Wealth Of Self

” The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work. ”   Robert Kiyosaki

I believe this is true.

There is a difference that people should understand. When we truly grasp the difference between wanting money to buy things and wanting wealth of self, it manifests; be it monetary or self fulfillment. What you give off comes back in return. That’s is the natural Law of Attraction.

Diligently build the network in whatever you are pursuing in your life, and in time, you will come to be self fulfilled. When you are self fulfilled, the outward energy that protrudes from being in tune, works with the universe and reveals itself as wealth. We think of it in dollars, but it has many faces, which I am learning as I get older. It may come in many different forms, but in the end, if we give off good, positive energy, we will receive the same because we only look for that in our lives.

Not everyone needs cash to be better off. Though it seems to make some people “happy”, true happiness comes from gratitude within. Money is not wealth. It’s an exchange of appreciation for a service. That is all it is.

Choose to be happy and happiness will be abundant in your life.  ❤

Cutting Up for Jesus

This year I have my children home for Christmas Eve. It’s my favorite day of the year. I took 4 of my kids to the Cathedral for church this afternoon. The other kids had to work, so the rest of us piled into the giant 12 passenger van and made our way downtown.

The cathedral is a gorgeous, old building downtown Denver with plenty of carved marble, stunning, massive stained glass windows and a marvelous organ that fills the air with lovely notes. My kids know when they are in “God’s house” the they are always to be on their best behavior. I have zero tolerance for fooling around and they will pay the price with stern looks and be pulled out of the pew to change seating positions if someone cuts up. It’s always hit or miss with their behavior at mass and on the car ride home, I often throw a dollar at the one who is well behaved.

Any Catholic person knows that being a kid at mass is nothing short of torture. The service goes on forever and kids end up rolling on the floor or twisting in their seats, asking a million times if it’s over yet. It’s just as torturous for the parents who have to try to keep them happy and quiet. Still, we make them go. I try to show my serious side as an example for my children at church, reminding them that they better be on their best behavior. They usually ignore me, play finger games and whisper non-stop, but they know that if there is one audible giggle, they’re finished. This particular mass was interesting. It was so beautiful and I was very much in the moment with my family, singing and enjoying it fully. Then the games started.

I was standing on the end of all the kids in the pew, closest to the alter. We were positioned as such, that while I was looking at the priest speaking on my left, my kids, who were on my right, were not in my view. When I finally turned to look at them, I could only see the back of their 4 heads because they were looking in the same direction that I was. One of of the kids turned back to look at me and the other 3 heads followed. I took my glasses off and they all raised their hands to their eyes and pretended to remove glasses. I put them on top of my head and the four of them put their imaginary glasses on their heads. I folded my hands and so did they. Then I caught on and cracked a smile which added fuel to the fire. They proceeded to follow my every move for the rest of the mass. I sniffled, the four of them did too. It went on and on.

The other people around us caught on and found it amusing. One mother who had been watching these antics looked at me as if to say, “I feel your pain (when kids misbehave)”. I crossed my eyes at her in secret mom-code language, and she laughed because she knew I was losing the battle. Though what my kids were doing was a bit disruptive, it was actually quite funny. I couldn’t help but laugh because the kids did not miss a beat. All four of them continued and I was outnumbered. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop them without making a scene, so I tried to ignore them instead. That didn’t go very well for me because every time I looked back to see if they were still doing it, they were right on top of it. I pick my battles and decided to let this one slide. It’s Christmas Eve and I didn’t want to start a family brawl in the cathedral. These silly things do get me all worked up, but when I just let it go (because there’s nothing I can do about it anyway), I begin to realize that they will be grown and gone before I know it. My job of raising a family will be complete and I will be alone.

Being a divorced mother, I only have my children every other Christmas Eve. Tonight, my heart is full and I feel complete. I cooked all day and never had a chance to sit down. My house is crazy and noisy and smells delicious. Bellies are full and the sounds of ping pong balls being hit back and forth on the kids’ new table is non stop. Christmas movies are playing and I am finally able to sit on the couch and bang on the computer keys for a bit.

My life is beautiful because I choose to see the glass as half-full every day. I give a lot of the things that are out of my control to God and let Him handle them for me. My family is healthy and though my back is out, I have a smile on my face.

It is Christmas Eve and all is well. God bless your family. May you have a beautiful Christmas and enjoy the small things in your life in the New Year.

Mental Case

This morning I heard that 1 in 5 kids suffers from Mental Stress or Anxiety in America. That’s 20% of our children.
Let that sink in for a minute.

I happen to believe it’s more than just one in five and here are the things I thought about when I heard those stats:

What should a child’s “happiness” consist of?
Is homework load appropriate? Why do kids even have homework?
Why do parents make pressing schedules for their kids these days?
Are we whacked out with the competition of sports and what actually happens when kids don’t get the scholarship parents are pressing for?
Why are America’s children struggling with anxiety and depression?
Why are so many of our children medicated and are pills really the answer?
Are parents afraid to discipline their kids these days?
Do we spend enough one on one time with each of our children?
Why don’t kids ride bikes much anymore?
What ever happened to the word, “No”?

Can YOU identify with any of these things? Can we answer these questions in a way that benefits kids and who is to say what benefits children anymore?
Is it time to scale back?

I have my own specific answers to each of these items. Kids are scheduled out to the maximum with sports and clubs and things that keep them busy. On top of those things, they have hours of homework to do late at night and shorter time to actually get the age appropriate sleep their bodies need to function properly. There is nothing wrong with a child doing nothing sometimes. Why should a kid ever be busy?

I take my summers with my children and play it day by day. I don’t send them away to camps anymore. I tried that and the kids didn’t like it because they would rather be home just hanging out. I despise a “schedule” when they are off from school. If my kids didn’t have down time, how would they ever learn to be in their own heads and creative to figure things out for themselves? How will they ever get on in life when they are grown?
I believe they need this time to relax and wander around the back yard, walk over to the library or meet their friends in the park to hang out. Is it possible that it would be good for children’s minds to “just be a kid?” I believe it is.

About 8 years ago, on a summer day, my kids were looking for things to do out of boredom. They started collecting all kinds of wood and diligently worked together. Armed with hammers and nails, they built an entire tree house out of all the things they found laying around the neighborhood. What I considered to be plain pieces of wood, they made into something that fed their creative side and was pleasing to them. This tree house was complete with a ladder and hanging lanterns on the outside and it looked like a cartoon when it was finished. Each of the kids was assigned their own job to contribute to the building, and it was all arranged completely by them. They worked together and out came this wonderful, crazy looking monstrosity of a fort. I had nothing to do with any of it and I realized for the first time that if kids are bored, they can come up with some creative project to play with if you just leave them be. I’m all about letting kids figure things out, and believe it’s good to exercise the right side of the brain because throughout the school year they are feeding the left. My kids had nothing else to do but build a tree house.

What’s wrong with our kids doing nothing at home for a change? Bored kids will have to choose for themselves to do good or bad and there is plenty of bad in the world for them to get involved with. We, as parents, have to watch that they don’t make poor choices and tow the line when it comes to their safety and well being; but its fine to send them out to play. Some of today’s parents have a problem with stepping in with discipline when it comes to electronics. Kids run the household today and being a kid is not what it used to be.

My children have friends that they hardly ever see over the summer because they are so busy with sleep away camps and sports. That’s fun for kids, but I don’t understand why parents feel they have to keep their kids busy. Down time is actually healthy. As adults need time to unwind, kids need that too.

It seems it was never this way when I was young and my mother was forever telling me to go outside and play. I guess I have followed this pattern of parenting and find it refreshing to be able to jump in the car and road trip with my family on a whim because I don’t have to worry about this-one-doing-this and that-one-doing-that at a particular time. It’s things like a road trip or an unplanned movie in the afternoon that I see bringing my own kids the most joy. To me, this is where the most significant family memories are made.

I don’t have the answers and we all know children don’t come with a manual, but I do know that American kids are in crisis mode and as parents we have to adapt and move to protect them, as their well being is being dramatically affected.

The statistics for mental health issues are outrageous. The decline in happiness is appalling. I believe it takes a village and the villagers are so busy that there is no real person-to-person interaction anymore. I have watched as coaches yelled and in some cases, cursed at my children out of their own frustration. Teachers must tolerate disrespectful outbursts and sometimes physical abuse in their classrooms. America is so on edge in all aspects of life that no one knows how to dial it back and get it under control anymore. On any given day I can walk down the sidewalk and pass someone who won’t even even look at me, nonetheless say hello. No one says hello! Nobody drops by anyone’s house when they were in the neighborhood anymore. There has to be a reason for them to go, or they have to give notice that they will be stopping by because our kids have been told to never open the door. I can go on and on…

What it boils down to is our lives in America are too hectic and we bring it on ourselves. I often hear people say, “We’ve been so busy lately.” My first thought when I hear that is, “Why are you so busy? What the heck are you doing that you can’t pick up the phone to say hello or come by for dinner or a drink?” People make time for what’s important in their lives. Human interaction is going by the wayside.

I can only hope that my own children will someday appreciate the fact that they had some down time as kids to figure out who they are and what path their lives will take when they are adults.

Screw The Rules: An Exercise in Reverse Psychology

Recently, one of my children was being cocky and talking back to me. His unacceptable behavior had been progressing, so as a result of his disrespectful attitude, I asked that he rearrange the rocks in our back pond to correct the flow of water. My request fell upon deaf ears for too long, and though I was frustrated, I had a new idea.

Six of my kids were home from school for Fall Break. They had been at my house for 3 ½ weeks straight because their father was out of town for work and the usual one week on – one week off pattern was changed to accommodate his travel schedule. The kids’ rooms had been a disaster far too long and I was tired of jumping up and down to get them to do things around our house. They were fully capable of picking up after themselves. I felt I was being taken for granted and no one was listening to me or helping without a fight, so I stopped doing the usual things I do every day for each of them; the things they take for granted.

At dinner one night, I made an announcement that there were no longer rules in our house and that they were completely on their own. They were quiet and a little nervous as I told the kids they were free to do whatever they wanted to do. I explained they could eat anything and spill it all over their rooms, leave dishes all over the place and stay up all night. They could even walk to the store really late at night without asking me. My kids were free to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night if they wanted to, and to reiterate that I didn’t care, I asked that they lock the door behind them. I said they could each be their own adult and take care of everything themselves. One smart-alec rejoiced…
I went on to say that they had to make their own dinner, ride their bikes 3 1/2 miles (each way) to football practice and go buy groceries and carry them home. No one had to take out the garbage, get out of bed, take a shower or even brush their teeth. In return, I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could even leave without telling anyone where I was going or when I would be back.

As the week progressed, I didn’t answer my phone when they called needing something. Some of the kids actually came up with some creative ways to try to get information of their whereabouts across to me while putting a defiant, teenage spin on it. I knew they felt they couldn’t show weakness in the battle, but nevertheless it was inevitable because there was no other way to let me know where they were or when they would be home. Still, I pretended not to care and it was quite amazing to watch the dynamics. Some were quiet, some became annoyed and one or two were completely oblivious as to what was happening.

My kids usually retreat to their rooms by 9pm, but the first night of the experiment, my house was hopping at 1am. The girls were dancing in the kitchen to loud music and the boys had been playing video games downstairs for hours. I went to bed without telling anyone to wrap it up that night and no one cared.

My youngest ate BBQ potato chips for breakfast the next morning, he was implementing a new tradition. He asked me if he could eat them and I asked why he was asking my permission, so he ripped the bag open like he’d never eaten before. You could not even walk in my boys’ bedroom without tripping and it smelled like the hot yoga room at the gym. As the days continued, my coffee table migrated into the kitchen where it sat in front of the oven, blocking the traffic pattern. There were about 15 Jolly Rancher candy wrappers on the floor by the front door along with pine needles and caked mud balls. This mess had been there for about a week because I didn’t sweep it up. The Chicken Vindaloo I made, so my beloved family had a nice dinner to eat while I was out on a date one night, sat in the crockpot for 5 days before someone even put it in the sink. It then sat in the sink for a couple of days. I felt embarrassed and made dumb excuses to visitors as to why my dirty dishes were spilling out of the sink onto the counter.

