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Stop to breathe April 28, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 12:17 pm
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Running around yesterday, doing this, doing that, checking off tasks on the list I noticed the anxiety I was feeling.  So I stopped. I stopped the mind racing.  Ceased all worry, planning, anticipation.  I gave it up and took a few breaths.  I let go… telling myself, I will get it all done, all will be well.  Then I took a few more breaths.

And you know what? I am a calmer person today because of it.  How much unneeded worry do we burden ourselves with?  I know letting go isn’t easy, but like remembering to stop and breathe it just takes practice.

by J.G. McGlothern


Okay, Eddie. April 23, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 8:42 pm
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Driving home from swim lessons the other night I couldn’t have been more proud.  My daughter was reading and my son and I were singing to the radio.  Mom, he said, could you please turn down the radio a bit so we don’t disturb sister reading?

Wow. Did I hear him right?

I turned the radio all the way down, turned to him while we sat at a stop light.  That was so considerate, I acknowledge, thank you for that.

You’re welcome, mama.  Please turn the radio back on, just not too loud for sister. 

I’m thinking, Okay, Eddie Haskell, what do you want?

The evening continued that way.  So I made sure to acknowledge without over gushing about the kind way the two siblings were getting along.  Turns out my son didn’t want anything, but only to be kind to his big sister.

Walking to school yesterday, a parent friend gave me a compliment on something I had done and it filled me with so much light.  I walked lighter, my thoughts turned in a brighter direction.

Even as adults we want to be acknowledged.  A little bit of recognition, not gushing, just a word or two goes a very long way.

I have been noticing how I feel and how things shift when I receive acknowledgement from someone.  Sometimes the recognition makes me feel shy and I brush the words away changing the subject.  Other times I radiate a huge smile, offer a hug, walk on air. 

No matter how I receive the acknowledgement in my head, I really try to always say, Thank You, because no matter if I am feeling shy, confident, proud, or embarrassed I am truly thankful.  I am grateful to be heard, noticed, recognized, received well.

Some of us need more acknowledgement than others.  We all handle it and receive it in our own unique way.  It awakens me to realize how much light I can offer my child, my husband, a friend, a stranger just by acknowledging them, be it with a word, a smile, a hug, stopping to converse.

I need to toss the idea that my son is being Eddie Haskell.  He was genuine then with his sister and again this morning when he told me, You look good in those jeans, mama and at lunch today, You make the best Mac n’ cheese.

Even Eddie Haskell didn’t always pay Mrs. Cleaver compliments only when he wanted something. Sometimes people are nice just to be nice. No strings attached.

by J.G. McGlothern


Bag of Tricks April 21, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,mom writer — heartwriter @ 9:50 pm
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Patience, even a dab of it, makes life easier. So where do I get some?  Wouldn’t it be great if I could reach into a bag of tricks every morning and pull the Patient Card and BAM have the gift of patience be with me all day?

I recently volunteered to take on the task of creating a collage of all the 2nd graders for my daughter’s school yearbook.  75 faces needing to appear 2-3 times on one page.

I love taking pictures but projects that involve double sided tape and using scissors usually challenge my patience.

Knowing all this I gave myself lots of time.  I set up a card table, also giving myself lots of space.  Then I just dove in, one step at a time, only working on the collage in small intervals instead of all at once.  Otherwise the tendency to rush, produce sloppy work and get really impatient is just far too easy.

That’s how it can be in parenting, right?

We feel overwhelmed, crowded, don’t have enough breathing room, want our children to cooperate, NOW, making the tendency to lose our patience just far too easy.

I have lost it 3 times in the last 24 hours, 5 times in the last week. I have yelled, yelled, yelled, yelled, yelled.  Is it because my cup is empty?  Or is it because I have no patience? Patience is a tricky thing. Something I admire in others.  Something I have at times, something I deeply lack at other times.

