5 things I know for sure

Next week I will be 40. Though I never thought this milestone birthday would phase me, I’m finding it a hard pill to swallow. I know, I know, 40 is the new 30. I get that, rationally. But emotionally? Yeah, I’m still working out the kinks there.

Over the past several weeks—since the onset of my post-Christmas hangover—I’ve been doing some soul searching, trying to bring some semblance of order to my spinning mind. Though I wasn’t able to make complete sense of it all, I was able to come up with a few key truths that keep me anchored—five things I know for sure:

5 things

I have an unlimited capacity to learn. What do I want to be when I grow up? At 40, I’m still waffling on the matter. I just have this feeling like there’s something out there I’m meant to do—a new skill or trade or career or hobby. While I don’t quite yet know what it is, I find tremendous comfort in the fact that my brain is ready, willing and able to accept anything I throw its way. It is hungry for knowledge; it’s just up to me to decide what to feed it. And feed it I will.

I will fail. But I will also succeed. I’ve spent much of my life trying to avoid failure—unsuccessfully, of course. As I’ve matured through the years, though, I’ve come to accept the fact that failure is not only unavoidable, but also a critical component in one’s personal growth. Think about it: how would we appreciate success if we never knew the pain of failure? Why would we set goals if we were guaranteed to reach them? Failure pushes us to try harder… to work differently… to achieve more. No matter how crappy it may feel while in the throes of disappointment, I choose to see my failures not as a step backwards, but rather as a step towards the many future successes that await me.

I am stronger than I think. I have inner strength. Though I often doubt this fact, deep down inside I know it to be true. We all have inner strength—we just need to know how to tap into it and unleash it. There have been times in my life when I felt weak—unable to stand, or even kneel. Times when I felt I would shatter into a million pieces, leaving nothing but crumbled shards of glass in my wake. And each time, just as I felt I could take no more, a force—invisible, yet powerful—surged up from within and pulled me up and out. The resilience of the human psyche is more powerful than we know. I am stronger than I think; and I remind myself of this truth every day.

I am loved. I live in a small-ish house, drive an average car and own very little in the way of sparkly jewelry. Most of the time, I’m fine with all that. But there are times, I must admit, when I  find myself longing for the more glamorous indulgences that money can buy. But when I do, I bring myself back to a more humble place of gratitude with this simple thought: Happiness does not come by way of stuff—not any kind of meaningful happiness, anyway. People, on the other hand, enrich my life in a way nothing else can. I am fortunate to have that kind of wealth. I have adoring parents, a tolerant husband, affectionate children and loyal friends—all of whom love and support me, unconditionally. What more could a girl ask for? The happiness found in the things in life is fleeting. The love that comes from people is timeless.

My children are my greatest accomplishment. I am the mom to two amazing boys, and I wake up every day thanking God for giving me this privilege. Whenever I find myself spinning in self doubt over what I’ve done with my life to date, I simply think of them—and just like that, the mental chatter of insecurity immediately quiets. Our children—aren’t they amazing? Being a parent is such a spectacular achievement. There are times when I look at my kids in awe and think, I can’t believe I made these people. I can’t believe I get to raise these people. This I know for sure: my children are amazing human beings—and they are my greatest accomplishment.

In a world with so many unanswered questions, I hang onto the things that I know to be true in my own world.

More like this:
I am a work in progress
Embrace Failure
A good support system

You should have a girl

I am the mom of boys. Two boys. No daughters—only sons. As the mom of boys, I am frequently told that I need a daughter to round out my family.

“You should have a girl.”  I hear it all the time.

But why? Why should I have a girl? Is it because the two boys I already have aren’t good enough? Is it because I’ve somehow failed by conceiving two children of the same gender? The male gender? Is it because all mothers need a daughter in order to feel complete?

Those are the questions that go through my mind whenever somebody says, “You should have a girl.”

And it’s not just moms of boys; dads of girls get it, too. both of my brothers-in-law have only girls. Yet, I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh, man… no boys, huh?” or “Only girls… tough break.” I mean, what’s a father to do without a son to play catch with in the back yard? What kind of life is that?

no daughters

Why are people so hung up on gender, anyway? Aren’t we just lucky to have kids at all when so many are unable?

Twelve years ago, I thought I was one of the unlucky. At the ripe old age of 28, my husband and I were in the throes of infertility. We saw doctors, identified a problem and attempted to fix it—but were told not to get our hopes up.

I cried and bawled and sobbed my eyes out at the idea of not being able to conceive. All I wanted was a baby. Boy. Girl. It didn’t matter. I just wanted a baby.

A year later, I got my wish. On February 9, 2003, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy—a boy who changed my life forever when, just seconds old, he looked up at me with my husband’s almond-shaped, brown eyes. Nineteen months later, my second masterpiece of perfection entered the world, completing our family: baby boy #2.

Two babies! Two boys! Two amazing baby boys! My prayers were answered. What more could I want in life?

