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Choose Hard.

Choose hard

The easy way out. We all want it sometimes. The easiest way, however, isn’t always the best way. Usually the easy way means there was no growth, there was little or nothing gained, and there was no positive change. I think I’ve been looking for the easy way out lately. And, since I write and post a lot about our triumphs, I think I should also write about the revelations of when I also realize I’ve been falling short.

I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my health. What’s the quickest and easiest way to satisfy my hunger? What’s the easiest excuse to justify not being physically active and taking care of my body?

I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my attitude. Being positive is hard and takes daily discipline. Being careless with my words and sliding into being negative about a few situations have been really easy. That ease leads to habit. That habit leads to automatic negative responses to the most ridiculous things. Embarrassing things.

And, the real kicker: I’ve been choosing the easy way out in my relationships. In some relationships, I’ve just taken a step back and justified it with our busy summer. In some relationships, I’ve put up a wall and justified it by calling it a healthy boundary. In some relationships, I’ve created in my mind who I think they are and what I think their intentions are, because it’s easier than being a seeker of the heart.

I’ve been happy. I’ve been content. I’ve had an amazing summer with my family. But, I have also sacrificed the more. The more in my health, the more in my attitude, and the more in my relationships. I haven’t been intentional in how I walk in these things lately. And, when we aren’t intentionally living life in every area, something will go lacking. Something will be sacrificed. The first step is to quit making excuses for them. The second step is to remember that the easy way out isn’t always the best way.

Hard means work. But, hard means growth. Hard means you’re choosing discipline, because your health matters. Hard means you’re allowing those around you to hold you accountable for every careless word and taking those words captive and replacing them with truth. A truth that is grounded in love. Hard means that you invest in your relationships even, at times, when you are tired, because you will always be strengthened by their presence. Hard means if you want a relationship with someone, you fight for it…..even if it’s been a struggle. Hard means you rise to your higher self and see people the way you’re meant to see them. You eliminate judgment, and you see the light in every person.

Hard means you’re living an intentional life. And intentional life means you are living the life you’re meant to live. It’s the more in life. It’s the cherry on top in life. It’s the “I came that you may life and have it to the full” in life.

Easy won’t get you where you’re supposed to be. Where you’re meant to be. Hard will.

Today, I choose hard.

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, health, life, Relationships, Uncategorized

My Dreamer is 8.

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Jett: “I see the future sometimes.”

Me: “What do you see?”

Jett: “I see myself on a stage, playing guitar and singing.”

Me: “I see it with you, bud. Hold on to that picture.”

I’m so glad I’ve learned to not downplay these conversations. I’m glad I know to not only allow my children to dream dreams but to dream them myself. I’m thankful I know the power of imagination. And, if anyone has taught me the beauty and power of it, it is Jett.

Today, my sweet, funny, sensitive, creative, smart, imaginative boy is 8. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. But I can tell you that I have soaked in every single second along the way. Because, no one has ever made me pause and be in the moment more than Jett Takle.

I love conversations with him. Some of his stories can take a LONG time to tell. But, many of his conversations, where he seeks truth or shares his own truth, well, those are pretty remarkable. Many times, they are so heartfelt and rich that he blows us all away.

Earlier this week, he and Anna were outside. Anna, my resident philosopher, began sharing with Jett how amazing everything in nature is and how it is connected to everything. “God is in nature. Isn’t everything out here just beautiful and amazing? It is so important we honor the beauty of everything around us.”

Jett responded, “Do you know what the most important thing in the world is? You.”

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I’m sure later that day he was aggravating her like any little brother can do. But, I can’t tell you how many of those conversations just win us all the time.

Last night he said, “This is my first birthday without Noodles.” (This is our dear friend Mike Thompson who transitioned last September.) He said he’d like to go to his grave and Big Mama’s grave and just hang out there sometime. I reminded him that Noodles and Big Mama aren’t there, and he can talk to them any time. I told him I talk to Big Mama often. “Oh, I get that. I talk to Noodles a lot.”

He is my deep feeler. He is my big dreamer. He is my constant reminder that life is precious and is meant to be FELT. It is meant to be FUN. And, we are meant to take it ALL in.

