If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Have Been Warned

I was warned. But I didn’t listen.

I had scheduled a photo shoot for the kids at Sears. Molly was five. Micah was two. In those days, getting kids dressed, fed, napped and happy for a photo shoot took a super-Herculean effort. I still have traumatic flashbacks.

For some inexplicable reason, I scheduled the appointment directly after Molly’s Saturday morning soccer game. Brilliant.

She changed clothes in the Sears bathroom and we walked into the packed waiting room. As far as the eye could see were beautifully dressed, miserable babies and toddlers.

We sat down to wait our turn.

That’s when Molly uttered five fateful words.

"I don’t feel so good."

I responded, of course, with a generous dose of motherly nurturing and compassion.

Me: You can make it, honey. It’s just going to be five more minutes.

It’s downright shameful, but here was my thought process: “Everyone’s dressed. We’re all here. That is 90 percent of the battle! I am NOT leaving without a happy family photo, dangit!"

A few minutes passed. No one has called our name.

Molly: Mommy, my stomach really hurts. I don’t think I can make it. Can’t we just go home?

Me: I think we’re next. We’ll just take a few quick photos and be done, okay? I promise.

Molly: Okay. I’ll try.

What happened next is forever branded in my memory and no doubt the memories of everyone unfortunate enough to be seated in Sears Portrait Studio.

Molly turned to me and she had “the look.”

You know "the look." The look that says, “I am about to be sick and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.”

Mike and I looked at each other in horror, but there wasn’t time to DO anything.

Molly stood up and promptly got sick – right there in the studio that had recorded so many joyous family memories. (Not ours, but somebody's, I'm sure.)

Now there’s a moment you want to capture for all posterity. And a surefire way to clear a room.

I whisked Molly to the bathroom, while Mike helped the staff clean up. Which was no easy or pleasant task.

Looking back on it, the disaster could have been easily averted in so many ways.

This Kodak moment came to mind yesterday after a rough afternoon when I figuratively “threw up” all over my family. I was cranky, difficult and impatient. And just like with Molly, the warning signs that it was coming were right there in front of my face. If only I had heeded them….

I was overtired. The last week at my house had involved too much activity and too little sleep. For a girl was really functions best on eight hours, that is a deadly combination.

I was overwhelmed. Family and work responsibilities have been on turbo-drive recently, leaving little downtime. Besides good rest, I know I need at least a little downtime to regroup and recharge.

I was under-fueled. This week my alone time with God has been spotty. When that happens, I start to work on my own power and that’s never a good thing.

When I realized the meltdown warning signs (too late), it was a wakeup call. I'm going to make the necessary adjustments so this doesn't become a very long and unpleasant Spring Break.

How about you? Is your current family life picture-perfect or do you have some warning signs that tell you a meltdown is coming?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday!

Tweet Me Tuesday is back!

Each Tuesday, Kristen from Hands, House, Heart Full and I have been hosting this Blog Hop to help bloggers increase their Twitter presence. We also include a weekly Twitter tip. So when you leave here, stop over and visit her, too!

Today's Twitter Tip: When you Twitter, always ask yourself, "What value am I providing to my Followers?" I used to think that Twitter was just a running account of your day. I thought that would be the most incredibly tedious and boring thing ever! But I'm learning that it's a great way to provide valuable tips, quotes and resources to your followers -- in your area of interest. (In my case, that's parenting.) This may be elementary stuff to Twitter fanatics, but as someone who is just beginning to jump into Twitter, I found this tip really helpful and enlightening. It helped to give me focus.

Okay, ready to join in on Tweet Me Tuesday? Here's how:

• Tweet this post!

• Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

• Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using MckLinky below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

• Visit the links below and try to Tweet at least five posts (linked below).

• Follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (Follow their blogs, too, if you want!)
• When you Tweet a blogger’s post, leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday.

Happy Twittering!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Mission Nutrition: Taking Out the Garbage

Good health is more than just eating good stuff.

It's vital to get rid of the bad stuff, too.

Dr. Winsor ends our Mission Nutrition series by explaining the importance of making sure our bodies are eliminating the toxins we absorb every day.

by David M. Winsor, D.C., Chiropractor and Nutrition Expert

Over the course of our Mission Nutrition series, we've discussed a number of ways to help both children and parents cope with nutrition and meal choices. All this is in vain if the body cannot eliminate that which it does not want to keep.

