Labor is still hard and other observations…

*I wrote this about 8 months ago, shortly after Julian was born. I’ve edited it a bit but still wanted to share. 

Exactly 1 month ago I gave birth to our third child, Julian Rivers Morgan.  We had taken a six year break after our second son so baby boy was much anticipated and celebrated.  The first twenty weeks of the pregnancy were tougher than expected with knock-me-off my feet nausea and fatigue; but once that passed, I was full of energy and excitement.

When labor hit eight days past my due date, I thought that surely I would have this baby out in an hour flat.  Three and a half hours later, he arrived in a huge gush of my waters.  And though it wasn’t a long labor, it was stupid hard.  And I wondered during every contraction (which arrived promptly every two minutes or so) why in the heck I had chosen to go for a third natural birth in a Birth Center where there were no drugs anywhere to be found.

Yet when it was done and my troublesome placenta decided to vacate my body, the pain and horror dissipated into a sweet time of rest and connection between Jason, myself and Julian.  Which brings me to my second observation; I absolutely adore my third born son. He is everything.  When we decided to go for #3, I had planned that it would be a girl (more on that later) and so did everyone else.  Then we found out a few days before New Years that I was to be the mother of three sons, and I realized that perhaps planning on something that was completely out of my control was nominally ridiculous.  But within a few moments of getting to know my sweet boy, I was absolutely in love and would never trade him for all the tutu wearing girls in the world.

Third observation, post-partum recovery is important and should be given time.  This is pretty tough to actually do though in the midst of our million miles a second world.  I committed to stay home for two weeks which I did.  And it made a huge difference.  But its hard to sit still inside for much more than that.

Fourth, post-partum hormones may induce crying at any moment. Usually when your husband least expects it.  I can ambush him so unexpectedly with tears and the need to be talked off the ledge of abysmal irrationality that I feel I should earn some sort of ninja belt for this.

More observations…they just keep coming:

My friends are amazing.  I mean, they are so great.  Some of my dearest friends (Amanda, Gaitha, Cristina, Tasha, Alice) threw me the most amazing baby shower that I could’ve ever dreamed of. Where so many wonderful old and new friends showed up with love and gifts for sweet baby boy.  I felt so prepared for him to come and it has been the hugest blessing.  Also, we have had almost three weeks of dinners after Julian was born and family had gone home…total bliss is having dinner for your family hand-delivered by a loved friend.

Lack of sleep leads to preventable disasters.  Lost keys. Dented car. I hate the feeling of having to be so aware of my mental deprivation and to compensate on all fronts.  The second you let your guard down…CRUNCH…you’ve dented the back of your brand new-to-us minivan on someone’s side mirror. Shhh, don’t tell my husband. He hasn’t noticed yet. (Um, yes he has…I confessed right away.)

Oh hey, we have a minivan now! And yeah, they are as great as everyone says they are.  Yes they are a vagina on wheels (Parenthood reference)…but hey, who doesn’t love vaginas?

Other observations in bullet point form:

-Oxytocin is a bonus for my big boys. Attachment hormones lead to lots of amazing bonding moments with more than just baby.

-Babies are much easier when you are in a stable place in life. Turns out not moving three times while pregnant, owning a home, and not being in graduate school makes having a baby way easier. Who knew?

-My boys are the best big brothers ever. I mean they are so good with baby Julian and they adore him.  And he’s starting to adore them now too. Bouncing up and down whenever they come in the room. It makes me feel like no matter what else I do in life, I’ve accomplished something good just by seeing the way these three boys love each other.

Last observation for now, I still feel sad about not having a girl. Nine months of being absolutely in love with Julian doesn’t diminish the fact that I still grieve over the reality that I may never know what its like to raise a daughter, to see her get married, watch her have her babies. My boys are fabulous in every way and I pray often for their wives (while also telling them on a somewhat repetitive basis that I must really like whoever they choose as their life partner; otherwise, she’s probably not a good fit. That’s not manipulative, right?)–but I still feel sad. And I possibly always will.

Overall, being a mom of three boys has brought me into the most gratifying season of life I’ve ever known. Yes, labor was super duper hard. Will I ever do it again? No. No, I’m about 99.9% I will not. But the satisfaction of looking into the bright and joy-filled faces of my boys is undeniably worth every second of pain. Every stretch mark and fat cell. Every lost minute of sleep. I love being their mom and that is all.

