Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Control ~ Letting Go

So a couple months ago my youngest got hit with a viral crud that left him throwing up all day long.  Then a couple days later it hit me and my oldest.  I've personally only had the flu two other times prior, once when I was four and once after we lost Samantha.  My oldest has not been much for being sick like this very often either.  So when it hit the three of us, I was down for the count and then some.

When my youngest got it, he was clung to me for the rest of the day.  Then while I had the run with it and my oldest too, he was stuck by my side for the day as well.  As much I don't like to be sick, especially while staying at someone else's house, I was relieved to have to go through this and have the extra hands of my parents to help out.

While I had one kiddo stuck to me, my parents entertained my oldest while my hubby helped tag team my youngest.  Then when I was sick, they entertained my youngest while my hubby helped my oldest and me out.  It was a humbling experience.

After going through it it made me realize that letting go of the control can lead to such a big impact.  You see, since having Samantha and losing her, i have a very hard time giving up the control...even when I didn't have it in the first place or when it wasn't mine to have.  When you really think about it, how much control do we truly have.  I know one thing for sure, I can control my thoughts, reactions, and my attitude.  But I can't control everything in life and nor should I.

But after having become a mom and loosing my daughter, when T came along I thought things had to be my way because it was better, they had to be just right.  I needed to have the control.  I didn't want to loose another child.  While I knew in my heart that Samantha was in God's good hands, he was the one in the control seat, I didn't want to face that again.  So, I went overboard on the control factor, trying to control as much as I could and had myself convinced that I probably had more control than I did in reality.

Add in another kiddo and the realization of things changing greatly made me begin to notice I was loosing control.  In reality, I probably didn't have the control like I thought and trying to control all just ended up, well, it ended up going to one extreme or the other.  Either I was a push over and gave in to easily or I was too hard and had to high of expectations.  Neither area was good and neither was the swing between the two.  I thought I could compensate with things like frappes, spending extra money when and where it didn't need to be spent, toys, and the like.

The time we were all sick, my plans had changed.  The one day my mom and I were supposed to go get pedicures.  Something I was looking forward to greatly.  But with my son being sick, I wasn't going anywhere.  Then on the day I was sick and my oldest as well, we were supposed to be headed back home.  No way were we going to get into a car for five hours.  I had to let everyone around help out because there was only so much I could do on my own.  I had to let it go.

Me getting sick made me realize that it doesn't always have to be me, or my way.  There are other ways that work and are good too.  By trusting and letting someone else have the control I can put focus and energy into other areas of my life. Like going on a date night with my hubby.  Which we got to do do for the first time since T was born.  Even better, I was able to let go of some of the guilt I  would feel not being the one to be there, but letting family watch over the kids and the kids getting extra grandparent time.

It's a hard thing to do.  While I do want to be there to tuck my kiddos into bed at night, read them stories, and do their prayers, I know that there are others who can do it once in awhile.  By letting others in, I can work on making my marriage strong, dig deep and discover my dreams, set some goals, and soar.

There are many facets to life.  All areas need time placed into them.  If we focus to heavily in one area, the others begin to falter.  Putting too much control into one area leaves an imbalance in the other areas.  Our kids need to see us, the need to see their extended family, they need to see there are lots of ways to accomplish tasks, they need to see what it's like to dream and make those dreams come true, they need to have time to themselves.  They learn through us.  Through all our successes and failures, they learn. They need to know that there are some things that they can control and there are some things they can't.  They need to learn to trust.

We as parents need to learn to let go of the control.  Divide and conquer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Loss ~ A Different Perspective

Y'all I just had a hard dose of reality recently.  After facing the depression and anxiety post, while slowly coming to terms with that I am on this path that just took a hard left.  The last time I had such a hairpin curve was when we lost Samantha.

You see, it was a loss.  We all face loss and there are many different kinds of loss throughout life.  I began to think a little more on things.  I lost a grandparent when I was in fourth grade.  That is the first loss I can really remember.  Sure, I am sure I lost toys and the like.  But that seemed kind of different.  That's when I realized something.  Loss, depending on how old you are can take on a totally different meaning.

