Monkey See Monkey Do

We may all be familiar with the saying monkey see, monkey do. Meaning some, most of us, emulate the behavior we see around us. Particularly if the person we are mimicking has a strong personality or authority over us.

This is never more true than with children. Every single day kids are acting like the people around them. Trying to figure out how to be in different situations. I think this is the most scary thing about parenting.

I know that I have some really great qualities. I also know I have some pretty great flaws. Like my temper (0-100 in about 3 seconds), the way I handle stress (I like to avoid it and tend to hide out with my shows) and my obsessiveness (once I start something it needs to be finished). I see all three of these things in my kids. My oldest is a snapper like me. The middle one is obsessive and my youngest is a teller too.

So those three little monkeys are my warning. I desire nothing but the best for my kids and that they would learn from me that things could be done differently. That we don’t have to always take every characteristic, good or bad, and mimic.

It’s hard to overcome what we observe and take into ourselves. But we can take steps to analyze ourselves and change the course of our direction with accountability and grace.



Questions needing Answers

Screen-shot-2012-07-30-at-10.38.35-AMOur oldest is just a few month shy of ten. He is an observer. Taking in the situation before he jumps on board. These past few months he has been jumping into the conversation with my husband and I. Noticing and picking up on things that we hadn’t needed to address until now. One of those questions I was asked in the car was, “Why don’t you and daddy get along?”

That little missive hit me right in the gut. I will be the first to admit that I can be a big time cranky pants. Especially at home. And the last year in particular has been difficult. I don’t hide my feelings. They are all out there. If I’m sad, I’ll cry. If I am mad, I yell. If I think something is funny, I will laugh. One of the primary emotions I have had for the last year is annoyance. Annoyance that I had to take care of other people. There was a lot to take care of in myself. I know that seems terribly selfish. But when I was in the throes of depression and processing deep hurts, I didn’t have a lot of energy to focus on my husband or kids.

These are things I am making better now. But, obviously, marks have been made. If my nine year old son can pick up on the fact I don’t have a lot of patience for my husband who has been nothing but generous and sweet and loving thru all of this emotional upheaval, than the effects of my processing have been noticed. My son’s question made a place for a conversation to be had. I calmly explained that it has been hard for mommy to be happy and just laugh off teasing. That there is a place of sadness inside of me that makes it difficult for me to just have fun.

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My son’s question has made me think about my own responses. I absolutely believe my home and family is the place I am safest to be upset. But I have seen that my responses to my processing were causing harm to our family. So now I take a pause. I go clean a bathroom or make something for dinner that has onions so I can have a good cry. It is not ok for me to take my bad day out on the members of my family.

You know what, all of this is ok. Because I have been honest about my feelings and didn’t stuff them inside, I have been able to allow my kids to have feelings to. I’m not saying we are a family of Godzilla’s rampaging over the city of each other’s emotions (although if you come over at four o’clock in the afternoon it might seem that way to the outside observer), but there is space in our home for people to be upset. There is room for someone to slam a door and take some time to cool down.  There are also places for I’m sorry and I forgive you to be said. We have to learn about constructive and harmful ways to process our emotions, because if we don’t know the difference it will hurt others. While it’s ok to be upset, it is NOT ok to hurt others to make ourselves feel better. These are the lessons we’ve been learning at home.





Staying instead of Going

I wasn’t sure what to write today. It’s been so long since I knew what to write, I thought maybe I should just scrap this all and give up. Because I tend to do that when things get hard. Just walk away. Hobbies, jobs, relationships, life. When things tend to get hard or messy I have been known to walk away. It’s not usually a choice, so much as a compulsion. I don’t want others to not like me. So I will often get out before things get to real or honest.

I’ve missed out on a lot of life because of that. Some things really can’t be left. Like my husband. And my kids. Life isn’t meant to be lived looking back. It’s not meant to be run away from. There are things that happen in the mess that can only be seen when I am present there. I am learning that. I am being changed. It’s a hard road. It’s hard for me, my husband, my family. I have to stay here and believe it’s worth it. Because I have seen the cost of thinking something wasn’t worth doing and that price is to high to pay this time.

When I opened up my WordPress account today, I found this article. There’s a lot of fluff and stuff to sort through, but there were also some really great things that spoke to me this morning. Here are a few quotes:

“Change always requires something from us. Time. Learning new habits.  Abandoning “ease” to take on a season of planning and structuring for the new. Giving up or giving in or doing away with or adding onto, it all takes work to arrive at a new normal. Sacrifice.” -Heather Spring

These are the questions that Ms. Spring is asking of herself for the new year. The questions that she hopes will lead her to a new normal. These are the questions she prays to God for guidance. They are good starting place for this new year. Sometimes I can’t see where things are going, and I’m learning to be ok with that. To sit and be steady instead of running as fast as I can away from things. So this is what I will be pondering:

“Will you go without knowing?

What are You going to do with this?”
“If I do this, how’s it going to end up?”
“What are You going to do with that dream?”

Will I go without knowing how things will turn out?

Can I? Will I?”



A first friend

Yesterday’s prompt was to talk about my first friend.

Hmm, my first friend. Like a first crush or first love, your first friend is a big one. Relationship firsts leave a big impact on us.

The first name that came to mind was my childhood friend Angela. She lived across the street from me. I remember she was tall. She was an only child. Her life seemed so quiet and peaceful. My home off our kids and two working adults was loud and boisterous. My friends mom seemed to be around and my friend had a canopy bed and all the other trappings I thought were cool and sophisticated in my middle schooler brain.
Angela’s parents were married when we first met in elementary school and then sometime around junior high, her parents got divorced. I remember going over to her house because we used to meet up and walk to the bus stop. I came in the house and both her parents were gone and she was packing her own lunch. She showed me so proudly how her mom taught her to blow some air into the sandwich bag so that she could get the maximum number of chips into said bag. And she got to pick out her own hostess treat. That was a pretty big deal to a junior high girl striving for independence.

As glamorous and wonderful as this new single parent life seemed to be for my friend, I still thought it was sad that she was by herself in the mornings. That no one was there to say good bye or have a good day.

As tends to happen to elementary school friendships, Angela and I drifted apart. I was on a more academic track. She was on a more average one. The easy camaraderie that came with a shared love of my little ponies and Barbie evaporated as new friends and interests developed.

Once we hit high school we were no more than passing acquaintences. Then she really broke the friendship by helping herself to my then boyfriend. The joke was on her though. He was a loser.

So friends. My friend story didn’t end so great. But maybe that’s not the kind of friend I want to have. I want friends who will lift me up and encourage me. I’m grateful that the friends I have now are not the one I had in elementary school.

Who was your first friend?


Bad Habits

Writing Prompt: If you had one bad habit that you could quit instantly without diff?iculty, what would it be?

One bad habit. Really, just one? Can I get a multiplier? What makes a habit bad? I guess anything that would be a detriment to myself? Or what about the things I do that are a detriment to others? Is a habit bad if I only do it in secret?

The first one that popped into my head was cracking my knuckles. That’s a pretty surface answer. I’ve got some other bad habits I would like to knock out, but this was the first one that came to mind. Cracking your knuckles is a loud habit. It’s not something I can do surreptitiously. As I get older it becomes more of a necessity, because my joints feel stiffer so I’m cracking my knuckles more, meaning more fluid builds up in my joints causing a need to relieve the pressure and so the cycle continues.

I have read different studies about popping my joints. One said it is absolutely detrimental and I should stop immediately. Than a few years later a study came out that said it didn’t matter. Like with so many things, the experts seem confused. Having had a grandmother with arthritis issues, I wouldn’t mind an official opinion on this. If I’m adding to my own detriment, than I might need some motivation to quit the habit.

