Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Perfect Imperfection – "My Messy Beautiful Life..."

I heard lyrics in a song that said “perfect imperfections”. I had thought about that for days afterwards. I have been reading and thinking lately about our need for perfection. I know, and you know perfection is unattainable. But yet, we reach for it more times than not.  Mostly though, all we are really doing is comparing ourselves. That can be just as big a “stealer of joy” as is striving for perfection.

It could be in the mirror in the morning as we get ready for the day, or the million times we compare ourselves, our “stuff”, to someone else’s during the day. If you decide to take notice how many times you do it, it will surprise you.

Last week, I walked into the supermarket on a rainy week day morning. I just needed a few things and well, I hadn't washed my hair that day. OK, actually it was day 3 of not washing my hair. My friends say they go that long and their hair looks fine. (Mine, I know does not, but if theirs does maybe mine can too. Comparing.) So, somewhat self-conscious of my gross unwashed hair I immediately spotted a woman who I knew looked worse than how I was feeling that morning (comparing). This immediately made me feel better, for the moment. When I got back from food shopping and although, after checking in the mirror, I guess I didn’t look as bad as the picture in my head, I washed my hair. Good for my friends if theirs looks great after three days. Mine does not. In the scheme of life does that matter? Umm….not so much.

That’s a goofy example of what I mean by comparing. I saw it in myself that day over and over and in other people too. It’s interesting to me how I can be easy with someone else who is comparing themselves but not as easy on myself. 

Later that day (after I had washed my hair) as I got out of my car at religion class drop off, the woman parked next to me got out of her car the same time I did.

Her: ”I like white better.”
Me: “Huh?”
Her: “Your car…we have the same car, but I like it in white better.”
I immediately went into recovery mode.
Me: “Why? Yours is a great color I love that color! White does look dirtier faster…blah blah blah”
She could feel the love. She walked away happy.

So my question is, why can’t we do that to ourselves? Why couldn’t I just have said to myself “Your hair looks fine, no one knows you didn’t wash it today. And really, no one cares. Just go buy your stuff and go home already.” (OK maybe that’s not the most nurturing self-talk I guess I just have a tough love thing going on in my head!)

Perfectly imperfect. Imperfect perfection. I like it. There’s lots of stuff that needs improving, God knows. But there’s plenty that’s just fine (not perfect) the way they are. I can have a mouth like a truck driver, but I can keep a secret. I can barely sew a button, but I can decorate the sh#% (sorry, truck driver) out of a room. I can fly off the handle and go berserk when I feel there’s something terribly wrong going on, but I can apologize if I was wrong or get a grip on myself and be reasonable after I have had a chance to cool down.

This practice of going a little easier on myself and cutting myself some slack I thought was something I could decide to do and it would be so. But it’s not. It’s a constant work in progress. I am getting better at it, but I find myself sliding down that negative, perfection seeking spiral many times.

I am starting to try to think of how I would talk to my kids if they were feeling this way. Good grief…I would have my Supermom Cape on in a flash! I would tell them to go easy on themselves, it's not that important, how they do A,B & C so well and not to focus on D that maybe is not their best. So don’t I, don’t WE, deserve that talk as well? I think so. It’s hard. I know. But if I am going to put my money where my mouth is then I have to try. Listen, I have finally learned to take a compliment and not come back with some self-deprecating remark. I just say thank you. Baby steps. 

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Test Away

This weeks trending topic on FB seems to be state testing.  Who is in and who is out.  I thought long and hard and weighed my options and talked to my husband before we made our decision.  We didn't include our daughter in the discussion because we didn't base it on any anxiety or issues she might have.  I never even considered refusing the test for my older children - state tests were something you took - no questions asked.  They both scored 4's on every test so it did not effect them at all.  No harm, no foul, test away.

Our decision for our youngest daughter was solely based on what will this test accomplish for my child?  This test was not created with the child taking it in mind.  This test was not created with the teachers administering it in mind.  This test was created by a for-profit company without enough (or any) vetting by the educators in the trenches.  Our teachers are our soldiers - they are the ones in the classroom day in and day out.  They are the champions of our children - some are better than others - but they show up every day and deal with a nightmare we now call education.  I am all for higher standards in the classroom.  I am all for "critical thinking" but I am also "all for" my child.  Asking her to take a test with a prediction that 60% of test takers will not meet standards, as in last years results, is not doing what is best for her.  It is setting her up to fail.  Asking her a question in which 2 or 3 of the answers are correct - but one is "more correct" is not doing what is best for her.  It is setting her up to fail.  My kids are lucky. They have fairly-well educated parents.  We both went to good universities - so we should be able to help them.  We can't.  An ELA sample test was sent home the other day which brought my child to tears. It made my daughter feel bad and "dumb" which in turn made me feel bad too.  It's not that it was too hard for her - it was the way it was written and the way the questions were asked.  It was convoluted.  It felt like you were being asked for answers that just weren't there.  I read it with her, we broke it down, I taught her about inference and assumption and reading between the lines.  She felt better and was able to complete the assignment.  Not all kids have that at home.  The math is a nightmare.  I have learned to teach my child "my" way which is the "wrong" way and then back it out so we can fit it into the common core way and still get the same answer.  My way takes 30 seconds - common core way takes 2 - 3 minutes.  In a world where time is of the essence - whose way is right? 

Last night in a long conversation with my 10th grader she told me all she wants to be a social studies teacher - but every single teacher she has or knows has told her NOT to do it.  To STAY AWAY from education and from teaching that its just not worth it. That common core and state testing removes all the joy and creativity out of being a teacher.  You are a robot in front of a classroom programed to spew out state mandates.   If everyone is warning our children not to teach who will we end up with?  Our schools are in crisis.  