Oh yeah that’s right, a girl.

To those of who believe I need a girl, I know you mean well and I truly appreciate your concern. But please understand, this advice is not helpful to me. God chose me to be the mom of boys. He chose to bless me with two amazing, thoughtful, hilarious, witty boys who enliven every corner of my life. Were it not for these boys, I would not be the mom I am today. I would not be the person I am today.

I do not have a girl to dress up or take shopping. I do not have a partner in crime to accompany me to the nail salon or share in the woes of monthly menstrual cramps.  I have two boys who are my loves. My sweethearts. My protectors. My princes.

no daughters

I thank God every day for giving me these people. I am the mom of boys—and I love every second of it.

You might also like:
5 things we can learn from our children
I am a good mom. I am a flawed mom. I am a mom
Ages and stages: how I feel about my kids growing up

When you were young you may have fibbed once or twice to your parents about where you were http://trymobilespy.com going

The essence of childhood

PlayintheRain

Earlier this month, the Northeast enjoyed some warmer January weather, with temps reaching well into the 60s.

While I appreciated the much needed break from winter’s icy bite, it was the resulting flash of motherly perspective that left me truly grateful.

It was a lazy Sunday morning. With no friends around to play with, my children were getting bored and restless, which meant mama was getting irritated and ornery. So I instructed them to get dressed, brush their teeth and head outside toss the football around. Surprisingly, the agreed.

As they grabbed their jackets and sneaks and bolted out the door, I grabbed my laptop and bills and planted myself at my dining room table for an afternoon of grunt work. The window open beside me, I listened to the cheerful sound of children at play as I plugged away at the dreary task at hand.

It was a touch of Spring, smack dab in the middle of what has already proven to be a depressing winter.

After about a half hour, it started to drizzle. I expected at any moment to hear the sound of my front door as the children ran for cover. But they played on.

I’d better call them in, I thought as the rain increased in intensity. Just as I started to rise from my chair, I stopped for a minute, staring out the window, and just observed. My boys were splashing and running and jumping. They were laughing and shouting and bantering. They were kicking up mud and muck behind them as they ran, getting absolutely filthy—but loving every moment of it.

It suddenly occurred to me: This is the stuff of childhood.

So I let them play—and I watched.

I watched as they engaged in a rainy day snowball fight with what was left of the melting snow.

Rain1I watched as they planned out their attacks and constructed makeshift shields. I watched as they formed a united front against their mother when they realized I’d begun snapping pics. I watched as they genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, without arguing or bickering or tattling. It was just good, old-fashioned outdoor play.

Rain2

I was reveling in the magic of their youth. Sure, they were soaked through. Sure, I’d have to do an immediate load of laundry on the double rinse cycle with an extra shot of OxiClean. Sure, they’d be headed straight to a hot shower and instructed to clean every crevice imaginable.

But wasn’t it worth it?

Wasn’t it worth watching the boys be boys? Wasn’t it worth watching the brothers be brothers? Wasn’t it worth the profound reminder that kids should be able to truly enjoy their youth?

For me, every second was worth it.

So much in life is structured and tied to rules. Why not let them cut loose and go against the grain once in a while? Why not let them enjoy an unseasonably warm rain shower in the middle of winter? I mean, what is childhood if not a colorful tapestry of abundant laughter, carefree play and a little mud?

But for the educators committed to the well being of each and every student, engaging in such discourse can set http://pro-essay-writer.com the stage for supporting a diverse school community, including students, staff, teachers, and administrators

20 Reminders for my Growing Boys

  1. Always hold the door for others—especially girls.
  2. Don’t let anyone boss you around. You are your own person.
  3. Admit when you’re wrong and say you’re sorry.
  4. Remember, God is always watching.
  5. Make eye contact.
  6. Before you judge others, put yourself in their shoes.
  7. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s how we learn.
  8. Your actions have consequences.
  9. Remember that even when you mess up, you are still very much loved!
  10. If someone treats you badly, walk away.
  11. Clean up after yourself.
  12. You can’t be good at everything. Embrace that fact.
  13. Always give thanks—even when things aren’t going your way.
  14. Make lots of friends.
  15. Listen when others speak to you. Don’t just hear them—listen.
  16. When you’re upset, don’t keep it in. Talk about it.
  17. Always give a thank you wave when someone lets you go in traffic.
  18. Tell the truth, even if you think it might get you in trouble. Honesty builds character.
  19. Be dependable. Keep your word. Be someone others can count on.
  20. Your family is your safe haven… your support system. Come to us with anything.

20Reminders_3

[Tweet “20 things I want my boys to remember as they grow.”]

More like this:
20 ways to show your kids you love them (without saying the words)
5 things we can learn from our children
10 things a baseball game can teach you about life

Make sure http://topspyingapps.com you read the agreement concerning your membership before checking the box on that page

Why I went gluten free

Last Fall, I had a complete blood panel run during my annual physical. While most of my numbers came back fabulouso, a few in particular were cause for concern: a couple of high cholesterol numbers and a high C Reactive Protein (CRP).

