Family

Mother-Daughter Relationships

There is no heart like that of a mother

Cleaning around the house recently I found notes from a Mother Daughter retreat my daughter and I led in 2006. This description of a relationship hit home with me once again. I hope you are touched by it as much as I was reading it.

 

The mother-daughter relationship is at the headwaters of every woman’s health. Our bodies and our beliefs about them were formed in the soil of our mother’s emotions, beliefs an behaviors. Even before birth, our mother provides us with our first experience of nurturing. She is our first and most powerful female role mode. It is from her that we learn what it is to be a woman and care for our bodies.

Our bodies and those of our daughters were created by a seamless web or nature and nurture, by God. Every daughter contains her mother and all the women who came before her. To become optimally healthy and happy, each of us must get clear about the way in which our mother’s history both influenced and continues to inform our state of health, our beliefs and how we live our lives.

No one in your life will ever love you as your mother does. There is no love as pure, unconditional, and strong as a mother’s love. A daughter’s need for her mother is biologic, and it continues throughout her life. Not only was our mother’s body the source of life for us but it was her face that we looked to, to see how we were doing. By gazing into our mother’s eyes and experiencing her response to us, we learned crucial first lessons about our own worth.

The love of a mother…

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It’s a beautiful day..

It’s a beautiful day…

Today’s a new day, a fresh start to a life anew. Each of us have this opportunity every day. We are given a new day to use it as we see fit. Will we do something worth while or waste it way? Don’t throw this new beginning into the wind. Embrace it as a gift and open it slowly.

Allow the world to wrap its arms around you and leave pieces of peace throughout your day. When you open yourself to positive energy flowing within you, love and happiness spreads to everyone around.

You are in control of how you share the day with others, so,

1.    Be kind. You may not know what the person you meet is dealing with. They need a kind word or smile. It will make a difference in their life.

2.    Build relationships. A true relationship takes time, patience, effort and compromise. Whether a friendship or intimate relationship, treating each other with respect is essential.

3.    Stretch yourself and grow.  Never fear what stretching may do to you, you will always grow from new experiences. The potential is unlimited in what you can achieve.

4.    Be grateful. Grateful for what you have and what you don’t have. There is a reason you do not have everything. Life is about graces that are given us, when we truly appreciate them we are filled with more. If you are grateful for the blessing you will always be happy.

5.    Show appreciation every day – do a daily examen at night. Look at your day and tell a loved one what you appreciated from your day.

6.    Leave a path of goodness behind you – in each situation presented to you throughout your day, try to leave a good thought, good deed or good feeling behind as you leave.

7.    Be open to new opportunities – change allows us to grow

8.    Love yourself – know that you are a loving, caring child of God and accept yourself for who you are and who God is allowing you to become.
So as U2 sings so beautifully…

It’s a beautiful day…don’t let it get away…it’s a beautiful day…

Categories: Balance, Family, God, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Returning to our roots

This past week I was able to drive past the house that I called home for the first 6 years of my life.
The house is just off the corner of 92nd Street and Stony Island on the south-west side of Chicago, so I don’t get there much.
But this week I was driving from the National Shrine of St. Jude at 91st and Commercial Avenue and said to my children who were with me, let’s drive past it…and we did!

Although it’s a very urban area, the small section of three blocks that the house was on was filled with well manicured lawns and up kept homes. My father designed many homes in this area and the area surrounding known long ago as Pill Hill. Pill Hill contained many homes of Michael Reese doctors, one house was even lived in by the infamous Ernie Banks. It was so refreshing to see individual, unique homes where so many city homes are the same one right after the other. It was like a suburb in the city.

Seeing the home brought back memories of the winter of 1967 that buried us deep. But my sister and two brothers found it nothing but exhilarating! I remember digging tunnels through our front yard and forts for boys and girls that protected us from snow ball fights.

The house itself was a multi-level home, with a beautiful entry way. I mostly remember the basement with was finished like a big family room. The large Italian family would gather in the basement and was filled with laughter and love. The backyard filled with all the cousins during these times and we never tired of running in the alley.

I remember sharing a room with my older sister, who I looked up to (still do) and we had the most beautiful white and gold canopy bedroom set. I’m sure everyone thought there were so cool. We felt like such rock stars with the canopy above us while we slept. Okay, maybe we were kooky kids, but I enjoyed those beds!

We moved to the southwest suburbs in the late 60s and discovered much more grass and larger homes, but there will always be something special about the house on 92nd Street.

