Tag Archives: Relationships

What Are Your Children Hearing?

me anna

It can be easy out of frustration to say things to our children that tear them down. “You never listen” or “you are so lazy” or any negative words that directly tell them who they are or who they aren’t. Sometimes, parents can also use negative words thinking they are manipulating their child’s behavior to change. We can say things like, “You don’t care about your room,” or “You don’t care about me and what you are putting on me.” We think we can manipulate or guilt them into changing a behavior. These kinds of speech and motives are never beneficial. And, while guilt may work for a while, it’s not sustainable and affects their self-esteem and how they feel about themselves.

It’s not that you ignore behavior or pretend it’s not there. But when we address it, address the actual behavior. Not the person. Don’t say “you are selfish” or “you are being” this or that. Start your conversations with “let’s talk about what happened” or “can you share with me what’s going on or how you’re feeling.” This creates trust that you as their parent really care about them as a person and not their performance. It’s what builds your relationship with them.

Recently, one of of Jett’s teachers told me he was struggling to pay attention and focus in class. I asked her if he was talking to his friends beside him, and she said “Some, but it’s really just kind of like…..” I finished her sentence, “he’s in his own little world?” She responded with a resounding YES.

One of the things I know about Jett is that he is always thinking and imagining and coming up with ideas in his head. It’s one thing I don’t want to squelch. But, I do need to help him channel and navigate it. So, when I talked to him I asked him, “Are you having a hard time listening and staying focused on what your teacher is saying?” He told me yes. I didn’t say, “If you don’t start paying attention, there are going to be serious repercussions for you.” Instead, we talked about our imagination and how God gave it to us to create and how important it is. But, we also talked about how important it is to focus on our tasks at hand. Since I was driving, I asked him if he thought it would be okay if I stopped paying attention to the other cars around me and just started imagining sitting on a beach somewhere. He said, “No, mom!” I told him sometimes, I have to pause my imagination and focus, too. Then, we talked about ways that might help him stay focused. He bought into the discussion. As a matter of fact, when we were going through TSA security at the airport a few weeks ago, I wasn’t paying attention to the agent ask us to remove anything larger than a cell phone from our bag. Jett said, “Mom, take out my iPad. It’s larger than a cell phone. See how I’m paying attention and staying focused?”

Had I just told Jett “You don’t pay attention in class” or “You are going to get in trouble if you don’t get your act together” then all I would have addressed is who I think he is. And, that’s all he would have heard. And, I guarantee you the conversation would not have been effective, at least long term, nor would I have been building a relationship with him where we can continue to talk about it and navigate through it like we did at the airport.

Whenever I am asked for my most crucial parenting advice, I always encourage parents to build a relationship with your children. Relationship is everything. EVERYTHING. In a relationship, you allow the person to be who they are. You allow them to have differences of opinion or beliefs. You don’t force who YOU are onto them. Instead, you ARE the very things you want to see in that relationship. And, you speak them. Whether it’s with your spouse, your friend, or your child. These are the keys to any successful relationship.

And when you do tell them who they are, make sure it’s always positive. Tell them the wonderful things you see in them. And, for those things you don’t see but want to see, don’t tell them they don’t have that trait or it’s not in them. It is, because the Creator of the universe is in them. Instead, talk about the behaviors in a way that’s not threatening or demeaning. And, when you pray for them, thank God for that thing in them that you want to see manifesting outside of them. When my children were little and I would put them to bed, I would always say the same prayer. But, then I would pray thanking God for all of the things I saw in them (who they are), and I would also thank God for all of the things I wanted to see. Anna heard me thank God for her sensitivity and compassion for a long time before I started seeing it manifested. But she heard me say who she already was….not who I wanted her to be. And, she became it. And, now, you won’t find a more compassionate, accepting human being than Anna.

Your children will become who you tell them they are. Make sure you are telling them good things. And, when in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this conversation building our relationship or is it hurting it?” Teen years are coming if you’re not already there. And, I can assure you that relationship is going to mean everything.

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Filed under gratitude, imagination, Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, prayer, Relationships, Uncategorized

Is It My Perspective Or Is It Just Unhealthy?