Now the cholesterol has been an issue for my entire adult life. There is a genetic component that I’ll likely always deal with, but at the same time I am taking measures to bring it down (i.e. fish oil, more greens, less dairy and so on). That one, I expected. But the CRP? That sucker caught me off guard.

For anyone who’s unfamiliar, a CRP test screens for inflammation in the body. Chronic low grade inflammation has been linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, many autoimmune conditions and more. Now I know that a diet high in sugar can cause inflammation. But I don’t eat much sugar, so naturally I assumed my CRP would be within normal range.

I assumed wrong.

What else could it be? I eat super healthy—I juice and blend, I don’t eat processed crap and I choose organic everything. So what gives?

Utterly frustrated, I scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist.

Prior to the meeting, I was asked to fill out a detailed health history form to give the nutrition chick some background information on moi. While I thought most of what I reported was pretty normal stuff, she identified an issue worthy of investigation.

For the past ten years, I’ve had a chronic stuffy nose with occasional ear and sinus infections. I can track it all back to my pregnancies. Prior to that, I don’t even remember taking a single antibiotic. (I’m sure I did, but I just don’t remember it, which means it must have been a rare occurrence). I’ve taken steroid nasal sprays, allergy meds and even tried using dust mite covers on my bed. None of those measures did much good. All that said, I never really thought it was a big deal. More of a nuisance, really.

But Anna, my nutritionist, immediately zeroed in on it. She explained that whatever was causing the inflammation in my sinuses was also likely causing inflammation elsewhere in my body—therefore spiking my CRP.

“Okay, what does this have to do with my diet?” I asked. I had no allergies to food, that I was aware of. So what now?

Then she dropped the bomb: “You need to give up gluten.”

“What?! Why?” I asked, as tears began to form from behind my eyes.

She explained that gluten, the way it’s processed today, can cause an overreactive immune response in some people. Based on my symptoms, she felt confident that I was one of those people. She said that in many, the sensitivity is triggered by a time when the body undergoes a stressful event. In my case, it was my pregnancies.

Okay, makes sense… I think. 

Gluten, she went on to explain, irritates the lining of the intestines, which allows unwanted food particles to escape into the bloodstream. When that happens, the immune system senses an unwelcome invader and launches an attack. This, in turn, causes inflammation in the body, which can manifest in a number of different ways. For me, its a stuffy nose. “Get rid of the congestion,” she told me, “and the other non-specific inflammation will also subside—and your CRP will plummet.”

Skeptical, I agreed to try it for six weeks. But if I didn’t notice a difference, sayonara gluten-free!

Everyone around me thought I was crazy: “You’re giving up what? Why on earth would you do that?”

But I tried it nonetheless. For the first week, I was discouraged; I noticed no change. Then gradually, I started to feel myself breathing more clearly—though not entirely. Some days I felt clear, others not so much. But the longer I stuck with it, the more consistency I was seeing in my desired results.

Then Christmas hit. Christmas parties. Christmas cookies. Christmas candy. So one day, I cheated. Let me just see what happens, I thought. Maybe I’m imaging in it. Maybe I was never really that congested to begin with and it’s all in my head. So I had rye bread, meatballs and a beer—all in one day. That night, no change. The next day, I became markedly congested. That’s when I knew it really was making a difference. Back off gluten I went. Within a day, I was clear again!

So this is me. I’m now gluten free. I’ve hopped on the bandwagon. Only, I don’t see this as some fly-by-night trend in the world of diet fads. It’s not a diet; it’s a way of life.

You’d think I’d be depressed not being able to eat gluten. But honestly, I’m not. I like the fact that I was able to make a noticeable change in my health through nutrition. I am fascinated by it, in fact. And that is what motivates me to keep going.

I have to say, it really isn’t all that hard. My family doesn’t even notice when I make gluten free pasta instead of the real deal. (I did it last night, in fact.) I eat gluten free breads and wraps, I make meatballs and meatloaf using gluten free oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs and I keep rice crackers in my cabinet for those times I just need a crunch of something. I eat lots of chicken and pork and grass fed beef. My mom has even started keeping gluten free breads and stuff in her house so she can tweak certain recipes for me.  I can still eat most of the things I love.

And restaurants are jumping on board, too. Lately, I’ve been asking my waiter or waitress for a gluten free menu. More times than not, they have one.

I’ve lost weight (unintentionally) and my congestion is almost entirely cleared up. I haven’t gotten my CRP rechecked yet, but I’m hoping for positive results there as well.

Is it the easiest thing in the world? No—but it’s not as bad as it seems either. I love how I feel when I’m off gluten, so for me it’s worth the minor inconvenience.

—-

photo: freedigitalphotos.net When we encounter or experience intense emotions from another individual, we feel those feelings as if they were http://essaysheaven.com/ our own