Thursday, August 30, 2012

Choosing the Good, MORE than the Bad...

I don't really know where this post is going, stay with me, hop on if you want, but I have had these thoughts  twirling around in my head and I need to sleep, so hence the viral word urp.

I use this phrase a lot,  "Were you Choosing the Good, More than the Bad?"....I mean a lota lota lota lot, with my kids, along with "so tell me 'How did that work for you?"
I can use both of these phrases with Empathy, without shame, and taking myself out of the situation, they are used for pure reflection and not for shaming.If I or they are incapable of this conversation going well, we wait.(I wait a lot, mostly for me, and my empathy to replace the oozing sarcasm before I open my trap.)

'Most' people/kids "get" that our choices create the reality we live in. Sure some are circumstantial, but our choices say a lot about the life that we live/want/have.Even then we all sometimes forget that, and fall into victim mode.

But we can, and will snap out of it, with the strength, perspective (a really good therapist) and past experience that says "good can be just around the corner", and majority of the time we can be the creators of that good.

My kids can't.
They can't.
They are learning to, but this thought process, this "good around the corner", or simple "if I do good, good things will happen, if I do bad...ect....

You see we all have this even keel place inside us that let's us know, "this is good', "this is safe', "this is my normal", it looks different for all of us, for example my "normal" would be HELL for say Paris Hilton, but Heaven for a woman living in a tent in a third world country.
I have to remember that when I look at my kids.
For me my experience is, "occasionally showered, solid 5ish hours of sleep, dishes done, and chocolate in my fridge, and no one smearing pooh on the wall as a damn near perfect day."
I have things that I know will make me feel better, like exercise, a shower and dressing in something other than my yoga pants, eating whole foods instead of junk ect, can bump that day on up. Those are my "Good" for me choices"...and the days I choose to not do that, and eat Doritos and Ice Cream 3 square meals in a row, and veg in front of some screen 15 hours a day,BUT, at some point I am capable of pull myself up by the boot straps and begin again.
My kids can't, yet.

Because their "even keel" their experience and gauge for normal is NOT mine.

Their normal (just because they have lived with me for what feels like FOR-EV-ER) is not what is sitting in front of them, their experience of what "normal " is, being hungry, no one caring about them as an individual, having to take care of themselves by any means possible, getting hurt, being used, not being seen.
So I must make them feel uncomfortable, every single day. Crap.
I am screwing with their "normal",and though we will all say "GOOD, cuz their normal is MESSED UP."
It is their foundation of what they can trust , they are alive after all right?
"Why do abused women go back to their abuser?"
"Why do alcoholics take that first drink after being sober?"
"Why do we gain the weight back?"

My Children are not liars, they do not steal, hurt, act out, sabotage special days, destroy or urinate on everything (and I mean everything) because they 'like to', just like my toddler Baby Faith uses Singing the Sunshine Song to sucker me out of my M&M's, these behaviors too is how they learned to get what they needed to survive. It is not a character flaw, their behaviors are instinctive HABITS.

Like biting nails, popping zits, over eating, over of viewing pornography, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse,....oh wait,  did I JUST take habits and turn them into addictions. Yep, I think she did.

My kids naturally lean toward what is not healthy for them, NATURALLY. It is their first instinct when a choice comes up for them to make, "should I hand my brother his special paper I am holding and make sure he receives it a non-crumpled way, so he feels good about it", or "Should I crumple it up, spit on it and goad him to beating the tar out of me?....Ding-ding-ding wina-winna-WINNER....In fact the first thought wasn't even there, not until we stop, process what happened and I give an example of the two , do they even recognize there was another choice. In evaluation (while applying a wet towel to scratch inflicted when said brother acted like a rabid mountain lion) "how did that work for you buddy?" "Not good", "Which choice do you think might have worked better? Were you choosing the Good more than the Bad? "

That is what we work on everyday. Seeking that second choice, there always is one....and sometimes it is a devil to find. I too struggle, what is the second choice when deciding to eat that 2nd ( or 3rd) piece of cake? Or buying that something I really want but cannot afford...
None of us are capable of always choosing the Good, or the Better over the Not-so-good- or bad. We work on it.

