Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Go And Get Your Own Yardstick!

How Do You Measure Up? 

I recently had one of those conversations with my daughter… the kind that just breaks your heart.  As soon as we started the conversation, I was transported back to times when I felt the same way that she was describing.  I could empathize, sympathize and hear my heart crack with each word.This is what she was feeling –

 That She Was Not Good Enough.

She felt like she had to work her tail off, and still not see the results that came to others so easily when they worked at those things.  To her, she did not measure up to what others were doing . That was tough on her.  In her mind, her value and importance was based on achievements that others were accomplishing. She couldn’t see how amazing she truly is because she was measuring by other’s yardsticks.

As her mom I comforted her and let her know how brightly she shines, regardless of what a result was in a particular task. I reminded her that she is an amazingly artistic, creative, and entrepreneurial kid.  She has an uncanny way of figuring out how to get things done. Although she is in the height and throws of teendom, she has a worldly ability that is far beyond her years.  She is brilliant, radiant, and kind hearted.  It’s almost absurd that she can be all these things, yet still feel like she falls short. I could say that is lack of life experience or maturity, but we all know that life experience and age has nothing to do with it.

Admit It-  You’ve Felt This

By a raise of hand, click of a mouse or a share of this post (ok… had to get some shameless promotion in there somewhere) how many of you have felt this way?

I know that more days than not, not being “good enough” pops into my thinking.  Some days it is a hindrance that I can step over, kick to the curb, or sweep under the rug.  Other days it is a full blown obstacle. I get so caught up in the size of other people’s yardsticks that I think mine pales in comparison. “ My job wasn’t as “important” as theirs. I “just” made this contribution, but they made “that” one.  They are more “put together” than I will ever be. “ Whether it is a conscious though or a subconscious feeling, there are days when it is hard to realize the things that my yardstick has measured.

Time to Re-Measure

When we are feeling this way, or when our children are feeling this way, it is vital that we realize that we should never measure ourselves according to what others have done.  Each person is an individual and gifted in different ways.  Even if two people share the same type of strength, so many factors go into how that strength plays out, that how those strengths manifest could be very different. One persons yardstick may have measured a mile, but another’s may have measured 1 yard 1,760 times. Is either one less accomplished than the other? Don’t both show strength and tenacity, even though it showed in different ways?

Get Your Own Yardstick

Next time you are tempted to use your friends, neighbor’s, or society's yardstick – do yourself a favor. Go and get your own.  You will be much happier when you own it, keep it, and see it for what it is - a measure of you from the floor on where you stand.  Not a measure of you from where someone else stands.

What do you think? Do you compare yourself with others to see your own value? What is one area of life in which you need to get your own yardstick? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

6 Easy Kid and Parent Friendly Projects for Valentines Day!

Are you crafty??

Here are six easy projects you can do with candy hearts to spruce up your Valentine table! 

We don't typically do a lot of decorating for Valentines Day, but it sure is fun to put a bit of the Valentine spirit into the days festivities.  why not have a fun afternoon with the kids and share a few minutes after school today to bring a touch of love to your home or table? These 6 crafts are the perfect way to do that! All of them can be done by you or by your kids, and all can be done in 30 minutes or less. These are fantastic ways for you to have fun, to be creative, and to foster the same in your children.  Enjoy these simple crafts that take no more than a bag of candy hearts and some things you probably have around the house! Enjoy!

The Romantic Candle! 
Time: 5 minutes
Find a few of your favorite sayings on the large candy hearts.  Heat up your hot glue gun - low temp glue guns work just fine.  Glue the hearts to the lower portion of a candle, spaced evenly. (I used a red candle left over from the Christmas holidays) Place in a pretty candle holder and Viola' ! A romantic candle to brighten your table! 

Note: ALWAYS use caution when burning candles - extinguish the flame before you leave the room and before it gets down to the level of the candy hearts. 

I Give You My Heart Plaque
Time 30 minutes

Separate candy hearts by color - a great way for your kids to work on color recognition and organization.  Use as many colors as you'd like.  Draw a heart on a piece of cardboard or other solid base. If you want and accent color on the base, apply that first - covering the entire base.  Use white glue to apply the hearts, one color at a time, to the inside of the heart.  Let it dry before standing upright. This is a colorful way to give your heart, or your child to express how much they love mom, dad, siblings, or other family!