The things I learned from Parenting without the Help of a Screen

*Found this draft from three years ago and thought I’d share. 

January’s zeal for fresh and new will inevitably bring a fleeting rush of super-human energy.  At the height of this energy surge, I naturally institute ideas that any other month of the year would never be attempted.  Thus, a month-long screen break for my children appeared to be a completely feasible and sane plan; which I announced to J & J with a resolve that could not be shaken by even the most incessant requests to “watch something”.

This impetuous decision came from the realization that over the holiday break–which had involved several sick days and a long road trip–my lively little boys had transformed into glassy-eyed zombies who stumbled into my room every morning bleating “Netflix, movie, shows”.  And if, in some rare moment of pluck, I would resist satiating this need for the hypnotizing screen; they went from placid zombies to raging Tasmanian devils faster than you can say “let’s read a book instead”.

After a few days — well maybe a few weeks — of this, I finally moved from denial to action.  My children were addicted to screens and they needed to be cut-off cold turkey.  So on January 5th our screen break began. And here is what I learned from the venture…

I, too, am addicted to my children’s addiction to the screen.  I am not saying that I can’t live without the background noises of PBS Kids and the occasional Rescue Bots.  No.  It was the moments of silence and calm that ensued when my children were locked into their show that I was addicted too.  I very quickly learned that what I was giving up were those brief moments void of insistent requests for food, loud animal noises and fights over who gets what first.

So though I had every good intention of holding to the letter of the law I had imposed in my home, it soon became clear that a total break from the TV and iPad was never going to happen. So we adapted our plan and instituted a weekend movie night which sometimes was repeated the next morning so the hubby and I could sleep past 7:30am.  Then one of them got sick yet again one of the rampant viruses traveling through the kids these days.

Finally, I HAD to get some work done for an encroaching deadline and the “help” of my 3 year old was anything but helpful.  And just like that, the strict screen break was relaxed into a more appropriate attempt to limit screen time to no more than one hour a day.  Though much less hardcore, wayyyy more practical.  And a girl has got to be practical when parenting two busy boys.

Teaching Jackson about Regret

Jackson gently cried himself to sleep tonight.  I laid with him, rubbed his back and comforted him as best as I could.  But it was a feeling that I could not alleviate or take away.  Jackson was experiencing regret for the first time…or at least in such a tangible and clear way that I could name the feeling for him.

His choice to forego the craft following a story-time we were at today had come back to haunt him.  He knew now that he wished he had stayed and done the glue and paper activity.  But, alas, it was too late.  Too late to see what he would have created.  Too late to see what the snack would have been had he stayed.

The pain he was experiencing was so real, so recognizable that I could do nothing but simply be in the moment with him.  After a while, I encouraged him to go to sleep with the assurance that he would probably feel a little less sad in the morning; and watched as he drifted away into quiet rest.

Watching my son cope with the pain of regret was incredibly poignant for me today because I have born the weight of it all too often over the past few months.  I have tasted over and over again the reality that sometimes you don’t get a second chance.  That sometimes the words you say…or don’t say…are the last chance you’ll ever get to speak to someone.  That a feeling of urgency may just as quickly become a barb of regret if not acted on.

And tonight, as usual, I know regret.

I could add a peppy ” but this isn’t the end of the story…everything will be fine”…blah blah blah.  But I don’t feel like it.  I don’t feel like I will ever stop making mistakes or doing things I regret.

………………………So I take a moment to feel.  Feel pain.  Let it remind me that I’m alive.  Not rush away from it to the shelter of solutions or dependencies that numb. I ask myself why I do things I know I will regret?   Why I do what I don’t want to do?  I explore the tension and allow it for as long as I can (which is never very long)……………………..

And now I draw hope from these words spoken by an ancient and wise man: “He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

From this I am reminded that regret–and the mistakes that evoke the feeling– are not new to the human condition, nor is it unique to me to make mistakes and regret them.  Weakness is ancient and will one day, somehow, be redeemed.  And so, I will rest in the knowledge of eternity, redemption, beauty for ashes and eternal hope.