With my babies I have to respect that tendency towards Chaos, It is not simply  just "choosing the Good", the bad and chaos is ALWAYS going to be there, much like a built in addiction such as Alcoholism, they are going to tend toward that Chaos first and there is NOTHING I can do to rewire that for them, but, I can give them tools, the power to use them and help remind, process and revamp when and if they will let me.

I have lost specific children permanently to the addiction to chaos that trauma creates, I routinely have children get stuck and have to sober them up again. Most of the choice is truly theirs, they just have to know that there is more than one choice.
It seems so simple. Doesn't it?
But, if you know someone struggling with a "Behavior/Habit/Addiction", we all know how simple it is to say "STOP IT"...and where they can't even begin to know HOW, instead we might try, "Try choosing this instead." It is choosing something else MORE, choosing Good, more, because we are human and automatically what is Bad for us is just sitting there waiting.

This is a tool I can use with my Oldest Daughter not healthy enough to live in my home over drug use, or unprotected sex. What that Choosing the Good more than the Bad? How did that work for you?
or my three year old:
Bummer you peed on your pillow, and now you don't have a pillow to sleep on.
Was that Choosing the Good more than Bad? How did that work for you?
(ugh, ugh, and ugggg)
....and husbands, it really works on husbands, with no trauma at all. ;0)
"Oh you took a nap instead of helping with the dishes".... (yuk, yuk, yuk...)

Anywho, that is what I have been thinking about lately. Habits and Behaviors really being different words for possibly what Addiction is, and how to help my children break down and process their very own cycles, and recognizing the choices that lie there within themselves.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


All.of.the.time. I hear:
“I  just don't know how you “DO IT”.

What 'they' don't realize that they are talking/asking about are my passions:
Parenting 9 children
6 children with severe physical, emotional, behavioral special needs
Eating and Cooking Healthy
Regular Exercise
Doula Work
Service in my Community and Church
Baking/ Catering for Special events
Foster parenting
Jewelry making
Living with a Chronic Illness
Moonlight as a photographer
Be Positive when things are hard
Talking/blogging Openly about Mental illness or my kids challenges
Decorating, re-purposing and Painting things all. of. the. time.
Gardening and sharing
Recipe and Food Blogging
Traveling at any chance I get
Hula Hooping/Gratitude/Meditation and Prayer Practice daily
Working for a Non-Profit in Haiti as a Sponsorship Coordinator for Sionfonds.

Let's be clear, some days I don't. I stop.I stay in bed, let my husband take away, online shop, nap and use other things to not “do” some of the harder things in my life....I take breaks, lounge on facebook, watch crappy television and eat Doritos. Throw pity parties when I am sick, or my children or someone else has hurt me, pout and emotionally shop, get snarky and complain,whine , I overeat, rant and rave when things don't go my way...I am so very extraordinarily human.

But I also will admit, I do “do” a lot of things....

My husband just recently took up Skateboarding. I could say “again” because sometime in his teens, he did “skate” (so he tells me) and was “totally good” in his youth...but lets be honest two teenage life times lay between him and that “totally awesome “skater dude”he once was.
Though I tease him, and openly threaten if he breaks anything, he won't get any pity from me...silently I am cheering him on, finding time in the day that he can sneak away. I love the idea of my button up, mid thirties, daddy to nine therapist hubbie,is hangin' at the Skate park, and not being thwarted by the teens and others craning their necks at the sight of him landing on his hind parts over and over again. He Rocks my Socks.
Be still my inner teenage girl heart.
I married a Rock star skater boy. Avril Lavigne would be so proud.