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After I wrote and posted I Signed Up For This, I received a lot of positive responses. I think so many of you related to marrying a person and not a “plan.” But, I did have one response that made me want to follow up with another post about when do you walk away? My friend who talked to me about this wasn’t negative about my original post. He was just trying to digest and break down what it means and if there is ever a time to say, I did NOT sign up for this.

I love the questions he is asking himself about the relationship he is in. He said, “I don’t know if I’m creating the toxicity by the way I’m thinking about the situation or is the situation itself causing me to be or feel like I’m in a toxic relationship.” What a deeply mature and significant question to ask!

Our discussion has led me to want to clarify some things with my readers. If you are in a toxic or unhealthy relationship, and there are no means by which it’s going to get better, I would never tell someone to stay in it. When I say, “I signed up for this,” I’m saying I signed up to be flexible, to embrace change, to evolve, to be a team player. I did NOT sign up for a situation that is unsafe, that is abusive, that is unhealthy, or that is toxic. No ma’am. No sir.

The same goes for all relationships. I’ve recently had discussions with some close friends about boundaries and friendships. Honestly, the word “boundaries” bothers me more than it doesn’t. I know I should love that word. It’s a good word, after all. I just think we have abused it and set boundaries in relationships we should be fighting for. BUT, there are times where boundaries in relationships are vital to protect your heart, soul, and mind. I’ve always loved the truth that Jesus made EVERYONE feel special, and he loved and encouraged everyone. But, he didn’t let everyone close to him. He protected the energy and the space in which he lived his life. We have to protect our energy and our space and our hearts as well.

There have been times I’ve set boundaries in relationships, and it was necessary and needed. I have also set boundaries in relationships that I should have been fighting for instead. There are relationships worth fighting for, friends! This bears the question of my wise friend: Am I creating the toxicity by the way I’m thinking about the situation or is the situation itself causing me to be or feel like I’m in a toxic relationship? Only you can answer that question.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you a new adventure I begin next week! Also, it feels good (and like home) to be writing again. Thank you for reading, for sharing, for commenting, for asking, for questioning….for even disagreeing. It’s how we grow and how we connect. Have a great Thursday, friends.

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Filed under Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.

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We’ve been in a series called “Battles” at church. It has really had me thinking about battles I have fought that should have never been a battle at all. And, fighting those battles have led to some of my biggest hurts (usually me hurting someone) which ended up being something I regretted. As a matter of fact, the majority of my regrets in life are making a bigger deal out of something than I should have….turning a minor issue into a major one. Making the insignificant significant.

We should always know better. Most, if not all, of us have experienced really hard things that were significant. Something that puts life into perspective where we see what truly matters in life. Back in April when both of my oldest ended up in the hospital with concussions, life dramatically slowed down. Nothing else mattered during that season but making sure my children were okay. Perspective was clear and right. Yet, it’s so easy to forget once that season passes. And, suddenly we are back to letting little things become big things.

That little thing your child failed to do or did becomes a big thing. And, their little souls suffer from our lack of perspective.

That little inconvenience a friend caused becomes a big inconvenience. And, her heart is hurt from our lack of perspective.

That little oversight from your spouse becomes a big oversight. And, he is stripped down and goes to sleep feeling like he let you down from our lack of perspective.

Every time we make that little thing big, someone gets hurt. A relationship suffers. And, it’s never, ever worth it.

Ever.

You’ll read this today and maybe think to yourself, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” And, perhaps, you will today. Maybe even tomorrow. But time will pass, and you’ll forget. I’ll forget. Some little thing will happen and we will lose perspective and blow it out of proportion. Someone will get hurt, and we will regret it. We will struggle to take back those words. But, maybe if we can all start being accountable to one another by reminding each other to keep the main thing the main thing, we will stop fighting battles that should never be.

Souls will stay on fire with life.

Hearts will stay mended.

Relationships will stay in tact.

Because, we won’t make insignificant things significant. And, we won’t let significant things become insignificant. Because, what’s significant…..what really matters…..are the people in your life.

They are the main thing.

