Open Hear post #3

Opening Hear#3

Inspirations that come from anywhere that cause us to listen with our hearts… unlocking them in the process.

Yes! Magazine’s  Winter 2011 edition has wonderful articles based around “What Happy Families Know“.  I encourage anyone who hasn’t read Yes! Magazine in a while, or ever, to pick up a copy – or a subscription – or go to the library on a quarterly basis, to soak up it’s positivity and wisdom.  I have never been disappointed with the content.  As a matter of fact you’ll probably hear me talk about it quite a bit as time goes on.

My favorite story, “You Are Who You Eat With” by Katherine Gustafson has this quote: “When food advocate and chef Tom French asked a student how she felt after his organization, the Experience Food Project, began replacing the bland, processed food in her school cafeteria with fresh, healthy school lunches, he received an unexpected answer. “She gave it some serious thought,” he told me over the phone. “Then she said, ‘you know, I feel respected.’”

Family dinner photo by Patrick Barber
Food, and what we do to it – growing it, transporting it,
cooking, and serving it can make us feel respected, or not.


Great-full and Opening Hear

I woke this morning and read a few of the blogs I follow.

I was shaken to the core by reading this post from Karen Maezen Miller’s Cheerio Road.

She talks about a woman who emailed her about her husband finding out he has leukemia. This woman, Rose, has two sons, as I do.  Her posts can be read here. Her real and eloquent words made MANY tears come from me this morning.  When I get whiny or otherwise sink in a negative mood,  I’ll read Rose’s posts.  I’ve been getting so many reminders lately about the fact that I need to stay in gratefulness.  I do not have a husband that is being treated for cancer.  I have healthy boys.  I am healthy. My daily worries are small compared to what so many others have to deal with. I have so many many things to focus my attention on that I am grateful for.

My mother once told me, after she had died during a drug overdose, that when she “woke up” she was amazed at how close death is to us all. She likened it to a veil, so thin that we can barely realize how thin it is. “Death is with us ALL, all the time,” she said. I feel it closer to me today.  I also have held my loved ones closer today having realized, again, the singular chance we get, each day to Love.

Motherhood is as Motherhood does


“Believing that you have all the answers is delusional. Motherhood teaches this well.”

From: Karen Maezen Miller’s Blog

I love Maezen’s take on this whole ‘Tiger Mother’ buzz in the world right now. Essentially she says, “Comparing our kids to one another is the most juvenile thing we grown ups can do.”

I have a huge amount of doubt (as many parents do) that the way I parent is adequate.  But adequate for what? and for whom?

I feed, clothe, and water my kids.  I feed their curiosity as much as I can.  I attempt to instill good habits, kind thinking, and creative hearts.  These are generalities, I know, but the details seem to work themselves out each day.  For me, parenting happens in the moment.

How will I know if I’ve parented adequately? That is where I stumble into doubt.  Do I really need to wait till one of my sons, in his 30’s, comes home from a counseling session and calls me up to tell me I;  a) did something horribly wrong, or b) something great? Or can I trust my feeling in the moment that what I’m doing and how I’m being with them is ok?  I don’t expect perfection from them, so why do I try to hold myself to that impossibility?

Here is an excerpt from Time Magazine about the Tiger Mother:

Though Chua was born and raised in the U.S., her invocation of what she describes as traditional “Chinese parenting” has hit hard at a national sore spot: our fears about losing ground to China and other rising powers and about adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy. Her stories of never accepting a grade lower than an A, of insisting on hours of math and spelling drills and piano and violin practice each day (weekends and vacations included), of not allowing playdates or sleepovers or television or computer games or even school plays, for goodness’ sake, have left many readers outraged but also defensive. The tiger mother’s cubs are being raised to rule the world, the book clearly implies, while the offspring of “weak-willed,” “indulgent” Westerners are growing up ill equipped to compete in a fierce global marketplace.

Competing in a Global Marketplace.  While I know that is a part of human reality right now, I do believe, where a person is, at any moment, is more important than a global anything.  I want my children to compete in the moment of where they are, to have tools available to them that will allow their heart and heads to think and feel clearly and to make decisions based on love, creativity and frankly, spunk….you know, that spark of curiosity that fuels inventors, musicians, artists, and the like. To foster that spark even in the face of an impending takeover by China, is where I want to parent from. Love triumphs always, this I know. So I say, love your kids. Make sure you show your kids you love them.

Open Hear post #2

Opening Hear – inspirations that come from anywhere that cause us to listen with our hearts, unlocking them in the process.

Here is a quote that upon first glance may not scream “open your heart!”
but, for me, I need my feet on the ground so my heart can soar!

“Be regular and orderly in your life,
so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
– Gustave Flaubert

I found this quote on this blog.

Open Hear Post #1

Opening Hear

Inspirations that come from anywhere that cause us to listen with our hearts,
unlocking them in the process.

Here is a link to a video by Brene Brown, about Wholeheartedness – one that caused me to sign up for the Mondo Beyondo January Dream Lab because she is the guest facilitator. From her blog:

“She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness.”

It really spoke to me since I’m so cerebral person, often finding it challenging to live from my heart and not my head.

She defines Wholeheartedness as:

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.
It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up
in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough.

It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid,
but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

No Sugar – One Month – Many struggles!

Monday was the last day of my family’s resolution to not eat sugar for the month of January.  Pizza night was not the same without root beer, and I have to say I missed the occasional mocha. Sylas, at 11 years old, did splendidly!  He didn’t miss it even a little! Rick says he’s going to keep going for another month – we’ll see about that!

I, on the other hand, struggled with emotional eating in a big way. I hadn’t realized how compulsive I had become with sugar.

Sugar sugar

Sugar sugar (Photo credit: dhammza)

My intellect knows all the dangers, like: sugar can suppress your immune system, sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function (which is a huge issue for people with Fibromyalgia, like me!),  and, Sugar can contribute to eczema in children. (This is an interesting one, because Ben’s eczema was getting really bad around the end of December….within 5 days of Jan. 1st, his rash cleared up almost completely!)

But the heart, in it’s sometimes wounded ways, wants what it wants.  And I wanted to bring sweetness into my life by eating sugar.  I did, however, surprise myself with finding sweetness in other ways.  Primarily through being sweet to others – which pushed my vulnerability limits to the max!  I’ve often equated “being sweet” with pollyannaishness…(is that a word?).  And I’m no pollyanna.  But I have developed a taste for being sweeter to others, which is a good thing. As is the 7 pounds I lost during January, by doing nothing else but stopping the sugar addiction.

To read a great comprehensive article about sugar, go here.