Monday, December 31, 2007

Gentle

Some thoughts and musings about the word gentle.

Dictionary definitions

Gentle parenting
- to me, this encompasses ideas I've gotten from books like Unconditional Parenting, Raising our Children, Raising ourselves, & Connection parenting this past year. It means not using punishments, threats or raising my voice. I'm still working on it. It means really considering and being respectful of my children's needs and wants and honoring their agency and choices.

Gentle inward thoughts
- Eliminating or at least being aware of and dealing with my negative self talk that leads to self destructive choices. (Over eating, procrastination, bad attitudes...)

Gentle outward thoughts - Being charitable and loving towards others. Not judging others. Thinking the best of others and being positive and hopeful in my interactions.

Gentle words - A soft answer turneth away wrath (Prov. 15:1). If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. :) The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones (Ecclesiasticus 28:17). Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity. (Jeffrey R. Holland, great talk here.)

I don't want to yell, I don't want to have a harsh tone in my voice. I want a gentle voice full of gentle words. Uplifting words that help and heal.

Gentle life - Being gentle to myself means taking care of myself. Meeting the needs of my body, listening to those needs, just as I try to meet the needs of my children. This really encompasses all of those eat better, lose weight, exercise regularly resolutions people make to some degree, but I want it to BE part of me, not just something I do. I think this part comes more from the gentle thoughts shaping who I am. It also can be about environmentalism and my footprint on this beautiful earth. An electric car is still something we want to buy when we can afford it. Recycling, composting, gardening, using mass transportation, conservation, reusing...

I really feel though that these things have to come from a strong inward change in order to be lasting choices, which is part of living by this word for this year is what I am going to try. I think I will put these things in a sidebar. :) For me, 2008 is the year of becoming gentle.

Lovely Song - This has been a song I have liked since I was a teenager. It is soft and quiet and lovely. If you haven't heard it, I recommend it. :)

Lyrics for Gentle by Michael McLean

Like a gentle wind can blow
The clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease
The pain of good-bye,
Like a gentle smile embraces
Empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently
Builds us up when we’re down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn
Our world around.
We've been hurt by others often;
We’ve been forgiven and forgotten;
We should be as gentle with ourselves.
Life can be hard but we
Need not be so hard on ourselves,
If we will see…

Like the Shepherd leads his flock
With gentle commands,
With his gentle voice that
Only hearts can understand,
One thing we can know for certain,
He has borne the awful burden
So we can be gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our new addition


Today our newest family member joined us permanently. :) We have adopted an 8 month old Chocolate lab named Sarge. He is a sweet and playful doggy, full of energy and curiosity. Too much energy for the family at church who offered him to us. L & H are very excited to have a dog, they love to feed him treats and play flashlight tag with him.

We've been visiting Sarge for about 2 weeks now, to get to know him and learn about his care. Today, now that we are totally moved out of our other home, he came and joined us. Isn't he handsome? :)

I've been wanting to get a dog for years, we have put it off until we were in a more stable situation. We would have probably waited a little bit longer if this opportunity to take care of this sweet dog hadn't presented itself.

Moving & the New year's approach

We have spent the past few days relocating all of our belongings (including some inherited ones) to a new home. DH & I are tired & sore. My foot tendinitis is starting to come back and I have cramps in my palm. I am looking forward to getting things arranged to some degree in our new home soon, but its taking some time. It is a little frustrating how much I can't do on my own, and how long things take.

The boys are doing okay. H has started to take all of his bedding, (pillows, blankets & all animals) with him in the car whenever we go anywhere. We went and said goodbye to the old house today and spent some time talking about how everything was at the new house (including the trains!) and I'm hoping that he'll start feeling more secure here soon. L is rather cavalier about it, but this is the 4th or 5th move he remembers now, and I think he is doing okay with it overall.

We do not plan to move for several more years. When asked, DH says 4-5 years and I say 1-2, who knows how long it'll be. :) We really like this house. I need to take pictures and share them, there is a beautiful large oak in the front yard that is wonderful. We have hardwood floors except the kitchen and bath and I love that. DH painted all the rooms some beautiful colors before we moved in and I can't wait to start gardening. We have many plans. :)

As 2007 rushes to its end, I reflect over all that has happened this year. It is amazing what a difference a year makes in your life. After reading an inspiring post, at a friend's blog about another post here, I have decided to choose a word for the new year to reflect on, ponder, and help guide me. I think I have chosen the word gentle. I will continue to muse about it, but the word has been in my thoughts lately anyway, and it speaks so much more to me than other possibilities.

I want to become more gentle toward people, in my own thoughts, in my approach to many things. I think I will write it down and put it places to help me remember it at first, but it is a good word.

What about you? What word will you choose to live by in 2008?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fun stuff with the boys

Here are H & L's Christmas cards for me. We made our cards this year, most were snowmen cards or Christmas tree cards. We did potato stamping, and had a good time. After the paint dried, we then used markers to decorate the snowmen.

