Posted in Personal growth, Raising kids, Uncategorized

Why I need to have realistic expectations about time

Disbelief and denial. Is May only a few days away?! It was just winter, now spring, and summer plans are already underway.

Time runs while I stroll. When I was younger, grown ups would wistfully comment how time passes too quickly for them. They’d say, “Enjoy this time, because living gets busy when you have to work and raise a family.” I still couldn’t wait to grow up and experience this fast passing of time.

Fast forward a few decades. I write the wrong year on forms or show up days early or days late. But for my kids, time passes too slowly. They huff and puff at night saying morning will never come, they never need rest, and that Christmas is like a billion years away. Their concept of time is enviable to me – only day-to-day things matter.

When Ellis refers to something from yesterday, she’ll say it happened when she was little or younger. I can’t help bursting into laughter. She refers to days as years, minutes in terms of millions, and months and weeks are just crazy things grown ups talk about. When future outings are discussed, she asks, “Are we leaving now?”

Actual days seem long, but in retrospect, time faithfully moves forward whether I’m conscious of it or not. I want to tell myself to do something today that I wanted to do yesterday or decide to embrace each moment as special, even in the mundane.

Who is this harsh voice in my head commanding me to save time, be productive, do something important (whatever that is) all the time? On days when the babysitter comes, I start stressing the night before about what I’m going to do with my time.

Does everything need to be productive? Why can’t I just enjoy driving alone or sit at a coffee shop doing nothing.

My compassionate side tells the drill sergeant in me to chill out. Just enjoy doing what I’m doing and stop judging it. So what if I dawdle? So what if my day is not compartmentalized neatly? So what if I don’t get all things done? (I usually don’t anyway)

I need to set down these worries and stop judging how I use time. It’s a hopeless struggle fighting with myself.

My kids teach me much about this. Seeing the lightheartedness of my kids and hearing their hilarious giggles over something inane show me that life is happening now and it’s a happy thing.

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

Dr. Seuss

Yes, belly laughs are allowed when a bubble comes out of your nose and you play the piano with your bottom. Say “poop” to turn that frown into a huge smile.

See it through the eyes of a child and everything is an experience not to be missed. This moment is a special gift from God that I’m alive.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Posted in Daily Prompt Posts, Personal growth

Inching my way to the gym and curbing this sweet tooth

via Daily Prompt: Glimmer

Since last month’s post about working out, I’m still going to the gym. It’s not as often as I imagined, but I’m averaging twice a week.

I would be much more motivated to exercise if I could see slimming effects, but weight loss is not as easy as in my 20s. I’m trying hard to persuade myself that exercising is a fun activity. For fitness enthusiasts, you may think I’m talking crazy.

However, I’ve experienced some positive changes in my life with exercise: fatigue level is improving, sleep is more restful, and I’m making an effort to take care of my physical health. I think about food choices, portion control, and activity level.

I’m trying to implement some positive changed into my daily routine: eat more regularly; drink more water; and sleep at a reasonable hour. It sounds like commonplace advice, but I’m not doing those things. I tend to avoid eating after I’ve cooked meals for the umpteenth time. Instead of eating I’d rather veg out. For me, sleep is preferable to food. So I skip meals, graze on leftovers, eat more chocolate than necessary (it makes me happy). When the deep hunger pangs come, I binge eat.

All of these tendencies created a vicious cycle of guilt from overeating and anger at myself for lack of self-control. I had to break free from it; my family and I were hurting from my grumpiness, hangriness, and lack of energy.

Here are some concrete steps I’ve taken towards healthier living:

  1. Eat less chocolate (This does not include this birthday weekend for my kids. I ate pizza and cake, but I did not indulge. It would just be plain rude not to participate in the festivities!) *the photos below
  2. Reduce rice and bread intake.
  3. Keep moving if possible: dance with the kids, vacuum, dust the floors, declutter, clean the garage, take the stairs, or whatever else to burn calories.
  4. Snack healthier: eat fruit, nuts, a sweet potato, squash porridge, or oatmeal. Yesterday I ate a whole tomato for lunch with tuna. I’m not used to this combination, and the fish aftertaste almost made me throw up.
  5. Love my body as it is and all the things I can do.

I’m experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. My kids are fully on board to keep me on track; they love to remind me about my new dietary changes, dramatically block the pantry door, or give me the fierce stare when I pretend to eat their snacks.

See, I told you the steps are small and doable. Healthier living and a slimmer body are still glimmers, but I’m making a conscious effort to make it a lifestyle change instead of a passing fad.

Posted in Daily Prompt Posts, Raising kids

Move over, rush. Slow (kind of) is moving in.

via Daily Prompt: Rush

Rush has become the theme of my life in the past few years. Everything seems hurried; even hurry itself is not fast enough for this rushed life.

This morning I had one hour to myself at a coffee shop ACROSS the street from the kids’ zoology class. It felt foreign to relax; I was the person fidgeting and staring out the window as if I could see through walls and hear whispers traveling through air. My legs were ready to dart out the door if the teacher called me.

I’ve become the on-call mom. If emergency personnel is called, I have to be there to inform them of her medical condition and her running list of medications. I am her advocate: I have to be there. It’s not enough that the school has her medical history on file.

This is a learned behavior. The survival stage is behind us now that Ellis made it safely to her fifth birthday, which is a tremendous milestone for her health. However, my whole being feel trapped in the caregiver role.

My worst fear is facing a lifeless child: this fear drives the constant panic and adrenaline rush to be next to her always. It’s unrealistic but it’s a coping mechanism that gives me some control over this emotional situation.

Everyday I’m consciously trying to slow the rushed mind; it needs new rewiring/ training to learn how to chew life in morsels, not gulps. It’s a new season.

Posted in Nature observations and thoughts

A little flower blooms despite hostile conditions

Words from my six-year-old son gazing at our abandoned plants: “Mommy, we are terrible planters. Everything dies.”

My gardening skills are disastrous. I could take a perfectly thriving plant and kill it in days. But my hopeless optimism convinces me to plant seeds each spring. Occasional crops that sprout drive this desire: a mini watermelon; a tiny zucchini; couple of jalapeno peppers; and a handful of green beans and basil.

  • Our many gardening attempts through the years. The photos above show the flowers and plants at their best. Photos were not taken at their worst state.

In spring 2017 we opted to plant flowers instead of vegetables. We implemented good gardening habits: watering daily, supplementing with vitamins, and trimming. Then, life got busy and flowers neglected.

Maybe it was denial or laziness (probably the latter), but I left the plants to just dry up. I think I silently hoped they would disappear or disintegrate on its own. Other times I convinced myself that it had a cool vintage look. However, the recent rain and warmer weather bloomed new flowers; little spurts of life in dried soil and stiff stems.

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We screamed with surprise! The resilience of these little blooms remind me of beautiful wildflowers blooming along the highway and in unlikely places. So wild, charming, and untamed.

Life is resilient too. When we think there’s nothing left, something begins to sprout and gives hope that all is not lost.

β€œLike wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” – E.V. Lucas