My oldest, nearly four now, had been acting out in a different way.  Some would chalk it up age, language, emotions, changes...which I do agree with when I think about it.  Then, I began to think on it differently.  I began to think on it from a different perspective.  The perspective of loss.  It made me realize, in the past 18 months he has face a lot of loss.  While sometimes handling it well, sometimes not so much in the moment, and sometimes the proverbial "shit hitting the fan" in the moment he has faced a lot in that short time.

Some of it comes with age and change, but broken out, it's a lot.  Let's run through the list.

We moved...yeah, great!  Definitely exciting and he handle it well, loves the new room and bigger yard.  However, he lost what he knew of the old house and familiarity as well as the ability to continue to go to some of the places we had been going easily.  Overall, a great change, but still the change was him loosing what he knew for the unknown.

We added to the family...we knew we wanted to grow our family.  We brought home his brother.  That in itself had a lot of loaded weight to it.  He now had to share mom and dad.  I couldn't, at first lift him like I could before because of my c-sec.  Then his brother grew and began to move.  So T's space got less and less his, and more and more ours. (Including that bedroom he loved so much).  There became no just T space if A was awake.  It happens, I know.  But still, a lot of small losses as we adjusted to a new normal and routine of another kiddo.

No more diapers!!!  Yeah, potty trained.  I can't believe how long he can go between peeing now.  I am pretty sure his bladder is bigger than a lot of adults I know. Any-who, on the positive side, yeah no more diapers.  However, on the loss side, he lost diapers.  Happens as kids get older, but sometimes I think, at first, he wouldn't have minded the extra him time and attention during diaper changes.  Now, he uses the bathroom as a quiet him space perusing books before bedtime.

Nuks...ufda.  Love hate relationship with the nuks.  I wasn't looking forward to the day we had to work through giving them up, but knew it was fast approaching.  And how unfair his brother got to have one and he didn't.  It was a dentist visit where they suggested that by age four for him to be done.  We had started planning ways to transition off, and then he said if I get rid of them today can we go pick out a toy and stuffed animal.  So, we went with it.  While maybe not the best way of doing things, especially for him and his personality, we went with it.  Well, four months later we are done with them.  Have been since that day.  While every now and then he asks for one, they are getting further from his mind.  Makes me dread having to do the transition with his brother.  Either way, a loss, especially when dealing with a comfort object.

His bed.  Don't worry, he still has a bed, it's a twin one.  But he did have his crib.  He loved his crib and never seemed to want out.  In fact, I am sure he would have stayed longer had we not needed it for his brother.  He never had an issue with making the switch. He has enjoyed the big bed since it arrived, despite it staying on the floor for over a year.  It didn't take long to make the switch.  He picked out sheets, we put them on the bed with a pillow and put it next to his crib.  Let him decide which one he wanted to use.  He picked bed and that was that.  The next day the crib came out because he found it fun to stand on the rails and jump off onto his bed.  So, while fun and exciting, still a loss.

Toys.  Toys galore and they are everywhere.  Same with stuffed animals.  But, now the kids have all the toys accessible.  Nothing is off limits to the younger brother like they once were.  Let me tell you, even after working with kids and dealing with sharing, nothing compares to siblings and sharing.  But it is a lesson we are all working on and learning.  But there is nothing that A won't get into, onto, or try out for himself to be like brother.  So we face toy issues and loss a lot and on most days.

Most of that stuff happens with life and transitions.  We face different seasons of our lives.  We have to sometimes face loss to make room for what is to come next.  Even if the loss is a part of life, the transition, or a good thing (especially in the long run) it is still not easy to have to face something every couple of months.