I love the 2 they made just for me, I had to share them. H is really improving on dexterity, the face and buttons and arms are so easily visible I think. And L chose to make his look similar to mine, but with his own colors and style. He made about 5 cards before being bored. H's is the first one he made, and then he started coloring all the snowmen all black and blue and saying they were hiding. Good times were had. :)

Tonight L asked to roast hotdogs over the fire for dinner and we did, b/c I haven't really felt like cooking much with all the moving prep and Christmas stuff on top of it. The boys loved it so much! They did need some help getting the hotdogs cooked all the way, but had no problem catching marshmallow's on fire afterwards! I guess we will miss having a fireplace at our new place. :) Wonder what the code is on bonfire's in your backyard... ;P

(You can also see that L got a hair cut this week. He got tired of having his hair combed out when it was wet and tangly and agreed to a trim, and while I didn't do exactly what I meant to, it turned out okay, at least boy hair grows quickly!)

For H's birthday, DH took him on a special trip, to a miniature train display downtown. I think it will be a family tradition, dad taking you on a fun trip for your birthday just the two of you. What I loved about it is that it was all initiated and thought of by him. He is such a wonderful dad! This picture turned out really cool I think. They had a great time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're moving!

Well we succeeded in helping sell my SIL's home, which means we are moving right after Christmas! What a way to add extra things to do at this fun time of year. I've been thinking about it, and I really love Thanksgiving more than Christmas. There are so many things to do for Christmas and for Thanksgiving I get to focus on cooking a great meal and spending time with loved ones. It's like the ultimate dinner party, and apparently, I love that!

We have been making homemade Christmas cards using potato stamps. The boys really enjoy it, and I didn't yell except for my initial yelp of surprise when H decided to dump out 1.5 bottles of paint on the table, floor and himself. Here is a photo before that happened of him busily painting cards.

H had his birthday this month, which means I deluded myself that I could make a cake look like Thomas the tank engine. He was happy with it, though the photos are much worse looking than the cake looked I think. I've gotten lots of use from my train cake splurge though, so I'm happy about that! I could write a lot about all the things I should have done to make it better, the biggest one though is not procrastinate and spend more time on it! I have so much respect for cake decorators after trying my hand at it! Sheesh!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Santa Pictures

Santa photos.



H is not a fan of Santa, though the Santa at the park convinced him to pose for the one picture.




L loves Santa and tells him all sorts of things. Hugs, christmas presents, lets go play...its fun. :)



This is Santa from our Ward party. L was one of the first ones in line, H was upset to be too close AND too far away from Santa. I think he wanted to observe him from exactly the right "safe" distance. It was fun.



Santa at the park made sure he got photos with everyone. I guess he either loves being Santa that much or wanted to make sure he earned his money.

Either way, it was amusing to watch him negotiate a photo with H.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Ballet


Though the thought of taking very active boys to a normal ballet where you are supposed to sit very still sends me into anxiety attacks, a friend arranged for us to attend a daytime performance aimed at local schools. We were given the front 2 rows for our "homeschool" group. Since it was public school kids, being quiet wasn't an issue. Our kids were amazingly well behaved in comparison. :P

L loved it and thought it was awesome. H wasn't excited to attend and used the camera (without flash) as a toy to keep him amused. So I have a lot of photos of the dark. But he did get some shots of the dancers, though they aren't super clear. Artsy really. :D

Afterward another romp at the park in the wonderful Texas weather completed another wonderful day of fun this week. Did I mention we love Texas? It has so many fun things to do, we've made friends, the weather is awesome...it is a nice place to live. :)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fire Station Exploration

We went on an awesome tour of a fire station this week. They had a cool little museum in their station about the history of fire fighting with all sorts of cool things in it, and they showed us around the station, let the kids climb on the truck, showed us all the cool gear...fun times! L was already to put on the whole fire-fighting suit, but thankfully was okay with just trying on the various small pieces. He approaches life with such zeal, it is awesome.

H played with the camera A LOT during this trip, I deleted over 50 pictures of random feet, floors, etc. but he did take a few good ones and allowed me turns too, there are so many that I decided this was a slideshow set of photos. :) Enjoy!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Good Day

At the end of a day, how do you decide if it was a good, successful day or not? What makes the difference?

I realized the other night that my perception of a good day has changed. It isn't that I ever made a statement of "This is what makes a good day", but I had been operating one way, and that has been changing.

See, it used to be that the more things I got done on my list of things that needed doing, the more successful, better day it was. I accepted that I wasn't going to be super productive every day, but tried to find a balance to not over do the good things so that more days were good than wasted.

Maybe the better question is how do you know if your day was a waste of time or a success or not?

Because that is what is changing. Spending most of the day pursuing my interests and having fun with my kids and helping them explore their interests is a wonderful way to spend the day. It is extremely good and successful, even if looking back, I can't really give you a laundry list of visible things accomplished.

I think I have let go of the notion that I need to be productive in a way that has a visible outcome every day. That production equals success and a good day.

Now success and a good day is measured by happiness and joy, and how much of it we have experienced that day.

We have so many happy days. I hope you are too. :)

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