Jett Takle, I love you so. I love how you say that Saturdays make you “feel lucky.” I love how we can just go to the movies and you will say “this is the best day ever.” I love how you always tell me that you love me. How you always tell all of us that you love us. I love how you love to learn. I love how blown away you get at things in history and science that the rest of us can take for granted. I love how you ask the hard questions, because, you’re not afraid to feel the hard emotions. I love how you love to dress nice. You wouldn’t turn down a good hat or tie ever. I love how you love music. And, how nobody, NOBODY, can hold a candle to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars. I love how you have legit studied their dance moves and learned the lyrics to every song you can. I love how you look up to your big brother.

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And, I love how you’re not afraid to be you. You are proud to be you and let other people be who they are. You find your lane, and you enjoy it. And, you make us all want to hop in the same lane with you.

You are fun and amazing and make ALL of us imagine more. I’m so glad you were born. The world needed you. 8 is the number of new beginnings. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you do this year. All of the new things that inspire you. That challenge you. That grow you. That amaze you. I can’t wait to see all of the new things you open us up to. It’s going to be your best year ever, bud. I just know it.

Happy Birthday, Jett. Thank you for being my greatest showman.

I love you so very much,

Mom.

“Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” -P.T. Barnum (The Greatest Showman)

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Filed under Big Mama, Chasing Dreams, imagination, Kid Stuff, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Sometimes, Parents Need Tweaking.

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I have found myself the past few weeks correcting Jett and how he responds to me. “Remember who I am,” I’ve told him. “You are not allowed to talk to me like that,” I’ve told him. This has not been his normal tone with me. It’s been frustrating. And, then, he had his clipped moved twice the other day for lacking self-control. I mean, that’s easy for Jett, especially if he’s excited. But, moving it twice in one day doesn’t happen very often.

I zoned in on his behavior. I talked to Kris about the most effective way to discipline and correct it.

But, I didn’t zone in on his heart.

Tuesday morning, I was gathering all of the things I gather to load three children and take them to school. Jett was focused on his legos and asked if I would help him find a certain one.

“I’m busy right now. We are getting ready to leave.”

His response should have hit me in the gut then, but it didn’t until later that night:

“Parents never want to help.”

I hardly gave that comment a thought other than my flippant response back, “Jett! That is ugly.”

I went about my day as usual. The noises of the day drowned out a seven year old’s feelings. Until the noises stopped, and I was alone and silent.

OH. MY. HEAVENS.

“Parents never want to help.”

Was this true for me as a parent? The answer really didn’t matter. What mattered was Jett had internalized this as a belief system in his young heart. Sometimes, it’s easy to justify or overcome comments from our children by elevating ourselves thinking we know more. Or we don’t validate the comments, because we “know our intentions.”

I decided to get quiet, and let the Spirit reveal whatever needed to be revealed. Like always, it did. I immediately texted Kris the story of our morning and Jett’s comment. And, then I shared what the Spirit revealed: “There’s an underlying belief system there we have contributed to. I need to create some time with him where I do something HE wants me to do with him. Not just something I orchestrate for us to do together.”

These are not just in the big things like a child wanting to go the movies with you or go get ice-cream. It could be in the little things where they simply want us to help find something. I work hard to create time with Jett. But, I’m usually the orchestrator and the director. Sometimes. he wants to be that, too. It’s his way of saying, “This matters to me. Would you let it matter to you, too?”

The next day, I meditated on these thoughts. I gave energy to Jett’s truth, and I gave energy to addressing me. And, not Jett’s behavior.

Friends, I immediately saw and felt a difference. This is the power of spirit and energy. Last night as he was getting ready for bed, he climbed to his top bunk and said, “This is a mess. I’m going to straighten this up, so I can sleep up here tonight.”

“I will help you, bud.”

As I helped him and engaged in a task HE orchestrated, he says to me, “You’re the best mom ever.”

It was the simplest thing to engage him in. And, he felt heard. He felt valued. Because, that top bunk suddenly mattered to me because it mattered to him. And, God knows I hate trying to make up a top bunk. But, I love making Jett feel valued more than I hate making up a top bunk.