I’ll laugh when a friend will say, You are so patient to let your kids cook in the kitchen with you.  I can handle a mess in the kitchen, cracked egg shell in the batter, spilled milk…but give me a whinny child and you might as well push me to the edge of a cliff.  Patience is not something in my possession when the kid gets whinny.  Especially if it is not the first time that day.  Then give me a project and I just want it done. Yesterday.

Even if I have taken care of myself, filled my cup and attended to my self-care for the day I can still lose it over whining or a detailed project. Oh, you bet I can.

Is it nurture or nature?  Are some of us born with a more prominent “patient gene” than others?  I marvel at some parents on the playground.  “Damn, you’re good,” I say, when a mom ever so calmly asks her pleading, whining child to stop.  “Oh, I’m not always like this”, they confess.

That’s it. Maybe that’s the trick.  Who isn’t nicer to their children when others are around?  Being more patient when others are around does come more naturally.  I should just pretend I’m being watched.

NAH. Buzzer noise. I have lost it a plenty with my friends around, strangers lurking and family present.

The only thing that will work is practice.  Practice some more. Give yourself plenty of time, lots of room and be gentle with yourself.

When I created the collage of 75 2nd graders, I didn’t say, You suck at projects, you are not an artist.  I gave myself time and space, was gentle with myself and I ended up producing a worthy piece of art.

That’s what I need to do as mother and teacher of two very awesome kids, although on occasion whiny.  I need to allow for time, space and gentleness.   Then it will be just like reaching into a magical bag and pulling out the Patient Card every time.

by J.G. McGlothern


Jesus, Mary and the Blowfish April 17, 2010

Filed under: motherhood — heartwriter @ 3:33 am
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As tradition has is it, I snuggle first with one child while my hubby snuggles with the other, then we switch.   Laying with my daughter on the top bunk tonight, my hubby walks into their bedroom and stinks up the place.  Woowee.  I catch a wiff and sit up in my daughter’s bed claiming, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. (Technically, not swearing so I didn’t have to put 50 cents in each kid’s piggy bank.)

We all get bad gas occasionally, but my husband more regularly than occasionally and man was this a doozy.

The kids thought my “statement” was hilarious.  My son pipes up from the bottom bunk, I know who Jesus and Mary are, but who is the blowfish?

It’s times like this where I say to myself, it’s Friday night, I’m home with my gassy husband and giggly children, where else could I be that could be any better?  Nowhere.  Except for maybe hangin’ out in the manger with a blowfish?  Nah. I’m where I wanna be.

by J. G. McGlothern


Movement April 14, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 5:41 pm
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One day in yoga class last week as I relaxed on my back during the floor series I noticed I was laying down under a sky light.  I entered class when the sky was dark and now I could see the sun was out but the sky was  full of clouds.

I recentley have had to end a professional relationship.  Over a month ago boundaries were crossed and I was no longer comfortable dealing with this person.  It’s been a long time since I have intentionally ended a relationship.  My pattern is more to keep relationships going even if they are unhealthy, all in order to keep the peace, not ruffle feathers.  I have demonstrated a more passive response in the past instead of standing up for myself.

Not this time.  Without drawing on all the specifics, pointing out this and that fault, I told the person, it was time to move on, we would no longer be using their services.  If I brought up the specifics this individual would then point out my faults, and back and forth it would go.  Tit for tat, just like in a family spat, treading water not moving ahead.  Time to step away.

In yoga class, the sky light view has shifted revealing a string of clouds moving across a blue sky.

I learned so much about myself during this uncomfortable and hurtful experience.  Instead of sitting on my hands in fear of this person exploding at me again I have chosen to be proactive and cut my losses.  I am trying not to make judgements of this person, but of course it is too easy not to.  So I acknowledge my areas of weakness, see where I can grow, and move forward in a positive direction.