Growing up is hard to do.  We need our parents to help us through it all.  But we also need to remember to look at it from the perspective of the kid.  It may not seem like a big deal to us, but in the eyes of the child it can be too big to know how to handle.  What seems like a paper cut to us, seems like a much deeper wound to heal and fix to them.  So, how are we going to handle loss to help our kiddos handle it?  Sometimes we just need to change up the perspective in order to get a better and deeper understanding.  Loss happens.  Good or bad.  We face it and so do our kids.  Their loss is sometimes more on a simplistic plain that we need to get down on their level to understand.

It 's also why sometimes kids start acting in different ways with behaviors that are much less desirable.  We have to face the fact that these changes are going to happen, but we also need to face the fact that sometimes there is a deeper meaning and more understanding needed to figure out the behavior.  We can't always chalk it up to age, or because other's judgements of the how kids should be, or changes.

Life happens, change happens, loss happens, but through it all growth happens.  So how are we going to take this and let the growth happen?  Look deeper, look beyond the initial behavior, and look at what all is going on around you.  Step out of the box and moment, step back and observe.  Learn and grow.  Your kids are doing this every day, maybe its time that us parents do it more.  Maybe it's time to start growing with our kids.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Digging in Deep - Anxiety, Postpartum, Depression


Fair warning, this post may get heavy and it will probably go deep.  It is my hope that writing about my experience will help others, as well as help me open up finally and share another part of my story.  So, here goes.

Anxiety, postpartum and depression.  Most people don't know that I have had them and continue to do so in varying degrees.  It took me until June of last year to finally agree with the fact that something just wasn't right.  I couldn't put my finger on it until after talking a little more with my doctor.  She knew in an instant when I started talking that there was more going on than met the eye.  She also knew my history since having Samantha.  She said that with all that I had been through, recently and over the past five years, it makes sense.

I have a hard time taking care of myself most of the time.  When life throws me curves, I retreat inward and put on a happy face.  When we miscarried Samantha, I never really let myself process the grief.  I was admitted on a Wednesday, had her Thursday, and went home Friday.  I was able to take until the following Wednesday off.  My boss told me if I needed more, I could take it.  But in reality, I didn't feel like I could and they really didn't want me to be gone any longer.  Luckily, my co teachers were a great group and very understanding.  They did everything they could to make the transition back go as best as it could under the circumstances, the parents were there when I needed support, and my co teachers did what they could to make it so I could be in to work early and leave early for the first few days.  My way of coping was calling for bathroom breaks and crying alone in there.  Bolting the second I could at nap time and getting a coffee.  And running even faster at the end of the day to my car, once again most days for awhile crying all the way home.  It wasn't until nearly nine months later I finally decided to take the time I needed to take care of me and deal with what all had happened and more of the grief.  By the end of that Summer I knew something wasn't quite right.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  I decided what I needed was time.  Time my work didn't or wouldn't allow.  So, with the help and support of my husband, I stepped out of my classroom.  I had become a jack of all trades so to speak there.  So it made it really easy to step away, but still have the hours to work when I needed.  I could take the time away to begin to heal.  My husband and I could take the time away to heal as well.  I also found a couple of outside resource groups to help work through the grief. 

Move forward to finding out we were pregnant the second time.  Shortly in, I started bleeding.  This after praying for so many months that God would give us a child.  It was minor and because of that and prior, we were put on high risk.  I could even stop just to hear the heart beat if I needed.  The whole pregnancy left me filled with anxiety.  So, I did what I do best.  Sank myself into working as much as I could and then at the end of the day going to sleep or taking a nap.  I did this until a couple weeks before.  Which then I spent my days vacuuming, visiting my hubby, and just plain waiting.  After my oldest son was born, I faced the normal postpartum that is typical.  Sure I was anxious, worried, and somewhat self critical.  But Summer came and went.  Before I knew it our days were filled and busy.  I would be harsh on myself for mistakes I made.  Yell out in frustration when I didn't understand. But overall, things went pretty good once we settled into a new routine.  I will say though, that I had (still do) a hard time letting go of the control.  I wanted to be the one to tuck him, I would check in on him before I would go to bed, I didn't want to go on date nights, I didn't always let other people hold him (especially at the beginning).  It had to be me.  I took my anxiety and turned it into being a control freak.