And I renounce guilt and shame because regret is the gateway drug for those two thugs.  I may make mistakes, regret them, feel sad for a while and hopefully learn not to do it again.  But there is no benefit to allowing them to become burdens of self-hatred.  And since Jesus frequently asserted that we should “Let not your hearts be troubled…” I believe that guilt and shame should never be submitted too even following my most hurtful offenses.

So while I was teaching Jackson about regret tonight, he was reminding me that feeling regret is only human…and will never be eternal.

How Downton Abby, Episode 2 of Season 4 helped me to Forgive

**Spoiler Alert:  Though I will not definitively give away the ending to the second episode of the latest season in Downton Abbey, you may be able to infer what happens.  

Last week I watched Episode Two, Season Four of Downton Abbey.  I was rather easily being carried by the story when — as this show will do — suddenly the worst thing that could happen happens.  And it happens to one of sweetest and most caring characters.  I literally became sick to my stomach and sat in shock as the credits began to roll.

With deep bitterness in my words, I turned to my husband and confessed what was welling up in my heart.  “I hate men”, I said.  And I meant it.

I work in a field where I am often confronted with the reality of what men and their power and lust can do to women and children.  I remember the millions of girls and boys around the world who are being stolen, beaten, prostituted and, eventually, murdered for the sake of a man’s pleasure.  I think about how every time I walk the streets alone or in the dark, I am vulnerable to attack and rape.  And though I know that women are often just as guilty as perpetuating evil throughout the world, I hated the men for it.

I went to bed feeling unresolved and unsettled.  So much so that in the middle of the night I woke with a startled unrest (and also because Murphy the cat was clawing at the carpet which is her polite way of informing me that it is time to wake up out of a dead sleep and meet her need for some night exploration).  And for some reason as I was reaching to open my front door, I knew what I needed to do.

I needed to forgive.  I needed to forgive the man on Downton who did the most terrible thing that can be done to a woman.

But  I did not want to forgive this fictional character who so vividly reminded me of the rampant evil in the world.  The evil that is anything but fictional.

Then the warm presence of Help washed over me.  And I did it.  I forgave him.  “I forgive you”, I said.  And as I did, peace filled me and somehow I knew that I had found the answer to the restless pain; forgiveness.

Forgiveness will not end all the evil in the world.  But it does end the power evil has to break one’s spirit through hopelessness and despair.  Forgiveness allowed me to surrender my hatred to the only One who can ever bring about true justice.  And forgiveness will inoculate me from the disease of bitterness that gnaws at the soul and spreads to one’s children.

Let me be clear, forgiveness does not mean passivity or a giving in to injustice.  It simply means that as I work very hard to perpetuate the good that I can do, I do it as a whole woman rather than one fragmented by anger and hate.

Forgiveness allows true hope to blossom and it is by forgiving the one, that we are soon able to forgive all.  So, to the man on Downton Abbey Episode 2, Season 4, you are forgiven by the Redeemer of all things terrible.  And now I am a little more like Him by forgiving you too.  He is your only hope as well as He is mine.

Forgive us our sins.   As we have forgiven those who sin against us. 

~Matthew 6:12

—-

Disclaimer:  I have never been wronged by men in the way that is described here.  Yet I believe that as a woman, I have been traumatized many times over by the stories that are often brought to light about the things done to my fellow women at the hands of men.  It has not been done personally to me yet I absorb every story with the knowledge that it could, one day happen; and that it does happen all around us. That is why I needed to forgive and be free from the bitterness and hatred that was in my heart.

Why I’ve Decided to Give Up on My Dreams…Part 2

Dear little dreamer, you have not lost at all. 

Cause what slipped through your fingers has little to do with life at all.

~Kristine Dimarco (Safe Place–Holly Dear)

—/////—

So I need to start by apologizing that I have let you worry about me for almost a week!   You have lain awake at night agonizing over the question
“what is going to happen to an American girl that does not have a dream to live by?!!”  But I want to assure you that everything will be all right.  It will be.  It is.

Because, you see, I did not throw out my Maker’s dreams for me.  They are not mine to throw out.  They are not even mine to achieve.

The Dreamer of all dreams has never stopped dreaming for me.

