Posts Tagged ‘choices’


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Be Kind

January 21, 2013

Wow. I realized I hadn’t posted a blog in about a week. Life here just keeps trucking. I have ideas in my head–need to finish my “Tell Me Abouts” and write about my grandmothers; ideas about serving others; and of course a Bench Message. Today, with the exception of going to E.o.t.T., is supposed to be a relaxing day but it really isn’t. I have so much to catch up on and do for the upcoming busy week. So with checklist in hand and a tummy full of delicious chilli … here is this week’s (or is it last week’s) Bench Message: Be Kind.

Bench Message: Be Kind, copyright SnipeWife 2013

Bench Message: Be Kind, copyright SnipeWife 2013

We are beginning a 14 week study of Acts. It coincides with what I’m teaching in my Joyful Servant class about the church and beliefs and practices. I’m particularly interested in studying what is a hard and fast rule, what is cultural, and what is merely a gray area. I’m feeling energized by both classes.

Our facilitator is reading N.T. Wright’s Acts for Everyone Part 1 and Part 2 in addition to the Bible text. We’re just delving into Chapter 3 of Acts and reading about Peter’s sermon at the Temple. The facilitator brings in John 1:14:

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. (NAS)

We were asked what does in mean to be “Full of grace and truth?” It was a great discussion. I don’t know whether the following can be attributed to the facilitator or the N.T. Wright but it struck a chord with me, especially as I’m trying to make this the Year of Listening.

“Even the right words said at the wrong time can be devastating.”

If grace is giving undeserved kindness and mercy and we are to be more Christ-like, how do we show that?

Right now I have a few stresses in my life that could use some addressing. But quite honestly, there really isn’t a “right” time. “If I could just educate them, show them the error of their ways … if I could just ask them to stop causing me stress … it will go away.” Not really. The unintended consequences always have a price to pay and you better be prepared to pay if one chooses to charge ahead.

This can, at least in me, cause a feeling of being tired of being on the “High Road” all the time. Feeling like that robs us of the peace showing kindness is really all about.

Instead of feeling put out and put upon to be on the High Road, maybe if we focus on holding back even the right words at all the wrong times, we are showing kindness. Even to someone who isn’t being kind to us.

Be Kind.

And have faith that if it becomes necessary to say those right words, the right moment will happen. In the end by not saying the right words at the wrong time is also a kindness to yourself. Don’t add to the stress you’re under with a cost that may be too high to pay. Don’t rob yourself of the good being kind can do for that other person or yourself.

Interestingly I’ve had a few chances this week to choose not to address a stress–before we discussed it in class. I’m glad I was listening and paying attention. This does not mean I am avoiding it or letting it fester. Making a conscious choice is weighing all the options and addressing it.

This also doesn’t mean I won’t “talk it out” because I believe quite integral in a woman’s nature is the need to process by talking (or maybe blogging). To be able to say all the “right things to address a wrong” to a trusted* objective, patient and non-judgemental–and kind–ear has a purpose and can help one to focus on the good of showing kindness and avoid making rash decisions and therefore suffering even greater consequences. This process for women is natural. Yes, some can become champions of feeding a festering wound, especially if their chosen listener is an equally toxic person or if their listener isn’t really listening. And yes, some can use a social media outlet as a place to toxicly dump thinking they are safe from consequences (or if they are really dumping like that they probably could care less about consequences and personal responsibility). For the rest, though, most of us are just trying to process and can come to reasonable solutions on our own.

*Trusted is a key word–you have to be able to trust that what is said does not go beyond the speaker and listener or it defeats the purpose.

I think this is a good follow-up to Be a Friend. Go out there and Be Kind.


Opening Up A Can of Worms…

December 27, 2012

Everybody parents differently. Everyone has different standards.

So I posted the question about which movie to go see with my mother and daughters today. Life of Pi, The Hobbit, Les Miserable, or Parental Guidance. I wasn’t personally interested in seeing the first or fourth choice but my mom had mentioned Parental Guidance more than once. I really have to be in the mood to see a comedy. And watching a movie about familial dysfunction however humorous with my mother is not entertaining. My mother is not that into fantasy so I wondered about the Hobbit. When the original LotRs all came out we saw them with my in-laws. The final LotR the Chief and I saw solo because the girls were now of an age where they actually stayed awake for a film. So that left Les Mis … but being a disgrace to all those that call themselves English Majors I have neither read the book nor seen the Broadway play. I have caught snippets of the PBS anniversary special featuring Nick Jonas though. So I know it is about the French Revolution. War. War can be ugly.