Sometimes, the smallest tweaks in our parenting make the biggest difference.

When your children make comments that sting, don’t allow your own ego to dismiss them. And, don’t see them as a parenting failure. Instead, see them as indicators that something is correcting itself. And, let it do its job and correct itself by getting quiet, listening to Spirit, and flowing in something new and better. Parenting doesn’t have to be hard. It just has to be intentional work. But, it’s the best work.

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Honor the Space

It’s Friday night, and I’m home with my family, save John, drinking a glass of red wine (RED….I don’t even know myself anymore) and contemplating this past week. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions the past few days. Good, necessary, thought shift, life shift kind of emotions. A week ago, one of Kris’ friends and long time clients transitioned unexpectedly. For 16 years, Paul has been in Kris’ life. Kris has managed and flown Paul’s airplanes for as long as we’ve been married. Kris and I spent a couple of days in Oklahoma this week tending to business, and we spent one night together out just the two of us. We sat across from each other reminiscing stories of time with Paul that neither of us have thought about in a very long time. We tend to forget the moments with someone until we are in a position where we really want to remember them.

I came home Wednesday to be back home with the kids, and Kris stayed on to attend Paul’s memorial service. I went to service at EWC that night and allowed my own spirit to receive whatever it needed. My dear friend, Lauren, led worship and knew the very words the room needed. What I needed. I sat down and tears just streamed down my face. Because, all I kept hearing in my spirit was this: honor the space.

Honor the space.

I thought about all of the stories Kris and I exchanged about our times with Paul. How he showed up to our wedding, kid birthday parties, dinner, anything we invited him to. How he wanted us to always join him and his wife for dinner when Kris flew him, and I tagged along. How he laughed at the stories Kris and I told him. How he really wanted to hear our stories.

How he simply showed up.

How he engaged you.

How he honored that moment.

How he honored the space.

I wasn’t close to Paul. I enjoyed our times together, but I, by no means, was close to him. But I don’t think I honored the space with him like he did with me. I’m sure I didn’t. So, that thought led me to thinking about the times I am with my friends now. With my family. When I’m with you. Am I honoring that space? Am I showing up as much as I can and being present with you? Is there someone I’m not investing in and showing up for that needs me? And, perhaps, I need?

Thursday morning, I texted my mom something that will sound strange to most of you, but she knows me and loves me and can practically decipher and translate every single weirdo text I send her. “Mom, is it just me, or do you feel like things are aligning the way they are supposed to? Alignment is the best word I can think to describe what I feel in my spirit.”

She responded, “Getting into alignment is sometimes painful. It can hurt. But once you are aligned, it makes the journey so much smoother. It can make us go farther than we’ve ever anticipated.”

See what I’m saying? She can interpret ANYTHING.

The greatest alignment I began to feel was with Kris. Because, one of the spaces I learned I needed to honor was with him.

Don’t get me wrong. I freaking love that man. I love being with him. I love date nights with him, traveling with him, family nights, the times we share with friends….I love it all. But, it hit me: I do not fully honor the space, honor the time when I’m with him. Enjoy it? Yes. Honor it?

Honor is such a huge word. It means to regard with great respect. To revere. To treat with honor. While I always honor and respect him…..do I always honor the space with him? The moments with him? In both the ordinary and the remarkable? Perhaps, sometimes. But, I want to honor the space in them all.

I want to honor the space with you. I want to show up. I want to be present.

Kris came home last night, and I told him…. “You know how we always say, okay, I always say, I want time to slow down with our kids, so I can soak in these moments more?” He nodded.

“Well, I want time to slow down, so I can soak these times in with you. I want to linger a little longer. I want to hold the moments a little tighter. I want time to slow down with you.”

And, it will. Time will slow down. Because, that’s what happens when we choose to honor the space. That’s what happens when we are aligned.

That’s what happens when we show up. When we engage. That’s what happens when we become aware that the space with each other is divine. It’s holy.

I want to honor the space with every person. Every friend. With my children. With Kris. With you.