Any skin condition is usually related to a liver problem. The body has four systems of elimination: bowel, kidney, lungs and the skin. If one or more are in trouble, the others have to work harder to keep the body from becoming toxic. Since the skin is the largest of all, it will show evidence of toxins being eliminated.

While nutritionally supporting one of our patients’ liver she reported a skin eruption all over her lips. She was concerned but did explain that as a child she had chewed a lead- based wallpaper. No doubt this toxin had been stored in the lips since childhood and was finally being thrown out.

You must ask your children how often they have a bowel movement. Your spouse, too. Adults are frequently told that a slow bowel may be normal for them. It’s not. Another lady recently told me that she did not feel well and when I asked, she said that she had only one bowel movement a month. In cases like these the liver and kidneys are overwhelmed in their attempt to neutralize the stored waste and the whole system suffers.

Look at the tongue, be aware of bad breath, foul smelling gas, discolored urine and understand that they all are the body’s attempt to adapt to a problem.

Remember that health or sickness greatly depends on what we do, or do not eat.
It is possible to monitor the health of the body by testing the pH or acid/alkaline balance of the urine and saliva. All you need is litmus paper or pH test strips and some instructions.

pH Overview

pH Saliva : 7.5 to 7.0 No calcium deficiency and healthy
pH “ : 6.4 - 4.6 Excretions tend to alkaline
pH “ : 6.5 - 6.0 Developing physical ailments
pH “ : <>Note: Within a few weeks to months of dietary changes along with food and
mineral supplements, saliva pH slowly rises to 7.0 and physical impairments
will dramatically improve.

pH Urine Morning: 5 or less on rising before breakfast (should be acid)
Evening : before meal (should remain acid) If alkaline = onset disease

Note: If the evening urine pH is alkaline, the body should recover overnight once
again lowering the pH by morning. It is when the body cannot correct this
overnight, that it may indicate the onset of ill health.

If you would like more details, go to http://www.ionizers.org/ph-balance.html
I wish you all success in guiding your families to health. If I can help, please contact me at DMW@AHCPC.com.

Be advised that the suggested nutritional program is not intended as a treatment for any disease. This adjunctive schedule of nutrients is provided with the intent of supporting the physiological and biochemical processes of the human body, and not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

Always consult with your physician prior to stopping any medications or before starting any diet or exercise program.

Dr. David M Winsor
www.AccessChiroCenter.com; 941-629-8444


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tweet Me Tuesday!

Want to increase your Twitter presence?

Need some ideas and encouragement for using Twitter more effectively?

One of my blogging goals this year is to use Twitter more effectively to connect and build community with my current readers, as well as make new connections.

But I need some support and motivation to get more Twitter-savvy.

That's how "Tweet Me Tuesday" was born.

I asked Kristen from Hands, House, Heart Full to join me in this adventure, so she and I will be co-hosting this Blog Hop each week. If you haven't "met" Kristen yet, she's awesome and inspiring!

Each "Tweet Me Tuesday," Kristen and I plan to post a Twitter Tip or resource on our blogs. Here's where you come in:

• Tweet this post!

• Follow me and Kristen on Twitter! (if you’re not already)

• Link up a post you’d like Tweeted using MckLinky below. It can either be your most recent post or an older, favorite post you'd like to share with a new audience.

• Visit the links below and try to Tweet at least five posts (linked below).

• Follow as many of these bloggers as you’d like on Twitter. (Follow their blogs, too, if you want!)
• When you Tweet a blogger’s post, leave a comment telling them you tweeted it as part of Tweet Me Tuesday.

My Twitter Tip for Today from http://www.twittertips.com/: Post 1-2 out of 10 messages about you and the rest to provide value to your followers. This is one I'm really trying to work on ... I get busy, forget to Twitter much, but then Twitter my posts. Looks a little narcissistic, doesn't it? Most people don't want to follow an egomaniac! ;0) Having a ratio (1:10) to follow will help me. Hopefully, it helps you, too!
So, are you ready to Tweet?!
Please leave me or Kristen a comment and tell us what you think of this idea. If we get a good response, we'll plan on making it a weekly event!

Tweet Me Tuesday

MckLinky Blog Hop


Monday, March 22, 2010

A Race to Comparison

I feel the need, the need for speed.