I have to admit, these past 16 months have been the hardest and roughest ones for me by far.  Most of the time it's not noticeable on the outside.  But if you got into my head, you would hear a different story.  So much so, I couldn't hear my own heart, my own mom instinct, or could even trust that gut feeling.  Even right now as I type this, I am finding it a challenge.  Like I said early, it took me nearly eight months to finally say something about it.  But that is as far as it went.  I told my doctor, she wrote me a prescription.  She told me I didn't have to fill it right away, I didn't have to be on it forever.  When I was ready, it would be there.  It took me another two or so months to admit that maybe I did need to get it filled.  Even then, it took me a good week before I made a decision.  I decided to try it, just one night before bed.  It was one of the worst nights of sleep, even worse than during the newborn phase.  I was filled with so much anxiety and guilt.  I never took another one.  But, I also never dealt with what was going on.  Instead, I did what I do best.  I retreated inward and put on a happy face.  I bought coffee almost daily.  I spent money when I didn't need and probably shouldn't have.  Gave in way to easily to my oldest or was too critical.  And more.  All the while crying myself to sleep.  Being extremely self critical and full of negative self talk all day and all night.  The slightest mistake I made snowballed into an avalanche. To be honest, I still don't deal well with my mistakes and my emotions.  And some of the behaviors, the coffee and spending money, the giving in to easily have all become habits.  Not good ones either and have left me with a mess to clean up now.

To be honest, this is where I am at right now.  I know that I have anxiety problems, I know I've dealt with postpartum depression, and I know that I am still sitting with the weight of all of this.  I haven't wanted to take the prescription, I've tried oils, I've tried working out as a relief.  But what it comes down to, is I've never opened up about any of this.  I just let it roll around inside my head.  It truly affects me daily and I have a lot to learn, as well as work through.  Fear has kept me from saying anything.  Fear has kept me from admitting to myself. 

Life is hard.  Parenting is hard.  It takes a lot to care for a child, let alone two, or more.  I think it makes it even harder, when you have been touched with the reality of how short life is and when you've face a pregnancy loss at any point.  You've faced dreams dying when your child died.  And sometimes we push that into our next kids.  This happened the first time around, I am going to change it so it doesn't happen again.  Or, I am going to do everything to give them everything (this goes beyond the basic necessities of life, it's the special treats every day, saying yes after saying no because you didn't want to deal with the emotions that followed and it seemed easier, and so on). 

The guilt that we feel can be such a huge load to carry.  Splitting my time between two was something I didn't balance well at the beginning.  Might be a little better at it now, but still have a ways to go.  Any time my focus was on one kid, I felt the immediate guilt rush over me for the other one. I haven't been able to put my focus into one person at a time without feeling guilty and thinking of the other, as well as all the what ifs or the I shoulds.  Bonds have suffered and aren't as strong as they once were or could be.  All the while I keep thinking, if I can't manage my emotions and work through them, how am I going to help my kiddos.  My oldest will be four in a few short months.  He feels big emotions.  He needs to know how to work through them.  I need to know how to work through them.  But I need to work through mine in order to do that, while at the same time putting mine aside to help.  He can learn a lot from watching how I deal with mine.  And when it's time to deal with his, I need to lay mine down to help him work through them.  Draw him in closer to draw them out.

I am hoping by writing this, I have begun to draw mine out.  To make it okay to open up about something that nobody really wants to talk about.  Sometimes the best way to let go is to open up and let in.  Draw it of you, draw those you love in closer, and be truly heard.

If you are struggling in any way, please find a way to open up.  Find someone. Find somewhere.  Let it out.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Well, What About Socialization?

 Why is it that once you have kids, the question "well, what about socialization?" pops up all the time?  It's like once a kid is over four months, this all that people care about.  What classes are they going to be in? Are they going to do ECFE? Are they going to day care? How are they going to learn socialization?