He has dreamed up a story for me and I believe it is one worth living. Not for its grandiosity but because its mine — containing twists, turns, climaxes, and most importantly, an essential role in His larger story for the whole human race.  My story matters…which is really what matters to me.

I do believe that He is a fan of foreshadowing.  He gives us hints of what our destiny may contain.  But these are seeds of promise and they should not be mistaken as charges to action.  They are reminders of hope.  Inspirations of purpose.  Encouragement to keep moving forward yet to stay close to His side.

As I write this blog, a picture — or perhaps it could be described as a vision — comes to mind.  One that I saw while sitting in a field in Texas while I was still very young (though as an ambitious 19 year old, I would never have described myself as young).  I believe it was inspired because it impacted me so strongly.

It was of me being led in a dance by who a man who I felt was Jesus.  I was dressed in a beautiful gown and I somewhat resembled Aurora from the end of Sleeping Beauty (I know, I know.  Disney, again.  What can I say?  I obviously watched a lot of it growing up.)  The man led me in a beautiful sunlit waltz around a large, rolling field.  As we gracefully moved from one slope-top to another, obstacles would suddenly appear in our way.  The man would deftly maneuver me through these barriers…sometimes even twirling me around to face and repel enemies with a few swift punches.  Then, just as deftly, he would pull me back into the dance without ever missing a beat.

I still remember how well He led me where I needed to go.  There was no stress.  No anxiety.  No comparison.  Only security, safety, calm and beautiful colors.

And I think that is why I’m giving up my dreams.  Because I think that by giving up I’m actually saying yes.  Yes to the Dreamer. Yes to the dance.  Yes to His partnership.  Yes to something bigger than what I can make happen.

I’ll be faithful to keep up.  I’ll rise to the challenge when He begins to increase the pace.  I’ll even take on a scary foe or two.  But I’ll do it only with Him by my side leading the way, choreographing the steps, keeping time.  Resting in the knowledge of His good leadership (Psalm 23) and the plans He has for me (Psalm 139).

That way, whether I ever see my “dreams” fulfilled or not, I still win.  I still know that my life was what it was meant to be.  Because it was what He dreamed up for me the day I was designed.

And so I give up on my dreams.  I commit to the dance.  I rest in His story.

The End.

“True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do.  It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach.” 

~Sarah Young (Jesus Calling — January 5th)

Why I’ve Decided to Give Up on My Dreams…Part 1

Yes.  It’s true.  My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to give up on my dreams.  To literally forget about them.  

I am aware that giving up on one’s dreams is almost blasphemously un-American…maybe even un-Christian.  I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible that if you only keep believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.  Oh wait.  I looked it up.  It’s actually from Cinderella.  The Disney Version.  

But that’s my point.  From the time we are little, the many constructs of society teach us that having a dream to follow (subtext: BIG DREAM) is what will be the guiding star to achieving something worthwhile.  These dreams are what we use to shape our ambitions, make life decisions like what we will study in college, and even the kind of people we hang out with or marry.  

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my dreams (the vague but massive ambitions I decided on at the ripe old age of 19) have become a giant yardstick by which I daily measure my life and evaluate whether or not I am succeeding or failing.  And the giant-dream-yardstick has not only clearly marked my perceived failures, it has recently begun to slap my knuckles and wrap the back of my legs.  Bringing me to my knees under the weight of guilt and disappointment.  

Now thankfully I have matured to a place where I know that this “dreamed up guilt” is not from my Father.  I know that it is me who is my own torturer.  Berating myself daily with sneers at my lack of ability to find a way to make things happen.  Because you hear about it all the time.  Someone does it.  Someone achieves their dream through true grit.  The anecdotal evidence is everywhere.

But what I didn’t see was that perhaps these dreams of mine didn’t come from Him at all.  Or rather, my ideas about how seeds of promise would be realized were mostly just that–MY ideas.  Since a little girl, many things about me have pointed to certain outcomes.  Have seemed to reveal my giftings, my storyline, the ending.  Yet also while still a girl I began to take things into my own hands.  Contriving strategies and plans about how I would bring these things to pass.  And now, no longer a girl, I sag under a weight of my own making.  