My question got lots of votes for the Hobbit and a few cautionary remarks about Les Mis. I looked up reviews on a website that scores movies for sexual content, violence, and other. Remember War can be ugly so there did seem to be some scenes I might find a bit much for the girls.

And beheading a giant goblin isn’t?

So here is the deal: when I posted our choice and why (that Les Mis might have more objectionable material) we went with the Hobbit and my mother loved it, one acquaintance posted that “if the Hobbit was okay for them to see than so was Les Mis and even her 8 year old loved it.” I posted back that the Chief and I are sort of weird parents.

“Fantastical violence with a healthy discussion about reality is preferred over historical violence or violence with more of a chance of happening or something innately evil–for example they have not seen Anakin become Darth Vadar yet … or Raiders of the Lost Ark or Braveheart … but battling orcs and goblins or evil wizards as long as we discuss it … well just makes us weird parents.”

I didn’t want to offend this acquaintance. But I strongly disagree with letting third graders read the Twilight series and taking them to the midnight showings of the movies. The inner monologue of the main character is just too much for any young girl trying to figure herself out. My children have not seen the Half Blood Prince or either part of the Deathly Hallows because we felt the theme was becoming a little too mature for them. They need to finish reading the books and have a discussion with us about them first.

Last year we objected to T1 reading The Hunger Games solely on the idea that it is a possible future on our planet–not some Star Gate–where children are killing children for entertainment. We explained to her that when she reads The Lottery and Lord of the Flies we’d love for her to read it and discuss all of them with us. Lord of the Flies was 9th grade reading material–not 6th grade. Thankfully it was only for a book club and there were other choices and the librarian was totally behind us. As I posted, T1 read it behind our backs but I couldn’t fault her for it as I did the same thing (only it was because of all the hype surrounding North and South and the miniseries).

So is there a difference between flying orc blood and the death of a Nazi by propeller blade? Yeah … yeah there is a difference. We have emphasized fantasy is fantasy. Nazis were real. War is real. Death in war is real. Let’s look at Captain America. Nazis are in that movie. It is about war … but ray guns and genetically enhanced heroes and villains just aren’t real–and I really feel the makers of that movie kept it campy enough to keep it fantasy.

Are we splitting hairs? Are we still desensitizing them toward violence? Maybe. After reading the summary of a scene where soldiers were “enjoying the spoils of war” I just felt that was a little too real to be an enjoyable movie experience just yet. BTW, that ratings website gave Les Mis a score of 6 for violence and the Hobbit a 5 but Les Mis obviously got a higher score for sexual content for the aforementioned scene and nudity. I actually had to laugh about the Hobbit‘s near-naked trolls and ogres being objectionable according the website. Heck, that’s the poster child for exactly why any male not a Olypic diver should NOT be wearing loin cloths and speedos.

But as I said I hope I didn’t offend this acquaintance for her choice of letting her 8 year old see the movie. I didn’t go on a rant about Twilight or midnight premieres. Or what about a show called “Pretty Little Liars” on ABC FAMILY? Oh that’s quality family television. I am exploring what we do let them see–Alphas is a rough show and it does blur the line of fantasy and reality but we are dialoguing about it as we watch it. It has a lot of social issues and morals to discuss. I do wish I had started them off with Heroes. We’re watching Once Upon A Time together but Grimm is all mine for that gritty and blurred line. And one deep social discussion is about all I can juggle right now.

I usually don’t like to post any controversal and I certainly don’t want my opinion and parenting style attacked. I hope it didn’t stir up a debate or offense. We shall see.

I’m happy with my choice. Glad there will be two more movies. We will have a LotR marathon tomorrow. I will get to see Les Mis when the girls are back in school. Maybe I’ll finally see the last Twilight too!

And just when I thought it was safe to go to bed… I remembered that my much touted quality family television Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman had quite a few mature themes in them, least of which as a very brutal scene where Grace has her “hair cut”. Not to mention Myra’s profession. Those made for interesting discussions. But maybe being able to hit pause and to actually discuss gives me more of a sense of control of the flow of information. Yup. It’s splitting hairs. Sorry.