Ever since we purchased Mario Kart Wii a couple months ago, we’ve all been doing our best Jeff Gordon impressions, with the exception my 13-year-old daughter who is too cool for such activities. We’ll just see how she feels about driving in a few years. On second thought, let’s not think about that.

As usual, my 10-year-old son Micah races rings around me and his father. Despite – or maybe because of -- his complete dominance on the track, he still derives some twisted enjoyment out of racing against us “granny drivers.”

In fact, he’s not above taunting the very people who gave him life. Micah enjoys gleefully pointing out his utter and complete crushing of the competition.

Micah: (referring to the mini-track at the bottom of the screen that displays the progress of each racer) Look, I’m first! Woo Hoo.. Shocker!

Me: Whatever.

Micah: Man, look at how far back you are, Mom. You are waaaay behind!

Me: You just pay attention to yourself, Micah! You’re distracting me!

But it’s too late. By that time, I’ve taken my eyes of the road to assess my pathetic progress in comparison to “King Boo” or “Baby Daisy” or some other superior driving wizard. And I promptly crash into a tree or drop off the road into oblivion.

The same thing has happened to me in parenting. I’m cruising along, when suddenly I become aware of my progress compared to others in the parenting race.

I become distracted and begin comparing styles and approaches. I’ll admit it. I’ve even compared the behavior of my children to others and wondered what they were doing right that I apparently wasn’t.

It's not helpful. Not one bit. In fact, I found it made me more critical of myself and my kids -- not to mention discouraged and impatient.

I find I parent at my best when my relationship with God is close and growing -- when my focus is on Him. That way, I’m not running on fumes or feeling continually “out of gas.” I’m able to draw on His resources – energy, wisdom, patience.

That’s not to say we can’t learn from other parents. We CAN. I have a number of friends and awesome parents who I respect and learn a lot from -- especially those with with older kids who are a little further along in the parenting race than I am. Heck, mommy blogs wouldn’t be so popular if we didn’t benefit from the sharing of wisdom and experience.

But learning and comparing are very different. Learning benefits. Comparing condemns.

And, in the comparison race, there are never any winners.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tired of Being Tired?

Anybody else out there exhausted?

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a chronic energy deficit as a result of raising those precious kids.

Parenting is a rewarding, yet demanding profession -- both physically and emotionally.

And parents don't get a vacation. No squishing sand through your toes on some exotic beach while a trusty co-worker shoulders your load. (At least not for those of us who don't have grandparents nearby.)

Some exhaustion from time to time is normal. We live demanding lives.

But David M. Winsor, chiropractor and nutrition expert, as part of our ongoing Mission Family Nutrition series, discusses a more serious kind of tiredness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how you can combat it so you have the energy to do the most important job we'll ever be given.

by David M. Winsor, D.C., Chiropractor and Nutrition Expert

Over the past few weeks, we have covered several approaches for getting our children on the right path with nutrition. None of them are easy. In fact, nothing about parenting is easy, but the rewards can be great and provide a lifetime of irreplaceable memories. There is, however, one big problem. If you do not have the energy to do all this, you can’t win. So let’s talk about energy, fatigue and depression.

Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS has become a household word or phrase but only since the early 1980s. When I visited the US in 1982, we in Britain were inundated with cases of what was called Yuppie Flu or myalgic encephelitis, ME to some. None of the doctors I spoke to had heard of it and only knew of Epstein-Barr. Since then, CFS has become a household word. So what went so wrong in so short a time?

The puzzle remains but the most recent theory is that of a virus (XMRV) found in the blood of more than half of the CFS suffers and only in 5% of healthy people. This may be true, but as in Britain, anyone with an unexplained fatigue is diagnosed with CFS.

We must, I believe, rule out other more mundane causes or, the Big Four. They are the thyroid, adrenals, synthetic vitamins and gluten. Let’s take them one at a time.

First, test your basal temperature, under arm for 10 minutes first thing in the morning before moving. The normal range is between 97.8 and 98.2. Readings lower indicate a functional hypothyroid which may not show on a blood test but is very real.

Second, test the adrenals or stress glands by taking your blood pressure laying down and again immediately on standing up. The upper number or systolic should rise by 6 to 12 mm Hg. If it falls, it indicates adrenal fatigue. Your energy comes from your adrenals.

Third, you must stop all synthetic vitamins and work with your doctor to wean yourself off all prescription drugs that could possible cause CFS.