Then they told me at 18 years old that I could know what my life-long vision should be and that I was capable of making it into a concise statement.  I was then to develop a 5 and 10 year plan around this vision sentence that I made while still practically a baby in life experience.  Have I done the things that my idyllic 19 year old wrote into a sentence?  Perhaps.  Perhaps some of it has come to pass but mostly these written words-long ago lost-only taunt me with their emptiness.  Their lack of actual power.    

So here I am a 30 year old.  Laying in bed cuddled close to my husband shortly after midnight on January 1, 2014.  I think about the fresh start that a new year gives.  Yet immediately following this thought is the sagging reality that this year would most likely only lead to more failure in the area of dream-achievement.  And suddenly a thought struck me with such simple clarity that I knew it was one of those life-shifting moments.  Give up on my dreams.  Give up on the self-made IDEA of my dreams.  Throw them out the door.  And never try to retrieve them.  And right then and there from the warmth of my present moment, I did just that. 

Goodbye, giant-dream-yardstick-standard.  Hello, savoring today.  Hello, thankfulness for the beautiful luscious life I’ve been given….

________________________________________________________

Stay tuned for Part Two coming soon!

Discontentment; the antithesis of Thanksgiving

It’s November.  The month where you are supposed to post every day about what you are thankful for and to pose a war on grumbling.  It’s the month where you are supposed to reflect on all the good gifts you have in your life and to give thanks; your great family, your great friends, your great material possessions.

But for me, this month has brought a visit from an unwelcome guest; Discontentment.   I know with my head that there are so many glorious things about my life that I should be able to fill pages upon pages with thanks.  Yet my heart has felt lonely, ugly and less than.

You might be surprised to hear this if you follow me on Instagram (and you should! melodyjoymorgan) since I tend to only post pictures in moments when I am the most at peace and thus I present my life only as one that is full of light, love and beauty.  But this is part of the problem.  I present only the best moments of my life to the world.  And maybe you do too.

And because of that I sometimes feel that we are in a rat race to one-up each other all the time.  And perhaps you aren’t.  But I do sometimes.  At least this month anyway.  And when I begin to realize I can’t win a race, I give up.  I give in.

And just like that.  Discontentment creeps up beside me, puts his gnarly arm around me and  says “Hey there, sister.  It’s been a while.”  Suddenly I scroll through my Facebook feed and all the good things in your life depreciate everything good in mine.  Your kids are cuter.  Your husband is smarter.  You are more creative. more successful, a better mommy, a happier housewife.

In reality, I know that my kids are in fact pretty darn cute.  But deeper down the truth of their Divine ordination to be my own is lost and I let their perfection become blighted in the dim light of the reflection of your children.

I say reflection because what I see of your children is but a fraction of who they are.  And I do not mean to imply that your child’s light is dim.  But what I’m trying to say is that the things God has given us to be our own should be the shiniest, brightest apple of our eye.  Yet with Discontentment plodding beside me, my apples lose their luster and it is your fruit that I want.

Goodness.  Not sure if this makes sense.  But through this act of clarifying what I am feeling, I shine light like a weapon on this weird darkness that has walked beside me this month.  I am also clearing my mind of confusion and pain so that I might receive the wisdom that comes from Heaven to purify and heal.  The wisdom from my Father who gives me good gifts and in whom there is no shifting shadow.

Discontentment would have me become disheartened by my children, disappointed in my husband and scared to ever takes risks.   But I would say in response, NO.  My story was written before the foundations of the world.  This life is not haphazard.  Though we do have free will, the Father is involved and His hand is always on my shoulder.  And though Discontentment would have me look into my Father’s loving face and say “why didn’t you give me someone else’s life?” I choose to instead to say “Thank you.”

Thank you for my story.  Thank you for this life.  It is good.

Staying In…and Unfolding our Souls

Today is Saturday.  A whole day with nothing planned until the evening.  We have “free time” today.  These two little words bring a thrill of excitement to my soul since ideally they mean the potential for unpredicted adventures and new experiences.  However, while free time is deliciously potent it can also mean laziness, time wasted and even missed.  And though all week I long for un-boundaried time and space, I simultaneously dread the restless feeling of purposelessness.  

So this morning my first instinct was to make a plan.  Call a friend.  Schedule something.  I even kicked myself for not planning something ahead of time; for being caught with nothing to do.  But then in a moment of clarity, I remembered how all week I had longed for time to just “be” and to let my boys and myself unfold our little souls [Jason is currently making his way to Iowa to meet his sister so that we can take care of her cat for a while.  We are soooo excited about this!!].  

Every morning, we begin our day in a rush and usually have things to do, people to see and routines to be enacted until bedtime.  We do not have the figurative chasm needed for the creative and restorative parts of ourselves to take flight.  We live a full life where we must keep our feet firmly on the ground, moving quickly and surely in order to make it from school to community to work  to personal goal achievements to all the things that we are blessed to have in our western lifestyle.  We put our heads down and push through; perhaps even measuring our personal success and value by how busy we are (or maybe I’m the only one that does this?).  

So this was my chance.  My chance to to let an entire 10 hours unfold before us with no plan but to stay in our home and not to plan anything.  Our only rule being minimal TV and my only goal being to get a few loads of laundry done AND to view the day as valuable no matter how it turned out. 

And so far the day has been glorious in all its simplicity and unstructured bliss.  The boys made a huge mess of my kitchen by making a soup just for me composed of oatmeal, entire bottles of spices, grass and Mum petals.  We spread blankets on our living room floor and made a nest for ourselves pretending we were baby birds and then polar bears.  We played Candyland while I drank my second latte of the day.  Jackson “did the dishes” where basically he fills the sink with bubbles, uses up all our dish soap and gets water everywhere [Side note: Whenever Jackson does the dishes, it is a huge discipline for me in relinquishing control…though he made it worth it for me today by telling me that dishes were hard work.  I know, baby boy, I know.  You’re preaching to the choir. Maybe you’ll be a little more empathetic towards me from now on when you sees me standing at the sink a million times a day!! 🙂 ]

Currently, the boys are dressing up in animal costumes and taking imaginary expeditions to the North Pole.   Wait…that information is no longer current…now they are wrestling beside me and tickling each other with their feet.  Next on our agenda is for me to read them this blog, to make hot chocolate and eat Trader Joe cookies.  You’d think it was 10 degrees outside, not 90, by the way we’re acting today.  

Anyway, this day is lovely.  And its all because I fought the urge to rush us off somewhere.  We needed time to unfold our souls.  Expand and stretch out.  With the hope that when we let ourselves become larger than the confines of a busy schedule, our capacity for life, beauty, kindness, each other and even busyness must surely increase.  Tomorrow will be full and I will relax in its confines knowing that the essentials of family routines, community friendships, and hard-work will resume their necessary place in our days. 

So heres to staying in…just for today.  

Hashing Out This Parenting Stuff…

Recently, I have been evaluating how we’re doing as parents.  This is because I have been getting some feedback from people I love and respect who have seen cross-sections of our lives and then have given their input.  This specific feedback has come from people who do not actually live in our geographic vicinity but know us well and have, shall we say, vacationed with us.

Most of this feedback has been so encouraging…they love our boys, they think they are smart, funny and sweet.  They see great things in them.  But there have been some accompanying comments that communicate concern about the boys’ behaviors and our decisions as parents.

Now you might be asking; how accurate of a picture are you getting of a child when they are at Grandma’s house, out of routine, eating junk food and getting much less sleep than normal?  And I would answer that vacations represent vacations and not daily life.  It’s kind of like one of those naked-walking-around-school dreams where you feel stressed, completely vulnerable and want to somehow get clothes on but you can’t.  That is often how vacations with family feel to me…the boys (and myself) are not at their best yet I know this is the only chance that most of our family gets to know them and see who they are.

So keeping in mind the conditions created by the perfect storm that is a holiday vacation, I could potentially discount this input as not being super applicable to my daily life; however, I don’t because these are people I love and I want to enjoy being around my boys.  I have mulled the feedback over and I have felt guilty and I have spluttered out lame explanations that only make sense to people who have two crazy pre-school aged children at that very moment.  Yet realized that without a clear understanding of where we are in our family and why we parent the way we do, I will not able to accurately judge if they are right or not.  So I have decided to take some time and evaluate our methods in order to ascertain if there is valid and applicable truth in the feedback I’m getting.

