Archive for the ‘Aging Gracefully’ Category

Growing Pains #188

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

My son is “growing like a weed” as they say.  His twelve and a half year old self has grown several inches in just a few months.  Suddenly, he’s just 3 inches shy of me!  And my daughter, still tiny at 14, is making leaps and bounds emotionally.  Getting ready to head to high school in the Fall, she suddenly seems so independent, capable, and competent (all the things I wanted her to be, of course, but already?! …).  They’re both navigating through some growing pains physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Not to be left out of the party (I am the one who went back for Invisilign when my kids both got braces), I realized I’m going through some of my own growing pains.  At first I resisted, saying to myself that I was just being silly getting so wrapped up in noticing all of these CHANGES in my kids.  That wasn’t working so well.  Just shy of a few meltdowns, I realized that it was going to be easier to pause, take a look around life, feel good about how far we have all come together as a family, reflect on how much goodness there has been to this point, and then celebrate (instead of being so afraid of) moving forward.

And I have to say this approach has been so much easier.  Parenting teens is hard enough; I didn’t need the added layer of dread that comes with resisting what’s going to happen anyway.  The adventure of parenting is always exciting because it’s ever changing.  One thing remains the same … I’m never sorry when I pay attention to what’s going on in their worlds.  And I’m still excited when they want to share the latest that’s going on in their lives … I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow that!

As they say, no pain, no gain … and there’s a lot to gain still.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, growing pains can be a huge blessing that remind you of all the good life has served up and all the good that is still to come.

Extra-Ordinary Ideas

Read It:  By Regina Brett … this is a great, easy read by a columnist from Cleveland who has a sense of the practical that I love.
God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours

Do It: Check in to see what you’re resisting. Are you stopping yourself from moving forward?

Think It: “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.” Irish Saying

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STOP Signs to Happiness #185

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

How many negative thoughts do you have each day about your body? It’s ok, admit it.  I promise not to tell.

If you’re like the average woman, according to a recent study by Glamour magazine, you have 13 negative thoughts a day about your body.  Some women admitted having as many as 50 to 100 negative body thoughts a day!

This study made me happy and sad.  Happy to know I’m pretty much like every other American woman who beats herself up on a daily basis, and sad to know that American women beat themselves up on a daily basis.

I think it’s time to Spring Clean those negative thoughts.  For the next 66 days (the average amount of time it takes to form a habit according to a recent study by University College London), I’m going to focus on throwing up a big pink Stop Sign in my mind when I start going down the “wish I had a bikini body” road.  Instead, I’m going to focus on all that my body allows me to do each day that I take for granted … walk the dog, hug my kids, take a stroll through a park, go to work … you get the picture.  Frankly, I don’t have time to ruminate on what I don’t have … I need to start appreciating what I’ve got!  What about you?  Are you willing to STOP bullying yourself too?

EXTRA-Ordinary Ideas:

Read It:  Read the Glamour article here for more great ideas on how to overcome that little voice in your head. (BEWARE: The pic on the article is one of the reasons 97% of us have negative body images! Not the best choice, Glamour.)

Do It: Make a mental note every time your body makes your life easier for you. It’s working overtime, and we’re not even appreciative!

Think It:  “Everybody is unique. Compare not yourself with anybody else lest you spoil God’s curriculum.”  Baal Shem Tov

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Run For Cover #171

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Have you ever had a case of the bathing suit blues?   I’ve spoken many, many words in my lifetime, but I can honestly say I’ve never, EVER said the words, “I can’t wait to go bathing suit shopping.”  I haven’t heard any of my girlfriends proclaiming them either.

Each May, I start to get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, where I ponder just where, when, and how I will get a suit for the summer season.  It’s amazing how such a small item of clothing can produce such a large amount of fear.  And while catalog shopping has allayed my phobia of dressing room fluorescent lights, I still wish that we women had a better outlook when it comes to forgiving our figure flaws.