Back at my view of the sky light the other morning, at the end of class, the previous string of clouds disappeared revealing a solid blue sky.  Bright, full of possibility.

by J.G. McGlothern


In The Cards – Gratitude Part III April 11, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 12:36 am
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I own a deck of Grace cards.  Fourty four cards with a word of wisdom on the front, decorated with a lovely picture and an inspirational phrase on the back side.  Different cards offering wisdom and food for thougtht: Patience, Trust, Love, Anticipation, Imagination, to name a few.

I seek out a card when I need a bit of guidance or am just curious.  I shuffle the deck, offer up a prayer and draw a card. I offer friends and family to pull a card from the deck when they have shared soemthing they are in discernment over.  I am often surprised by the wisdom and dead on a accurateness of the cards pulled.  Friends will say, That’s weird.  That’s exactly what I need. I respond, Not weird.  Divine.

Two summers ago, on our annual Oregon Coast vacation with friends I brought along my Grace card deck.  The six adults present decided we would each pull a card every day.  During our six day stay I drew the same card, three times.  GRATITUDE.  On the third day, I looked up to the sky and exclaimed, Okay, I get it!!!

I think sometimes, I think I am grateful and I am for a moment or a few long moments.  But then my human nature sneaks up and I forget to be grateful.  I don’t let gratefullness resonate in my bones.

I have discovered when I am down or scattered or angry nothing shifts me out of it better than being grateful.  Instead of focusing on the chaos in my mind I think of all that I have to be grateful for or just a couple things and that brings me to what is important and grounds me in the present.

Outside reminders, like pulling a card, or connecting with another person reminds me that really being truly grateful, for it all:  the good, the bad and the ugly, means letting go of all the other stuff and just being.  Resting in a faith that all is well.

by J.G. McGlothern


Salt in a Glass Instead – Gratitude Part II April 9, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 2:04 pm
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The hard part about gratitude is being grateful, truly thankful, for the stuff you don’t ask for, the times things aren’t going your way.

When I went to bed last night, I didn’t set an alarm for yoga, I intended to sleep in, such a loose term for moms, and let the kids be my alarm clock.  Well, my husband’s alarm went off at 5:30 and I couldn’t fall back asleep.  So here I am able to write down all the words that have been swirling in my head the last couple of days.  Groggy and sleepy, I am so grateful.  This is how I will get my writing in for the day, my passion fulfilled, by doing it when the rest of the family sleeps.  How lucky am I?

Being grateful for the things we don’t ask for doesn’t come naturally to me.  It’s something I have to practice.  When the tire goes flat, the uncomfortable argument, the screaming child, the unexpeted bill to pay, being grateful doesn’t usually spring to mind. When bitterness, frustration, confusion, and sadness have given birth in a situation, what would happen if we were thankful for exactly the opposite of what we were hoping to happen? Thanks for the flat tire happening in a safe place off the side of the road, the argument that taught me how to set boundaries in the future, the child who was able to find words to express his anger, the cash present that had been saved for soemthing else.

Last night I was given the opportunity to sit at a restaurant table by myself for over a half an hour as I waited for two girlfriends.  Instead of choosing to be pissed off and frustrated for waiting, I sipped the most delicious margarita and wrote in my tiny notebook I carry in my purse. The moment was perfect, although something I didn’t ask for.  The sun shone down on me through the restaurant window, the salty lime flavor was summer in a glass on my lips, and the laughter  coming from the other tables filled my ears with sweet music.

I was truly glad my girlfriends were late.  I was given time alone to catch my breath from a day of care taking and reconnect with myself.  I could unwind before winding up with my girlfriends.  Before connecting with them I could enjoy the moment of anticiaption, awaiting the laughther, the sharing that would happen at my table and just taste the salted lime on my lips.  Savoring the moment for what it was instead of calling it, waiting time, it was me time.

Instead of getting another hour and a half of sleep like I planned, I have had time to write, like I dream of, like I pray for.  All is well. Life is good.

by J.G. McGlothern