Heart Jewelry
Time 20 minutes

For the little ones, a simple candy heart necklace can be made from ribbon and hearts.  Choose one large heart and approximately 14 small hearts in the sayings and colors of your choice.  Cut a piece of ribbon approximately 18 inches long.  Starting in the center, glue the large heart with low temp hot glue. Working out from the center, glue the smaller hearts in the pattern you desire.  

For the more experienced jewelry maker, use beads and jewelry findings to create a pendant style necklace.  Adhere findings to the heart using hot glue and string on a simple string rope.  

Keep My Heart
Time 30 Minutes

Using a re-purposed candle jar from the holidays, or any other container you have, create a "Keep My Heart". Glue a piece of fabric to the top of the lid and let it dry. Using low temp hot glue,  glue a large heart to the center top of of the jar and let completely dry.  Using small hearts, choose your favorite colors and sayings to line the lip of the lid.  Adhere with low temp hot glue.  In minutes you can have an adorable keep sake for Valentines day!

Sweet Hearts and Flowers for Your Hair!
Time 10 Minutes

Find some of your last year's spring silk flowers and create a fun hair decoration.  Decorate the center of the flower using a single large candy heart in your favorite color.  Affix the heart with low temp hot glue and let dry.  Affix the newly decorated flower to a hair pin or clip and you have hearts and flowers for your hair! 

A Vase for Your Valentine Flowers!
Time 20 minutes

Using two containers create this candy heart vase.  Insert a small container into a larger one - making sure that there is about 1 inch between the perimeter of the smaller container and the larger one.  Fill the space between the two containers with candy hearts.  Fill the inner container with your favorite flowers or greenery! Simply stunning! 

Love is in our actions. Take the time today to have fun and be creative with your kids.  These are simple projects that you can do together to make your Valentine's Day a bit more fun! If your kids are too little or are grown, have fun with these projects yourself. We show love by what we say, but also in the effort we make to show those special people in our lives that we love them.   ENJOY! 

Do you have any other suggestions? I'd love your comments and feedback on these easy crafts! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

In The Blink Of An Eye

Where does the time go?

I thought it was only yesterday – but I guess I am wrong.  The memories are so clear and the feelings so real.  That day I brought her home – how can that have been 15 years ago?

As I have gotten older, time just seems to fly by. 

When my kids were young – when I was young, time just seemed to tick by so slowly.  The days, at times seemed endless. Running after little ones, doing laundry, and keeping the little ones occupied stretched the minutes, and often my patience to the limit. Tantrums, potty training, battles of the wills, bedtime drama, all left me worn and tired.  And although the days seemed so long, night and sleep never seemed long enough.
I remember the looking for, hoping for, and waiting for the next milestone with such anticipation.  Will she tie her own shoe today? Is today the day she will dress herself?  Is she going to have as much fun at school as I will have in my couple of hours of alone time? Anticipation, waiting, and rejoicing when the times finally came were the norm.  Not because I was anxious to have grown up children, but because I wanted to see them learn and grow.  And let’s be honest, as they grow, the physical demands of motherhood change.   As they hit those milestones, I looked forward to some of my own energy, time and sleep back.

But, now, it moves so quickly.  It was in the blink of an eye, my family grew up.  My little girls have become young women and are beginning to step out into the world as independents.  Each day passes by before I know it and I am one step closer to having grown three adults. 

It is a happy, but also a sad thing for a mom.  I still look with anticipation for the milestones they will hit – driver’s license, turning 18, graduating from college, starting a career.  I look forward to watching them spread their wings and soar, but I also feel the pang of not having them in my grip.  The desire to loosen my hold and the demands it brought are replaced by a desire to hold on and say “don’t go yet!”

Isn’t that the way?  The times we don’t want to end seem to end way too quickly. 

As  I watched my youngest daughter blow out the candles to celebrate her 15th year of life, I was struck.  My time as the everyday, every action influence is limited.  It will move fast.  It will be gone before I know it, and I will have raised three beautiful and capable women. 

So for now, I will make the most of the time I have with them.  I will cherish every moment, each memory, and each milestone.  I will hope for them, dream for them, love them, and do my best to prepare them.  The days that I had to drag time along behind me have passed.  Now it runs in front of me, outpacing me.  I will hang on to the memories in my heart and mind, for I know that I can’t capture the time and keep it still.  

How about you? Has time passed by in the blink of an eye? How are you cherishing the moments?