Because there’s the rub. A habit is hard to quit because it’s something I do every day. I heard once that if you do something seven days in a row, than it is now a habit. That’s what makes habits hard to break. Their daily repetition ingrains the actions and behavior into a muscle memory pattern. Even if I my strength of will is strong, it needs to be stronger than my own self. That is just crazy talk. Sometimes that’s possible to muster up the self control to change a bad habit. Like when I eat gluten or drink to much soda. The negative effects of those behaviors are motivation enough for me to stop eating bread, pasta and to avoid soft drinks.

I’m talking about the bigger habits I have of compulsive eating, controlling my environment and losing my temper. These are the things I need some super natural assistance with. These are the habits that are so ingrained in me, that I need to pray hard and go deep in Scripture so I can replace the lying root of these habits with some core truth of the Gospel. These habits require taking my thoughts captive on a minute to minute basis some times. Still there are days when I fall into bad habits, but Grace is there to pick me up and assist with breaking the old self off of me and replacing the bad habits with good ones.

What’s your bad habit?



If you were trapped…..

Writer’s prompt: If you were trapped in a movie for five days, which movie would you pick?


When I posed this question to my family these are there responses:

Oldest Son: Tron, the second one. Cause I could throw the light discs like a frisbee.

Second Son: Star Wars the Clone Wars, so I could use a real light sabre.

Daughter: Stone cold stare of silence.

Husband: Pitch Perfect so I could sing my life out!


My initial reaction was Gone with the Wind. The food and clothing options would be amazing. Then I thought, maybe I would prefer a musical like Mary Poppins or Oklahoma. Who doesn’t want to jump around and break into song to express their feelings? Or maybe even still I would want to go to my nerdy side and jump into a super hero role like the Black Widow or even Wonder Woman.

If I went with Gone with the Wind, the days would be long. There’ld be all that humidity and high temps. Wrapped in layers of petticoats and bustles. The stays would probably make me pass out from oxygen deprivation. I also am not sure I could go a whole five days and not make some speech about the disparity between the slaves/ working poor and that of the elite. I’m sure my practical Mid-west side would jump out and have to question the expense of one dress being able to feed a few families for a week.

A musical would be nice. But all that singing and dancing could make a girl tired. Especially a girl who isn’t up on her cardio like she should be. But I have always loved music. So maybe I could tough it out. As long as no one went all Black Swan or Showgirls on me. I don’t know that I could handle the stress of all the Prima Donnas that tend to come along with musical theatre. Being a bit of a Prima Donna myself, I know it can get tough when egos are on the line.

So that leaves the Superhero movies. All the martial arts and gun toting would be a great work out. All the pent up aggression and frustration I could have from the daily stress of life would be let out in the fight scenes. I would be helping the greater good. There would probably be a pretty big paycheck if I were in a movie like the Avengers or Iron Man. I wouldn’t want to be in anything like Ant Man or any of the other lesser known heroes.

So there you have it, this book worm would take a full on leap to the nerdy side. Bring me a pair of tights and a cape. I’ve got a world to save!



Feel it to heal it.

I was listening to Pandora a week or so. Music has always spoken to me. It often evokes deep emotions in me. Because that’s what music is for, is it not? Music speaks for our souls when we don’t have the words to say.
These are the words I wrote down to remember. They are in my phone for when I need a reminder.
Songs lyrics
It ain’t over til God says it is. Don’t stop fighting until the victory is won. That can come in a couple different ways.

God is with me and He is for me.

We are promised to be more than conquerors and that we will be victorious thru the blood that was shed on the cross. No problem is bigger than a three day dead Jesus.

Not even my pain or doubt is bigger than Gods love for me.

He doesn’t care for me because of what I do or how well I obey. But because he loves me.
This last one has been the biggest comfort to me. It’s not about what I do. Or say or act. God loves me because He is loving. I can stop striving to “be” a certain way. This is how lavish Gods love for me is. The love is always there even when I don’t feel it. But He constantly extends it thru His people and thru Himself. This is what sustains me. Gods love is my portion and sustenance in what seems like an emotional season of famine.

Thank-you Jesus for your great waves of love that you have let wash over me these last two weeks. I hold on to You and Your Word.