My experiment was well under way when the kids started to suddenly show signs of being uncomfortable about 8 days in. It was going well for me, even though I was dreading the clean up I would have to do if no one caught on. I could see evidence that they were feeling unsure of things that were happening and kept telling me to “stop it”.

Did my children possibly miss having boundaries? Did they actually miss having a mother guiding them? The kid who was supposed to do the pond began asking, “When can we have rules back?” (Pardon me?)

All of a sudden there was a change. The dishes that were piled high all over the kitchen sink had been put into the dishwasher by my laziest son! I didn’t even have to ask him and though I ignored his effort, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My experiment was working! It takes an entire family, each doing their own part, to make a household run smoothly. It was evident they hadn’t understood that each one of them was being affected by the other’s actions in some way. They had been experiencing it first hand and it was an eye opener.

Update: Day 10
Lord have mercy ! The boys cleaned their room without being asked. They actually cleaned it the proper way it was supposed to be done. They even cleaned their bathroom and I never had to ask! The room smelled OK and the shoes were all lined up in the closet. The girls pre-treated their bedroom carpet to be steam cleaned, the dishwasher was being loaded and unloaded regularly and the laundry was in full motion. My daughter, who’s bedroom I call The Black Hole, was even seen carrying a basket of clean clothes out of the washroom. I thought I has seen Jesus Christ Himself when that happened.

When the experiment started, I began writing things on the foyer chalkboard like, “Rules Are Dumb”, only to see the word “dumb” erased and replaced to read, “Rules Are Great”. This type of playfulness had gone on a few times and was quite interesting to see. I was happy to witness that my kids were savvy enough to get the clues I was dropping and eager to change the upset in the house. I was surprised to see how uncomfortable my kids had become with not having the enforced parameters they were accustomed to. It opened their eyes to uncertain feelings they can experience and how things can go awry when there are no ground rules in place. I was grateful that they recognized this phenomenon.

What kid asks for rules?! I never thought it would work out like that, but it had. Using reverse psychology had been an effective way to get my message through to my brood that I would not to be unnecessarily overworked, ignored and taken advantage of with disrespectful behavior. My message that they must take care of their own business and work together to achieve a harmonious and orderly household was heard loud and clear.

The pond job finally began on the very last day of vacation- in the late afternoon. It was interesting to see the other kids pitch in to help their brother get through it. I’m thinking procrastination should be my family’s next lesson.

This mothering-by-myself thing is more difficult than I ever imagined. I take it one day at a time as I blindly navigate my way through it day by day, but it all seems to be falling into place naturally and in a way that feels right.

Just Adapt

In light of the occurrence in Las Vegas, I am feeling the need to write again. Not about cool things like- love and light and spreading peace- but the basics. I feel the need to protect my family’s mental and physical health.

It is no secret that the world is a mess. This morning I sent my kids off to school and two hours later I sent each of them a text message asking if they feel safe at school today. Yea, that’s a thing I do now. There is so much uncertainty about daily life and disastrous occurrences, that I am becoming conditioned to check in with them to make sure the world is not affecting them in a negative way. It’s craziness!

I’m worried about my children’s well-being. I want to protect them but they are growing up in a world that is unlike the one I grew up in and it is not an easy task. Everyone remembers the days of, “getting home when the street lights come on” when we were kids. Our parents didn’t worry much about us back then, but being a mother for 25 years now, I have without even realizing, watched society decline. In 25 years, I’ve gone from having to keep a close eye on my child playing outside, for fear of someone abducting him, to asking my kids if they feel like they are nervous because a lunatic could go into their school with a gun one day. We live in fear of the worst and we practice for the worst. We are conditioned.

How do I approach my children about scary things I don’t want to discuss with them? Which expert advice do I listen to? Should I listen to anyone else, or do we just fend for ourselves? Who’s the real expert, anyway? I’m not sure there is one. These are questions I ask myself.