Once you get closer to three years old, then its all about school.  When are you going to go to school?  Are you in school yet? Where are you going to go for preschool, prekindergarten, and beyond?  If you say you aren't sending them to preschool or prekindergarten, then you are constantly asked, "well what about socialization?"

Now that my oldest will be four in a few months, he is eligible to go to prekindergarten in the school district.  Not a requirement by any means, but we can go through the early childhood screening, looking at school options, and picking them out.  We've been asked a lot lately, as we've decided not to send him to prekindergarten, "well, what about socialization?".  It's almost as if people assume you need to be in a school building, a classroom filled with others that are only your age, and have to have a teacher in order to have socialization.

I am pretty sure we will continue to get this question a lot once people find out what our school choice is.  But I am saving that for another blog post.  For now, is about the socialization aspect.

So, what about socialization? In my best Inigo Montoya voice...
Image result for Inigo Montoya "I don't think that words means what you think it does

Can you honestly say you know what socialization means?  Take a moment to look it up.  I am guessing you will find yourself quite surprised by the true meaning.  And also find the actual word you are looking for.

More often than not, people want to know about socializing.  Which is not the same as socialization.  Socialize, meaning to mix with others socially, is really the question people are wanting an answer to.    What people really want to know when they ask this question, really is "well, how are your children going to have playmates?" This concept, the concept of socialize, is just a mere aspect of socialization.

Socialization, meaning the process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, language, social skills, and value to conform to the norms and roles required for integration into a group or community, is something that is learned throughout life and from those who are a part of the person's life.  You don't need to have a school building, a classroom of kids the same age, or a teacher to do this.  This is something that can be taught by parents and others through day to day life.  Now remember, a community is a family, a town, club, city, or organization.  Even a group of friends can be considered a community. If a child is learning to fit into their community, then socialization is happening.

So you see, kids don't have to be sent to a school to learn socialization.  Even more so, when someone asks the question about socialization and you answer with a simple, "you don't need a school to learn socialization" you usually end up with a response of "well, yeah I get that" or "I know that, but..." and the answer seems to trail off.  It's as if it has become common place to ask the question and people have become so set in the ways that looking past what has always been done may not be the best reason any more.  Or more likely, they really aren't looking for an answer...especially if it doesn't fit in with their line of thinking or their way of doing things or how others around them do the same things.  Fear of being judged because of the what a family member decides or friend decides is really what it comes down to. 

There are some many other ways to get socialization.  Church, grocery shopping, going out to eat, play dates, visiting museums, classes out in the world around you, helping others, interacting with other age groups, sports, clubs and organizations, the library, even going on a walk around the neighborhood. The list goes on and on.

There is so much more to socialization and kids learn it through seeing others in their community.  They learn it from their parents to start.  Then it continues as the kids grow and their world around them expands.  Their knowledge, skills, and values build and grow as they do.

So, the next time you ask the question, "well, what about socialization" be sure you are ready for the answer that is given to you.  If you honestly know or get it, then you don't need to ask.  If you are just saying "yeah, I know that" or "yeah I get that, but..." then take the time to listen to what the person is answering back with.  Take the time to learn and understand, don't just ask because it's become common place or to say something about it.  If you don't want to listen, then don't ask the question.

My children are learning socialization through their every day and day to day living.  They learn it from us, their family, and friends.  They learn it through their neighborhood and church communities.  They learn it while running errands and while out on adventures.  My kids are not at a day care, they are not in a school.  They are around all ages.  They are growing their knowledge, social skills, and values. I have great faith in the community around us and them, that they will continue to grow all these things and more.

Well, what about socialization? Yeah, my kids are doing just fine in that area.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Checking it Out ~ The Library


The library really has so much to offer year round.  However, we've had a tendency to utilized it the most during the colder months and rainy days.  I need to get better at making the library visits more of a priority.  My oldest loves to read books and would read all day long. My youngest is just getting started in sitting long enough for one story.  Added bonus if there is a play area for them to explore and meet other kids.