Be Fearless

March 21, 2012

I’ve been a little MIA and I’m a little behind on my Project 365 so I am playing catch-up.

This is my weekly series on the inspirational messages I discovered on the arms of benches at a school recently.

Let me start by saying I’m not exactly a big fan of the American Idol country singer who crooned a song about Fearless. She just doesn’t resonate with me. I definitely do not like her mixed metaphors and something about her voice … anyway, here is my take on the topic.

Be Fearless.

Be Fearless, Copyright SnipeWife

I will admit I fear many things. Some rational, others not. Some big, some small. I’m currently worried my drug protocol of Enbrel and MTX is just one day going to stop working. I’m worried that my children will be ill-equipped to live on their own. (Okay, who am I kidding? I’m actually worried my children will put a kibosh on all my “retirement” plans with DH and have to move back home because they’ve gotten useless degrees in art history or community organizing. I’m selfish like that.)

I would like to say I do not let my fears rule me but I developed panic attacks last year, out of fear of what others thought of me and if there was some truth to the words used to attack me. I believe the stress of it contributed to the development of my psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

I fear disease. I’ve stated before the frustration of developing a chronic condition while I was working out trying to get healthy to stave off other illnesses. Now training is an absolute necessity.

Much of these fears are things I can’t or couldn’t control. But it is how I choose to deal with them that makes me fearless. I tackled my panic attacks head-on. I built a support group and took the necessary steps to begin healing. Do I still have them? Yes–like last week when Crook started limping. Please not again! I said over and over again until I could get her in for x-rays. Thankfully it is just arthritis. This I can deal with. I no longer have panic attacks while substituting. That’s huge for me.

Rather than giving up on training, saying “what’s the point?”, I am still going. I am still trying to get back to where I was in April of last year. I have ways to go but I will get there. It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to face the pain of working out and to bench press that 110 lbs. above your chest and trust your trainer is doing his job of spotting you!

I fear regret. I hope I live a life of good choices. The key word there is LIVE. Some can be so paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake and therefore having regret that they can do nothing and live no life at all. I do try to be conscientious and weigh my options carefully. I live with a filter (most of the time). If I do make a mistake I want to be given the chance to make amends–I cannot stand when someone walks away without any explanation, giving me no clue especially when I would gladly bend over backwards to help, be it with my own explanation, an apology, or a change.

But I do not want to live my life with “what ifs” and I do not want to wallow in the regret of not having done something. If I have chosen not to do something or it just was never meant to be, what is the point of sighing, “if only…” And I do not want to impress upon anyone else, especially my children, any fears or regrets. I want my girls to see that I have lived my life–particularly important for them to see I have PsA but it does not have me.

I have been my own person with my own path most of my life. The only regret I have comes from putting someone else’s fears and regrets ahead of me. Putting someone else first is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a choice I made just as it is a choice to accept the consequences gracefully. I was later blessed with an alternative but I only think “what if” in terms of my children–would I make sure they always lived without fear and regrets, even if it causes me to have a panic attack to let them go?

I have tried to face things that make me uncomfortable head on, to be an example to the girls that they do not have to have fears. My siblings and I have been talking with my mother about our perceptions of her–and all three of us used the same catch phrases and she seemed surprised by this. I wonder what my girls will say–hard, dedicated, harsh, a yeller… okay, I’m probably all those things. But what I want to really hear is that they see me as strong and fearless.

I worried when they were babies that I would be too removed, too strong and our relationships would suffer. DH reminds me often “The girls love you more than me, you just don’t see it.” I hope they see my love for them in my actions of being soccer coach, room mom, troop leader, Sunday school teacher and chauffeur for 18 years… I hope they also see it when I don’t go in to the teacher and demand the teacher give my sweet angel extra credit assignments to make up for the homework not turned in. I know it doesn’t give them the warm fuzzies now, but when they are strong, independent, and fearless later on I hope they realize it took a lot of self-control to go against my mothering instincts.

If you’d like to write on the topic of Be Fearless and would like to have it linked here, just send me the link and a comment and I’ll get us hooked up. Go on! Be Fearless!

P.S. Does anyone else find it funny that I’m telling you to be fearless when I’m still anonymous to most of my friends and family? HAHAHA!

3/22/12 While this isn’t exactly on the topic of Be Fearless, check out Woulda Coulda Shoulda by Tough Motivation.