Standing up for your child is a parental right.  It's not jumping on the bandwagon when it is a thought out process that reflects what your educational goals are for your child.  Some parents may refuse for the wrong reasons and some may send their child in to take the test without knowing all the facts.  We made what we feel is the right decision for our child.  That's all anyone can do. 
Sunday, March 23, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Sunday Grateful


Bad photos
Old friends
New friends
Peer Pressure

Cara (a little late on Monday...)
Son who looks out for his mom
innappropriate inside jokes
seeing people for who they are really are

Monday, March 3, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Gratitude

Gratitude seems to be the new buzz word.  I had been thinking about it a lot lately - after I happened to stop on a certain televangelists sermon.  He was preaching about believing in the goodness of God and embracing the attitude of "all is well."  I have been trying to keep each and every day in the "all is well" category.  My sons fender bender - all is well.  Not getting that job - all is well.  The mess my kids keep making - all is well.  The art of positive thinking - and I believe it needs to be elevated to an art form - can be a challenge for most of us.  We are assaulted by so much negativity on a day-to-day basis that it seeps into our consciousness and takes over.  As women we beat ourselves up for never being good enough - good enough wife or mother or cook - whatever that thing we feel the need to improve upon - darkens our thoughts with what ifs and not enoughs.  

I mentioned the tv preacher to Cara and by some strange coincidence, she had seen the same sermon.  We are not people who sit around watching TV preachers - not that there is anything wrong with that - but speaking for myself - it's not something I do.  But as I was channel surfing, something about this man made me stop and listen.  Something about what he was saying made me want to embrace his positive outlook - to truly believe that all is well.  It reminded me of "the secret" - that good things happen to people who put good out in to the world - or you get what you give type of deal.

Last nights Oscars seemed to carry the air of gratitude.  Jared Leto (Loved him in my so called life), Matthew and Lupita all spoke of gratitude - to God, to their families, to their dreams. It seemed to be a resonating theme.  I am guessing that when you win an award that validates what you do for a living, that is a big ego boost - but these actors seemed to humbled and grateful and maybe even a little surprised. 

Life doesn't have to be complicated  - sometimes I think I make it more so than it has to be.  I expect things from others that maybe they are just incapable of giving.  So my new mantra - everyday - sometimes in multiples - is all is well.  I need to accept the everyday - be grateful to be alive - try to see the best in people and hopefully the world will return the sentiment.  I am letting go of the negativity and the negative people that go with it.  Good vibrations people - good vibrations. All is well.
Sunday, March 2, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Grateful on Sunday

safety of my children


Positive thoughts

Sunday, February 23, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Grateful on Sunday


A little more time
impromptu walk in the middle of the day
winter sunshine
Monday, February 17, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Cara: If I like it then I better put a pin on it.....

It's true. I have a problem. I knew this when I realized as I told my friend Mother Earth, that I have 43 boards and 2,372 (holy crap) pins...she said I have 20. (red flag!)

This Pinterest creator saw me coming a mile away. I will admit I wasn't on it from the get go. At the time I was still cutting lots of stuff outta magazines and keeping them in a folder and another friend said, "you should see a thing called Pinterest you would love it". Right on, sista. That was the beginning of the end.

Pinterest does not take much effort..there's no folders, scissors or mess involved. I usually pin when I am watching TV or if I am particularly looking for something like a recipe. So I guess they add up when you are mindlessly pinning recipes, crafts and funny stuff like this: 
I pinned it. 
But it truly is right up my alley. If I go on my iPad and it's gone or they got rid of it I will probably live after a deep mourning period. So I probably make mention a lot about Pinterest and stuff I have gotten from there. A clue would be when I make something new, and someone undoubtedly says "Whatcha get this off of Pinterest?" (smart-asses) Sometimes I pin stuff think it's cool and it ends up being dumb yet it still does not deter me.

And the fact that I can make virtual bulletin boards is a beautiful thing. 'Cause honestly someday my dream is to have a home office big enough to have a huge gilded framed bulletin board on the wall. Something like this but MUCH bigger.
                                      Dream big. I know.

In keeping with what always seems to be our winter theme I saw this on Pinterest as I created my 42nd board "Organizing" and I decided it was for me.

I had been using the one binder with folders for everything for awhile now. It worked OK for me. Except "people" would remove their folders...and then I had a gigantic binder and folders everywhere taking up prime real estate on a shelf in the kitchen. And I for some reason made some dumb folders that I never used. So I did this with my own "themed" (this isnt my pic) binders. Yes it takes up room. But I am on my home office quest and this will fit just fine on a shelf in there next to my gilded bulletin board. So once I get my hole puncher and shelves and other office like things that are in one end of the house to the other(thank goodness for the wireless printer!!) it should work out lovely. I mean right after I made them I easily found Shorty's copy of his "immunization-records-that-I-needed-for-summer-camp-that-I-have-to -think-about-in-a-snowstorm-and-that-annoys-the-hell-outta -me", without having to dig through files for it. 

I made these bread sticks the other day when my bff's came over for lunch...

One wanted me to post the recipe so here it is hot off my "Pinned it Did It" board. (did I mention that I love arranging my boards and organizing them so I can find what I pinned easier when I go back to look for it? (sick,sick,sick)

So if you are not into pinning then check back here from time to time I may have pinned something for you. ;) 

You're welcome.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

These are our original posts... Registered & Protected

What's for Dinner?

Cara: Zucchini Linguine



Grab Our Button


Grateful Sunday


Click It!

Click here and vote for us! Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory Proud member of MommyBlogs
Friday Follow

Follow the MOMentum

Top food blogs

Blog Archive