At night after a long day, after he has helped people with their problems, anxieties and addictions....oh and he does that at work too folks, he picks up his guitar and chats with me between cords. Sometimes I am hooping, sometimes my patience wanes and I scream like a banshee call sweetly that I could use some help with something/children/dishes/a live polar bear.....but deep down, I love it. I love the things that keep him going. Whether it be, his Faith, Music, Job, Family, Me and even Skateboarding...I love his Passions.

I think along the way we let those go.
I get it, my cow! There are things like bills, mortgages...Dr. Appointments....but if you are waiting to pick something up again....or maybe learn how to play that piano at 45...right now could be the exact time to do it. Seriously.

The other day my friend Cathy posted this on her Facebook wall.
It made me stop, think, and smile. Story of my life sister.

I think often I am judged for having too full of a plate. This is not new. I remember once as a kid I went to a buffet with my grandpa laughed at my overly full plate saying “kid, don't you know you can go back as many times as you want” answer was “Yes, but I'm afraid I won't remember that I thought it looked good the first time, and what if I am too full, or don't have time...” I wanted to experience everything "now" and somehow had found room on my plate for it.

Life is so wonderful, chalk full of opportunities, things to do, go out an learn and experience. Just because it is hard, weighing, exhausting, heartbreaking and unfair too, does not give us reason to give up on our should make us seek them more, and in so doing find a little respite from the pitfalls and or land mines that find all of us.

I have a lot of HARD. I will be the first to pitfalls and roadblocks are sometimes mountains and canyons that look and feel impossible. Maybe that too is my excuse for my excessive need for Passions.

I am passionate about my relationship with God, my family, all of my earthly brothers and sisters,
what my purpose, my journey, my life lessons are and how I can help manifest them.
I am passionate about healing, physical and emotional growth for myself and everyone.
I passionate about growing and cooking healthy, fun, delicious food and sharing it.
I am passionate about Orphans and Haiti, passionate about my fellow Earthly brothers and sisters receiving education, food and medical care.
I am passionate about my children, each and everyone, and what their loves and likes, fears and the passions that too will drive them.
I am passionate about the miracle of life and helping women bring beautiful babies into the world, witnessing that promise of creation that reminds me life and everything after that is a gift
I am passionate about women in general,knowing their infinate worth and helping them know they are not alone in parenting, hard relationships,past or present abuse that their beauty and presence is vital and a gift.
I am passionate about living a true life, of honesty, living my religion, health, compassion, service and acceptance.
I am passionate about art, color, learning, beauty,movement and my need to be apart of it.

I am told there is a time and a season for things...YES. Yes there are. There are things still with my family's healing that are not possibilities right now...but I like to concentrate on not what is “Not Possible” right now...but on“What insane thing I have been itching to do can I fit in here", what worry, stressful thing, grudge, or roadblock that even I have created can I move over and put this passion right in it's place.
Life is short, it also is long and hard and needs joy and purpose even in the barracks of war, pain and loss. My Passion's have come to me, some with me from the moment I began, some as I have evolved and surrounded myself with more, more of everything, and not being afraid when the answer was 'yes' and even less ashamed when it was 'No'.

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday ( I am told I am a young'un) ...but man have my 33 big ones been chalk full. As I lay in bed with my hot-therapisty-rockstar-skater-dude-baby-daddy, he asked me,"How do you feel about  33 is it good for you?" And with honest tears in my eyes, feeling nauseous from bad sushi and worn out from a day of therapeutically kicking parenting ass...I answered “I love it, I love it all, there is not a thing I would wish different about me and our life. I love being me,It is monstrously hard some days, but I don't wish any of it away, I love what I get to do, and am so very excited to see what is going to happen next."
I am passionate about my life.
That does not make it easy, give me more sleep, or make things fair.
But it does make it all so very worth it...

What are you passionate about?
What have you been waiting on?
Is it time?
What can you move over, or simply say good bye to, to make that room?
 .......Go, go be passionate.....