Its been a while since I’ve written an Embrace entry. Its also been a while since I’ve blogged regularly. Life has a way to pull and push us along. The constant pulling and pushing and pulling and pushing can help us lose track of time. And before we know it, its 1 month, 2 months or a whole year later.
Part of my pulling and pushing the last two years has been my education. I’m a huge fan of higher education. Not just college level to get more credentials behind a name, but really life-long learning. After all, some of the smartest and most interesting people are not officially college educated. Rather, they are people who take the time to learn about the things that interest them. They spend a lot of time reading. And they spend time talking to people who share the same opinions as them. And more important, they spend time talking with (not at) people who share different opinions.
I have been to college 3 times now. First to earn my RN, then a MSN and now finally my APRN. Each time has been had its own struggles. As a newly graduated 18 year-old my main struggle was me. I struggled with becoming a responsible adult. I obtained my MSN on a whim. Now looking back I think it was a way to be distracted from the fact we were not getting pregnant. I struggled then with balancing work, life and school. I struggled with an obsession to only get A’s (which I did). Now, as an older student (almost 40), I’ve obtained my APRN. I struggled with managing kids, work, school and a social life. I also had to accept I wasn’t going to get all A’s and that’s OK.
You see, despite the struggles in the end its 100% worth. it I’ve come out with a degree and some added life skills. I’ve gained a sense of accomplishment knowing I after all that hard work and sacrifices, I did it. You see, I accomplished something I set out to do. This confidence is only gained from setting a high goal and achieving it.
Too often I hear people say, they want to get a degree or attend a seminar but they just can’t find a way to make it work. I get it, in some circumstances, it really is an almost impossibility (note ALMOST). I know the struggle. I know how daunting and exhausting it can be to think about it. I know the challenges of adding one more thing into an already jam packed schedule. I also know first-hand how it feels to be working full-time and running the kids everywhere. I know the struggle of attempting to string a few sentences together on a few hours a sleep that sound intelligent.
But what I want to say to you. The overworked, tired and stressed out in a going-nowhere (or at least nowhere you want to be) job, you can do it. Embrace a bit of exhaustion and stress. Embrace the chaos. Embrace the education and accept the responsibility of learning. You can do it. If you want it, you will do it. You see, its 100% manageable. Maybe not always pretty, but its manageable.
If the college route isn’t for you. Continue to learn about the world. Read and explore your library. Find something that interests you and learn about it. Life-learning can make the mundane seem less so. It can open up new doors and new friendships.
Explore what you want in life. Then take that first leap of faith. Know you can do it. I’m here to tell you, IF I can DO IT, YOU can too. Embrace education.
All my life I’ve had stains on my teeth. These stains were the point of many cruel comments both when I was a teenager and as an adult. Even though many people were curious or trying to be kind by suggesting ways to fix my teeth, it still hurt. I’ve had doctors examine my teeth like I was an animal up for auction. Sadly I’m not exaggerating. I’ve learn to be self-conscious of the stains.
I’ve always assumed the stains were the first and only thing people saw. I was careful to not show my teeth in pictures. I dreaded meeting new people. Every job interview had the normal nervousness but also had the an extra nervousness. I worried that people judged me when they saw my teeth. I assumed people thought I was uneducated. I was certain people judged me my by teeth.
I’d been thinking about stain removal for several years. I’d looked into so many options. I finally found one that would help the stains and maintain the tooth structure which was very important to me. I struggled emotionally with this decision. I wondered what I would be telling my kids if I did the procedure. Would it seem like I was being vain? And, two months ago, I had the procedure done. I was so excited with my results. I was certain everyone I knew would notice.
Now, two months out, no one’s commented. I’ll admit, I was disappointed. This had been such a big decision for me. I spent years and many hours debating the pros and cons to stain removal. I realized tonight there was two possible reasons for this 1) I have really polite friends or 2) people really didn’t care as much as I cared about the stains. Don’t get me wrong, I do have wonderful and polite friends. However, I honestly believe, I cared about my stains more than anyone else.
I believe I was more self-conscious about my stains then anyone cared about it. Getting my stains removed was the right thing for me. I’m more confident and feel better about my smile with the stains gone. I wish someone told me or I realized before for my own emotional security I was more obsessed about it than others. I don’t think knowing would’ve changed my mind about getting the treatment, but it would have helped me emotionally all those years.
I’m telling you, whatever your self-conscious about, people are not noticing nearly as often as you think. There may be people who notice and comment. But honestly, no one cares as much as you do. May that give you peace and may it help you to worry a little less about your imperfections. Please know you don’t have to fix the problem, you just need to accept that simple truth. It is hard, but its true. Embrace the insecurity and your self-consciousness. But remember, to not use the world as your definition of beauty or self-worth. Place your self-worth in the One who placed the stars in the sky.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
My oldest is in kindergarten. I believe I’ve said it before, Kindergarten has been a BIG adjustment for all of us. One of these adjustments has been my daughter’s need for independence and decision-making. At first, as I write this, I think of course a parent would embrace this. However, her attempts at independence has been less than desirable.
The pull for independence continues throughout childhood. It starts with those first few precious steps, continues into toddlerhood and goes on to adulthood. Often times lack of maturity has children pulling for independence in challenging ways. For example, I’ll listen to you but will choose when I will follow through with your request. This causes some extra chaos and reminders from mom as the little one wants desperately to be in control of her decisions.
The example above is what we’re dealing with right now. She knows what she’s suppose to do, she just isn’t ready to do it. This has manifested itself with extreme slowness getting ready to go to school or at school picking up her toys only after playing for a few more minutes.
Independence will be very important life skill for her to learn and master. She must learn to think independently to not be pressured into unsafe situations. She must learn to assert her independence appropriately in her future career. It is my job to help develop her growth. My responses to her independence will either help or hinder that growth.
I say, embrace this independent streak and don’t be in too big of a hurry to squash it in hopes of a compliant child. Don’t get me wrong, discipline should follow when she’s being defiant. However, be kind. Give your child choices when she can have them. Let her make some decisions for herself. Be upfront. In our case, getting out the door and to school on time is not negotiable. So, I put consequences in place for her not listening and getting dressed on time. However, I don’t really care what shoes she wears. So, she can pick out her shoes every morning. And if she gets ready timely, she has an extra reward of watching some television before we leave. I expect her to listen to her teacher at school and come home with a good daily report. I do let her have some time in the evening where she decides what she will do.
Embrace the independence, set realistic expectations, and appropriate discipline and your house will be a happier one!
Do you have a child going through an independent growth? Please share your stories! I’d love to hear how you handle them.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old and he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ASV
Last night I tried two new recipes for supper. I think I may have gotten a bit over-confident. I’ve always been one to say that I didn’t mind trying and failing because there’s always lessons in failure. In my mind, the greatest failure is to never try or to give-up. Right? That is what I believe? I think. OK, well, maybe its easier to say that when I’m not so close to a failure. It’s easy to say when you’ve not failed recently or are one of those few people who seem to be great at everything they do!
Two years ago because of my son’s food allergies (you can read about here), I started cooking more along the lines of “whole foods”. OK, we still use pre-packaged pasta and pasta sauce but I’m doing no meals-in-a-box and cook most of our meals from “scratch”. When I first started doing this I had several failures but recently I’ve gotten quite good with my cooking and baking. I’ve been confident in my ability to turn-out good and nutritious food for my family. My expectation was that my dinner last night would go smoothly.
Here was the menu with the new recipes bolded: Baked Chicken, Razorback Potatoes, Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots. I was so excited about this menu. I couldn’t wait for everyone to get home so we could eat which is probably why the sense of failure hit me so hard.
The Baked Chicken turned out amazingly! The skin was crispy and the chicken was moist. This I will be repeating due to its awesomeness. If you want that recipe, it will be posted (eventually) in the blog linked above.
As soon as my family got home, I ushered them into the already set table with the food laid out like Christmas Dinner. My daughter and son were super excited about dinner and everyone quickly sat down. The food handed out. My husband tried the potato first. His first and only real comment (without being asked) was “The potatoes aren’t cooked”. I was hurt and at first denied it. Truth was, they were undercooked.
The potatoes will be repeated. As I mentioned above I don’t fail often and really HATE failing! I’m no good at it. And the flavor was good, I really just needed to cook it longer. I learned from this two valuable lessons, 1) cook the potatoes longer 2) Failure often comes when we least expect it.
Here I was confident and feeling good about my success in the kitchen. And then I failed. I most definitely wasn’t expecting to fail at such a simple task of baking a potato. After all, I’d accomplished allergy-free baking, how could I actually fail at a potato? Its simple truth that failure comes when we least expect it. And failure is good, it grounds and humbles us. I now have a new focus. Its to succeed but to be mindful of overconfidence.
Embrace failure as it not only teaches us a lesson to prevent it in the future but it helps humble us. Have you failed at something recently? What lessons did you learn? Was it humbling?