Honor it. Show up for it. And, stay there a while. So, to that I say, align away.

Fly west, friend.

Hawker

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Filed under God Stuff, life, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

An Appointment With God.

It is honestly hard to be as raw and real as this post will be. Because, I am a positive girl. I take captive thoughts that drain me, that aren’t good for me, and I’m usually really good at making those thoughts obedient to truth. Obedient to the fact that His ways are good and perfect. To the truth that all things work together for the good. ALL things. But, I have struggled these past two months. I haven’t struggled in knowing He is good. But, I have struggled with sadness and disappointment.

For a while, I kept calling it sadness. I am saddened by the immense loss I feel from losing people close to me. I am saddened by the hands some have been dealt undeservingly. I am saddened that I have not done the things personally I know I need to do. I am saddened that any child would feel any amount of love that is less than what my own children feel. I am saddened by the suffering others endure. I am saddened there is a family of seven wondering about their next meal. Grief upon grief. Layered one on top of the other. I have cried, almost daily, overwhelmed by it all.

Sunday night, I poured myself out to Kris. I emptied it all. “I am sad,” I told him. And, the more I shared, the more I realized that my sadness was really disappointment. I looked at Kris and finally said, “I am disappointed in this year.” I have been ready for it to end. I am ready for something new. Something different. I told him that maybe we don’t give grief its proper respect. We know loss is a part of the human experience. We grieve. We cry. But, maybe we underestimate the reality of how that loss affects our daily lives. We don’t give it the credence it’s due. Instead, we try to find the good instead of feeling what is really there.

These have been my feelings. This has been my burden. This has been my past two months.

But the ability to finally identify what I feel and call it disappointment finally changed how I see today. How I see tomorrow. If we wallow in our disappointment, it will kill our passion. It will hinder in my own life the greatest forces in this world: faith, hope, and love.

I am of reminded of a message my dad preached so many years ago. He talked about Samson. Samson forgot who he was. He was disappointed in his choices, in the world he had framed, in the promise he thought was lost. Until one day, he felt his hair touching his shoulders, and he remembered. He remembered his strength…he remembered the living, breathing force within him. He remembered the promise. He remembered who he was. And, he knew in that moment: for every disappointment in life is an appointment with God. And, that changed everything.

For every disappointment is an appointment with God. It’s a reckoning. It’s where we feel what we need to feel. Where we allow grief to be what it is. Where we allow disappointment to be what it is. But, there comes a day when, like Samson, we are reminded of our strength. We are reminded that we have a choice. We can stay in disappointment or we can allow it to thrust us forward. Where we connect the dots. Where we remember who we are. Where we use the very thing that disappointed us to push us forward to do the work He has called us to do.

We can hold fast to faith that screams He is able to do more than we can imagine. Faith that opens our eyes to see the unseen. We can trust in the hope that anchors our very soul. That secures us. That keeps us from tossing to and fro when the waves come. When the disappointments come. And, we can cling to love: who we really are. We can love ourselves so deeply that we actually let ourselves off the hook when we don’t live up to what we hoped we would do and be. We can love others with such intensity that nothing they do can ever taint how we see them: real, living souls who are images of God in the earth.

Kris texted me this morning, “So many times we forget what we are passionate about. Your passions are so powerful, and your words are so impactful. You miss just how awesome you are. Life is good, life is hard, and it’s our faith that will keep us strong. Stop holding back. Stop being afraid. You can do it. No matter what it is.” These were the words that pulled me out of my disappointment. And, this was the time God chose to do it. Because, Kris was God in the moment. In this time.

I felt my strength again this morning. And, I remembered. I remembered my passions. I remembered who I was. And, I remembered that I have an appointment with God.

I have an appointment with myself. An appointment to renew what needs to be renewed. And a mission to bring faith, hope, and love to the forefront of people’s lives.

Friends, to you I say: Stop holding back. Stop being afraid. You can do it. No matter what it is. Because, you have the three greatest forces moving towards you in your favor: faith, hope and love. Don’t miss how awesome you are. Don’t stay in disappointment. Trust in the hope that assures us nothing is ever truly lost. The hope that assures us the best is always ahead.