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Filed under Friendship, life, Marriage, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

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

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

On Love and Marriage

Dear friends,

I thought I would share one of my recent articles published in The Grip on love and marriage. I truly feel as though Kris and I have a beautiful marriage, because we have chosen to become partners in everything. We are a team. There is no competition. No disrespect. And, complete trust. He is my best friend, and I am his. I love this quote and believe it to be true: “It's not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” (Friedrich Nietzsche) Physical intimacy is important as well as date nights and time away from our children. But, it is our views on true partnership that I feel make us strong in our relationship. I pray your own relationships are strengthened, not just this weekend, but every single day. And, that you bring more glory to Him together than you do apart. Happy Weekend of love!


Previously published in The Grip.

My husband and I don’t really exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. Nevertheless, we are still big fans of love. So, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I would share a few not so secret secrets to what helps us enjoy life together and truly love each other well. I’m sure many of you could add to the list, too. But, here are a few things and thoughts I always try to remember about marriage….and about all of my relationships:

1) Don’t take things personally. Not text messages. Not actions. Nothing. Trust that your spouse is always for you. Once you truly believe he or she is FOR you, then you rest in knowing he or she never means to hurt you.

2) Don’t compare jobs or get into a “who has the toughest job” war. Comparison is the thief of joy. And, this is a dangerous road to travel down. One of the biggest keys in refraining from comparison is to always maintain an attitude of “I get to do this.” I get to provide for my family. I get to be available for my children. Gratitude for our roles changes everything.

3) I don’t have to talk through every single issue. I’m not advocating a lack of communication. However, sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Words are powerful and create energy: both positive and negative. Besides, I may feel differently tomorrow than I do today. Sleep on it.

4) Create rules for engagement when it IS necessary to address an issue. You set up whatever works well for your communication. For Kris and I, profanity and name-calling are never allowed when we are communicating an issue. I also try not to use “always” and “never” when discussing an issue. Both can put the other on the defensive and make a small issue become a greater one.

5) Make allowances for each other’s faults. This is so hard! But, we have to allow the people we love to fail us. We are certainly going to fail them.

6) Let thanksgiving and praise become the loudest noise in your home. Say thank you often. Even for the smallest of things.

7) Let laughter become the second loudest noise in your home. A cheerful heart is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22) Laughter keeps our hearts softened. It makes the darkest days lighter. And, well, for Kris, he knows it completely drops my guard….and makes it really difficult for me to remain upset. Guard your heart (your thoughts), but don’t guard it from being merry.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

 

 

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Making Allowances.

* Written for The Grip, August 30, 2012

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13

It’s easy to remember the forgive part.  Okay, it’s easier.  It’s the first part we tend to overlook:  Make allowance for each other’s faults.  Most of us have a difficult time making allowances for each other’s faults.  In other words, we don’t allow people to fail us.  We forget to make those allowances.  The truth is every person we are in relationship with will fail us.  My spouse will fail me.  My children will fail me.  My friends will fail me.  And, I will fail them.  The key is to not allow those moments to define that relationship.  Instead, we must view it as a moment in time.  A moment where we allowed that person to fail us.  A moment where we forgave them as soon as they did.  A moment.  That’s all.

Even though none of us think of ourselves as perfect, we still have a tough time allowing others to be flawed.  As a parent, I have to constantly remind myself to allow my children fail.  I have to guard against over-parenting.  There are times I try to prevent them from failing instead of letting them make mistakes.    Allowing them to fail.  I want to protect them from failure.  But, if I could protect them from every single failure, they would never see their need for a Savior.

I’m going to fail you.  You’re going to fail me.  When we do, we have a gap.  On one side of that gap is my expectation of you.  On the other side of that gap is what actually happens.  We choose what goes in the gap when someone fails us.  We can fill that gap with bitterness, anger, or hurt.  Or, we can fill that gap with forgiveness, grace, and allowances for that person’s faults.

We choose what goes in the gap.

Paul follows up Colossians 3:13 with this:

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

Get up every morning and wrap yourself in love.  Choose peace over being right.  And, be thankful for those people in your life…..

Even when they fail you.

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, Love, Relationships