Beyond the books and play, the story times are great.  Well, at least at the library closest to us.  A good morning song, letter of the week, action songs, stories, puppets, good bye songs, coloring sheets, and stickers.  Keep it moving, keep it short, keep the kids engaged.  A great win for everyone and an awesome learning experience.

I was skeptical of story times at first because of two libraries making it tough to sit through one.  The first time we ever went the good morning song involved greeting each of the nearly 30 kids that were there by name.  My son didn't make it very long and ended up falling asleep in the car ride home.  We left before they were half done with greeting each kid.  The other time we tried a story time was at a rather large library, however, we weren't there quick enough (and by quick enough, you had to be ready to run into the story time area to claim a spot) and there wasn't enough room in the space they used.  We were turned away, very disappointed.

However, we just happened to be at the library near our new house to see what it was like and it happened to be a story time day.  My son decided to join in and it was fun for everyone. We try to go to the library at least once a month, but I want to make more of an effort to go on the story time days more often.

Since moving, I've recently noticed we have 10, yes 10 libraries that are within 7 miles of our house.  So, we are going to spend the next several months going on a library treasure hunt to try out all of those libraries and see what they have to offer.

Before we know it Summer will be here and we can utilize the Summer reading programs.  These are great, even for the little kids!

My oldest did the reading program the Summer he turned one.  Each day we read, he colored in a part of a picture and once filled out, he could exchange it for a prize.  We ended up with egg shakers, some really cool books, and a CD that both kids love to listen in the car (and now some songs skip a smidge).  Older kids get chances to get state fair tickets and more.

The library is one of the best free resources out there.  The only cost is the time you invest into going and reading.  Everyone can and does benefit from it. Both my kids have a library card and get to check out books.  Yes, even my one year has his own card.  He had it shortly after he was born.

So, who else is ready to go on an adventure? Check out your local library.  What fun things do they have to offer?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Being Okay With Staying Home

My oldest working on the letter S and my youngest just exploring crayons and stickers
Being okay with staying home.  This phrase has two meanings.  The first has to do with making the decision to be a stay at home mom.  The second has to do with staying home and not going out for the day.  For now, I am talking about the latter.  Being okay with staying home and not going out for the day.

From the time my oldest was born, I've watched other moms go one of a few ways.  Either they stay home all day long, fill their and their kid's day with so much stuff they are always busy, or a mix of the two.  I will admit, at times I've tried to fill our days with more stuff than maybe I should have.  And there are times when I've looked at the others and wondered if maybe I wasn't doing enough. 

The Summer before my youngest was born T and I spent most days out on adventures.  Every morning he would ask where we were going or if we could go somewhere.  Some of the reason was because I wanted to pack in as much T and I time before his brother arrived. Another was because he would ask where we were going.  Lastly, our house was up for sale, so many times we had no choice but to be out of the house and we were trying to visit some of our favorites before moved to a new area.

After my youngest was born, we were still trying to go out and do something. Looking back, I often wonder if it was more for my sanity than anyone else.  But I know that some of it was to keep with something consistent for my oldest that he was doing before his brother arrived and also to give him activities that were more focused on him.

Moving forward, I would still have a hard time with staying home.  I am not sure why though.  It is still a mystery to me and I am extremely curious as to the deeper side of it.  I almost wonder if it was a way for me to get out of my own head.  Or to try to keep up with other moms out there.  Fear is a very powerful thing sometimes and it pulls a lot out if you let it determine what others might think.

That being said, when I look at things, our calendar is probably the most empty of most of the moms I know.  And yet, our weeks fly by as there is always something we are going out to do.  I am not saying that having activities and play dates is a bad thing, but I wonder if sometimes we over schedule our kids with out of the home activities and classes, that they get lost and so do we.

And while they enjoyed their time, I enjoyed the chance to drink a cup of hot chocolate (that was still hot) and begin to write this post.
The thought came to me today about staying home while talking with my oldest.  He said he didn't want to go anywhere today.  If there is one thing I've learned in nearly four years about my kids, and well a lot of kids, is that they too need down time.  When we take the time to listen, they can be honest and real. There is a reason he was saying he didn't want to go anywhere.  Not to say that later in the morning he got upset when he decided to want to go somewhere, but  a three year old can and does change their mind a thousand times a day.  But after I said we weren't going anywhere, told him he had said he didn't want to go anywhere, and explained why we didn't have the time at that point to go, he continued on with the activity he was doing happily.

Normally, I go stir crazy staying at home all day long.  It's not as bad in the warmer months of Minnesota as we can break up the day by going on walks and going outside to play as well, but in the cold months that is not always as simple of a task.  Especially now with two kids, getting bundled up in full outdoor gear takes more time than we have to play or it's just too darn cold out.  However, in the past, I would find a reason to leave the house, even if it was to just wonder around Target. 

After having two holidays in a row and pretty much staying home for each of the extended weekends, my thoughts and feelings have changed. It took going through New Year's weekend though to begin feeling okay with the idea of staying home and not going anywhere.  Now, that's not to say we didn't go a few places, but the majority of the days were spent at home.  So, today, when we opted for staying in, I felt oddly, but refreshingly at ease and comfortable.

Going forward, we will still have activities and play dates outside the house, but I am also going to better utilize what we have right around us and plan for staying in days.  I think in the long run, we will all benefit from it.

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments. What are some of things you and your kiddos like to do when you stay home or have a stay in day?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hello 2017!


Welcome to 2017!  The calendar says its a new year and a new year means many things.  It means that some of the things we enjoy keep on going into the next year, but it also means a time for change.  Usually the end of a year and the beginning of new is the time when many of us re-evaluate where we are at, look at where we want to be, and put into motion the steps it will take to get there.

The start of a new year, many create resolutions for the new time.  They may start off strong, but it quickly fades as the months pass by.  Soon they are forgotten about until we round the corner of Thanksgiving and head into Christmas and realize that those resolutions we were so set on come back to face us.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all about setting goals.  But setting a goal takes much deeper thought and planning in order to achieve.  In order for there to be success, one must figure out the in between steps in order to complete the goal.  I will set a goal, then break it into smaller chunks and figure out what I need to do in order to reach the mini goal.  I also set small rewards for making the mini goal. With each mini goal completed, I get one step closer to my main goal.  This allows me the time to fail, pick myself back up, re-evaluate, and try again.

I prefer to set goals throughout the year based on where I am at.  However, at the start of a new year, I do something different.  I set a one word mantra to carry me through the year.  Each year, I pick a new word for the new year.

I got the idea almost six years ago.  After the loss of our daughter, I found a wonderful mentor to help me through my grief.  I took an illuminate class which utilized photography (something I enjoy doing) and journaling (something else I enjoy doing) to help work through the grief of the loss.  The creator, Beryl Young, created the class after she had experienced the loss of her daughter and used the camera to help her through her grief.  At the end of the class our last task was to reflect on the year and determine a one word mantra to help carry us through the next year.  Every year since, I decide on my word.

Some years it comes to me easily, some years I start with one and then it changes part way through the year, and some years the changes in life throw me off that I never end up picking a word.  The latter happened to me last year.  It wasn't until August when I settled on the mantra "Just Breathe". 

This time around, I took to my mentor and followed the route she went in creating her word for the year.  I used Susanna Conway's "finding your word".  It came in five emails over fives days.  Each one helped to work towards finding your word.  After that and taking some time to reflect, while letting the ideas resonate in my head for awhile, I came up with my word.

My 2017 word is "Be".  On the surface it may not seem like much.  However, when you put such a simple word in front of another word, it fills with so much more meaning.


You see, "be" takes me to where I want to go. This is a short list of where putting into life's daily motions can make such a big difference.  It stirs inside of me and reminds me of so much. I choose to carry this word with me and see where it can lead me.

Maybe this year is your year to try something different.  Maybe this year instead of a list of resolutions, finding your one word mantra is more what fills you and fits you.  So, if you look past the resolutions and past the goals, what would your one word mantra be for 2017?