Today is going to be a good day.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, making an impact, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

Anna Is A Teenager.

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Anna Takle Is A TEENAGER.

Dear friends and family who remember the blogs the first several years of Anna’s life….can you believe this day is here? Can you believe I survived Anna in pre-school and the calls from her teacher telling me she “couldn’t log into her Twitter account?” That I survived her cutting up my comforter with her Fiskar scissors? Survived her bringing her dad’s wedding band to school for Show and Tell? Survived her insistence on wearing the craziest of apparel combinations? Survived ALL of her antics, mischief, hilarity….survived the days where she literally had no filter?

I did it. WE did it. Being able to share her stories and have you all laugh with me have made getting to year 13 such a fun ride. The truth is, it really hasn’t been a game of survival. It’s been a journey of learning, of growing, and of being blown away by the sheer gift God gave me when He gave me Anna Takle.

One of the things most do NOT know about Anna is that she is the most thoughtful person I know. Her gifts she gives you are well thought out. She makes every gift personal. She puts time and energy and enormous love into everything she creates and gives. Because, the people in her life really matter to her. She expresses herself in words in the most beautiful of ways to let people know how much they mean to her. Is she funny? Yes. Is her wit the quickest? Most certainly. But is she one of the most sensitive and caring humans on the planet? You better believe it.

Dear Anna Marie,

I am so proud of the young woman you are. You make me proud in SO many ways. You are bright. You care that you do well in school. But, you care more that you learn and understand and grow from everything you are taught. The lessons themselves matter to you.

I am so proud of how you continue to practice piano. I am even more proud that you serve with that gift. I love your heart for worship and how free you are to express your love to God. 

I am so proud of your heart for social justice. I love how you stand up for what is right. Your heart breaks for anyone you feel is oppressed or simply anyone who doesn’t know how valuable they are. I can remember praying for you when you were little. Because, you always said….out loud….the first things that ever crossed your mind….I prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for Anna’s heart of compassion.” And, man, have you risen to the occasion with such wild compassion. Your heart aches for those who feel like they don’t belong. You see someone in need, and you do all you can to make sure the lack is gone. You choose people. You choose their feelings. You choose their hearts. You are truly a defender of the weak. And, you always remind me: look at the heart, not at the person. I’m so thankful how you always see the good in people. 

I love how you love watching This Is Us with me. I love how you watch Grey’s Anatomy and think you can diagnose everyone in our house. Actually, I don’t love how you diagnose us. Stop it. Stahhppp.

I love your love for the theater and how you’ve taught every one in this house to enjoy it, too.

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I love how you love your brothers. How you look up to John Henry. I love how you give him unsolicited advice ALL THE TIME. I’m not quite sure he loves that….but, be glad he loves YOU. It’s most adorable how you are forever Little Momma to Jett. I love how you think Jett is the funniest human on the planet….after yourself, of course. Duh.

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I love how you are your dad’s great defender. He cannot do ANYTHING wrong. Nothing. “He is totally Jack from ‘This Is Us’ except without the issues,” you say. Okay. OKAY already. We can shout his praises tomorrow on HIS birthday.

I love how you love me. I love how comfortable and at home you are with me. You’re comfortable enough to tell me when I go in for a second lecture, “I am parented out.” I get it. Sometimes, I am mommed out. I love how you reminded me to write your birthday blog. As if I could ever forget. I asked you, “What would you do if you woke up one birthday and didn’t have a birthday blog to read?” You said, “Well, I’d just write my own!” I have no doubt you wouldn’t. You rarely let anything disappoint you. It’s really quite remarkable.

The other day, I told Anna, “Never text a boy first. He should always text you first.” She responded, “Mom. No. I will not follow this protocol. It’s the 21st century. Women can vote now. I can text first.” Normally, I would’ve questioned her quick response and disregard for my request. Instead, I laughed. And, you know what else I did? I accepted it. Because, just like in so many other life situations and lessons, Anna has consistently inspired me to be open. To listen, to receive, to hear something new. Something that may be out of the ordinary. And, every single time it’s been worth it. She has stretched me in more ways than I ever thought possible. And, I’m not talking about stretching my patience. Of course, she has done that. But, she has stretched my imagination to see more than what is just in front me. She continues to encourage me to see more. To dream bigger. To hope with a daring hope. To expand until I see the glory of God in every single person.

What a fun ride this has been. It’s only going to get better, Anna Takle. Some days, I miss this little girl sitting across from me in a restaurant in Oklahoma City holding baby Jenny.

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But every day I am so thankful to sit across from this girl. This beautiful, smart, caring human that has become my very best friend.

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Happy 13th Birthday, Anna. I am SO THANKFUL to be your mom.

I love you like crazy,

Mom.

 

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Filed under Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized, Writing

Don’t Kill the Wonder.

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I receive these texts every morning with some sort of positive affirmation or healthy advice for the day. Today, the text read, “Unapologetically seek bliss today.” The text link led me to an article called “‘Ikagai’ is Japan’s Secret to Living a Long, Happy Life.” The author writes that ikagai is “the happiness of always being busy, but it doesn’t mean a schedule packed with mindless errands and activities. Rather, the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning, makes you want to work hard, and colors your life with purpose.” She further writes, “When you follow through on things you enjoy and limit the things you don’t, you’re taking steps towards pursuing what’s important to you.” (Anna Meyer)

This came at such a perfect time as my dad and I were discussing yesterday how so many lose their wonder in life. The truth is, we kill it. Or someone else kills it for us. We kill it in our children completely unaware that we are doing it. When we seek after the things that fill us with joy, we inspire that wonder. When we stop, so does the wonder.

We tell our kids things like, “You can’t always get what you want.” We tell them, “Life isn’t always one big party.” I’ve done it. I’m sure you have. I know our hearts behind it aren’t wrong. We think we are teaching them responsibility. And, that lesson is important. We think we are teaching them to be realistic with their wants and goals. Now, THAT lesson isn’t so much. We think if our little ones want too many things, then they aren’t thankful for what they already have. So, we squelch or diminish the importance or value in them wanting something. We kill their wonder.

It’s not that we never use the word “no.” It IS that we become facilitators, teaching them how to create their world. Teaching them that life IS meant to be full of wonder. Teaching them it’s okay to seek happiness. A couple of years ago I read a book by Shefali Tsabary called “Out of Control.” She is also the author of the “The Conscious Parent,” which may be more familiar to you. One chapter was titled, “How to Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No” Effectively.” My conversation with dad prompted me to pull this book back off the shelf. I’m glad I did. I began reading again about how we kill their wonder when we don’t value what they desire. Tsabary writes that we “deliver messages such as, ‘You are being so greedy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you know that money doesn’t grow on trees? You seem to think we are made of money.’ Shaming our children for their honest desires in this way, we dishonor their feelings. A practical matter has become a personal issue, with the parent feeling frustrated and the child rejected. Our children have every right to want things – this is normal and healthy. It indicates they have a connection to their lives.”

You see our purpose isn’t to run out and buy those things for them. I’m not arguing you can’t. Sometimes, the joy of parenting is saying, “Yes. Let’s go get this.” BUT, the beauty for us as parents is to facilitate their dreams. To teach them to have goals. To help them create ways to work for these things and attain them. To let them know that we are for them and will partner with them. “Our children learn they are active co-creators in their universe, able to actualize their dreams through action. Such children grow up to make good decisions in life.”

I dare say, such children grow up to never lose their wonder for life. Because, we as parents have taught them what it means to truly be created in God’s image – Elohim – creators. Creators are always inspired. And, that inspiration always comes from wonder. So, everyday, they get up and unapologetically seek bliss by actively fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Finally, I would say that this is not selfish. It sounds self-fulfilling. Partially, it is. But, as each one fulfills his or her purpose, the rest of the world benefits. We all gain from each other’s gifts. Am I trying to create a world filled with magic and love and peace and hope and bliss? Am I THAT crazy to think it’s possible? You better believe I am. Now, YOU. Go seek bliss today.

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Filed under Chasing Dreams, Kid Stuff, Life Experiences, making an impact, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized