Category Archives: Parenthood

Compassionately Honest children


Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Strong girls, confident girls and American Girl


I love perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I have found some real treasures there. Sometimes for as little as a quarter. Sometimes for as much as two dollars. Over the past few months I have come across American Girl books. First of all, I had completely forgot there was a book series. Then I discovered they had these guide type books.

Having a ten-year-old girl to raise, I have wondered how to approach subjects. When do I approach them. I am constantly looking online for information on this. I had not really thought to find a book that explained it to HER.  The first one we came across was ” The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.”  There was nothing in this book I had not told her already. However, she dove into it and really seemed to finally grasp some basic concepts. She was understanding why she needed to change underwear every day. Why she had to use shampoo conditioner and soap when she took a shower. I can’t tell you how many times she asked to take a rinse off shower. Why brushing your teeth last night doesn’t count in the morning.We read some of it together but for the most part it was just in her room for her to read. I know she read it as when I went in to check on how clean her room was, It was always in a different spot.

Now instead of figuring out how to have birds and bees talks and your changing body talks I could focus on other important issues. With school starting back up, I thought I would go check out the book store again. We had visited lots during the summer. She has more chapter books than she knows what to do with.

When I stumbled upon another great book from American Girl. This one is something that some of the other mothers I am friends with and I have discussed a lot lately. “Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way. It is hard for me to comprehend that at Ten years old this is what she is dealing with now. She is my baby. Wait how is she walking? Why is she growing so fast? Alas, she is and the best way to deal with it is to pull up my panties and be ready. So I got the book, even though it was not remotely what I was looking for. I walked in to find books for a friend and maybe one for me.

Knowing my daughter is an eager to please type person like myself. Knowing how that affected me when I was her age. I wanted to fill up her bucket as much as possible, to strive for her not having the crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence I had.

Like the first book she started reading it right away. As she read things she liked or made sense to her she would talk to me about it. Normally reading hour is a bunch of me reminding her she is supposed to be reading and a lot of her rolling her eyes. This is why it’s an hour instead of the twenty minutes required. Once she had this book in her hands though it was all she could focus on. Even the next morning I found her walking around looking at it. I mean seriously how do you get upset she is not getting ready when she is reading? I really struggle with that. In the car she continued to read it and all these little squabbles that had come up, some when she was in Kindergarten, that she had never told me about. She had ideas of how to handle it if it happened again. The book encourages to set a personal motto, so that was what she was thinking about as she got out to go to school.

I remember being told to respect my elders. It didn’t matter if that elder was bullying me or being overly bossy. I was a kid. I had no say and if I said anything it was disrespectful. I have tried to encourage her to speak up for herself. To stand up for herself when she needed to. I have tried to teach her that if she sees it happening she should say something. I want her to feel heard but also have respect for those in charge. How in the world do you teach this as a parent who is eager to please and overly anxious to a child who is the same? Being the researcher I am, I looked up the book. Then to my wonderful surprise, I found there was all kinds of curriculum material available all centered around this book and another American Girl book.  Not once anywhere did I see it mention they should behave this way because God wanted it. I was so relieved. This was actually usable stuff to me! She is already eager to please and I want her to stand up for herself for HER. Not for anyone else, not even God.

My eyes have been opened and now this is probably something I am going to research more.  She already wanted to share this book with her friends so I have volunteered to do a Sunday School class on this subject. Perhaps this is something I will try to do more often. Perhaps I need to make this a goal for myself.

It starts with us, the parents and will trickle down from there. My hope is if we all do this, one day the world will be a kinder place.

From the ground up (A #1000speak post)



It’s all over the news these days. It is hard to avoid it. Police brutality! Police shoot civilian! On and on it goes. It starts to get depressing. It is so easy to only see one side of the story, as media often only shows one side.  Even media that tries its best to be unbiased. Are any of us truly unbiased? When the only stories you are being fed are sensationalist and horrible, it starts to taint your view. If you are not looking at the picture as a whole, it is not easy to see why police are acting the way they are. It seems random and unconnected. Folks, it’s time we all started looking at the bigger picture.

When I worked in probation, I saw it progressing. The blatant disregard for law enforcement. It hasn’t gotten any better from what I have seen. In fact it has gotten worse. Both civilians and police over reacting because of past events. ” I wasn’t really resisting!” When you think about it as only your actions it doesn’t seem like resistance.  When you look at it from the perspective of the police who not only have to keep their safety your safety and the safety of anyone in the immediate area in mind at all times. Someone pulling their arm away can seem like a bigger threat.A small resistance can be where it all falls apart. They can’t possibly know that you never intended to escalate it to anything more than that. They are human. They are subject to adrenaline rushes just like anyone else. No? They should control it better? Really? If a person fails to rescue a child being crushed by a car because the adrenaline rush is not enough to lift the car, would we blame them? Would we say they should have been able to control it and lift the car. No one would ever say that. If you really step back and look at it, both situations are one where safety is threatened. They really are not that different of situation. The problem is not them. The problem is not us. It is all of us. It is both sides. Both sides need to reach out. Compassion can be that bridge.

Race seems to play into it sure, but that can end with us. It takes both sides reaching out. If you look back over time there have been many races all over the world that have had clashes with police, for all kinds of reasons. It is not just an American problem. It is global. GLOBAL people. That should be getting our attention. It is practically shouting for change. We can be that change. It won’t happen over night I know that. Right now it is all about planting seeds of compassion. Compassion is capable of building that bridge between them and us. Because really there is no them and us there is only we. We, the human race. There is a lot that needs to change. Compassion is the first step in those changes, I promise. Trickle down effects work. We know they do. We have seen it. Its time to use the same process to go up. Start with compassion from the bottom and it will reach the top. It will. Compassion can go up that chain of command and before we know it change will be happening.

We need to start now, at home with our kids. We need to be setting the example and looking for the good. We need to be scouring the internet for good stories and sharing those twice as much as the negative stories.  We need to be teaching our children to find the positive. We need to get the message through to media that we are tired of only negative stories. We are emotionally burdened by the repetitive horror stories of what the human race is capable of. We need to not shelter our kids from the horror but show them that there can be balance. THEY can be the balance. They can make the difference.  We need to lead them by example. We need to be working towards the changes just as hard as we are teaching them. We need to not only tell them there are two sides to every story but show them. Find the other side of the story. Give them all the facts. Demand that media do the same. From what I have already seen from the up and coming generation they are going to blow us away. They are holding tight to compassion and spreading it. Call it a renewal of the hippies if you want, but peace, love and happiness are not horrible goals.


Start now. Join us. Read share and comment on the links in the link up below. Link up your own compassion post.

What the hell is wrong with people……a Ten Things of Thankful version?



This title is drastically different from Wednesday’s post now isn’t it. That is because later that day I discovered, yet again, there are seriously messed up people in this world. Seriously. Messed. Up. I thought we had hit the break we needed. I thought we  the light at the end of the tunnel was suddenly shining brighter. Instead I am dealing with police investigation and a lack of a job. Scam scam scam and you can bet there will be a whole blog post telling others about this so no one else falls for this because there was no mention of wiring or sending money anywhere. Deep breathes, but I am determined to learn and move on. I am determined to not let these people completely destroy what hope in humanity I had built up. I am not going to let them pull me into negativity.

That being said, I am spent the day thinking about how I can be thankful about all this. It helped I also had a puking and too sick to play little girl laying half on top of me most of the day. That too has a spot in my thankful believe it or not.

1. Thankful that I was smart enough and consciences enough to go into the bank to deposit check. Apparently what she meant by overnight deposit was to put it in the ATM. The bank took one look and said it was counterfeit.

2. Thankful that I asked for further verification and thus they added to the evidence by actually calling me.

3. Thankful that I don’t now have a criminal record for check fraud.

4. Thankful that I don’t now owe the bank money for a fraudulent check.

5. Thankful for great friends who helped pick me up, get my head thinking clearly and back on tract.

6. Thankful that even though the kid puked in my bed at three am. I am thankful that it is so much different than when she puked as a toddler or young child. There was no hysterical crying after each puking session that inevitably only made things worse. She was able to communicate effectively what part of her body was bothering her and how it hurt. So much easier to deal with than a hysterical three year old who if asked will say her eyelashes hurt.

And no I didn’t take any pictures of these events.

7. Thankful that I could spend the day in bed with her and that she even exploded my heart into a million pieces telling me she didn’t want me to puke from snuggling with her.

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8. Thankful that on Tuesday even though I didn’t really want to I forced myself on a walk and got to see two otters playing and eating in the canal I was walking along.

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9. Thankful for friends who knew how much I needed a short walk on the beach before I knew how much I needed a short walk on the beach.

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10. Thankful for more friends who rescued me on sick day with Gatorade, chicken noodle soup, yogurt and my favorites coke and benedryl.

Then I stumbled onto these on The Master Shift Facebook page and they have really stuck with me.

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Mess free Popsicles


Recently I had coffee with a friend. It was not just any coffee. They have like liquid gold coffee. Hand ground slow drip brewed, in other words the best coffee.

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We had a nice chat about so many things. She then showed me something her husband had been working on. It was a device to catch the drips from popsicles. There are some other ones out there however, this one seemed to be more aesthetically pleasing than the others I had seen. It also appeared to be quite a bit more durable. I took it home with me with a promise to try it out.

My daughter is nine and half and while I knew it would appeal to her, I also wanted some age variety. We went off and scooped up Snickerdoodle because really if it can hold up to a two year old it can hold up to pretty much anything. Plus it was a great day to go to the park and eat popsicles. Is there really ever a wrong time to eat popsicles? Not in my book there isn’t.

popzgrip unnamed

While my daughter at nine and a half could stick the popsicle in, we put Snickerdoodle’s in for her. Her two year old dexterity is not quite there yet. However the Popzgrip’s sturdiness did allow her to quickly figure out how to keep her popsicle upright, well for the most part. She is two after all.   It caught the drips and was easy to switch out for new popsicles!

After the park we took it home and I tossed it in the dishwasher. That is right, it is dishwasher safe as well.

Want to know more about this?

Check out :

The website here

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The Facebook page here

It is not over …..A call to action…..#1000speak


Did you miss linking up for `1000 voices speak for compassion but want to? Well the good news is; it is continuing!! Be sure you are following the FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+ and the BLOG!


Quote found on Pinterest Robert E. Ricciardelli

March 20th 1000 voices speak for compassion is continuing.The subject is still compassion but has a more specific tone, building on bullying. You can write on any subject about compassion and link-up. We just thought compassion encompasses so much we could narrow it down a little as well. Please do not feel you HAVE to write about bullying. We do want to stress that the emphasis should remain on a positive light. Some thoughts to consider: Can we have compassion for bully’s? Why should we have compassion for bully’s.  Do Bully’s deserve compassion? How would I show a bully compassion? Do I model being compassionate to ALL people(including bullys) to my child? How can I show compassion to someone I consider a bully? I will be writing specifically about having compassion for bully’s, not the behavior but the person. It is quite a thought to wrap your brain around, I know.



Quote found on Pinterest

Stay tuned for the link up on March 20th and GET WRITING!!!

What Exactly is this Compassion you speak of?



Sometimes I think as adults we forget the basics. The things kids just know and don’t even second guess. Somewhere in the pursuit of being an adult we forget the most important things. We allow the world to jade us and become cynical. Kids just naturally see the good in people. Until you give them a reason, you are good. Sometimes people call this growing a thick skin. Let’s not forget though that thick skin can still be soft, bendable, pliable, giving.


 I put out a call on my personal Facebook page, on Chronically sick Facebook page, on twitter. on Google + and even Instagram.  It was really difficult to get people to take part in this.  I was not interested in judging anyone for what their child said. I expected a lot of,

“I don’t know.” ‘s

A lot of shrugging

My daughter even asked me to define my question more.  What do you mean Mommy?  Compassion about what? I think that in and of itself was very telling. She didn’t spit out a definition. She automatically knew it was about an action. It just furthered my belief that children just instinctively know what compassion is. They may not know what the real word for it is, but they know it.

A two-year old may not be able to even say the word compassion. However,burst into tears around a two-year old and most of them will either join you or give you soft touches and ask what is wrong. Isn’t that like compassion personified?


The very next comment I got was from a two-year old. They really just boil it down to the basics, don’t they.

Since getting involved in 1000 speak for compassion , I have been naturally thinking of compassion more and more. I have seen some areas in my life where it is lacking. I have really been paying attention to more and more that is going on around me.

I would describe myself as a compassionate person to begin with. I found it strange to even be thinking of ways I can be more compassionate. Even at the same time as I am thinking, we can always be more compassionate.

We want our kids to be compassionate but are we really showing them what compassion is. That compassion doesn’t limit anything. Every thing, living or nonliving, deserves compassion.Does that seem weird? Non living needs compassion? How in the world can non-living things need compassion. Really just sit there for a minute with that.


If compassion is caring and loving something and wanting it to be whole and complete. Then it can be seen as treating your things with compassion. Some call that respect, but I see compassion being applied here too. Have you watched how a child plays with a treasured toy? Lovingly and not wanting to hurt them. While we know toys are not alive, we don’t stop them. Eventually they learn their toy is not alive, they still treasure it.  Books may not be able to feel when there pages rip but does that mean it feels any less hurtful?  There are those that would argue that since paper is made from trees, it is in fact a living thing. I can completely see that as well.

Let me just gush for a moment about what Monkey boy says compassion is. School.  It seems silly at first but , really passion is school. Compassion does teach us so much. If we let it.  Those last four words, they matter the most. Compassion can teach us things, but we have to let it in. It also has to be a lesson we are ready to receive. Sometimes when this happens to me, I have had a particular lesson several times, I wonder what took me so long to ‘Get’ it. Here it was for me to see all this time. Sometimes then it is also a lesson we didn’t even know we needed.

 So what exactly is this compassion? It seems we can sum it up by what the kids have said. We don’t necessarily know the word for it but we know it when we see it;It is whole and accepting love, it is learning and most of all it is an action. Whether we are giving or receiving, it is an action.

Back on Schedule

 When I realized Winter break was coming up, I wasn’t ready.  Then when it came to the first day of winter break and I didn’t have to get up. No rushing to get out the door. No going through the check list a hundred and ten times in five minutes. Make whatever you want for breakfast , I don’t care I am not getting out of this bed until my bladder is on its way to rupturing! I don’t care what you watch on TV. Okay well I do but watch the approved shows. I totally will know if you don’t from the snuggled depths of my bed. I am a Mom after all.
The first few days, I won’t lie, they were pretty glorious. Then slowly it started happening. We started falling apart. By we I totally mean me. I needed a schedule. I hate that I needed a schedule so I try to live in denial just a bit longer. The inevitable happens because I pushed it off, the kid starts to fall apart. It isn’t even at a time I can send her to bed slightly early. It is like two pm. Instead of getting back on schedule, because hello no school!!! We take naps. That couldn’t possibly hurt right? Ah but there lies the burn. Then we had the I-am-ready-for-an-early-bedtime because I took the time to enjoy the silence instead of napping. This is of course when the kid is wound up the most, Five or six pm. It is totally convenient! NOT! I found I hate making dinner even more when I have a nine-year old asking me every nanosecond if it is done yet.
By the end of the first week I was ready for routine. I was ready for our schedule. The only problem was there was still no school and no one else wanted to get back on schedule. This made starting the science fair project even harder than normal school work. The amount of blank stares and “I don’t knows” reached an all time high. By Friday my mantra was, “Monday starts school!” I love my daughter but twenty-four seven for two weeks of bouncing off the walls and all the questions and even some you never thought of. I was ready for her to go back to school.  I did get a few breaks. Sunday night I was literally craving for it to be morning. I could just see it. We would get up and get out the door. I would actually come to a complete stop and let her out. No shoving and driving off, nope. I would be able to get through the morning routine because I was dropping her off at school. Yeah so that didn’t exactly happen. The coming to a complete stop did. While I was awake most mornings at seven am. I did not have to do THINGS! I did not have to get out of bed  and actually function. I laid in bed pouting. It was grey and foggy and yucky out too. Maybe one more day of break would not be so bad. Oh but wait, I still have to work. I still had a house to go clean and squish to nanny. Crap. Fine. No milk for my chai and oh look, we are out of coffee too. We were only five minutes later than I wanted to be at car line drop off.  The kid was getting out of the car. “Good bye I love you have a nice day.”  blowing kisses. The kid shuts the door. I notice there is no lunch box. Of course! She needs lunch! I roll down my window. ” Oh and today you are hot lunch!” The look I got from her said I just proved every parent everywhere was stupid. Ahhhhhh back on schedule just like that.

Two week winter break starts when?


Sometimes I am on the ball with school breaks. This time, not so much. I just realized Monday that I have a week of daytime freedom left. What the?

I would like to say we have all these great wonderful meaningful activities planned. I would like to say I will even do something like that now that I have realized it. I have a feeling it will not go like that at all. This is not to mention I have not wrapped a single present yet. I have not even gotten all her presents. I have only gotten a few. This is not to mention I have not even given a thought to Christmas dinner.  Who is coming? Who is not coming? What we are even eating? If I can even get the house clean in time?

We are making Christmas cookies Sunday after church. We will probably go to the light display again. That is about as far as I have thought things out. I have felt easily overwhelmed since starting working again. Even if it is part-time, even if it is kinda fun. I have tried only planning one week at a time. That was how this two weeks surprised the crap out of me. There is cleaning to catch up on from that. I really could use that talent to snap my fingers and the house was clean. Mary Poppins needs to train my house how to clean its self.  The cats and dog are not interested in cleaning like those woodland creatures in Snow White did. They really are quite the free loaders.

I would look forward to sleeping in, if I thought that would happen.

I know the kid will be up early. She always is. The first few days of break she will probably barge in on me at her normal time. No later than six forty-five. I know my body enough to know that it is too trained to be up and doing things by eight am. I happen to know she is getting a tablet for Christmas so I am sure after Christmas she will be on that for quite a while. Which will lead to TV brain meltdowns. Which will lead to me feeling guilty I let her play on it so much. Which will lead me to over do it pushing myself. I will try to do too much in one day to make up for it. I wish I could just let my chronic illness’ know that a flare is not allowed to happen. I need my pain levels to stay within normal range please! I know , I know. Pace, pace, pace yourself. Pacing kind of goes out the window when the kid is around.

We will definitely need to be getting out of the house at least for a bit each day. I plan on keeping up the walking, I plan on dragging her with me. We will probably do a few hikes as well.  I get cabin fever just thinking of staying home all day with her. I hope to get at least one grocery shopping trip in without her.

Oh and the best part, my house will be smelling like rotting strawberries. Because science fair project. It seemed like a good topic at the time. Now that we actually have to do it. Not so much. I love science. I hate science fair projects, always have.  Add to this the kid does not like to write at all. So there will be hair pulling out and head banging on brick walls.

Let’s see there seems to be something else I was going to say about this whole winter break thing.

Oh yes, I will need to figure out ways to pawn the kid off for a few hours here and there for my sanity. Play date anyone?You get to keep the kid for a few hours. I know I will have to take your kid for a bit too. This sounds like a lot but strangely enough, it is easier when there is more than one kid around.

I see lots of sugar and caffeine in my immediate future. Have you tried to keep up with a nine-year old without it,especially when both mother and child have ADD? I can tell you now , it ain’t gonna happen at our house. GIVE ME CHOCOLATE! GIVE ME COFFEE! I am thinking I need to train her to bring it to my bed.

It used to be when any school break came I felt the need to plan out every single day. I do need to put together some school work type things for her to do. She is so much like me in that respect. She has to keep doing it or she will lose it. Yeah we will probably figure that out day-to-day.

Will we make memories? Absolutely! Will we both survive it? Absolutely! Will I be ready to push her out of the car when school starts again? Absolutely!

Discussions about chronic illness with kids


This is one I keep wanting to write but its something I struggle with so much that I end up not publishing. I don’t feel qualified to even suggest how to on this subject. So I have just kicked this post around a few times a month for several months. I read and read and read about it. The actual sitting down having a conversation, not so much.


For the most part I try to find teachable moments. She had a cold and said her muscles hurt all over. This was a  good segway to talk about fibromyalgia. Although I don’t think she fully understood, I do think it helped her understand why sometimes I don’t want to be touched.

I have many vitamin deficiencies. I have mostly blown off as it is just something my body does not do properly so I need medicine for it.

When she asks why the medicine does not just fix it I have explained it this way. IF you drop a plate and glue it back together you have to wait for the glue to dry. The glue can’t get hot or it could fall apart again. This seemed to help her understand why medicine just didn’t fix me.

My heart issues are fairly well controlled with medication now so it has not really come up. When she was younger and I had to wear the halter monitor she really wasn’t interested in it. Part of the reason I was so determined to go off so many of the script meds was related to my heart. I had an issue and had to go to the ER a few months before I went off my meds. She was kind of worried about it but once I told her the Doctors said my heart was fine she was okay with that.

I think for the most part the best advice I can give is to use teachable moments. This helps them relate to the information the most. It is not a conversation I felt ready or capable of having soon after a diagnosis. I needed months if not years to process the information myself.  I still have not sat her down and told her everything that is going on with me. I really don’t think they need to know that much. She knows I have a heart issue and take medications for it. My main concern was if I am with her and something happens, she is old enough to relay information. This is not to say I don’t have the information readily available. On my more anxious days, I can think of seventy five million situations where she would at least need to be able to tell the rescue people some kind of information. She literally knows I have SVT heart issue and take medication for it. She does not necessarily need to know the medications or the exact  type of SVT. The only reason she even knows that is because it is the most vital.

So there is that. I hope someone finds it helpful as it is probably my most requested subject.