I need to do this because we have chosen a parenting strategy with the boys that uses spanking and authoritarian style parenting only on a VERY limited basis.  In fact, Jackson has only been spanked once and Jacob less than a handful of times.  We mostly use time-outs if a parent-made consequence is necessary and then we do a lot of coaching and guiding that don’t usually involve punishment.  Some would say this is a risky way of parenting that could lead to manipulative and undisciplined children.  However, we feel that it will lead to more happy results which I will be explaining down the road.

Yet, I feel it is important to take some time and assess how this strategy is working out.  What kind fruit can be seen in the boys lives?  What kind of fruit can be seen in our lives as their parents?  I think I can do this by earnestly looking at their little selves along with their behaviors and habits and by being honest with myself about the strengths and weaknesses that I see.   I also like the idea of talking to some of the people in our lives who are around the boys on a regular basis and see them in normal daily lives.

And I’ve also decided to hash out why we parent the way we do.  What are our end goals for our kids?  What our strategy is?  What achieving these goals look like in our daily lives?  I’ll probably also take some time to canvas the works of some of the parenting experts I identify with and glean from them to see if I’m really following their strategies or making up my own.

Thus, I’m thinking Moments with Melody will be about parenting for a while.  You’re welcome to delve into this with me and share your input.  I’d even love to hear how you differ from me in your parenting goals, strategies and ideas.  Why do you differ?  Why do you agree?  This has to be a conversation because nobody has it right.  Nobody has the whole picture and I learn so much from the parents around me.

So let’s talk; I’ll hash, you share.  🙂

Redefining “Moments with Melody” to Myself

I have been so sadly remiss at this blog.  I will go weeks without ever remembering that there is a corner of the blogging world that belongs to me if I so choose to fill it.  But when I do remember this fact, I feel the heavy weight of unfulfilled New Year’s Resolution (Resolution #2 for 2012: Blog every week) and, perhaps, failure.

Failure to do something that is really important to me which is write.

I am a writer.  Did you know that about me?  I am a writer and by letting life slip by without practicing this art form that is so much a piece of me, I have done myself an injustice.  I have ignored the swirl of ideas, feelings and notions and have given them no  way of taking shape and coming to life.  No way of taking on meaning.  And I have denied myself a form of self-care that has been essential to me since I was a little girl.

I do this because life is full.  I have a husband and two small boys, work 20+ hours a week, manage a four bedroom house that never stays clean for more than a few minutes and have a vibrant community of friends.  These are all wonderful blessings that rightfully fill my days with joy and busyness.

Yet, life is not too full for me to take care of myself.  I still find time to pray, eat somewhat healthy, workout and watch Parenthood (this is an essential self-care activity since I cry at least once during every show and it is extremely cathartic).  And what I’ve come to realize is that by sacrificing the regular discipline of putting my heart into words, I let countless opportunities for growth and revelations slip through my fingers.

Another thing about writing is that I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life.  Not as a primary profession but simply to put myself out there as person who expresses themselves through words.  Once, in high school I was published.  Published in a local literary magazine for students.  I don’t even remember the name of it and I may not even have a copy of it anymore but I remember going to the little bookstore in downtown Manteo, opening the page and seeing my name written beneath a short essay.  It was a moment of pride and joy that I’ll never forget.   I’ll never forget how it felt to have formulated words together in such a way that Mr. Guiley–my favorite English teacher–felt others should have the chance to see.

So in honor of myself, the writer, I am saying goodbye to self-expectations of being a consistent and disciplined blogger and hello to the simple act of expressing myself through words.  I’m going to do this because it is good for me and it might be meaningful to others. I’m also going to do this because I want to…and that means I’ll do it when the timing is right.

So there may be periods of time where I don’t post a blog for months or I might do 10 posts in a day.  And that is ok.  I’m just going to be ok with it happening when it happens.  And it will happen because I am a writer.  My form of self-expression is through words.  And I have something inside of me that is unique and might make a difference in the world.

So I’m going to write because I am a writer.

The end…for now.

****I’d like say thank you to my brother David Molnar for sending me the eBook You are a Writer by Jeff Goins.  It has been both an encouragement and a kick in the butt to me.  Thanks for believing in me, Davey!