And fourth, eliminate gluten from your diet for at least 30 days.

You may have a virus, but ruling out these four and adding calcium lactate to your supplements could solve a high percentage of fatigue problems.

The first four are fairly obvious if you take the time to Google the explanations, but you should also know that a virus is not a live entity but rather a chemical unit which can only activate in a low-calcium environment.

The calcium you take must be one that can be easily absorbed so use the calcium lactate or even calcium citrate and not calcium carbonate.

If anyone needs guidance on these simple tests, they can contact my office at DMW@AHCPC.com, or our web page at http://www.accesschirocenter.com/.

Be advised that the suggested nutritional program is not intended as a treatment for any disease. This adjunctive schedule of nutrients is provided with the intent of supporting the physiological and biochemical processes of the human body, and not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

Always consult with your physician prior to stopping any medications or before starting any diet or exercise program.

Dr. David M Winsor
www.AccessChiroCenter.com; 941-629-8444

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye to a Superman

I said goodbye to a Superman this weekend.

He was certainly an unlikely superhero. And if you didn't know my friend Dalton, you certainly wouldn't view him that way.

When my husband and I first met Dalton nearly 10 years ago, he was in the beginning stages of developing a baffling combination of crippling, degenerative diseases.

Slowly but steadily, these relentless predators ravaged his once vibrant, athletic body, finally confining him to a wheelchair and an oxygen tank for the last two years of his life.

But disease could not ravage Dalton's spirit.

At his moving memorial service, an endless stream of family and friends talked about Dalton's Colgate smile and his unwavering faith and deep love for God despite excruciating pain and broken dreams.

As one of his seven siblings so eloquently expressed, "Dalton always had a verse on his tongue, the joy of the Lord in his heart and a suitable prayer for any occasion. He ... continued to speak of the goodness of the Lord even in his final moments."

My most vivid memories were of Dalton the parent at the soccer field. All four of his children inherited his athletic genes and Dalton never missed a practice or a game. In fact, he had his van specially equipped so he could drive his kids to the fields, often nightly.

He always sought to lighten the burden his illness placed on his family, despite his limitations. His happy, well-adjusted kids are a testament to his and his amazing wife Angela's selflessness and perseverance.

One of the last things Dalton told his sister Edith in his last few days of life was this: "Live like the birds."

Puzzled, she asked him what he meant. He directed her to Matthew 6:26-27: "Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"

Dalton didn't worry. Despite the physical and financial hardships of his condition, I never saw him anxious. And I never saw his family go without what they needed. Dalton would be quick to point out that he couldn't do this alone. The God he trusted was the One who gave him the ability to face each day with optimism and resolve.

At his service, we were each given a card with a picture of Dalton's face superimposed on the body of Superman with these words: "My name is Dalton Chase. I love the Lord and Jesus loves me. Therefore, I am FREE! Are you? To infinity and beyond!"

Dalton, my friend, your body may have been slowly ravaged by disease. But your godly legacy will live forever.

The soccer fields will never be the same without you, Superman.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time Trials

It is happening – again.

I swore it wouldn’t. I had a plan. But yet here I am in March, on the verge of watching my young son crowned the undisputed King of Tardiness.

This morning’s conversation:

Me: You took a half an hour to get out of bed. We’re going to be late, you know.

Micah: Why do you always assume we’re going be late?

Me: Oh, well, let me see, because we’ve been late about 14 times this nine weeks! It’s a pretty safe bet.

Micah: We haven’t been late once this nine weeks.

Me: What?! Ha ha. Very, funny, Micah. (We are about three days into this grading period).

As I wrote at the beginning of the school year, mornings are often not a happy time in my house. None of us are morning people. I’ve learned to be because moms have no choice in the matter.

My children, however, are usually unfazed by even my most obnoxious attempts to provoke them to a state of wakefulness. Especially my son Micah.

This year, however, I had a plan. Earlier bedtimes, laying items out the night before, a penalty/reward system. It was all going so well.

But then February arrived. And for some reason February is always the Month of Doom for our promptness streak.

I think I start to let things slide a bit. The monotony of the routine combined with the busyness of spring sports sparks weariness and complacency.

So many times in parenting, I've started a program or declared a new way of doing things, but then lost momentum. I'm inconsistent. And it all falls apart. Along with my credibility.

I still have yet to crack the code on my morning madness, but I have gained some ground in this area over the years. Here’s a few things that have helped me:

1.) Keep it simple. I used to institute these elaborate systems with stickers and charts and bells and whistles. And after a week, it all seemed like hieroglyphics to me, let alone my kids. Now I try to keep it very simple. And I also have learned that what works at one age often doesn't work at another.
Recently, I learned a simple tip from another mom I'm going to try: I’m always having to remind (aka nag) my kids to pick up their clothes, room, etc. This mom suggested that I put up a wipeboard and write down what each kid needs to do. Once they finish the list, then they can go on the computer, etc. Easy. No nagging. I love it.
2.) Focus on what’s most important. I will drive myself and my kids crazy if I try to hold them to perfection in every area (believe me, I’ve tried. I don’t recommend it.) Choose the areas that relate to character issues. For example, doing homework, BEING ON TIME, relate to the areas of discipline and responsibility. Let the little stuff go. Bottom line: Choose your battles carefully.

We can’t do everything perfectly. But consistency is important in parenting.
It’s TIME for me to stay with the program.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Caught with My Pants Down

I wondered what was taking so long.

I was waiting for Micah to change into his uniform in the baseball field bathroom. It was one of the first games of the season and he couldn't wait to get on the field.

So why was he taking longer to get dressed than my teenage daughter?!

After what seemed like an eternity, he finally emerged, looking upset and clutching his pants at the waist.

Hey, buddy, I said. What's wrong? Do you need help with your belt?

No! I don't have my belt! I can't find it!

Gulp. I was sure we had packed it in the bag that morning. "Well, maybe we left it in the van," I said, trying to make my voice sound cheery to mask that I was in internal "freakout" mode.

We made a mad dash to the vehicle, but came up empty. And the game started in 10 minutes. I did the math. It would take at least 20 minutes for me to get home and back to the game. If all the lights were green. And if I could find the belt immediately. And no one cut me off in traffic. Hmmm... not lookin' good.

It doesn't work to your advantage to have smart kids in these situations. Micah had done the math, too, and he was in a full-out panic.

I'll never make it in time for the game! I'll miss the game! This is awwwwfulll!!

To add insult to injury, we realized we didn't have his hat, either.

The hat he could live without, but playing with no belt brought to mind disturbing imagery of the crowd seranading my boy with a rousing rendition of "Pants on the Ground, Pants on the Ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground..."

I must save him from this cruel fate. I told him to run and tell his coach what had happened and that I'd be back with a belt as soon as humanly possible.

I'm not going to say that I broke the speed limit. I'm simply not going to say that.

Weary, stressed, but triumphantly clutching the prized belt, I ran to the dugout. Thanks, Mom, but you're too late. Since I wasn't ready, I got moved from 2nd in the lineup to last. And someone else had an extra belt they let me borrow a few minutes ago.

Deep sigh.

I had the right equipment, but the moment had passed. I'd missed an opportunity to provide him with something he needed.

I find that can easily happen in parenting. Our kids give us opportunties all the time to present them with things they need -- patience, wisdom, direction, to name a few.

But sometimes I'm not prepared to give it. I'm preoccupied with other concerns, weighed down by events of the day, tired, rundown, out of gas.

Other times, I don't recognize when my kids are presenting me with a golden "2nd in the lineup" kind of opportunity to provide them with something vitally important.

I've found that there's a few things I need on a regular basis to be prepared for all the constant demands of parenting:

1.) Time with God. I can always tell when I've gone a few days without really spending some time praying and studying His Word. I lose perspective. I get worried, fearful. I act out of my emotions. That's a dangerous place to be.

Sleep/Rest. Regular sleep is important, but times of rest and refueling are just as important. I just came home from an awesome writing conference, but I was exhausted. Even good stress and activity can be draining. I soon found myself irritable and impatient. As my eloquent and brutally honest teenage daughter said, "I hope you feel better. You're kind of turning into Psycho Mom." Thanks, honey.

3.) A team approach. When my husband and I are communicating and spending time connecting, I can FEEL that support. Working as a team fills me up and helps me feel more prepared for the unexpected things that happen in parenting. (And let's face it, what's not unexpected?)

Being prepared for the game of parenting doesn't always guarantee victory, but it's definitely half the battle.

How about you? What things help you prepare for parenting's ups and downs?
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