Memories are treasures that we store of our life and help us to remember the events of life. I hope your memories are filled with grace, happiness and laughter.

Do you remember your first home as a child?
Does it give you good memories?

 

Categories: Family, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What are we running to?

Oh My! Has it been that long, I actually started this blog post 10 days ago and got side tracked…sorry.

I was fortunate to watch a movie last week called “Race to Nowhere”.

It was eye-opening, it was reassuring and it was sad all at the same time.

When my daughter and son were in grade school and high school, it was a priority in our home to eat meals together and have down time. I remember my daughter’s fifth grade teacher response when I questioned why she never seemed to send work home. She said, I work them hard enough when they are here, they need to relax and play when they are at home. What a wonderful and wise teacher!

Our children do need to express their creativity – they need to unwind – they need to de-stress.

A Race to Nowhere talked about all the academic and athletic pressures our young children feel today. One parent said “These children are losing 7th through 11th grade years” – WOW! What kind of society are we creating, what are we teaching our children. If we put pressure on them in grade school and middle school to “keep up with the Jones” they will learn that they have to fit into the model of what society expects of them. Not everyone is an AP, honor roll student with three sports and music lessons to boot. And not every parent is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt look-alike. And we shouldn’t be. We are each uniquely created by God and we have to teach our children to embrace that!

I’m sad because I don’t want our children to learn the pressures of the world and unravel. Our children need flexibility and creativity and non-judgmental opportunities to be themselves. We should be accepting of them where they are. Should we encourage and give them support to be their best – YES, absolutely. But not to the point of anxiety, lack of sleep, stomach disorders, etc.

My son qualified for three AP classes his freshman year and my husband and I said, choose one and one sport. It’s more important that he was well-rounded and socially balanced. We wanted him to adjust and enjoy his high school years.

And guess what – he did incredible in high school and was accepted at a great college. My daughter had the same high school experiences, balance – with faith activities, golf and academics. Again, wonderful college experience too!

And guess what else, they both were offered great jobs before graduation and are contributing members of society. My daughter teaches 8th grade social studies and is an amazing teacher, (SO PROUD OF HER). My son is a computer software developer and loves working with his clients.

The stress of 6 hours of homework, maximum sport overload, activity craziness did not bring them to this point. A loving, accepting, nurturing family and friends did.

As adults we know how time goes by too quickly.
We know that one day are babies become children and our children become adults.
Why do we want to add to the rush?

I recommend watching Race to Nowhere and really contemplating how you are raising your children.

Then take them out to the park and throw a Frisbee with them! Enjoy the beautiful spring!!

Categories: Balance, Family, Movies | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kind…Smart…Important

You is kind.
You is smart.
You is important.

Aibileen may have been just the lowly black servant of the house, but she forever positively influenced the lives of the children’s ears she whispered those words into.
I watched “The Help” and then read the book recently. A wonderful story with touching characters and harsh realities of our world.

Aibileen was treated as unimportant, but she made sure the children in her care felt elevated.
Aibileens kindness and intelligence went unnoticed because of her skin color, but she was one of the most perceptive and giving characters in the story.
She saw the prejudice around her and the prejudice directed at her, but she rose above it and lived in truth.

Prejudice still exists today. Sometimes it not the color of the skin, but the address of their home or the intelligence of their being. Hate comes masked in all different forms. Evil comes masked behind pretentious smiles just as often as hatred is visually noticeable in others body language.

We need love, we need acceptance, we need purpose.
We need to be told we are kind, smart and important. People do not realize we feel that way unless we tell them. Can you imagine if every child was told each day how important they are to the world around them…what a world this would be…just stop and imagine…now help that become a reality!

Those three little sentences in a movie about so many life lessons may have been the most profound for me.

Do we tell those around us how important they are to us? Do we reach out in kindness to others? Life brings us many challenges, depression can come so easily if we feel that we have no purpose. The funny thing is, you may never know how one small act can impact another. Consider Mark and Bill…a true story…

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.”

-John W. Schlatter

You may have read or heard of a similar story on the internet about Kyle, but that story exploded from this simple one. But this story is not simple, it was important to Bill. It is a story that needs to be shared.

You can make a difference too!
You can be a Mark to someone else and turn a simple momentary act into life altering action!
You can be Aibileen and build up someone’s confidence by using only the power of your words!

How will you be Kind, Smart and Important to someone else today?

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