business. In choosing to lean on a friend for support and accountability, I have again chosen a kinder, gentler future.
A few years ago, a wise friend told me that she keeps a checklist of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. As she reviews her day, she considers how she would mark her report card. Has she effectively practiced those fruits as she has related to folks around her?
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
In an effort to be a kinder, gentler me, I am going to practice that same discipline this year. Perhaps you'd like to join me in that effort? Imagine the affect on road rage if everyone used those parameters in traffic? Imagine the drop in snarky Facebook posts if we all used those parameters to grade our daily report cards.
I have decided that if someone is unhappy, frustrated, or uncomfortable, it is not my job to rush into the fray and fix it for them. Life is hard. Success comes as one learns to manage the frustrating and uncomfortable for oneself. I hope I learned that before it is too late! Now, let's see how long I can live up to that high goal! It will be hard to bite my tongue and let my sons yammer away till they reach a truce. Anyone have a leather strap I can chew on while I wait?
So, fraidy cat, what about you? As the New Year dawns are you weary, worn out, wondering how you'll get thru today much less face tomorrow? Always waiting for someone, somewhere to point out your deficiencies? Are you like me and rushing headlong into the gap of life to fix the hard stuff when someone around you is frustrated or uncomfortable?
Walk with me for a while? Let's take a kinder, gentler approach with ourselves, each other, and our families. This last 7 months have been an amazing ride here in this little corner of the cyber-universe. Don't you wonder what 2012 will bring and where it will take us? Come back tomorrow, and bring a friend. Tell them you've found a home for fraidy cats who want to come in from the cold.
Love you long and strong. See you soon!
|Courtesy B. Creasy|
Galations 5: 22-23 (NASB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Here is one of my favorite songs: