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Monday, May 20, 2013

My Thirty Lessons

As I am quickly approaching thirty, I have taken the time out to do some reflecting. Looking back on the things I have overcome, the woman I have become,  and awaiting what is to come. I have always been told that life really begins when you’re thirty. I am starting to understand the meaning of this statement.

Life is a gigantic classroom and we are the students. You never cease learning. So, in tribute, I decided to list thirty lessons I have been taught so far in this incredible, awe-inspiring, and often hysterical life of mine.

  1. There can be much noise in silence. Over Thinking can be deafening, destroying the healing that is to be found in its stillness.
  2. Sometimes people do not need to hear the words. They only just need to be hugged.
  3. Pulling the positive out of negative situations, can make you a more grateful person.
  4. Having a sense of humor can get you through most anything.
  5. When you find a man, make sure he is one, in every sense of the definition.
  6. Becoming a mom qualifies you to make one mean grilled cheese sandwich!
  7. It also teaches you how to juggle, carrying ten things at once and a baby. Truly an astonishing circus act that can rival the Ringling brothers.
  8. Forgive. Yourself and others.
  9. Take a deep breath. 1...2...3..OK
  10. Be nice. Be kind, even when it kills you.
  11. It doesn’t matter what they did or how it happened, just do the right thing.
  12. Admit your wrongs and do not choose to be blind to your own faults.
  13. In one way or another, you will reap the actions and words you used out of anger.
  14. You’re never better than anyone, you are just better than what they may choose to do.
  15. Learning to let go of resentment is difficult, but it must be done.
  16. Accept the fact that some things will never change and just change your attitude towards it.
  17. Life has its seasons and this too shall pass.
  18. There is no room for pride in any kind of relationship.
  19. Listen more than you speak.
  20. Be humble when approaching a situation, doing so will most likely result in your favor.
  21. Tell the people you love what your favorite qualities in them are.
  22. Be mindful of how you can make someone feel.
  23. When having an issue or bad day and have to be present in a social setting, smile when you arrive. Do not air your dirty laundry, keep personal matters private.
  24. Regardless of your feelings, never wish someone an ill wellbeing.
  25. Chocolate can solve a lot of problems.
  26. Prayer can solve all problems.
  27. Everyone deserves to be loved.
  28. It’s fine to cry sometimes and let your emotions out. But afterwards, pull yourself together and find a solution or learn to deal the best you can.
  29. Strive to be content and do not put expectations on others.
  30. Life. Take it all in. The people you love, your marriage, children. Cherish it because it is fragile, everyday fleeting, and a gift.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mommy Bootcamp Update

Here are the results so far on Mommy Bootcamp. In case you missed the original post, you can read about it here.

I have stuck to my word and have had some pleasing results. She has tested me a few times but I stood my ground. Having a consequence for every action and following through. It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of cooking, cleaning, feeding the baby, etc.. I stop what I’m doing and correct the behavior. She is definitely catching on that I mean business.

This past Sunday was a rainy day. I handed her a bag and told her to pick the foam stickers up off the floor. She started being difficult and wanted to play around. I walked over to her toy bin, grabbed her spider man lunch box and told her I was going to throw it out in the yard if she didn’t pick up the stickers. This gave her some motivation and started to pick up as I asked. Soon, she was playing around again. “If you do not pick up these stickers, you can kiss this lunch box goodbye.” She turned and said, “No, you pick it up!” I walked over to the sliding glass door, opened it, and threw the lunch box over the balcony into the yard. I walked over to her toy bin, picked up another toy and told her if she didn’t pick up like I said, the lunch box will soon have company. Needless to say, she picked up everything in the floor!

Boom! Mom one, toddler zero! I don’t care how many times you tell me ‘I’m not your friend’ little girl! I do not want you to be my friend right now, I want you to be my friend when you’re thirty. Oh yes, I’m pulling out all the mommy classic phrases and also have my very own original ones. ‘Do it because I said so, if I tell you a chicken can pull a train, you better hook him up!’ Another
favorite lately is ‘If you can’t hear me, you can feel me!’ Feel free to use these also. Even if they are not effective, they're fun to say.

So there you have it. I am relieved to finally feel the shift of authority in the house.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I do and do not understand

I guess you could call this a rant. This has really been bugging me for the longest time and I just want to say what I do not understand and what I do understand.

I do not understand, when I go onto Facebook and I see these picture ‘quotes’ where every other word is a curse word. Statuses giving account to viscous or unseemly behavior, then the same people who post such things, their next update proclaims how much they praise and love God.

This is what I do understand. Actions such as these, contribute to the opinion that the church is full of hypocrites. Declaring to be a follower and believer of the Lord, but do not accept the responsibility of inserting Christian principles in day to day living. Making faith to seem as if it is a joke and something that doesn’t have to be taken seriously.This is a direct insult to Christ and everything He stands for. This is disrespectful to the church and a stumbling block for those who want and deserve to know our true God.

A study administered by Lifeway of unchurched Americans in 2008, revealed that even those turned off by the church, 78 percent were willing to listen to someone who wanted to talk about their Christian beliefs. 89 percent of adults, from 18-29 years of age, were also willing. On the same note, 72 percent thought that the church was ‘full of hypocrites’ and 79 percent believed
that Christianity was more about organized religion than loving God and loving people. What an advantage and disadvantage this is for evangelical Christianity.

What I need you to understand, is that I am not standing on my ‘soap box’ so to speak, with a self righteous attitude. I am far from perfect. I need His guidance everyday to stay on the straight and narrow. Somedays, I do not do as well as I should and I fall short of His glory everyday. The difference, is that I want to bear fruit. I want the Lord to change me from the inside and take control of my life, because when it is left only in my hands, it has been proven to be out of control.

I know that when Christians are mocked and persecuted for His name, we should rejoice. The opinions of this sort, are more than fine by me. But when people have this opinion because of the conduct of a Christian, that is not fine. We are called to set an example and to lead others to Him. I want other people that I come in contact with, to know the joy and the kind of peace you receive through serving him. I want them to know, that this is not something you say or just show up for. Confessing to be a Christian, is a way of life.

This is my defense, to someone who believes we are all a bunch of hypocrites. Before making this statement, please grasp what a Christian can look like. It doesn’t mean that we do no wrong doing, ever. We make mistakes, get angry sometimes, and can be in a bad mood. We are human, fallible. But if you need us, we are there. I am willing to accept and love you. Come as you are, your transgressions and all. It just makes for a more powerful testimony, as was my case. Remember to not hold me to the standard that I am to be Jesus Christ, instead of trying to be Christ like. Even on my best days, I will never come close.    

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mommy Bootcamp

I have had it! My three year old's behavior, has been completely out of control lately. She has been testing my husband and I for quite sometime, (as children most often do) and we have dealt with it accordingly.

But she has been taking it to a whole different level. We thought the reason for her acting out, was because of the baby. So we made sure to include her in everything, and have been spending lots of one on one time with her. She doesn't seem to be jealous of the baby. She is loving, gentle, and even down right protective over him. So, I have came to the conclusion, that she wants to see how much she can control. How much she can get away with.

She defies everything we say, screams and yells at us, spits, kicks, hits, and is destructive. I would fight a grizzly bear, rather than dress her in the mornings. Either she's running off in between each item of clothing you put on her, or it includes twenty intermissions for a solo performance of Ring Around the Rosie!

I have exercised the patience of Job, I've done the whole, bend down and talk to them at eye level thing. I tried a reward chart with stickers, which I still have a million stickers left! I have asked other moms for advice, time-outs, and even lost my temper. I have cried out of frustration and going constantly, to the Lord in prayer . After an episode last night, I prayed even harder, to the point of pleading.

This morning I woke up and decided, that I am going to take a different approach. My interaction with her this week, will be direct, short, and firm. There will be no, pick up your toys, please. Don't do that sweetie, listen to mom, please! Oh no, none of that, operation Mommy Bootcamp is in full effect!

So, hide your husbands, wives, and grandparents eyes. A day of reckoning is upon the Reyes household, and I'm about to turn it up. There will be no need for Nanny 911. Instead, it's Mommy 411 up in this mug, and I'm going to give you the business! Mommy Bootcamp has initiated, as of this morning.

She came downstairs wanting chocolate. Instead of trying to explain, for the umpteenth time, why she can't have chocolate for breakfast, I said no once, then proceeded to fix her cereal and a cup of milk, ignoring her repeated request. She eventually gave up.

I fed the baby, while she ate her cereal and afterwards, headed upstairs to dress her. Along the way, I grabbed a belt for a more visual precursor. If you must know, I didn't use it. Please do not lecture or send me links of research or studies, claiming how this kind of punishment will raise a violent child, that hates my guts, and eventually try to kill me. It should be used correctly, with an understanding, that inflicting pain is not the objective. Besides, I participated in such a study called, ''Step out of line, I'll beat your behind'' while growing up. I turned out fine, my parents are alive, I love and most importantly, respect them. Anyways, moving along.

She began whining and demanding that she wear her blue church dress, and how she didn't, want to wear her other clothes! I calmly and firmly told her to get dressed. No!, she shouted, then ran to her room. I followed behind, and told her calmly again, to get dressed. No!, she shouted again. I turned and slapped the belt on the bed, with more force than that mattress has seen in a long time! I turned back around and told her once more, calmly but firmly, ''Get dressed.'' Needless to say, she complied. I was even able to fix her hair immediately afterwards. ''Let's go'' I said, instead of, ''Alllll done!'' She came downstairs and got in the car without giving me any static.

This may seem a bit harsh, but I have tried all the nice talk, the explaining, the requesting. I have had patience beyond what I should, and most days felt defeated. So, if it is wrong to be more unyielding and stern with my child, to reclaim parental authority. I don't want to be right. I refuse to raise her with a perverse sense of self entitlement and disregard for proper authority.

I never wanted to feel like a ''mean mom.'' But I do, want to feel the joy that a parent/child relationship can have, living it up to it's full potential.