Archive | May 2012

5/10/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Clean up your messes.

Clean up your messes. Profound huh?

I have been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent about two days de-cluttering all of the common areas of our house as well as our bedroom.  The result was a house that just made me feel better.  When I did it, Mark was traveling and you girls were at our dad’s, so maintaining my pristinely clean bubble didn’t take too much effort.  When everyone came back, I threatened your lives if you left messes and was determined that the current state would be maintained.

Little by little, things appeared on surfaces, dishes appeared in the sink and little things got by.  Isn’t that how it always goes?  So I scrambled around and got it all back in shape and I realized for the 1000th time in my life that it is easier to maintain something than to get it there in the first place.  Messes have a way of creeping up on us when we don’t tend to them.  A few drops of spilled milk can stink up a whole lot of space if we don’t mop it up.

By now you know I’m not just talking about dishes right??

Relationships are a lot like clutter.  When we take care of them, tend to them a little every day and clean out the trash, they stay fresh, and restful and good.  When we let little things go unresolved and let frustration fester, the little messes turn into big messes and those messes put our relationships at risk. 

And if you think I’m saying this whole maintenance thing is easy, please read on.  This is HARD.  It takes a little bit of work every day and a lot of work some days.  But you know what?  Friends and family are worth it.  They deserve your honesty when they have hurt you.  They deserve the trust that you have to place in them by telling them that something needs to change.  People are just people, and sometimes they don’t know.  People who would never knowingly hurt you in a million years deserve to know when they have unknowingly done so because they think YOU are worth it….worth the change, worth fixing it, worth the work.

I have learned this the hard way (by not doing it) and the easier way (accomplished through loving friends and partners who also believed it was worth it).  Although the work you put into your clutter every day can sometimes seem like a pain, and it can be hard…it will never be as hard as a broken relationship or a lost friend. 

So yes, clean up your messes…the big ones and the small ones.  Tend to your clutter and tend to your relationships daily.  That little bit of work is a whole lot easier than digging out from under a pile.

And when things get past you, and they begin to stink, don’t give up.  Grace is a great deodorizer.

5/9/12: Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Use Time Wisely

First, there is the obvious.  Wasted time is just, well…a waste.  We all do it, we all wish we didn’t.  It causes missed deadlines, missed opportunities and missed lessons. 

But more than that, time is a gift.  None of us know how much we have.  Each second is a gift from God and every second that we squander is a rejection of that gift. 

I’d go on, but this guy says it better:

5/4/12 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Gratitude

Never stop being grateful.  Sometimes even the things in life that drive you crazy, hurt your heart and just generally suck, are the things that produce the most fruit in your life. 

It is easy to be grateful for the good stuff…a new outfit, a privilege earned, good times with friends.  But what about the things that are hard?  How easy is it to be grateful for the mistake that you made because the consequences taught you something?  How about the fight you had with a friend that eventually drew you closer to them?  How long will it take for you to be grateful for some of the lessons I have taught you, especially the ones that cramp your style and make things tricky? 

I am grateful for the bad bosses I have had, because I learned what kind of boss I wanted to be.  I’m grateful for the fights that we have had when you told me that I hurt your feelings, because knowing makes it easier for me to avoid doing it again.  I’m grateful for the rules my mom imposed on me as a teenager because I know now that she was trying to keep me safe while she prepared me for life. 

This one is hard to even type, but as much as it hurts you and me still, I’m grateful for my divorce because the pain of my mistakes has made me a better person now.  Almost all that I know about relationships, I learned from that time.  And despite all that pain, I’m grateful for your dad because he never turned bitterness into a battle, and we have been able to co-parent you peacefully, cooperatively and with the love that we both feel for you.

Most of all, I’m grateful for you.  I’m grateful for every childhood tantrum and free expression of emotion.  I’m grateful for all you have taught me about being a mom.  I’m SO grateful that even when I drive you crazy, you still like to hang out and you haven’t shut me out of your life.  I’m grateful for all that you have become and that you have weathered my mistakes so well.  I’m grateful that you make being your mom the most complete joy of  my life, even the bad parts.

This post was inspired by this Elastamom’s Excerpts post.

5/1/2012 Today’s Advice to My Beautiful Daughters – Leave your seat upright

And all my fellow travelers out there:

Leave your seat back up.  Your comfort is not more important than the person behind you!

This is a pretty serious pet peave of mine.  I know the seats are built to recline.  Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  I have been behind people who put their seat back into my lap and then lean forward to work the whole time.  This eliminates my ability to move, work or do anything else.

So not just in airplanes, but in life…look around.  Pay attention.  Be aware of the people around you.  Sometimes a small sacrifice in your own comfort will make a big difference in someone else’s.  Those little sacrifices are worth it, and they don’t cost you much at all.