If we really think about some of the most courageous, smart, engaging, endearing women we know, rarely are they picture perfect.  But we don’t remember that when we’re squeezing into that belly slimming tankini.  Instead, we beat ourselves up, diet for a day, or focus on all the bad stuff about ourselves instead of the good.

This year I’m going to try to cut myself a break, get over the head junk that comes with putting on a suit, and enjoy the fun in the sun.  Easier said than done, but don’t you think it’s worth a try?

Extra-Ordinary Ideas

Watch It:  Anita Renfro is a comedienne who celebrates REAL women.  This video had me belly laughing.

Do It:  Take charge, and go find a suit you love. Consider splurging – it’s worth the investment.

Think It: “People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.”   Erma Bombeck

Be sure to check the post below for this month’s winner and eXtra tip.

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Astro Pops #153

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

As a kid, do you remember eating Astro Pops? They were cone shaped suckers that came in a clear wrapper and took days, if not weeks, to eat. Being a candy connoisseur (just ask anyone who really knows me), I loved Astro Pops because they took FOREVER to eat. They made time slow down. yes”>

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought that a week seemed like a month as a kid. Now, it seems like a month is a week! Time really does fly when you’re having fun – or when you have an overbooked multi-person schedule to follow.

The challenge for me these days is to come up with ways to help time slow down. If I’m not aware, whole months barrel by with little recognition and little attention to the big picture.

I have to force myself to stop and ask . . . Am I creating the best relationships? Am I spending time engaged in activities that I love? And the big question, AM I HAVING FUN? These pursuits can be accomplished in minutes per day if we shrug off the stress and see that no matter the circumstances we can still create moments in the midst of it all that remind us how lucky we are to be joyful participants in life. And just like that Astro Pop, we can make the good life last for a long time if we just remember to.

Extra-Ordinary Ideas:

Read It: Make time slow down with a good book this summer. One of my all time favorites is The Time Traveler’s Wife.

The Time Traveler's Wife

Do It: Think of one thing you can do every week for the rest of the summer to help you mark the passage of time. Keep a chart to track your progress. Some suggestions include playing a weekly card game, having a weekly movie night, going on a weekly bike ride . . . you get the picture.

Think It: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Gandhi

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A Hearty Appetite #133

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I can eat with the best of them. Sure, I try to limit myself most of the time, but I recently ate my way through a short vacation. In other words, appetite has never been a problem for me. That got me thinking that it would be nice to have a voracious appetite for other (less pleasant) things in life like de-cluttering, organizing photos, or even exercising.

I let myself off the hook knowing I’m not the only one who struggles to keep up with all the “stuff” of life. Not to go all Polly Positive on you, but I decided it’s more important to have an appetite for life as it is. I’m all for hoping, wishing and dreaming, but when it comes down to daily happiness much of mine comes from accepting and enjoying what’s going on at the moment.

This isn’t a free pass to stick with something negative in your life, rather it’s a challenge to enjoy your place in the big picture of life right now, today, as is in all its age related glory.

For example, I’m pretty sure that as much as I wish for it, I’m not going to be an oceanfront barmaid in a palm tree dense locale anytime soon. I think my kids would miss me, or at least miss the carpooling that I provide. yes”> I’m also fairly certain that I won’t be relishing in the luxury of a clutter free house for oh, the next 10 years or so. In fact, I’m certain when the time comes, I’ll miss the various “kid clutter” that brings our house alive these days – even if falling over action figures and Nerf footballs is an occupational hazard of working at home.

It’s not always easy to enjoy what you have on your plate, but if you learn to have an appetite for your life as it is right now, you’ll start finding ways to make the best of what’s right there waiting for you. And that’s a good appetite to have.

EXTRA-Ordinary Ideas:

Read It: Speaking of appetites, this is one of my favorite cookbooks (and I rarely cook, so that’s saying something). Everything I’ve made from this has been easy and GOOD: Paula Deen Celebrates

Do It: Think about how you can ENJOY life AS IS!

Think It: “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our window today.” Dale Carnegie

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