Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recycled Fun

We officially recycle now... I know, about time.  And to commemorate our new lifestyle, here's my article from this month's KC Parent.  Thanks to all my friends who contributed ideas!  Couldn't have written it without you.  To read the article, click HERE and go to page 24, or just pick up a copy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Toxic Need for Approval

In trying to make myself feel like a better mom, I really blew it with my kids.

The thing about Lorelei and Gryffin is that, in many areas, they seem to lag behind their peers.  And I let it bother me.

While all the other girls in dance class do their perfect renditions of Swan Lake, Lorelei is chasing feathers from her boa and taking her twirl five seconds too late, skipping three other moves in the process.  At soccer, I actually overhear other parents of soccer stars criticizing my parenting (I don't practice with her enough) because she can't dribble (is that the right word??) as well as their daughters... in voices just loud enough to make sure I hear their disapproval.  A calculated attack.

While all the other boys are speaking in clear sentences and honing their fine motor skills with precision, Gryffy is struggling to put final consonants on his words, still doesn't use most contractions in speech, and hasn't even picked a hand to favor.  And while the other kids are writing their full names, he can barely write his first letter.

Don't get me wrong, my kids have plenty of strengths too--you'll never find more thoughtful, kind, loving kids.  Lorelei is doing excellent at her reading, memory verses, violin and art, and Gryffy has an imagination, knack for jumping all the way from the coffee table to the couch five feet away, and self-sufficiency that astounds me--he even wipes.  Yes, wipes.  And Gryffy, at 3, can almost ride his bike without me holding on.

The problem is, I get so caught up on the abilities my kids lack that I let comparison creep in, and I shame myself.  I hear this voice (yes, those soccer parents' voices) saying, "You don't do enough to teach them; it's your fault; if only you were a better parent."  And out of my own self-blame, I get frustrated... at my kids.

It reared its ugly head yesterday when I was trying so desperately hard to help Lorelei overcome her fear of riding a bike that I became overbearing.  She is so close, and yet it's the grip of fear that stops her every time.  I get mad about this.  Mad at her fear, yes, but mostly, mad that she doesn't measure up to my expectations (who's really afraid?), which I've adopted from the expectations and experiences of others.  She needs time, but I'm too begrudging to give it.  And what's meant to be a joy of childhood freedom becomes a battle that binds joy.  And it's not right.  And it's not good.

I apologized to Lorelei last night for being so demanding with the bike, gave her a hug, and told her I would work on being more kind and patient with her.  She didn't seem too battle worn, but my spirit ached inside of me. Why do I yearn so much for the approval of others?

Yesterday, I heard something that cut me to the quick.  Powerful words that spoke such truth that they stung me:


Can I get an Amen?! (Oh wait... I'm asking for approval again :o)

Today, I'm wading into those vulnerable waters, washing off my toxic need for approval, and restoring joy.  Because life's too short to worry about dribbling a damn soccer ball.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Princess Power Training Kick-Off

Tonight was our first Princess Power Training meeting, where three groups of 6 mothers/8 daughters each became part of a sisterhood in Christ dedicated to teaching truth over six weeks, with a different theme each night: Be-YOU-ty, Honor, Kindness, Confidence, Courage, Radiance. I just had it on my heart (this IS my heart) to teach my daughter and other young girls some very important lessons, and when I shared the idea it took off--God put every detail in place, and it fell together with effortless ease (and a ton of help). God just surrounded PPT with capable women, provided the perfect space for us at Heartland (our church), and continues to delight us by showing us that this thing really does belong to Him.
Tonight's topic, the first of six, was on Be-YOU-ty.  The girls all had royal invitations placed upon their pillows this morning... (Manicures, pedicures, facials too... a night of Be-YOU-ty at the spa awaits you!)...
 ... and received their Princess Diaries, lovingly made by their mothers.
 (We met up last week and got crafty--this is my PPT small group.)
I put together a little PowerPoint presentation (thank goodness for my hubby, who hooked up all the technology for me, bless him).
We began with worship to a song called "No Matter What."  My dear friend Jennifer led music with me, and next week we'll have our friend Kristi leading dance.
I love that everyone sang along.
 Next, I introduced our guest speaker, Mikaela Carson.  As soon as I asked her to join us, she just had a big "yes!" on her heart.  And boy, was she ever phenomenal, articulate, be-you-tiful!  (And she must have loved these girls a lot, because SHE asked us if she could come back again May 1st!)
You should have seen the girls' faces when she walked through the door!

I asked Mikaela if she would talk on beauty and remove layers of tiara, earrings, big hair, heels, makeup... and ask the girls if she is still beautiful.  She kept asking, "So, now that I don't have my _____, does that change who I am?"  The message was powerful.  

 She even removed her gown, and it was great to see the girls really get the message that Mikaela was more than her accessories, and that her beauty was more than skin deep.

I think we moms were just as inspired as our daughters...

Talk about a tough act to follow.  Luckily, the PowerPoint had some pictures that caught the girls' attention.  Lots of before/afters of photo editing to show that the images that bombard us about beauty are fake and unattainable.

 Then I talked about God's idea of beauty, and how beautiful we are to our Father.

 Jade, one of the amazing small group leaders who made this whole thing happen and has been constantly contributing to the effort (the other, Katrina, is behind the camera--I love these ladies :o)

 Next we enjoyed the Pampered Princess Spa Experience as small groups.  The girls thought it was divine! The moms and daughters really bonded.
We began with "Mommy & Me Manicures."  In the girls' Princess Diary workbooks, we wrote down ten attributes that made them uniquely be-you-tiful.  Then we circled the first letter of each word, and painted it onto their nails. 

 I do this with Lorelei a lot and she loves it!

 Next came facials.  ALL the girls in our small group were game.  The other groups didn't have as much luck.  (The yogurt and oatmeal were really gooey--I get it.)

We had some warm washcloths in the crockpot to wipe their faces. Lorelei exclaimed, "Mommy, feel how soft my skin is!"
 Next we played the "Pass the Pedicure" game, in which each girl brought her nail polish to the circle, we played some Martina McBride (This One's For the Girls), and passed the polish until the music stopped.  Whatever color each girl had in her hand was the color she had to use to paint one toe.

 We kept passing colors until all ten toes were painted the colors of the rainbow.

 I just can't get over how much we bonded with our daughters tonight.  It was such a beautiful experience.
 My small group--I love these girls (we're missing three others who will join us next week)!
When we took this photo, I didn't even realize what the chalkboard said behind us.  I think God wanted to remind me... WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE :O)
 I can't wait to see what else God has in store for PPT.  What a blessing for these young girls, and what a joy it's been to plan it!
On the drive home, Lorelei and I talked about what she learned tonight, and she really "got it."  I was thrilled to hear her say that "beauty is what's inside you", and that "what's on the outside doesn't change who you are."
And just before bed, she called out to me, "Mom, I really did feel like a princess tonight at Princess Power Training."
And that's as good as it gets for me!
"A longing fulfilled is a tree of life."~Proverbs 13:12