I have become a little numb to the shock of shootings and murders and devastation.  I do things differently now than I did when I raised my oldest. I plan ahead a lot of times and I do think of the worst that could happen on occasion. I have spoken to my children numerous times about what to do if there is a shooter somewhere; even intricate details of how to cover themselves. It sickens me that I have had to do that. I hesitate a little to take them to parades and things with large crowds now, and I carry a weapon with me. It’s America’s way to not let the bad guys win and just go on with life, but I must admit, I question things at times and it only takes one nutjob… I don’t care what is best for other people, I care what is best and safest for my family and myself.

One of my children asked to stay home from school recently. There was nothing significant happening that day, but that child did not feel safe for some reason. Without question I let him stay home. We live in a world where my kid doesn’t even feel safe walking around school sometimes. I have to adapt to that because that is what my child is dealing with internally. Well-being is at stake and I will never mess with that. As bizarre as that situation seems to me, that is my child’s reality, and so I will conform, as not to affect him traumatically.

At times I fear, not only for my children’s welfare, but for my own as well. The manifestation of these world events that are occurring more and more are changing us unexpectedly in uncomfortable ways we cannot control and I hope we are able to adapt appropriately.

Peace.

 

Be Gone

Not many parents will admit willfully that they are ecstatic to have their children return to school after summer vacation; it’s just not politically correct. But, I am beyond thrilled. I often laugh as I think of the commercial with the guy dancing down the school supply aisle while wearing a Tu-Tu and singing it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It Is !

What is viewed as acceptable by people who think they know how to raise children (some of which have no kids of their own) is none of my business. I do it as I see fit- minute by minute; its just my style. There are people who claim to enjoy having the kids home the entire summer; and maybe they do, but I lean toward the thought process that kids should stay busy and out of trouble in a structured setting. I am far out-numbered by my children and when I’ve tried to do “Fun Mom” things with them over the past few months, one kid would announce he’s not coming and then a chain reaction would ensue. It would ruin the outing and we’d all end up staying home. Then they all complain that we never do anything. It’s very exhausting, but has become the norm. I hate it.

Where are the long lost days of all my babies that weighed 20 lbs instead of 120? They happily strapped themselves into their carseats for an outing. I miss the toothless drooley smiles and baby gibberish instead of the smart-alec, sharp tongued, teenage mouths who loudly make their unsolicited opinions heard. They’re getting older now, but sometimes I firmly make them get into our “embarrassing”, giant 12 passenger van anyway for an outing. I pick my battles and on occasion I very happily let the haters stay home.

Starting now, my house will stay clean and I wont see a filthy sock laying on my beautiful coffee table, next to a plate of yesterday’s lunch. I will not have to break up bickering fights that end in someone being slammed into the wall and our beautiful artwork hanging crooked. I will not have to pass out dollars for the store, because $2 per trip x 6 kids x 7 days a week = $84 a week for potato chips. I will not yell between the hours of 8:30am-4pm and not even know what I am yelling about anymore. I will have my cuppa green tea in peace- that’s all I want. I will be able to think, and Oh, What’s that?– its the tiny sound of the air conditioner clicking on and off; I haven’t heard that noise in 3 months. Maybe I will even get a chance to take care of my well-being or begin my yoga classes again.

The kids were so bored this summer and I watched them play video games and lay dead-body style for a million hours in bedrooms that look like a bomb went off. They have been ridiculously lazy and every so often I would muster up the energy to yell, “Get out!” and throw them out the front door for an hour to go play basketball and ride bikes – or God forbid, take the poor dog for a walk.

My youngest is now in middle school and five more are in high school. My oldest is living on his own with a full time job; 1 down 6 to go. Between bus schedules, my own daily work schedule, cheerleading, track and football practices, asking whether or not anyone has eaten or even has the proper school supplies, I am pretty beaten down.

This morning, I was very pleased to see that a giant chocolate cake made it into the kitchen late last night, after I went to bed. Lord knows how it got there, but it kept everyone happy today. Regardless of what took place the past few months, I have had a lovely summer. I dread the onslaught of winter, but I am happy the kids will be making good use of their time rather than pummeling one another out of boredom.

Oh, Look at that! My 25 year old wants to move back home…